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 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 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 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 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 jimmy82063
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Welcome to Connecticut Element! (I know I am a bit late) the bottle date is 11/17/11...poured into a tulip glass.

A) Translucent brown almost a bit reddish...no lacing.

S) Get some floral notes.

T) This is pretty fantastic the sweetness of the malts is really balanced by the hop bitterness. I get some mild chocolate and coffee with the resinous hops. Would wonder what this would be like is the hops were featured more.

M) Light Carbonation.

O) Pricepoint is high but I look forward to trying more of their beers!

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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 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 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 Pintofbrown
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really like the way this beer is presented. It is wrapped in paper, the actual bottle is free of any label, and it is corked and caged. Pretty spiffy!

I poured from the bomber into a shaker pint.

Appearance- The body has a dark brown quality to it, not completely black. Almost completely opaque, just a little bit of ruby highlights struggling at the side of the glass.

The head was a really nice, bubbly and lacy affair. It reached about three and a half-fingers before taking a break. The beige, cloud-like cap had plenty of cratering and tiny bubbles.

Retention was pretty good, and there is still a bunch of random chunks hanging on.

Smell- The head has a decent amount of hop character, as a black ale should. Mainly there are resiny-pine notes at play. Dark malt is a little sweeter rather than roasted, sort of toffee. It is not nearly as strong as the hop vibe though.

Taste- Well balanced. I am sure that there will be those that say the hops are not forward enough, but I really enjoy how they put these flavors together. The hops come through, and again, it is mostly that resin feel, and it lingers long in the finish.

The malt is sweet and leads off the drink. It is a little roasty, and has that slight toffee feel to it, just like on the nose. I also pick up a little bit of booze right before the finish sets in, but it is really subtle. This is almost balanced to the point that it mutes the opposing flavors out.

Mouth feel- Dark Element is very smooth and medium bodied. It has decent coating, and goes down pretty smooth for the higher alcohol content and slightly dry finish.

Overall- Although a little pricey, this is a nice black ale to have if new to the style, the hops are not bursting out of the malt. Also, the balance struck in this one promotes taking more drinks.

The nose needs to be substantially bigger, and the flavor profile, while balanced, is a little dull. Adding another layer of intrigue would help this one out immensely.

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Photo of zeledonia
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Interesting bottle - labelless, corked-and-caged, and wrapped in a paper bag printed with the brewery and beer info. Bottled 17 May 2011. Enjoyed 25 November 2011, reviewed from notes

Pours dark brown, not quite black, and rather thin, with one finger of medium-tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell has floral, fruity hops. A little bit of orange, a little bit of grassy hops. Kinda weak, though. Didn't get much of the roasted malts in the smell.

Taste is a balance of chocolatey roasted malts, with a hint of char but not too much, with grassy lightly-bitter hops. A little bit of fruit. The hops remind me of a balanced IPA - they're present enough that you don't forget about them, but the bitterness isn't heavy or persistent.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, good carbonation, nice smooth finish. Feels really nice in the mouth - it's slick, but in a good way.

This beer is a lesson in restraint. It's not overdone like so many in this style are. As a result, it has great, subtle balance. Not super-heavy on the hops or the roast. Doesn't have the sharp edges that so many black IPAs have. Nicely balanced.

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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 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 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 rowingbrewer
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark dark brown to almost black color with a decent tan head. the smell is where this beer shines. its lightly roasty and very hoppy like a black ipa. the taste is similar but the roastyness takes the cake with the hops being a backup flavor. the mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. overall this beer is very good, but there are better black ipas out there for less money.

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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 Satchboogie
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle (dated 3/2/11) poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours dark brown, almost black, opaque. Nearly 3 fingers of light brown head, fairly tight, that slowly dissipates and leaves fairly good lacing.

S: Hops are still there with leafy and floral character, lots of lightly roasted grains, a little chocolate, and a slight smoked character.

T: This has definitely become malt-forward now. There's a little bit of the floral and somewhat spicy hop character right up front with a touch of heat, but it quickly subsides to a big malt character. the middle is dominated by the lightly roasted grains: a touch of roasted quality in the background with a little smoke and bitterness. There's a little chocolate there as well. Finish is dry and leaves a little lingering bitterness (slightly leafy and floral).

M: Medium to slightly full bodied, moderate carbonation, fairly smooth and not overly bitter.

O: At 5 months old this beer is still drinking pretty good. Fresh, the hop character plays beautifully with the malt character and is easily my favorite of the "American Black Ale" category (mainly due to the lack of true roasted quality). My preference is definitely fresh, but still it's not bad right now.

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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 OtherShoe2
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a tan foamy head. Good retention and some sticky lacing.

Dark roasted malt, some smoky charred notes, and a definite hop/herbal note.

They didn't overdo the hops on this one. Assertive, very present, but not a distraction. Charred malt and coffee elements, with a hop oil bitterness hitting in a big wave. It stays but doesn't kill your ability to find a little cocoa, wood, and other complexities. Nice balance. Long bitter finish. This is even better as it warms.

Medium bodied and decently carbonated.

A good solid brew from this small brewer, Tasty and well made. Worth trying.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a touch of yellowed head. Lots of lacing on the glass. Smells smokey and malty but with a solid hop presence. The hops are very pleasant on the tongue. Bitter but with a solid sweetness. Very well carbonated. Overall very solid. Smething im glad i tried

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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 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 EgadBananas
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to rageagainst123 for this brew!

This pours a dark brown color with a nice amount of light tan head and lacing. This is a few months old due to my procrastination in opening this, so the hop aroma is not wildly pronounced. Dark roasted malts, chocolate and light coffee dominate the aroma. There are some piney, floral hop notes that make their selves known. That chocolate and roasted malt note comes out predominantly again in the taste, but, as with the aroma, there is a floral hop note, some pine and a slight bitter finish. It is slightly creamy, medium in body.

Despite the freshness (my fault), this is a wonderful American Black Ale for the the stout-like characteristics alone, and there's no doubt a fresh bottle would blow a few minds.

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