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 TheLostGringo
3.03/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Seen some of these Element Brewing Co. Beers on the shelf for the last year and have for some reason yet to have one, so tonight is the night.

Poured into a wide-mouth tulip glass and served at basement temperature. Feb 09, 2012 bottle date.

A: looks fairly dark at first glance but held up to light reveals more of a mahogany color. A nice couple of inches of head that slowly disepates into the beverage.

S: Getting mostly toffee and Pumpernickel perhaps a hint of hops, but not a lot.

T: Overly sweet, very malt forward, perhaps some bitterness in the finish from the hops but not sure if I am imagining it because it is suppose to be there.

O: Drinkable I guess, tastes more like a strong-ale then a combination of a Schwartz/IPA. Not something I would seek out again but drinkable.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at DC bottle share at Smoke & Barrel. Bottle dating April 20 - 2012.

A light tan head and somewhat creamy looking, with a kind of light red amberish brown body tinge. Somewhat clear also, quite nice.

Nose is strangely wood splintery oak. I am getting a weird sense of beechwood almost rauchbier going on. Not particularly hop forward either.

Palate is just a mish mash of things and all over the place. Hop front and mild resin, mixing with a good amount of pine, a soft clean and very crisp malt, with some off roast sense. Somewhat wet body seems to come through slightly, and doesn't highlight any of these flavors nicely.

I am not getting this brews angle here, this feels and tastes like a mess of things that just don't jive nicely with each other. Every flavor seems to be fighting for attention. It's not awful by any means just not digging it.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with a dark tan head. Foams up at first, then slowly recedes to a spotty lace.

I could tell from the aroma that this beer isn't an IPA dyed black. There is a high level of dark malt in the nose, spiced up by a decent amount of citrus and herbal hops. I'm not sure of the freshness on this beer, but it seems like there should be just a touch more hops in the nose. The dark malts add small amount of chocolate, and a large amount of charred, roasted malt. It reminds me a lot of burnt wood.

The flavor is heavily malted as well, with a good amount of burnt, roasted malts. The hops brighten it up a little bit, but in the end they don't feel totally integrated. The bitter finish has a clash of hops and coffee bitterness. It's interesting, but it feels like a bunch of flavors thrown together without any cohesiveness.

Mouthfeel is big and bold, with a lingering, sticky feeling on the palate. Carbonation is maybe a touch too high, but a lot of the carbonation was lost over the course of the bottle. Taking down this bottle was a bit of a task for me. If I were to have it again, I would make sure it was split with at least one more person.

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Photo of Ommy
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark Element pours dark brown, and looks incredibly a lot like cola, in both color and head.

And it smells like cola too! Just kidding :P
The nose is quite muted, but after some vigorous swirling I get a really musty, attic type smell. Very peculiar. I'm getting a lot more maltyness than hops. After letting it open up a bit I start to get a little bit of bread notes.

Thankfully the taste is a lot more pronounced than the nose. Ohh, a very interesting blend of tastes. It's semi-dark and rich but with a good chunk of the lighter sides of malts with the splash of hops.

Overall this is a beer that is quite good, new, and interesting. But it's not something I've fallen in love with. Definitely a buy though!

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Photo of scottfrie
3.44/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into 25oz snifter. Thanks to wyllder for this one. Bottled 5/17/2011.

A: Pours a very dark brown near black color with two fingers of dense light tan head that slowly faded into a thick frothy film leaving rings of sticky lacing.
S: I smell apple juice and grape juice for some reason. I get a touch of grassy hops as well. Fruity and hoppy.
T: Grassy hops and sweet fruit juice yet again. The finish is sweet with caramel and the aftertaste has a light citrus bitterness. I get a touch of doughy yeast and bread crust as well.
M: Medium-thin body, slick mouthfeel, low carbonation. The mouthfeel is a tad too watery but this beer goes down smooth.
O: Not a bad black ipa but not the best. I liked most of the flavors but I don’t know why I got so much fruit juice. The mouthfeel could be thicker but I’m splitting hairs. Overall not bad, but I probably wouldn’t drink this again.

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Photo of beer4colin
3.51/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Union Brewhouse, 12 oz pour.

A - dark is an appraise name but not light capturing. Dark amber tones with a thin head.

T - good mix of char with a nice hoppy backbeat. I have had black IPAs that haven't had this amount of hops. Finishes with a nice sweet toast.

OA - A very nice offering.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jh1982 for bringing me one of these. Dark brown almost black pour, if not for the red edge to the liquid with a nice head. Aroma was roasty bitter.

Taste, plenty carbonated, seemingly like pilsner noble hops in its lively spritzyness and a body that is not as hefty as the color of the beer would lead you to believe. Peppery. Reminiscient of Stone's Juxtaposition, but this one has more roastiness to the body of it, whereas Stone's was hoppier and lighter bodied, despite still being black as night.

Pretty straightforward enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
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 Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really A shwartz beer, a black beer and not a black IPA, freshly acquired by Peter FM. Roasty but not a black IPA, some hops but also some sourness in the finish. Lagerish in texture. Lacy on dark body.OK drinkability. Roast over hops is the smell.A little disappointing for the marketing, with a nicely wrapped bottle.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger off white head

smell: Roast, Black Patent, Malts, Pine, Hops,

taste: roast, black patent, malts, hops,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: well balanced black ale. Usually you get more hops or more roasted malts, but this one is balanced.

the CPJ

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pretty pour, dark beer, black in the center, brown towards the edge, and dark red right on the edge yielding a 3/5" head that was tan, all roasty bitterness in the aroma. Plenty of schwarzbier like hopping going on.

Lots of carbonation, high hop prickliness, bitterness contributions from both the roasted malt and the hops. Probably should tone the roastiness down to keep this from coming off like a high American hopped porter. Would be interesting to know if it was an ale or lager yeast, I can't tell given the high roastiness and hoppiness. Enjoyable.

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Photo of zander4dawin
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Sludgey dark brown beer with a thin head. Heavy notes of burnt toast, oats, piney hops at the end on a creamy body. Pretty good for the style never been a fan of dark IPA plays off the roasty malts and burnt sugar flavors.

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Photo of shangwang
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
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 jneiswender
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
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 cvm4
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled Sept. 6th, 2012

A - Pours a very dark brown with a billowing tan head. Pretty good lacing.

S - A bit oaky, astringent and not too hop forward. Mild roasted malt.

T - Hops at first mixed with some dark malts. Turns a bit sweet/toffee then a bitter finish.

M - Medium body and carbonation with a wet finish.

O - May'be the age has got to it, but I wasn't picking up some of the flavors others were.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SFLpunk for this one.

Look: Dark brown with brown circles around the edges 1/4 inch head and no real retention

Smell: Chocolate covered citrus fruits

Taste: Chocolate with citrus notes which creates and interesting fruity flavor. But what sets this apart from most east coast black IPA's is the balance it has good balance and it finishes with a nice coffee note

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium to high carbonation and just a pussy hair dry

Overall: To be honest I had such high hopes for this beer that is why I traded for it but it is a good black ipa but again cannot compete with west coast black ipa's

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Photo of rdpoint
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown in color, not much aroma and very little head. Originaly tried this beer at a local beer fest, which peaked the intrest in it. Nice taste, maybe a little toffee like, and very smooth. Mild after taste, with hints of almost a burnt taste and not hoppy at all. Surprisingly light for the look and taste.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
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 mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/02/11 notes. Brought to a local tasting by jslot38; thanks Justin.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with one inch of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruit, citrus hops, and fruity malts.

t - Tastes of fruity malts, citrus hops, and light pine.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A nice black IPA with some nice citrus in the taste and nose. Would have again.

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Photo of Dope
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated January 2011. Hmm maybe I should have drank it back when I bought it. Let's find out!

A: A very dark brown pour with a tinge of red to it. Small tan head yet quite dense. Takes a while to fade and leaves a surprisingly nice wall of lacing.

S: Toffee, dark fruit and a little roasted malt. Maybe a touch of citrus character? Pretty subtle overall.

T: Nice roasted malt and toffee flavors. A little bit of hop character, mainly citrus and maybe grass? A bit of a chalky taste in the middle that I can't quite distinguish what it's from. Not unpleasant. There are some flashes of dark fruit once in a while, mainly raisin. There is some nice bitter coffee at the end and continues to linger in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and a bit chalky as mentioned above.

O: Hard to describe this one. It's not exactly a black IPA, at least not an overly hoppy one. Not exactly a schwarzbier. It's kinda in between. Roasted malt and toffee character is at the forefront but it's not a stout or a porter either. It is tasty though, I can tell you that much.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle and served in a tumbler pint, the beer pours wit a ton of foamy, frothy, light tan head. The beer itself is a dark, almost black coloring, with some coppery-brown highlights around the edging. Aromas are bountiful and abundant, with a good, slick hops presence, a slight roasted character, and some tangy sweet malt backbone. Steady flow of carbonation along the sides of the glass on the initial pour that quiet down into an intermittent and slow flow after a short time of airating. Flavors are crisp in mouth, with a smokey presence on the forward tongue that fills the sinuses, followed underfoot by a resiny, wet hops character that is both strong and bitter. Fantastic and unique blending of flavor profiles. The dark roasted toffee malt does well to tie the other two tastes together into a very palatable blend. The aftertaste is mostly smokey, with a hint of bitter. The mid-bodied beer leans towards thin and sharp at times with the robust and strong flavor profiles, but finishes with a slightly resiny and drying feel. Good beer.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Doopie's mate Steve brought this one over for us from MA. Thanks man!

From a 750 into a snifter.
Bottled 12 Jan 2011

APPEARANCE: A dark, transparent pour produces a one finger, medium, light beige head with decent retention. Head fades to a light wisp and ring. Bistre brown, clear, and next to zero carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end and leaves a few dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Mild nose on this one. Reminds me of a strong dark Belgian ale. Caramel and toffee malt with dark fruits. Raisins and plumbs mostly. Spicy yeast notes and some fait floral hop notes. Not as hoppy as expected, but nice non-the-less.

TASTE: Much bolder than the nose, and quite different as well. A good dose of roasted malts up front with some deep, dark chocolate notes. Sweet toffee through the middle with some spicy yeast notes as well. Floral hops round out the profile at the swallow, moving into a roasted, floral, bitter hop aftertaste that’s bold and persistent. Much different than the nose had led on, but much, much more enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium-full body, medium carbonation and nicely creamy smooth on the palate. Goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Quite nice, and supports the flavors well.

OVERALL: Though the taste didn’t follow the nose, this was certainly a solid brew. The beer started off a little average, but the taste and feel finished it off in style. Lots of nice flavors and a good. strong palate to match. Really enjoyed this one. Apparently this one isn’t easy to come by, but it is definitely worth the effort. Would like to have it again at some point. A big thanks to Doopie’s mate Steve for tracking this one down for us. Cheers!

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased at Liquors 44, Northampton. Bottled 3/02/11. 750mL brown glass cork, caged & paper-wrapped.

Pours a thin black with sudsy khaki head that has great retention. Nose is like a deeply roasted porter blended with pot. Super piney and resinous.

Palate is immediately bitter, with hop resin right up front then backed and intertwined with roasted black patent malt-like bitterness. There's lots of coffee and 80+% cocao chocolate flavors here. Body is fairly light and carries all this flavor by a thread.

Notes: Big, black and bitter. Yum...BUT there is an emptiness in the midpalate. Just seems a little too thin for me. On the other hand, it does a great job of capturing the "Black India Pale Ale," what with the paper-thin mouthfeel and big bitterness. Rated accordingly as an American Black Ale, not a Black IPA.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Winooski Beverage Warehouse. Bottled a year previous when consumed. From notes.

A - Deep ruby pour with two fingers of beige head. Spotty lace and a finger of retention.

S - Dark malts, hops, dark fruit.

T - Really nice complexity. Rich malt and noticeable hops, but they've almost faded. Nice sweetness there. Rich.

M - Good carbonation, medium to full body. Sweet dark fruit and hop finish.

O/D - Pretty nice. The age has obviously faded the hops a fair bit but it was still enjoyable.

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Photo of socon67
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thnaks to CTSparky for trading one of these.

A - Pours brown with a reddish tone; rusty coloring. Light brown foam. Minimal carbonation; no lacing.

S - Smells of toffee, mocha, and sweet malts. Mild hoppy medley.

T - Flavors are of a beer balanced between malt and hops. Very complex. Sweet initial taste; almost a sasparilla like sugary sweetness. Finish has a hoppy vibe but without a bitter bite.

M - For something that seemed so well balanced, I didn't mind it quite as drinkable as I expected. Fun beer, but oddly I tired of it quickly.

O - Was looking for this guy for a while. A bit of a different beer, and a complex version of the style. Extra kudos for the bag over the bottle.

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