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Skunk Black IPA | Three Heads Brewing - Tasting Room

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65 Reviews
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Skunk Black IPASkunk Black IPA

Brewed by:
Three Heads Brewing - Tasting Room
New York, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Yes, Skunk Black IPA. Big hop aromas hover over this perfectly balanced, dark beauty. Who knew a skunk could smell so good? Discover why a hint of roasted malt is the perfect complement to big hop flavor. Get Skunked!
6.5% Alc/vol. 75 IBUs

Added by John on 12-05-2010

For Trade:
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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 148
Photo of KimR
5/5  rDev +37%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

Pours a lovely dark color with a nice thinnish head.
Smells of a lovely bouquet of hops, with maybe some other um... stuff thrown in. I can see where the skunk name came from ;)

Tasted lovely and roasty with huge hop bombs in the mouth. Nice range of bitterness mixing with the roasty flavor. Medium bodied with a nice mouth feel.

To be fair, I feel I should confess I drank 5 of these in a row. And each one was as good as the first. Look forward to drinking many more.

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Photo of josefnewsong
4.39/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the tap and mallet last night...

a - dark black in color (go figure) with red hues and a very thin rim of tannish head
s - huuge skunky smell with hops everywhere. almost overwhelming and definitely unique...smells dank :)
t - hops and skunk all over the place with roasty characteristics to back it all up. my first thought was this is a ballsy beer for the east coast. I love it. It's not too often that a beer can be so dominantly hop-flavored and still remain this complex and interesting.
m - medium-bodied, some nice carbonation, just all around good
d - may not want too many of these, but considering the bitterness going on here this is very drinkable indeed

I must say I was slightly skeptical - but I'm a fan. I look forward to trying more from Three Heads.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.31/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler procured from the brewery.

Pours a dark black, with a khaki one inch head. Sheets of lacing on the glass.

Smells include resinous pine needles and sap, roasted malt, and citrus.

Very similar flavor. The pine is dank, resinous and bitter, and plays of the roasted malt very well. This is not one of the roastiest black IPAs I've ever had- this is definitely more of a Black IPA than a hoppy porter, or something along those lines. Some mint and citrus are noted as well. Lingering hop bitterness stays on the palate as well.

Full, creamy body, dry finish, crisp mouthfeel. Insanely drinkable.

A dank Black IPA, hence the name. Lots of great piney hop flavors in this one. Don't be afraid of skunks in this case!

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Photo of GrindFatherBob
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Owl House, Rochester, NY.

So glad to see a new brewery in Rochester, especially one that pumps out brew like this! Right off the bat when this beer arrived at the table I was a bit confused. Didn't realize it was a black IPA when I had ordered. I held it up to the light and it was the most vibrant blood red color, clear as glass. It was truly beautiful. Smells of slight sweet/roasted malt and great hop character. Super floral and juicy hops kick you in the nasal cavity. It tasted even better with citrus notes up front then giving way to more aggressive flowery, fruity, and bitter flavors( not too bitter though because I could still taste my meal through it). Covered the mouth with a juicy, chewy, full feeling, rather surprised as this was 6.5%. We ordered a pint of this and a pony of Wild Devil and they accidentally poured 2 of each for us and we had no problem finishing them, I could drink a whole 6 pack of this in one evening when they start bottling this. Three Heads is about to blow the world's minds.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.23/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Three Heads Skunk Black IPA is a very dim brown-- almost black. It's topped with a big, frothy cappuccino head that has supreme retention and lacing. It has a loud pine and grapefruit aroma, perhaps a touch of roast or ash. It's medium-full bodied, soft and slick. The dry finish leaves me a little thirsty. It has a very cascadian flavor: pine and grapefruit peel. There's a touch of roast at the finish. It's on the bitter side, but I like that. Coffee is in the aftertaste. This is really good representation of the style. It's fun to drink.

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Photo of lovesoutherntier
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours very dark. smells of dark malts, and some floral hops. this beer has the taste of a black ale, with the hopping of an ipa. i know thats the idea behind this beer but wow is it well balanced for the style. taste and drinkability go hand and hand through the beer. for those who like black ipa's this is a must try. good job 3hb keep new ones coming.

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Photo of tempest
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber for $6.50 at Brilbeck's on Tip Hill in Syracuse. The aroma has a surprising maple syrup note in the aroma, along with a mix of cocoa and grapefruit. The flavor is balanced between the smooth chocolate barley (though it's mild) and citrus rind that really builds in the finish. I'd want more flavor up front, but the big, biting finish makes up for it. The body is lighter and more drinkable for the style. Overall, a worthy take on the black IPA.

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Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into an IPA flute.

Pours black, maybe a darker brown, topped with a couple fingers of foamy mocha colored head. This retains with a rich ¾ finger cap, which drenches the sides of the glass with a good bit of creamy sticky lacing. The aroma is a combo of floral and herbal tones, which sits on top of a layer of fresh citric grapefruit flavor. This is softened in the nose some by the presence of chocolate malts, while notes of smoky roast sit underneath and slowly rise up to encapsulate the other flavors.

The taste has some green citric hop flavor to it, which is well balanced by the chocolate and caramel sweetness of the malts. I think that the roast mostly takes the lead here though; adhering to those hops to help give this a fresh burnt bitter flavor that mostly trails a strong dry pithiness into the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a mostly softer silky creaminess to the carbonation that sees a good bit of oiliness to it on the edges. This does however leave just enough of a prickle on the tongue though to call this crisp. The alcohol is well hid here, with just a smidge of warmth on the tail end of the swallow.

This was another well done hoppy offering from Three Heads that seemed to find just the right mix of roast, sweetness, and hops to it, while a super easy feeling body kept this drinking very nicely for the size. The CBC seems to be doing right by these guys and the beers that they are putting out there. I’ve been impressed by these offerings from them so far.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this several times before. Deep brown, almost black with a nicely formed off-white head that keeps a good cap on the beer. Pretty spots of lacing. I've never understood Black IPA's much. Most of them smell and taste like an IPA that has a bit of stout/porter mixed in it, or they taste like an overhopped stout/porter. This one in particular tasted like a roasty IPA. Lots of dankness and skunk here for sure but there is a smooth and non-overbearing roastiness and toastiness that adds a twist to it. Medium bodied with smooth carbonation. A nicely drinkable beer.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle split with a friend. around fridge temp poured into a pint glass. no freshness info.

looks very nice. pours out a dark brown with some rubiness in the light. great retention and wonderful sticky lace with a light tan colored head.

smells almost entirely of hops. hardly any malt detectable. mostly pine.

the taste is similar. resinous pine, earthiness, grassy, with some citrus which is more of an afterthought. some malt is there, but nothing really roasty. lots of sharp bitterness. something not quite right with the mouthfeel, really attacks all of your mouth.

kind of a decieving brew. tasty, but tasted more of a really sharp piney ipa, rather than a black ipa. i didnt get much of the dark malts.

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Photo of russpowell
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from indiapaleale, as part of my Fantasy Football BIF pay off! Brave name for a beer, the skunk on the label looks similar to a few I dodged on the way home the other night...Cheers Russ!

Pours an effervescent cola/black with a finger of mocha colored head. Very good lacing & above average head retention

S: Piney & herbal hops, faint chocolate notes & stronger caramel once warm

T: Follows the nose, wet charred grain, some baker's chocolate up front. Dark chocolate & a touch of vanilla hides behind herbal & lemon rind hops, there also a touch of mint that makes me think "Girl Scout mint cookies" then some more forceful woody hops. Finishes with woody & herbal hops, dark chocolate, a touch of coffee & dryness

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation, great balance

Drinks pretty easy, a nice take on the style

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 4/25/2012 at British Beer Company, in Walpole, MA served in a weizen glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short dense beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a very thick on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains roasted malts, floral hops, citrus and chocolate.

T: The taste starts out with a hearty roasted malt character and sweet flavors of chocolate and citrus. Then a strong but not over-powering hops presence comes in to provide a good balance in a style where it seems rare to achieve. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sweet.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a pint glass.

pours a dark though translucent cola-brown while yielding a large, frothy 2" tan head. solid retention and sticky lacing all over the place. pretty much spot-on, appearance-wise.

nose packs a good blend of citric / pine hops and roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate. again, more or less exactly what you'd expect from a black IPA; not extremely aromatic, however.

flavor follows the nose almost exactly. all the hoppy / stout-like notes pull through. citrus, pine, roastiness, coffee, dark chocolate... tasty. bitter in the finish. on the lighter side of medium bodied, medium carbonation.

overall, i'm enjoying this, it brings some tasty elements to the table. would absolutely be up for more.

(originally reviewed: 01-17-2012)

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Ale House in Vestal NY
Pours a surprisingly clear dark brown with ruby highlights when held to light. Creamy off white head shows moderate retention. Smells of pine and cirtus with hints of chocolate and coffee. Not quite porter like in the nose but the roast is definitely there. Pine and resinous taste mixed with a hint of chocolate and roasted grains. Medium body and carbonation level with a resiuos creamy mouthfeel. I really liked this one. Great Black IPA that almost ordered another one to my table.

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Photo of gaugebozo
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice lacing, black like a stout. Not the amount of head listed below, but some residual suds.

S - hops, maybe a little chocolate

T - American Hops! Some mint, some citrus. Also light roastiness, and some crystal malt.

M - a little lite for an IPA, but still substantial

O - My first black IPA. At first you might say, "Oh you mean an Imperial stout?" but truly it's own style. The roasted malts are enough to give it more character, but not enough to turn it into a stout. Good american hop character. Higher in alcohol, but not it's only note.Would be decent without the roastiness.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a pint glass.

pours a dark though translucent cola-brown while yielding a large, frothy 2" tan head. solid retention and sticky lacing all over the place. pretty much spot-on, appearance-wise.

nose packs a good blend of citric / pine hops and roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate. again, more or less exactly what you'd expect from a black IPA; not extremely aromatic, however.

flavor follows the nose almost exactly. all the hoppy / stout-like notes pull through. citrus, pine, roastiness, coffee, dark chocolate... tasty. bitter in the finish. on the lighter side of medium bodied, medium carbonation.

overall, i'm enjoying this. would absolutely be up for more.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a brew the color of watered-out cola, with light peeking through the bottom half of the glass. It holds a two finger head of chunky tan bubbles that retain well, leaving thick lacing as they depart. No sediment is noted and carbonation appears active. The aroma pops with bright hops, of pine and grapefruit varieties. As the beer warms, a deeper, bready roast begins to seep out, but it mixes subtly along with the base grain. There is also a slight sweetness, with licks of buttery molasses. Again, these all hide in the hop forest that makes up the bulk of the nose. As we sip, the first thing noticed is bitter, dark grain. There is a dry roast to the flavoring, which mixes quickly with bittering hops, as they catch up to speed. They impart a transient sweetness, only to become earthy, mixing inseparably with the malts, in a nicely balanced blend. As the sip peaks through the middle, all of the flavors seem to peter out almost entirely, leaving mildly bitter grain pressed against the back of the palate. The finish sees the triumphant return of the flavoring from the beginning, with earthen hops and a hearty malt darkness. The aftertaste breathes relatively cleanly, with bitter hops complemented by that same dark grain. The alcohol is also present, but only briefly at the onset of the exhale. The body is medium and the carbonation is medium. The mouth is wonderfully smooth, slurpable, sippable, and frothy, leaving us coated and satiated. The abv falls within range, and the beer disappears quickly.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the huge hop aroma and the earthen tones they delivered in the taste. From the nose we were expecting the hops to knock our socks off, but were slightly let down by how much of a backseat they took. Of course, this is a black IPA, so it could have gone either way, but if judging by the nose, which we were, we would have expected a more explosive hop character. This is not to say that we did not enjoy this one, because the aroma, mixed with the balance, mixed with the sipping mouthfeel, makes me wish we had another one of these on hand.

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Photo of rll52485
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A black body with a brownish/tan head. Hold it up to the light gives it a bright red flare inside the glass.

S - A strong piney smell.

T - A mild pine/citrus taste with slight bitter. Expected a stronger taste from the smell.

M - Fairly smooth, lingers on the tongue for a moment. Nicely carbonated.

D - Would drink this again but not my favorite BIPA. Definitely has good drinkability.

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Photo of tdm168
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Hoyt for bringing me this bottle.

A - dark brown with reddish hues; thin, soft cap of off-white, brownish head that fades after a few seconds

S - citrus, coffee, faint chocolate

T - roasted malts, faint coffee, big citrus, a bit sweet, some faint chocolate, piney, intensely bitter finish

M - medium bodied, crisp, well carbonated

This is a nice, easy-to-drink, complex beer. The hops and the malts are each complex on their own but impressively come together to create a balanced beer. The finish is intensely bitter which does wreak havoc on the palate after a while, but without the boldness of the hops the sweetness of the malts would become cloying. This isn't the best black IPA on the market but it's better than most. I'm very glad that I tried it.

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Photo of Gavage
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown almost black color with a fluffy 3" head that lasts. Nice lacing sticks to the glass.

Smell: light pine and grapefruit is all you can pull from the glass.

Taste: mild roasted malt flavors with some pine, grapefruit, prune sweetness, pears, and a decent but not overpowering bitterness. There is a bit spiciness that arrives late.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp from start to finish with a bit of dryness late.

Overall: a very quaffable black IPA. This one is not over the top, so it can be consumed a bit quicker than some others in the style.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Skunk Black IPA has a dark brown to black body with a tan head that has good retention and lacing.

The aroma is packed with pine and citrus, with the roasted malt coming through as a complement.

The flavor begins the same way as the aroma, big notes of resinous pine and a piquant citrus flavor. The bitterness is palpable until the malt comes in, but quite honestly this is a pretty bitter beer throughout. The malt is roasted and only marginally sweet. The two join together to form and interesting flavor profile, with a hint of something that is almost minty in the middle.

Light, bitter, dry, pretty good. The bitterness makes a noticeable impression upon the feel of this one.

Three Heads brewing isn't messing around, this is their second hoppy beer I have tried that is good. I prefer The Kind IPA, but I prefer IPAs to hoppy black ales, so try both.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby-tinged black with Irish stout-style clingy off-white head that leaves great lace. Bit of roast chocolate and herbal hops on the nose.
Chocolate and soil but malts are pretty quiet; herbal, leafy hops and roasty acidity to follow.
Oily espresso finish and big tongue-scrapping bitter linger. Medium, dry, crisp.

Where’s the malt? A bit too lean, but roast and hops combine for a nice punch. On the hoppy porter end of the style.

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Photo of Kendo
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bomber into a pint glass. Body looks brown on the pour, but in the glass appears black. Nice 1+ finger foamy light brown head settles on top, leaves behind nice rings of lace.

S: The kind of nose I like in an American Black Ale - chocolatey malt, roasty malt and citrusy hops. Leans more towards the chocolatey malt.

T: Roasted barley, charred grains, charcoal and a slight touch of cocoa powder make up the malt profile. Disappointed that it's not as chocolatey as the nose hinted at. Finishes with a bitterness that comes across more as metallic than citrusy or juicy. As it warms up a little bit, however, the hops touch on lemony. Going back and forth b/w a 3.5 and 4 for the score. . . .

M: Thinner than expected - a bit more heft and chocolatey malt flavors would have made this beer better all around, IMHO. Carbonation is fairly active but not aggressive.

O: Solid. Not great, but solid all-around.

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Photo of smcolw
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bountiful, rich head. The liquid is very dark, near black color. Light shines through but indirectly--it makes the beer glow. Spotty lace.

Mostly roasted malts to the nose. Although this is a black IPA, there is very little hop.

In the taste, the rolls reverse. The hop is more pronounced while the malt takes a back seat. There's a touch of burnt toast. The bitterness shows up in the swallow, but overall this beer is decently balanced. The beer is relatively thin. Carbonation is on the low side.

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Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Skunk Black IPA might at first blush appear black but a closer inspection to the light reveals a spotlessly clear beer that is more pecan-colored than anything. Its head has a sparkly sheen, like the unpolished side of a marble block, and crisscrosses the surface in an apple pie-like order. Its lacing looks like neatly folded blankets.

The bouquet is a bit soft but is successfully checkered with roasty malt and piny hops. There's equal notes of nutty milk chocolate and tree bark. It's a really unique combination and is truly 'Cascadian' in character (despite that this was brewed in upstate New York). The hoppiness is adequate enough even to emulate cedar and spruce too.

The leafy, vine-y, herbal flavour continues onto the palate. Despite all the hydroponics, however, toasty crystal malts do succeed in making a clean break and actually dominate the finish, leaving a pleasantly sweet and nutty aftertaste. It tastes something like creme brulee (done with a little Grand Marnier, or perhaps even green tea).

In a totally zoomed out view you can find tiny shreds of citrus zest as well as coffee-and-cream flavor. That's what you want: a solid dichotomy of hop and malt. Just when you start to notice one feature, the other shoe drops. This delivers on both fronts and, at a moderate 6 and a half percent, it won't leave you 'drunk as a skunk'!

I'm not only on the Three Heads Brewing bandwagon, I want to drive it. All the beers they've released since coming on the scene have been solid, perhaps simple, but satisfying offerings that commandeer their respective styles and represent great value for the buck. Let's hope they continue to do exactly what they've been doing.

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Skunk Black IPA from Three Heads Brewing - Tasting Room
3.65 out of 5 based on 148 ratings.
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