Dark Element
Element Brewing Company

Dark ElementDark Element
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American Black Ale
Ranked #66
Ranked #6,926
4.01 | pDev: 10.72%
Element Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
Very Good
Dark ElementDark Element
Notes: Previously named "Dark Matter."

This New American Black Ale, our strongest signature beer, has the malt profile of an Imperial Schwartz Beer and the floral characteristics of an American IPA. Saturated in hops, this intrepid style offers smooth dark toffee and chocolate flavors without the roasted bitterness found in many "dark" beers.

65.5 IBU
Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 210 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by hudsonvalleyslim:
Photo of hudsonvalleyslim
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted this at Redbones in Somerville, cask-conditioned. They catagorized it as a schwarzbier ale. I believe traditional schwarzbier is lagered, but what the hey. These Element folks seem to be mad scientists. Who brew fine beer. The cask has got to be a different animal from the bottled brew reviewed. Not sure but I think much lighter alcohol.

Twas excellent, a malty brew with more hop presence than schwarzbiers I've had. I met a German brewer last month who said, "Americans are crazy with the hops." And we are.

Appearance was a dark brown, lacing beautifully as it slowly disappeared. Malty fer sure, maybe a tad roasty, and full-bodied. I DO like my schwarzbiers! (And cask ales as well.) Though, as I said, not really a trad schwarzbier. Mighty fine ale - get to Redbones before it kicks.

PS - Just found this on their webpage:

This New American Black Ale, our strongest signature beer, has the malt profile of a Schwartz Beer (German Black Lager) and the floral characteristics of an IPA. Saturated in hops, this intrepid style offers smooth dark toffee flavor without the roasted bitterness.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nearly stout dark, but not transparent, crimson highlight around the edges where light penetrates, creates a finger of caramel head with decent retention, plenty of visible carbonation

S - sweet bourbonesque aromas accented nicely with some darker fruits, raisins, currants and plums

T - light vanilla flavors at first accented with the same dark fruits as the aroma, light cocoa and topped off with some anise/licorice notes

M&D - lighter bodied than I expected, and more active than I wouldve expected, easy to drink and some nice flavors, not overly complex without being simplistic, a nice beer, had to make sure to get a bottle of this before they had to change the label

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed: 11/23/2010 Bottle in paper bag w/info and no lable on bottle.

Darkest brown shade, rootbeer look, thick and tan colored head, healthy and dense. slow dissipate with plenty of foam left over.

A strong and sweet scented, chunky chocolate, very roastie, vanilla extract, sweet blueberry pie, and a very complex hop aroma too..pine and fruity. Smells very much like some of the best Double stouts or RIS!

A thick, heady malty complexty, long and dense feel with chocolate brownies with a jazzy and very complex, earthy hop flavor that adds perfect balace. the hos add a pleasant bitter, earthy flavor that melds togather just perfect. The feel is full and hefty, thick with a dry, earthy kick that gives any huge stout a run for it's money!

Groovy brew right here folks!

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Photo of nebula1999
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of dphillips
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of FrankLloydMike
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of metter98
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brown in color (black when viewed from afar). It poured with a half finger high dense beige head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of dark malts are present in the nose along with some hints of roasted malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is a little more complex with additional hints of toffee and a light to moderate amount of bitterness. The finish has some bits of roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I thought that the toffee-like flavors of this beer were quite interesting, and these might have been accentuated a little by this beer being aged for eight months.

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Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of aerozeppl
4.46/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Black until held up to the light. A touch of brown around the edges. A little bit of bone colored head with some lacing.

S: The nose is oak and hops up front. Chocolate. My guess is this is either the most simple grain bill ever or the most complicated it is that good. The nose is a little on the tight side and the weak point of this beer for me.

T: The hops and chocolate and malt and maybe oak work so well together. I remember talking to them at ACBF and they said they could not tell me anything about their process but oak cubes seemed in order. This is a super complex beer that remains easy for people to process.

M: Medium body. Carbonation is perfect. No complaints.

D: I really liked this beer and Red Giant I have had from them. It is some of the best homebrew out there and I mean that as a compliment as a brewer myself. One of the better examples of this young style that I have had.

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Photo of dtx00
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was one heck of a beer. I have to admit I had not looked it up since receiving it and it had been sitting in my fridge for the better part of a month or more. So I decided when I got home last night since I could not make it up to Charlotte for the stone takeover to finally open this behemoth from the fridge and I really did not see this one coming. Served cold, but allowed to warm to room temp during the session and served in my White Birch go to glass, this one was consumed on 10/06/2010.

One of the best pours I have ever seen, No question in my mind. A deep, dark color, black as night with a head four fingers high of chocolate colored foam. Immense looking and left so much lacing down the sides of the glass. I really was not expecting it to be as big as it looked and then once I really starting getting involved in the glass, all heck broke loose.

So I lean in to take a sip and I find a dense, and totally unexpected hoppiness that seams to come out of nowhere. Citrus hops is a darker then abyss glass, I was falling over at this point. Warming complicates it even further as dense roasted campfire like notes start to blend into the equation and really make this one worth its weight very, very quickly. Taking the first sips only served to confirm my initial impressions, this was unlike anything I have had in the past. Deep and resonant roasted malts provide a huge stepping stone to a crisp floral hop bouquet. Getting the two together in such a seamlessly smooth and clean flavor is remarkable. Rich and sweet and at times lightly bitter, this is a remarkable undertaking. Warming really let the malts shine with light chocolate notes and roasted flavors coming really to the forefront while reserving the light twang of fresh hops for a slightly dry, yet smooth finish.

Overall I have no clue as to what the ABV was on this but I could have drank it all night long. One of the most interesting, and completely complex things I have ever had. Truly remarkable and very well done indeed.

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Photo of Gatch
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ The Horseshoe Pub in Hudson, MA.

A - Deep, ruby red with a short, light brown head. No lace.

S - Malty, boozy, caramelized sugar, tart apples.

T - Delicious malty coffee with a very pleasant boozy finish.

M - Smooth, little carbonation, and way too drinkable.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in the White Whale IV BIF - thanks mikeyv35! Served in my Kuhnhenn tulip.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of tan foam that settles to a thin cap, leaving behind a few spots of lace. Transparent dark color that is mostly black, but reveals some ruby highlights when held to the light.

S - Nice light roast character that mingles with floral and piney hops and a touch of citrus rind. There's some more chocolate cake and caramel that emerges as this warms up. Thankfully this isn't heavy-handed with Black Patent malt like some other Black IPAs.

T - The taste definitely feels more like a hoppy, low-ABV stout, but that's a good thing as it means the alcohol is very well-hidden. Nice notes of baker's chocolate, sugar cookie, and toffee support floral hops and light citrus.

M - Medium body, quite smooth, with medium-low carbonation. Slightly sticky in the finish, with no obvious booze, and some enamel-coating hop resins.

D - This was very easy to drink - I was surprised to find out that it was 8.0%. I'd like to try the "squared" version to see if it is exponentially better. This was quite nice though, and among the better Black IPAs/CDAs I've had.

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Photo of jneiswender
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Friend of mine got me this for my birthday. Poured a cola like body and a fluffy billowing capochinno head. Smelled of faint earthy hops and some roasted grain. Maybe even some light smells of dark cocoa.

Taste is earthy, burnt toast. Has a significant chalk taste. Low carbonation and nice body. Even at 8% abv the beer doesn't have any alcohol burn.

At first I was ready to really give this beer a low rating. Schwarzbier? Not even close. Black IPA? Also not there. This is where BA is right and brewers are wrong with style labels. Good version of an American black ale. Chalk flavor a little off putting though.

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Photo of gdub
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mltobin
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had been hearing about Element Brewing out of Mass for the past 6 months, so it was nice to finally try a beer from them. Dark Element pours a dark brown color with a short beige head. It has a nose with brown sugar, roasted malts, apple and hops. The taste contains dark chocolate, orange and hops. Mouthfeel is medium, bitter finish. A nice black ale, worth checking out.

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Photo of kaelingirl
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Durge
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happily encountered at the ever reliable Dive Bar in Worcester, MA this is a thick dark black brown color served in a tulip glass with a fair light chocolate brown colored head and similar, spotty signs of lacing. The aroma offers deep malt and raisin and orange citrus, fairly mild but pleasant. The flavor comes on with licorice malt and fruit medley. I get a coffee hint and some of that raisin detected earlier twisted in with the licorice. Maybe a touch of root beer rye and toffee if you think about it way too much, but bottom line is, it's tasty. This is near full bodied with minor carbonation but has a smooth aqueous feel to make consumption options pretty decent for a strong ale. Silky with just a little bit of a resinous idea. Alcohol is not dominant but it has a subtle presence with a touch of warmth. Very satisfying for sure if you like malt warmth with a quiet hop nuance. Elementary my dear BA.

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Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of shangwang
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend from New England brought this during a recent visit and I couldn't wait to give it a shot.

Poured a deep brown color with a hint of ruby red; a finger-plus of french vanilla colored head that dissipated quickly and left chunky lacing with a watery consistency. The smell perplexed me- I got a wet leathery scent that I didn't enjoy and to be sure it wasn't the glass I poured a little into a separate glass and got the same thing. Did not dig it at all. Nevertheless, the taste was much more pleasant. Started with hints of toffee and roasted malt with a hint of leather, and at the back of the taste there was some minor roasty bitterness and subtle spices. Fairly mellow in that nothing dominates but plenty of malty flavor. The mouthfeel was pretty light with virtually no carbonation, and the finish left an echo of roast. Very easy to drink because the bitterness was muted.

Overall, it was enjoyable, but I kept hoping for a little more complexity in the flavor that never showed through. Still, a good brew and interesting flavor.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked and caged bottle purchased at the brewery on 10/01/2010. Served in my Old Stock snifter. Pours a deep brown with red highlights around the base when backlit. Head is latte-colored, half an inch in thickness and composed of tiny, compressed bubbles that sizzled and popped as it slowly reduced its volume. Head eventually settles into a fairly consistent skim with swaths of lacing revealed during the tasting. Nose suggests piny hops, dark malt and a hint of something sweet; perhaps toffee. Taste follows nose; however, there is an earthy char that cuts across the flavor profile. Some mild sweetness piques towards the middle before finishing with some residual hops bitterness. Mouthfeel is light-medium with an assertive carbonation and perhaps a little acidity. An interesting brew with the characteristics of many styles - consistent with what I think the brewer was trying to achieve. Alcohol is well-hidden and there is a lot going on here in the flavor department - not at all jagged, the flavors do come together nicely, but it wasn't totally my thing.

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Photo of SABERG
3.66/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tap at horseshoe pub.

Dark brown molasses colored light creamy head with lacing.

Nose of dark roasty malts, crystal malts, light creamy porter, some earthy hops, bit spicy hops, touch of coffee and toffee.

Taste brings more roasty malts, bit of coffee and toffee, touch of dark fruits, plenty of earthy hops, light herbal and grassy, bit of minerality and salty taste especially late, finish with more bitterness and ready hops pellets, bit more briny taste, bit dry.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bodied slight creamy and decent carb.

Drink its good, bit of salty minerality, slight astringent, dry finish, not much of a boozy hit.

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Photo of Trailmix242
5/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of Morey
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Dark Element from Element Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 210 ratings