Black Phoenix (Chipotle Coffee Ale) | Bootlegger's Brewery

very good
118 Reviews
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Black Phoenix (Chipotle Coffee Ale)Black Phoenix (Chipotle Coffee Ale)

Brewed by:
Bootlegger's Brewery
California, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Stout brewed with coffee and chipotle peppers.

Added by DoubleJ on 04-12-2009

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Reviews: 118 | Ratings: 307
Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Chambord shaped pint glass.

Big thanks to jodan for this LIFed bottle!

The post-fantasy football draft party continues here. This stuff pours a garnet-highlighted black-brown topped by a finger of dirty tan foam. The nose comprises light coffee, hickory smoke, roasted malts, light dark chocolate, and a rather light twinge of hot pepper in the background. I'm not entirely certain how much the power of suggestion was at work here, but I could swear the pepper was back there. The taste holds notes of mild smoke, roasted malts, watered-down coffee, and a larger bit of pepper in the back. With every drink, the pepper seems to grow more powerful, similar to the effect found in Hunahpu's (just with different flavors surrounding it). It makes for an interesting taste experience, believe you me. Unfortunately, the ancillary flavors are all kinda weak, save for the roasted malts. The body is a straight medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a slightly watery feel. Overall, a rather enjoyable brew. I was hoping for something a bit thicker and more full-bodied, but it wasn't too big a deal here. I'd also been worried that the pepper had faded (seemed to be the recent review consensus), but instead it seemed the coffee had faded, though this allowed for a nice cumulative pepper effect. I'd say this brew was a success regardless, just not a monstrous one.

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Photo of eclipse54
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 22 ounce bottle from barfdiggs; thanks Ward! Poured into a Deschutes tulip glass.

Dark brown with about a centimeter of light brown head that quickly fades away to a ring around the edge of the glass. Certainly not bad looking as it rests in the tulip glass, but not exceptional either. Smells of fresh coffee, very subtle chili, a touch of chocolate, faint caramel, and some grassy hops. Taste is a little bigger than the nose, with some roasted coffee notes up front, roasted chocolate malt, caramel, lighter hops in the middle, and a mild chili flavor in the very end. For some reason, it makes me think of poblano peppers instead of chipotle, which seems a bit odd even to me, but it works alright. Mouth is a bit watery in between bursts of flavor, feels a bit under-carbonated, and finishes quite dry and sticky. Overall, a rather average coffee stout. The addition of the pepper mixes it up a bit, but really doesn't add much value to the beer for me. I'm certainly glad to have tried it, but I wouldn't actively seek it again.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can't remember who gave me this - it was either Chris (spycow) or t0rin0. Anyways, served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - Quick-dissolving tan foam settles to a thick collar, leaving some wisps on top but minimal lacework. Dark brown body with some reddish notes.

S - Coffee, smoke, mild peppery spice, chocolate. Seems kind of faded.

T - Again, tastes a bit stale - a bit of papery oxidation, stale coffee grounds, mild chocolate, sugar and malt. not much in the way of the advertised chipotles.

M - Somewhat thin, dry, roasty, with zesty carbonation. Thankfully not alcohol present, but not chili heat either.

D - Not sure how old this bottle was - I've know Chris and Bobby for about a year, so I haven't had this bottle for more than a few months. Hopefully I'll get to try this fresh and it's a significant improvement. However, Bootlegger's could using some bottle dating. Coffee and pepper flavors seemed to fall out rather quickly in this beer.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a Port Brewing pint glass...

A - Pours a deep brown with mahogany hues and a two finger tan head on a passive pour. Head dissipates fairly quick and there is not much lace to be had...

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts and a hint of pepper...

T - Chocolate, coffee and a hint of caramel. Ends on roasted malt note with a slight pepper presence. Pepper is really subdued. Abv is well hidden, and there is next to no heat from the pepper...

M - Pretty thin for a stout. On the lower side of being medium bodied with a good amount carbonation...

O - Good brew, but I was hoping for more of a pepper kick. While I still enjoyed this, it's nothing that's going to be in my regular rotation. Would be interested to try the imperial version...


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Photo of DoctorDog
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 1 pint 6 oz. bottle into a nonic.

A- Essentially black, and nearly opaque in appearance. Pours with ~2 fingers of light brown head, which fades to a thin cap. Excellent retention. A sheet of sticky lacing.

S- Roasty coffee and baker's chocolate. A nice smoky note.

T- Coffee...dark chocolate...roasty malts...smoky, with a hint of chipotle on the finish.

M- Moderate carbonation, medium-light feel.

O- Good. This is a "straight 4" beer....pretty good on all fronts.

Future outlook: Enjoyed this for-me-one-off that I drug back from Cali....doesn't make it out here though, so unlikely to encounter again.

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Photo of Cavery
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml shared with Klym, poured into Stone Nonics.

A: Black with a bit of brown give to it. Sandy brown bubbles sit very lightly over the beer, and move quite violently. Honestly this looks a bit watery, even perhaps a bit light for a porter; let alone a stout. However I can't remember the last time I had a non-imperial stout, so I'll give it points for color. Not bad looking at all, the body just looks a bit suspect.

S: Real pronounced smokey chipotle and adobo with a coffee roast background. Very nice upfront nose that goes into chocolate brownie crusts and coffee cakes. A lot of median flavors are created between the chipotle and coffee. Winner winner chicken dinner, this smell matches the label. However, this is really smelling like coffee with pinches of chipotle.

T: This tastes like a coffee with chipotle creamer. This chiles come off so lightly, and give off absolutely zero heat. However, their lightly smokey presence is unmistakeable. The coffee beans and peppers are married together harmoniously. Chile infused dark chocolates are dropped into the coffee. Very good flavor, but I am missing the heat. The sweet smoke does a lot for me here, but it's more or less a saving point in the beer rather than a detail among many great flavor characteristics. Good, but I'm left wishing for better.

M: The mouth is quite creamy despite incredibly rapidly dissipating bubbles. There is a bit of staying power in the carbonation that at least allows for the peppers to take over in their smokey sweetness. Once you get all that coffee flavor coating your mouth, the body is much more better perceived. The body is medium-light with a saving point of creaminess.

O: This beer is really on the edge of quite good and just good for me. The smell would be a lot weaker if it wasn't for that smokiness, but the chipotle in that smokiness is a hard note to pick out. Furthermore, the taste is a bit tame considering the ingredients. The chocolate and coffee is there, but the chipotle is done with a pretty light hand. Lastly, the body is saved by the creamy sensation of smokey adobo. This is a good beer with a lot of saving graces in each category. Definitely worth trying, and I think Bootleggers have a decent starting recipe to a much better beer.

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Photo of Klym
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: What can I say, a healthy stout look. Black (browner on some parts), solid browned head with lacing that slides off at a medium pace.

S: Coffee, chocolate, chipotle. At first I hardly even got any chocolate but as it warmed up it really came up powerfully in the nose and mouth. Honestly, smells a bit watery but we'll see.

T: Again, coffee, chocolate, chipotle. Pretty simple and straight forward taste. I honestly got more chipotle character as it was colder and less as it warmed up. The flavors run together simultaneously instead of being broken up into a sequence of transitions. It actually surprises me how well chipotle and coffee run together but they do quite well, and chocolate goes with both so it's an easy mix in. As this continues to warm I just have to repeat it, tons of chocolate in this.

M: More carbonated and more creamy than I expected from the nose, but still not as much as I'd really like. I think an imperial version of this would do well, as I think a thick and creamy body would really serve the flavors better than a medium body with medium carbonation. It's certainly not horrid though and it's probably just the result of trying to keep this a single stout, which is a fair effort.

O: Definitely not a bad beer. Good mix of flavors, but I think it was a little simplistic and straightforward, and underplayed it's most interesting ingredient: chipotle. Worth picking up if you like the aforementioned flavors; not worth picking up if you're looking for an intense pepper experience or just something complex and new. Hats off to bootlegger's, though, as everything I've had from them so far has at least been good.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Black with red rings around the edges. 1/2 inch tan head with little retention and little lace

Smell: Coffee and bitter chocolate rule the nose on this one. If you really search for it you can pick up a hint of the peppers

Taste: Coffee again is the front runner here. It has a lot of bitter chocolate going on as well. A hint of brown sugar and just a pinch of spice from the chipotles

Mouthfeel: medium body with a medium carbonation level. Slight amount of heat from the peppers and a slightly dry finish

Overall: I really really really like this beer as I am writing this I actually just cracked another one I like it so much. The peppers are noticeable but are very well balanced. The coffee and chocolate notes really give this beer a great flavor.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Pours a deep black with a tan head that dissapated to a thin ring. Very little lacing.

Aroma is the best part. Lots of stouty goodness with a bit of coffee. Smells like a good chocolate mocha actually. Smells great.

Taste falls short a bit. It's just kinda stouty and chocolaty. Can't really taste the chipotle. And it's lacking flavor and busy in the finish. It doesn't taste bad it's just plain for what it's claiming to be.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for a stout of this kind. Nice carb.

Overall an ok beer. Not bad. Worth a try. Might have it again

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Photo of jefferz5000
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

FINALLY opened this baby up. Picked it up a while back on a trip to CA.

Pours a deep brown with hints of ruby. It's clear. Small light tan fizzy head works itself up, then fades rather quickly to absolutely nothing, as if it's just too exhausted to maintain some bubbles.

Aroma is nice though. The coffee is pretty strong smelling and I'm digging it. Some nice smooth roast going on here.

The taste is pretty clean, with lots of coffee that has held up surprisingly well, for not being a very "big" beer. It's a lot smoother than some other coffee beers I've had, and I'm impressed. The chipotle takes time to build up. If you were to only have a sip or two, you would never guess it's even in there. That could have something to do with this bottle's lack of freshness.

Mouthfeel is decent. It's a bit thin for my liking. Lively carbonation, but not overdone. The beer almost needs it, unless it were to have a bit more body.

Overall, I like this beer and think it's a very tasty stout. Like I said before, the coffee in this is better than some I've had before. It seems to be very well integrated. The chipotle adds a weird angle, once you have a glass or two and start to realize it's there. Enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Brez07
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle courtesy of callmemickey. Poured into a MBC glass

A: As I pour, it seems as this beer is a bit thin. Brown with lots of amber. Sits in the glass a dark brown, topped by a 1/2 finger sand colored head. Did not get much lacing or retention

S: Mostly milk chocolate. Some coffee and roasted malt. Lacking in this category. Zero trace of pepper

T: Definitely has a lot of coffee flavor, but thin overall. Very small touch of spice/heat from the chipotle. Brief caramel sweetness in the middle, followed closely by a slight bitterness. Somewhat of a letdown. Where is the heat?

M: Thin for the style. Too much carbonation for the style. Light roast/coffee aftertaste

D: Overall, not what I was expecting after reading the description. Fails to deliver on the promise of chipotle. Coffee was decent but couldn't carry this beer on it's own

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch dark khaki head that fades to a thin cap. Random spots of lacing form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee beans, and a smokiness from the chipotle. Taste is just like the smell with a nice roasty pepper taste that lingers after each sip. This beer has a pretty good level of carbonation with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. The body on this beer is somewhat light for a stout though. Overall, this is a good stout and I really like the smoked chipotle aroma and flavor found in this beer.

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Photo of BrewerB
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A large medium tan headed formed atop the pitch black body. Good retention. Aroma includes smoky bqq, coffee, dark chocolate and heavy focus on the roasted malts. Dark chocolate, earthy. Clean ferrmentation. Non-threatening, moderate level of bitterness. Carbonation level seems slightly high, medium-bodied.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra in a trade recently from Andrew I think, at the time of this review it is the #2 chile beer on beeradvocate best of lists. Thanks!

Beer is a dishwater brown, really hazy with a lazy head, no lacing moderate carbonation, not the most attractive beer I've ever seen.

Aroma is roasty, coffee, with hints of smoke and mild chiles. Smells decent.

Beer is medium in body and pretty bitter at the back, lots of roasted coffee coming up in this one overall. The beer has this mildly dry finish and on that desert of a palate remains this slight smoky heat. Interesting. The chili flavor comes out the more I drink it, the stronger it gets but it never get overwhelming. It is just resting there, in the background popping up to remind you, "This isn't a porter it is a chile beer" -- I don't think I'd have it again but I did enjoy it.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Extremely dark brown, not much head, just a tan ring around the edges.

S - Sweet malt, roasty malt and slight smokiness. Coffee is more like mocha choc milk smell.

T - Thin on the malt, bitter and some coffee at finish, slight taste of chili WAY after, but not much.

M - Light bodied, good carb, not much to balance.

D - Fun to try.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber courtesy of CaptinRedBeard, drank back in November. Pours a black color with a tan head. Bubbly lace and retention average at best.

Nose is mocha coffee, lots of cocoa and some milk chocolate. Little bit of raspberry fruitiness, but I did not get any chipotle.

Taste is bittersweet chocolate and some decent coffee roastiness. The chipotle addition is more of a light smoke/ash presence as opposed to spicy pepperiness, which is fine by me as I typically have not enjoyed any of the other beers I have had with chipotle. Mouthfeel is less than full, but enough and certainly not thin. Good beer, wasnt sure what to expect but it is a very nice little coffee stout here. Makes me want to try some more offerings from Bootlegger's. Nice and low ABV makes it that much more enjoyable.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, courtesty of DearthVader from the Hotter than Hot BIF, an extra that fit well with the theme. Poured into a snifter.

A: Opaque dark brown body, borderline black, with a small tan head. The retention was quite good, holding onto a nice ring throughout, but the lacing was almost non-existent. Pretty good for a stout but I want it thicker, darker and creamier in general.

S: Baker's chocolate, roasted breakfast blend coffee beans, black pepper flakes and a bit of roasted spice from the chipotles used in the brewing, but not much.

T: Chocolate cake starts things off, backed by black coffee and finishing with a really wonderful lingering spice from the peppers. They don't impart, in my opinion, much to the flavor profile but it was an interesting sensation to have that burn in the back of your throat from the pepper oils. Really diverse flavors that play extremely well with each other.

M: A little thin to be calling this a 'stout' as the bottle claims, though all other characteristics make it so. A nice bit of carbonation here probably is leading to this thinner feeling.

This is most certainly reminiscent of a stout, like Bootlegger's claims, however classifying this as a Chile Beer here is wrong, IMO. Nonetheless, this is probably the best example I've seen of how to properly use chipotle peppers in a beer. They should not be the focus, instead blended with other flavors that will play well off each other -- something Bootlegger's has done.

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Photo of mactrail
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stark black beer with a faint pepper burn.

Black as a bad bone. Not much head. General impression is kind of harsh and sharp. Heavy on the hops. I don't taste much in the way of peppers, but the aftertaste has a slight burn to it. Grainy malt flavors along with raw vegetables, like a touch a brussels sprouts. Some body but not any richness.

Drank most of a tulip glass at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach, San Diego.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have had this one about three times now, mostly recently this past Saturday at home.

A: The beer pours a rich near black, but is more a dark brown. A small half to quarter inch of tan colored head rose, and settled to a ring of bubbles, leaving light lacing.

S: Scents of dark chocolate, coffee, nice mild smoke, chili, roasted malt and mild vanilla round out the aroma's. Chili's pretty mild though.

T: Roasty, malty, coffee, chocolate, mild chipotle chili pepper, pretty much in that order to me sip after sip. Alcohol is just right. Spice is a nice blend with the other flavors, not overly spicy, like say a habanero infused beer.

M: Medium carbonated, light mouth, but smooth.

O: Slightly above average. It's a bit mild on the chipotle side, but it's still there, and in that regard, a good intro for the Chile beer style, imho. Still pretty solid, and I've enjoyed it when I've had it. So far, it's been my favorite offering from Bootleggers.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.17/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber poured into a New Belgium globe glass. Pours a deep brown/black in color with a light mocha cap. Retention is a bit brief yet holds a surface film and drops some lace. Rather glassy in the end.

Nose of chocolate, cocoa and some peppered coffee. To call this a chile beer is a bit of a stretch though. Roasted malt dominates while any pepper notes are subtle and smoky in nature and well integrated.

Flavor continues upon the coffee parade and offers a lingering hint of dry chocolate. Pepper spice notes are absent in the flavor realm.

Overall a light and chocolatey stout, moderate on the coffee and light on the spice.

Viewed as a Sweet Stout vs. this Chile nonsense...Yet still quite marginal overall. Bottom line, yet another overpriced wannabe. Check please...

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Photo of TheDudeRules
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Thanks for the hookup Brendan.

Pours a dark muddy brown with a tannish one finger head into my Darkness snifter. Lacing remains.

Coffee and chocolate notes prevail. Pepper is evident with a touch of dark fruit on the backend. A peculiar combination.

The taste is definitely a combo of chocolate and coffee. You can feel the pepper finish off the sip in the back of your throat. It is a welcome sensation. The heat isn't overpowering but it is definitely there. As the beer warmed in my glass everything became more prominent. My only knock is the mouthfeel. It is a little too thin. I would like something chewier.

This was an exceptional surprise. I was expecting to have just another tick but this beer is actually quite good. I would gladly drink another.

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Photo of joepais
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I feel lucky I got this brew in a BIF then the guy decided to stop shipping brew out on his other commitments’. So here is to all you guys who got the short in of the stick. I hope the senders brews the sender got all were infected and drain pours. I split this glass with friends and poured into snifters we were greeted with big old tan head that didn’t quit, on top of a black bodied brew.
The aroma of rich dark coffee dominates this brew with a slight chipotle coming up in the back end. In the taste department you get a lot of coffee at first. I think if this was marketed as a coffee brew alone it would be fantastic but the chili pepper is under done a bit. There was some but I really had to think about it to pick it out. I think it just needs a touch more chili the concept was great but it didn’t quite come thru for me.

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Photo of jamex
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Piad $5.99 for a 650ml.

Pours a very dark rust with a head that fades in about a minute.

Smells like a porter with a few muted coffee notes and peppers. Tastes decent but the chipotle part isn't really doing it for me; I'm almost getting an ashtray taste hiding behind the peppers. I still drank the bottle, but not sure I'd get this one again.

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Photo of koopa
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a Sam Adam's Laser etched glass.

Appearance: Pours an attractive dark brown with a nice 1 finger khaki crown...quite quiness like. Moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Coffee and a we bit of chipotle chili.

Taste: Same as the nose but more bite. Pretty nice actually.

Mouthfeel: A touch thin for my liking but not terrible. Definitely on the heavy side of light bodied.

Overall: A decent chipotle brew.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a nice dark chocolate brown with a solid two-finger buff head that slowly fades leaving nice web-like lacing.

aroma of roasted malt, hints of burnt coffee, smokiness, and a touch of milk. a mild herbal hop note and more earthy roastiness. not bad.

taste is interesting. chocolate, coffee and roasted malt evenly intermingle somewhat subtly, with a hint of pepper intermingling here and there. smooth, relatively mild, both in the coffee and the pepper. The coffee adds more earthy roastiness than normal coffee, which works nicely.

mouth is smooth, moderate, and well suited to the flavors goin' on here. A touch drying in the finish, which helps accentuate the roast, smoke, and bite of pepper.

smooth, mellow, yet just enough character to keep me interested. I could see myself drinking a few more of these easily.

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Black Phoenix (Chipotle Coffee Ale) from Bootlegger's Brewery
3.77 out of 5 based on 307 ratings.
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