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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 219
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
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 Kinsman
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Dark brown, almost no light shining through. Thin but creamy head.

S: Slightly sweet maltiness with a flowery hop presence.

T: Sweet upfront quickly followed by a moderately hoppy finish.

M: Medium-body, good carbonation. Dry finish.

D: Overall pretty easy to drink but a little more hopier than what I expected for a brown ale.

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

Chestnut brown with some translucency and a bit of haze from loose sediment. It had a thin beige cap that showed good head retention and left sticky, spotty lace on the glass. Balanced aroma, caramel and toffee with light tangerine and grapefruit. Medium to low bitterness with light caramel sweetness. Chocolate and cocoa filled out the malt character while grapefruit bitterness lingered in the finish. Medium to light bodied with fine carbonation, light dryness. This was pretty good. It had a pleasant flavour, with hops and malt balanced nicely.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown color with some haze. Nice towering, frothy brown head stays for a while.

S: Roasted and burnt malt with a ripe stone fruit smell. Toffee and sweet cherry. Hops are diminished and faint herbal.

T: Slightly acrid burnt and roasted malts dominate. Slight coffee bitterness. Hops add spice and bitterness. Finishes bitter on the aftertaste.

M: Full body and slightly chewy for a brown ale but not a problem. Dry finish.

D: Pretty hefty brown ale but so tasty. A few would be enough and then move on.

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Photo of Philabeerphia
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a style, Brown Ale is quickly emerging as one of my favorites. I am excited to see how Ipswich's version stacks up.
12oz bottle that has been 'aging' in my fridge for 1+ month, pulled and poured into the cuvee 'bell' tulip.

Velvety and deeply crimson in color. Nearly opaque, topped with a fine crown of khaki head. A tight and appealing looking package, but some of my favorites have more retainage in the head and some richer chocolate colors.
In the nose I am not getting much of anything. A faint whiff of tobacco, citris and cider. Where I am disappointed in the nose, the flavor and mouthfeel are more than splitting the difference. A few notes of bright cherry around the front of the mouth rolls into heavy, sweet tobacco. Sweetness spreads into some cream corn, but quickly deepens and grows a bit bitter with some espresso notes. This is all wrapped up with a dry, smoky finish provided by some hoppiness that intermingles well with the roasted, chocolate grains. Nicely attenuated, and nicely carbonated. Overall a clean, fine beer to drink. If its not hitting on all cylinders, it sure is a good kick.

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Photo of billybob
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

medium to dark brown in color with a short light tan head that fades to just cover the beer and a fair amount of lace that holds well. smokey roasted malt aroma. smokey bitter coffee, has a burnt taste to it leaving a fingering after taste, bitter chocolate. don't like anything with a smokey taste so i will pass on this one.

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Photo of VTaler
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark Orange Color with very little head
S - Kinda fruity, Mango or pineapple. Citrus
T - Tastes like mango and orange with a malty bite. A little sour. Bitter but not very floral hop presence. Has a roasted barley taste. Overall a sweet fruity beer but not a chick beer. The fruitiness is subtle enough to make it socially acceptable to drink.
M - Good carbonation
D - Somewhat drinkable. I think I could have a few of these

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