Desert Select Black Imperial IPA | Moab Brewery

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45 Ratings

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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 13
Photo of Trentt2
4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle brought back by a friend from Utah. New Belgium glass. No freshness dating on the bottle.

Appearance of root beer, dark brown not tending to red with a nice finger or two of tan head. The lacing is nice.

Sweet, piney hops, lemon, hints of roast, vanilla, and oak. Smells like a standard IPA at first, but opens up into something like a hoppy Porter or Export Stout.

Very bitter and hoppy up front. Medium roast, short bread, and bitter alcohol to follow. This is a significantly bitter beer between the IBUs, roast, and alcohol.

Medium bodied, soft carbonation. Slightly astringent, bitter finish.

The oak was a try to give this beer a little something more I'm guessing, but I don't think it needed it. I'm not sure I would have noticed if I didn't read the bottle as another reviewer commented. It's a good Black IPA, hoppy, a little roasty, and bitter.

 876 characters

Photo of iftcoach
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of cambabeer
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
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!

 1,311 characters

Photo of Mikexw
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of GlennWB
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Dols401
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

 314 characters

Photo of KarmicSkrambl8
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of GregJ
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is called a black IPA, looked more like a light brown. Decent beer.

71 characters

Photo of crobinso
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DrunkenMonk
2.54/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Blech gfgg vggh vffg fffgg vggv

31 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

 1,821 characters

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Hophazzard
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Chilly_E
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of mactrail
3.81/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

 667 characters

Photo of Liverocks
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of woemad
3.45/5  rDev -7%
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.

 841 characters

Photo of InfragilisBrew
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of gratefulbeerhead
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of ckollias
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of MDM
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of ArrogantB
3.39/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

 320 characters

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Desert Select Black Imperial IPA from Moab Brewery
Beer rating: 3.71 out of 5 with 45 ratings
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