Ritual Dark Ale | ReaperAle

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Ritual Dark AleRitual Dark Ale
Very Good
34 Ratings
Ritual Dark AleRitual Dark Ale

Brewed by:
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 31
Photo of harpus
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of ronniebruner
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As good as any expensive Euro dark ale! This beer is medium-dark, heavy in alcohol content, great in taste. It is perfectly blended between high ABV and taste. It is very sweet, with a tinge of sugar. The aroma is of sweet hops and a grassy feel. This beer is excellent and I would definitely recommend!

 303 characters

Photo of badbeer
2.9/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown with red hues; off-white head with great retention and lacing. Smell was of old green vegetables, roasty, and some toffee. Bitter taste I recognize from a lot of black patent malt, hoppy flavors and bitterness still very much present. Low carbonation with less than medium body. I thought this might have withstood aging a bit better. Would be happy to try something from these guys again.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark dark reddish-brown color with off tan foamy head.

S: On the nose was roasted malt, coffee,dark fruit (raisins), pine resin and some alcohol hints.

T: The flavor was dark and malty, with some dark chocolate, and fruit followed by dark caramel, molassess and a bitter dry hoppiness of grapefruit. The hopping was aggressive and dry reminding of Chinnook hops.

M: smooth with an alcohol warming.

D: Good drinkability, one bomber is plenty making for a rich dark hoppy treat.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Imstillthegman for this one.

This beer pours beautiful dark port color with a creamy tan film that sports a few bigger bubbles. This leaves some nice strips of lace in my glass. What a gorgeous beer...

Smells of tangy cherries, prunes, dry cocoa, a soft marshmallow and a snap of floral hops.

The flavor starts with A dry kick of cocoa that is instantly over come by the fruity sour notes of black cherry that then falls into a sweet and dry pine needle. Nice change up here!

Feels just slightly sluggish with a swarm of carbonation that comes and goes.

A tasty brew with a lot going on and going for it.

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Photo of charlzm
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled, consumed on 12/25/07.

Pours a medium/dark brown from bottle but is somehow nearly jet black in glass. Gorgeous light tan head forms and lasts until bottom of glass: pillowy, fine bubbles. Aroma has sweet wine and molasses notes. Mouthfeel is watery, thin. Big flavor: roasted malt and chocolate. First sip tasted off somwhow, but all subsequent quaffs were fine. Slight hint of sour cherries. Lightly bitter (choclate, coffee) aftertaste with slight astringency.

Very good, if a tad simple.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy tannish head, there are some nice islands and sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is malty, could scent some prunes, figs, raisins, lots of caramel. The taste is very malty, slightly sweet, with a slightly bitter finish. The alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body, a well rounded brew. Drinkable, another tasty brew from ReaperAle. With this one done, I've had them all. I wish they would make more and other's, but I guess that will not happen. I recommend all their brew's.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish black color with a thin but foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit and a decent amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out like a stout with malty flavors of dark chocolate, roasted coffee and a touch of dark fruit. However, what quickly follows is a burst of hops indicative of the best West Coast hop bombs. The after-taste is hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, good kick, this is a beer well-worth sticking with for an evening. It’s the type of beer that can be both a good pounder and a good sipper.

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Photo of rallison
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brownish black with a beautiful, fluffy 2 finger off-white head that will leave a whole lot of lacing for sure.

S: Some nice roasted coffee with a bit of sweet chocolate. Maybe a touch of dark fruits.

T: A very interesting beer we've got here. It's like a thick porter that decided to go Belgian. Belgian strong ale that is. I definitely get roasted coffee here (with that tasty touch of chocolate), but then it quickly brings along some very Belgian-like dark fruits - rum-soaked raisins, dates and maybe a sprinkling of spice. Hops too, I realize. I like it. Very unique.

M: Great mouthfeel - tastes nice and rich, but the carbonation keeps it just light enough to keep the drinkability way up there.

D: Very drinkable. Tasty, rich and not syrupy.

Highly recommended. Of course, you can't get this any more.

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Photo of jwc215
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown, with ruby highlights. A thick off-white head slowly descends to a thin cover. Some trailing lace slides down glass.

The smell is of dark malts, dark fruits, coffee and a hint of chocolate.

The taste is of dark malts - coffee and chocolate. Plenty of fruity, bitter hops give this a nice blance and unique complexity. This alchol is well-covered, with just a hint of a warming nip in the long finish.

The body is between medium and full-bodied. Almost approaches a certain thinness for the style, but hangs on. Smooth with a nice texture.

This is easily drinkable, esp. for abv level. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a blackish color, with a bit of red tint on the edges. Nice dense creamy tan head that leaves lace.

Smell: Roasted malts and alcohol. While the malts are quite nice, I am not a big fan of alcohol aromas in beer.

Taste: Again, malts and alcohol. The roasted malts aren't very distinct, and the aftertaste is mostly alcohol with a hint of the roasted flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a slight bit of carbonation. The alcohol can be felt at times while swallowing.

Drinkability: The alcohol taste is just too much after a while...

The alcohol flavor here isn't masked at all, making it somewhat unappealing. Also, while the malt flavor is nice, it just isn't too compelling. An interesting beer, but a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured from bottle to tumbler at 48 degrees. Beer had a nice big head (brown) that lasted a decent amount of time. Good lacing. Beer was dark with a fruity hoppy first note then coffee. Alcohol taste was a little strong for my taste. I think it was a dent beer and that darl lovers should try it for yourself. I will not but aain though.

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Photo of Gavage
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: slightly cloudy brown color with a nice hearty 2" head that lasted quite a while. Moderate lacing developed.

Smell: pleasant roasted malts, chocolate, and fruit sweetness.

Taste: follows the nose, as roasted malt, chocolate, prunes, black plums, and some nuttiness. Alcohol is not noticeable despite the higher alcohol levels.

Mouthfeel: smooth from start to finish. Aftertaste is very brief, as the roasted malts and fruit sweetness is gone quite quickly after swallowing. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: not a beer that overwhelms the senses, but a pretty solid beer here. Worth giving this one a try.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz'er bomber with the happy guy himself on the label brandishing his hockey stick.

Pours a ruddy dark eggplant hue topped with a khaki bubbly thick craggy head cap leaving residue lace smattered.

Nose of light cranberry and smokey pie filling.

First swigs: Cherry juice, red grape and sweet red wine. Dark fruit aspects linger through the brew. Figs and some whole grain waffle meet lightly in the middle. Finish of some Dr. Pepper and grape juice.

Feel is a bit thin bodied for a big ol 8.5% ABV'er. Soft shushy feel.

Last swigs: Grape juice and some intrigue. Just not enough to be more than mildly interesting. Needs more depth and character. A fuller body would do this ritual some creedence. Until then, forgo the Lord's Prayer while chugging this daring brew. Cheap $4.50 bomber from HollingsHead.

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Photo of BlindPig
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- 1" tan/mocha head on a cloudy very dark brown body. Lacing that covers the top and sticks to side of the glass.
S- Big citrus hops, some coffee and roasted malts in there too. They are kind of underlying the citrus hops but still present just have to look a little harder for them.
T- One sip you get a coffee malt flavor and then the other you get a citrus hop flavor which then slowly fades to the coffee taste in the aftertaste. It really is a very balanced beers of two strong flavors. Almost like a stout and a IPA got mixed. There is the underlying bitterness in taste and aftertaste.
M- Medium body with low carbonation.
D- It is a weird flavor. It's not like I don't like it but it is just strange. I don't think I will buy this again. It's is weird but it is worth a try. The body is a bit to thin for these flavors though.

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Photo of Phocion
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with just a hint of a reddish hue when held up against the light. Thin but lingering and frothy brown/beige head that is definitely not going anywhere soon.

Malty aroma. Coffee, nutty, and toffee present. Alcohol also noticable.

Well, the flavor is certainly a lot more complex than the smell. This brew is definitely based around the malts - bitter dark chocolate, toffee, nutty, coffee, and figs, but there's an ample bitter hoppiness infused for an excellent balance.

Thick and chewy, but a little too dry. Very bittersweet, but with a minimal aftertaste. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of dhilltop2000
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle -

Pours an antique stained leather color with slight orange/ruby red to the blend. Dispensed into a 16oz pint glass from a moderately aggressive pour yielded a nice head. Careful, the foam is a sleeper. It kept growing and growing... until I finally had to take a small sip of the suds to keep from overflowing.

MMM. This is good. After the head denses up a bit, aromas of classic English Porter and India Pale Ale immerse. Tastes nicely complex. Bitter IPA, lightly sweet toffee-coffee mix, hoppy and dangerously drinkable for the listed 8.5% alc. A great brew.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, dark amber with a full 2 finger tan head that slowly melts to thick and sticky lacing.
Aroma is bitter coffee.
Mouth feel is a little thin for everything going on in the pour and aromas, but carbonation is nice.
Taste is very complex. Bitter chocolate...bitter coffee....dark candied fruits....bitter hops. I love it.
Definately a sipper.
Bitter aftertaste. I think it would be interesting to see how this one ages, but I am enjoying what I have now.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a deep, almost black, amber color that shows a brilliantly clear dark ruby-amber color when held up to the light. The head is frothy, fairly large bubbled, and is an amber tinged tan color. The aroma is malt focused with notes of toffee, sweet caramel and a bit of a fruity sweet raisin note. I can't quite tell if it is just the maltiness, but there might even be a hint of oxidation here already.

The beer is pretty thick and chewy, I should have guessed from the concentrated malt notes in the aroma. Notes of sweet caramel and toffee are found up front, but quickly a roasted note begins to become noticeable. The roasted note gains a burnt grain astringency as it moves towards the finish. This note in the finish is joined by a solid, astringent hop bitterness. Actually this beer is fairly malty throughout, hoppy notes of citrus and sharp herbal notes. While this beer is pretty enjoyable, and has lots of flavor, I just can't quite get past the fact that it seems too unbalanced. The sharp, astringent notes from both the hops and the dark grain just don't jive with the rest of the flavors.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dusky garnet with flaming crimson and orange highlights. The smallish head of light caramel looks impressively sticky and backs it up by depositing a good bit of lace as it deflates. I love the disordered, falling-in-sections, moonscape surface of the cap.

I was more favorably disposed toward the nose immediately after cracking the crown than I am at the moment, when I'm doing more than simply noticing it from afar. It isn't bad at all, it just isn't defining the beer's nature for me. It's sort of porter-like, with aromas of java beans, chocolate and dark fruit. There's a faint whiff of alcohol that keeps me in mind of the stated style.

The flavor is interesting in that it seems to be an amalgam of several different styles. Ritual Dark is primarily dark malty and is more than a little sweet. Bittersweet chocolate, molasses and sour, coffee-soaked fruit (figs, raisins) make up the lion's share of the flavor profile. Even though that description doesn't sound like it, the beer could be compared, in some respects at least, to a stout, a wee heavy, a Baltic porter and an old ale.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come together as well as it might. It tastes a little muddled, lacking in focus, as if comprised of a handful of flavors that should work well together, but don't. That sounds more negative than intended, and in fact, warming brings about some much needed cohesion. I'm enjoying the bottom half of the bottle much more than the top half.

Beer from this brewery is known for its hoppiness. This one, though, is the least hoppy of them all. I find it odd that while the other members of the murderer's row of ReaperAle ales use American varieties almost exclusively, Ritual has a European flair thanks to a hop bill comprised of Spalt, Liberty and Tettnang. Even though their noble hop flavor isn't that noticeable, they do provide much more than a token amount of bitterness.

There's very little hint of the 8.5% ABV except for a little rawness on the finish. That's okay. Show me an American Strong Ale in which alcohol is completely absent on the palate and I'll show you an American Weak Ale. The mouthfeel is medium (at best) with a tame amount of carbonation. It seems to me that a beer this big should have a mouthfeel to match.

This is my least favorite of the ReaperAle offerings that I've had so far. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm not having a good time with the bomber. I'm not sure what the fix would consist of, but Ritual Dark Ale isn't that far from being right up there with its stablemates. I consider it to be well worth a purchase.

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Photo of scottoale
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of the typical 22oz. brown bomber pours a very dark brown liquid with burgundy red hues when held up to the light. Thick, frothy coffee tan head thats two fingers thick rises up with lively, super-fine carbonation bubbles. Nice thick sticky lacing with this one.

Semi-sweet chocolate,dark roasted malts and coffee fills the nasel cavity, another sniff reveals rich, strong coffee with citrus hop afternotes.

It tastes exactly like it smells with sweet rich coffee and chocolate tangling into a strong and nice bitter finish. Another taste gives opportunity for the hops to speak up as the well masked high alcohol warms the expirience and makes the flavors linger. Love the roasty, bitter aftertastes.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with a medium+body, mildly blunt bitter finish satisfies with stout-like characteristics.

Filling, yet easy to consume, I recommend it for sure.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured mahogany with crimson hues, beige head that fell to a whisp shortly and sustained throughout.
Chocolate cookie dough and brown sugar in the nose along with rum spiked espresso hints. Finishes a bit fruity and warm.
Medium bodied and a bit chewy.
Oreo shells dipped in dark roast coffee drizzled with caramel on the pallet.
Moderate bitterness keeps the alcohol in check, and some hoppiness to boot.
Finishes fairly quick with continued bitter chocolate.
Tasty, but not much complexity here.

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from AJ's back in mid-August for $3.99.

Poured a dark brown with a nice tan head that is hanging around ever so slightly. Nose is of roasted malts and a light alcohol. Taste is of roasted malts with a nice hop finish. Mouthfeel is fairly full and lively on the palate. Overall drinkability is good. I thought there would be more of an alcohol taste given the smell but it turns out to be well hidden. Congrats to Reaper, the last couple of their brews I have had has been a pretty good improvement over the first couple I had.

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Ritual Dark Ale from ReaperAle
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 34 ratings