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

Appearance: 22 oz bottle poured into a 25 oz sniffer. The beer pours a dark brown color with a light golden hue around the edges. The beer is clear with a reasonably thick, creamy, brown head head. The head shows good retention and is revived to an even more massive size with some light swirling. The head sticks nicely to the glass and leaves very open lacing on the sides. The head on this beer looks like foamy hot chocolate and is a bit sandy or grainy. Definately a nice looking beer.

Smell: The nose is rich with piney hops along with roasty brown sugar and dried fruit. There is also a cereal/grain/bran scent in the nose presumably from the malt.

Taste: The hop flavor comes out swinging in this one. It's piney, earthy, and resiny and very good. Not to bitter up front; that comes later. There is a crisp and sweet malty flavor that dries to a slightly roated chocolate flavor. THe sandy bitterness from the hops shows up in the end of this beer matched with a light alcohol taste but no warmth from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The sweetness of this beer coats the palate nicely. It's medium bodied and nicely balanced in texture. Dry and smooth but equally velvety.

Drinkability: This is a nice hoppy beer. It is IPA-like in character but with more complexity and depth in the malt. Well done.

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More User Reviews:
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 OStrungT
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this beer pours a very red. The head is tan. It is sort of thin, but it fades slowly leaving thin laces. It has a rich malty aroma. I detect some dark fruits like raisins and plumbs. Also, I detect a decent hop aroma. This beer has a caramel taste to it. It is malty, but also well balanced. I can taste a good amount of hop bitterness. It has a sweet taste. It has a slight coffee flavor to it. Also, it has a very slighty spicy flavor to it. This beer is carbonated well. It goes down smoothly leaving a spicy, hoplike aftertaste. The alcohol also slightly warms the throatThis beer is not nearly as thick as I would have expected. It is pretty good none the less. This beer might not make the greatest session beer. Although the flavor is not very aggressive, it is slightly high in alcohol. I think that this beer is decent enough. If you see it, you should give it a shot. You only have about $4.50 to loose, and you might be surprised.

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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 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 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 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 Gusler
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The deer departs the 22-ounce brown bottle a deep bruin to almost black with a modest frothy tan head that dissolves rather quickly leaving a nice coating of lace upon the glass. Nose has a slight hint of hops, mainly fresh and clean malt sweetness, maybe some caramel, start is slightly sweet with a rather tolerable grain profile and a top to match. Finish has a redeeming hop spiciness that I liked along with a suitable acidity and the aftertaste quite dry, quite drinkable in my humble opinion.

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Photo of weeare138
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to egajdzis for this...
Appears a dark brown red with a small tan cap that slowly fades.
Smell is sweet, faint malt with a hint of nuts, chocolate, and lime.
Taste is sweet, roasty, rich syrup, chocolate...very hard to place.
Mouthfeel is slightly chewy and roasty with bitterness.

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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 meathookjones
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tall tan fluffy head over a deep brownish red body. Roasted malts and a pretty big ripe fruity sweetness in the aroma. Some figs, prunes and small bit of dark chocolate round out the nose. The flavor starts off with a bit of sweet caramel malt and a solid roastiness. Ripe figs and dates with some bitter dark chocolate. Sweet roasty finish. About medium body and a bit chalky. It has a pretty damn smooth feel to it going down. Pretty interesting stuff but not mind blowing in any way.

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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 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 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!

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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 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 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 DogFood11
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Woohoooo Big frothy chunky head khaki/tan color that laces well. Yesss i'm intrigued.

whats that metallic smell I'm getting. its faint so it isn't a complete buzzkill as the porter type aroma's are clearly the boss in this baby.

Taste is somewhat complex but for some reason I keep getting a porter taste and I like it. some coffee grounds / burnt flavor with a slight citrus finish that cleans up ok.

Carbonation is really fine and rebuilds the beer drink after drink...A solid thumbs up. I'd like to try this aged . If I only had a cellar. One day.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Archetypal Reaper Ale label with lots of scary looking stuff, skulls, grim reaper and ghoulish skeletons. Labeled as “Reaper Ale – Ritual Dark Ale”, with a cheeky ‘Do you are?’ in red text below the Scythe wielding Reaper Dude, that guy needs to eat to more vegetables he looks ill. Color coordinated crown cap, listed at 8.5% but wit no freshness date anywhere.

Appearance: Dark brown deep polished chestnut. Held to the light it has a nice deep mahogany ruby character. Head is a pale tan color which is deep and foamy a first, it settles with a finger thick uniform coating. Solid conditioning seems high at times.

Nose: Mixture of misshapen milk chocolate candies and light cocoa powder whiffs with some malted milk tones. Nothing complex, rather simplistic aromas. Ever present but never strong.

Taste: Starts where the nose left off. Entrance has a big chocolate malt start with some cocoa powder. But as it warms it develops some more facets, especially in the finish. The latter third is soaked in alcohol; it certainly lets you know that the 8.5% is here. Mild spicy wrap in the swallow with a smidgeon of lingering bitterness, nutty at times too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth feel in this one, even with the high alcohol in the finish, after the swallow it develops a warming finish that has hints of dark fruits in it.

Drinkability: The alcohol can be a little aggressive, making the Bomber a slow end to the night finish. It wouldn’t be too bad if it had a little more complexity to it. But as is it becomes a tad harsh in the long run.

Overall: Cost $3.99 for acquiring this and getting the chance to try the new addition to the Reaper Ale range. Truth is I’m a little torn by this one right now, but I’m leaning towards liking it. Maybe a little time in the bottle may improve this one slightly.

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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 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 harpus
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +3.9%

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