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Desert Select Black Imperial IPA | Moab Brewery

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12 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Moab Brewery
Utah, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.59%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Black Imperial India Pale Ale, spawned from west coast brewers who have no problem bending what we think about traditional ale styles, is dark, rich and extremely hoppy. Made from the finest Two Row barley, fresh Moab water, house yeast, lots of hops, it’s then fermented in American oak, dry hopped and bottle conditioned.

Added by andrewinski1 on 06-01-2011

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Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 43
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

quite surprised folks havent liked this one more, seems way underrated to me. my bottle was exceptional, thanks to drlovemd87 for sharing it with me. this is a unique take on the style, being fermented in oak and later dry hopped, it retains most of its hops, even with a little age on the bottle. the oak is subtle, but it certainly brings the beer together and adds a sensational mouthfeel mellowing component. the pour is pretty, chocolate brown with a tall thick almost nitro head to it, tan in color. lighter than i would expect for a black beer, but its attractive, at least until i notice all the yeast chunks floating beneath the head, definitely unflattering. smells great though, big piney hops but without all the oil, must be some oak softening of these, but the aroma is still there. the flavor is too, and it goes great with the darker side of the malt base, campfire char, a hint of smoke, dark chocolate, its great. the hops have a cool savory element, like a hint of rosemary or something, really a neat play with the wood and the dark grain. this is very much unlike other black india pale ales. smooth and big, but very dry, almost burnt tasting at the end, and whatever yeast i can see, i cant really taste. this is a unique beer and without question my favorite i have had so far from moab!

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Photo of Dols401
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer looks and pours well. 22 oz brown bottle. More brown than true black, but you get the dark roasted notes. Very floral hoppy aroma, with a persistent white lace. Smooth hop and malt flavor, the dry hops bitterness softened at the end with a woody after taste. Flavorful sipping beer. Not a chugger.

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Photo of biegaman
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not all Black IPAs are actually black. Many, like Moab's Dessert Select Imperial Black IPA, are actually brown. Perhaps the style ought to have been called "dark IPA"? Either way, this "dark IPA" is so dark it might as well be black; don't count on seeing through it and forget about colourful highlights.

This 'Imperial' Black IPA has a few other qualities of note too: it is dry-hopped, bottle-conditioned and, of most interest, fermented in American oak casks. The first two have predictable influences; dry-hopping intensifies the leafy, piny notes of the bouquet, while bottle-conditioning makes for a more noticeable yeastiness and very murky second pour.

The impact of the oak, however, isn't quite so pronounced. Truthfully, I likely wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't made aware beforehand. The flavour of wood, not to mention its dry texture, is already insinuated in the Pacific Northwest hoppiness and its characteristic resiny pine and spruce bark notes. But the oak does compound that forest-y earthiness.

It's not like malt doesn't have a say in all this too; tasty, milky chocolate notes are weaved into each sip, the majority of which conclude with as much roast as bitterness. The odd impression of char is enough to evoke occasional tastes of coffee bean. It switches between herbal and toasted grain gears swiftly and often, adding a splash of lemon, and never once stalling on the 8.5% alcohol.

It's not easy brewing high-gravity beers in Utah. Unless I'm mistaken, it wasn't even legal until not long ago (and still may not be, deciphering Utah liquor laws is like cracking the Enigma machine. I can't understand them). Either way, Moab has done a pretty fine job with their Imperial Black IPA. It's smooth and complex enough that you'd think they were brewing high-alcohol beers for years.

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Photo of mactrail
3.81/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful foamy pour that quiets down quickly but leaves a lacy film in the New Belgium snifter. Color is a dark amber brown, nothing like black. Big aroma of fruity hops and vanilla.

Label says "fermented on American oak," and that taste comes through distinctly. It's quite a surprise in an IPA. So warm and malty with a distinct sweetness. A touch of mango. Bitter on the tongue and . Something like charcoal with more bitterness in the aftertaste.

This is a thoroughly interesting brew with great aromatics. Sweet and malty with a nice acidic tang, but a little bitter for drinking very much of it. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Grapevine Liquor in Denver.

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Photo of woemad
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From notes.
16.9oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $6.99. No freshness date.

Poured a dark brown color that took on a more rubyish hue when held up to light. There was a big, off-white head that stuck around for a while and left lots of lace.

The nose consisted of hops and roasted dark malts - pretty much in that order.

The flavor began with a bitter, herbal hop taste. There was also a caramel-brown sugary sweetness, but it was initially well in the background. As it warmed up, the malt flavors rose in intensity and things became more balanced.

The mouthfeel was a bit watery.

While it became more balanced when it warmed up a bit, this beer did not rise above mediocre in any way except for it's appearance. I can usually find Black IPAs cheaper and more interesting than this one, so I doubt I'll have it again.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.39/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle $7.69. I have to knock the appearance because a black IPA should be black, not brown. Head is good and the lace looks sticky. There is a hint of oak in the aroma, floral like perfume. Flavor is a hint of oak, fruit, not quite what is expect from the style. Overall, I'm not sure what to think about this one.

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Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chill hazed brown colored ale with a massive tan colored head. Been in the fridge for 2 days and I'm sure I didn't agitate it in anyway. Truly massive head. In color is is one of the lightest colored beers for this style.

Smells of burned sugar and chocolate with some tobacco leaf. Woody scent of cedar plank. Sweet scent of brownie batter. Describing this as a burned brownie on a cedar board would sum up the smell.

Starts out bittersweet and with a long lasting after taste or scorched sugar. Strong cedar taste like chewing on a cedar plank. Mostly the flavor is strongly bittersweet. Chocolate cake flavor is in here but it tastes a bit over cooked.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall not a bad black ale but it is a strongly flavored one.

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Photo of ralree
3.16/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Refrigerated around 6 months before tasting.

A: Super dark red, still translucent, perfect lacing, small bubbles.
S: Hops, smokiness, fruit smells a little off.
T: Brown sugar like mad, along with super super bitter hops - wow! REALLY lays down the law on your taste buds in the bitter dept. Finishes sweet - more brown sugar. Not much fruit - just a little apricot in the background. A little too sweet for my taste, especially coupled with the insane bitterness. Fruitier hops and less brown sugar would make this better I think - it's a little off-putting this way. Alcohol present, but not overbearing.
M: Rather dry, great carbonation, medium-body.
D: Goes down OK, but not really a "drinking" beer. More for sipping.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle
Swing Top

Poured into a chalice a very nice dark brown/black color, very very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick creamy two-finger off-white head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing and a huge oil slick in the middle of the glass. The nose is hoppy with some malt notes, licorice, with some slilght citrus notes. The taste is very nice, hoppy, little touch of malts, and a good dose of licorice. Medium body, with a nice dry/bitter finish. Overall I'm very impressed with this brew from MB, would recommend and buy again. Way to go MB!

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Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a black with a foamy off white head. There is a lot of carbonation present that makes it almost impossible to pour it into a glass without getting a lot of foam.

The aroma is of bitter coffee and toasted bread.

The beer tastes malty and sweet. You can really taste the alcohol in this beer. I do not taste any bitterness from hops, just from the darker malts at the finish.

Overall this is an okay beer. I don't know if I maybe held onto it too long before tasting it and it lost all of its hop aroma and taste or if there was not much to begin with. I would call it more of a stout than an Imperial Black IPA. In which case it was just an okay stout.

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Photo of Rayek
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Moab's Black IPA pours a hazy burnt chestnut brown into a snifter. A generous cream tinted cap is slightly fizzy and has good staying power. A decent lace is left behind.

This is pretty standard Black IPA fare, but still good. Stout-like charred wood and coffee gets things going. Bitterness is strong and citrus powered, without being overdone. Alcohol adds a little warmth, but is well masked in the flavor. The medium body is dry and has soft carbonation.

Of the two Moab beers I've had, this is the better one. I'm glad I was able to share a bottle with my brother.

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Photo of andrewinski1
2.97/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ordered at the brewery. Poured into a flute glass. The color is a murky brown with amber notes. The head is off-white and relatively small. Good amount of sticky lacing. Doesn't really look black enough

The aroma has mild burnt char with a touch of vegetal hops.

The taste has a nice crisp start with bitter charred malts in the forefront. The finish is slightly hoppy with some vegetable-like hops. I get a bit of yeasty twang in the aftertaste.

The body is medium and the carbonation slightly prickly.

As a beer I can drink and enjoy this alright, but I wouldn't necessarily go looking for it.

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Desert Select Black Imperial IPA from Moab Brewery
3.64 out of 5 based on 43 ratings.
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