Ipswich Dark Ale | Ipswich Ale Brewery

very good
219 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 219 |  Reviews: 151
Photo of schroederm
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a bubble pint glass:

I have not seen this much head on a beer in a long time. A full
hand of off-white goodness that didn't fade for 10 minutes. Looks like a rootbeer float; creamy, sticky, gorgeous. Dark dark brown with ruby notes. Smells fruity and sweet with hints of grape and banana and just a touch of roasted coffee. Finishes dry and somewhat bitter with coffee and medicinal notes. The maltiness is unfortunately weak, which is a little disappointing considering the smell I got. Still, good and clean on the palate. Good body, not viscous but not weak either. Carbonation could be a bit higher. Goes easy on the palate, but there just isn't a ton of flavor.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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 u2carew
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A) Pours reddish brown. Definitely not transparent. Some visible sediment. Upon pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch head that settles to some nice creamy lacing around the edge.
S) Sweet notes of caramel. Definitely a noticeable hop aroma. Some nuttiness.
T) Caramel. Some citrus notes from the hops, but not a profound bitterness.
M) Medium to full body. Crisp up front then moves into a creamy body then finishes with effervescent tingle on the tongue.
D) A very delicious beer. The combination of CO2 and creamy sweetness blend together well.

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Photo of jadpsu
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Ipswich variety pack I purchased back up in NJ has had some expceptional beers. Wish I could get some of this here in Ga.

The dark ale just might be my favorite. Pours a amber ale color with a super looking coffee colored head with tight tiny bubbles that also remits some great lacing.
Smell is of roasty malts, coffee, biscuits, nuts.
Taste is more of the same. Full bodied but smooth. Roasted maltiness and a little sweet after taste.

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Photo of bum732
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, nice creamy head leaving great lacing. Smells of caramel, some toffee, some earthy hops, . Tastes of bitter roasted malt up front followed by a slight caramel sweetness. Nice pronounced bitterness finishing very dry. Good creamy mouthfeel and decent carbonation.

A pretty good American brown. Very bitter and dry with a decent caramel flavor and earthiness in the background. Nice session beer.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich brown/black into from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. A half inch of light tan head sits atop the pour, settling to a surface cap in a few minutes and offering good lacing.

Quite malty on the nose, with roasted cocoa and molasses. Taste follows with toasted malts and a bit of dry chocolate. Finish seems slightly astringent from the almost burnt sense yielding a dryer and more lingering finish than anticipated given the nose. Rather firm in carbonation allowing for an easy finish given the style.

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Photo of JayNH
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a slightly hazy deep brown with a respectable two finger head.

S- Sweet, a bready/biscuity maltiness with notes of a brown ale nuttiness. Plenty of pleasant scent for a brown.

T- A slightly sweet dark roasted maltiness. Very mildly nutty. Well hopped for a brown, a nice citric grassy hoppiness.

M- Smooth, medium bodied. Carbonation could be a bit more creamy.

D- Excellent! This brew defines an "American" brown ale. Almost a brown/IPA hybrid.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a glass. Had a slight beige lacing after pouring. The beer was a dark amber, brown color and could barely be seen through when held up to the light. The smell is dominated by the nuttiness of the malts. The taste is also nutty, although not as robust as the aroma. After the initial nut flavor, there is a strong coffee flavor that comes out. At the beginning of my beer, there was a sharp bitter aftertaste, which took away from the rest of the beer. Halfway through the beer however, the taste became less discernable. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with only a slight tinge of carbonation. The drinkability is good because the flavor is light and becomes more drinkable throughout the beer. The low ABV also contributes to the drinkability.

Overall, this beer was a pretty good Brown Ale that actually got better throughout the glass. Not my favorite, but I am warming up to it quickly. This was my second favorite beer of the Ipswich Mix I bought, although I was dissappointed with the pack as a whole.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful meringue head reduces to disk, leaving lots of webbed lacing.

S - Roasted malt, molasses, nuttiness, almost a woodiness.

T - Toasted malt and molasses, the whole taste geared towards a darker, richer tone in flavor.

M - Well balanced, very creamy and coating, good carb.

D - Too much flavor to go long.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color with oxblood highlights. Beige head that quickly fades to a foamy ring minus a few rogue bubbles floating lazily in the center. Ample sticky lace.

Smells of fruit salad at first pour. Nutty, carmelized sugar is dominant thereafter. Very earthy, as in sticks and dirt--but in a good way.

Thin nuttyness up front overtaken by carmelized brown sugar and smooth baking chocolate. Mild fruit and hop bitterness in back. Has that Ipswich mulled cider yeast that I love. Tea-like aftertaste gets stuck to the roof of my mouth. Mouthfeel is dissapointingly thin like semi-flat ginger ale.

via duffextracold

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Photo of duffextracold
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark brown color. 1/2" head, fades down to just a ring of bubbles around the edge. leaves lots of lacing on the glass. smells slightly grainy, with a hint of bitter hops, some sweet malt in the background. Tastes great. some chocolate malt, a hint of roasted malt. sweet up front, with plenty of bitter hops to balance it out. body is on the thin side, with medium carbonation. overall drinkability is excellent. i got 2 of these in a variety 12 pack, and wish there were more.

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Photo of GbVDave
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Loterbol tulip. Thanks to Ineedabeerhere for the trade and hook-up!

A: Pours a dark, charred-brown color with a creamy light-brown head that leaves a healthy lace sheeting. The carbonation, when visible, is pretty active and does a fine job of feeding the unbreakable ring that's left after the head recedes.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, burnt brown sugar, toasted sourdough bread crust, pan seared dark chocolate, and a bit of grapefruit.

T: Heavily roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and tangy dark fruit mix it up with flavors of toasted bread crust, sour grains, chalky carob chips, grapefruit, blackened brown sugar/molassas, and white pepper.

M: Dry and tangy. Fruity with a nicely dry roastiness. A bit of chalk and pepper, as well. Finish alternates between tangy fruit, bittersweet chocolate, and spicy pepper. Oily and resinous.

D: Relatively sessionable. I liked the peppery dryness as well as the fruity tang and chocolate-y remnants.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- A very dark cloudy brown beer which cant even be seen through as it is so dark, Carbonation can be seen along the side of glass and traveling up to a tan medium to thin head,

Smell- Caramel and definite malts first is off the nose at first, slight hops which seem faint but there, maybe even slight milk chocolate smell, something i really like from the smell here

Taste- A malty beer flavor comes at first but then a slight bitterness or hops come to you, a tad of the caramel and chocolate on the nose, A good balance between hop bitterness and malt sweetness, big flavor and long finish, maybe only complaint would be slightly more bitter that i would have expected

Mouthfeel-- Id best describe it as smooth and full bodied

Drinkabilty- Not sure this is one I would drink more then one of two in a session but a pretty good beer that I would visit again as a time to time brew, cant really knock this beer seems to scream high quality with big flavor

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Photo of tugdriver7
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked-up the Ipswich variety pack (Trad Ale, Dark Ale, IPA, and Oatmeal Stout) at "Thrifty Dutch" in Hanover PA. The bad news is that, when you find something "on the road" that you like, it's frustrating when you can't get it locally. The good news is that this is probably the best "mix" pack I've ever selected "blindly" (e.g., without reading BA first). Amazing quality.

The Dark Ale pours rich and brown and cloudy in the glass, with a nice head of foam that dissipates quickly and leaves lather-like lacing all the way down. The smell is instantly toasted malt in the nose with a very pleasant fruity hops that subtley balances the whole. Taste is far more complex than I thought--a mix of the aforementioned malt and hops (fruity and piney... more than expected but extremely welcome in the flavor matrix) with a touch of malty sweetness that, along with the subtle carbonation and rich body, renders this one a beer you can't easily put down (on the table that is). It's fantastic. Easily as good as any brown I've ever tried.

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Photo of Nipitato
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a six pack at Marty's in Newton, MA.

A: Very dark brown hue. Clear. ruby highlights. Ringed off white head.

S: Sweet with lots of caramel and biscuit character. There is also some yeast derived fruitiness.

T: Malt is toasted (almost burnt toast) and chocolate. Quite bitter. The bitterness carries throughout. Hop flavor is somewhat citrusy.

MF: Dry. Moderate mouthfeel. Lightly carbonated.

D, notes: Bitterness kind of gets in the way of drinkability on this one. i don't feel that the malt is round or full enough to balance appropriately.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle as part of a mixed 12pack from Market Basket. Pours a dark brown almost black almost opaque body with a half inch of off-white head. Citrussy grassy hops dominate the aroma - odd and unexpected. Chocolate and coffee malts share the flavor almost equally with citrussy grassy hops. As the beer is consumed, a sweet chocolate coffee, toffee character comes through more than anything, more pleasing. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. A flavorful drinkable beer. Nothing really wrong with it - the hoppiness is a little more than I like in a brown. But a solid well-crafted beer nonetheless.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep brown with ruby hues and a decent frothy head that slowly dissipated down the pint.

Dark roasted malt and a whiff of hop leaf here. Some scant sugars that add to the overall aroma are a nice touch.

Nice complexities. Dark dried fruit flavors, with some sweetness, but not alot. Kinda that deep flavor you get from a dried fig, but less sugary. Earthy notes are what I get -- that brown bread or pumpernickel toast element, with a bit of hop bite.

Nice carbonation dancing on the tongue. A little alcohol warmth peeks through too. Surprisingly drinkable and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of sethmeister
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle no freshness date.

Pours a dark chestnut brown which shines red in the light. Foamy light tan head leaves wisps of fluffy lace.

Scent is bread, molasses, and leafy hops.

Taste is roasted malt, chocolate malt, and a touch of caramel. There's a very light sweetness (molasses?) and a hearty wheat bread and burnt bread crust flavor. Satisfying hop note and a subtle lingering bitterness. Citrus hops peek out at the end.

Mouth is medium with a nice bitter astringency.

Drinkability is very good.

Enjoyed this and would definitely buy it again.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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 horshack7
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It pours brown that is amber red around the edges.
Along with a light foamy tan head that lasts a short time.

Aromas: Hints of dark roasted malts. Subtle hints of hops lightly roasted.

Taste: At palate impact it starts off a little crisp the smooths out. It's full bodied as the roasted malts gracefully roam around. The hop bitterness for this is a little on the dried fruit side but the is a balance to it.

Notes: This one is a very flavorful American Brown a lot less sweeter than it's English counterpart that's for certain. It is certainly a tasty beer all around. Cheers

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to JoeCeez for shring this.

A - Deep brown with very little tan head that fades immediately.

S - Caramel and roasty malts, fresh bread, molasses and a hint of hops.

T - Caramel and roasty malts, nutty with a hint of chocolate, soft burnt toast that lingers into a hoppy dry finish.

M - Light and slightly creamy. A little lighter than most browns but not really a bad thing. Dry, roasty lingering finish.

D - A tasty Brown. I like the chocolate, roasty hints in a brown ale. This one could easily be a regular if it was available here.

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Photo of gford217
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark, dark brown with a small, short-lived head that left a ring and very little lacing. Roasted chocolate malts dominate the aroma with a hint of hops and molasses. Taste is sweet malts as well but less chocolate than the aroma indicated. The hops also make their presence felt in the finish with a slight dry bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lot of carbonation that tingles the tongue nicely. This is a very good brown ale and highly recommended.

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Photo of jwc215
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
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 TheManiacalOne
3.42/5  rDev -12.1%
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 DavidSeanNJ
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-Tap served into a pint glass...

A- Dark brown "is that black?" liquid...thin head, not much lace. Not your typical looking brown ale.

S- Smell was roasty and malty with hints of nut and dark coffee beans.

T- Taste was full of character. Lots of roasted flavors, some dark chocolate and molasses, some hop punch, but tended to stray on the malty side.

M- Interesting- somewhat thin for a full flavored brown ale- easy going down, not heavy.

D- A sessionable brown ale. Good stuff, but wasn't BLOWN away.

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Ipswich Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
3.89 out of 5 based on 219 ratings.
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