Dark Penance
Founders Brewing Company

Dark PenanceDark Penance
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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
Ranked #40
Ranked #4,518
4.06 | pDev: 9.85%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Dark PenanceDark Penance
Notes: A heavy malt foundation includes Crystal malt for sweetness and just enough Midnight Wheat malt to push the color to black. The bitterness is huge, but balanced by malt sweetness and alcohol burn. The hop flavors and aromas range from citrus to floral to pine thanks to a delicious blend of hand-selected Chinook and Centennial hops.

100 IBUs
Reviews: 341 | Ratings: 2,555 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by OldManMetal:
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OldManMetal from North Carolina

4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This black Imperial IPA pours to a brief-lived giant pebbly tan head looming over an effervescent dark brown beer with firey orange-and-red highlights; lacing is quite good, consisting of fine-grained slabs and caverns. The nose is big: chocolatey malt up front, giving way to an enticing blend of citrus, pineapple, pine and molasses with some floral and boozy overtones. On the palate, the sweetish roasted malt character dominates, enlivened by bitter pineapple and green pine, with hints of soapiness and booze. The bitterness is a moderate-to-strong hybrid of piney hop and roasted malt. The finish is caramelish, followed by a moderate hybrid bitterness that lingers for a good while. The mouthfeel is biggish for the medium-full body, and the texture would do a stout proud: syrupy, creamy and just slightly peppery from the restrained carbonation. Founders has successfully combined a lot of what I like about big stouts and IIPAs in a seamless, dangerously enjoyable beer. If you try this one, be warned that the alcohol is very well-hidden. (12 oz bottle, 84 days after pkg)

Dec 19, 2015
More User Reviews:
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StoutHunter from Michigan

4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a four pack of Founder's Dark Penance last week for $12.99 at Oppermans Cork N Ale. I was a big fan of the BlacK IPA that Founders released for last years Art Prize and I'm interested to see how this one turns out, so lets see how it goes. Bottled on 9/25/2014. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it's got a nice dark look to go with the name and I think it's a little eye catching. It poured a dark black color that took on just a slight crimson hue around the edges when held to the light with a finger and half of creamy light tan head that quickly died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left lots of small spotty lacing behind. This was a good looking Black IPA, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with the hops being the first to show up and they seem to be the aspect that sticks out the most in the aroma, they impart some fruity, floral and piney hop aromas with the fruity aromas sticking out the most with some nice fruity and citrus like aromas coming through. Up next comes the malts which show up just enough and they impart a nice roasted malt, lightly charred and some deep
chocolate aromas with just a little bit of medium roasted coffee showing up in
the background. This beer had a good aroma, It was a little balanced, but the hop profile was really nice.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a lower amount of medium sweetness with hops still being the first to show up and they impart the exact same aspects that they did in the aroma with the citrus and fruity hops still sticking out the most. Up next comes the malts which impart the same nice aspects that they did in the aroma with the roasted and slightly charred malts sticking out the most. On the finish there's a lower
amount of higher bitterness with a roasted and and resinous hop aftertaste. This was a good tasting beer, I thought the balance could have been just a little better, but it was still a tasty beer nonetheless.

M- A little smooth, just a little crisp, pretty creamy, slightly oily, on the light side of being full bodied with a lower amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a good mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and good example of a Black IPA, to me it was like a bolder and slightly bigger version of the Black IPA they released for last years Artprize and that's a good thing. This beer had ok drinkability, it was a little smooth, just a little crisp, pretty creamy, slightly oily, a little filling and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, but I think one would be enough for me since I think the bitterness would start to wear on me
after that. What I liked the most about this beer was the hop profile it was nice and it worked really well with this beer. What I liked the least about this beer was the balance, it wasn't bad, but I wish those nice roasted malts came through a little more. I would buy this beer again and I would recommend it to anyone who likes the style. All in all I was happy with this beer and I thought Founders did a good job with this style, sometimes Black IPA's can be hit or miss for me but when it comes to Founders they are always a hit. This wasn't my favorite Founders beer, but it is one of the better Black IPA's I've had. Good job guys, this was a tasty Black IPA, keep up the good work.

Oct 13, 2014
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%

The beautiful impossibility of combining hop forward IPA with roasted bitterness and imperial strength is supposed to push forth a high-hop demeanor and suppress malt interference, but exacerbating all with roasted dryness and bitterness- a hard line to hold for something that's inherently full-bodied.

But this "imperial black IPA" defies the challenges by pushing forth something that's not entirely black, but dark garnet enough to read immense depth and visual weight. Citrusy aromatics mingle with coffee roast, burnt sugars, dark chocolate and roasted walnut character to frame its aroma and early taste.

The hops recede over the middle and allow the ale to pretend that its a full-bodied stout over the course of mid-palate. Burnt maple, bittersweet chocolate and roasting embers frame the bulk of taste thought the texture trends drying and roasty.

With the long bitterness and roastiness extending long in aftertaste, the ale remains remarkably hoppy and bitter; offering a sane closure of sweetness and creaminess in body. There's moments when a hoppy and full-bodied porter is tasted and felt, however its hop-forward flavor reigns supreme and keeps the beer both American and imperial.

Sep 28, 2014
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WesMantooth from Ohio

3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Black, basically non transparent with a slightly off white foamy head which has a lacing ring that hangs on througout the glass.

Aroma - Hops. Piney, grassy, and resiny. Faint roasted/chared malt grains

Taste - Smack to the head hops. Still piney, but with some sweet and sour too. Lots of citrus there. The hops really drown everything else out for the most part. The slightly burned malt and coffee bitterness is on the backend, and very subtle. Seems to improve as it warms, or my taste buds are numbed. Bit of a palate wrecker.

Feel - Very nice body. Easy drinking. Crispness of an ipa with a little more of a porter like thickness.

Overall - I like this beer, but was still disappointed. Maybe Founder's reputation came into play a little, but I try to call 'em as I taste 'em. I was expecting a Lagunitas Nighttime. This one is just too unbalanced for me. I feel that a black IPA should have distinct, noticeable porter qualities. Maybe I am wrong. Certainly worthy of the 100 ibu label. If you are looking for something more toward the IPA end of the spectrum, this won't disappoint you.

Oct 24, 2014
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Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottleneck says Bottled 09/10/2014.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small patch of bubbly surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Hoppy, sweet, somewhat boozy aroma with a solid malt backing. The hop characteristic is decidedly grassy.

T- Roasty malt presence to start, followed by a moderate hop bitterness. The malt provides a sweetness to balance the hops and while, there's plenty of alcohol detected in the nose, it doesn't show nearly as much in the flavor. The bitterness lingers, but overall isn't as heavy as expected. Fantastic hop burps.

M- Slightly sharp and a bit oily from the hops. Medium carbonation with a fullish body.

O- This one does a great job of walking that bitter/sweet, hoppy/malty line in a tasty way. Earns extra points for its smoothness-to-ABV ratio.

Oct 14, 2014
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oberon from North Carolina

4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep walnut brown with a frothy light tannish colored head atop,full on pine and sharp grapefruit in the nose with only minimal "dark" attributes,the hops are big!Minimal roast and char wich I like,to many of the style get carried away with it's porter-like flavors than the IPA aspect.There is roast and earthiness but the pine is the biggest flavor component,a smooth medium to fuller feel.This is top notch,Iam not a huge fan of the style but more like this would make me one,a great beer from GR.

Oct 07, 2014
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WVbeergeek from West Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +5.4%

Pours a very dark hue with some ruby highlights once held toward the light, light khaki tan head...leaves behind speckled lacing.

Aroma has dark herbal mint, pine notes definitely a Chinook character going on in there.

Flavor dark roasted notes with a pine/herbal/mint hop forward hue with ample bitterness very creamy finish with well hidden alcohol I can't detect 100 IBUs, really well balanced easy to drink stuff.

Mouthfeel is creamy slightly resinous oily hop textures, medium to full bodied even smooth carbonation with each sip.

Overall, one of the better hoppy black ale options I've had up there with Lagunitas black IPA released this summer.

Oct 12, 2014
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bsp77 from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into IPA glass.

Appearance: Very dark ruby-brown with thick, light tan head and sticky lacing.

Smell: Pine and grapefruit mostly. Smells hoppy and bitter; much more IPA than Black.

Taste: Massive pine and grapefruit hop onslaught. But the maltiness is strong as well, with caramel mostly, making this seem to be almost a little closer to an Imperial Red IPA, but there are some light roasted and coffee notes. Very bitter on the finish.

Feel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth and exceedingly dry.

Overall: Very bitter for the style and abv. While this is primarily an IPA, the malts do push this toward Imperial Red and Black territory.

Oct 26, 2014
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Dantalis from Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love founders. Another great beer

Mar 06, 2015
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark, nearly opaque brown color. The head is a finger high, and khaki in shade. Its consistency in texture is impressive, though retention is slightly less so. Still, I like the solid ring of lacing left on the glass. (3.75)

Smell: I expected it to be pinier given its usage of Centennial and Chinook - instead, it shows off fruitier notes, like lemon, grapefruit, and even blueberry. Letting it open up, though, will show off some pine dankness. The malts remain subtle but apparent throughout. Not bad at all! (3.75)

Taste: Boom goes the dynamite - the opening flavors are intensely loaded with pine and lemongrass. It will start to show off some sweet malt flavors past the middle (caramel, brown sugar, even some chocolate), attempting to balance it out. The finish, however, is almost exceedingly harsh in its piny qualities. Holy crap, this is bitter...too bitter, in fact. Everything else about this beer is good, but the brutal finish ruins it. (2.75)

Mouthfeel: I'll give it some credit, it's light on its feet for nearly 9%. A bit of residual sweetness remains, giving it a long finish...and keeping the aggressive hop bite on the palate. It gets heavier and sweeter the more I drink it, without carbonation really playing a factor in this brew. (3)

Overall: The secret to making a great black IPA is to downplay the "black" in favor of the "IPA". Wookey Jack being a great example of that philosophy - while this also behaves in a similar school of thought, Founders went too far with the bittering hops. You know what? This reaffirms my belief that Founders has a LOT of world-beating stunners, but they also have a few beers that are rather lacking (like this). Shame, because it smelled really good... (2.75)

3.03/5: Founders makes some fantastic brews...this isn't one of them

Dec 22, 2014
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MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Founders shaker glass. Bottled on 09/17/14.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of light tan head which settles into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing.

Smell: A juicy, earthy, and dark hop forward aroma with hints of citrus, pine, and dark malt. Earthy and floral hops with dank and spicy hints of pine resin and grass. Citrus hop hints of grapefruit, orange peel, lemon zest, mango, and pineapple. Dark roasted malt with hints of burnt toast, chocolate, caramel, biscuit, grains, yeast, and slight smoke. Sweet hints of burnt molasses as well. A very solid smell.

Taste: Like it smells, a ripe, juicy, floral, and dark hop leaning Black ale taste with notes of pine, citrus, and dark malt. Upfront floral and earthy hops with notes of spicy pine resin and grass. Ripe citrus hop notes of orange peel, grapefruit, mango, lemon, and pineapple. Dark roasted barley malt with notes of toast, dark chocolate, caramel, grains, biscuit, smoke, and yeast. Light sweet notes of molasses. A pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Juicy, oily, and creamy with a drying finish. Alcohol heat is masked well.

Overall: A very good take on an Imperial Black ale. Big aggressive floral and citrus hops with enough dark malt to give some nice roasty notes.

Oct 12, 2014
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gman1602 from Texas

5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewer below was perfect. It's a damn good Black IPA. The best I've ever had and I was on board with this crazy style from the start. The piney/tropical hops are in perfect balance with each other for a great IPA flavor profile while the roasted malt follows them up beautifully.

Oct 14, 2015
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Mikecap from Rhode Island

3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Pours nearly black with a short tan-ish head the fades relatively quickly to a splotchy lace.

S- Mostly hoppy with grass, pine and a touch of citrus, with some smoke and sweetness from the malt.

T- Some pine and citrus to start, but backed up by a nice malty presence with some caramel, light coffee and a nice bitterness.

M- Medium to full body with medium carbonation and a nice hop presence. No sign of the alcohol and drinks pretty easily.

O- Just another really good beer from Founders, absolutely worth a try.

Oct 27, 2014
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threesignificantstarfish from Missouri

4.64/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Can't get enough of a good black IPA, and this one hit the spot. ABV was just enough to mellow me out too after working all day. Not much of a review but if the beer were a cottage, I would rent it for the whole summer.

Dec 11, 2015
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Raime from Greenland

4.92/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Founders Dark Penance.

A limited release seasonal out of my second favorite brewery that I've never had before?! Of course I'm gonna pick it up the second I see it!. Grabbed from Jake's Liquor in Monroe. Single bottle was $3.99 for a 12 ouncer so i hope it's solid.

Look - Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours a pitch black though lacking the thickness to give the illusion of motor oil. Head perfectly fills out the pint, coming in at about rwo fingers in height and stopping just before causing a spill over. Mocha in color. Looks more like an IRS to me. Carbonation is imppssible to get a read on due to the depth of the everblack. Lacing looks fantastic, sticking and slowly dropping the lower the beer gets in your glass and leaving a good chunk to appreciate after the finish.

Smell - Smell completely contradicts the appearance. Very tropical and fruit forward. Headed initially by fresh grapefruits as expected of a DIPA with a monster dosage of mangos and floral aspect from what it likely mosaic hops. Juicy aspects and the first beer tl ever actually make my mouth water purely from the scent. No hints of anything that makes this beer as black as it is.

Taste - Taste delivers its payload perfectly. Huge amounts of grapefruit and tropical mango and pineapple all colliding and dispersing for the toasty malt depths without turning to roast and throwing things off then quickly reuniting and dominating the entirety of the flavor profile. A moderate level of smokes makes itself highly apparent the moment you swallow the beer. It's like a shishkebab of tropical fruit and grapefruits over a charcoal grill. No presence of the 8.9% alcoholic level in this beer. Fucking delicious.

Feel - Body is very full and heavy in the mouth with a low to medium level of carbonation. Head retained very well leading to a high level of creamyness. The tropical aspects tone down just a bit and lends way for the maltyness of the beer which is quite alright seeing as it allows the other side of the darkness to show through. Swallows very easy and is warming especially once it hits the stomach.

Overall - This is a damn fine beer out of Founders. Honestly probably my favorite beer out of them. Having taken two bottles to complete the entirety of my review, I can safely sit here and say this is one of my favorite beers of all time. Never have I had a beer that lends such perfect tropical fruity notes with an excellent level of smokiness to balance things. They really put other breweries on notice as to how to execute a perfect black IPA. If you're in my area, you better go get your fill before I buy it all up.

Oct 13, 2015
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spycow from Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.5%

Oct 25, 2014
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mychalg9 from Illinois

4.32/5  rDev +6.4%

Oct 26, 2014
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KnucklesMcFisty from North Carolina

4.52/5  rDev +11.3%

Nov 16, 2014
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SCZ from Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.5%

Oct 12, 2014
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JasonHaviland from New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -1.5%

Oct 27, 2014
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WKyle from Indiana

4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mar 19, 2015
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Bonsall_Phil from California

4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Apr 11, 2016
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heavydetour from Michigan

4.36/5  rDev +7.4%

Nov 17, 2014
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C_Adams from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oct 19, 2015
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Commandophile from Illinois

3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Nov 20, 2016
Dark Penance from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2555 ratings