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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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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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 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 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 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 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 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.

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