Lubrication | Clown Shoes

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Brewed by:
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by busterthecat on 07-02-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 158 | Ratings: 315
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.16/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Black pour, minimal head, 1/4", beige in color. Tiny bit of grapefruit hoppiness to it.

Taste had a lot of the bitterness that black ales that aren't world class can't seem to avoid. Bitter, dry, chalky, gritty at times. Hops need to impart more than just bitterness. Came off like a blend of a hoppy porter/black ipa.

 325 characters

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Two small tasting cups at Cotteridge Wine during a Black Country Bus Trip (sorry if I stole someones cup, but I needed two to rate/review it correctly).

Really black body: the pour into many small tasters didn't help the head a great deal.

The aroma was deep roasted malts giving off dark chocolate and ground coffee notes.

The taste followed the nose: hops traces however try to balance out the heavy malt presence and almost make it through, but just fail.

Most enjoyable: didn't dare take a third cup!

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Photo of superspak
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled 9/11 on the label(2011?). Super highly carbonated upon opening. Pours nearly pitch black color with a 2 finger foamy and fluffy tan head that lasts forever, eventually reduces to a large cap. Foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a ton of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, char, floral, pine, light citrus, and roasted earthiness. Pretty nice aromas with good balance of roasted malt and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, char, light smoke, floral, grass, orange zest, light pine, and roasted earthiness. Light roasted and floral bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, char, floral, orange zest, light pine, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance of roasted flavors with a good amount of hop presence; with nice robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a slick, crisp, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is good once the carbonation dies down. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a good black IPA despite being old. Good balance of roasted malt and hop flavors; and smooth to drink after the excessive carbonation died down. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of flip387
3.13/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: Poured coffee brown, thick dark foamy head. Very dark brown in the glass

S: Heavy rich, and hints of chocolate.

T: Dark and bitter taste, hints of roasted flavor. Mocha in taste.

M: Medium in weight, smooth with a bit of a bitter after taste, some carbonation.

O: Full bodied dark and bitter beer, almost a block coffee or mocha taste
which lingers on the palate.

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Photo of bashiba
2.99/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Poured a deep dark brown with light mahogany highlights and a thin tan soap ring of head.

The smell is lightly roasty with a touch of cacoa and a bit of brown sugar sweetness.

The flavor is one dimensional burnt roasted malts with a bit of smoke. Has a bit of an oily bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is light with a long dry finish.

Very odd beer, its like drinking a smoked porter without any underlying caramel sweetness to balance out the roasted barley. Overall a bit boring and cloying after a while.

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Photo of KajII
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Tulip Glass]

The pour was a very dark black with a large (2-3 finger) light brown rocky head that slowly receded, down to a thin scattered film with a medium collar thus creating good sheets of streaky lacing.

The aroma was a little on the mild side with a burnt grain malt, pine hops and an earthy yeast and had notes of bakers chocolate, roasted coffee, citrus (grapefruit) and a bit of licorice.

The taste was a malty bitter with a note of coffee and bitter chocolate early on, progressing with a slightly bitterer hoppy taste and a light citrus peel presence with a hint of licorice towards the end. The flavor lasted an average time proceeding the swallow, with a nice dark hoppiness that was left lying on the back of the tongue at the finish.

Mouthfeel was a hair below medium in body and dry in texture with a nice mellow carbonation.

Overall this was a mildly hoppy Black Ale, with just enough roastiness to create a nice smooth drinkability...

 1,023 characters

Photo of mactrail
2.91/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice sudsy pour with a dark brown color. Smells of the basement with some burnt barley.

Very dry with something not entirely unlike chocolate. Lots and lots of charred grain flavors. The malt seems to be thoroughly fermented in this brew. Just a hint of something like rusty plumbing. The aftertaste is pretty bitter. Some dusty hops and the sourish notes of charcoal. If the added flavor is orange peel, I get mostly the bitter rind and some acidity. I'm not sure what the theory is here, but after a thought-provoking couple of sips, I'm ready for something less punishing.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at H and H Beverage in Abilene.

 640 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a very dark reddish brown with a massive liht brown head with good retention and tons of lacing. Pleasant aroma of dark toasted malt, chocolate and light piney hops. Flavor is dominated by dark toasted and charred malt, with only hints of the chocolate and aromatic hops from the aroma. Finishes with a pleasant char and hop bitterness. A decent charred malt black ale, but somewhat one dimensional. Medium bodied, but well carbonated. Probably not one I'll rush back to, but enjoyable enough and I really liked the label graphics (which has a robot gas station attendant...not the one in the current picture here).

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Total Wine in West Orange, having never tried anything from Clown Shoes before. I expected this to trend more toward a Stout based on the name, in terms of body. This turned out to be a fairly typical American Black Ale that looked a bit better than it tasted, but wasn't tough to enjoy at all.

Of course, the pour to this was dark as cola without as much carbonation. Not a lot of head, aroma, or lacing to be seen here and this almost reminded me of flat soda as I worked my way through the contents of my pint glass. This almost tasted like a Scotch Ale since the mouthfeel was smoky and there was a hint of peat moss in the back. A bit of caramel-like stickiness could be found here too. The alcohol was high enough but besides the roasted aspect of this, this was not that thick and the hops could have stood out a bit more.

Nothing in particular stood out about this and there was only a hint of tangerine in the bit that reminded me that this was a hopped-up Black Ale. This style seems relatively easy to enjoy and this served as a fine example of the style. Just don't expect to be blown away or bowled over by this.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 10.8.12.

A - Pours a dark brown with a foamy dark tan two and a half inch head with good retention.

S - Hoppy grass, roasted malt, chocolates.

T - Hoppy, then chocolate, finishes with a smokey malt.

D - tons of carbonation with a light body and a hoppy smokey finish.

O - Hoppy smoke and some chocolate.

 325 characters

Photo of facundoCNB
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a dark brownish/black pour with tons of fluffy tan head, excellent lacing.
smells of chocolate milk, roasted grains, tobacco, toffee.. very rich and sweet smelling!
a very dark roasty taste up front, sweet and rich in the middle of the palate, earthy/tobacco like bitterness on the finish. this is a really tasty beer - more of a stout than a black in my opinion!

medium body with a nice creamy mouthfeel, nicely carbonated. overall - this beer is a steal! a very tasty treat for about $5 a 4pk! i'd definitely recommend this to any fans of stouts, even though it says it's a black ale, it drinks more like a milk stout. delicious!

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a pitch black with a ecru head that has great retention and is leaving some lace. The nose reveals slight piny, citrusy hop aromas and robust chocolate, coffee and roasted malts. The flavor is exactly like the nose. There is some chocolate and roasted malts up front with laid back coffee notes followed by faint pine and citrus hops. The body is light to medium but smooth and has light carbonation. Overall a decent beer almost a porter in my opinion.

 469 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh from Premiere Gourmet. Opaque black bodied Average mouthfeel, aggressive carbonated. Average mouthfeel. The roast without significant hops compared to a black IPA.Was not getting much citrus, more is better. One dimensional. Rough, yet still very good drinkability.WOrth a try.

 283 characters

Photo of Oakenator
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark with a significant amount of head. Nice carbonation and good retention. Smell of dark roasted malts. Taste is smoked with hops masked. Slight orange flavor comes through on the front along with the hops. Overall a good beer and for this type could be considered somewhat of a session brew for a black ale.

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Photo of korguy123
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/2012 into tumbler.

A- Opaque, super dark brown, almost black pour with a booming 3 finger creamy off white head. Lacing is decent.

S- Chocolate and coffee up front, there is a little char followed by citrus and pine and a touch of brown sugar and molasses in the finish.

T- Dark roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, leading into grapefruit and pine with a little char. Slight metallic taste and finishing a little sweet.

M- Light to medium bodied, a little creamy on the tongue, carbonation is a little low and it suits this.

O- This is more of a BLACK ipa instead of a black IPA. It focuses more on the dark malts and roast qualities. It's good for a change and nice to see a different take on a rather new style.

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Photo of soulfly1492
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Great aroma. Lots of chocolate mocha, mild sweet coffee, some lactose, cocoa, very little burnt roast black malt, which I was expecting a lot of. Smells like a sweet and mild chocolate stout.

Appearance: Black, opaque. Head pours 1/2" and is medium brown. Good retention and tons of lacing.

Taste: I guess I read the aroma wrong? Moderate roasty black malt. Cigar ash, which is actually pleasant. Some mild pine and floral hops which are very subtle in the aroma. Some alcohol, although very mild.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Low but stinging carbonation. Finishes dry.

Overall: Cigar ash that taste good, that's a new one. Not the top of the line, but a decent brew.

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Photo of greenengineer
3.27/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz Bomber into a stemless wine glass

A- pours very dark, with a big brown head. Settles down nicely leaving some great lacings. Completely opaque. Super fizzy
S - not much smell, coffee grounds, guinness
T - charred malt, almost sour, bitter, with some late hop resin. Label says orange peel, but I'm not tasting it.
M - thin, and bubbly
O - not my favorite style, but a decent attempt. Drinks a little lighter than it looks.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into an Allagash chalice. Bottled in February of this year; a bit older than I would like.

A - Pours nearly black, topped by a pillow of Coca-cola carbonation that lasts forever. Sticky lacing.

S - Roasted malt and chocolate. It is very sweet with some nutmeg, but floral hops balance and complicate.

T - Starts dry and bready. Some pond-water smokiness that is just subtle enough to enhance and not detract. Finishes with some clean pine hops.

M - Carbonation is tingly and stays consistent through to the last sip. Body is on the lighter side, making this one a gulper.

O - I really enjoyed this Clown Shoes offering. Easy drinking with all the flavors I am looking for in a Black Ale, even after 5 months. Not the best beer of the style, but certainly serviceable for $5/bomber.

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Photo of jsanford
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with brownish edges and a creamy khaki head that settles to a thin haze, leaving soapy lacing. Aromas of roasted malt and resinous citrus hops dominate. More hop-forward then malt-forward, with some bitter chocolate. More chocolate and roasted malt flavors, backed up with grapefruit and orange peel hops. Pretty well balanced overall, and quite drinkable. Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, with a medium body and sharp carbonation. A really solid "Black IPA" overall, a style that Clown Shoes seems to do really well.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle with Bottled 2/2012. Pours a black color with, I don't know, maybe 3 inches of frothy head. Lots of lacing. Guess im not in a hurry. Aromas of roasted malts, smoke, coffee and chocolate. Taste is a small amount of citrus hops, namely orange, with some chocolate, coffee, smoke and roasted malts. Super carbonated, obviously. Pretty drinkable with not much alcohol flavor. Given the choice I'd pick Hoppy Feet over this one but its a decent beer worth having every once in awhile.

 491 characters

Photo of mltobin
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle picked up at a small store in Westchester NY.

Appearance is near black with two fingers of a tannish head. Lubrication has a nose that gives off licorice, roasted malts, some chocolate. This black ale tastes earthy. It has a good amount of those roasted malts, chocolate, a bit of coffee too. Mouthfeel is leaning towards heavy. A nice black ale, worth a try.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a three-fingers thick pillowy tan head into an english pub glass that left great lacing throughout. the body was black with red tints.
s - big roasted chocolate aromas.
t - roasted and bitter chocolate dominates.
m - creamy and medium thickness.
o - one track mind for chocolate and i liked it but would have liked some more hop flavors.

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Photo of NODAK
2.86/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer has quite the roasted malt nose to it...really a full aroma of what a black ale should be. I don't really get much else, such as coffee or, it's just pretty much a deep roasted note.

I wish I could say the flavor was complex to me, but the reality here is that the mouthfeel is pretty thin and the flavor is roasted malts all over the place. From start to finish, roasted malt dominates the day, even going towards burnt. A full flavored black ale. There's a small but persistent bitter note that shows up at the finish and lingers with a little astringency along the back of the tongue. It almost seems out of place a bit among the other notes of the beer.

So all in all, it's fairly average for what it is. It isn't incredibly interesting, but if anybody wants a straight forward, roasted malt black ale, they can turn to this one and get what they want.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
3.56/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass at J. Ryan's in Syracuse.
Dark as night, with slight ruby red hues along the edges at the bottom of the glass.
Aroma is very malty; lots of roasted malt, espresso coffee, cocoa notes. Didn’t get any hops in the aroma.
Taste likewise is extremely malt-forward. Roasted notes upfront; leading to bitter notes from the middle to the finish. The bitterness lingers for quite some time after the finish. Feels almost like a liquid version of dark chocolate covered espresso beans. A little thin on the mouthfeel.
Lots of lacing along the insides of the glass.
Overall, not the best black ale around for my taste. If you are looking for a malty black ale, then this might be the one to try. If you are looking for a hoppy black ale, then unfortunately this ale falls short.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is - ZOMG, what a great aroma, strong, oily, smoky, with notes of molasses, hops and licorice plus a hint of miso. It pours an opaque warm sable with a thick, fine-bubbled and rather persistent light tan head that leaves some generous lacing. Satisfying flavor has a hop-bitter overtone plus notes of roast malt, licorice and molasses. Texture is smooth, a teeny bit watery, fairly fizzy and a little dusty. Overall, a worthy brew.

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Lubrication from Clown Shoes
3.62 out of 5 based on 315 ratings.
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