Dark Element | Element Brewing Company

83 Reviews
Dark ElementDark Element

Brewed by:
Element Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by cbutova on 06-04-2010

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Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 209
Photo of Beernuts123
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep ruby color when held to the light. Light lacy head that is slightly effervescent on the tongue, indicative of the bottle conditioning process.
Licorice, dark malts and lots of clean hop aroma on the nose.
Body is light and refreshing and taste is well-rounded with nicely balanced bitterness and dark/caramel malt flavors. Does not have an overly roasty back end which allows the hop aroma to clean up the finish.
Not a session beer, but wonderful with a fully flavored meat dish or a rich chocolate dessert.

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Photo of ComputerBeer
4.9/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this beer is surprising! It looks like a porter, taste like an IPA but has some mouthfeel that is indescribable??? Creamer than a stout not thick like a barley wine??? Well done guys. I had this in a snifter and it laced all the way to the last drop. The head was not bright white nor dark. The aromas were classic Nouveau-American. Perhaps Centennial? Not overly bitter some alcohol warming in the finish

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Photo of HP1975
4.81/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow this is full of hop aromas, citrus, cascades, or something american!
On tap and served in a pint glass at BBQ place in Boston, humm where could that be?

Appearance is dark, dark brown to black. Not quite fully dark black as you can get some light through it. It has good clarity and tall foam that lingers and coats the glass.

The hop aromas are orange peel citrus.

The flavor backs up the nose well and reminds of a hoppy brown ale or black IPA

You would expect it to be fairly bitter but the mouthfeel is rather full and smooth. The higher abv is also well hidden in the mix.

Definitely a solid black ale. But it's Element so why would anyone expect anything other than excellence?

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of Altrurian
4.73/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The indulgence begins with the pour, which raises a picture-perfect tan head above a reddish mahogany elixir. The head, at least within the confines of my Ithaca-labeled weizen glass, is dense and long-lived, seeming as though, given the chance, it could be a permanent fixture. There is cascading in its lower quarters as it gradually succumbs to the rising liquid. The beer's aroma is pronounced and sweet, combining chocolate and vanilla with a subtle earthiness and a slight waft of volatility. The flavor varies as it traverses the palate, starting with a surprising near-bitter freshness. It culminates in a rich, cocoa-like semi-sweetness, with a finish that is clean, with the merest benevolent suggestion of alcohol. The mouthfeel is slightly more aggressive than expected, contributing to the beer's appropriateness as an accompaniment for a meal. Overall, an excellent entry from a thoughtful brewer.

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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mu buddy Steve brought this to Holland on his vsit from MA. Thanks a bunch.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

Fantastic dark brown appearance with a nice two finger head.

Smells of candy, malts and hops.

A rollercoaster of flavors. Sweetness and roasted malts bits of coffee and dark fruits all completed by some nice bitterness.

Full creamy body, good amount of carbonation and the flavors and the bitterness linger for a while.

What a pick by my buddy Steve, who doesn't know anything about beer. I never heard of this brewery either and for a bottle to make it into Holland is quite special. This beers qualifies as special as well. it's aunlike anything I ever had., It's somewhere in between a dark, strong ale, a quad and a IPA. I''ll have this again for sure. Highly recomended!

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
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 mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
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 ktrillionaire
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - It pours a deep and oily brown-black hue with a healthy cap of mocha head. The head retention is moderate, but the lacing is substantial.

S - The aroma is absolutely fantastic. There is an assertive citric-herbal hoppiness that springs forth from the glass which is tempered by an underpinning of robust and slightly smoky black malt; the nose is exceptionally integrated and complementary.

T - Wow. I'd say this is the nicest CDA I've had; admittedly, it is somewhat of a fledgling style. The label references a stylistic intent encompassing a fusion of IPA and Schwarzbier, and it seems to be precisely what we have here. The hop contribution is fairly rangy and dynamic, suggesting white grapefruit, overripe citrus, herbal leafiness, grassiness and tea-like bitterness. The malt is very interesting; it is fairly light in body - say, lighter than an average IPA but bigger than a Pilsener - and it has a subtle smoky character that is complemented by a refreshing mineral-water note. It is not a rich malt, despite its depth of hue. There is a bit of booziness here that seemingly fuses malt and hop, it works as a flavor enhancer in this instance.

M - CDA. Great. Seriously. A bit of tooth, but not too much. A hint of creaminess. A smooth, velvety nature.

D - As mentioned above, I think this is the best example of this fledgling style I've yet encountered.

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Photo of jbertsch
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears black with a light tan head. Frothy and just sticky enough.

Aroma is layered yet simple as everything was subdued a bit. But I did smell roasted malts and faint dark fruits similar to what you'd smell in a belgian quad/trappist.

Taste is a great balance of roasted malts and soft fruit with notes of apple, cherry, dates, grapes... Hops are noticeable,providing complexity. There's something in the flavor profile for everyone!

Mouthfeel feels nicely carbonated and slightly crisp at first, but quickly changes to a creamy smoothness on the finish.

I couldn't put this one down...making great drinkability.
This really is a nice cross between a black ipa (or hoppy schwarzbier), and a chimay. There are layers of flavor that don't at all compete with one another.

I look forward ot buying this again!

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Photo of edchicma
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an exceptional dark, dark brown..excellent head and outstanding lacing..impressive. Smell is a feast on the nostrils, malt, hops, yeast..coffee. Taste follows smell...rich, creamy malt with a distinct hop presence at mid palate. No harshness..some elements of a good barleywine, but much smoother. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy followed by a distinct hop presence that ends slightly dry. Excellent drinkability for the style.

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Photo of hudsonvalleyslim
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
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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Photo of rudzud
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice mahogany with a massive fluffy head that quickly shrunk down to a heavy lacing.

S - Sugar and malt with faint coffe and chocolate notes

T - Reminiscent of a stout! Excellent balance of sweet malts and the bitter hops.

M - Has the silky smooth mouthfeel of a stout or milk porter but with just more carbonation.

D - Nice and smooth which makes this one a very easy drinker. Just goes down so good.

I've tried all three of Element's offerings and each one is good in its own right. Another excellent ale from this brewery.

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Photo of Gatch
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
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 aerozeppl
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
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 silentjay
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a thin dark brown/black that produces a beautiful, big-bubbled beachsand colored head that retains well and laces impeccably.

nice hoppy aroma reminiscent of fresh-cut flowers, with some pine and earthy/tree bark along with some decent citrus. deep roasted and chocolaty malts balance the intense hops, add to the bitterness and bring in some roast and sweet aromas.

earthy/piny/woody flavors hit first before some campfire and cocoa come into play. some coffee, some citrus, some tobacco, some chocolate milk. so many flavors fighting for superiority, with none coming out as dominant, but leading to a complex and tasty beer.

body of an IPA, medium bodied and prickly with a bitter aftertaste that lingers a while.

overall, an excellent beer. I have had this on tap a few times and loved it, but I think it may be even better bottle-conditioned. Rivals Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous as my favorite of the style. If this was a bit cheaper, I would drink this every week.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Heard about this one and glad to find it at the local beer store. 750ml...

A: Thin dark color with no light shining through with a huge 2 inch off-white head that fades at a decent rate. Very good.

S: First thing I get is citrus blended with sugary malt upfront light pear / pineapple in the middle with hints of caramel on the backend. Good.

T: Caramel / toffee hops upfront blended awesome with sugary malt. A very nice balance of bitterness, sugary malts, and water. It has some unique flavors, but nothing too crazy. However, the flavors blend so well that this is really good. Very good.

M: Thin on the palate and does not leave a whole lot of residual flavor on your palate. Decent.

D: Goes down amazingly easy. Very easy drinker. Awesome!

All in all, this brew definitely surprised me. This one is very, very good. I am surprised by this up and coming brewery. They definitely need to keep up the great work. My advice to the brewer is keep experimenting with different flavors in your brews to add more elements. Definitely try this one at least once. It's a very good conversion brew.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark Element, April 2012 bottling...

I can't resist the allure of an unusual beer, so seeing this beer wrapped in paper was too much for me to resist - thankfully!

A: black-brown body, slightly translucent around the edges, fat pale foam head; lid of foam persisted; no lacing

S: hoppy toffee and mild roasted malt

T: delicious: toffee, caramel, slight mellow roastedness, some espresso, perfectly bitter and sweet at the same time

M: excellent drinkability, wonderful aftertaste, no astringency; smooth and easy drinking

O: this might've just jumped to the top of my black ales - easily on-par with Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and Uinta's Dubhe (my current favorite black ales) - this beer demonstrates great craftsmanship and has a unique flavor that may veer slightly from the typical flavor profile of an American black ale, but I loved it.

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Photo of bum732
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Red-fruit citrus, rasberries mostly, some ground coffee notes, slight spices, cinnamon and perhaps vanilla, dark chocolate as it warms.

L: Very dark brown, bordering on black, light tan head, good retention with fantastic lacing.

T: Coffee malt and roastiness up front followed by a medium bitterness, some estery fruitiness. Finishes with a touch of oak and roasty dryness. Fairly clean throughout. More coffee sweetness and roasty as it warms.

M: Medium bodied with medium-low carbonation.

Hoppy without being to bitter, a nice clean roasty flavor. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jwale73 for this bottle. Poured from a 750ml paper-wrapped, corked & caged bottle into a Bruery tulip glass.

A: Dark brown with a nice head that dissipates into nothing especially as this beer warms up. Not as nice when I first poured it straight outta the fridge.

S: Really complex - oaky, burnt rubber, hops. Just a bold aroma that's pleasing to whiff.

T: When this is cold it has a nice smokey aspect - similar to a Schwarzbier. As it warms it mellows out and delivers more of a malty and hoppy character. I also pick up toasted marshmallow, subdued cognac, and butter pecan.

M: A little carbonated when you first crack this thing, but becomes quite elegant after a little time.

D: I didn't have any problems taking down the 750 over dinner and the span of 2 and a half hours.

Overall, a very nice beer and one to certainly make me eager to try other offerings from Element. Try the "bigger" brother to this beer (IMO): Harpoon Triticus (you're in luck because it was just re-released for this Fall).

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Photo of mavbrew
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark brown, almost black in color with a finger thick, foamy, tan head that leaves some nice lacing down the side of the mug. Looks very appetizing.

S: Hops are apparent up front with some chocolate and roasted malt scent, very stout like.

T: The up front taste has a very sweet taste like a chocolate or caramel would generate. Also, there are some hints of a dark fruit. The finish is where the hops come in with the bitterness, not much but a good amount.

M: Medium bodied with what I'd say is above average carbonation.

D: Even though the cork frustrated the crap out of me, taking 5 minutes and breaking off in the bottle, I really enjoyed this beer. It was my first black IPA but I will be trying more after this one. A very solid beer.

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Photo of Durge
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
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 MasterSki
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
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 MrVonzipper
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DarthKostrizer for the bottleshare
Pours a dark walnut brown with a foamy tan head with good retention and lacing.

Malt dominates the nose which is surprising for the style. Notes have definitely subdued a bit by the aging. Subtle sweet pine hops are present with a sweet rich earthiness.

Flavor is good but again subdued a bit. But the balance between the deep earthy dark malt, mild oakiness and the dark sweet pines hop notes are very nice.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall I thought it was a very nice beer. Not at bold as many others of the style but there's nothing wrong with that IMO. Everything came together very nicely and it was amazingly easy to drink.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml cork and caged bottle into a goblet glass

A- Pours like coke, dark brown with some nice reddish hues on the bottom. On top is a huge fluffy 2 finger off white khaki head that isn't going anywhere.

S- Slightly roasted dark malts with a really nice pine hop presence that really shines through. Also getting some nice sweet chocolate notes in there as well, and strangely almost has a root beer note to it haha.

T- Just like the aroma you get some nice sweet and bitter hops up front that is followed by a combination of bitter chocolate and sweet coffee. Really well balanced.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter finish.


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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Tried alongside their 6:56, which is "Dark Element Squared". Growler fresh from the brewery.

On the pour, this one produced two fingers of head floating on a hazy brown body. Some lacing was evident.

Aroma was raisins, brown bread, darker malts, and caramel sweetness much like the bottled version. However, floral notes and hop resins were much more evident.

Taste was different as well. This one was strongly bitter, with light sweetness and fruitiness. Dark malt character came through, along with a bit of roasted flavor.

Mouthfeel was full and creamy. Good body.

High drinkability marks. It took me a few hours to finish the growler, and I had no problem, no flavor fatigue. Good to the last drop.

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Dark Element from Element Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 209 ratings.
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