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The Great Dismal Black IPA | O'Connor Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
87
very good
56 Reviews
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The Great Dismal Black IPAThe Great Dismal Black IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
O'Connor Brewing Co.
Virginia, United States
oconnorbrewing.com

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by blackie on 11-20-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
56
Ratings:
188
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
20.88%
 
 
Wants:
12
Gots:
46
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 188
Photo of jvillefan
2.85/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

A: It is a very dark brown with a ivory white laced head that disappears very quickly.

S: Not very good. There is old dark fruit (not in a pleasant way) with some stale chocolate malts.

T: There is some indistinguishable dark malt. It doesn't have a specific coffee, chocolate, or toffee flavor available. There is some hop bite but not nearly enough to call it a black IPA.

M: There is some thickness to the body with an excellent carbonation bite.

O: It is an average black IPA, there are many way better ones that are easily available (Sublimely Self-Righteous). Not worth getting.

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Photo of KomodoDragon
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Black but not a black out - light will make it thru. Small cream head, with the hops doing their thing and providing wonderful lacing.

S - I pick up so very little in the smell - perhaps some subtle coffee, but all very faint

T - A nice subtle transfer from roasted malts to bitterness. Presence of burnt grains, and milk chocolate feel.

M- Creamy and light

Ideal representation of the style. Properly balanced, yet full. Wonderful job allowing the ingredients to shine thru.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a very nice head that leaves a few shards behind

Smell: Roasty dark malt and charcoal, with hints of caramel and earthy hops

Taste: The roasty char flavors appear first, along with some chocolate and dark fruit; in the middle, the earthy hops add some bitterness but they are overwhelmed by the char; in the finish, it is the roasted malt and char flavors that again leave the dominant impression

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I prefer a bit more hop character in my ABAs; this one is interesting, but is primarily about roast and char

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Photo of n2185
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown with a finger of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with creamy chocolate up front with dry pine and grapefruit aromas from the hops.

T: Roasted malts here as well with bitter chocolate, some char, and an earthy, piney, hoppy finish that is lightly bitter.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is nicely carbonated and avoids being too thick or watery.

O: A good black ale overall with a nice balance between the hops and the roasted malts.

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Photo of teromous
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer is extremely dark. It is completely black, and shows very dark shades of brown when exposed directly to the light. The head stays at about half a thumb. It is colored off-white and nearly tan. The head is very nice looking. There is decent lacing.

S: It has a very interesting smell. There is a light floral hop characteristic, but then there is this distinct oak aged porter scent to it. If I didn't know it was a black IPA I would think it was a barrel aged porter from the smell. There is also a sweet smell to it...kind of like chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. There isn't quite as much of a breadth of hop character as I'd like to smell, but the scent is good.

T: I am a bit disappointed in the flavor. It is barely hoppy at all, and it is greatly overshadowed by the roasted malt flavor. The roasted flavor is very nice, and there is a nice bitterness to the beer. Much of the hop flavor is not present. Some of it comes back after the sip, but not while drinking.

M: The mouthfeel is nice and bitter, fairly dry, with a nice backbone of carbonation.

O: Overall I think this is pretty close to a good black IPA (as the label states) ABA/CDA whatever you wish to call it. I wish it had a more hop-forward presence to the flavor. If you are a stout or porter lover, you will undoubtedly enjoy this. If you are a standard IPA or IIPA drinker, you will most likely find it to be substandard. I feel that I can not give this an average score, because it does not live up to the expectations of an average black IPA where it counts the most...the flavor.

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

I ppoured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The firtst thing you notice is the black color then the Xmas tree smell hits you. Like somebody bottled a spruce tree. The beer poured a okay head. However the taste was just too hoppy for me. If you like high hopped IPA beer this is good beer. I would like to try some more from this Co. since they are only about 50 miles from me. I will not try this one again though.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into dimpled mug.

This was an extra from lambicking-- thanks man!

Very dark-- virtually black. Kinda cloudy... Some chunks floating around inside... Toffee colored head. Weak lacing, but decent retention.

Pretty full-bodied beer. Firm feel with plenty of carbonation. Oily residue with a coffee-like bitterness.

Lots of roasted malt with some sweetness up front as well. The beer has a strong bitterness that lingers for a good bit. Citrus hops poke through, but herbal/floral notes lead the way.

Overall-- not a bad black ipa. This is a style I would put low on my "list of favorite styles," but I try to be fair in reviewing styles such as this... This is a decent beer, but I don't find it refreshing. It isn't one I would drink or buy again, but it isn't a bad attempt at the style.

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Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Surprisingly good drinkability and taste though overcarbonated. Pours fast disipitating off-whte head on black body. Roasted malt aroma. More IPA than roast in taste and that worked. Citrus hops are there and most drinkable. Worth seeking out.Thanks Radek.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Gotten as an extra from a trade with Hanzo.

A: A deep dark brown color with a one finger light brown head. Nice glass lacing.

S: Earthy and herbal hops mix with some dark fruits and slight roastiness. Nice.

T: Roasted flavors start first with some charred wood notes. Some chocolate sweetness and slight coffee mix with dark fruit flavors and sweeten out the hops momentarily until the finish turns back to the earthy and herbal floral hops. Bitter prickly finish is real nice.

M: Medium mouthfeel, perfect carbonation and very little if any alcohol flavor. Again, nice.

O: A very nice black IPA that was not spectacular, but solid. I liked it.

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Photo of rudolphjacksonm
4.67/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark reddish brown when held up to light, black otherwise with a tan head that dissolves into a little smokey residue layer on top. Not very much lacing to speak of. 4.0

S - Strong hoppy, floral notes up front with subtle smoked malt and firewood scents supporting it. Really interesting and unusual compared to what I'm used to, but it works really well! 4.5

T - Deliciously malty but not too sweet on the tip of the tongue, followed by mellow citrusy (citric acid? lemon zest? can't tell) flavors in the middle, and then a strong hop kick at the end. Really well-balanced. Simply put, I think the taste is fantastic and really well-done. 5.0

M - Light bodied with little carbonation tingle. I think this is fitting for the beer and works well with the taste. 4.5

O - The Great Dismal Black IPA is yet another example of Virginia breweries crafting cutting-edge brews. It's a brilliant cross between a porter and an IPA, and if you like either one I'm sure you'll enjoy this. 4.5

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep brown, with a fat finger of light-tan head. Lacing decent and tenacious.

S: A mixture of toasted malt, molasses, and fruit preserves.

T: Momentarily sweet malt, but with a stronger, longer-lasting tart/fruity flavor coming through. A slight flavor of Colombian coffee graces the middle. The finish is quite bitter, with a burnt flavor mixed in to make an acrid finale.

M: Moist, well carbonated, and a little dry at the end.

O: Decent, but if I'm going to have something so full-flavored, I'd rather go for an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of jgreenearrow
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: The beer pours a deep opaque brown, nearly black color with a frothy tan head forming at the top of the pour. Some lacing remains on the sides of the glass.

S: Rich roasted malts and molasses dominate the nose. Some piney hop aromas are also present.

T: There is a slight sweetness at the outset with roasted malt and piney hops dominating the middle. The bitterness fades into a malted milk type sweetness in the finish.

M: The beer is light to medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, this is a decent beer. It drinks like a porter that is slightly hopped. The hops are definitely not as prominent as I would expect from a beer that bills itself as a black IPA.

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Photo of paulginva
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: This beer, poured from a tap into a pint glass, produced a 1" light tan foamy head that dissipated slowly leaving good head lacing. Carbonation was moderate in a murky very dark brown body.

AROMA: A complex melange of espresso, caramel, chocolate, some dark fruits, cinnamon and spices plus just a hint of alcohol.

TASTE: Light black coffee flavor with dark chocolate and caramel plus some light piny hops and dark fruits, spices and very light alcohol.

MOUTHFEEL: This beer had a medium body with a smooth texture, moderate carbonation and good body lacing that dissipated slowly. The initial flavor was lightly sweet with a lightly bitter finish with a hint of dryness at the end that lasted for a moderate length of time.

DRINKABILITY: This was sort of like a combination of stout and IPA. It was out of the ordinary, certainly, but very tasty. A nice dry sipping beer that I plan on having again soon. I don't think I'd have more than two in any session unless there were a designated driver available but other than that, it's easy to drink, has an excellent price to value ratio and is really quite memorable.

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Photo of legalpete19340
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Came to the bar looking very dark brown, almost black with one finger of dark tan head. Laced like a champ.

S: Piney hops jump out but roasty malt is close behind. Notes of burnt bread. Has a nice bit of grapefruit and roasted seeds in the back.

T: Starts off with a smooth bit of pine and grapefruit then immediately smacked by a pine tree. The malts jump in with toasted oat bread and burnt malt. Everything ends with a strong spicy hop bite.

M: Medium with a good amount of fizz.

O: A strong performer. Impressed me. Had a nice balance of hops and malt. I could session a few of these. This is an exclamation point of a black IPA.

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Photo of Jayli
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at Buffalo Wind Wings in Harborview, VA 10/9
Served in a pilsner glass

A: This beer pours an opaque, deep brown with light brown hues around the edges when held to the light. Two fingers of khaki colored, foamy head that retains for some time. Big sheets of sticky lacing are left on the glass.

S: Nose is burnt malts, bitter chocolate, and orange zesty hops.

T: Taste is roasted malts at t he forefront, bitter baker's chocolate and coffee. Burnt notes come through mingled with lingering coffee notes and orange, citrus hops.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp at first and then creamy.

O: Goes down easy, very tasty, somewhat filling, nice kick, excellent representation of style. If we hadn't gotten the last pints of this, I would have drank it all afternoon. By and far, this would be a go to beer for me!

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Photo of floraday
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hand bottled from miamilice, thanks buddy!

A: Dark brown almost black with nice tan head leading to good lacing

S: Lots of dark malt with faint hop aroma. Definitely the malts are heavy in this brew

T: Dark malts are dominate. Lots of coffee and caramel. Faint bittering hops towards the end

M: Creamy yet very dry. Some tannins for m the roasted malt. Slightly bitter on the palate

O: Nice, but I’m sure the brew lost a lot of its nuances from the tap to bottle. Would love to try if fresh

Thanks again miamilice, keep up the good work!

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Photo of whitemomba
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this hand bottled for me from miamilice (thanks man) in a recent trade.

A - Vigorous pour leaves about 2 fingers of tan colored head. Nice amounts of lacing. Black/dark brown in color.

S - Mostly roasted malts and coffee. Lots of hops as well. Smells very good.

T - Sweeter then i thought actually. Nice coffee/malty taste up front followed by a very nice hop bitterness. Very nicely balanced beer.

M - Very easy to drink. Not overly carbonated.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. I split the first bottle i got with a few friends and they really enjoyed it as well. Im a big fan of black IPA's.

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Photo of guitarb
4.88/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this many times, most recently on tap from Baron's pub in ptown in a 32 ounce mug.

When I first tried it, this beer went immediately to my top 5. It pours a dark black. Friends joked I was drinking 10w-30 motor oil. Very drinkable. I actually had two 32 ounce mugs last time I had.

If ever given the chance, enjoy this brew!

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Photo of stckhndlr
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at A.W. Shucks in Norfolk, VA

A- Pitch black w/ a 2 finger thick tan foam head. Thin lacing all down the glass as you drink.

S- This one was very complex. Every sniff presented a different aroma. Espresso coffee, caramel malts, vanilla, fruit, cream, dark cinnamon, and some spices.

T- Flavor of chocolate and dark roast coffee, good hop flavor, some caramel with some bitters on the back with a long finish.

M- smooth with a creamy medium body. Clean finish

O- Has the look and flavor of a stout with the carbonation and bitterness of an IPA. What a wonderful beer. By far one of this brewery's best.

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Photo of ramseye4
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Tarrant's in Richmond. I have never even heard of this brewery before, and I live in the state!
A=Pours a silky black with a two finger head ad great lacing. Its not quite as dark as the stout I also ordered, but its close.
S=toasted malt and oily hops, nothing too strong
T=Toasted malt, a bit of bourbon, and strong bitter hops comes out in the end
M=Full bodied medium carbonation
O=Pleasant surprise, nice tasting beer overall

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Photo of BigJK
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

thanks to Miamilice for the trade. 22oz bomber

Appearance: Dark looking beer with light sand head, about 1 finger width. Some slight lacing was left on the glass. Black, but not opaque to the light. Nice appearance.

Smell: Definite hoppy aroma, but not super fresh hops. Very apparent dark roast. Maybe some caramel roast type smell.

Taste: Slightly bitter, but good hoppy taste. Had some decent malt, residual sugar flavor to it. Not overly hoppy or overly roasty. Had a slightly odd aftertaste. Mostly balanced taste.

Mouthfeel: Nice feel, a bit on the watery, thin side, but probably fits the American Black Ale style. Carbonation was adequate, but did dissipate quickly

Drinkability: Very nice and easy to drink. A good black IPA, but not one I would run out for every week. Being on the west coast, I prefer more hop flavor due to lupulin threshold shift. A decent beer.

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Photo of ebby82
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at the taphouse in downtown Hampton.
Pours a very dark brown or light black into a pint glass. There is minimal head.

Aroma is of dark, roasted malts, and a definite hop presence.

Taste is primarily hoppy, but it retains the roasted malts very well.

Mouthfeel is average and the drinkability is good.

Of the black IPA's I've had, Victory's is better, but I like this one better than 21st Amendment's version. This version isn't as sweet as the latter, which is a good thing.

A good example of the type from a very small, new brewery in Norfolk. I'll be trying this again.

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Photo of nniicckkww
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at Jack Quinn's in downtown norfolk. Black appearance with slight quarter inch head. I think I could have amassed a bigger head than the barkeep, but oh well.

Black/dark brown appearance. I didn't hold it up to the light. Not much aroma as it was quite cold served. Black IPA's are confusing to my palate. Hoppy. Delicious. Not much hop aromoa but it comes through in the flavor and finish. Nice bitterness. Good carbonation for the style. Not too much, not too little. Is it a hoppy porter? I don't know. This style seems trendy.

Nice and dry mouthfeel. I think this differentiates this beer from a stout. Good hop bitterness and slight flavor. Bitter finish. I had a 22 oz. mug. It's drinkable. A great bear. I just don't know about the black IPA style....

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Photo of AndrewNations
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice and Dark Dark Brown. Almost black. Pours with a think white head that calms down within a few seconds of pouring. Overall, they nailed the color.

S - Not a whole lot on the nose just a faint bitterness and pine notes. Would like to get more here. Not sure if this is dry hopped but the practice does some great things for the nose. Amarillo = personal favorite.

T - One of the best representations of this style. I would like a touch more bitterness and less malt. Easier said than done but this for sure a nice beer. I think this is just a personal preference for a fairly new style and not necessarily a fault of the brewer.

M - Perfect. I like the body and the mid to low carbonation.

D - I could easily have several of these.

Serving type: on-tap / growler

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Photo of joedon
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Took a chance on this beer and was very pleased. Dark brown to almost black with a very thin head.

Dark, roasty malt smells with a bit of fruit.

Big flavors: lots of malt, hop bitterness, dark fruit and bread. This beer is almost like a hybrid between IPA and imperial stout.

Good, chewy mouthfeel and lingering flavors. Quite drinkable for a big beer.

Might like to brew one of these at home.

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The Great Dismal Black IPA from O'Connor Brewing Co.
3.88 out of 5 based on 188 ratings.
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