BIG HAPI India Black Ale | Lawson's Finest Liquids

very good
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BIG HAPI India Black AleBIG HAPI India Black Ale

Brewed by:
Lawson's Finest Liquids
Vermont, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This dark and devious brew reflects a resinous and sticky fusion of intense bitterness, big roasted barley flavors, and powerful dank aromas. Made with HUGE additions of five hop varieties and seven malts to create a bold flavor profile.

Added by ClockworkOrange on 02-06-2009

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Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 204
Photo of scotorum
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Yet another prize from my beer trading buddy BigStein88. My first bottle of Lawson's, although I had Double Sunshine and one of Lawson's maple brews on draft at The Pig in Waterbury last summer.

Hope I'm posting in the right page, mine is called "Big Hoppy" and has a green hoppy smiley face in the middle of the label.

a: Pitch black with the barest hints of clear ruby when held to light. Enormous four inch milk chocolate brown head receded slowly to heavy rocky surface foam and dense patterned lacing.

s: Citrus with some strength.

t: Silky smoothness is the first impression, followed by a smoky roasty flavor accompanied by hop bitterness. Bitterness builds on the tongue and becomes a bit harsh at first, later mellowing to include a slight and appealing cedar woodiness and then some dark chocolate and cold black coffee roast.

m: Light to moderate, rather lighter than anticipated at first given its dense blackness. Silky silky smooth mouthfeel remains a prominent feature of the drinking experience.

o: High marks for mouthfeel, strength of roasty flavor and hop bitterness. Because it bears the same name as an established favorite of mine, Cambridge House's Big Hoppy (which is a DIPA, not a Black Ale), comparisons for me are suggested. But tastewise they are different brewnimals. Otherwise, Lawson's wins for mouthfeel, they are about tied for hop bite.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber into tulip. mailed fresh from VT.

A: pours a deep, dark brown. head is very brown and bubbly. voluminous. great retention. even better lacing.

S: cigar, ash. tobacco, roast. a mild pine and citrus tries to battle with the stronger roasty, stout-like aromas. aroma doesn't dissipate. very intense.

T: flavor starts big. roasty and pretty hoppy. a burnt pine flavor. theres actually a nice fruitiness in the middle. hard to nail exactly what it is though. similar to the nose a really delicious burnt stout flavor a very dry roast finishes off the drink. an earthy chalky bitterness.

M: smooth carb. very full body.

D: a pretty good stab at a style that is hard to nab. I wish there was a little bit more hop character, but that is tough with this big of a back body. a really nice brew. it could go up a notch by taking a little off the dark malt and bumping up the late hop additions.

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Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Kyle for sharing.

A - Poured into a tulip a nice dark almost black hue with a nice half finger mocha head that fades to a nice thin blanket.

S - Aromas of super dank resinous hops, grapefruit, pine, chocolate. Nice.

T - Taste is incredibly hoppy, loads of wet, dank, resinous pine with some very bitter grapefruit finish. The malts assess suppressed nicely, good chocolate.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, great bitter finish.

O - Overall this beer was mighty tasty, Loads of hops.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomb into an oversized snifter glass.
Pours very, very dark almost black with a very generous 2 finger head, dark khaki and so thick and creamy it looked like a dessert. The head lasted forever with nice lacing. Sick!
Smell was hoppy, roasty. Exactly what I was expecting from the black IPA.
Taste was much more hop forward and less bitter than I experienced with Toast, Lawson's other black IPA. Very roasty, but in very nice balance with the hop-forward characteristics.
Mouthfeel was nice, not much bitterness on the palate after each sip.
Overall, a very nice black IPA.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lawson's Finest Liquids - BIG HAPI India Black Ale, poured into a Fiddlehead snifter.

Look - Pours a dark black with an inch sized soapy head that dissipates quickly but leaves an abundance of lacing.

Smell - Dark malts with lop hop profile. Mostly smoked malts, some dark fruits.

Taste - Roasted malts for sure with some piney hops on top. Finishes a mix of roast and piney hops but charred. The char character calms down as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - Not boozy in the least bit. Light-medium body with moderate carbonation. Doesn't rest overly charred.

Overall - Solid black IPA that improves as it warms. Not my favorite but solid nonetheless.

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Photo of Hendry
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Opaque black,small tan head dissipates quickly,average lacing.

Aroma is coffee-like with a roasted vibe,hops and malt,nice.

The first couple of sips tasted charred and super roasty, which was a letdown initially, however the next few sips (particularly upon warming) drew me in and won me over.
I can't say there has ever been an ale that started off tasting so obtuse that quickly became palatable and savory.This is a hopped up black ale Sean Lawson style.

Mouthfeel is medium, flavors coat the palate solidly.

I prefer LFL Toast a touch more than Big Hapi, but this is a solid effort and worth trying.

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Photo of stakem
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bomber poured into a matching Lawsons snifter. The brew appears black in color with a dark khaki head. Some spotty and patchy lacework stick to the glass and a swirl effortlessly revives a long lasting cap.

The smell is quite vegetative. Very dank and catty that is herbacious with pine and roast. Some sulfur pokes through with a swirl but this is one dank bugger, very herbal with little hop restraint.

The taste is bitter and roasty like coffee and earth. Some vegetative quality like the aroma suggested along with a pine-like resinous feel with plenty of hop flavors of herbs catty piss, grassy and more vegetative quality. Lots of pine resin emerges as it warms with a rough acrid bite of roast and alcohol.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. Big bitterness seemingly coming from the roast of the grain as well as hops but with hops going a little overboard. I could see fans of the style really going bonkers for this but I think it was a bit rough and over the top.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks for the bottle Eric!

(A)- Pours just about pitch black in color. Some good tan froth and lacing formed.

(S)- A great blast of juicy citrus meets a mellow roasted malt component. Lime and orange citrus with the underlying sweet roasted malts is definitely inviting.

(T)- Tons of pine meets a subtle citrus and roasted components. TONS of pine.

(M)- Its quite bitter with all of the pine in there (was chinook used?). Otherwise its fairly well balanced. Easily the most hoppy black IPA I have had.

(O)- If the pine was toned down just a bit and the citrus opened up more, this would be just killer, but yeah, holy pine batman!

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Kyle for this one. This has actually been re-branded Big Hoppy instead of Big Hapi (I get the reference. 22oz foiled and capped bomber into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter.

Pours a slowly cascading 2 finger light mocha colored head with good retention. Beer is pitch black but thin. Lacing is thick and web-like with excellent stick. A real nice looking brew!

Nose is exactly like you'd expect. Roast, dark chocolate and cocoa mixed with citrus, papaya, and tropical fruit hop character. Moderately aromatic. Really good actually.

Opens roasted malt and smoky hop bitterness. Some espresso in the middle and end mixed with notes of citrus, pineapple, and grapefruit. Coffee and hop bitterness at the finish with the same lingering aftertaste. I want to like this... but I don't.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down dry. Finishes very messy with a long, lingering aftertaste. Decent.

This really isn't a bad beer. This just really isn't my style either. The prominent roast, cocoa, and coffee characters just don't work with the citrus hop component in my opinion. Again, not a bad beer but I wouldn't revisit it.

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Photo of Rheaume17
4.46/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just picked this up fresh from the Waitsfield Farmers Market. Poured into a Lawson's tulip glass.

Appearance - Poured a very rich, black color. A nice think inch of light brown foamy head. Good lacing continued throughout the session.

Smell - Very aromatic from the bottle to the glass. I smell hints of pine as well as other earthy scents. I also smell notes of grapefruit. You can also get a good whiff of the malt which smells rather sweet, but not overpowering.

Taste - Just as it smelled. The earthy notes are the first to hit with a nice backbone of that sweet malt. Lots of hoppy goodness. The aftertaste has a slight citrus flavor, predominantly grapefruit.

Overall - Another amazing offering from Lawson's. This is definitely a great beer for a little something different to try. Luckily, I have 3 more of these!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a medium amount of roasty and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.5 A: Black color. One and a half fingers of frothy/creamy light brown head. Retention is good and a short ring of lacing is left.

3.5 S: Formitable roastiness with notes of molasses. Citrusy and earthy hops with emphasis on orange, grapefruit, and pineapple. Not bad, but the aromas don't flow together that well.

3.5 T: Taste is like the nose. Lots of roast, some molasses, and some caramel. Orange, grapefruit, pineapple, and earthiness fromt he hops. Lower bitterness from the hops, which I think is a must for the style, so at least they got that right. Again, decent.

3.5 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Decently creamy.

3.5 D: Not a huge fan of the style, but this one isn't bad. A little better than average for the style.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
3.48/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an ink black body with a thick, coffee-colored head on top with frothy bubbles and solid stickage in layers on the sides.

Aroma is as described, filled with dark roasty notes, and a vibrant hop bouquet. Very reminiscent of a chocolate mint. Hops are minty, piney, and somewhat citrusy. This is all supported by the robust and dark-as-night malts which have their own complex aroma. Chocolate, rich toffee and some dried fruits.

The hops steal the show in this beer! Despite the inviting sweet chocolate mint aroma, the beer starts with bitter and ends with bitter. Heavy, acrid-roastiness is up front on the palate, while followed up by some enamel coating bitterness from the hops and a slight tartness in the finish.

The body is thinner than would be expected. Carbonation is perfect! Beer leaves a hop residue behind though...very intense.

The aroma and flavor here are both bold, though I personally feel like there needs to be more body and sweetness to help balance this beer more. Definitely a good beer though...

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle to a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Dark brown. Small brown head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell - Hoppy. Citrusy with a touch of grapefruit. Just a hint of the coffee malt behind it all.

Taste - Hops up front. Lots of juicy citrus hops. Bitterness overwhelms the chocolate malt that comes next. Chocolate and coffee make a brief appearance. Loads of bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - So bitter. Delicious, but not pleasant to drink. Really detracts from the whole experience of the beer.

Overall - Good flavor, too bitter. Tough to call it really good, but the flavors are nice.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, whartontallboy!

A stunningly gorgeous black IPA. Black throughout, with a moderately sized, persistent, brown head that leaves the glass completely messy with lines and irregular spiderwebs of lacing. Picture perfect!

Very nice, interesting, and evolving aroma. The initial and most powerful aromas were of pine and tree sap. After some warming and agitation, big notes of roast and ground coffee shine through. Complex, refined, interesting, and just damn good.

The flavor isn't quite as complex (or good) as the aroma would indicate. The pine flavors are somewhat muted, alongside very nice complementary roast and mildly bitter coffee. Good, but not great.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. An easy drinker.

A very nice, dare I say classic, black IPA. There are better examples, but I'm forever grateful that I was able to try this.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Prototypical Black IPA, Cascadian ale, whatever you want to call it. Jet black body with a nice cap of tan foam that settles slowly and leaves strong lacing. Vividly hoppy aroma, lots of grapefruit and other citrus, some piney notes, strong roasted component.

Flavor follows the nose. Breaks no new ground, just nails the style beautifully. Again there’s incredibly fresh and vivid citrusy hops reeking of grapefruit, some pine and resins; lots of roasted malt character. Almost charred. Strong but not overbearing bitterness that lingers in the aftertaste. Dry finish.

Medium body and carbonation, exceptionally smooth and creamy in the mouth. Well done, my favorite of this style to date. On tap at the Farmhouse in Burlington; much better than the bottled version, IMHO.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 6/20/12

Appearance: Dark brown, with some clear brown around the edges - pours with nicely sized light brown head, fades to some spots and streaks

Smell: Dark malts and hops - slightly burnt and roasty - burnt coffee beans, dark chocolate, chocolate malts, and cocoa - some earth, dirt - citrus (grapefruit and orange), and some pine - pretty balanced, heavy on the hops with a strong malt profile

Taste: Simply great for the style - burnt, roasted malts - dark chocolate, burnt coffee, very roasted, dry chocolate malts, cocoa, earth - some sweetness, but mostly dry - grapefruit pith and some orange, pine, resin, and some grass - burnt bitterness and hoppy bitterness, very bitter overall - flavorful and very interesting

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely carbonated, slightly sticky, smooth

Overall: A great Black IPA

This beer manages to have a ton of hops and a complex malt bill yet not be extreme. It's pretty balanced. If it were a bit less bitter, it would be extremely drinkable. Regardless, I feel very lucky to have acquired a bottle. Cheers to the ladies at Craft Beer Cellar for getting Mr. Lawson himself to do a tasting on 6/2/12.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased in Vermont this weekend. So very fresh. Poured into Hunahpu snifter.

A- Pours an opaque dark black that doesn't allow any light to pass through. About a half finger of creamy light mocha/caramel head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving a flat top and some nice lacing. About average carbonation to maybe slightly below average carbonation.

S- Citrus hops mixed with lightly roasted malts. Can smell grapefruit and some other citrus fruits, but mostly grapefruit.

T- Big roasty, malty taste balanced with light citrus hops. Unlike the smell, the roasted malts definitely dominate the taste a lot more. A little bit of dank hops (not exactly the fresh crisp hops you'd get in Heady or some other DIPAs) in the finish with some citrus fruits and bitter chocolate. A little bit more citrusy in the aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied, smooth, definitely easily drinkable, average carbonation.

O- This was an enjoyable black ale. It definitely was big on aroma and taste. I thought the roasted malts came out a little bit too powerful in the taste, but it wasn't bad. It was nicely balanced with the citrus hops. The only other thing was that it was slightly to bitter. Overall though I definitely enjoyed this beer. I wanted to compare it with Double Sunshine, but unfortunately they were out of stock. I thought the Black Hop Juice from Two Brothers I had last week was definitely better then this, but the Big Hapi was definitely a quality black ale. I recommend trying it if you ever have access to Lawson's (hope they start distributing a little bit wider). Can't beat it for $9.99/bomber.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4



A: Black with an inch of frothy, bubbly light brown sea foam. Very good retention and lots of lacing left clinging to the glass.

S: Smells like the bowels of the earth with accompanying pine resin and grapefruit flesh and rind. I get some damp forest dirt with pine needles. There's an effusive and pervasive marijuana note. Chocolate blends with lightly roasted grains.

T: A nicely balanced Black IPA. There's a smooth moderate herbal, piney, and grapefruity bitterness equipoised by chocolate and roasted notes. The finish is dry and hoppy with lingering chocolate.

M: Medium body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky, silky, and creamy.

Overall: A nice Black IPA with an expressive aroma. Not quite as good as Lawson's pale hoppy beers, but nice and definitely worth trying.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to tobelerone for throwing this in on a trade, I was happy to be able to try a Lawson's with a friend. Dark black color, standard appearance, decent head. Aroma is piney hops. Flavor is oily hops, pine, citrus and a hint of dark malt on the end. No burnt or roast flavors really and I like that because i think sometimes they clash with the hops. This was one of teh better black IPA's I've tasted.

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Photo of 05Harley
3.86/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at The Valley Players Theater in Waitsfield, VT during the Farmers Market on 3/21/12
(225 calories)

Price - $9.99/bomber

This one pours as you would expect (near black) with a fluffy chocolate/mocha colored head. Heavy lacing outlines the glass showcasing it's sticky talent. Each sip rejuvenates the creamy covering and picasso like lacing.

Aroma is rich in roasted malts followed by spicy, citrus hops. The hops have noticeably faded a bit from earlier bottles but still make a presence. As it warms the fruity scent of pineapple becomes more prominent.

The flavor is head strong in roasted malt but the hops are nipping at it's toes with pineapple, piney resin and a faint taste of grapefruit. A noticeable aftertaste of coffee grounds closes things out.

The body has a medium feel and starts out slick & creamy. Moderate carbonation which is dead on for the style. A lingering bitter/dry aftertaste can be atributed to both the burnt malts and piney hops.

Overall a pretty good example of the style. I rated it based on an average of all of my bottles dating back to the end of the March. It's a black IPA so in my experience it has a better shelf life than just a straight up IPA.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black IPA with a good roast aroma, black bodied with a big bubbly head. Piny hop taste-Chinook, Cluster, and Amarillo. Medium mouthfeel. Not aggressive, more like a black ale with significant hopping.My first LL, thanks to John's most excellent tracking.

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Photo of jegross2
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Big Hapi Black IPA from Lawson's Finest Liquids.
Score: 90

Unknown vintage bottle, though I suspect it is from late March/early April. Served in a Goose Island taster glass and enjoyed on 05/11/12. Review is from notes.

Appearance: Pours a black coffee color with brown highlights atop the glass when held up to light. There was a little bit of tan head at pour, but lacing/retention is difficult to discern here. Looks like a stout. 4/5

Smell: Roasty coffee, cocoa, milk chocolate, toasted malt and piney hops. A little brown sugar. Smells a lot like a roasty porter with a hoppy twist. 4/5

Taste: Roasted chocolate, milk chocolate, bitter coffee and raw chocolate. Bitter pine, lactose and creamy chocolate malt. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel. Bitter, roasty and slightly acidic finish. 4/5

Overall: A nice roasty porter with an IPA twist. This is quite unlike most black IPA I have had, which are usually IPA-forward beers with porter/stout twists.

Recommendation: Fans of roasty porters and IPA's should give this one a whirl.

Pairings: Chocolate chip cookies.

Cost: $8.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Keith for the bottle!

A - Pours dark brown, tan head, thin collar, wisps.

S - A mix of sweet toasted malts and bitter pine hops. I'm not sure if these notes really work all that well together, and I think both are a bit too strong and clash.

T - Similar to the nose, lots of pine and citrus mixed with lots of malty roasted sweetness. Neither let off and both are pretty in-your-face. The booze is pretty evident as well, which is off-putting for 7.5%. Finish is lots of bitter pine and a touch of malts.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, oily roasted finish.

O - Not my favorite black IPA of all-time, but still decent. I think there's too much bitterness and sweetness, and neither work all that well together. I'd probably have again, if offered, but nothing crazy here.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Farm House Tap & Grill.

A very dark brown walnut body, but also with a large dark red color to it. Simple cream tan head fades, but always leaves a good collar while drinking, and with a decent amount of lacing.

Very muted nose, however there's much of a char ripping carbon character to this much like a good porter. Doesn't particularly feel hopy either.

Taste improves. Large carbon char action with a hop roasty bitterness on the finish. Texture and body feels a little wet but luckily doesn't detract or take away anything in the palate. Large on charing porter character, with a good hoppy finish that balances well strangely.

Overall It's a little one dimensional, but an impressive big dimension. I can see myself drinking this again and wanting another, but I know I've had better.

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BIG HAPI India Black Ale from Lawson's Finest Liquids
3.96 out of 5 based on 204 ratings.
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