Black IPA | Sprecher Brewing Company

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Black IPABlack IPA

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerFMAndy on 01-14-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 53
Photo of mkostuch
1.68/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Three words describe this beer. Bitter, bitter, bitter. And it is not a nice hoppy bitterness either.

I poured the beer from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass I received from doing a tour. It pours out a nice black color with a dark-white head so it appears inviting. I took my first sip and thought I could get past the initial bitterness but I could not. This is one of two beers in recent memory I have had to dump out and I love all types of beer.

I do not recommend this beer.

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Photo of encdee
1.68/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

appearance: at first glance from the side of the glass it looks good. Dark, like any respectable Black IPA. But when I look from the top at an angle I can see through the edges (which isnt inherently bad) but it has a watery, somewhat murky, look which kind of matches the somewhat watery taste.

smell: is actually nice but faint. (my nose is kind of stuffed right now. dont know where one factor ends and the other begins...)

taste: the taste is actually quite disappointing to me. it isnt well balanced and, as I alluded to above, is basically watery. It just isnt satisfying. I think the malt is prominent and somewhat "smokey", but it isnt really matched or balanced by the citrus of the hops. After the initial malt taste it immediately transitions to watery with little aftertaste to relish.

mouthfeel: guess?

overall: dont mind trying everything once. like to see whats out there and how it compares to my preferred Black IPA (you know who you are ;) *cough* Black Cannon. Isnt horrible but not something I would prefer or look to get again.

other: definitely counts against the company that they dont show the abv on the bottle. Production dates and abv% should be on every respectable companies bottles. I know I am not the only one that feels this way. Cant find the abv on BeerAdvocate or Spechers website. tisk tisk....

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Photo of Zachtheporter
1.97/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.
Purchased off the shelf at a convienience store off a whim. Ok Sprecher Ill take your bait.

A- A deep dark blackish brown, Has a thick light bubbely light tan head.

S- Smell is sweet and slightly citrusy. Rather fruity for a black ale. Very strong mango notes.

T- Has a very strong malt forwardness to it, and ends in more of a hoppy "bite" rather than a flavor. Strong bitter cocoa and coffee notes start this beer off. The end is very bitter and slightly hoppy.

M- Very light feeling and crisp for how malty it is.

O- Not very impressed with this black ale. It is very bitter in a negative way. Not citrusy bitter, not piney bitter, not earthy bitter, Just bitter. For any of you coffee nuts/baristas out there, the after taste is like an espresso shot that's been poured and then left out to sit for far to long. The mouth feel is also pretty disappointing and gives off the feel of being a bit watery. Plus Sprecher failed to list an ABV on this bottle, so I don't even know what kind of monstrosity I'm really dealing with here. Overall dissapointed, I've come to love sprecher, but thsi beer is better off tucked away and forgotten.

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Photo of smerrell
2.22/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served in a bomber, this black IPA leaves a lot to be desired: While the appearance is quite nice, and the head sticks around fro a while, the aroma is slight, to be kind. The taste is very bitter, and as the beer warms presents hints of anise. This beer is unbalanced and bitter, and has disappointingly little in the way of malt presence. It has a dry finish that I didn't care for. If I compare it to other black IPAs, like Stone's Escondidian, I'd say it "pales" in comparison.

I won't go out of my way to try this one again.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
2.23/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

A. Opaque black like a stout, two fingers of frothy tan foam for a head lasts about two minutes, leaving behind some minimal lacing.

S. Very light grapefruit, apricot, and pine over a semi-roasted malt aroma. Not nearly as strong an aroma as most black ales I've had.

T. Very sourish Baltic Porter sort of bitterness up front that completely over-rules all the malt and citric hopping. Way unbalanced in this regard.

M. Kind of thin, which contributes to a 'watery stale coffee' sort of finish. Not that great either.

This one needs some serious workshopping.

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Photo of FreshHawk
2.94/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Dark cocoa color with a medium sized, creamy, smooth, foamy, cafe head. Decent retention leaving a decent lace.

S - Cocoa, nutty, earthy aroma. Roasted malt. There are hints of orange, grapefruit, pine, and floral hops. Maybe a touch of anise. Fairly faint.

T - Similar to the nose, but not as faint as the nose. Roasted, nutty, cocoa, earthy malt. Fairly bitter (chocolate and hops). Touches of citrus along with plenty of pine, herbal, and grassy hops.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Fairly dry.

D - Average drinkability. Hoppy dark ale but not exactly IPA like. Flavors weren't bad but kind of meh.

Notes: Not a big fan of the style, and this isn't a shining example of the style. So-so beer. Hoppy enough but it just doesn't seem like an IPA to me (even a dark one).

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Photo of scratch69
3.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Clear dark brown color with a finger and a half worth of head. The head lingered for a couple of minute and then faded to a small cap that stuck around until the last swallow. Fair amount of clinging lace.

Smell- Herbal hop aroma with a very faint hint of dark roasted malt.

Taste- Herbal and slightly spicy hop flavor with the tiniest hint of dark roasted malts and some smoke. Taste more like a mediocre standard IPA instead of a Black IPA.

Mouthfeel- On the heavy end of medium bodied. Crisp and dry with a slightly above average amount of carbonation.

Overall- Not the best Black IPA that I've tried. It seemed almost one dimensonal at times.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.33/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: 22-ounce bomber. There is a hand-written batch code at the bottom of the bottle: “11350.” No easily discernable freshness date, though.

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is non-opaque black; light easily passed through and turned the beer amber when held to a lamp. Three fingers of dense, buttery head dissipated unevenly to leave a rocky cap with deep canyons of foam. A lot of foam was left clinging to the side of the glass, too.

Smell: Mostly reminiscent of the beer’s IPA inspiration. Invigorating pine and grapefruit/orange citrus dominate, but underneath are toasted caramel and chocolate.

Taste: It has an odd, though agreeable, taste. The citrus and pine aside, the grassy hoppiness and astringency are what stand out the most. It is more mouthfeel and bitterness than flavor, really. The dark malts are there, but they are mostly overpowered by the hops. As the beer warms the mouthfeel becomes much smoother, reminiscent of the beer’s maltier namesake.

Drinkability: This is definitely black IPA in the sense it is black-colored IPA. Tasty stuff, but very unbalanced.

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Photo of anglagard1
3.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

An almost annoying amount of head that is slow to dissolve. I ended up fighting my way through it for the first couple of sips. Light does not penetrate this beer. Smell is of raspberry. Taste is of raspberry syrup and not much else. I really like Sprecher, but IPA does not seem to be their strong suit. Like their IIPA, this does not fit the style, nor does it work as some mutant hybrid. Nothing offputting about this beer, but nothing really going for it either.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A deep dark amber black. Almost pitch except for a bit of haze at the base and edges.Head is a nice 1/2 inch of tan head that sits for a while.

S - Mild herbal hops, charcoal roast bitterness, maybe some chocolate. Not the best smelling beer.

T - Well it's not terribly bitter anymore. Ashy roasts and aged bittering pine has taken it's place. It has a good bit of cloying bitterness so maybe I am a tad inebriated when I post this.

M - Medium drinks like it's around 7.5%. Not bad.

Overall not the worst bomber I got for 5 bucks. I could imagine this being a hop bomb 6 months ago but now it's a very forgettable black IPA

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Photo of uwmgdman
3.45/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This BIPA pours very dark brown bordering on black with a moderate light tan head that quickly diminished to barely a skim. The aroma is highly hoppy, loads of pine and grapefruit citrus, not much in the way of malt. The flavor is dominated by intensely grapefruit hop flavor and solid, high hop bitterness. The hop bitterness lends to a dry finish, probably enhanced by some dark malts, but there are no pronounced malt flavors, if you close your eyes you wouldn't know this is a black IPA. The body is medium and carbonation medium-high. Overall a hop forward BIPA that could use a little more malt flavor/aroma to add some complexity.

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Photo of oberon
3.46/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial nonic a deep dark chocolate color with a tight formed one finger beige head atop,the aromas are pretty weak with some roasted nut and light earthy hops mainly.Chocolate malts,roast, and earthy tones on the palate,the hop provide that earthiness and a little spiciness,a little alcohol sweetness is thrown in as well.Eh,its ok but the beers hop profile almost makes this beer more of a hoppy porter in its big earth and roast profile,not a bad beer but not really up to style in my opinion.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11350 printed by hand with a gold sharpie on the back of the label. This beer pours a deep ruby red black notes, with a light khaki tan head flowing thick. Dark roasted notes with herbal hops and hints of citrus kicking through with each sniff. Caramel comes to the head wrapped with some herbal earthy citric hops, and the flavor continues with a bitter dark roasted malt character as the backbone of this beer. Black IPA light not much flavor a dry roasted dark malt persists with each sip, bitter almost band aid notes with super strong herbal notes and citrus peel. Mouthfeel is medium bodied even carbonation, goes down pretty smooth for a style of beer that's typically hard to swallow. Overall what can I say it's Sprecher jumpin' on the Black IPA bandwagon, which is fine but just not my style as a whole and even this version isn't going to make me a true believer.

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Photo of Lemke10
3.6/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I bought a 22oz bottle from Woodman’s in Janesville, WI for $4.29 in early 2012.

Pours a very dark brown/black with a pillowy light brown head. Has a mild scent of bitter hops. Starts off with a thin, slightly bitter texture but the bitterness really explodes with the finish. Picking out some sweet caramel malt and some burnt sugar but the hops overpower everything else. Little bit of a chalky, dry finish. The texture could be a little thicker and I think it would be better if the hops complimented with the rest of the ingredients a little better. Decent, but if I want another black IPA, I will look elsewhere.

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Photo of shand
3.66/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sprecher's Black IPA is a bit different from the pack. The malt base is extremely roasted with slight smoky hints, and the hops are intensely herbal. Very dry. Not the best Black IPA I've had by any means, but interesting and tasty enough to give it a try.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.71/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz pour in a pint glass.

A finger of tan head on a caramel-colored body. Laces like a king.

Piney hops and sweet, black malt. A little bit of detergent odor, tinge of alcohol. Roasty and earthy.

Extremely dry, with a good bitter heft. Pine, citric rind, some astringent characteristics, an almost chemical tang. Bitter in a big way, not much fruit, which works for the black IPAs. The malts (which come off like burnt cookies) are thin in comparison to the big beefy hop smack. This works! A few flaws aside, this has a very enjoyable flavor.

Nice feel and body. Subtle creaminess.

First time sampling this one. I will seek out more products from this brewer.

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Photo of Winter
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown, near black in color, with a tan head. The nose consists of toffee, chocolate, and fruit. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied. The flavor starts off with chocolate, roasted malt, followed by a somewhat subdued piney hoppiness. Ample fruitiness in the middle transcends to a hoppy bitterness that lingers into the finish. There's also an unexpected sweetness to the beer.

Overall, not bad. I would like to seem them brew this again. A very small quantity of cases were released for sale. It will be interesting to see if the beer returns and whether or not there will be any tweaks to the recipe, if it does?

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Photo of farrago
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Be careful when you pour or you’ll get half a glass full of deep brown foam, airy enough to resolve downwards rapidly, loose tiny bubbles popping across the surface, the lacing forms fairly thick streaks and possess excellent stickiness. As one might imagine from the label, the liquid is jet black, vague orange glow at the glass bottom. The nose has a good amount of roast without being annoying or pushing bitter, almonds, cocoa, dark chocolate, cafe au lait, these tend to outlast the pine sap, orange peel as well as green apple, pear, peach scents, no meaningful herbaceous bite, not sure based on the nose that you’d peg this as an IPA, black or otherwise. Medium-bodied, finishes with good lift and release, however, in general it is wiry and firm with no fat on its bones. The roast is smooth with mocha, cocoa, dark chocolate, falling short of coffee and with no real sweeter aspect such as caramel. The orange citrus stronger with a hint of lemon or white grapefruit. The carbonation brings more fluff than necessary, odd given the overall taut feel and could just as well be more tightly knit. Metallic, minerally ring to it, still clean and does not seem interested in delving deeper in earthy, grassy territory. The same white fruit array of pear, apple, peach, apricot appears near the finish line. Very good, if not especially memorable, could throw back a few particularly if ice cold.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Black IPA pours a black color with a small long lasting lacing tan head. The aroma is a bit weak but has a nice burnt and roasted note. The taste is a nice smokey hop bite, with strong roasted flavors. Good body, good flavors, slightly watery. Overall a very good black IPA.

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Photo of cokes
3.93/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very close to jet black in appearance, with a few meager glints of magenta teased out when strongly backlit. The head is a mountain of tan froth that slowly erodes towards the surface, leaving sheets of sticky lace.
The nose brings bars of dark chocolate, burnt toast, raspberries, caramel, Pinot Noir, and boozy confectionary cherries. It's honestly a gorgeous aroma for a porter. As something that claims Black IPA, the feeble, backend slivers of herbs and dry grass don't hold up their end.
Malt rushes across the tongue, with smoky espresso and dusty dark chocolate. It sweetens as it progresses, adding caramel-swirled fudge and blackberries to the mix. Some toasty, burnt bread notes in the middle. Hops bring a defined bitterness, but a vaporous taste profile. A little grassy, and little metallic, mostly peppery, with some earthy pine cone and bark hues.
Well on the full side of medium bodied, with a low, trickling carbonation that is steady throughout.
This is flat-out killer Robust Porter, and my ratings are fudged a bit to reflect that.

The Black IPA (American Black Ale or Cascadian Dark, or whatever the current naming trend happens to be) is a bit of an enigma to me. As much as I enjoy them and seek them out, I have a hard time defining what exactly I'm looking for, or crowning a favorite example of one. This sways heavily towards the malty end of the spectrum, and appreciate that, even though it seems to have missed its ultimate mark.

If nothing else, I'm glad Sprecher is finally embracing Bombers rather than cumbersome Liter swingtops. Hope that continues.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 tap-pour into a Sprecher American tumbler pint at Rustico.

A - Clear dark brown in color with a low, well-retained tan head. Good lace left caked to the glass.

S - Assertive American hops lend citrus and resin notes to the roasted but not-so-bitter malt aroma.

T - Nice roasted chocolate tones balance out the American, resiny citrus hops well.

M - Surprisingly bitter for a Sprecher brew, the resiny bite to the finish is complimented by mild roasted bitterness. Medium-bodied and well-carbonated.

O - Much better as it's "reformulated", not "blend of Black Bavarian and IPA2" like I suspected of the initial bottling. This version is much more American-like like it should be!

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Black IPA from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.37 out of 5 based on 53 ratings.
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