Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Ipswich Dark Ale | Ipswich Ale Brewery

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Ipswich Dark AleIpswich Dark Ale
BA SCORE
3.86/5
Very Good
219 Ratings
Ipswich Dark AleIpswich Dark Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ipswich Ale Brewery
Massachusetts, United States
ipswichalebrewery.com

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-20-2000

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#11,066
Reviews:
151
Ratings:
219
pDev:
10.36%
Bros Score:
4.12
 
 
Wants:
19
Gots:
10
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 219 |  Reviews: 151
Photo of Liquids
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark it is-not exactly a brown. Cloudy and unfiltered deep brown color with a one finger cappucinno head, and lots of carbonation; looks good to me. Aroma is all american brown, hoppy, resinous--I dare say cascade. Taste is dark, dark brown, with earthy caramel notes and charred malts detected. Lacking the nutty flavors of the browns I prefer. Heavy on unfermentables, offset but the hops that follow. The flavor of this beer is really fading into the not-that-different flavor of the Mcneils and Berkshire Porters I've has more recently. A bit tea like in flavor, I notice after a few sips. Certainly hoppy as per the "american brown" style. Ragged char flavors linger making it a brown porter...well, let's just call it dark. Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied as expected from the sweetness of the unfermentables. This is not a bad beer, but disapointing considering I have been eyeing change for a single of this for over a year, thinking it would be a solid microbrew answer to newcastle and possibly even one to stock regularly. But some how that clear bottled UK brew that I hate to like has kept it's head about the pack as best of style for (nutty) browns...and despite that brew having major flaws, many browns I try go in very different, though not necessarily better directions, this being another. A fine beer on it's own, considering the complex layers of hops, caramel, and roast malt flavors, but somehow beers like this manage towind up striking me as booring. Sad.

 1,484 characters

Photo of lawrence76
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the good fortune to come to Bukowski's last week when this was on Cask.

This beer seems almost DESTINED to be served from a cask. The mellow carbonation and warmer serving temp worked so well with what I consider to be a beautiful brown ale

The beer itself is smooth & subtle. Delicious, and highly drinkable.

Another winner from what I consider to be one of the most uner-rated breweries in the east

 414 characters

Photo of Stimack
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brew pours to a dark brown color with a nice sized tan head that broke down quite quickly but did leave a fair amount of lacing. The aroma is really nice, sweet caramel malt aroma with a slight roasted scent. Also an alcohol scent in notable if you take a big whiff. The taste is very nice with a unexpectedly large hop taste, I did not pick it up in the nose so was not expecting it. Also at the start it has a somewhat creamy malt like taste that snaps to the hop flavor described above. Over all this is a nice brew, probably not my favorite from Ipswich but even in the mixed 12 pack it will not stick around for long.

 622 characters

Photo of Estarrio
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark, ruby red with a small white head.

Not much retention but silky lacings persisted throughout.

Nice hoppy/malt aroma with a medium fizzy palate that ends slightly dry.

Flavor of malt (slight hints of roasted malt) and bitter hops that linger in the aftertaste.

A respectable interpretation of the style, while I felt the flavor could have been more complex.

 386 characters

Photo of taez555
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brownish/black body with a thick white head that took it's time to fade.

Nose was rather mellow with faint hints of bread, dark malts and even some rye.

Taste is light to medium bodied. There's a quick attack of a dark burnt malt. Almost has a burnt plastic sort of burnt taste. A mixture of cocoa powder, dark espresso beans, hints of dry rye like bread and grain. There's a dark burnt coffee bitterness with hints of stale nuts. An earthy hop taste comes forward toward the back-end giving just faint touches of hops.

Really a beer that doesn't exactly fit a specific style. Part brown ale, part red ale, part porter with even hints of stout. I guess that's why it's call a "dark" ale. Very nice ale, could drink ipswich all day long.

 769 characters

Photo of tastybeer
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark is right. Very dark glowing brownish red color. Tan-cream colored head is 1.5 finger and leaves a nice little layer over the beer. Smells lightly sweet with chocolate, certainly malty, and pretty hoppy. Taste has similar qualities. Resinous pine, floral and citric hops blend with the sweet malts balancing the beer quite nicely. A nice conglomeration of all sorts of flavors here. Mouth is gritty and smooth. Easy drinkability too.

Another good Ipswich beer. Yummy + good to get whenever your little heart desires.

 523 characters

Photo of akahn
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chestnut color with a creamy brown head. Head recedes to a skim, leaves good lacing. Roasted malt aroma, chocolatey. Roasty, sweet malt flavor. Mocha. Ends slightly dry. Smooth medium body, only slight tingly carbonation. A solid, flavorful brown ale. Drinkable but a bit thick and sweet.

 301 characters

Photo of JasonCoop
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a very dark ruby/brown color with sticky beige foam.

smells great, nice hoppy citrusy sweet kind of smell.

taste: very full bodied and malty taste. hops balance it out nicely with a good kick. a nice full, sweet brown ale with an unexpected hoppiness. nice dry earthy finish. pretty good.

mouthfeel is very thick. pretty full beer, but with a good balance from the nice hops in the finish.

i don't consider this brew too drinkable because of it's fullness and its robust flavor. seems like the abv is probably around 8. a little strong to drink all night. but a nice change of pace and a pretty good brew overall.
will try again asap

 652 characters

Photo of wedge
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep hazy brown with an awesome thick, creamy off-white head and lacing all the way up the glass. Light malty aroma with some earthy, floral hops. Tasty roasted malt flavor - a little sweet and a somewhat bready. Chocolate and caramel backed up by a solid, almost resinous hop flavor. Medium mouthfeel - very balanced, smooth, and well rounded.

This turned out to be quite the hoppy brown ale. Not so much in bitterness, but in flavor...and its so well balanced between the rich malts and hops. This is delicious stuff.

 522 characters

Photo of scriabin
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark, smokey, chocolate tasting bottle of tasty goodness. Has a dark appearance, pours with a decent, dark colored head. The smell hints at the complex flavors yet to come. The flavor is a mix of chocolate, some hops, bitterness, and some other flavors that I'll have to study further. I think I'll have another...

 316 characters

Photo of jamesclark
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very dark, muddy brown beer, this pours a reasonable head with mild retention. Within I can see suspended particulate matter of some kind.

There is a significant floral hop aroma - with some roasted malt backing it up. Is this dry-hopped?

The flavor is a nice balance of floral hop bitterness with a thick malty body. It has a somewhat smoky character. The long finish is dry and bitter.

This is a flavorful beer - hoppy, malty, easy to drink.

 454 characters

Photo of NEhophead
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Creamy 1/2" off white head that slowly recedes to a rather thick sheet. Ringed and patterned lace with good strength. Deep brown in color with flashes of burgundy and auburn.

Semi-sweet caramel and roasted malt aromas. Tones of roasted nuts: almond, hazlenut, etc. Light coffee and espresso.

Mild coffee flavors; lightly sweetened, met by a surprising dose of lemon from the hop profile. Almost an unsweetened, but not completely bitter, milk chocolate and caramel flavor. Hints of toasted hazlenut toffee in the aftertaste.

Medium bodied; a nice mellow feel on the palate. The carbonation is just a tad too much for the style.

Nice flavors; light and drinkable. The cascade hop addition is a unique choice for the style. I'm not sure it works really well, but it doesn't ruin the beer in the least.

 811 characters

Photo of bjohnson
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ipswich never ceases to amaze me! This one pours a dark cranberry/maroonish color with a good head. Not much head retention on this one though. Leaves a nice trail of lace. Smells nutty and has a roasted malt taste. Also is a tad bitter. Drinkabillity is great, just like the rest of Ipswich's beers!

 300 characters

Photo of yoyo
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was pleasantly suprised by this brand of beer on a recent vacation to Cape Cod, MA. I drank 2 mixed 12 packs while there and should've brought some home. The dark ale jumped out at me cause it WAS dark, and and had a great balanced taste and some kick. Caramel and malt with nice hoppy bite.

 293 characters

Photo of Jacobob10
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The last variety out of my mixed 12-pack to be sampled. Poured a murky, brownish-orange color. The appearance reminded me of apple cider with a nice head. Great nutty aroma. There are definitely some floral hops in there that give the taste a nice bite to counteract the roasted malts. The taste reminded me of coffee and dark chocolate. Normally you would find the same taste in a much more hefty brew, but the drinkability on this is excellent. Very enjoyable beer and I was very pleased overall with the Ipswich sampler pack.

 528 characters

Photo of BuckSpin
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the best beer I have ever drunk in the shower..LOL. Hey, ever had a day at work, and you get home and just want to hot wash it all away? Take your work (beer reviews) with you!

Ales are something I am learning more about, but this one was a real gem. My biggest concern with darker brews is their drinkability, meaning could you easily drink it and more? This one passed that test with flying colors.

Can't say much about the color given that I was in shower, but it had a fantastic noise - inviting, friendly, chocolately, not intimidating at all. Very smooth & even from tongue to swallow, almost porter like. Hint of hops, but nicely balanced. Very light bitterness, a wisp of smoke, and perhaps some clues as to - nuts? fruit?

It was a great, drinkable (my biggest compliment) dark ale that I would definitely try in & out of the shower again.

 864 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep brown. Opaque, but only when placed against a bright light. Good tan head that leaves some spotty lace.

Rich dark malt aromas, but not sweet--dark chocolate comes to mind. Roasted, but not burnt, grains are tempered by the subtle touch of hop. Very inviting!

Like an excellent homebrew, I mean this as a high compliment. There are stong stout-like flavors, but this brew is missing the richness of a stout. I enjoy the large amount of hops present as well. This may be one of the most flavorful brews I've had in some time.

Typically, I'm not a "dark" beer fan. I love stouts, porters and brown ales, but when a brewer is inclined to use the moniker of dark ale, I typically expect a watered down version of an American ale with a small amount of black patent malt to make it darker. I am pleased to report that this beer breaks that rule; it is complex, flavorful and extraordinarily drinkable. This was a shocking surprise!

 947 characters

Photo of Sycodrummer
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recently had from the bottle at Woody's on Hemenway St. in Boston, Mass. Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle (void of a freshness date) into a standard pint glass. A deep dark brown with ruby highlights topped with about an half finger of head that left little to no lacing.

Smell was a little fruity and nutty but also had some slight hop fragrance and a tiny bit of burnt toffee.

Taste was quite good. Light to moderate on the palate and some definte nutty and slightly bitter tastes came thru.

Very easy to drink, I had two in this sitting but could have easily had two more. All in all a solid all around beer.

 620 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12ozer bottle bought as part of a mix 6-pack (that the proprietor was nice enough to allow me to make) from Holiday Spirits, Storrs, CT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head above the cloudy dark reddish brown brew. Head fades slowly, and lacing is average. Aroma is grain husks and dark fruits. Interesting, almost reminiscent of a doppledock in the nose. Taste is earthy bitter grains, fruity tartness as it goes over the tongue. Mouthfeel and drinkability are okay this time around. Was a bit sloppy with the decanting, this could be the source of what I perceive as somewhat off-flavoring. An interesting brew that I will revisit.

<edit> Was growing on me by the end, and I upped a few attributes a notch.

 744 characters

Photo of twelvsies
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer appears a dark brown which looks a bit reddish when held up to the light. Small off-white bubbly swirly head. Smell is very complex. Piney hops come to mind first, followed up by some chocolate wafts and some cherry or grape kicks. Smells like one of those chocolates in the box with the raspberry filling or whatever. Taste is roasty chocolaty malts with a very substantial hoppy backbone. Some dried fruit notes in there as well, a key part of this complex little beer we have here. For a beer this thick and chocolaty and tasty like a porter, this beer is not full bodied, more of a medium feel, but crisp and smooth. A very interesting, drinkable ale. Cheers.

 673 characters

Photo of 86MonteSS
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've got high standards for Ipswich, but their beers consistently take my standards and force them into very uncomfortable places. The Dark Ale proves to me what a rock-solid brewery this really is. Their beers are characteristically robust yet very drinkable, and this is no exception. A baker's chocolate quality seems to be at the forefront of this beer, but at the same time it's refreshing enough to be had by the dozen. Rich, savory... a real base hit.

 458 characters

Photo of ecoboy
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

How does anybody expect to sell anything called a "Dark Ale" in this country? The general public is so afraid of the dark, so to speak. This must be a tough sell. Someone used to Newcastle would love this flavor, and yet the word "dark" might send them spinning off down the liquor store aisle.

This is for lovers of roasty and even chocolaty malts. Light mouthfeel, light hop character. This is certainly capable of being very drinkable if you're a malt person: fairly unidirectional with the roasty nature lasting all the way through the glass and even therafter. Does not unpleasantly coat the tongue.

Good enough for what it is: the metaphor might be like a steak good enough to not need any sauce.

 708 characters

Photo of waughbrew
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Murky auburn swamp water with off-white foam. Dirty roasty earthy buttery herbage with fruity and spicy notes. Flavor shows deep caramels and cold coffee with tea leaves. A little unexpected warming alcohol character. Dirty medium-thick hop/yeast/coffee finish is interesting but hurts the drinkability.

This is one wacked-out brew. Seems like a mix between a porter and an English IPA. I like it, but I could not drink it often. It is complex, but not my favorite flavor profile.

 483 characters

Photo of bditty187
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unfiltered, brown in hue with a tawny-amber highlight, especially when held to a light. A modest sized beige head of a ¼” in height topped off the beer. The head retention was reasonable; it faded to a loose cap, which lasted the entire consumption. The subsequent lacing was basically none. Still the appearance is pleasant. The first couple of whiffs of the nose didn’t do much for me. But, in time, aromas of chocolate, oranges, caramel, and a Brown Ale-like maltiness emerged. The smells from the hops were slight but I got a suggestion of grass. The dark malty aromas are the focal point, yet they really aren’t that loud. Still the potency is strong enough to tell me to drink. So I did. I won’t lie, I didn’t realize there was a style of beer on BA called Dark Ale; I just thought it was a ubiquitous term. I really didn’t know what to expect, especially on the palate. The nose was good but the taste was, frankly, awesome! The balance was impressive; the maltiness is very much like a Brown Ale but with chocolate and caramel influences. The chocolate flavors are significant. In the middle a yeasty, ale fruitiness is found, oranges mainly but hints of citrus. These citrus notes are also found in the finish but this time it is a byproduct of the hops. I am impressed at the bitterness; I get a sold dose of citrus bitterness on the back of my throat. What is this beer exactly, an IDA? That would be an India Dark Ale! This is damn tasty! The aftertaste really seals the deal for me; it is a mix of dark malty flavors and bold hoppy bitterness. I could pair this beer with many different foods and cheeses. It is surprisingly complex! Medium/medium-full in body, it works for me, the carbonation is modest but natural, this is an easy drinking beer. Lovely stuff. Yet again I am impressed with these Ipswich beers. This might be the best tasting one yet. I’d kill for more. Thank you drweizen for the bottle in the BIF 5 package!

 1,949 characters

Photo of UncleFrank
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow.
As far as a style, where Dark Ale fits Im not sure. Is it Munich Dark? Porter but lighter? Brown Ale? etc? But to this I say who cares!
The aroma is of chocolate and biscuts. Almost like a dark grain bagel with hints of maple. No hop aroma. The color is cloudy brown with a lasting beige head.
The taste gets better as it warms. Typical of a strong beer, which this isnt. This adds to its complexity. Chocolate, wood, roasted malts, a touch of dark fruit followed by citrus and pine hop flavors like orange skins. The finish is slightly hoppy and dry. A tartness or "twang" stays and makes me want more.
This is an excellent beer. I really want to find the "Base" idea for it and brew something like it myself.

 719 characters

Ipswich Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 219 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.