Black IPA | Sprecher Brewing Company

Black IPABlack IPA
53 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 53 |  Reviews: 21
Photo of mkostuch
1.68/5  rDev -51%
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 FreshHawk
2.94/5  rDev -14.3%
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 hoppymcgee
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of trumpetstu
3/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of TimRasmussen
5/5  rDev +45.8%

Photo of TheMadStork
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of I_Closed_Wolskis
2.75/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of Hopstout
2.75/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of WastingFreetime
2.23/5  rDev -35%
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 Zachtheporter
1.97/5  rDev -42.6%
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 richkrull
4.5/5  rDev +31.2%

Photo of encdee
1.68/5  rDev -51%
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....

 1,337 characters

Photo of Lemke10
3.6/5  rDev +5%
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 TheQuietMan22
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

 1,126 characters

Photo of uwmgdman
3.45/5  rDev +0.6%
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 ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of smerrell
2.22/5  rDev -35.3%
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 WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev +2%
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 thecheapies
3.71/5  rDev +8.2%
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 ineedafirkin
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of Soneast
3.25/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4/5  rDev +16.6%
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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Photo of Winter
3.75/5  rDev +9.3%
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?

 614 characters

Photo of cokes
3.93/5  rDev +14.6%
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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Black IPA from Sprecher Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.43 out of 5 with 53 ratings
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