Ipswich Dark Ale | Ipswich Ale Brewery

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Ipswich Dark AleIpswich Dark Ale
Very Good
220 Ratings
Ipswich Dark AleIpswich Dark Ale

Brewed by:
Ipswich Ale Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 220 |  Reviews: 151
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle from Western Mass. trip. Dark brown inviting with some white yeast lace,with malty and mollasses aroma. Above average carbonation and tongue tingling otherwise tasty, with spice, a tad of licorice, and very drinkable. Good balance.
A superior brown, recommended.

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Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite the generic name for a beer... "dark ale"... ah well, it's what's inside that counts. Pours a dark brown color (what a surprise) and nice nutty sort of aroma to it. Nice mouthfeel and creaminess to this one, a bit subdued on the flavor though. Definitely highly drinkable for the sort of high ABV though, just expecting a bit more malty flavor for it being a brown ale. A solid beer from their mixed 12 pack but I prefer the IPA and stout over this one.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a chocolate brown with tawny highlights and a thick tan head that leaves a reasonable amount of lacing

Smell: Brown bread, with hints of molasses and char

Taste: Brown bread, up front, with a roasty and nutty flavor progression; by mid-palate, the char takes over, adding a burnt, bitter element that lingers after the swallow and into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: A solid ale all around, with a big flavor profile for the style; I would like it better if the char flavor wasn't quite so prominent

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Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy dark amber in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation and some amber + golden orange highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy tan head that reduces to a large cap of thick film and a thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted and toasted malts with a light hint of char. Light to moderate aromas of pine/resin hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of roasted and toasted malts with light flavors of char. There are moderate flavors of pine/resin hops in the finish which impart a moderate amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. LIght to moderate amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Pretty hoppy for an American Brown Ale with a pretty big flavor profile - enjoyable and pretty easy to drink.

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

Ipswich Dark Ale:
Beautiful appearance. The body is a very deep, ruby-accented dark mahogany brown. The creamy tan head has excellent retention, and it leaves almost solid walls of lace about the glass.

Surprisingly hoppy nose! I was expecting a much more basic ale, perhaps something like a dunkel lager but done with ale yeast - this is nothing like that. It's quite American with juicy, fruity hops bursting forth. Very nice! Beyond that it's pretty basic with a just lightly chocolatey malt base.

The flavor delivers the same hops found in the aroma, but they're more rounded with a grassy side as well. From there the malt steps in, and it's much more chocolatey than the nose suggests, and also very darkly caramelish. It offers a flicker of sweetness, and then settles down as the solid bitterness and leafy hop flavors rise. Well-rounded and very nicely balanced considering the citrusy hops present.

An impressive, hoppy brown ale!

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Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle served in a Unibroue snifter.

Appearance: Pours a near-clear, dark mahogany with a beige head that has moderate size and durability.

Smell: Roasted malts with spicy hop overtones and hints of raisins. 3.75

Taste: More hops here than expected, but the maltiness of the brown ale base is clearly present (albeit less pronounced) as well. Mildly bitter. Dark roast in the finish with some lingering pine/hop notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium+ carbonation. Slight crispness and astringency.

Overall: More hop-forward than a typical brown ale, this is better classified as a brown pale ale, and a good one at that.
Both aroma and flavor improve with warming.

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

A - One and a half fingers of light brown head on top of a dark brown body with good clarity. The foam settles slowly and leaves nice lace.

S - A malty aroma of dark bread, toffee, and light coffee. Some spicy citrus hops show through in the background with a lemon note.

T - Big, brown malty sweetness up front with lots of caramel and brown sugar. Spicy pine and citrus hop flavor cuts through the sweetness in the middle and rides on top of bready malt note with some hints of chocolate. Finishes with sweet toffee malt and brown sugar as well as lemony citrus hops and strong, balancing hop bitterness. Lingering citrus flavors in the aftertaste along with roasted grain notes of dark chocolate and caramel.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - Quite nice, this is much more flavorful and complex than the generic brown ale that I expected. The malt bill is very robust with lots of caramel complexity and a good dose of roasted character, especially in the finish. The hops are also very assertive with more than enough bitterness to balance the malt and a strong citrus flavor that effortlessly punches through the sugar, but becomes a little cloying by the end of the glass. Something about the lemon flavor of the hops is a little dissonant when layered with the rich, sugary scorched caramel flavors of the malt; perhaps a touch more pine character or just a little less sweetness would balance it out. Overall, a well made, assertive American Brown ale, though not a beer I could see myself drinking on a regular basis.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, maple, roasted nuts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty with sweet flavors of caramel, maple and nuts. There's a strong bite of hops bitterness, but it doesn't seem to blend with the sweetness. The malt character is hearty. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

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

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this wouldn't be one of the first brown ales that I would pick.

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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!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle - $3.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a dark russet-toned body with a rather tall, beige head.

Smell: Roasty, toasty malts, chiefly, with hoppy edges of pine and pith.

Taste: Hardly toasted bread, a fair amount of chary roast, and some bitterish chocolate, though very little sweetness ever coming forward to the drinker. Bark-strewn pine chips and a bit of chopped citrus pith ahead of a medium level of bitterness. Drying on the back half with some lingering pine and roast.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Actually, I was surprised at how fairly hop-forward this was, and was a bit disappointed, as I'd hoped for something more on the malty end of the brown ale spectrum.

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Photo of Jason
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: ½ gallon brown glass growler with no freshness date or info about the beer.

Appearance: Slightly hazed brownish amber with a slow rush of carbonation fighting to get to the top to form a wonderful and sticky head.

Smell: Aromas of bread crust with a faint floral hop and vague fruitiness.

Taste: Very smooth with a slight viscous mouth feel as the carbonation pushes through the medium to full body. Mild roasted, chocolaty and biscuity flavour with hints of coco, chicory and whole grain bread. Malt sweetness runs with a fruitiness as well as a touch of nutty yeast. Alcohol is present but light with a flash of esters. Hops become more prevalent as the finish grows near, bitterness is level but not pushy and leaves a trace oily and citric hop flavour that lingers far into the after taste.

Notes: Big, rich and fat in flavour. This is one ale that does not get enough respect. Pairs well with just about everything, corned beef on rye did very well.

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

I received this one thanks to a generous trader who sent me more then I could handle worth of New England brews this week. I grabbed this one out of the fridge on a whim as I had really wanted to try it. Served cold, right out of the fridge and poured into a fluted pilsner glass. This one was consumed on 10/07/2008.

The pour was very nice. A very rich, dark brown color coming forward on this right away. Some nice clarity could be seen in here as the carbonation trickled up towards the top of the glass. A nice head of maybe an inch and a half then came up over the top and settled down gently to a thin foamy layer that hung out for the rest of the session.

The aroma was big. There were lots of roasted malts, hints at caramel, and a nice mixture of dark fruits. Touches of figs, plums almost with a nice balance to it provided by some light earthy hops. This carried over very well into the flavor. Started out with a very nice rush of rich roasted malts. Almost smoky at times there was that really nice, dark feel to it. As it rolled across the tongue it started to get a touch sweeter and then rolled into a very nice dark, fig like fruit flavor. A slight bite of tart on the tongue as it went down and this carried over very well into the finish, which was made slightly dry by the hop undertones. Very nice medium bodied ale with a great carbonation that never let it even get a touch of dull. A smooth, easy drinking session ale I had no issues what so ever in putting this one down.

Overall I thought this was a very solid offering, and a very nice way to introduce me to this brewer. I would have no issue at all with getting this one again any day. Really a very solid offering here and something I would look forward to trying again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.9/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Working my way through the Ipswich line that we get 'round here. This offering pours a murky black-brown topped by a finger of beige foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, light coffee, light toasted white bread, and dark greens. The taste brings in more of the same, with the toast and coffee coming in a bit more powerfully, some orange rind and pine sap coming in, and a harsh vinyl flavor coming in at the end. This same tobacco-like vinyl character was present near the finish of the Oatmeal Stout as well... The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly dry and sticky finish. Overall, it's hard to enjoy this beer, what with that vinyl taste. Maybe they just roast their malts in a strange way (thus explaining the similarities with the Oatmeal Stout)? Regardless, I could not drink this very easily...

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Photo of imbibehour
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Eeek old bottle! 3/11/2013.

Nice deep chestnut brown color, with creamy light white and tan coffee like head. Head is three fingers tall lots of retention, and soapy whipped up lacing. Pretty nice looking brown.

Great nose on this. Good herbal sweetness, with hints of milk chocolate and toffee. Great brown like spices and cinnamon and nutmeg aromas, very solid and impressive.

First taste. What the heck? Palate feel. Watery and very weak. Malt, non existent, no hinting taste at all from the nose of classic brown ale flavors. No nutty, chocolate, or even minor roasty quality. Slightly acrid, somewhat sour grain and astringent and oil zest bitterness and not of a good hop like quality..

This is really a disappointing brown.

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Photo of JAHMUR
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of jwc215
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a foamy tan head that leaves lacing.

The smell is nutty, toffeeish, earthy with a slight hint of butterscotch.

The taste is of toffee and dark chocolate. It has a roasty character reminiscent of coffee. It has a nutty, earthy character as well. Citric bitterness balances the malty sweetness, especially in the dryish finish.

It has a rich medium body with medium carbonation.

This is one well-made, well-balanced, dark Brown Ale. Not quite "sessionable" (though was probably not meant to be), it's very drinkable nevertheless. It leaves a roasted aftertaste, which if you enjoy as much as I do. A robust brown!

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Photo of tone77
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a pretty, cloudy auburn color with a 1/2 inch head. Smells both malty and hoppy, yum. Taste is also well balanced malt and hop, some nuttiness, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: brown in color with a huge 3" fluffy tan colored head. The head lingers around awhile, and produces some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: roasted malts, caramel, and a hint of brown sugar sweetness.

Taste: nice roasted malt flavor with some caramel, hints of chocolate, ripe red fruit sweetness, and a lingering dryness and soft burnt tone that is very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp and dry at the start, smoother and dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long with the the roasted and burnt tones. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: great session ale here. Picked this up as part of the Ipswich mixed twelve pack and was glas they added this one to the mix.

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Photo of sd123
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of puboflyons
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with no batch code or date shown. Sampled on February 19, 2010. The pour is a dark brown with ruby hues and a beige quarter-inch pillowy head. It neber quite goes away. There is a nice thin lacing glistening on the side of the pint glass. The aroma tends to be of strong dark malts and resin. I do not really notice much nuttiness. The mouthfeel is fairly heavy. Bitterness leads the taste folloed by a light but dry hoppy finish. Not bad at all.

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Photo of WesWes
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, roasted malt scent that boasts of caramel and special roast malts. There is a slight nutty feel as well. The taste is decent. It's got a brown ale feel with quite a bitter finish. There is a considerable hop element here. I'm not sure that I really like the concept here. It's dry and roasted with some caramel notes, but hoppier than hell. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a forgettable beer. The concept is neat, but delivery suffers.

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Ipswich Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 220 ratings