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 Arbitrator
3/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks to youbrewidrink.

A: Pours a dark brown with some edge translucence. A fluffy, light tan head that cascades beautifully into the body as it recedes. Tons of sticky lace.

S: Citrus, specifically grapefruit pith, blasts the nose immediately. If I close my eyes I picture a fresh IPA. It is followed with aromas of roasted grain and dark chocolate, grass.

T: Wow, really bitter and aspirin-like. Herbal, grassy hops lead the charge with bitter roasted grain. Slight dark chocolate flavors that lead into mild grapefruit. Nothing as promising as the aroma.

M: A bit thin and oily, with lingering pine bitterness. Dry finish. The bubbles simply aren't robust enough to give this enough scrubbing power and cleanse the palate. Hard to split this three ways, much less finish a bottle alone.

D: It's decent.... Skippable. I've had better IBAs / Black IPAs / whatever.

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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 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 nickd717
3.51/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bomber thanks to Arbitrator. OMG rare, it says so on the bottle! Lawson's is trying to be quite the hype machine I see. Now let's start with the name. Like "Alfred A. Hopf," this is a rather clever hop pun, playing off the Red Sox great (well he was great, not so much anymore) David Ortiz a.k.a. Big Papi. Clever, guys. Will we be seeing Jachoppy Ellsbury, Clay Buchhops, Jonathan Hopelbon, or Hideki Hopajima any time soon? I hope so.

Dark brown in color with a large cascading tan head. Good lacing.

Earthy hop aroma, with wet leaves and some substantial roasty notes.

Roasty flavor with slight bitter cocoa along with citrusy and earthy hops. Rather bitter.

Medium-bodied and dry as hell, very resinous, with softer carbonation.

Pretty nice IBA, but I've certainly had better as of late.

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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 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 jrallen34
3.59/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Michael for this rare Lawson's...Brown beer with an off white head. A small cap forms, so-so lacing...This beer is total hop forward, does makes any bones about it. Hop bomb of flowers and grass, a little citrus helps to balance this pretty nicely...The taste is all hops and nothing else, way to strong its really tough to drink. So bitter, too hop forward.

Decent start but to much hops to drink.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.61/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another one from Alec. Thanks a lot for this one. Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with a small cap of light khaki head. A little bit of spotty lace.

The aroma is dark and roasty with some hints of grassy hops. Earthy aromas dominate this one leaving the hops to be a little more desired. Roasted malts on the pallet with dry piney hops. Hints of cocoa with a nice bitter piney hop finish.

The body is full with soft carbonation. Kind of dry on the finish. Pretty solid. Not my favorite black IPA but a pretty well made one.

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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 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 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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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 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 TurdFurgison
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike (Thorpe429) for bringing this and others from Lawson's. This was rare batch 163, bottle 55.

Dark colored, a little reddish brown at the edges but otherwise opaque, with a tan foam. It smells very citrusy, maybe a mix of west coast citrus and European grass. Very nice, I wish the taste followed these notes but it's a different beast. Lots of roasted malts and a very bitter and dry aftertaste. Alum-like finish, very unique and defining. Possibly this is taking grapefruit to the extreme, meaning it's astringent rind. Many people might like it but it limited my enjoyment somewhat.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Black beer with an off-white head that dissipated to a ring. Great chunks and spot lacing on the sides.

S - Flooded with cascadian hops, and a great malt backbone. I'm usually not a fan of Black IPAs, but this smells a little less "black" than many.

T - Very bitter cascadian hops taste, hop forward and malt forward at the same time. The sugar manages to be not too sugary and therefore not hot. I like this beer, but it takes quite the effort to overcome the bitterness.

M - Solid, medium bodied. Moderate carbonation.

D - It's good, but it's so bitter it can get hard to get down. I like this beer, surprisingly.

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Photo of SABERG
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #147, bottle #62

Poured in a modified tulip.

A - dark with lots of lacing. Inviting and intriguing.

S - Maderia and cabernet, hops and licorice. How did that get in there? Complex fruit and a complex malt backbone.

T - Starts sweet, runs the gauntlet. Oily and tart, lingers on the mouth. a little sticky but nice with some subtle bite to finish.

M - All over the tongue, sweet, tart, bitter. Smooth follow through and a long finish. Ever so pleasant.

D - With the complexity this is a beer to explore with rich food. That said it is quite drinkable and may need extra adjectives.


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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, I will begin this review by stating how difficult it is to classify this beer. For those of you who have had the pleasure of trying Stone's 11th Anniversary Black IPA, that's the closest thing I can equate this beer to. Sampled on tap at The Pitcher Inn (Thanks Tim, you're a cool kat!) this beer was a very dark (nearly black) brown color. The head was one-and-half-fingers-worth of wood-like, brown-colored head. The retention was very good as a thick cap and the lacing was excellent in thin, consistent bands. The aroma was nice, a complex blend of hoppy bitterness, rich soil, roasted barley, hints of wood and a slight, wet mustiness. The flavor profile was also complex and challenging; I tasted lots of hops at first, herbal, piney and resiny notes followed by roasted barley, coffee and something odd. I have to note this oddness, it was musty and wet and well, the only thing I found quite unappealing about the beer. The finish, however, was bitter, hoppy and surprisingly clean. The mouthfeel was smooth, the body full and the carbonation light. An unusual beer to say the least, caught between appealing to the hop-heads and the Stout-lovers. Being a fan of both, I liked it, but it's not for the everyday drinker and its sales suggest the same.

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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 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 MasterSki
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to thorpe429 for sharing this one. Served in a Chouffe tulip. Batch #163, bottle #55.

A - Pours with two fingers of off-white foam that settles to a thin cap, thicker collar, and some spotty lace. Body is brown and reveals some caramel notes when held to the light.

S - Hoppy, with notes of floral and grassy notes mingling with tangerines. There's malt backbone is definitely very cocoa heavy. This is balanced and well-integrated.

T - Dear god, the bitterness. There's a faint note of pine and grapefruit and then punishing alpha acids that evoke aspirin. If I concentrate really hard I can pick out a touch of malt and cocoa, but not very much at all.

M - Smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, well-hidden alcohol, dry finish, and nice residual oily hop resins.

D - Too bitter to consume in mass quantities, and I generally enjoy bitter beers. The aroma is great, but the taste needs more flavor and balance.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz red waxed bomber poured into a magic hat tulip.

Pours a nice deep dark stout like color with a small brown head. Nose is really fresh and hoppy, floral and a bit roasty/coffee as well.

Taste is bitter from the hops and from the roasty malt. It's pretty damn cool to have a stout looking beer that tastes like an ipa. It's very heady and floral but not really fruity at all. Somewhat light mouthfeel. It's got a bit on graininess on the finish.

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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 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 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 UA8
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Long and short on this one it falls right in with Iniquity and Sublimely self righteous.

Pours dark black with a slightest bit of light passing through. Head is minimal but light tan in color. The nose and palate on this one echo each other nicely with hints of citrus hop and rind bitterness pairing well with dark roasted malts that lend a hint of sweetness. Mouth feel is solid with medium body and carbonation.
All together maybe not my favorite beer ever but one that does everything well and would be something I would greatly enjoy sessioning.

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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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