The Great Dismal Black IPA
O'Connor Brewing Co.

The Great Dismal Black IPAThe Great Dismal Black IPA
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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
Ranked #220
Ranked #17,639
3.88 | pDev: 11.08%
O'Connor Brewing Co.
Virginia, United States
Very Good
The Great Dismal Black IPAThe Great Dismal Black IPA
Notes: The Great Dismal Black IPA, named after the wildlife refuge.
The Great Dismal Swamp, in Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, once used as a part of the Intracoastal Waterway, is a dark, full bodied ale, extensively hopped both in bittering and aroma.
"Great with bold hop flavor, Dismal in color, Delicious all around" ~ 7.5% ABV 65 IBUs
Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 227 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of PathofChaos
PathofChaos from Maryland

3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown maple, almost black. Big frothy cappuccino colored head.

Roasted malts, coffee, and wheat with hops camouflaged behind it.

Mild carbonation, stout-like smoothness, medium bodied.

Mirrors the bouquet on impact: toasted malts and dark wheat accompanied by a crescendo of mild hops. A ghosting of coffee, oats, and caramel in the aftertaste.

Better than I expected for my first black IPA. I'm not always in the mood for hops so it was nice to discover they're quite mild in this brew. If you're in the mood for a stout but want something a little different, try Great Dismal Black, its delicious.

Dec 20, 2019
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BJB13 from Maryland

3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a villibecher.

Nice black ale. Pours dark and murky with an inch of solid tan foam which leaves good lace. The aroma is malt forward, roast, caramel and bread. Hop aromas are subdued. Taste is similar, bitter and roasty with small hop character. The medium body has (in my opinion) a satisfying feel for the style, smooth, a bit soft and creamy with low astringency. I am hoping to get a fresh six of this and revisit.

Jun 23, 2019
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Nephilium from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma is heavy with roast and resin, pours a nearly opaque dark brown with a thin tan head. Roasted notes come through first, fading to a nice lingering bitterness. There's a hint of bittersweet chocolate, and earthy notes from the hops. Moderate body, and quite good overall.

Jun 18, 2019
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paging12 from Virginia

3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Great look, jet black, tan head, about a half-inch, retreating to a thin lacing coating the glass.
The smell is average, nothing too remarkable. Good balance between hops and malt.
The taste is smooth, again, good balance between hops and toffee malts. There is definitely a lingering hop bitterness.
Heavier mouthfeel, coats the mouth.
Overall a decent beer, very drinkable, good balance between hops and dark malts.

Feb 24, 2019
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DanO1066 from Maryland

3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draught pint at DuClaw "The Mills" in Anne Arundel. A bit warmer (60s), so I went a little lighter (vice my usual "Bad Moon" Robust Porter). There seems to be some disagreement in the reviews as to whether this is more hoppy or more malty/roasty. I'm going to agree, unfortunately,with those who argued hoppy.

Feb 15, 2019
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hman43 from North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: It pours dark brown with a tan head. Head retention is low.

Smell: It has some stone fruit and citrus notes to start out with. There are some very low background roast notes. There are also some moderate fruity esters.

Taste: It has a sweetness in the initial flavor that is somewhat candy like. In addition there are some citrus, caramel, and stone fruit flavors. There is also a very slight coffee note in the background.

Feel: It has a moderate body with slight creaminess. The alcohol warming in noticeable, but pleasant.

Overall, this is a fruity, sweet IPA with the dark malts being in the background.

Aug 25, 2018
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dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear but almost opaque dark cola brown in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation rising quickly along the edges of the glass and moderate chestnut brown + faint amber colored highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense sudsy foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a medium sized finger tall pillowy cap surrounded by a large patch of thick film covering the remainder of the surface and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Just shy of moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of lightly roasted malts with hints of chocolate + caramel malts and a light amount of caramel sweetness. Light to moderate aromas of earthy + herbal + pine/resin + citrus/grapefruit pith hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of lightly roasted malts with hints of chocolate + caramel + charred malts and a light amount of caramel sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of earthy + herbal + pine/resin + citrus/grapefruit pith hops which impart a light to moderate amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light hints of dryness in the finish.

O: Easy to drink due to the lightness of the body and the well hidden alcohol but not sure I would grab this one again - I like my Black IPA (American Black Ale) to have a little more hop presence to match up with the roasted/charred malts and this one was not quite intense enough in the hoppiness for my palate.

May 27, 2018
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle served in a snifter.
Pours dark brown, looking near black and nearly opaque in the glass.
About half the tie black IPAs strike me as instances of a clash of contrasts as opposed to a harmonious melding of flavors. This version falls in the favored, latter style, with medium bitterness, and obvious hop presence and a substantial dark grain bill.
Overall: bolder and improved with some warming. Recommended.

Dec 14, 2017
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm trying this at the Norfolk Tap Room in Norfolk, Virginia. It was from a bottle and it poured a nearly opaque deep rich mahogany with white head that is leaving a nice lace. The scent had fresh hop presence with touch of pine. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink....probably more hoppy than toasty. The mouthfeel is lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a solid beer.

Nov 09, 2017
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Opaque black beer with a big tan head that leaves behind a ton of lacing. Smells very malty with brown sugar and toffee. Tastes sweet and malty with molasses and char. Pretty solid beer.

Nov 03, 2017
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Tone from Missouri

3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color. 1/2 inch head of an off-tan color. Good retention and great lacing. Smells of roasted malt, pine, sweet malt, hint of caramel malt, and a hint of resin. Fits the style of an American Black Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong roasted malt, hint of alcohol, hint of grass, pine, sweet malt, hint of caramel malt, and a hint of resin. Overall, good appearance and better blend than most Black Ales, but also a little more subtle of body.

Aug 01, 2017
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vwbus7 from North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Exceptional Black IPA

On draft at The Point in Buxton Nc

Liked it so much we got a 5gal keg
I'm thinking this is more in 8.5 abv range.
It hits pretty hard but that's just me.

Jun 21, 2017
Photo of mpyle
mpyle from Maryland

3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very black to opaque. Pale tan head, creamy and long lasting

Slightly sweet and slightly earthy. Smells weird. Slight roast character.

Dark malt sweetness with a good bit of roast in flavor. Some big earthy hop flavors as well. Nice soft bitterness. Some ashtray in the finish...unpleasant.

Medium body and carbonation. No astringency, a bit of alcoholic warming.

Much more dark roast than hop character in my view. A little too roasty. Hop choice might not be best.

Jun 03, 2017
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avalon07 from South Carolina

3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: A decent aroma of hops, light fruit, malt, and some coffee.

T: Tasted of light tropical fruit notes (mango, in particular), a bit of coffee, a fair amount of hops, roasted malt, a hint of citrus (grapefruit, it would seem), and light chocolate as well. An interesting flavor for the style, with a maltier backbone than most. Not bad.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a super dry, almost chalky, finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a solid beer for the most part. Definitely easy to drink and likable.

Nov 24, 2016
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T-34-85 from New York

3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark malty presence in both the taste and the nose. Not as bitter as most black IPA's but I found that to be a positive surprise (may not qualify as too much of an "IPA" though, based on the sample I tried).

Overall I liked this brew and would have it again.

Jul 31, 2016
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ChrisMon02 from Ohio

3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Lagunitas mason jar. Thanks Will for bringing this back for me.

Very dark color with an off white head that holds up decently-smells of dark roast malt, hops and a kiss of anise. Taste follows the nose. Simple but works. Quite balanced and the moderate carbonation yields a soft, drinkable beer. I would have this again and glad I got to try it.

Apr 11, 2016
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delta490 from Virginia

3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown, murky. Like swamp water looks black but is really brown. There is a foamy tan head that melts off leaving just a ring and a few bubbles on the surface. The aroma is a little light but has some nice tropical fruit notes. The taste is more malt forward, with much more emphasis on the dark roasted notes a just a hint of earthy hops to balance it. As it opens up, a little pine hops start to show up on the finish. The body is lighter feeling with a little carbonated tingle.

Dec 12, 2015
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VirginiaBeerMan from Virginia

3.41/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very dark amber color with reddish hue and thin off white head and good lacing. Aromas were feint. Slightly dry feel with medium hop and lingering bitter, but not very much in the way of outside flavor. A fairly standard Black IPA. Good, but nothing particularly noteworthy.

Nov 12, 2015
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Beejay from Virginia

3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark brown/black in color with a large tan head.

S: Chocolate and coffee come out first with a little bit of an earthy bitterness after.

T: Coffee with an earthy bitterness. The hops are a bit subdued at first but start to come out more in the finish.

M: Medium in body, with a fairly high carbonation.

O: Not too bad, but not astounding either.

Oct 15, 2015
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours clear dark brown with 1/2 inch head and moderate carbonation. Taste is pine, dark chocolate, and cream. Overall the beer is slightly hoppy with a medium body. Tasty and worth seeking out. This is right up there with my favorites from this brewery.

Aug 09, 2015
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uvachief from Virginia

4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. No bottled on date. Aggressive pint glass pour results in huge white head that lingered forever. Nice dark purple brown color. Little light filters. Smell is hops but not overpowering. Taste is hops upfront but surprisingly not bitter. Smoother than I expected. Wouldn't say exceedingly hopped. Not north of 75 ibus I would guess. Love the black cherry tea color. Head just stays forever. Taste something sweet offsetting the bitter like licorice maybe. Unique. Not gritty or sandy like a lot of black ipas. Really smooth actually. Want to say some tobacco in there as well. Interesting complex ipa. Try if you get the chance.

Aug 03, 2015
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rjs246 from Virginia

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've tried black IPAs over and over and am almost always disappointed. This was a pleasant surprise. Very tastes with an almost porter like malt. Lots of hops balanced nicely. Really good.

Aug 03, 2015
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ohiobeer29 from Ohio

3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A solid black ipdea had it from bottle pours black smells of IPA and malt taste is that of a poor man's founders black rye which was a nice surprise definitely a nice black IPA worth a try

Jul 31, 2015
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great brew from my Dr. friend.

This ale pours a nice dark mahogany brown with a very nice light tan head that has true staying power, and solid lacing. Nose of chocolate, spicy hops, toffee, and earthy undertones. Flavors exceed the nose with a great chocolate/toffee malt back bone that gives way to lightly piney and spicy hops flavors that are not overbearing in any way. A SOLID brew that maintains balance through to the last sip with moderate carbonation, smooth lightly creamy mouth feel, and a light bitter finish. Outstanding. First brew I have tried from this company----looking forward to trying more.


May 26, 2015
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Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

3.27/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours of very brown to black in color. Charred malt, toasted barley, grapefruit pith and pine. Thinner body and good carb. Eh, black ipa. It's serviceable.

Mar 27, 2015
The Great Dismal Black IPA from O'Connor Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 227 ratings