Black Hops Beer | Blue Hills Brewery

52 Reviews
Read the review
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.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 140
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.

 621 characters

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.

 466 characters

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.

 205 characters

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.

 305 characters

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.

 598 characters

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.


 554 characters

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.

 427 characters

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.

 503 characters

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.

 766 characters

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.

 299 characters

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!

 1,589 characters

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.

 568 characters

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.

 556 characters

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.

 990 characters

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.

 1,771 characters

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.

 267 characters

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.

 907 characters

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.

 872 characters

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.


 752 characters

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.

 688 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Hops pours a dark brown/near black into the glass with a small, creamy light tan head. The foam dissolves quickly to a ring around the surface leaving behind a netted pattern of lace on the glass.

The aroma is malty with subtly hoppy notes. Chocolate malt, a little bit of roast with a touch of pine and citrus.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer has a firm carbonated fizz, slightly syrupy with a dry finish. The flavor is malty with chocolate and bread dominating. It also has nutty notes and a touch of ripe fruit mixed in. It finishes with some hop bitterness and a taste of pine. Once gone the chocolate and nutty notes linger on the palate.

This is a tasty, malty beer with a good body. I was looking for more hop notes and IPA characteristics. This reminded me more of a porter.

 795 characters

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.

 469 characters

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!

 653 characters

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.

 476 characters

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

 617 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Black Hops Beer from Blue Hills Brewery
3.52 out of 5 based on 140 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.