5 Years Later
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

5 Years Later5 Years Later
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American Black Ale
4.04 | pDev: 11.39%
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
5 Years Later5 Years Later
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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 116
Photo of superspak
4.26/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into oversized wine glass. Pours clear dark brown color with a huge 3 finger light tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a fairly thick lacing cap that lasts. Nice thick lacing clings to the glass as well. Aromas of caramel, bread, roasted malt, chocolate, orange, and pine. Nice complex and hoppy aromas. Taste of big chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, orange, and pine. Decent amount of bitterness present on the finish; with lingering notes of orange, chocolate, and roasted flavors. Medium carbonation and full bodied. Nice creamy mouthfeel and smooth drinkability for the alcohol level. No alcohol in the taste and a fair amount of warming present on the finish. Overall, a delicious black ale. Tons of flavor and complexity with easy drinkability for the alcohol level.

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Photo of mcallister
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very deep mahogany showing some scarlet hues in the light. Head is high, rocky, tan and killer. Long lived and spotty sticky lacing.

Rich roasted caramel aromas, black malts, piney and citrusy hops, chocolate covered orange slices, apricot, light stone fruits. A hint of smoke and asphalt at the end. A really nice aromatic treat.

Wow this beer may change my perception of the style. Rich complex, crazy long finish that finishes citrusy and full of bitter hops but then is suddenly clamored and stops to a huge bitter roasted malt. Lots of chocolate, spent coffee grounds, burnt sugar, mocha, orange peel, slightly sweet toffee, and milk chocolate, bitter. Some piney and earthy hops linger late in the finsh. Just a big, complex, monster of a beer and delicious. Rich, creamy, and bold.

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

750 mL bottle, shared with a few friends.

Appearance is is not far away from black with a two finger head.
The smell of 5 Years has pine, resin, hops, and something mint like. Its` taste hits with malts right away, hops, more resin, along with a pleasant sweetness. MF is hearty, with some smokey charcoal in the finish. A very nice black ale from CL.

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Photo of Phoenix2443
3.92/5  rDev -3%
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 GregSVT
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a dark brown with a nice tan head that fades to a small layer and leaves some good sticky lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has a lot of chocolate, cocoa, and citrusy hops. Everything is big and bold in this one.

T: The taste starts with a hint of cocoa and then a big rush of citrus hops. The chocolate and roasted malts dominate the finish with a bit of coffee as well.

M: The feel is medium bodied and slightly creamy with a good amount of carbonation.

O: Tasty beer for what it is which is pretty much a Black IPA. Good flavors and aromas but not really my thing. I'd recommend it for anyone that likes hoppy dark beers though.

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Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Tim – thanks!

Pours black with a light tan head leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet dark malts with a light roast and semi-sweet chocolate. Also present are good amounts of pine and light herbal hops.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Lightly roasted malts up front are quickly sweetened through the addition of slight toffee and lighter caramel malts. Midway through the sweetness subsides as pine and leafy hops take over, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is very good, with grainy carbonation.

Overall I thought this beer tasted too much like a kitchen sink, with too much going on to fully accentuate the positives. Still, it fared better than most beers that fall into that trap. Worth a shot.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.86/5  rDev -4.5%
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 womencantsail
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
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 FLBeerGuy
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a foamy tan head that leaves nice lacing.

Nose is piney hops and roasted malts.

Taste is like the smell with some chocolate malts and toffee, some nice hop bitterness on the finish.

Medium carbonation with some dryness on the finish.

This is a top notch black IPA, nice and hoppy with a strong dark malt backbone. I've had many that don't measure up, but this one does.

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Photo of Neffbeer
3.2/5  rDev -20.8%
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 rfgetz
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a charcoal black color with some suprising ruby highlights when held to light, decent cap of off-white/lightly greyed head, nice sticky lacing. Scent is a huge whiff of hops - quite resinous which combines with alcohol notes to be almost cologne like. Malts are roasty, charred and faint smoke. First sip is quite bold and bitter - one of the most palate scorching beers i've had. As mentioned above, the pine and noticaeable alcohol work together to begin to kill the palate, but the nice roasty, earthy and charred malt notes are able to come through. Medium bodied, uber dry. I was a little hesitant that I wouldnt be able to kill a whole 25oz of this after how bold the first few sips were, but the mouth became used to the heat and the beer mellowed nicely as time progressed.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As is in my pint glass, this sits pitch black and the initial pour yields a kahki colored, thick and frothy head. Remarkably, after holding it up to the light, there are actually some dark ruby hues laced within. Pretty nice looking beer.
Love the aromas coming at me; powerful piney hops, big roasted malts, and a sense of chewiness that i know im going to enjoy without a doubt.
A dead on carb level makes this work out very well. It enables roasted flavors of chocolate, pine, and a hint of vanilla to slide seamlessly across the palate, leaving a nice bitterness behind on the finish. I love the sense of bitter black coffee i get on the backend. This beer just keeps on getting better and better as it warms, with the roasted notes toning down just a bit, leaving behind a little more of a hop punch. Glad i got to try this one.

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Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear very dark amber (close to near black) in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high tan and dense head that has good retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of pine resin hops and roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has a light amount of bitterness and notes of chocolate and coffee.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation with a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer is very easy to drink because it’s not very bitter and the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

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Photo of Bierlerner
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%
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 cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was at the Huntington Superstar chatting up how much I loved this beer when I had it on tap at The Good Life this past weekend only to find out that it was just added to the growler station where I was earlier in the week. Uh...YEAH! I will certainly be leaving with a 32oz fill of this!!!

a - Through the growler, just as black as I remembered, but with a tint of red where the light struck it right. Opened the growler and filled my Portsmouth sniftery tulip. The same frothy head quickly built at the top of the brew and looked great. Frothy and foamy and easily rebuilt after it had gone away. Real beautiful beer upon first pour...kind of like the way I used to admire a guiness...this actually looks quite irish stout like.

s - Strong roasted malts. Some chocolate, some coffee and even some tobacco and a hint of hops, but this is all about the malts. The coffee hint seems to come from the extreme roastiness of the brew...very reminiscent of a high quality gourmet coffee.

t - The flavor, too was intense roastiness and essentially all dark malt with faint hints of chocolate or cocoa. Hops only really show in the bitterness which seems more subtle than I remember from a week ago. Essentially the taste is only roasted malt, which is a flavor I enjoy. Upon second pour I picked up a bit of hoppy vanilla as well.

m - Good carbonation, light to medium bodied. Smooth as silk.

o - Overall, I really dig this beer. So much so that I ran out the other day to pick up a slew more bottles of this one. Nice work captain lawrence...keep on making these amazing beers that fly under the radar!!! No difference in scores from the tap (makes sense since this growler fill was a few hours ago)...can't wait to crack a bottle and see how it compares.

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Photo of Torgo
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
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 portia99
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle received in the latest of many trades with hoppymcgee. Thanks again for this one Greg! Poured into a Portsmouth tulip.

A - Pours a deep black color with good clarity that can be detected when held to a light. A half finger of loose rocky head forms and lingers a bit fading to the surface and leaving behind equally loose lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Roasty, earthy/dirty, dark chocolate, brazil nuts, hoppy bitterness and a touch of coffee.

T - Very roasty, coffee is definitely there, heavy dark chocolate flavors, good hop bitterness. Very nice.

M - Medium bodied, lowish carbonation. Bitter chocolate leaves a lasting impression.

O - One of those beers where the sum is better than its individual parts. I really liked this beer. Very roasty and bitter chocolatey. Alcohol was completely unnoticable - very surprising for a 10% beer. Definitely enjoyed this one.

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

a huge thanks goes out to rich for this one. i had been dying to try it so i brought it out last friday to split with alex. poured into pint glasses.

what a nice deep, dark, black pout that let no light come through what so ever. a good head of tan crept up the sides of the glass and left some nice lacing all along the sides.

dark malts are very prominant here with chocolate, lots of roasted notes, hints of vanilla and tobacco and of course very nice and perfectly placed piney hops. this carries over well into the taste as the hops come out first and give a nice little quick bite of flavor before the rich backbone of smokey malts kicks in with all of its sweet, roasty goodness and balances out the palate, creamy with a wonderful carbonation to it you really had to search for any hints of alcohol here at all.

overall an outstanding beer. great fresh, cannot imagine it ageing well, but really just outstanding the way it is right now!

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Photo of steve8robin
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one as an extra in a trade. 22oz bottle...

A: A deep dark red that is pitch black with only clear red shown when held to light. A 1+ inch tan head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: A nice sweet malt upfront with a bitter hop bite quickly followed in the middle and some caramel hidden on the backend. Very Good.

T: A very bitter hop upfront followed by a quick booze burn in the middle. Some mild sugars and malts on the backend. Decent.

M: Medium body with an awesome carbonation. A bitter dry finish. Very good.

O: All in all, this is a good beer. Great to try if you like a nice hoppy bite in your beer.

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Photo of Lazerlobe
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
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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Photo of ngeunit1
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark black color with a hint of brown blended in and a finger of frothy mocha colored head. The head very slowly fades down to a ring around the glass lacing nicely.

S - Aroma is full of deep earthy hops and some nice slightly sweet roasted malts. A bit of chocolate and deeper roasted elements mixed in as well.

T - Starts off with a nice hit of earthy hops and deep roasted toffee malts. Bit of bittersweet-chocolate in the background. Lots of roasted flavor. Through the middle some coffee flavor and some stronger chocolate flavor comes through. The finish is a nice blend of the roasted malt, earthy/floral hops and just a tinge of alcohol burn.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels really smooth and creamy without being too heavy. Finish is a bit bitter and dry which is really nice.

D - For 10% abv, pretty drinkable. Nice balanced flavors with a really nice hop profile alongside all of the roasted flavor. Just a touch expansive, but worth it to give it a try.

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Photo of modernartblues
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Holy Smoke in Mahopac, NY

A: at least as black as the stout on the table, maybe tinges of brown, but this is a pretty dark beast, bit of off white head, lacing is present, but not extensive

S: earthy hops, tinge of roastiness, but the hops are the show

T: excellent, this is what the Cascadian Dark Ale style is suppose to be all about, a boatload of hops back up by hints of roastiness and chocolate-coffee, this ones right up there with the best of them--no hint of the abv, I would have believed 6%

M: probably right on for the style, which in my mind should be medium to full bodied, its not as big as a impy stout, but its not light by any means.

O: pretty good. Price was out of control on this one, I refused to buy a bottle, but couldn't resist it on-tap. Worth the hype. Whether it was worth the cash (17.99), well I guess that depends on the user...Bottom line is that this is one of the better "Black Ales" I've had.

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

A huge thanks to Paul (pmlondrigan) for this great beer. Cheers!

Appearance - Pours into my SA Perfect Pint with a dark chocolate brown color. When held up to the light a dark ruby red color can be seen. Over two fingers of great looking dark tan head is achieved with a moderate pour, that dissipates slowly leaving chunky lacing.

Smell - These American Black Ale's are starting to grow on me. Nice hops and pine up front, then overshadowed by charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, and earthy notes (slight floral hops at the end).

Taste - What an interesting flavor profile. The bitterness of the hops and pine flavor are definitely up front but then are taken over by a stout like sweetness which is intermixed with slight citrus. I've had a few styles of this before but this one just stands out a bit more and really makes me sit here and try to pick out the flavors one by once as they cascade. Bready malts in the back, a hint of the earthy/floral characteristics, and burnt malts. One of the best of this style I've ever had.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, creamy, decent carbonation, finishes with a hint of bitterness on the palate.

Overall - Extremely pumped I was able to try this. When Paul mentioned this beer and I looked it up I couldn't wait to taste it. This is a very well done version of the style, and honestly, after having a few others based on this style I'm curious if I will ever find something up to par with this. A very enjoyable beer and one that is easy to drink for how high of ABV it is (I didn't even look at the ABV until after drinking some and couldn't believe it was 10% - I get just the slightest taste of alcohol in the taste and no warming sensation). A splendid beer.

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Photo of afksports
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Thank you, Captain Larry, for making a beer available locally that I can enjoy to this extent. The trend continues with these malt and hop bombed black & hoppy ales.

Five Years Later looks and has the mouthfeel of a dark and roasty porter, with the aroma of a double IPA with tons of burnt malts added. It's citrus and earthy hoppy in smell, combined with tons of burnt and roasted malts, and rich caramel. Very enticing to get a whiff of. I could probably smell it for longer than it takes to drink a 750ml bottle.

Speaking of that, the taste follows the smell, and at 10% alcohol by volume, this is a supremely drinkable brew. Burnt and malty at the start, the sweetness of the citrus pokes a hole in the middle of the malty palate, and a coffee and hops bitter combination finishes the taste. Further - it finishes clean. It's like a tire fire meeting a winter fireplace meeting a grassy clearing in the forest. And you have a clementine in your backpack. And a Hershey's bar.

What a treat.

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

750 ML bottle served in a Sierra Nevada hop tulip.

Dark brown to black coffee with a light tan head. Good two inch foam head and plenty of sticky lacing.

Orange, three muskateers, caramel, mango, with plenty of alcohol.

The flavor profile is more pronounced, orange, sappy pine, bittersweet chocolate, slight roast and pineapple. Big alcohol in the finish leaves a warning sensation.

Finish is dry with a touch of malt sweetness, moderate esters.

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5 Years Later from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 116 ratings