Ipswich Dark Ale | Ipswich Ale Brewery

very good
151 Reviews
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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Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 219
Photo of Duhast500
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

The color is a dark maroon to black with a slight finger of foamy off-white head and some nice lacing left on the glass.

The smell is roasty with some dark malt aroma and some brown sugar coming out a bit in the nose.

The taste is is velvety with some lightly placed milky flavor that goes into a brown sugar flavor. Some bitterness comes out toward the end then is melted back into a cocoa flavor that drops at the end.

There is a good sized feel to this beer. There is just enough of a grip that it doesn't get away but is really complex at the same time. A little over what I would call a session beer this classified as a brown ale and still has a roast flavor like a good porter. This one has teeth.

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Photo of BlackBearForge
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ipswich Dark Ale pours a nice brown touched with amber color, a tad murky with a nice tan head that falls quickly leaving oily lacing that does not stick around.

The aroma has a nice chocolate malt vibe with a caramel under pining laced with a bit of earthy grassy hop character.

The flavor is all about the dark chocolate malts, dark toasted bread drizzled with caramel backed up with a substantial amount of what tastes like English style hops. There is a pleasant balance between the semi sweet nature of the malts and an impressive bitterness on the finish that makes this beer very drinkable.

The mouthfeel is medium, smooth and slick. There is a nice creaminess as well from the understated but very appropriate carbonation.

I've only had one other beer by Mercury Brewing and that's the Ipswich IPA which for a few weeks was my favorite IPA. An aquaintance mentioned he liked the Dark Ale better so I gave it a try, I do believe he may be right!

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Photo of ms11781
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a cloudy, deep brown color with a 2 finger tan head that reduces and leaves a 1/2 finger head. Decent foamy lacing left on the glass.

Nose is well balanced. Seems to be almost equal parts piny hops aromas to go along with a very pleasant roasted malt aroma. Hops hit first and ride along a nice roasted malt backbone.

The taste is just as balanced and pleasing as the nose. There is a huge roasted malt flavored bookended by two great hop flavors. Starts with a quick burst of piny hops that set the table for a considerable roasted malt flavor. Finishes with a lingering, resiny bitterness. Much hoppier than expected, almost blurring the lines between brown ale and well-balanced black IPA.

Has a medium body with medium carbonation. Crisp mouthfeel for a beer of the style. A lingering, sticky bitterness at the finish.

Very drinkable brown ale. Not too heavy, not too light. Not really all that complex, but definitely some simple flavors done extremely well.

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

Consumed 1/8
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a ruddy, brownish color. A one finger of white head sits on top, recedes at a moderate pace and leaves spider webbed wisps of lacing.

S: Nose is raisin, plum, and caramel.

T: Taste is sweet upfront, raisin, cherry mixed with molasses. Middle is filled with a toastiness and nuttiness. Finish has a mild piney hop bite.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, rather oily on the tongue.

D: Goes down easily, quite tasty, mild kick, slightly off for the style. Though it is off for the style, I found this to be a fantastic beer that I would easily sit with for a night.

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Photo of tzieser
3.52/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a much darker than expected brown color with a thin head that settles pretty quick leaving a lacing around the glass. i was hoping for a better head.

interesting aroma. was expecting something on the maltier side but instead i get a piney, floral hop character. not bad necessarily, just not what i was expecting. malts were still there though, just not as rich as i hoped.

pretty good flavor. again, this was hoppier (for a brown ale) than i expected but as i sipped more i began to get used to it. a little sweet up front, with some chocolate malt (possibly caramel) quickly followed by some bitter hops (east kent goldings most likely). at first i thought this was a bit too hop forward for a brown ale, but the more i sipped the more i grew comfortable with it. solid ale.

average mouthfeel; average drinkability;

a good "dark ale", but not something i'll be picking up again. i'm happy with the 2 i got in my mixed 12.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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 Doomcifer
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with great head and lacing. Smells of citrus hops, brown sugar, roasted malts. Maybe a touch of lemon zest. Tastes up front of roasted malts, toasted grains, brown sugar, and finishes with a very big citrus hop kick. Very aggressively hopped brown ale. Delicious....dry, astringent finish. Good carbonation. This is one of the very few brown ales that I really enjoy.

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Photo of robwestcott
3.27/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

thanks to ahelm for this extra.

poured cold from the bottle a murky dark amber / brown to a dogfish head '08 shaped pint with a wisp of a short lasting off white / tan head.

aroma of toasted brown sugars and sweet dark molasses and hot maple syrup.

hmmm... not a very agreeable first few sips, however, it may be from a tired palate following a pretty things black ale / that said, this one's not tasting anything close to the fairly agreeable nose. a bit bitter, a bit sour even, with an acidic dirty hoppy bite.

medium carbonation, thin-ish, light bodied, strangely bitter for a brown ale.

drinkability - yeah, but I'd not have another.

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Photo of Wamesit
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark hazy orange/amber. Thick head that retains fairly well. Lacing is strong.

S- Some citrus hops in there. Mainly a dark, sweet (but bready) malt.

T- Gorgeous. Hints of coffee underlie the rich caramel malts. Citrus hops find there way into the flavor by way of a bitter and dry finish.

M- Big. Smooth yet with solid carbonation.

D- All day. The mouthfeel is big but so smooth; the flavors so balanced that one could easily continue on with a few of these and enjoy every sip.

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Photo of gfreed
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At first I wasn't so sure about this beer. After drinking the first bottle of the six-pack, I found it to be too hoppy, somewhat oily, too fizzy and just overly bitter for what I wanted in this style. However, after working my way through the remaining five bottles over the course of a couple of weeks, I've come around.

Clear amber in the glass with an unending stream of small bubbles rising merrily from the foot of the glass. There a citrus pungency in the aroma that is sharp at first but is dulled by caramel from the malt. The body is quite sharp-- sharp and pointy, enough to poke through the spiciest of food, with enough bubbles to inflate a small balloon. Watch out for the belch factor. Tasty, citrusy and while somewhat bitter for a brown ale, it has enough roundness at the end to prevent it from falling over the hoppy cliff that so many other American ales do these days. I drank one bottle while suffering from a mild cold, and it definitely helped clear my congestion.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a standard pint. Poured a deep brown - with minimal light penetration. Ruby highlights are revealed when backlit. Head is two inches, tan-colored and frothy/creamy latte-like in consistency. Head eventually settles into a solid quarter inch dollop - some lacing, but no legs. Nose suggests sweet malts (chocolate and caramel, but not overwhelming in character), a roasty quality and a hint of nuttiness also comes out in the mix. Taste consistent with nose; however, a light lingering hops bitterness comes out at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light, with a lively effervescence and a little bit of residual prickliness at the finish. A pretty solid brown ale, but the hoppy finish slightly detracts from the drinkability in my opinion.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Ro's restaurant pint glass.

A: Poured a dark, murky amber brown color with a frothy, two-finger head of dense, off-white foam which reduced into a fine lace. Head retention was decent and carbonation barely visible.

S: Nice fresh milled grain aroma with hints of oat and hazelnut to go along with fruity, citrusy esters and light, herbal, earthy hops.

T: Flavor is solid and malty up front with a good amount of caramel and dextrose sweetness backed with fruity ale flavors of apple and ripened vine fruit. Balances nicely with a nutty malt balance and some drying, earthy hops to finish the flavor.

M: mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, slightly chewy but very drinkable.

D: A very nice, dark American ale. The 6.3% ABV is not noticeable under the balanced craftsmanship of this brew. Satisfying flavors all around and a good harmony of ingredients as well. Nice work, Mercury!

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

Pours a deep brown with some red shining through. Creamy, off-white/light brown head with good retention and solid lacing. Light coco and hoppy aroma. Big hop profile in this ale. Earthy and citrus hops create a semi-bitter profile. Unsweetened chocolate malt also has a say. Hop dominated despite the malt presence. Medium bodied and a crisp mouthfeel.

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

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.

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Photo of Durge
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this prepackaged at a package store in Wilmington, MA and then had to sit on it a few weeks before I was able to try it for the first time. It seemed to hold up fine showing a thick dark brown color with a good sized tan head and great lacing. The aroma is a nice roasted malt and chocolate pine hops, very deep with hints of swampy smoke. The flavor brings tangy malt and grassy pine hops in a medium bodied brew. It is smooth with very fine carbonation. It feels tingly and a little aqueous but not too bad. Tart and yet mellow caramel-malt, almost kind of light stout-like. A pleasant surprise but not a show stopper. Would gladly drink anytime, copiously, and would buy again. A great deal for the price, as well. Nice job Mercury.

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Photo of mnrider
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle. No freshness date.

A: Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue. Head is creamy and a darker tan, then disappears quickly but leaves a real nice prominent amount of lacing.

S: Aroma is mostly malty. Fruity with a little hop and some grain/breads.

T/M: Very smooth, roasted malts. Hops provide a nice balance and needed hop bite and bitterness. Sweet chocolate can be tasted also. The finish is hopy and dry.

D: Nice Ale. Another great brew from Mercury. Definitely worth drinking again. Not sure why i've never heard of this Brew Company.


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

Poured into a pub glass.

Thick, extra chunky tannish head that leaves nice lacing. This brew pours a very dark brown that has a nice, deep amber hue at the bottom of the class. A very inviting brew...

Smells of deep roasted malty sweetness and a hint of dark earthy hop bitters.

Nice malty sweetness up front with a bitter chocolaty mild espresso-like middle that finishes with a very mild citrus finish.

Velvety smooth and sits nice on the tongue.

I am again very impressed with Ipswich. A mixed case being my first experience with Mercury Brewing, I have to say that I am really getting into this. This brew is a great buy and I am definitely interested in trying more of what they have to offer.

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

Dark, frothy, malty brew, pours dark brown, decent amount of foam, has a slight hint of coffee in the taste, overall a nice brown ale. Smooth, has enough taste to it, a slight bite/sharp finish.

Easy to drink, I would buy it again, nothing over the top or different but an above average brown ale for the price, a nice change up from the usual in its price range. I will put this in the rotation of moderately priced quality brews.

Intrigued enough to try others.

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Photo of EtOHMD
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle without freshness date into a pint glass. Rich thick tan head, several fingers. Lots of sticky lacing. Mahogany color. Very nice appearance. Slightly sweet smell but overall not much aroma. Slightly burnt, bready, caramel taste up front followed by mild hops and dry finish, with ? rye afertaste. Clean crisp feel. Nicely complex without being overwhelming. Happily had 2-3 at a time.

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Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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 Sam21
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 12 oz bottle poured into a 20 oz nonic pint glass. Pours with a strong fluffy two finger head. The body is dark brown with a ruby fringe. The head recedes very slowly leaving a thick wall of lace around the glass. The lace remains as an almost impenetrable wall. It retains a sudsy layer

S- Nose is fruity and all the way through with citrus and floral hops having a presence.

T -There is an initial sweetness that fades immediately to a smoky and hoppy level.

M- Creamy ale that coats the tongue. The perfect amount of carbonation.

D - Very drinkable although I don't know if I'd want to drink this all night. But I would love to finish a night off with this.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
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 morebeergood
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the bottles included in the Yacht Club variety 12 pack. Poured into a standard pint glass. Dark brown color, with a fairly good sized head. Roasted coffee and chocolate smell, though on the faint side. Taste was quite good. There was an earthy and peaty flavor, yet a hint of sweetness at the very end on the palate. Great mouthfeel, as there is plenty of malt here to give this brew a nice body. Maybe not a beer to enjoy a whole six pack of, but an excellent beer to have one or two of on a cold night to sip and enjoy. Flavor really opened up as it warmed up to room temp. A tasteful winter brew.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The chilled 12-ounce longnecked bottle pours a brew that is quite clear and ruddy chestnut in color with a short topping of creamy pale beige foam. The head doesn't hang around very long, but the skim it leaves behind manages to decorate the interior of my SABL shaped pint with drippy wisps of lacing.

The aroma is laced with floral citrus note or two, a touch of toasted grain and a bit of of sweet caramel. As the drink warms, a savory chocolatey character gains purchase in the profile.

The taste is quite in line with the nose-- sweet and a touch chocolatey-- but the flavor profile sports a clean citrus-oil bitterness that squelches the chocolate and lingers on the palate long after the drink.

The drink is medium-bodied with fine carbonation. Highly drinkable.

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

Served on-tap at Bukowski's Tavern (Boston, MA) in clear pint glass for $5.00.

A: Super dark murky brown with 1/2- to 1-finger beige head with average retention and a few lace rings circle the glass.

S: Big malts from much of the spectrum including mainly black, caramel, and chocolate malts. Hops are lightly herbal and woody without much character otherwise.

T: This is a malt-lover's beer with big dark malt flavors that hit notes of caramel, dark roasted, and licorice with an overall woody, walnut-like flavor. Hops are very light and mainly earthy.

M: Medium-to-full bodied with low carbonation and a malty-earthy aftertaste.

D: One of the most earthy, dark brews I've ever had. I enjoyed it because of the range of malt flavors it delivers.

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