Crooked Line: Labyrinth Black Ale
Uinta Brewing Company

Crooked Line: Labyrinth Black AleCrooked Line: Labyrinth Black Ale
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #327
Ranked #1,122
4.27 | pDev: 10.54%
Uinta Brewing Company
Utah, United States
Crooked Line: Labyrinth Black AleCrooked Line: Labyrinth Black Ale
Notes: Labyrinth Black Ale, from Uinta's new Crooked Line, was triumphant in its first competition since it was conceived earning a Gold medal in the Imperial Stout category of the competition at the 2010 North American Brewers Association Awards. Aged in rye barrels.

56 IBU
Reviews: 329 | Ratings: 1,146 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Radome
Radome from Florida

4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted from a 750 ml bottle in a snifter.

L - Pitch black beer with a medium brown head that piles high and persists. Great appearance for the style.

S - Huge depth of aroma with chocolate, smoke, espresso, oak and faint whiskey. Very inviting, but the aromas are at a restrained level; not as prominent as some other barrel aged Imperial Stouts I've had.

T - Huge flavors just right for the style. Molasses, espresso, a hint of licorice. The barrel aging is very evident, as if you are chewing on toasted oak chips, with the whiskey as a lesser flavor element, but they act together to keep any harsh, acrid, burnt grain flavors at bay. Smoke and whiskey linger after a dry finish.

F - Medium to heavy body. Moderate carbonation. Strong bitterness from the hops and perhaps from roasted grains as well. Alcohol adds a bit of sweetness, but is surprisingly hidden for the listed ABV.

O - This is a great example of one of my favorite styles. Huge, deep, complex and worth savoring every sip!

Dec 26, 2020
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iguanodon from Utah

4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

[Original rating 2012-11-17] Opaque black with a thin brown head. Aroma is boozy, molasses, a hint of licorice. Taste is sweet molasses, chocolate, coffee, tobacco, wood. Finish is sweet molasses with just enough bitterness. Very well done.

Oct 03, 2018
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DaverCS from Arizona

4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked this bottle up in mid-2014 on a family vacation to Las Vegas. The bottle date is 12/03/??, as the label was smeared. Thus, in my estimation, this beer is likely from December of 2013, but it could be older. If true, it has about 4 years of age on it.

Despite a vigorous pour, the beer pours black with no head. There are some nice alcohol legs to this one. The aroma is very wood forward with a prevalent booziness. Some burnt coffee character is also present. Very stout-like. Moderate mouthfeel.

Taste reminds me of a heavily roasted, full-bodied stout... but then again, what is black quadruple ale? LOTS of toasted oak; I mean tons with a roasty bitterness. This is not a sweet beer. There are a nice amount of dark fruits but this beer is definitely not a quad. Very reminiscent to me of the abyss by Deschutes. I can’t say I taste licorice, but this may be the age. I get a slight spice at the end, which it could be also. Alcohol heat present but not cloying.

Overall, this is a solid beer (whatever category it is). Love the label art, but I don’t think it warrants the bomber format. Put this in a four pack and sell it year round, as it mainly tastes like a well-done basic stout. I see it pairing with Indian-spiced lamb. It gets a 87/100.

Dec 27, 2017
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bshefftz from California

4.02/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep black with a roasted coffee nose. Taste is dominated by dark roasted malt, followed by bittersweet chocolate and hop bitterness. Alcohol is by no means hidden at 13%. Overall a good brew though trending a little bit roastier and more bitter than my preference.

Dec 05, 2017
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HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

3.81/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black in color with medium carbonation. Aroma is licorice,alcohol,then malt and yeast. Despite the high abv it didn't come off over the top to me and seemed hidden at least a little bit of it. What I couldn't get past was the licorice which was stronger than the 13.2 abv and dominated all other aspects of this beer. Had they skipped the licorice it would have been a solid great beer. I still scored it relatively high because I think it was a really unique well made beer. I personally couldn't get past the licorice

Aug 08, 2017
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.99/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Wooof if you're ready to get your drink on, line this one up. Pours black. Seen thicker, especially at this abv, but don't even dare think this wades into "watery" or "thin" territory. Tan head, 1/3". Aroma smacks heavily of alcohol first, roast second, wood third.

Taste, fucking alcohol blasts its way first. Take no prisoners. Some nuance of a very virgin/dry oak feels and heavy roast comes in. It isn't complex. Its a sledgehammer of a beer. Watched my homie get absolutely tanked on this during Wrestlemania one year. Said later he didn't remember the rest of the night. Usually rye barrel imparts some sweetness, didn't get it here. A little bit of licorice feel to it if you search for it and let it warm.

Overall this was just too boozy for me. At least the price is below average, but I would say for a barrel aged stout, so is this.

Jul 21, 2017
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle. Jet black. Old bottle. Smells a little oxidized. Smells of strong roasted malt and oak. Tastes of chocolate, oak, and roasted malt. Pretty alcoholic. Heavy, but not that sweet. Very good, perhaps even improved with the slight oxidation.

Jul 20, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured this into a pint glass and a snifter. The appearance was a pure jet black color with a one finger white foamy head in both glasses. The lacing was the same in both glasses as it was fairly clingy and thick. The smell was a roasted barley and coffee that combines with a black licorice that ends up allowing a decent roasted chocolate coming about to balance it all out. Wow, what a nice complex smell to this. The taste was bitter, roasty and sweet at different times and ends up allowing these super nice qualities to come back in the aftertaste. There is a finish and its somewhat dry and sweet. On the palate, this one is not sessionable by any means. It sits heavy on the body with a decent carbonation running about my mouth and tongue. Overall, American Black Ale, wow, this is a very well done beer for its style and for me.

Jun 18, 2017
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michaelbritten from New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 11/8/12. 13.2% ABV and presence of licorice sticks as an adjunct kept me wary of this, and as such, kept it in my cellar -- what a fool I was. Luscious body, sweet mocha, earthy coffee, and spicy rye whiskey; this is a hidden gem of barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, and one of the biggest/best surprises I've ever come across. The "Quadruple Black Ale" branding makes a certain kind of sense, but doesn't necessarily do this any favors: this is so close to a "world class" RIS and should be viewed as such. Find your way into this Labyrinth!

Apr 07, 2017
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.57/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Deep obsidian black

S : Musty attic, licorice, cacao

T : Rich chocolate, sap, bourbon, oats, oak

Feel is thick and syrupy

Love this beer will seek it out for sure

Nov 07, 2016
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rifleman_zach from Arizona

4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled in 2012, aged 4 years. Poors extremely dark with an almost caramel colored head. Let stand for a couple minutes so it wont be frigid. Amazingly smooth! The nose is a nice rich malty/roasted flavor. The middle is smooth with a light black licorice flavor. The finish is great, not as heavy as a finish as i would have expected. Nice and easy leaving me wanting more.

Oct 19, 2016
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Mateo2699 from Texas

3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap into a snifter. Very dark brown pour, nearing black. Light khaki colored head that sticks around the glass effortlessly. Smell has subtle hints of vanilla, some licorice in the background mixed with a some pipe tabacco. Honestly the aroma is slightly muted though. Taste makes up for this though, big licorice and sweet vanilla upfront, slight hints of bakers chocolate with a finish consisting of fresh leather and more pipe tabacco and brown sugar. Mouthfeel is relatively thin, but still palate coating. Very good.

Sep 23, 2016
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer appears black with an almost oily complexion.

Smell - The overall profile is sweet with malt being the basis.

Taste - The taste brings to mind a very dark chocolate. The anise aged out after 5 years. There is a boozy presence with nice sweet malts. The chocolate comes back in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The bottle says black ale. BA says quad. I am not sure how to judge other than to say its a little thin.

Overall - Style confusion aside, aging out the anise for 5 years improved this tremendously.

Jul 25, 2016
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Ottoj55 from Wisconsin

4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dark black beer, tan head quickly faded. Smells like deep roasted malt, espresso, dark candied fruit, whiskey and vanilla. The taste is whiskey and vanilla up front, the rye barrel coming through strong with sweet dark fruits behind it. Smooth bodied, very subtle alcohol warming but not hot. A perfect barrel aged imperial stout.

Jun 21, 2016
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LMO1190 from Florida

2.81/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Smells is like a red fruity wine mixed with bitter coffee. It not to bad.

Taste like chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla. a bunch of alcohol. Not to great.

It has a full body feel.

Overall, I don't think I will get this again. This beer was trying to do to much with the licorice and barrel. It kinda of a mess to me. I tried to make it work for me, but it didn't.

May 07, 2016
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Strix from Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black, good initial head that fades to a persistent ring.

Smoke, molasses, licorice in the nose.

Dry muted notes of oak, charcoal, molasses, licorice, bourbon. Alcohol present in the finish but well hidden, considering the ABV.

Super smooth mouthfeel, carbonation kicks in after a while.

Nice smooth big beer here.

Apr 06, 2016
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TripleSun from Virginia

4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Rogue stout glass. Bottle dated 12/05/14

L - Oily black
S - Tobacco, coffee, licorice, oak
T - The coffee and tobacco are both very apparent
F - A real sipper at around 13% ABV, feels like something I would pair with a good cigar. Creamy and the head dissipates fairly quickly.


I didn't chill it before I poured my first glass but even then it was creamy and very mature. A good late night drink I would share with friends but not something I would drink all the time.

Mar 20, 2016
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ScruffySouthpaw from New York

4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served in a mug (not my choice) from a 25oz bomber.

Appearance: pitch motor oil black with a tab head with medium bubbles on the body. Drops after two or three sips it drops to nada, steady lacing.

Smell: Heavy molasses, you smell the sweet brown sugar.

Taste: incredible, honestly this beer label should be changed to imperial stout it's still labelled as a black ale...sweet brown sugar.

Mouth: Super sticky, sweet finish with a medium malt.

Overall: Incredible brew which was given as a gift and honestly one of the best keeper's of the of the brew industry. Salad!

Feb 07, 2016
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greshdoghophead from Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2013. Not as "marshmellowy" as I remember when fresh. Very little signs of licorice if any. Very rich and bold malty mocha flavors. Fantastic version, ala a Russian stout. Far from a black ale as listed on bottle. ABV deafened with time, not too "hot" at all. So good.

Feb 05, 2016
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

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

2014 750 ml bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A two finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Roasty, milk chocolate, ash, caramel, molasses, toffee, toasted, vanilla, oak, and warm boozy alcohol.

Taste: Nice blend of above aromas. Ashy bitterness and warm booze in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, medium to full bodied, ashy bitterness, medium carbonation, and warm boozy alcohol.

Overall: At 13.2 % and barrel aged, this is one tasty beer. Will look forward to more of this in the future.

Jan 29, 2016
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JMS1512 from New Jersey

4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On the docket: 750 mL cork and cage bottle of Uinta’s Labyrinth, bottle date: 7/26 (year unknown)

Poured into: Jester King Snorkel snifter

S: The inkiest, blackest, consuming black fills my glass. On top, espresso-foam head wells up, then settles to a small ring. It’s completely opaque, so I cannot detect bubble activity. I could stare into its depths for hours, but I have to smell and taste it, too.

A: Roasted coffee, wood, the darkest of chocolate, and Oh My Sweet Lord! Black Licorice. Bright citrus aroma off the hops. And yes… booze. This black beauty weighs in at 13.2%. Sip with care!

T: If I were Adam, in the Garden, and Lucifer were to slither up to me with a glass of this and start speaking of rebellion–well–let’s just say he wouldn’t have to try very hard. This is most of everything I look for in a dark, dangerous beer. Sweet date and fig up front quickly yields to coffee, dark chocolate, and black licorice. The bright note from the hop aroma shows up towards the end, only to be outdone by a dry, roasty, woody finish. The faintest hint of vanilla. Your tongue turns to 800 grit sandpaper and you go back for another seductive barrage of flavor. A note- the black licorice is smooth and silky, like that of gourmet product, not of a candy that rhymes with sizzler.

F: Creamy, oily, slick, coating. Rich and luxurious. As it warms…. so does the finish, though quite dry. Drink cool for crispness, drink warmer for richness.

O: Quite possibly the best imperial stout I’ve ever tasted, and though may not have had offerings such as The Abyss, Dark Lord, Hunahpu, Speedway, Black Note, or those whales that people chase… good God! Give me one of these every year, and I’ll consider myself a blessed man.

S: 4 A: 4.5 T: 4.75 F: 4.25 O: 4.5

Suggested food pairing: smoked charcuterie, braised beef, low and slow barbecue, tiramisu, and my personal pick- traditional Slovak poppy seed roll. Divine flavor synthesis.

Jan 03, 2016
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ryanhooks81 from Georgia

4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pitch black. on tap at green truck. smells like licorice and vanilla. the barrel stood out. licorice was tame. i thought there was going to be more licorice. mouthfeel was medium. good carbonation.

Dec 31, 2015
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atone315 from Wisconsin

3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I was looking for a beer that was a black licorice bomb...turned to the forums here on BA and this was suggested by a few peeps. After searching around my local shops for one, I finally found it. Waited a few days to pop it, then spent 3 or so hours enjoying it. Beer pours black as a moonless night, very dark and thick, tan head. Struggled to smell much of anything, the smell bordered on disappointment. The taste was very nice, although lacking in both licorice and barrel. I thoroughly enjoy both flavors in my brews so this was a bit of a let down. There was quite a taste of sweet chocolate and a hint of coffee, so that helped things along. The feel of the beer was near perfect to me, reminded me of Founders Imperial Stout. Thoroughly enjoyed this beer, too bad it didnt taste of licorice as that is what I was after.....still, I would hunt this down and enjoy again.

edit: forgot to mention that this beer drinks more like a 6% or 7% beer, so BE CAREFUL!

Dec 08, 2015
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StevenDumont from New Hampshire

1/5  rDev -76.6%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Poured into a pink plastic cup.

Look: like used, thick motor oil.

Smell: licorice, earth, composted soil.

Taste: horrible.

Feel: like puking.

Overall: I will never drink this again.

Nov 16, 2015
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Lucular from Maryland

3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer is a real sipper. Nice barrel character and just about as thick as any big barrel-aged stout while still remaining a quadrupel. Not something I'll necessarily drink again, but still very good.

Nov 14, 2015
Crooked Line: Labyrinth Black Ale from Uinta Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 1146 ratings