Lead Feather Black Ale | Half Acre Beer Company

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Lead Feather Black AleLead Feather Black Ale

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
We’ve finalized a new Black Ale for Half Acre.

We can all sit on sun drenched patios and freely spill speed beer down our throats till paid transportation takes us home. You want to squirrel away a couple x-tra pales and head to yoga? No problem, Namaste.

But, there are times when fleshy black beer is the only thing that offers the necessary weight. Visiting your uncle’s machine shop to thread some pipe before hitting a dirt track sprint car race….? You might want to digest some Lead Feather Black Ale.

The might of big malts and rival hop use give Lead Feather capital dark properties. 6% ABV gives you time, but not at the expense of content.

Added by ThatsThatDude on 07-21-2014

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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 276
Photo of Beginner2
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Executive Summary: OK.
Looks unexciting. Smells roasty malty, with some hops lingering in the background. Tastes produced start sweet-ish, but then a drying sensation takes over and never goes away. Feel suffers from the same although carbonation is right.
Overall, this is my 6th in a young style without too much to emulate or compete against. Considering that, my suggestion is less hops in the recipe. But considering the norm of the American market, Half Acre hit this about right.

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Photo of tigg924
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pour opaque, black in color with 1/2 inch head. Taste is cocoa, cola, vanilla, and light piney hops. Sweet, medium-heavy bodied, with moderate carbonation. Makes for a light and tasty American black ale. Goes down way to easy. I will get this again.

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Photo of WellRested518
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is perplexing, but in the best way. In an age where beer is moving from "extreme" to nuanced and refined, this beer shows both aggression and subtlety. Personally, I would pin it as exactly what it is- a black ale. At first glance I thought hoppy porter/ export stout, but as I contemplated what was in front of me I realized that there was more to be spoken of than generic terminology.

A-Midnight black with a khaki one finger head that dissipates slowly.

S- Upon pouring the can I didn't get that same abrupt citrus & pine that many others did, but I was awarded with mildly acidic chocolate covered coffee beans, a slight note of alcohol, and complex malt. As time moved on citrus and pine also asserted themselves, but always as a complimentary note backed by snickerdoodles.

P- For me, the strangest and most rewarding part of this brew. The palate was not only backed by the complexity of the aforementioned hop and malt characteristics, but by a slightly thin dark chocolate body that weened into west-coast hop bitterness.

Very cool, very different than a lot of stuff out there. The body screams "drink me!", as the palate is bombarded with complexity. This beer doesn't just say "hoppy & roasty" to me... there's more going on under the surface.

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Photo of Ri0
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

POured 16oz can into a snifter. Very dark brown with a 2 finger khaki head. Retention is magnificent, with thin cap that remains. Leaves behind large swaths of lacing. Roasty malts, some grain, earthy and floral hops. Mild scents of light roasted coffee and tobacco. Flavor is roasted malt, some coffee and tobacco, with earthy hops. Carbonation is ideal, medium bodied, with a richer quality and a slight astringency. A really solid black ale that isn't all hopped up.

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Photo of jhavs
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into fluted snifter.

Pours near black and near opaque. A hint of light shines through if you hold it up to the light. Tan head is foamy, and bubbles itself out forming floating islands and thin collar. Hints of lacing cling to the glass. Appears thin for color.

Roasted malts, bittersweet cocoa and subtle dark fruits in the aroma.

Roasted and toasted dark malts push past a layer of bitter cocoa and earthy hops. Hint of dark fruits like fig or dried plum. Light sweetness molds the flavor into a pleasant balance.

Moderate carbonation and a tad light on the palate. Seems slightly watery based on expectations and appearance.

A tasty brew. Layers of refined flavors. Balanced and enjoyable throughout. Nice balance of hops to coincide with the dark roasty flavor of the malt.

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Photo of akirakcat
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Looks very dark brown, pretty much black. Slight creamy head that lingers.

Nice, robust smell. Toasty, sweet with chocolate notes, but a hint of the hoppy bitterness to come.

Taste brings out more of the roasted malts, and the play between the sweetness and hops is great. My only complaint is that it feels a bit watery, especially in the aftertaste.

A great beer. I like that I could drink almost as many of these as a Daisy Cutter, but a little heavier and it would be perfect.

poured from a 16 oz. can packaged September 2016

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Photo of laketang
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can pkg 12-09-2016

thick creamy tan head
very dense black color
hints of caramel and chocolate
no noticeable alcohol
nice bitter and roast flavors
a hint of coffee, not sweet or fruity
dark roasted maltsmake this very flavorful
crisp dry finish

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Photo of chicagobeerguy
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: A dark dark mahogany with a ruby glimmer, a nice frothy head. The can artwork is great. Lacing is nice.

S: Deep rich notes of toasted malts, a nice sweetness, dark fruit notes, bready

T: Great bold malty flavor, a fantastic blend of heavily toasted malts, with a sweetness. An ever so slight coffee flavor. A tad of dark fruit can be tasted as well.

F: A smooth feel,, for a black ale I'd say just the right body, not to thick but not watery at all. Very nice

O: Another solid beer from Half Acre. Would definitely recommend a great fall or winter beer with a nice steak.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 16oz can into a Speiglau stout glass.

Look is a very dark cola with an off white head.

Dry roasty aroma little burnt malt sweetness.

Taste is dry, light, and roasty.

Excellent light roasted beer.

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Photo of Jmatz
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark, very dark...black ale...well, really dark brown, opaque, little hint of red held up to light. Not much head, kind of dissapointing, little carbonation bubbles dissappeared rather quickly.

Smells malty and roasty, coffee, chocolate, licorice. Good smelling beer.

Taste is a little surprising--yes, there's the roasty malty character you're expecting, but there's also a nice crispness to the finish with some nice hop bitterness. Overall, much lighter in mouthful than you'd expect from such a dark beer. I liked it. Will drink again.

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Photo of Act25
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black Ale is my favorite style followed by APA (think Dales).

A- pours pitch perfect black with a thick and creamy khaki head that has modest retention, a ring and leaves some lacing behind.

S- Charred chocolate malt with a hint of caramel - almost a malt shoppe - licorice, dark fruit, piney hops.

T- Malty chocolate and caramel malt up front, followed by balancing pine and char. Finishes earthy, strangely church like (old oak and incense) and herbal.

M- Medium body and carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that finishes smooth, chewy, and creamy.

O- Balance of charred malt and piney hops with a creamy depth that makes it one of the best in style.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I CAN't remember if I picked this up at The Fridge or at The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop, but it definitely merits inclusion in The CANQuest (tm).

I Crack!ed it open and briefly debated about an inverted Glug before coming to my senses. The CANtents of a 16-fl. oz. CAN are not what you want flying into your glass. I was wise in this decision as even a gentle Glug produced a pseudo-cascade, resulting in a pile of puffy, foamy, rocky, deep-tan/light-brown head that eventually settled into two-plus fingers before falling away, leaving sticky lacing in its wake. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing light to reveal cola highlights only at the edges. Nose smelled of dark chocolate, roasty coffee and underlain by a light mintiness. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was less chocolate then carob, with a light mintiness to acCANpony it. Finish was dry, but somehow unfulfilling. I did not get the same flavors in the mouth as I had on the nose. It left a taste in my mouth like chocolate halvah. Now, there's a taste CANbination - carob & halvah! Ooof. Take this back to your machine shop and re-thread it, you boys!

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Photo of Kendo
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured from the pint-sized can into a Duvel tulip. Body is black with a 1.5-finger light-brown head on top, which recedes to leave behind some lacing on the glass.

S: First impression was a generic fruitiness, but the second sniff gives me more roasted malt and green (piney) hops.

T: Initial impression is about the feel rather than the flavor - it's definitely thin and even watery. At first blush I'm also underwhelmed, flavor-wise, but the more I drink it the better it gets. There's plenty of roasted malt, some char, toasted nuttiness, a bit of earthiness and a touch of cocoa powder on the finish. Fairly dry finish with a faint piney bitterness that lingers on the palate.

M: As noted above, it's definitely on the thin side, but after a few sips and my palate has gotten used to it, it no longer seems as watery. Good carbonation, so I've knocked the score back up to 3.75 here.

O: A good beer, even if I'm not sure how to characterize it. I don't think it's hoppy and bitter enough to be called a Black IPA; on the other hand, I don't think there's enough body to call it a stout (and it's too strong to be an Irish Dry Stout) or even a Porter. It's somewhere in the middle of all three styles, I guess, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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Photo of jakecattleco
3.49/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Can of unknown date into a tumbler. Pours a dark brown with a finger of variable density khaki head that left sporadic lacing. Nose is mostly chocolate malt, and some roasted malt...limited hop profile and suspecting its had a long shelf life. The point (age-wise) at which I'm sampling lends itself more to a Porter than to a BIPA. What limited hop profile was apparent on the nose is lost in the taste. Finish and mouthfeel were nice, but reminiscent of a porter vs. a BIPA. It's not hop-absent, just very much hop miniscule in terms of contribution. Would revisit, but doubt I'll have the opportunity. Rating adjusted due to unknown age.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can into a pint glass. No freshness dating that i could find.

black body with some brown tones. small tan head but decent lacing.

faintly roasted malt on the nose.

flavor is hard to describe. it's not unpleasant. there is a faint roasted malt flavor, especially in the finish. no hops to speak of, so this might be past its prime.

mouth is a little below medium.

overall, and i admit to not being a big fan of black ales, this is an okay beer to my palate, but not something i would seek out again

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Photo of Hilarytheguy
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Low carbonation, soul endingly black in appearance. The nose is heavy on roast malt, a little burned coffee scent. Flavor is heavy on the roast malt with a finish that's not as bitter as you'd expect, a pleasant surprise. Very solid.

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Photo of metter98
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a a quarter finger high tan head that died down, leaving some wispy laces of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and some streaks of bubbles down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark malts are present in the nose along with some hints of roasted malts and licorice.
T: The taste follows the smell, except that the roasted malt flavors are a bit stronger and linger into the finish. There is only a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer isn't nearly bitter as other Black IPAs and doesn't have that much crispness in the mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Very dark brown with light brown head
S: Roasty, dark chocolate, caramel, sweet, light coffee, anise
T: Sweet caramel, roasty, some dark chocolate, light earthy bitterness, coffee, dark fruit
M: Medium-light
O: Very nice example of the style and one I could return to. Would like to compare to 1554 from New Belgium

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Photo of moysauce
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not huge on black ales. Something about the roasty quality that doesn't quite do it for me. This was good, though. Probably not one I would have often, but definitely of quality.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can, no date

pours black, with tan colored head. good lacing. very nice pleasant hoppy aroma - a mix of pine earthy notes and a touch of roasted coffee. taste is great meld of flavors - slightly bitter, mild roasted malt, grassy hops. smooth mouthfeel, very nice body.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours nearly black with close to an inch of soapy, khaki froth. Aroma smells of roasted malt and citric hops with traces of coffee and toffee.

The taste leans heavily to the bitter side, featuring grapefruit pith and acrid, scorched malt at the fore. Gentler, more balanced roasted flavors and suggestions of dark chocolate, black coffee, and toasted bread emerge on the back end. A little warming reveals earthier, peppery hops beneath the more citric tones. The mouthfeel is dense and substantive, a fine complement to the bold flavors and a worthy namesake indeed.

Overall, this is a rich, full-flavored black ale that stops short of black IPA territory while managing to evoke the body of a stout. The bitterness is a bit higher than I generally gravitate toward, but I give it plaudits for its execution and fairly unique gestalt.

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Photo of tone77
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A thanks to the legendary woodychandler for this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of roasted malts, some hops. Taste is big on roasted malts up front, hops making their presence felt at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall a decent beer from a style that I'm not a huge fan of.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Consumed 1/11/16

A: Pours a dark, dark brown... okay, black, with some dark brown around the edges - medium-large, creamy tan head, fades to wispy cap, maintains a medium collar, leaves streaks and spots of lacing

S: Roasty and toasty, could probably pass for a light stout - chocolate malts, toasty, lightly burnt - roasty with some hints of coffee - dark chocolate, chocolate malts - burnt caramel, caramel sweetness, and a hint of vanilla - lightly earthy, hint of hops - clean overall

T: Lightly roasted dark chocolate - nicely toasted malts, with some lightly burnt flavors - chocolate malts, dark chocolate, baker's chocolate - roasty with some hints of coffee - medium level of bitterness - lightly hoppy, with some light citrus and some earthy, leafy flavor - caramel malts, caramel, and burnt caramel, but sweetness is low, just a hint of crystal malt-like sweet - dry and clean overall

M: Medium body, smooth, almost creamy, low carbonation, dry

O: Nothing beats the classic flavor of lead

This is a unique take on the "Black Ale" style, which is only a vaguely defined style, at best. This is definitely not a Black IPA. It's more of a stout, really. And stouts are ales, so I guess this is definitely a black ale. At the very least, this is an easy drinking dark beer. It's worth a try.

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Photo of MitchVanSomf
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I think this brew deserves a bit more credit. I'm not in the camp that this should be viewed as a great Darth Vader of beers. It's a perfect compliment to the season (Darth Vader in the summer). This is the can to open when you're in between sipping and drinking. It's 6% abv and body lends itself to a few cans or more. Light a fire and drink four. Your night will be great.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Lead Feather is a solid black ale....very delicious. It poured a opaque black with tan head and lace. The scent had earth and hints of roast. The taste carried peat, and a coffee like roast. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall this was a very good beer.

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Lead Feather Black Ale from Half Acre Beer Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 276 ratings.
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