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 bshaw100
1.5/5  rDev -57.4%

I bought this 3X in the past and they were all spoiled, Blue Hills needs to start dating bombers.

Always a hit or miss but mostly a miss with this one, they got some cool labels but this style has issues.

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Photo of KSac4115
2.16/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a very dark brown with amber hints. Lets a little light through but not much. Half inch foam head that dissipates quickly.
Smells of brown sugar predominantly. Floral sense of hops are apparent too. Malts and minor coffee hints as well. The sweet "brown ale" smell is the scent that really sticks out.
First flavors are that of a brown ale with subtle citrus tastes possibly. Then comes in a meltingpot of flavors. You get a slight hoppy taste that suddenly disappears and leaves you with a bitter middle taste followed by a smooth and odd sweeter aftertaste. It's pretty much a mediocre brown ale at best with odd and out of place hoppy hints during the middle of the taste. Halfway through and I still don't get what they were trying to do.
It is well carbonated. The fluctuation of taste is off-putting.

It seems like they tried to fuse a brown and and a mild pale ale and were unsuccessful. Fail.

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Photo of CooperEllis
2.55/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle from my brother into a .3l tulip.

Well, it's certainly not black. Brown Hops? Perhaps more accurate. An odd head on this one, it's thin bubbles but doesn't look very dense. It is gone slowly and leaves moderate lacing on the sides of the glass and some on the top.

This is going to be a short review because I have very little positive to say about this. It taste's like watery strawberry quik. I'm not even sure how this happened? It has a very big bite at the back that sits on the tounge and just curls in my mouth. the aftertaste is harsh and fills the mouth much more than the brew itself.

the thing is, this didn't froth when I poured it, it doesn't have any funky notes in the aroma, it doesn't give any impression of being bad/past it's prime/infected or anything else. It simply isn't very good - or at least isn't what I was expecting and I don't think it's any good. It is sour enough to make one of my eyes flip shut. I don't have anything positive or constructive to say about this because clearly other folks have had it and enjoyed it, but I wouldn't classify this as a Black Ale, and I certainly wouldn't purchase it again.

drainpour the last 12oz.

EDIT: Just went and looked at other reviews of this...I just don't get how what I had is at all what these folks had. Maybe a bad bottle, if I have another I'll update my review.


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Photo of GarthDanielson
2.78/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into a tumbler pint, the beer is a very dark, vibrant, blood-ruby red coloring that looks black in the depths. There was a trace of head for a split second after a rough pour, but it goes quickly. Aromas are roasty hops, resiny and fresh, with a molasses and coffee blend, as well. Flavors are really wierd. A syrupy, darkly sweet malt and molasses tang on a watery, thin body. The hops go flying by in a flash, and don't do much to help the brew. A slight citrus undertone, but again, it's not entirely helping. The aftertaste is minimal, with a slightly sour tone to it. The finish is next to nothing. Much more watered down than it looks, and disappointing overall. The pour and the nose gave some high hopes, but the beer falls short for me.

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Photo of Ohmmygawd
2.87/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle to glass, served at around 50 degrees F.

Keep in mind that 'Black Hops' is not a Black IPA but an American Black Ale. The roasted malts with chocolate and coffee are the main taste and will make you immediately think "Stout! But wait! Hops?" The bitter pale ale comes out to welcome you with a taste of bitter hops. At a ABV of 6.75% this beer delivers a nice taste of alcohol after the bitter taste with roasted chocolate and malts. I'd recommend something German to accompany it like duck sausage or else a spongy Black Forrest Cake.


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Photo of soze47
2.9/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought I may have had a bad bottle, but what I tried is similar to recent reviews. The promises of "Black Hops assassins attacking your palette," or something like that written on the label of this 22 oz. bomber was misleading.

Appearance: Almost black, slightly deep dark brown. Khaki head develops. No lacing on this one.

Aroma: Roasted malt is there for sure, as well as a very subtle herbal and floral hop presence.

Taste: Sweet, roasty malt hits first. The medium body lets it stick in your mouth for a bit until an almost anise or spicy hop presence builds. Root beer?

Mouthfeel: Thick for the style. Almost seems chewy or nutty in the mouth.

Drinkability: Drinking a bomber of this wouldn't be too hard. It has an almost drinkable porter quality.

33 Beers Flavor Chart (5 high to 1 low):
Alcohol/Solvent: 2.5
Dark Fruit: 3
Citrus Fruit: 2
Hoppy (pine): 2
Floral: 3
Spicy: 3
Herbal: 4
Malty: 4
Toffee: 2.5
Burnt: 2.5
Sweet: 3
Sour: 1
Bitter: 1.5
Astringent: 1
Body: 4
Linger: 3.5

Overall: Not a bad or simple beer here. The malt and hop bill create some very unique, not unpleasant tastes when put together. This one is getting judged by what I was expecting, though. I wanted a hoppy, bitter ale tonight, not a chewy, roasted, spicy brew.

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Photo of DrJay
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark, but not quite black, with clear reddish highlights. Not much of a cap developed during the pour, but a thin collar of tan bubbles did stick around for a while. Malty aroma, lots of caramel and dark malts. The hop aroma was prominent, but not dominating, mostly pine with a little citrus. There was some dried fruit and alcohol present as well. Heavy malt in the flavour, caramel and toffee sweetness, nutty, chocolate, a bit of burnt character in the finish. More of the dried fruit and alcohol. Hop bitterness was stronger in the finish, as was the piney hop flavour. Medium to full bodied with low carbonation that made it feel a little dead, but also a bit creamy. Not at all dry, but there was still some astringency from the dark malts. Overall, this just didn't come completely together for me. I would have liked the hop flavour to have been more pronounced to balance some of the sweet malts.

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Photo of tkelley
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle (straight from the brewery!) poured into snifter glass.

A - The body is very dark, if not quite all the way black. There were brown/red hues around the edges where the light hit the glass. The head was about a half inch of light tannish foam that dissipated quickly.

S - Not a very strong smell when compared with other hop-centric beers, but the hops and roast are still obvious and pleasant.

T - I taste the roasted malt more than the hops. There's a sweetness present as well.

M - Smooth. Not crazy bubbles or anything. Its kind of like a soda.

D - Eh. This isnt really an American Black Ale. It isnt really very hoppy. But it's not a porter or stout either. I dont think this beer is really anything to go back to for me.


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Photo of Irishterrier74
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle to pilsner glass (it's what I grabbed)

Serving temp: warmish

A: synthetic motor oil with a nice foamy head. clings to the glass nicely.

S: hoppy/caramel

T: Hershey's special dark

M: Nice carbonation. Pleasant.

Overall: It's Dark Brown and Hoppy. The video game is more satisfying, however.

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Photo of mlazzaro
3.08/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a- dark colored, almost reddish. Surprisingly clear for a darker beer. large bubbles, like when pouring of soda. And I had a pretty hard time keeping a head going.

s- nose of alcohol and yeast. smells very similar to what I would expect in a barley wine. kind of an odd smell for the style.

t- slight coffee or black patent malt flavor. also some chocolate malt perhaps, and a bitter yeasty finish to the sip. Dark malts go pretty well with the hops surprisingly.

m+d- acidic and a bit bitter. I assumed an ABV of 7-8%. At this stage, this is a very bitter porter. It might be an older bottle, because the dry/ finishing hops just aren't very present.

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Photo of musicforairports
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a glass at the Atlantic Beer Garden in Boston.

Pretty black, small head, some lacing. Sediment visible in the glass.

Aroma is light and chocolate-y.

Taste is chocolate/coffee malt and some floral hops. Not as much hops as the name might indicate. There's also a prevalent chalky, homebrew kind of taste here. Goes down smooth for the ABV, though.

Mouthfeel is medium and appropriate. Not too carbonated.

I'm not too crazy about this beer; the off-flavors remind me of an average homebrew. Drinkable though, for sure, and light enough for the ABV.

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Photo of nmann08
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle.

Pours a milk chocolate brown with amber hues. Looks really low on carbonation. Almost zero head on the pour.

Sweet bready malts dominate the smell. Hints of roasted barley and faint chocolate. As it warms, more chocolate comes through.

This beer is very absent on the hop content. Flashes of citrus, finishes sweet and creamy.

Mouthfeel is thin, watery, creamy finish.

This is ok, but I wouldn't try it again.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 1" mocha head. Dark burnt umber brown color. Smells only mildly of hops and not much else, even after warmed up. Taste is pretty much the same but it has a little burnt sugar too. I'd say this is kind of like a very mild porter, not at all like the black IPA a name like Black Hops implies.

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Photo of horshack7
3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Well it's certainly black with a decent sized beige head. As the head thins out there is some lacing left behind.

Aroma: Grapefruit, faint grape a touch of toffee way in the back. Roasted hops and chocolate malts are scattered.

Taste: Creamy mouthfeel along with minor touch of mocha, roasted hops. Grape in the back chocolate here and there with notes of grapefruit as well.

Notes: It's not too bad it's very drinkable I thought it might be a little hoppier but it's still tasty. Cheers.

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Photo of spree92
3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks like what I was expecting for an American Black. Deep, deep mahogany in color with a fluffy 1.5 finger head, off white. Sunk rather fast. Some hops come through the nose but not an overload. A little floral. Taste is almost the same but I am picking up an off note, somewhat soapy. The malts and hops are very well balanced in this light body beer.
A brave attempt into a somewhat new area for beer. They haven't knocked it out of the park, but did a decent job.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two finger light khaki head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Deep brown color. Nose is hops and tart fruit and flavor is dry, tart fruit. $4.55 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA.

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Photo of silentjay
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a deep mahogany (not black) with a thinnish tan head that stays at a cm and clings a bit to the glass.

a touch metallic and buttery and roasty with just a bit of piney hops. not as hoppy as I would expect for the style, nor the name.

tastes like a bit thicker shwarzbier, or a thin porter. not nearly as hoppy as many of the style. coffee is there, dark malts, some milk chocolate, toffee. hops remain piney and in the background.

kinda medium thickness with just enough carbonation and a bittersweet finish.

drinks ok. would be better if I wasnt led to expect significant hoppiness. as it is, its tasty but nothing I'd go for again.

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Photo of muttyd
3.46/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into a Maudite tulip. Deep brown, near black pour with an off white quarter inch head. Great head retention on this one. The nose on this beer is filled with fruity, spicy yeast, caramel, slight coffee and dark chocolate as well. Flavor is mostly all toasted grain, brown bread, and toffee. Hop presence is rather muted and gives way to a pleasant citrusy astringent finish. Bubbly on the tongue, medium body. Bought this one on a whim and I am glad I did.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

From the 650 ml. bottle. Sampled on October 12, 2014.

It has a handsome looking reddish-amber pour with a modest off-white creamy head. Not black as one might expect but still attractive looking.

The aroma has a pleasant sweet roasted maltiness but little in the way of hops.

The body is medium to full. Smooth.

The taste is a bit of surprise given the aroma. There is a lingering bitterness that kicks in at the end. I think they did a decent job with it.

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Photo of predikit
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Pours a dark brown, settles in the glass a very dark, ruby hued held up to light. Yields a tan head that leaves plenty of lacing behind.

Smell is very subtle, very faint hops and something in the back I can't quite pick apart.

The taste is more stout or porter than anything else, the hops take a backseat to chocolate malt notes, in fact the hops are almost impossible to detect. Suits me just fine, I'm not too fond of hops.

Full bodied, medium carbonation, very smooth.

It doesn't shine as a hoppy stout or whatever it's trying to emulate here, but it was a 95 cent single, so no complaints. Wouldn't revisit this.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle served a standard pint glass. Pours a dark, translucent, reddish-brown with a half inch, loose, cream-colored head. Head quickly disperses into a skim with a band around the edges; some lacing but no legs. Nose is fairly muted and difficult to describe - citrus, malt and a feint coffee/cocoa character. Taste consistent with nose - hops character is difficult to define. Definitely some citrus acidity in the mix; however, a dominant hops characteristic is hard to pin down as a result of the dark malt presence. There also seems to be a lactose sweetness in the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is light-medium with an assertive carbonation and an acidity the lightly stimulates the salivary glands. Interesting and fairly complex - I'm not really sure how I feel about the style; however, well worth a try.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Hops' nose is somewhere between a porter and a stout, smelling of milk chocolate, chocolate malt, coffee, mocha, and freshly-baked wheat bread. Though the beer has "hops" in the title, and the description promises a hoppy taste, there's virtually no trace of hops in the nose--only the faintest of tinges at the edge of the mealy malts belies their presence.

On the tongue, the beer begins dark and rich, with good chocolate malt, chocolate, coffee, and wheat bread flavors. There is, early in the mouthful, a sense that hops are going to come into play at some point, as a noticeable bitterness surrounds the malts (though at this point the bitterness is largely devoid of hoppy grapefruit-and-pine notes). Mid-mouthful, as the dark sugars peel away, the hop base becomes more apparent, and though it never reaches IPA levels, a distinct citrus tang joins the malty play, and the two of them dance around each other for the remainder of the mouthful. A strange, fizzy-light vodka spritzer of flavor hovers at the edges, perhaps caused by the hops (since the ABV is only 6.75%, I can't imagine the alcohol being the cause). The aftertaste is a continuation of the hop-and-malt jog, still slightly heavier on the malts, and lasts for quite a while. In addition, the aftertaste is quite dry. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is great beer, though I do notice that taking too many sips at too close of an interval seems to cancel out much of the malt flavor, leaving more hops to sting the tongue. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the malts were such a wonderful presence at first that it's a shame to see them go (though they do still make a strong appearance in the aftertaste, regardless). Still, the beer is very drinkable.

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Photo of brianjay
3.56/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a root beer brown but darkens as it settles. The head is thick, sticky and full of air bubbles.

Flavor has a strong malt back, similar to roasted peanuts. The hops blend in an interesting way: their essence adds a spiciness (pepper is the easiest way to describe it) which kicks up the malt inspired flavors, but they are not as assertive as one would expect from an IPA.

Dry on the finish, but overall the body is smooth. This beer goes down easy, a nice, well-blended and quiet IPA.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased at Ryan & Casey Liquors, Greenfield, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy brew. Head dwindles promptly down to a skim of small bubbles, with prevalent lasting lace. Aroma is roasty dark malts, stanky piney hops, with a peek of fruitiness.

Taste follows along, dark sweetness to start, fruitiness for a moment, followed by ample pine bitterness to the close. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is good. Could do with a little more depth of grain for balancing, but a beer with hops in its name is probably going to edge that direction.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Would not call this beer quite black. More of a darkish, yet semi-transparent brown. If you're gonna call the beer "Black Hops" it should at least be a bit blacker than this. The beer sports a foamy head that recedes to almost nothing. A bit of lacing.

S-I get the fruity/citrusy hops at first. I am not getting much of the aromas that come with most Black Ales I have tried. Smells to me more like a normal IPA. Not much dark coffee and chocolate here.

T-The roasted notes are more present here than in the nose. Surprisingly, the hops are a bit more muted than expected. The taste is more akin to the style than the nose. Still getting some bitterness along with hoppy flavors. Just fails to wow my taste buds. Not bad, but I have had a few Black IPAs that beat this one tastewise.

M-Somewhat similar to a light porter. Mildly watery. Good amount of bubbly carbonation.

D-One bomber will be good enough for me. Booze masked decently.

I like the idea of buying local but this beer simply isn't gonna compete with others of the same style. It is not bad, but it does not make me want to grab another one at the store.

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