5 Years Later
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
4.04 | pDev: 11.39%
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
5 Years Later5 Years Later
Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 116 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
PERDIDOUSA from New Jersey

5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the best beer I've ever tasted. Had it with a cheese platter at Gramercy Tavern in NYC in Jan 2015, which means this particular bottle had been cellared for at least 3 years.
Poured a deep dark black, with intense smells and a taste that lingered long after the meal was over.
Drink it if you find it!

Mar 22, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from tasting notes. Sherry, alcohol and cocoa on the nose. Pours deep dark opaque chestnut to mahagony under a 3” finely bubbled foam cap. Rich chocolate caramel rolls over the tongue bringing roas, coffee, alcohol and a bitter hop accent by the finish. Very creamy texture and a medium full body.

Mar 18, 2015
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -3.5%

Appearance: Looks like a porter, with the fudge brown liquid capped by several inches of foam; nice retention and an impressive display of lace (4.75)

Smell: A cross between fudge and charcoal with a likely gap where the hops used to be (3.75)

Taste: Burnt toast with a smear of melted chocolate; the hops that are left still make a statement, struggling to add a piney tone; the malt lingers into the finish (3.75)

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation (4.25)

Overall: When I bought this bottle I didn't research the style, thinking that a 5 year anniversary beer would be a barleywine or an old ale; oh well, my mistake....this is still a decent beer but nothing like what the Captain intended (3.75)

Aug 16, 2014
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Durge from Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A solid jet black color with a big bubbled light tan ring on top and significant lacing. The aroma is easy to catch as soon as you open the bottle. Deep licorice and nutty leaf. Malt-peat and light rhubarb, smoked oak. It's beautiful. The flavor hits a little harder with heavy dark chocolate malt, more licorice-molasses and a hint of meaty smoke. As is usually is the case this big beer only improves as it warms. The body is full but not syrupy or cloying. Carbonation is subtle for a solid, slick feel. Alcohol is a bit evident but not intrusive at all. Awesome dark ale.

Nov 25, 2013
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Justin_Neff from Ohio

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into 50W tulip glass - bottle received from zipper8650

A: Pours a very dark brown with a beige, 2 finger, silky head. In a couple short minutes the head settles into a thin, creamy ring. Leaves a good, sticky lacing.

S: Nose is very piney and hop forward. A good amount of roast which comes off as more chocolate than anything else. A hint of citrus notes as well. Hints of molasses and dark figgy-type fruits as well.

T: Very hoppy. High bitterness. There is a lot of sweet and roasted malt at the finish, which balances to the hop bitterness well. Coffee, mixed with some smokey pine, and bites of licorice sticks.

M: Medium body. Dry. High Carbonation. A little boozy.

O: Captain Lawrence continues to impress me. This one has a great balance of hoppy and malty with a high level of complexity.

Feb 26, 2013
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Willytee3 from New York

3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml Bottle into tulip

Pours a dark chocolate brown with red highlights in light. Rich foamy latte colored head.
Smells of rich milk chocolate with bitter dark chocolate notes. Some toasted Malts, a touch of blackstrap sweetness. Foamy bubbles cling with some sticky lacing.
Tastes of coffee with chocolate undertones, dark bitter bite. Dry bitter bite, stovepipe with a touch of sweetness followed by licorice and earth. Unsweetened chocolate finish.
Feels medium body and chalky.
A touch of booze comes through as it warms.

Jan 21, 2013
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nickfl from Florida

4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two fingers of light tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves excellent lacing on the glass as it goes.

S - Spicy, dark malt with some peppery chocolate in the background and hoppy notes of pine, juniper, and mustard.

T - Pepper, clove, and dark, smoky coffee up front. Some very dark chocolate notes in the middle and more pepper with a hint of pine hops. Finishes with dark chocolate, smoke, pine and juniper hops along with a lingering note of spicy mustard.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Wow, this beer is huge and complex but also unlike any other black ale I have ever had. Great malt character with hops that keep things balanced and set the sugary notes off in just the right way. Really well done.

Jun 28, 2012
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kylehay2004 from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger off white head with nice lacing on a very dark brown body with light getting through.

S: roasted malts, light coffee, vanilla and nice brown sugar presence. nice strength to the aroma.

T: roasted chocolate malts, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and bitter, earthy hops mostly in the finish. very nice oak wood note throughout.

M: moderate to high carbonation and thick body. fairly smooth and semi dry in the finish.

Overall: This is a very good beer. Complex and very complete.

Jun 28, 2012
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chugalug06 from Colorado

3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great caramel/brown head! Even better head retention. Brew is very thick black. Well laced too.

Great big hops come out in the nose. Tons of pine and Caramel. This one help up nice with time.

Very smooth and delicious. Zero bitterness and tons of unique milky smoothness. Vanilla and Bourbon stand out. Chocolate and caramel too. Dry and strong. More like a old ale then ABA, but still nice. Heavy carbonation. Slight rubbing alcohol/rubber flavor.

A good brew, but slightly off style... Recommended, but not worth hunting. Very strong, but not offensive.

May 24, 2012
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brystmar from Texas

2.77/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by blatantdream, thanks!

Dark brown/black pour, off-white head, beady lace. Ultra boozy aroma; masks most of what's here honestly. Needs work.

Taste is similarly dominated by alcohol. Deeply roasted malta and hints of hops are hiding in the corners, but my god is this boozy. Time to go back to the drawing board guys.

May 09, 2012
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pezfiend from New York

3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ML bottle into Captain Lawrence stemmed glass. Just bought the bottle today to celebrate my promotion to sales this morning so the bottle's already about a year old.

A: Pitch black with a good 3 finger head lacing all around the glass as the foam dies down.

S: Dark Chocolate, coffee mostly. The bottle's a little older by now and lost most of it's hop aroma, almost like a strong stout now.

T: Once again, chocolate, coffee, caramel notes, minor bitterness from the hops. There's almost a chalky charcoal taste I get which is not necessarily bad, oak, burbon.

M: Coats the mouth like an oil slick very chewable beer. If drinking before 12pm wasn't so looked down upon in certain areas I could see this replacing my morning coffee on a work day.

O: Great beer, was not what I expected at all. I'm used to American Black Ale's with a lot more hops. The hops are pretty much all gone and with time it's become a great strong stout.

Apr 17, 2012
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Rhettroactive from Pennsylvania

3.56/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 750mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/4/12
*From notes

A: Rich and dark. A good pour yields a 1.25 finger head that fades to a decent collar and moderate lacing.

S: Ouch. The hops have faded quite a bit, and it gives off a Pine-Sol quality. A solid dose of chocolate malt lingers in the back of my nostrils, adding a needed perk to the bouquet.

T: Big, bitter pine oil and more of that earthy, chocolaty malt. Quite nice, really. It's much better then I'd hoped for, and at eight months of age, I'm happy with it.

M: Thick and dense, plenty of weight and complexity.

O: I can't believe I buried this one (accidentally) in the cellar for so long. When fresh, I imagine this was the tits. It's got a lot of potential. Sure it's currently past it's prime, but it ain't bad as-is, and one you need to consume ASAP, granted you're still holding.

Apr 05, 2012
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep dark burgundy brown color ale with a nice light brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of pine and astringent hops with notes of caramel malt with some toffee notes. Taste is a complex mix between some pine and astringent hops with some sweet malt notes with some caramel and toffee notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Interesting though not something I would feel the need to drink on a regular basis.

Feb 27, 2012
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mindspin315 from New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge light brown head and sticking all over the glass. Dark body not quite black but close. Brown around the sides and bottom of the glass.

The aromas blend together and smell like a IPA, Barleywine, and Stout hybrid. Upfront on the nose piney hop notes. The blend of hoppiness and graininess of a Barleywine come through almost simultaneous with the pine aroma. Dose of chocolate malt and caramel midway. Toasted bread and roasted malts as well. Would like to know the 5 hops/5 malts used to make this beer.

This is not the freshest of bottles, so I would love to see how the hops were on this one fresh, but they definitely are playing a big part here. Flavors of chocolate, caramel, pine, and citrus. A bit of grain and hops through the middle. Finished with a wash of bitterness and a bit of dryness. Touch of heat in the chest. Light smoke and ashy quality at the end and in the aftertaste as well.

A bit more hops upfront on the taste would improve this beer a lot for me, but I still found plenty of aspects to enjoy. (Granted I'm not drinking this fresh so the hops most likely have faded a bit). The aftertaste is very good. This beer blends together aspects of different beer styles quite nicely. This beer falls under the Black Ale category and I find it to be one of the better versions of this style. Not the best of, but certainly a top the mix. Better as it warms.


Jan 04, 2012
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HosP from Indiana

3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this buried with other beers, probably should have drank a little sooner. Poured 750 ml into tumbler.

A- Pours not quite jet black. Light around the edges. Dark brown head with decent lacing left on the glass.

S- Roasted malts dominate the nose here. A bit of chocolate to it. Some piney, slight citrus hop aroma towards the end. Hops could come through a bit more if it were a little more fresh.

T- Roasted, burnt flavors up front. I can see where some people describe as ashy taste. Some bitter chocolate, hints of coffee in the background. Ends with some bitter piney hop flavor. If it were a bit fresher hops may have come through better, at least I would hope so.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation to it.

O- For a black IPA, would have like more hop flavors. May have had some couple months ago. Not my favorite black IPA at all. Still not horrible, but could have been much better.

Dec 22, 2011
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scootny from New York

4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This a combined review of the fresh bottle and a cellared version. I am taking the higher scores from each category.

Appearance is just short of perfect. Dark cola color with a towering light brown head that stays forever and leaves lots of lace. (Both)

Smell is very chocolatey and is nuanced with vanilla and oak. Mild cherry and a hint of leather. Deep roasted grains and warm dark breads. Hops are big as well with a good piney bite and a touch of citrus in the fresh and more muted pine in the older.

Taste is where this stuff sets itself apart. This is like a cross between an American stout and a DIPA. Big chocolate malt front with coffee and mocha trailing after. Aging lets typical barrel flavors like oak, cherry, and leather develop. Nice. Fresh, the hops sweep in and cover this stuff and give a BAM grapefruit signature to the finish and then the more subtle aspects show themselves. Alcohol is more evident in the aged bottle in the middle of the swallow as the more lovely hops cover it more. However it in no way tastes like 10%. Finish fresh is all hops and grapefruit, aged is coffee tinged earthiness and a bite of hop oil.

Feel is lighter that something this strong has a right to be. Fresh it has a velvety creaminess. Older is shows a gentle carbonation and a light syrup thickness.

A great sipper and a two for one beer. Fresh it was more like a DIPA but with some cellaring it reveals some extremely complex barrel like flavors. Glad I had it fresh and old.

Notes from 4/15/11

Dec 02, 2011
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Dreadnaught33 from District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A really nice beer, that I wish I had fresher. Brought this back from New Beer in the Bowery area of the lower east side.

A: Very healthy tanish head on top of a very dark brown body. Lighter brown/red highlights on the sides.

S: Lots of roasted nuts in the smell, fluffy sugar grass tinged hops waft up behind the roast. Cocoa powder and perhaps a little espresso.

T: A big flavor, tons of roasted nuts, espresso and cream. Some nice grassy hops, but it's a little muted. Beautiful lactose sugar cream and coffee. Has a nice mix of flavors and balanced well too. Quite tasty brew not a ton of hops but a nice malt profile.

M: Very creamy and soapy, I love this feel.

Very nice beer.

Nov 24, 2011
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CHickman from New York

3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a cloudy 2 finger tan head that was thick enough to leave a mountain range; it faded very slowly and left great sticky lacing and rings as it went down. Looks just like a stout but smells like an IPA.

Aroma consists of big floral hops, flowers, citrus hops, grapefruit, pine cones, chocolate malt, cocoa, sweet malt, caramel, molasses, light vanilla and smoked grains; the hops blast your nose up front and then give way to the roasted malts that are chocolatey and sweet. Quite aromatic, this was not what I expected but still very enjoyable.

Tastes like it smells, with floral hops, flowers, citrus hops, grapefruit, pine cones, chocolate malt, cocoa, coffee, toffee, sweet malt, raisin, plum, caramel, molasses, vanilla, charcoal, smoked grains, light yeast, brown sugar, bourbon or an oaky flavor like this was barrel aged and is quite boozy. The smoked malt, caramel, molasses and citrus hops work together for a nice balance that's leans to the grainy side and has a dry bitter finish. Very complex and tasty, this beer gets more flavorful as it warms and is a slow sipper.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth and slick with low carbonation, a heavy body that's chewy and thick, and low drinkability as this is a boozy slow sipper meant to indulge at a snails pace. This was very tasty for such a strong ale, and one worth trying.

Nov 20, 2011
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phichifiji00 from California

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark brown almost black, two inches of thick light brown head, lots of lacing.

Smell: Hoppy, malty, pine resin, citrus, roasted malt, coffee.

Taste: roasted malt, caramel, hops, sweet, bitter finish, hints of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, moderate carbonation, bitter finish.

Overall: A pretty tasty black IPA. More roasted notes than any other black IPA I've had. Very drinkable.

Nov 03, 2011
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schlimenhaumer from New York

4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1 pint 9.4 oz. bottle into a pint glass at low altitude.

A: Pours a slightly translucent black with a substantial yellowish head and excellent lacing.

S: A strong smell overall with a wide variety of malt and hop notes. Most prominent are roasty malts and piney hops. The smell also reminds me a bit of oak, and there's some booziness as well.

T: Strong roasty malt flavors give way to plenty of bitter, piney hops that carry through to the finish. It's a very strong and complex mix of flavors, but it comes together well. Can't taste the alcohol at all, which is pretty impressive at 10%.

M: Full-bodied and slick, really coats the whole mouth. Nothing too exciting, but stands up well to the flavors.

D: If you're looking for a strong, complex and hoppy beer, it doesn't get much better than this.

Oct 23, 2011
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DarthKostrizer from California

3.84/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to jrnyc for this one

Look: Pours a pitch black with a brown ring around the bottom of the glass great 1 inch head and excellent retention and some very nice circular lacing.

Smell: Very potent piney hop note and some chocolate.

Taste: Upfront is a very odd hoppy flavor maybe cause by the five different versions of hops melding together. It is a bit off putting and to be honest is it me or does most every black ipa have a fruity pebbles like taste to them. The beer finishes off nice with a bit of coffee and as it warms some real nice chocolate notes show up.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation and a bit astringent

Overall: Not the best black ipa I have ever had maybe this one is affected by age because I know I have had it for about 2 months now so I would love to try it again fresh


Oct 12, 2011
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nitro0292 from New York

3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

By the dates of the reviews it looks like my bottle is a little past its prime. I am unable to tell, however due to the lack of a bottled-on date or best by date. Boo.

Poured a coffee-colored near black shade. Mahogany brown at the edges when held up to light. Pour produces ample head, with that cool cascading effect (without the nitro). Head was a beautiful cream color, which stayed around for a quite a while and left plenty of rocky lacing.

I don't smell much in the way of hops, I'm assuming its because the bottle is old but again I cannot be sure. Smell is fruity esters (like from a slightly warm fermentation) chocolate and some coffee. A touch of herbal/pine, but you really have to look (smell) for it. Oh yeah, and some alcohol.

To me this tastes a lot like aged Storm King. I can taste some hops amidst the dark fruit, choco-alcohol flavor. Also reminiscent of BCS. Tastes good, but to me an "ABA" should have more of a hop presence. This is an imperial stout with a solid malt-hop balance. This is by no means a bitter and dry beer. Understood with the lack of dryness, but me likes some more bitterness please.

Mouthfeel was moderately heavy with low carbonation (which makes the head more impressive). Again very stout like. Just enough viscosity to help hide the alcohol. I repeat, help hide it...you can definitely taste it.

Overall, this is a solid beer. A good sipper to enjoy. Do not expect an IPA-like brew, expect a sweetish RIS with some hop balance and a long, lingering finish on the sweet side of the spectrum.

Oct 08, 2011
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trxxpaxxs from New York

4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ManVersusBeer for this beauty.

A: Pours super dark, thick, and black as pitch. Massive head that lingers for awhile. Lacing is huge as it drinks.

S: Smells of coffee, chocolate, burnt toast, and huge citrus hops. There is a beautiful sweetness deep in there that I really appreciate in a black ale.

T: Starts off with sweet caramel notes balanced well with roasty bitters. The beer then turns up the hop profiles and becomes very bitter. However... there is a smoothness, a creaminess, a silkiness to this beer that is remarkable.

M: Full bodied beer. The silky smooth malts linger, but are eventually overwhelmed by the bitter hops. Lasting essence is pure bitter hop.

O: If you are a fan of Black IPAs (or whatever they're called) this is a beer that you need to try. Great work by a great brewery.

Oct 07, 2011
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris (spycow) for sharing this one. Served in a Cigar City tulip.

A - A nice voluminous tan foam settles to a thin ring, some wispy cirrus patches, and minimal lace. Dark brown body.

S - Dark malts, sugar cookie, baker's cocoa, roasted grains, and some nice floral and citrus notes. Even at six months it still smells very much like a Black IPA rather than a stout or porter.

T - The flavor is quite good as well, with tons of sugar cookie, sweet cocoa, and a touch of citrus. Alcohol is surprising well-hidden - didn't even realize this was 10%. Also avoids the charry and astringent finish that I dislike in many beers of this style.

M - Somewhat thin for the style, and a bit dry and gritty. Pleasant active carbonation, and minimal alcohol presence. Could use a bit more heft and creaminess.

D - This has held up surprisingly well for the style, and I enjoyed it quite a bit in its current state. Hopefully Captain Lawrence will revisit this beer again in the future so I can try it with its full hop presence.

Sep 27, 2011
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AgentZero from Illinois

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown beer, almost black, with a khaki head that left some nice sheets on the side of the glass.

S - Some resin, faded earth notes and hops, burnt caramel, roast. The hops on this are gone but it smells pretty nice.

T - This beer drinks pretty big, and reminds me a bit of a porter. Very earthy, particularly on the finish with some nice roast. Hops has faded with time, but you can stil tell this is a black IPA.

M - Pretty thick, close to full bodied, soft carbonation.

O - Good beer, would like to try this a little fresher. This is a pretty intense black IPA, can't drink tons, but has solid taste.

Sep 25, 2011
5 Years Later from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 116 ratings