5 Years Later | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

very good
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5 Years Later5 Years Later

Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Billolick on 02-16-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 117
Photo of brystmar
2.77/5  rDev -31.1%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.13/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The beer pours almost black with a big khaki colored head.

S: Smells of roast, a lot of roast, and some dark chocolate. Not terribly hoppy, unfortunately. Some moderate pine notes, which is really it. There is a mild acidity and some slight metallic notes.

T: Interesting flavors of dark fruit and dark chocolate. Big time ash and intense flavors of roasted malts. There is a pretty strong bitterness, some mild coffee, and also some chalk. Pine and citrus peel, a mild herbal quality, are really it as far as the hops.

M: Medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: I like a lot of Black IPAs, but this was not very good.

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Photo of Neffbeer
3.2/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: It pours jet black with no evidence of any hues or clarity when held up to the light. There is a good looking two finger tan head that displays solid retention and leaves a bunch of sticky lacing behind.

S: The smell begins with a healthy dose of piney hops. The crazy thing is this bottle is a couple of months old (4 I think) at this point and still really hoppy. There is hint of the dark malts with some tobacco, and charred barley. As it warms a touch of booze surfaces with some raisins and vanilla in tow.

T: The hops are up front but not as overwhelming as the nose indicated. It is very piney followed by a wave of dark, charred malts. There are some deep smokey notes from the malt that are reminiscent of a good cigar. The finish is boozy, bitter and moderately dry. For me the taste is a bit abrasive overall.

M: Moderate to thin body with rich carbonation.

O: Interesting beer, but definitely not one of my favorites from Captain Lawrence. I think you could say this was an attempt at an imperial CDA, but the charred malts are just too acrid and bitter for it to be truly successful.

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Photo of Dubber55
3.39/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a very dark brown/black with 1 finger of mocha head. Leaves some spotty lacing. Looks nice

I smell mostly pine and booze

The taste follows the nose: pine and booze with maybe a little smoke, some roasted malt, and a little coffee. Not terribly complex. The booze is there- has a rubbing alcohol type flavor

Mouthfeel is on the medium to heavy side. Kind of chewy

Drinkability is below average. The booze flavor is too pronounced for me and the beer itself is not complex. I wouldnt want to drink more than 12 ounces

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Photo of Bierlerner
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Out of a bomber bottle and into a tulip

A- Hazy black. Nice creamy tan head and good lacing. Head goes away quickly.

S- smells of dark fruit, cocoa, coffee, and a little pine. Not hugely robust aroma. Smells pretty nice though.

T-sadly disappointed. Wasn't the hop bomb I was expecting. Coffee, chocolate, and a little hop. Not too complex. Just ok, I guess. I guess the hype is what ruined it for me

M-Mid-high carbonation. Medium body. Real smooth.

O- I've had plenty of american black ales and this was just ok. I guess I just wish it was hopper. But, it was worth the try. And thats what this game is all about. Look forward to tasting the rest of their brews.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of HosP
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.56/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

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Photo of mindspin315
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
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.


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Photo of Ralphs66
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Damn, I had some friggin awesome expectations for this beer; and at $15 a bomber, who wouldn't. Don't get me wrong, it's a REALLY nice beer. But when it boils right down to it, it's CL espresso stout with a higher ABV, a bit more carbonation, and a bit more complexity; but not by much. Pours nice, dark and mysterious. Great foam, and it's hanging on. Smells are coffee and chocolate, with some smokiness and alcohol. Like I said, a really nice beer, but I wanted more than just a nice buzz from it.

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Photo of nitro0292
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of fastpass17
3.74/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

25.4oz Bottle

A: Rich brown in color, the head has a brown tinge to it. Good carbonation through out the drink.

S: Opens with chocolate mixed with cream. Then hops come in somewhat resiny followed by pine. I really enjoyed the overall aroma.

T: This starts off like a brown ale, pine then comes to the forefront, there are notes of burnt sugar and rum through the drink.

M,D: My one caveat is the fifteen dollar price tag. Sharp on the tongue at first then enjoyable. Split the bottle with a couple of friends after a meal it is strong.

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Photo of pezfiend
3.74/5  rDev -7%
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.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
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


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Photo of Urbancaver
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish red. A bit of frothy off-white head. Smells very smokey and malty. Lots of smoke on the nose. Tastes bitter and strong. Tons of malt on the backbone . The hops rare fairly prominent but honestly are overpowered by the smoke. The hops are mostly grapefruit centered. Pretty darn drinkable for a 10 percent!

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:
A 750ml capped bottle, received from hoppymcgee, opened late April 2011 (thanks, Greg!); poured to a pint glass at around cellar temperature (50 degrees F, give or take)

'Deep, Dark & Hoppy'; brewed with 5 different hops and 5 different malts. Side label includes a nice statement of gratitude from brewer Scott Vaccaro regarding the 5 Year 'Journey' that Captain Lawrence has embarked upon.

A: Gorgeous two-finger head, sturdily-built and tinged the color of toasted marshmallows. Over ten minutes or so, it winnows down to a lumpy cream, thickened at the edges and trailing strands of foam. Not quite 'black' (shows some mahogany at the fringes), but good enough. Healthy carbonation when held to light.

S:Toasted, dry 'grain' aroma - borderline 'burnt', then a nose-twitching spiciness. Liked it at first - then 'ho-hum' afterward. Decent strength yet not a ton of depth.

T: On the more-chocolate, less-ashy side of 'Black IPA' - for which I'm grateful

M: Smooth, actually ridiculously smooth. I may not be a big fan of the style/flavor, but I can definitely appreciate the feel. And this has a very fine one.


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Photo of pmlondrigan
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well I didn't want to pay 15 bucks for this beer, so a 6 dollar 16 oz. growler was the way to go. Pours deep, dark black with deep brown edges when hit with light, a billowing tan head sits atop this brew. The head fades and with each sip leaves another sheet of lacing. The aroma is a blend of earthy, piney hops and chocolate, roasted malts. Flavor comes on strong in the form of dense bittering hops, piney and slightly astingent. Dense malty body, not so much roasty as chocolaty, with some hazelnut and chestnut flavor. Well balanced but nothing really pops. Just a tad hot at the end, but all in all well put together. Again @ 15 bucks it pains me to give this beer such a good score, its just to expensive, but it is also well executed.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

5 Years Later on tap at The Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen, NY.

Appearance: Served in an eight-ounce glass, it produces barely a faint head that dies quickly on top of a black-colored beer with brown overtones. Lots of bubbles, remarkable lacing.

Smell: Cigar, smoke, hearth. Tobacco leaves grass, barnyard. Roasty malts, dairy. Muddled nose despite these interesting notes.

Taste: Overtone of Cuban cigars and smoke. Chocolate, nuttiness, sugars.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, medium body, low carbonation, medium flavor. Slightly hoppy and dry at the end. Underwhelming mouth.

Drinkability: For a 10%, this is mighty poundable (the 8-oz serving obviously helps a lot). Not boozy, well balanced. But also, no better than a 6% Black Ale/Black IPA. Good, but not amazing, and even a tad underwhelming for a special anniversary ale.

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Photo of Torgo
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to dmac on Ratebeer! Very dark black pour, creamy lacing and a little thin lasting head and aroma of caramel, hops and a little coffee. Flavor is earthy caramel, burnt nuts a little raisin and finished slightly spicy and very creamy(can’t sense that this is 10%). I like this quite a bit, and will probably try to trade for another bottle

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Photo of mistakebythelake
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle thanks to ubufan2112.

A dark brown with hints of red color to this beer. Slight head Hints of floral hops, fruit, roasted malt and oak. Got a lot of smokiness and fruit characteristics with some chocolate on the finish. Low carbonation and not to thick considering the flavor profiles. A pretty good balance and glad I shared the bottle with some other BA's as I probably could not have finished myself. Wonder what aging would do to this beer?

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Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -3%

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)

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Photo of Phoenix2443
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark brown color.

Smell - hops and pine up front, then charred malt, bittersweet chocolate

Taste - bitterness and pine flavor up front then sweetness with slight citrus, burnt malts. One of the best of this style I've ever had.

Mouthfeel - Medium body

Overall - very enjoyable beer and one that is easy to drink for how high of ABV it is

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Photo of Lazerlobe
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Speedwayjim for the bottle!

A: Hearty fingers of light head on a fluid dark body.

S: Muddled hops, alternating citrus and candy-like. Underlying chocolate and kilned grain. Not exactly complimenting one another but interesting in parts.

T: Upfront with a twinkling medley of herbal, citrus and pine. At this point, they take center stage with a base of porter-like malts. This would be interesting as the hops subside and integrate. Bit of alcohol heat on the back end. Bitter resin finish.

M: Creamy on the tongue with a mellow carb tingle. The 10% shows early on but maybe the alcohol is overriding my ability to taste it, but it seems to subside. Loving this g'dang creaminess!

O: Maybe I'm not a huge fan of ABAs but this is more of an imperial ABA. Love the viscous body but would like to revisit this in a few years as a black barleywine.

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5 Years Later from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 117 ratings.
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