Hop Strike Black IPA | Tommyknocker Brewery

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Hop Strike Black IPAHop Strike Black IPA
Hop Strike Black IPAHop Strike Black IPA

Brewed by:
Tommyknocker Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hop Strike is a dry hopped black rye IPA. The beer is characterized by an intermingling of spicy citrus hops and chocolate malt. Substantial 78 IBUs are balanced by roasted rye resulting in a nice depth of malt character and deep color.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 194 | Ratings: 467
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andre for sending this one my way.

A: The pour is the usual dark brown that you see in the Black IPA style with a finger or two worth of tan head.

S: A very dank hop aroma to this one. Some big time grapefruit notes along with a very oily hop character as well. There are also plentiful chocolate malt notes and a mild roast. A subtle spice quality from the rye.

T: The flavor relies heavily on the citrus (grapefruit) and the pine is there to a lesser extent. The bitterness is what I might call moderate, with a fair amount of roast and chocolate malt character.

M: The body is medium with a nice carbonation to it, fairly lively and prickling.

D: I've only had a few beers from these guys, but I've liked them for the most part. Maybe not the most amazing black IPA, but quite good.

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.22/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I almost never buy tommyknocker beers but I thought what the hell since I am a sucker for IPA's. Dark brown/black in color with a decent head and lacing. It has a skunked smell to it that must be from hops but I do not find it pleasant at all and I enjoy a nice dank smell, this was ewww, colombus hops? The flavor was a little citrus from the hops, chocolate and the rye must be messing with me because I then get a smoky nastiness, just not good at all. It gets slightly better as it warms but overall I would not buy this again.

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Photo of tempest
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Farmhouse. This poured a near-black dark brown with a light light brown head. I was surprised by the pleasant spicy rye aroma, when there isn't a lot of character in the taste. This is a light-bodied IPA with a mix of light cocoa and roasted malt with fruity citrus hops. I only wish that for the drinkability, it was a bit less alcoholic. Still, a tasty beer for rye and black IPA fans.

UPDATE 1/25/11: Had a bottle and the thought the balance of hops, dark grains and rye had improved. It's a fine example of a black IPA as well as a rye beer. The floral, juicy citrus hops lead to spicy rye, which finishes with chocolate grains and a final hoppy kick.

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Photo of chicano4craft
4.32/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Almost completely black. One finger worths of a white, tannish head. Good lacing.

Hugh hop aroma in the nose. Very piney with some roasted chocolate. Some earthy/grassiness as it warms. Very pleasant.

Taste is like bitter dark chocolate. Citrus comes through with a pretty clean finish. Rye does make an impact without being intrusive. Adds to the full flavor. Orange peel mixes with the roasted malt. Very good.

Good carbonation and excellent drinkability. I love me some dark rye beers and this one was a pleasant surprise. I will have to head up to the brewery and try this on tap. If you can get your ahnds on this it's woeth the try. One of the better rye beers I've had lately.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found a bottle this weekend while in Denver. Pours black with a nice off white/tan head.

Nose is simple but really nice fruited fresh coffee - not complex or layered, just straightforward. Pleasant roasted grain character. Some fresh fruit/pineapple hop tones.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium. Fresh but nothing special.

Flavors are pleasant and appealing. Again, straightforward fresh coffee flavor but with a very big and appealing hop bitter coffee character and flavor.

There are assertive hops in the nose, flavor and especially the finish which is a long bitter hop character and the most appealing part of this one. Big big finish. Worth the try and would likely try again, especially with food.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.44/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2010-09-24 at Cobblestone's in York, PA.

A - Moderately hazy, dark brown with a 1/2 finger tan head

S - Mild chocolate but not much else

T - Sweet and dark chocolate, dark roasted grain, caramel, mild orange citrus, reasonable bitterness, lingering sweetness and sourness. I tired of the sourness after a bit. It dries fairly quickly.

M - Light-medium body and carbonation. Would've liked more of both. Not sticky but mildly creamy.

D - I enjoyed it well enough but went to something else for my 2nd beer. Would much prefer something like a Founders El Diablo De Noche.

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Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
4.56/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- WOW. Poured from a hand pump at the brewery with a super thick off-white head, cascades like it is on Nitro but pours from old school cask. Extremely dark and great lacing. Man, I have never seen a cask beer done like this.

S- Smells of Chocolate malts, with pine, Citrus (grapefruit), and a bit of spice.

T- hmmm, a hit of bitterness followed by flavors of Citrus and pine, then carmel and spice. Very nice, bitterness could linger a bit more and it would be exactly what I want from a Black IPA.

M- On Cask, so I don't know if this is a fair reading. Supper creamy, great carbonation and zero cloying. Makes me want cask beer everyday.

D- Overall a spectacular beer, I had this also on CO2 and it was still great but the Cask is the way to go on this one, the beer went from being very good to spectacular. Made me really think Cask is King. Also made me think that a lot of pubs aren't doing cask correctly as this beer was just a different animal off of a brewery operated hand pump.

At the brewery during GABF!

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Photo of MinorThreat
4.22/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle poured and capped off draught at Tommyknocker. Thanks for bringing it all the way to the DTC Dave!

A-Pours like thick coffee. Very dark, even when poured it really doesn't have that "its so red its black" appearance. Nice thick mocha colored head with decent retention and good lacing.

S-Yup, there are some high AA% hops in this one. Smells like Chinook and Summit. Spicy, citrus fruit and pine with a good roasted grain and chocolaty back.

T-Lots of citrus and spicy hops right up front that give way to roasted cereal grains, coffee and chocolate. The rye pops out a little and seems to work well with the heavily roasted grains to bridge the gap between hops and malt with a nice sharp, crisp roasted bitterness.

M-My initial reaction was that it was thin based upon the color association with big thick beers. The taste of the beer matches the mouthfeel well, not too dense, stays light and refreshing on the palate.

D-It hides the plus/minus 7%ABV very well. It is a complex, well integrated beer that I could have two or three of. Highly recommended.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.52/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint glass at TJ's Everyday Drinkery in Paoli, PA.

The body is a deep brown color that is highlighted by mahogany hues when held to the light. Very little head is present, even directly out of the tap, and as a result, lacing is minimal. The lack of carbonation makes it look a bit thin.

The aroma is full bodied and well-balanced between toffee and caramel notes contributed by the malts and the strong piney and citrusy aromas from the abundant hops. I am a bit disappointed at the lack of spicy kick from the rye, though. The taste is similar, with the toffee and caramel fading a bit and giving way to more of a piney character, but for something called Hop Strike! I was expecting more. The bitterness just doesn't seem to be prevalent enough. Again, I am missing the rye characteristics.

The mouthfeel is pretty standard, though I would have liked a touch more carbonation. As I had predicted, the flatness caused the feel to be a bit thin. While the ABV cannot be tasted, there just isn't enough going on in this beer for me to really get excited about it.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark brown, not black with some bog fluffy head rentention and lacing. chocolate sundae.

smell: big citus. smells like a strong IPA, sublte dark malts

taste: a nice dark IPA, hugge citrus flavors and a nice dark malty malt backbone.

mouthfeel: medium and light for a dark beer

drinkability: solid Dark IPA. one of the best I have ahd.

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Photo of Ratman197
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured a clear dark reddish brown witrh a lasting tan head. Aromas of skunk bud, pine, earthiness, roastiness, carmel and light onion. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and smooth with a dry finish and moderate carbonation. Flavors of roasted malt, carmel, earthiness, pine and light grapefruit with a hint of onion and a smooth dry lingering roasty bitter finish.

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Photo of Schmittymack
3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had a couple of these on tap at Old Chi's Westy location on Thursday, Aug 25.

This brew is dark brown, almost black. Had a creamy head that didn't last too long. Nice lacing. Started with sweet, malty goodness with taste of coffee and rye and ended with a nice bitter hop finish. This one is quite quaffable and I'd gladly visit this one again.

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Photo of Reaper16
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on-tap at Egan's, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a pint glass

Pours a sort of cola brown. It is pretty dark but retains a hint of brown throughout. The dark body obscures any light or carbonation from being visible. The head on this pour sits at around a finger and a quarter. Off-white foam that appears to have the consistency of he heads on most nitro-tap stouts; very pudding-like.

Good mix of aromas coming out of Hop Strike. You've got some nice grapefruit and pine from the hops but you've also got brown malts and lots of delicate-yet-spicy rye malt flavor. This is a balanced IPA, content to let the hops provide a bitter backbone for the rye.

Taste follows the nose. Hoppy up front like a solid IPA, but it quickly becomes something more than that. Light milk chocolate flavors and bread crusts and, especially, the distinct taste of malted rye play off of the grapefruit lupulin base. This isn't exactly complex but it is certainly tasty.

While Hop Strike looked like a nitro-tap beer the mouthfeel proves that looks can be deceiving. A good, solid balance between thin body and just-right carbonation level makes for an enjoyable mouthfeel. Drinkability is similarly good. Hop Strike is tasty enough to drink multiples of; only the ABV of 7% might encourage you to session something else.

I've never been impressed with a Tommyknocker beer. Until now, that is. Hop Strike is Tommyknocker's dedication to the state of Alabama and its grassroots organization Free The Hops. FTH worked so hard to rescind the beer restriction laws and continues to work at getting AL up to speed legally with the rest of the craft beer world. That Tommyknocker created their best beer in honor of FTH's work is very cool.

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Photo of cbak999
3.71/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-dark and opaque. Nice brown head. S - not a lot of aromas from this dark rye IPA. T - Taste is big on this beer. I love the rye black mix. Perfect blend on malt hops and alcohol. D - very drinkable. The 7% alcohol is extremely well hidden. I can see drinking this beer any time of the year.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown color; deep ruby on the edges. Poured a deep tan 1 finger head with fair retention to an even skim. Laced in wide rings.

S: Very sweet toasted malts. Citrus tickle. Chocolate and burned toast.

T: Big malts up front that carry into the middle; bitter chocolate, burnt caramel. Citrus and grapefruit hops add a bit of complexity as they seemingly layer onto the malt character. A little resiny through a sharp bitter finish.

M : Medium body. Moderate carobnation. Starts creamy and smooth, transitions to resiny, finishes bitter.

D: Very drinkable; especailly with moderate abv. The interaction of flavor and feel was very pleasant. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of thain709
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served with a dark brown body with a touch of ruby highlights...the head was light brown and stood about a finger tall...not much retention but nice lacing

S - A sweet smelling nose combines the flavors of sweet, roasted malts, citrus hops, and a touch of chocolate

T - The flavors in this beer just pop...the malts take over the forefront and the middle ground of the beer...there is a touch of caramel sweetness up front from the malts...the middle has a great touch of chocolate but it's not your chocolate malt...it's chocolate rye so there is that underlying spiciness going on...the ending provides you with a blast of citrus hops when paired with the chocolate flavors tastes like a chocolate covered grapefruit

M - Medium bodied...the flavors all work together...I was just looking for maybe a touch of creaminess

D - This was a very nice rye beer...I like that they used chocolate rye and paired it with the citrus hops...the flavors played off of each other very nicely...I'd like to see this one bottled...but try it before it's gone

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cottony, tan--shaded one-inch head (quite a few big bubbles) topped the pint glass in which this was served. Dark stained-cedar color with black cherry highlights.

The smell of sour rye and rustic hops, bold and balanced, radiates assertively from the glass. A bit of a syrupy cola sweetness present as well.

What you smell is what you taste. Bitter, slightly sour, roasty, a touch of chocolate.

A little above medium viscosity, but a decent amount of fizz. Bubbles delicately pop on the back of the tongue.

I dig the flavor and feel of this beer - a lot going on. It's far from shy or subtle, but it's short of brazenly excessive. A little more refinement in the sweetness and I could see drinking this often, especially with a smart food pairing.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.24/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, clear ruby-brown with wonderful garnet highlights when held to the light. A fat, frothy head of light tan foam shows marvelous retention, holding tight throughout and lasting to the finish, grabbing tightly to the walls of the glass, leaving behind thick, bubbly curtains of lace as the glass empties.

Sweet caramel and molasses show themselves in the nose alongside a big whiff of spicy rye and faintly citrusy hop notes. A bit mellow, but enticing nevertheless.

Medium-bodied with a very mild carbonation, things are uplifted a bit from the start when the whopping spiciness of the rye malt melds with the sweet, almost chocolaty malt flavor. Malt sweetness circles around the edges, but the rye spiciness combined with the moderately bitter, citrusy and piney hop notes balances perfectly, moving into the finish a bit dry and drying out still more in the end, with a distinct rye character lingering afterward.

Infinitely drinkable, this is one masterpiece of a rye ale, wonderfully balanced and delightful. Alabamans are lucky to have such a great brew dedicated to their cause, and I only wish that this could accompany Terrapin's Rye Pale Ale on local taps in Augusta, GA.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first time adding a beer, and what better one than a beer brewed specifically for Alabama's Free the Hops.

Picked up a growler of this at Dee's.

Poured into a SA perfect pint glass.

A: Pours a thin but dark brown. One finger of beige head. Looks like a typical brown ale, dark but somewhat transparent in the right light. Lacing present all around the glass.

S: Nice citrus and tangerine hops upfront. Also some chocolate and cocoa nibs are present in small amounts. Nice combination of the malt and hops. Reminiscent of Sweetwater's Happy Ending.

T: The smell follows right into the taste, but with the order reverse. Light chocolate and roasted malts upfront, followed with a juicy citrus hop finish. Very smooth and enjoyable, with just enough richness and bite. I couldn't detect very much spice typical of rye beers.

M: Medium to full body, despite the thin pour. Also slightly creamy - I can only imagine what this would taste like on cask. Moderate carbonation. Very nice combination of chocolate and citrus hops stick to the tongue.

D: Very drinkable and very flavorful. A great combination of styles. A little rich to be sessionable. Thanks to Tommyknocker for dedicating this tasty beer to AL!

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Hop Strike Black IPA from Tommyknocker Brewery
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 467 ratings