Dubhe Imperial Black IPA | Uinta Brewing Company

429 Reviews
Dubhe Imperial Black IPADubhe Imperial Black IPA

Brewed by:
Uinta Brewing Company
Utah, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Toasted, chocolaty dark malts align with an astronomical amount of hops.

109 IBU

Added by TheFlern on 03-10-2011

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Reviews: 429 | Ratings: 2,152
Photo of caseymv
2.26/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

everyone i know raves about it, as the name suggests, its brewed with hemp seed, and it tastes like they tried to cram every kind of flavor into the bottle. Sickly sweet and overly bitter,and it smells like old pineapple mixed with moldy hops, i really don't see how anyone can enjoy this hodgepodge of flavors.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.32/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12oz bottle, bottled on 4/26/11. Pours dark brown with a big creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is bitter roasted grains, some toffee, and some vegetal malts.

The flavor is a little sweet malt, black licorice and a lot of charred, burnt, roasted bitterness that makes the aftertaste a bit unpleasant. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it's just not pleasant.It's almost all charred bitterness that just sits in your mouth.

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Photo of lisomiso
2.79/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Smelled like a fish tank. I thought I was crazy, but I asked walows what he thought it smelled like, and he said, it's not exactly fishy, but maybe like a goldfish tank? Well, ok then.

To us the hops and malts clashed, and I thought the mouthfeel was too thick. I wanted to like this one, but I drainpoured it instead. Drat.

ETA: Tried it again. Less goldfish-tank-y but a really one-dimensional grain bill and, well, I don't know, at least when it tasted like a fish tank it had some personality...

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Photo of crossovert
2.93/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle. Bottled on 11/10/11. I am not a huge fan of this style but am always trying new stuff. I didn't pick this out for myself but was given it.

It pours nearly a pitch black with a real microfoamy tan head.

The smell works. It has a huge sweetness but also a nice bit of hops and a noticeable bit of chocolatey roasty hops.

The flavor isn't anything to behold. It bitterweet but with a lot of both. The chocolate bread flavor just doesn't mesh with the hops. I like the bitterness and the mouthfeel but this recipe seems un-thought-out.

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Photo of DaveHS
2.98/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours dark maple syrup brown with 1/3 inch of creamy mocha colored head. Leaves thin sheets of lacing.

S-Black malt, caramel, condensed milk sweetness.

T/M-Aggressively acidic bitterness. Ground espresso beans, condensed milk.The hop profile is a little off putting. Bitter dark chocolate like acidity. Very dry. Not much dimension.

O-Not that great. I like the concept, but it's not well executed.

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Photo of largadeer
3.01/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Opaque dark chocolate brown body topped by an off-white foam. Nose is loaded with resinous pine, grapefruit, and a touch of char, but largely hop forward. Bitter and dry palate, burnt toast and dark chocolate, grapefruit rind and sharp pine. Dry and bitter finish, slightly ashy. Fermentation profile is clean and alcohol is well hidden, albeit beneath some fairly unpleasant flavor. Nothing I'd care to revisit here, the black IPA trend needs to go away.

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Photo of garuda
3.02/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Nearly black body, ruby highlights at the edges. Off-white head has great retention and lacing. Not sure how the style could look much better.

S/T - Roasty and dry like a stout. Hops add little to the taste, maybe some pine needles in there. Taste dominated by the roasted, burnt black malts. Finishes with assertive bitterness, but the burnt/roasted flavors linger with hop taste nearly non existent.

M - Voluminous full body, smooth, yet prickly. Abv well hidden.

O - Maybe I just don't get the style, I don't know. I figure it should have much more in the way of hop flavor if it has the IPA badge on it, and not just flavorless bitterness. Way too roasty, little hop character (other than bitterness). Even if the hops were more present, the flavor combination of roasted malt and pine/citrus hops just isn't going to work for me. Not gettin' this one again.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.08/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Tap at TJ's

DUBHE pours into the glass a dark brown color with some black in there as well, a mix of the two leaning towards black. A nice loose bubbled dark tan foam rose up and retreated after some minutes, okay retention, weak lacing. Off the bat, this does not smell like a IPA, black ale is a good term for this beer. Smells grainy roasty with some small storm king like hop scents with a touch of the 9.2% coming out. This comes off like a hoppy porter with some tropics of a IPA without exibiting the bitterness of one. Feel is a nice healthy medium with a nice carb but goes down smooth and not bitter. Im glad I got this on happy hour the because this is not a good example of a black IPA, whatever that is.

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Photo of maxson924
3.14/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

In my experience, it's much better on tap than bottled. The tap version would be a solid .5 higher, but the bottled version needs to be accounted for, too. Even when bottled, it's not bad at all, but rather just... unremarkable to me. In both versions, the 9.2% ABV is definitely something you can taste, though that's not necessarily good or bad.

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Photo of rickyhansing
3.16/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Two finger of head on top of a very pretty deep garnet that is black on first impression.

S: American hops and some sweet malt, not overly aromatic.

T: Strong hops, not blindingly bitter but it does have a punch, that are countered by a fairly sweet malt base. There is a flavor that is a bit nutty and some caramel flavors, along with some serious alcohol.

M: Fairly full bodied, but it is over 9%, so what do you expect?

Overall, I'm complacent with the four pack that I picked up. I can't say that I'm going to get many more bottles of this. The price is pretty damned great though, $1.80something per bottle. I like Black IPAs plenty, I'm just not fully into this one.

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Photo of mactrail
3.22/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown in the wine glass. Big spicy hoppy aroma is intriguing.

This starts out with a promising malty and roasted flavor, but turns rapidly into a dark searing offensive. Plenty of hops-- actually a vast amount of hops. That wouldn't be so disturbing except for the dank, dirty flavor. Something like charred rubber and rusty water. A real adventure in aggressive brewing, but I find it thoroughly undrinkable. Shame to waste the alcohol.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at the Utah Liquor Store in Sugar House.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with garnet hues and from what I can tell, pretty good clarity. Light tan head with a very pungent nose of earthy and citric hops along with huge malt bill of licorice and dark berry jam.

Kind of low in carbonation. Aggressive hop bitterness. The taste is a bit more subtle than the nose and not as all over the place as expected (but still a little all over the place) Big sweet roasted malt flavor up front with a touch of wood or smoke, something I can't quite put my finger on. Notes of dark chocolate and caramel on the sides of the tongue where the hop presence begins to make itself known with resinous piney and citric flavors (and a touch of grape fruit) Dark fruit and licorice make their presence known somewhere along the way with a touch of alcohol.

The big full body of the beer is necessary to contain all the complexities within it. Quite a tongue slapper. Some of the flavors play off eachother in a unique way while others are just bizarre. Not exactly a layered taste experience but not a well blended one either. Overall good and incredibly unique but not something I'd buy again. This one space visit was strange enough.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle - $2.59 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Bottled 04/16/12.

Appearance: Pours out a matte black body with a lightly foamy, lightly hued beige head.

Smell: A fist-a-cuff tussle of malt notes and hop notes: charred bread crusts, heavy resins, bitter chocolate squares, citric-scented lemon pith, and roasted barley.

Taste: Bitter chocolate coated roast with some slight ashtray qualities. Low sweetness that's altogether brief. Hard-handed resins, powdered pith, discarded lawn weeds, and coagulated, gloopy pine resins. High bitterness. Roasted, highly bitter finish with the angry-looking bitterness slowly riding out like a senior citizen cruisin' at twenty under the speed limit in the fast lane.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Though the hemp seed is an appreciated added ingredient, it's, for me, completely lost amidst the hard roastiness and heavy hoppiness. It's black, it's high on the alcohol scale, and it's bitter -- that's IN these days, right?

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Photo of illidurit
3.31/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark orangey-brown but sits nearly black in the glass. Tan head takes a while to develop through the thick liquid but it puffs up to a solid three fingers before melting away to leave thick fine-bubbled lacing. First impression is that this smells like a hoppy barleywine. Lots of grapefruity hops and a toasty caramel maltiness. As it warms, more chocolate comes through, but this is a hoppy beast, even at three months old. Flavor has some smooth dark-but-not-super-dark chocolate and pineapple hops to go with a very bitter finish. Ashy tobacco notes recall cheap cigars and there's a big fusel presence. The label says the malts "align" with the hops but I find the flavor profile to be discordant. Palate is nice and silky while the beer is cool, but some warmth thins it out and shows more alcohol. Couldn't finish the 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.33/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown nearing black with burnt orange edges and a very large tan head leaving cobwebs of lacing.

Bright yet roasty aromas with wild mint and chives, and a touch of maple left on the rim.

A lot more roasted malt and coffee than I've experienced in other Black IPAs. While there is also some chocolate, spicy pine takes over most of the flavor, with a raisin and brown sugar finish.

Bittersweet for the most part, more bitter than sweet, with a fluid mouthfeel.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.41/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours seal brown with a healthy head of khaki froth. Aroma smells of robust grapefruit with some toffee and dark chocolate. Gorgeous tracts of lacing envelope the glass and simply won’t go away.

The taste is dominated by grapefruit pith, and it’s going to take a good deal of warming and habituation to unearth much else. Substantial warming unveils some roasted malt in the finish, but brings with it a twinge of warming alcohol that makes the bitterness more caustic. Medium body and smooth, tingly mouthfeel serve their purpose here.

Overall, this is a fairly one-dimensional black IPA that leaves me disappointed. I’m usually more optimistic about black IPAs delivering a little more malty complexity than their traditional counterparts, but this was about as straightforwardly bitter as they come. Not bad for what it is, but not something I’d pursue again.

*I qualify the above with the fact that this beer is brewed with hemp seed, so the entire experience may have been a hallucination on my part :-) .

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Photo of UDbeernut
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A dark amber in to my Goblet capped by an off white head.nose is piney, toasty, and chocolate. Taste is intense bitterness of pine, citrus, and earth with in a caramel, chocolate, and toasty back bone. Wish it were a bit more balanced. This beer epitomizes the notion of a sipper. I would say it was enjoyable but would seek something else if I were looking for a sipper.

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Photo of Keffa
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Live Review

Poured from 12oz bottle into a 20oz snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with a 2.5 finger tan head, settles into a thin cap, lacing everywhere. Looks great. Impressive.

S: Nice strong hops up front, pine, resin, then turns into roasted malt and a whiff of alcohol. Not bad at all. Nice, actually.

T: Man, let down. Good balance between dark roasted malts and the resinous, piney, assertive hops, but the ABV shows itself way too much. Far too warming for my tastes.

M: Decent body, nice carbonation, somewhat dry finish.

O: If the ABV wasn't so noticeable, this beer would IMO be better, but as it sits, I can't even finish this whole snifter. Decent, if you can get past the ABV.

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Photo of silentjay
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours pitch black with a huge mocha colored head that sticks around for a while and laces like a champ.

good amount of roasted and chocolate maltiness on top of some piney and slightly spicy hops.

burnt malt flavors hit first and are a bit acrid with some hops behind that. tobacco leaf and some chocolate hit the palate and mix about as well as oil and water. it finishes with a decent mix of bitter and sweet with a touch of roast.

medium bodied with a soft carbonation, but its oily from start to finish with a long lingering aftertaste.

overall, its not bad, but not great. I'm not sure what the hemp seed did for this beer, but it didn't make this beer become overly unique. I'd drink it again, but there are many others I'd choose before this one.

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Photo of Kshock
3.49/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with a almost no head retention. Light cream color on the little lacing that is there. Aroma is mild, but does have some hint of roasty malts and some hops. the flavor blends the roasty malts well with the dry hoppy bitterness. decent finish to the beer, some what residual bitterness. Not a bad beer, but not something i would seek out.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a New Belgium Globe from a 12 oz. brown bottle. Pours a deep ruby in the light and quite black indeed. A half inch of toffee foam persists moderately.

Nose of hops initially upon cracking the bottle, though more of roasted barley after the pour. Bit like a porter yet with a light al cohol sense to it. Pleasant though subdued nose, with a remote Belgian character.

Flavor is somewhat creamy with chocolate and roast. Smooth for a beer of its strength, slightly sweet and with a bit of light smoke. Hint of cherry with a lingering flavor of sweet roasted barley.

Smooth and with a light bitterness, this may be Imperial and it may be Black. But an IPA it is not in my view. A decent brew nonetheless.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong hops bitterness followed by bitter-sweet flavors of dark chocolate and black coffee. There’s a hearty roasted malt character and a touch of an alcohol sting but not much of a balance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, decent representation of style, it’s a solid beer but there are several others in the style that I would pick first.

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Photo of negroobserver
3.56/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

appearance... dark. very dark. reminiscent of a porter or a stout.

smell... coffee. malts. toasty aroma. a little earthy. hoppy.

taste... sweet at the front. it's a good start which makes a total 180 into a strong burnt toasty bitterness at the back end which lingers in the mouth for at least a few seconds after your sip. definitely not a clean finish. the bitterness linger in the mouth a lot longer than anything else.

mouthfeel... it's a bit on the lighter side, but not loo light. there is some lingering residue on the tongue.

overall... i really like hoppy beers, but this seems to be lacking something that I can't put my finger on. Generally, i prefer hoppy beers with a smooth clean finish, but this is definitely not the case here. i could live without this beer.

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Photo of dalizzie
3.56/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

(L) The color is dark cola but reddish on edges where light comes through. Khaki head and lacing.
(A) Smell is predominantly malt and raisins.
(T) Taste is bitter dark malt. More bitter than sweet. Sweetness comes from raisins and other dark fruits. Not getting much chocolate.
(F) Lighter and smoother than I was expecting for style and 9.2% ABV.

Personally, I found the raisin aroma and taste a little off-putting, but otherwise enjoyed.

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Photo of GrizzlyBrew
3.57/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, dark brown. Hard to explain, but really dark brown without getting any black tones makes sense (I know it doesn't). Beer seems bright although not much light passing through. Nice tan head comprised of small bubbles, but faded to thin film rather quickly.

S - ooohhh... Pacific Northwest hops - citrus, spice, damp earth. A roastiness creeps up, but is indiscernible as far as coffee or chocolate. I think I'm smelling some really high crystal malt.

T - now the mocha comes through. Nice and dry, but certainly not thin. The hops have actually seemed to fade in just a few minutes (this may just be my newly established awareness of the coffee character that is pretty killer). I want more aroma hops, but probably would not like the clash with the roast as much as I think I would. The bitterness may be slightly harsh and I could feel the tannins on my tongue after the first sip. This is more of a hoppy dark ale than a dark IPA...

M - Fairly big, uplifted by mod-high carbonation (maybe too high). The tannins are a bit of a turn off.

O - A good beer, but as mentioned in the taste critique, slightly less roast character and more hops would align more closely with my definition of Imperial Black IPA.

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Dubhe Imperial Black IPA from Uinta Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 2,152 ratings.
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