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 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 StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

full flavored American black ale, we need more of these. dark like a stout on the pour, but drinks a lot lighter, despite the high abv, heady and rich, sexy and dangerous, I love this. smells sweet and hoppy at the same time, chocolate malt and northwest hops, high alpha stuff. the taste too, I need this with good barbeque, its got that hearty burly hoppy complexity, everything here works like magic, black magic I should say. hops really only in the finish, while deep roasty flavors of soil and minerals and bitter cocoa dominate the front end. overall a special beer, with all kinds of character. full bodied as they come, but you would never know its 8% abv. great first beer from element, got the special oak in the car and now even more stoked for that one!

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Photo of metter98
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
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 brentk56
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The fudge brown pour is capped by a rocky tan head; very nice persistance and some webs of lace linger on the pint glass

Smell: Black bread and chocolate in the forefront, with some piney hops in the back

Taste: Black bread and chocolate, building with caramel flavors; the hops arrive in the middle and, after the swallow, balancing out the sweeter aspect, though the beer ultimately tilts malt forward

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: This bottle had been in the back of the fridge for a while so I guess a fresher bottle would be hoppier; still, an impressive beer

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Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
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 mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Thanks to connecticutpoet for this beer!

A: Poured a nice black color with one finger tan head on top. Left some decent lacing down the glass.

S: Nice roasted malt aroma, a sugary sweetness as well. Some piney hops, with a little bit of grass. Not over the top like others in the style.

T: Liked this one a good bit. Upfront there some light roast and chocolate malt that transitions to some pine and citrus hops. There is a little bit of dark fruit mixed in as well. Slightly bitter finish, but seems to fit nicely.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a slight creamy texture.

O: Quite enjoyable, liked the malt bill in this one more than most in the style, sometimes the roast/chocolate/coffee is too much and doesn't play well with the hops, but the malt here does.

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Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impressive starting beige head that slowly recedes. Starts as 2/3 of the glass. Leaves an abundant amount of chunky lace. The color is ruby brown where a minimal amount of light passes through. Hard to tell, but I think it is completely clear.

Dark malt aroma with a mild level of sweetness. Excellent floral hop nose. The alcohol is notable but faint.

The malt is both drier and darker than the smell would indicate. The hop is also more prominent. The finish is bitter and long lasting. Strong yeast presence, seems like a well-made homebrew. Great blend of a very dry, dark ale.

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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 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 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 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 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 tempest
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Speakorspasm sending this bottle my way. It poured like a baltic porter with a reddish brown body and a fluffy white tan head. This beer is sort of like an imperial brown or brown porter. There are big juicy citrus hops like a good DIPA, but then there's also mellow coffee, dry cocoa, and sweet maple syrup. At the same time, the body isn't too thick and is actually quite drinkable. The hops start with a candied grapefruit and roll into more traditional sharp citrus rind and floral spice while staying fruity all the way. Find this beer, there are few others like it.

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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 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 akorsak
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A paper-wrapped bottle from November 2010; purchased at Julio's.

A: The Black ale is a dark chocolate brown, murky and opaque on account of the blackness. The first pour generated a three-plus finger head that left plenty of tan lace behind.

S: Well-roasted, the malts are chocolatey with a distinct burnt aroma. Matching them step-for-step are big hops with a little citrus and a little pine (okay, a lot of both). A nice smeller that almost gets caught up on the dark malts.

T: The hoppiness is a treat, bold and bright with plenty of citrus. Piney resins linger beneath the citrus, adding more bite. The chocolate malts, burnt and heavy, are a stark contrast to the hops. That back-and-forth is a see-saw of flavor. Dark coffee flavors linger, driving home the full array of flavors. The resounding strength of the malts forces me to view this as a hoppy stout. Whatever you call it, it's good. As the ale warms, the schwarzbier and hops merge into one big sweet, burnt liquid. A real show-stopper of an ale.

M: The mouthfeel is at once resiny sweet and burnt with chocolate and coffee. The starker black beer flavors work surprisingly well in this environment.

D: At 8%, caution is the better part of valor. Slowing sipping through the bottle allows it to warm up and release the full sweet bitterness.

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Photo of mltobin
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
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 ppoitras
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle purchased at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. Cool informative paper wrap, corked and caged.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear deep red brew. Head lasts well, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is fruity and sweet. Taste begins moderately sweet, with the building fruitiness hitting a crescendo in the middle, and giving way to the hops as you near the swallow. Dry bitterness clings to the tongue. Mouthfeel is wow smooth, and drinkability is also quite amazing. Interesting and exciting brew.

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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 DrJay
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 750. Nice bottle presentation with the paper wrapper. Very dark brown with a faint chestnut hue and a short tan cap of fine bubbles. Good head retention, some lacing. Nice aroma, lots of toffee, bread, and citrus. Earthy and mildly fruity, toasted and slightly roasted malts, marshmallow sweetness, faint alcohol. Prominent malt sweetness up front faded away leaving sturdy bitterness in charge towards the end. Hop flavour was citrusy, but with a resinous edge, nearly minty in the finish. More caramel and toffee, a bit simpler in malt character than the aroma. Lingering alcohol warmth and bitterness with caramel sweetness. Full bodied with lowish, smooth carbonation. Mild astringent dryness. Quite good overall. More malt-forward than I expected, but it worked well in this beer. I would definitely pick this up again.

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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 cbutova
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

A- Black with a light tan two finger head that has decent retention. The cloud and ring leaves spotty, fine lacing.

S- Dark roast malt, cocoa and caramel. Slight dark fruit. Strength is decent. Some grainy notes. Almost milk-stout like. Slight floral and grassy hop aroma.

T- Dark malt with nice roast cocoa. Dark fruit, toffee and caramel hints. The hops are amazingly floral and somewhat herbal and grassy, also citrus. Definitely the spent grain flavor of used homebrew malts. Nice high hops balanced with that roast malt toffee flavor.

MF- Thin but crisp and very refreshing for such a dark beer. Good creaminess and low-ish carbonation. Works well with the flavor.

DB- Good price for a 750ml. A very unique beer for sure. Love the bottle paper. A laid back and well balanced dark ale with very nice hop presence.

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