Black Hops Beer | Blue Hills Brewery

52 Reviews
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Black Hops BeerBlack Hops Beer

Brewed by:
Blue Hills Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by david18 on 07-05-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 140
Photo of zlackoff
4.65/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Maybe my favorite beer to date.

It has a very nice dark dark dark color that just looks delectable. I first got this despite the corny label to see what a mixture of a dark roasted malt with strong hops might be like and I was pleasantly surprised.

The beer's dark malt do it a favor giving it a nice slightly chocolaty characteristic but leaving room for some other fruity tones, a little sweetness and let's not forget the hop flavors that do this well-rounded beer's name justice.

In addition to the well-rounded flavor this brew gets it right with the perfect amount of carbonation (although I do prefer more lightly carbonated than most) that puts this one on my 'buy again' list.

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Photo of belgiumbud
4.33/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer out of a 22 oz. bottle and was immediately surprised as to how dark it was...Excellent head retention that was amber cream color...decent hop fragrance...extremely smooth flavor as the sticky hop flavor and the black malt roasty flavors intermingle...I like how Blue Hills decided to take a American IPA and do something a little different with it by using more darker malts to brew this fine beer...Really impressed...The cheesy label design allowed me to not expect much from this beer but, as always, do not judge a book by its cover

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Photo of Duhast500
4.32/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pinto glass.

The color is dark black with maroon highlights and a thin wisp of brownish head with no lacing.

The smell is a bit malty with a nice coffee flavor in the nose. The dark malts give off most of the flavor where the "Hops" have not shown up yet.

The taste is malt all the way. A nice roasty black malt flavor is the first thing to hit the senses. Coffee flavor through out the early going with some bitterness somewhere in the middle. There is some caramel and a touch of toffee that hits late is it goes down.

This beer has a medium bodied feel to it and is really easy drinking. It has a great balance to it and it one of the better, more well constructed beers to come out of the Blue Hills Brewery workshop.

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Photo of cuttsjp
4.27/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: very dark brown, almost black but with some pretty reddish hues, head is cream colored and disappears very quickly

Aroma: toffee, coffee, a little roastiness and a hint of citrusy American hops

Flavor: lots of flavor, toffee and roasty espresso combine really interestingly with a decidedly citrusy hop flavor...great how this style of beer combines the dark toffee and coffee flavors with the very bright American hop flavor...very nice and balanced, quite enjoyable

Mouthfeel: medium body, relatively high carbonation (clearly IPA carbonation rather than porter carbonation...interesting choice for sure)

Drinkability: This beer is balanced and flavorful, but it doesn't overwhelm the palate too much. It is definitely an interesting style that I would be interested in brewing this year (especially since all the cool kids are doing it)

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Photo of awolff
4.22/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring from a 22 oz. glass bottle into a 22 oz. glass mug (adorned on the side with "beauty is in the hands of the beer holder"...all too true)

Appearance - The beer pours with a thin head of foam, which doesn't last all that long. Color is quite dark, and a look at the edges reveals that it's a dark dark red, which appears quite black when looking through the center.

Smell - The smell is heavily malty, and touches on chocolate, coffee-like tones. The bitterness in the smell seems like it is coming more from something like roasted barley or like an unroasted coffee bean, rather than the hops for which the beer is named. I can hardly smell the malt without taking a sip.

Taste - I have to say, I don't taste the well-hopped character touted on the label - it is mostly a rich malt profile that has a very slight biscuit sort of taste to it, or like a wheaty bread. A slight bitterness but really not so much from the hops as what I again take to be roasted malts.

Mouthfeel - A light carbonation that isn't lacking even after a while despite the lack of any real head retention. The beer is very smooth, and goes down easily - perhaps moreso than expected for the 6.75% ABV and deep color. It is definitely a bonus to the rich malt character that the beer feels so light.

Overall Impressions - I love this beer. As commented above, I'm not sure that the description fits, since hoppiness isn't really the central character of the beer in any of its respects. It is somewhere between a stout and an IPA, but seems to belong in a category on its own. One of my local favorites!

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Photo of beerdude63
4.08/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer at Beer Summit and was really surprised. Usually I find IDAs over intense but this was really good.
A In a sample glass, dark and ruby in color, with a nice little head

S Sweet, nutty, some roasted malt, a little bit yeasty, with some nice floral hops

T The taste was great, very appropriate, a little yeasty on the nose but its not present in the taste. Smooth with a nice hop and sweet caramel and roasted malts.

M Lighter than some but, still a nice medium body with a nice carbonation.

D Great beer over all, I have had some other commercially produced IDAs and this one is in my top favorites. Most of the IDAs I have over do it on the roasted malts and are extremely bitter. However this one was balanced and bright.

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Photo of EtOHMD
4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Have been trying a few of Blue Hills beers since they are local and this is by far my favorite. Poured from a 22oz brown bomber a chestnut brown with one inch off white head. Smells sweet, nutty, and I keep thinking somewhat fruity (strawberry keeps popping into my mind). Nice malty taste, caramel with mild roasted and smoked flavors on the back end. Fairly thin feel. Was a nice contrast to a spicy meal that I had and good definitely drink another. For $4.20 for 22oz a definite steal.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.02/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a tan big bubble head that dissipates pretty fast but leaves a fat ring around the glass. A lot of toasted grains in the nose with a faint zesty/earthy hop background.

Bitter toasted grains upfront with a faint fruity hop character. Some bready chocolate body with a dark fruity hop bitterness with a creamy finish. A dry creamy finish if that is possible. For the deep toasted/hoppy character of this beer it has a high drinkability.

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Photo of Daktyls
4.01/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark brown, almost a hazelnut color with a two finger tan head that hangs around for a few minutes before steadily diminishing to a fine lacing around the edge of the glass and a little patch in the middle.

S: Nose is mostly roasted malts with some yeast and a little bit of alcohol scent. There are also a few aromas of floral and herbal hops. Most of the aromas are somewhat masked, so you have to really try to detect them.

T: I believe this is the first of this style that I've had and it's pretty good. Tastes of roasted maltiness with a bit of baker's chocolate and a bit of dark sweetness. Definitely not as hoppy as a typical IPA as most of the hop flavors are masked.

M: Sits nicely on the tongue with a slight tingle on the finish. A medium to light bodied beer with a little bit of carbonation.

D: I personally think this is quite drinkable and fortunately since I'm close to the brewery, I might head up for a growler of the stuff. Admittedly people have different tastes so while I think it's great stuff, you can see that other people on BA have not as high opinions, to which they are rightly entitled.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a thin but dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, milk chocolate, some hops and some dark fruit.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of milk chocolate, some citrus and some dark fruit. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is a bit weak for the style and makes this beer seem more stout-like than IPA-like but it’s enough to provide a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style even if it isn’t as hoppy as most others in the style, this is a solid beer worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of smcolw
3.98/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Frothy foam of a head, leaves plenty of streaky lace. The color is dark brown but apparently clear.

Dark malt aromas; I can detect some black patent. Lightly earthy.

Dry and dark flavor with a strong fresh hop finish that lasts long into the aftertaste. Rich bodied with a lower level of carbonation. It comes across oily and spritzy at the same time. There's a touch of alcohol in the swallow. The general flavor reminds me of a very well made homebrew.

Overall, this is an unusual beer. It has elements of a mild stout, but with lots of hop bitterness.

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Photo of elbobbo
3.92/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz into normal pint, the color of this brew is fitting of the "black" hops name.

The smell is full of dark chocolate and roasted malt, and the flavor matches it. The first sip gives you a quick sweetness, (perhaps chocolate?) followed by the roasted maltiness and some apparent bittering hops. I kind of feel like it's a blend of a light stout and a soft IPA, and if that's what Blue Hills was going for, they did quite well.

This beer gets better as you drink it, as I found the 2nd bottle a bit better once my mouth was adjusted to it.

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Photo of Greenlabel
3.91/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 6-pack of this product after sampling it at a tasting of Blue Hills products at Wines and More in Mansfield, MA.

Very attractive pour - long lasting lace on a very dark base. Although I'm a major fan of IPA's, I'm not an expert on Black IPA's so am not sure what this style should offer in taste but I thoroughly enjoyed the malty flavor with only a mild hops impact and the rather sweet and chocolaty aftertaste. The 6.75% ABV was barely noticeable and I'd consider this product to be very drinkable at any occasion.

Glad I happened to stumble into that store tasting as this is a product I'd buy again

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle. Served in a standard pint glass.
It pours a root beer black with a fast-fading tan head, along with some patchy lacing.
Smells or burnt rye toast, sweet malt, resinous and citrusy hops mix around, and come and go at will. A little dose of rummy fumes sneaks in and lasts throughout.
The flavors are balanced like a Schwarzbier, but unlike a Schwarz, the flavors are big and in your face. There are no subtleties here. Like loud but lovable cousins, this beer is difficult to ignore, but easy to get along with. And you look forward to future visits from them. This is a very liquid ale. Goes down real fast in large gulps.
Good stuff!

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Photo of Genuine
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into my Sam's Perfect Pint Glass.

Poured a very dark, almost non translucent, but it is a very dark amber when backlit.

Smell - Grassy, malty, a hint of molasses, not much hops in the nose.

Taste - Pretty much follows the nose. Carbonation hits first, then I get a good roasted maltyness/slight coffee/toffee flavors come right though. There is no hops to be detected here. Mostly some nice roasted malts.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body. I'd be disappointed if it was any lighter.

Drinkability - I could have more than a few of these very easily. Very easy to drink beer, hardly any bitterness from the hops. My first of the style and it's not bad. Just wish it was a bit hoppier.

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice thick frothy head rises up about 2 fingers before the large bubbles pop it back down to earth somewhat slowly, as it leaves a slightly messy lacing too. THe beer is a very dark molasses brown with some haze.

N: Semi weird... I initially get fresh roasted coffee beans, like the pure coffee bean smell right after you roast it and grind it. An earthy roasty aroma goes right with that. Then some earthy hops behind that, with a slight bitter aroma, and light grassy hop pellets. I also get a little chocolate. There's also a strange dark fruit aroma, like a fig or date.

T: Starts with lots of malts, mostly roast, with some black patent malt. Again lots of fresh roasted and ground coffee beans. Some earthy bitterness, some from the roasty coffee beans, and some from an earthy and semi grassy hop pellet taste. A spicy bitterness also starts to rise up. A slight creamy flavor, almost oatmeal. There is a slight caramel and sweetness flavor, with touch of molasses. Despite those dark malt flavors and coffee, it has a lighter ale feel to it overall, with some earthy, chewy, spicy hops.

M: Medium body with lower but tolerable carbonation.

F: Some lingering dark malt flavors, more roast and black patent, and lots of coffee. Mostly dry, but some light caramel and molasses flavors lingering. The bitterness comes on stronger on the finish, with roasty dark malt bitterness, and more hops. The hops bring more of the earthy and spicy qualities on the finish, with a slight herbal smashed hop flavor.

A strange beer, very unusual. It has those black IPA qualities that others have, with lots of dark malts, but not quite the stout thickness and richness, but more of a dark ale or almost porter. Then the nice earthy spicy and herbal hops that a black IPA would have. A nice blend of various flavors. It could have used a little more carbonation.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler fill picked up at the brewery on Monday. Sat in the fridge at home for one night. Split Tuesday night with my wife, and poured into stemmed beer glasses. Dark brown color, with rust colored highlights at the edges. Thin white head formed but then faded fast. Slight coffee grounds smell. Taste was very different for an IPA. There was a bit of hops, but the flavor of roasted chocolate malt really dominates. Mouthfeel was smooth, and no really hop profile noticed on the palate. Easy beer to drink, even though the abv is at 6.7%. I would consider this beer a cross between an IPA and a schwarzbier. Very interesting and tasty. One of the better beers I have tried so far from BHB.

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Photo of jbertsch
3.79/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as black. Head looks good at first but fades quick. Very little lacing.

Aroma surprised me with a sweet baileys/coffee/choc/ medly. Hops are only on the background. Doesn't smell like an ipa to me - more like a sweet stout/porter.

Taste is sweet with baileys type flavors up front. Finishes long with a solid note of bakers chocolate. Hops are not a big factor in the taste either. They're there, but are a little overpowerered by the extra malts added.

Slightly above medium body. Smooth. Nitro-like. Fair carbonation.

In terms of drinability - the ABU is easy at 6.75, but the sweetness may bother some. It didn't bother me, it was just unexpected. Now that I know what to expect, I will still buy this again as it as enjoyable. Plus, a bomber at $3.49 is a nice value!

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Photo of JAXSON
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, thanks Cody for the cool extra. Pour is blackish which is revealed to be a deep cherry red when held to the light. Fresh, juicy hops and some toasted malt in the nose. Graham cracker. Flavor is kind of a singular but pleasant fresh hop bitterness, without much malt complexity. Of course a bit of toasted malt unlike your standard IPA, and some nice graham cracker again. Good.

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Photo of david18
3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on draft at a bar called The Other Side while on a recent trip to Boston. The "Black" by the way modifies "ale" not "hops". Interestingly this was the second black IPA I had that day and this one wasn't bad either. Very dark in color with a suprisingly light head. Great hop aroma and flavor that are present enough to stand up to the additional malt. I have no idea of the ABV. Overall, a good beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color capped by a mammoth beige head; plenty of lacing squiggles around the side of the pint glass

Smell: Smells rather Germanic, with a grassy hop, biscuity malt character but there is a fruity element from the ale yeast

Taste: Just a trace of the biscuity malt in the foreground and then the hops take over, with a lemony/grassy/piney bitterness that grows astringent by mid-palate; underneath, there is a hint of coffee and fruit; after the swallow, the astringent hops overwhelm and linger into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: An interesting melange but ultimately I don't really care for the astringency in the hop profile

Thanks, shaggy9356, for the opportunity

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #46 (Nov 2010):

A lagered ale with a German malt bill, and more than the usual amount of hops. Dark brown with amber edges; creamy, dense head. Yeasty, fruity, hoppy, roasty nose, though the yeast seems to come through the most. Super smooth with a hefty body, the clean maltiness ranges from toasted bread to chicory to cocoa powder. Mildly fruity with a yeast tone that stays. Twang of hops drops more flavor than bitterness. Expect more of a hop pres- ence (it's the name's fault). Still, the balance works here to produce a solid ale.

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Photo of BeerIsland
3.69/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bomber bottle label says South Shore Brewing Co dba Blue Hills Brewery Canton Mass
Black Hops 6.75%

A nice looking beer, the Black Hops didn’t express much aroma except some nice malt backnotes. This beer has a very nice balanced flavor that helps drinkability. While not being a big fan of this style, I appreciate the affinity with the darker malted lagers. Like a Schwartz malts add to bitterness, lighter finish. In that regard, I think true schwarzes and hefty dunkles have more to offer than this beer. This is a decently made beer that works OK within the broad parameters of this style.

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Photo of beveritt
3.67/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label depicts a hop cone wearing goggles and a ski mask in the crosshairs of a rifle scope. No clear freshness dating; my wife just brought this one back from a recent trip to New England.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger of medium tan head. This settles quickly to a thin incomplete coating of foam leaving behind no lacing. The beer itself is a medium, muddy brown and opaque in the center. Some sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Roastiness with strong notes of chocolate and licorice.

Taste: Smooth roasted grains upfront with mild undertones of coffee and a distinct graininess. Very mild bitterness; finished with a lingering milk chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel: Average + carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: Leaves a little to be desired in the looks department, but overall a pleasant beer. Not sure I will be trading for this one though and as it isn't available locally, probably a one of.

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Photo of tigg924
3.66/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, dark brown in color, hazy

Smell: burnt malt and sugar

Taste: burnt malt, sugar, chocolate, nut, and hints of charred pine

Mouthfeel: medium/low carbonation, light body--borderline watery, sweet with a small bitter backbone.

Drinkability: I like this one and could have several. This is one of the better beers from Blue Hills that I have had so far. I love the depth of flavor here. The pine/nut combo is really good. I wish this had a bit more body, but is still a quality offering.

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Black Hops Beer from Blue Hills Brewery
3.52 out of 5 based on 140 ratings.
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