6:56 (2010) | Element Brewing Company

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6:56 (2010)6:56 (2010)
21 Ratings
6:56 (2010)6:56 (2010)

Brewed by:
Element Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by connecticutpoet on 12-17-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 21 |  Reviews: 17
Reviews by connecticutpoet:
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this at the brewery tonight, planned to drink it tomorrow, but I just couldn't wait. The drive home was long enough that it got to the right temperature in the trunk of my car. Guess you don't have to wait, Dan!

Brewed as their anniversary ale, 587 bottles, to commemorate their first sale of a growler of Red Giant at 6:56 pm, 12-16-2009. This is essentially a double Dark Element, or as they have also referred to it, Dark Element Squared.

Note: I purchased a growler of regular Dark Element, and had a small sample so I could compare side-by-side.

Appearance was not too surprising. A nice, medium brown, slightly hazy, with a half finger head that I would expect with a beer this strength.

Aroma was of somewhat restrained citrus and floral hops. Raisins and similar fruitiness came out well. 15% ABV??? Where's the booziness in the aroma? This is deceptive. It lures you in. Compared to Dark Element, this is much more subdued and quiet.

Taste was also quite restrained compared to Dark Element. The initial flash of bitterness was much less pronounced. Dark malts, raisins, and maybe a little fig made themselves known. Initially there was a long, lightly bitter aftertaste, but as the beer warmed it faded. The malts lingered longer, with a bit of sweetness at the end that I hadn't noticed at first.

Mouthfeel is tremendous. This is incredibly smooth and silky. It's like drinking lightly hopped liquid velvet. Body is perfectly balanced with the taste. Not too heavy, thick, or chewy. Carbonation level is on the lower side, I feel, but it's exactly right for this one.

Drinkability has to get high marks. This went down easily, and the only reason I am not drining it faster is that I'm not incredibly thirsty. But as I said before, it is deceptive. I have never tasted a high ABV like this as well hidden as this is. If it weren't for the feeling that I have, I'd guess that it was even lower than regular Dark Element.

My advice, though, is to chill it well and drink it slowly. Experience it cold, then see how it changes as it warms. It's a bit like a chameleon. It changes character subtly, but it's well worth the effort.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of warriorsoul
2/5  rDev -50.9%

I picked up two of these at their 2nd Anniversary event. The same time they released their Double Red Giant...I thought I was the luckiest guy to score a pair. Not cheap...I believe $22 per.
They sat patiently in my dark cellar and since then, I have opened them both up at tastings and both drank like a sweet, malty red ale.
I emailed Dan at Element and explained the beer was not a dark beer like what I experienced before and I thought I was given Double Red Giant by mistake....could happen since it is just a wrapper. His response was it would be impossible for this to happen and perhaps the age of the beer is what is throwing me off.
I like to think I know the difference between the two, since I have consumed them both on numerous occasions.
So, if he insists I am drinking Double Dark Element, I am here to claim that it has changed dramatically and not for the best. Sticky, sweet and not something I enjoyed at all....much like Double Red Giant, coincidentally.

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Photo of akorsak
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to monsterzero for this bottle, number 159 of 587, celebrating Element's one year anniversary. A double ABA!

A: You sure that this ain't a stout? It's all pitch black and forboding like a stout, supporting an off-white head that stands in contrast to the darkness. A few legs, here and there, bely the carbonation.

S: The nose is chocolatey with darker baltic porter-like sweetness. Hops are here but they seem to struggle to pop through the intense malt base. The nose is very similar to World Wide Stout, rich and boozy with vinous notes.

T: Dark and murky gives way to syrupy sweet strength. Surprisingly, that strength is equal parts hops and malts. The chocolate malts add roasted fullness and syrupy sweetness, a bold and boozy result. Hops are plenty, a citrusy dose of sweet bitterness that, at times, gets lost amidst the malts. Grapefruit and pineapple, sweet contrasts to the dark malts, take their turn. Save for the WWS similarities, the alcoholic intensity doesn't get in the way. Regardless, I sipped slowly.

M: The blackest ABA, it is surprisingly sweet, taking the concentrated malt flavors and going vinous rather than stout-like. Hops take the supporting role, not at all surprising. One helluva birthday.

D: A bold licquer-like flavor, paired with subtle hops, a nice combination. Not as boozy as 15% should be, I'd peg it more like a 14%-er.

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Photo of GbVDave
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a paper wrapped 750ml bottle into multiple glasses. Thanks to Reagan1984 for this from out trade. Special thanks to Justin, Wil, Joe, Chris, Chris, Margaret, Matt, Aaron, Alex, and Jay for the assist!

Bottled: OCT 27 2010
Bottle # 243 of 587

A: Pours black with some lighter shades when held to the light. Small off white wafer of foam spreads out on top before quickly disappearing.

S: Obvious roasted malt presence. Also noticed a bit of cocoa and nostril tickling alcohol. After this sat a while some herbal hops crept out of the glass.

T: Close to the smell. I noticed that the warmer it got, the more I tasted fudge and dark fruit. The hop flavor is apparently tempurature dependent just like the smell.

M: Revatively mellow with most bitterness coming from the heavily roasted malt. Slight alcohol astringency.

O: I think this was my first DBIPA and I was impressed with its' restraint. They didn't just throw gobs of hops at it. Likewise, they did a great job of burying the alcohol, most certainly not playing up the 15% ABA angle!

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Photo of rudzud
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought this at Russells Liquor Store a few months back. Couldnt believe to find it at a store, knowing it was supposed to only be available at the brewery. Paid $29.99 for the bottle. Figured I would crack Element's one year anniversary beer on the night of my one year anniversary of Beer Advocate! Bottle 457/587.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a ridiculously black colour that resembles a stout much more than a black ale. With a hard pour I was able to get a two finger light mocha white creamy head that quickly fades to leave a nice halo and wispy clouding. Surprising for a 15% black ale!

S - Roasted sweet malts and light chocolate notes. Surprisingly little on the hops though.

T - Taste isnt that bad. Again, lots of sweet malts and chocolate notes with even some licorice notes. The hops make their appearance at the very end with bitterness. The ABV is slightly, just slightly noticeable.

M - Surprisingly nice mouthfeel here. Much lower carbonation than usual, yet it feels nice and smooth and silky on the tongue. Slightly syrupy, but understandable with the ABV.

O - First of all, its getting ridiculous trying to open Element's bottles. Need a corkscrew or a pair of pliers to open their damn bottles. This beer, Dark Element^2 is pretty darn good. That being said, I would NOT pay $30 for this bottle again.

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Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Dave for busting out this mystery beer...
Review from written notes.

Into a small snifter 6:56 pours a burnt chestnut shade, sort of a dull brownish orange in the light. A finger of tan foam rises, then settles into a thin ring around the edge, with a wispy skim floating in the center.

Slightly oxidized aroma, roasty malt, not much else. Slightly obvious alcohol, with little to signify much of a hop presence.

Full bodied and rich, a touch sweet initially. Plum pits, fruity undercurrent, leafy green and mildly herbal hops. Roasty bitterness, slightly fudgy. Dry lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. Light carbonation with a mellow feel. The 15% was pretty well hidden in the taste. Overall an interesting take on the style.

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Photo of ComputerBeer
4.9/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and opaque black. Little head retention. No boozy aroma more hop notes in the nose. Full bodied with a blast of flavor, dark chocolate, citrus fruits, some alcohol in the finish. Creamy texture. The high ABV must be masked by hops and malt body.
Overall this beer is impressive with it's smoothness for a 15% beer.

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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After having tried the Regular Dark Element I just HAD to hunt down this 6:56 version. Thanks to a trade with masterhomebrewer I was able the aquire this. Thanks for sending this my way. This bottle is about one year old now.

This bottle poured into a snifter.

Comes out the darkest of browns, a little red shines through when held up against the light. A little one finger head leaving a little bit of lacing.

Smells of darker malts, sweet candy with a bit of hop and pine.

On the tongue sweetness and roasted malts are dominant. There is some more alcohol and a bit some medicinal qualities to this.

A medium creamy mouthfeel with a decent amount of carbonation. Flavors linger for quite a bit.

I had this one right after a fresh(er) botle of the regular Dark Elements. While I think the regular version is a much better beer I still enjoyed this. I guess these bottles are becoming extinct so it might be hard to hunt one down. Not sure if I would...

Thanks for the trade on this masterhomebrewer!

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Photo of projektyle
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

THanks to FluffyMcTingle for cracking this at the Central NE BA Meetup.

Pours with pretty much no head, but a nice dark caramel brown coke colored beer.

Nose brings some dark caramel, nice roast and a bit of dark malts, light booze, a bit of earth, sweet syrups, touch of plum and brown sugar.

Taste Starts very sweet, but tolerable, heavy, a touch of smoke, molasses, brown sugar, a bit of minerality, bit creamy as well, some dark malts and roast, hint of earthy hops, very smooth for 15% abv, as the sweetness, heaviness and dark malt flavors mask the booze well. Tons of malts, even a hint of apple. Finishes long and sweet with lingering dark malts, bit of a syrupy feel and taste, and some warming booze.

Mouth is heavier bodied, syrupy and rich, light carbonation.

Drink is actually good for being 15%, drinks more like 8-9% with a bit of warmth and slight boozy taste, a slight sticky finish though.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to MasterSki for bringing this over for a Thursday night tick session.

A - Black beer, slightly off-white head that barely rose to anything. Given the bottle and ABV, pretty understandable.

S - Some dark fruits, sugar malt profile. Slight amount of bitterness from the hops and slightly herbal. Just little bit of alcohol, but if this is really 15% it is fairly well hidden. I smell a little bit of brine/olives on the front of this, that is slightly unpleasant.

T - Dark malt and sugar profile, there is supposed to be a lot of hops in this, but it doesn't taste hoppy, more just bitter. Some floral and herbal tones with dark fruit and a slight bit of licorice in there. Doesn't taste of 15% alcohol, but you feel it a little bit in the back of the throat as you drink it. This is okay, but I really liked Dark Matter (now called Dark Element) a lot better.

M - Little bit of burn, full bodied, lower carbonation, about what I expected, and it's not a bad thing.

D - This is a hard catagory to rate for this beer. It is not super easy to drink, but it is exceptionally high ABV. I'd say all things considered it is easier than expected to get down given the alcohol.

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Photo of sideshowe
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of jhb138
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into an oversized snifter. Bottle acquired directly from the brewery. Bottled October 27, 2010. Consumed January 19, 2012.

A: Pours black with a one-inch tan head. The head soon settles into a thin crown atop the beer. Lacing is sparse, delicate, and web-like.

S: Malt scents of molasses, dark rum, and toast. Hints of chocolate and cocoa. Strong hopping produces aromas of pine, pine sap, and maybe some slight mint.

T: Pine resin opens. Sugary molasses sits on the palate for a good while. Citrusy hop tastes are well hidden, and have probably faded with time. Hints of dark chocolate and toast. Very mild taste of spicy alcohol accentuates. Pine needles and mint come out toward the finish. Lingering finish of dark chocolate, toasted biscuit, and pine resin.

M: Moderately thick, slightly chewy and viscous. Full and creamy with some of that milky schwarzbier feel too. Light carbonation rounds it out nicely.

O: An interesting beer. Body, mouthfeel, and aggressive hopping show aspects somewhat reminiscent of an American Barleywine, but the malt bill is like a big, sugary schwarzbier. A sipper for sure, though the heat of the 15% abv is not felt in the least.

Notes: The tag on the bottle calls this beer (Dark Element)^2. That seems like the most accurate description, really. A solid brew, at any rate, and certainly worthy of another go should they ever choose to bring it out of retirement.

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Photo of ericlawton007
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of steve8robin
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to get this one at the brewery last Saturday. I love Dark Element, let's see how's the double batch tastes. 750ml...

A: Super dark with absolutely no light shining through. A small 1/2 inch mocha colored head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: An earthy hop upfront with some sugary malt blended in. Some chocolate and black licorice in the middle and some roastiness on the backend. Decent.

T: Very smooth. Silky smooth. A nice creamy earthiness blended with some great chocolate caramel malt. Some great vanilla and cocoa in the middle with some boozy burn on the backend. Very good.

M: Full bodied with an awesome carbonation feel. A nice thick and clean finish. Awesome!

D: This goes down very easy.

All in all, this is a great brew. Wish there was more on the nose. I hope Element considers bottling this on a regular basis or, at least, and annual basis. Definitely try if you like stouts. Definitely for the stout lover. I really love Elements brews.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.52/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Doops and I drank the regular Black Ale a little while ago and really liked it, so we were really happy to get both the 6:56 and the regular black ale again to try side by side. Good times man!

From a 75cl bottle into a snifter
Note: Drunk right after the regular Black Ale

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

SMELL: Medium strength nose of dark and caramel malts, sweet molasses, and some light, faint citrus hop notes. This is a more malty nose than the regular version, with mostly caramel, molasses, and some light chocolate notes.

TASTE: Very sweet. Caramel malts, sweet dark fruits and a good dose of molasses. Lots of caramel and toffee sweetness at the swallow as well. Notes of raisins, dates, dark grapes, and other dried fruits and nuts, with notes of port wine as well. Some spicy alcohol at the finish, moving into a bold and persistent aftertaste of sweet port wine, molasses and caramel, and some alcohol lingering as well.

PALATE: Medium-full body and soft, medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a burn at the swallow and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Some heat lingers, but well controlled.

OVERALL: A good beer, and certainly a big bruiser. The malt bill is the star of the show here, as the hops have either faded over time or have simply been outplayed. An interesting pair of beers to try together, but I would certainly chose the regular 8% black ale over it’s 15% bigger brother. Thanks again Doops for a killer beer night.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Reagan1984 for this one. Served in a Goose Island tulip glass.

A - A hard pour rouses a dime of off-white head that settles to a few wisps of bubbles. No collar or lacework. The body is a very dark chestnut brown that reveals color and transparency at the fringes of the glass. For a bottle-conditioned 15% beer I'm fairly impressed.

S - Lots of roasted malt, black patent, licorice, sugar cookie, and a kiss of floral and pine hop character. As it warms up a slightly briny character emerges along with a hint of alcohol.

T - Taste is again heavy on roasted malt, cocoa, and plenty of residual sugars. There's a hint of anise, and a decent amount of residual hop bitterness, but not much in the way of hop aroma or flavor. Was this bottled in December, or brewed in December? In any case, the alcohol is well-hidden.

M - Lower carbonation, but still sufficient bubbles. Texture has a bit of burnt grittiness to it. Medium-full body that finishes surprisingly clean, and without any serious heat.

D - Mike and I split a 750ml bottle no problem, and it never felt like a chore to finish. That being said, I'd much rather reach for the regular Dark Element nine times out of ten. This is more of a novelty, although it displays some impressive brewing craftmanship.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle # 245 out of 587

Head was tan in color and faded to a thin foam fairly quickly. The beer is a dark brown color with just a hint of light visible at the edges.

Aroma was a chocolate and licorice to me, with a tilt towards the chocolate.

Well, on the beer style spectrum I am sure there's a place where Black Ale comes close to Stout/porter. This certainly dances in that area. In fact, the hop presence is more muted than I had imagined given some of the comments I heard. The chocolate mixes well with a roasted malt flavor and some brown sugar to produce a nice overall flavor here.

The body is quite velvety yet not with a bold body. Just so smooth in your mouth. Quite nice actually.

Did enjoy this beer and beginning to like what Element is doing.

Happy to have had the chance to try this special release.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

thanks to FluffyMcTingle for busting this out alongside the regular. Double Dark Element AKA 6:56? It's game time.

A- Deep dark motor oil black, some semblance of a tan head that fades rapidly (I'll forgive it, due to the 15% ABV)

S- Huge roasty malt sweetness hits the nose, as well as some pine sap.

T- Very sweet, big wave of dark roast coffee and a bit bitter char, and a wallop of piny hops that explodes on the tongue. Lots of dark fruit, black licorice, and undefined spices that swirl around in the mouth.

M- Very sweet, although I expected it, and it's not cloying. No sign of ABV, I didn't know until I finished that this one was 15%. I would have guessed ~10%. Fantastic.

D- Moderately high. I really enjoyed this one, and was surprised at how easy it went down at 15%. This was my first time trying Element beers and I was very impressed. I would not hesitate to get this one again. Thanks, FluffyMcTingle!

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Photo of silentjay
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle #470 of 587. about 6 months old at this point.

pours a dark brown/black with a decent sized beach sand colored head that lasts a long time, and clings to the glass very well.

lots of chocolate, a bit of coffee, plenty of piney hops, an earthiness/woodiness, a decent roast, a bit of booze though not much. less hop-dominant than the original dark element, atleast in the aroma.

heavily roasted malts bring chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, molasses, hazelnut, vanilla, and brown sugar flavors. almost acrid, but stays sweet. hops kick in and add to the bitterness and balance the sweetness while providing a bit of tobacco leaf, citrus, woodiness. a slight booze and some anisette on the finish and a mixture of chocolate and hop bitterness lingers for a while on the aftertaste.

between an IPA and a Porter in body, with a creaminess that is enhanced by a soft carbonation from the expert bottle-conditioning. a bit syrupy on the finish with a little warming booze, though much less than expected on a 15% brew.

delicious, complex, easy-drinking, yet contemplative. a very nice beer that I would drink much more often if it were available and a bit more affordable. At $24.50 from the brewery that is 40 miles from my house, its a costly brew and took a 2 hour road trip to pick up a bottle. worth it? yeah.

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6:56 (2010) from Element Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 21 ratings