Skunk Black IPA | Three Heads Brewing

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Skunk Black IPASkunk Black IPA
148 Ratings
Skunk Black IPASkunk Black IPA

Brewed by:
Three Heads Brewing
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 148 |  Reviews: 65
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #50 (March 2011):

Bring on the darkness ... and hops! Have not seen such great head retention for a good while ... we were tempted to float stuff on it, but we’d hate to taint this brew. Yup, it is black. Sweet oily hoppiness has mild hints of tangerine juice and fresh mint, with a faint edge of char in the nose and palate. Brown malt, faint dryness of charred malt, some chocolate graham cracker and a raisin component deep within. Hoppiness leads on far into the aftertaste. Mild burnt raisin and delicate alcohol warmth meet in the semi-roasted bitter finish. A pleasure to come by, an easy drink.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Super dark cola colored with some impressive off white brownish head. Some of the best lacing I have seen for this style.

S: More a malt forward example as far as the nose goes. Some roast and chocolate nicely balanced. The hops are there with some citrus making its way through but not really a hop bomb by any strech.

T: The citrus comes across more clearly in the taste. Nice hints of orange. I think that combination with the chocolate works best for the style overall. Just a hint of bitterness in the finish. Reminds me of espresso beans. Nice.

M: Medium body. A touch thin if anything. Carbonation is quite nice and to style.

D: A good example of the style. I have enjoyed the beers that I have had from them thus far. If anything I might dry hop this or dry hop it more to really get the nose to stand out more.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
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 BobCS
2.35/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - dark brown and clear (the liquid portion is very much like coca-cola in appearance), with a fine beige head

S - some citrus hops peak out in the aroma, but not as strongly as I was expecting given some reports

T - clean and aggressive hop character is there but completely overwhelmed by oxidation in the sample I am tasting. There is no freshness date on the 22 oz brown bottle, this was a relatively new addition to package store I bought it from, and I know this store typically handles it's stock with reasonable care. This sample is not light struck, but I believe it is heavily oxidized resulting in a tongue-coating wet cardboard that overwhelms the flavor and dominates the aftertaste before becoming filmy and soapy. The brewery hasn't been open long (just a few months) so it can't be too old, which suggests to me they have a packaging problem to work out.

D - This is definitely a drain pour I am afraid. I was looking forward to trying some Three Heads beers, since they are relatively local to me and relatively new. I will try again and re-review!

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
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 yesyouam
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
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 BeerPhan86
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I went to RIT and this brewery was never around when I was in school (they just began in 2010), but their beers seem very hoppy and right up my alley so I was excited to find this at a local store. Black IPAs are popping up all over and while I have only had a few (Southern Tier and Otter Creek) it is a style I definitely enjoy quite a bit and I hope it keeps getting more popular.

A - Pours an opaque blackish-brown with a one finger light brown head. Good retention on the head and sticky lacing.

S - Piney and floral for the most part with slight hints of chocolate and roasted malt.

T - Somewhat sweet and dark up front followed by a blast of piney hops and a bitter, dry finish. Hints of chocolate and coffee in the finish. It's like someone mixed a porter with an American style IPA, and the result is quite delicious. Lingering taste is bitter and earthy and slightly metallic. I will admit it tastes less hoppy than the nose led on, but I enjoy what's going on here.

M - Very wet and smooth, not slick or oily like IPAs can tend to be. Slightly sticky on the lips. Carbonation level seems just right to me. Seems a bit too thin and watery though.

D - Probably too bitter for me to session but that seems to be par for the course for this emerging style.

Overall I was a little let down and expected a bit more bang from this. I'd have to say of the few black IPAs I have tried so far the Otter Creek Alpine has been my favorite. The Southern Tier Iniquity was incredible but more of an imperial of this style. Still worth a try and I can't wait to find their Kind IPA! If I was still in Rochester I'd definitely be hitting this place up with my growler.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. a deep dark brown, almost black, with red highlights. with an off-white head. decent lacing.

aroma is a rich pungent hop aroma. mostly piney.

as advertised, porter-like dark malt flavor with very strong hop finish, almost oily. mouthfeel is typical of an IPA, thinner than a porter or stout. but smooth, drinks nice.

a bit too unbalanced for me to consider it super drinkable.

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Photo of russpowell
3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
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 smcolw
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
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 lovesoutherntier
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
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 rll52485
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
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 Thickfreakness
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This is my first Black IPA. Been reading a bunch of reviews, and have been looking forward to it!

A- Poured into a tulip glass, it blossomed with a 1 1/2 finger creamy tan head that left a ton of lacing sticking like a web. Dark middle with ruby hips on this one! Looking good!

S- Hops, slight alcohol, and charred wood. Not quite smokey, but subtle hints of fire. Malt and just a note of fruit when inhaled. I'm liking this.

T- Definately charred Malts, smokey and toasty with a slight hop finish. Hops and grapefruit very faint against the dark malt... not so much IPA here... more like porter I think. Hmmm...

M- Very thin and watery... I was expecting something totally different from a beer this dark and roasty smelling. Char really covers up what little hop fruitiness is there.

D- Not bad, a little underwhelmed. Probably be good with really fatty and rich BBQ'd pork ribs or smoked fish... again... more smoked porter than IPA. Not bad, just not what I expected.

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Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown/black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a well balanced roasted malt and citrus hop nose. The taste is decent. It has a bone dry patent malt flavor; dry and earthy. It's light with lots of roasted malt character and a mild hop taste. The hop flavor is muted with the black malt flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. It could use a bit more hop flavor to balance the malt character.

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Photo of indiapaleale
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, this is one of only two beers with the word skunk in the name? I am surprise. Love the label on this one.

Pours dark brown with some reddish highlihgts and thin, filmy head.

Aroma is noseful of hops. Lots of bitter, fresh, greeniness. Are they using citra or simcoe in this brew?

One sip and your tongue is slapped silly by bitter, astringent hoppiness. That flavor of citrus and pine dominates with a decent cherry-esque malt backbone.

I couldn't drink too many of these as my tongue would be destroyed. Still, I can't help liking this brew for what it is.

My first beer from Three Heads and I'm intrigued enough to hunt down some of the others...

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Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Decent though not my best ever black IPA. The name had scared me but in fact the aroma was a little hoppy. On tap at Pizza Plant. A good mouthfeel. A blackbier with a bitter charge in the finish.Dark not much head.My first from this new brewery contracting somewhere where I expected it would not be as well executed.

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Photo of PBoegel
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber into a Sam Adams perfect pint no freshness date on the bottle.

Very dark nearly black, head is beach sand tan tinted. Nice and rocky shows good lace as it drinks.

Smell, a bit too roasty for my taste, orange peel, mango and candied apple. Chocolate and cracked coffee beans.

Very roasty upfront in the flavor followed by citrus orange and lime tangy hops and then some raspberry. Roastiness lingers in the finish.

Good mouthfeel, touch of astringency, semi dry finish.

Not bad, this style is hit or miss for me. I really liked Alpine Black from Otter Creek, but for my taste the hops have to dominate like an IPA they need to be very fruity and citrus in tone with an underlying touch of chocolate and roast. I have to state to be honest though had this after "The Kind" and the hops were really fresh and upfront on that.

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Photo of JAramini
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Village Beer Merchant in Buffalo, brought a growler to a party.

There is some variation among this style, some are dark roasty beers with a healthy amount of hops, others are IPAs with a touch of dark malt added. This beer is one of the latter. It's primarily an IPA, and a good one at that. The dark malts add a touch of roasted flavor and make the body fairly rich and full.

Citrus, pine, and some bitterness against a nice mouthfeel, good hop aroma, and a dark pour.

It's a style I have alternately enjoyed and hated, this is in the "good" column for me. Doesn't assault me with hops - it's hoppy but balanced. Worth trying, just a couple notches short of my favorite for the style - Southern Tier Iniquity. A stronger, more complex malt presence would improve it, otherwise it's definitely drinkable and good.

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Photo of mendonjoebeer
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown with thin light brown head. I have not had many American Black Ales before.

Smell of hops and slight roasted malt- not much else

Taste is hops and much more bitterness than The Kind IPA. There is some roasted taste and some malt finish

Feels lighter than it looks. The look makes you think heavy, but it is not

A little too bitter for me to have more than a couple, but still a good brew.

I enjoyed this beer, but prefer the regular IPA. This seemed more like a Rochester beer to me than The Kind. That is not a bad thing, just not my favorite.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love the illustrations on these bottles. This one has a skunk sticking out its tongue. Poured a little darker than a coca cola with a small but nice n 'frothy light brown head. A perfect ring of lace has already formed.

Aroma is super fresh, citric and floral with a slight fruitiness to it. Nice and hoppy, you would never know this was a black beer if you were blindfolded.

There really isn't any more than a hint of roasted malt flavor that would differentiate this from a normal orange colored IPA. This actually tastes more bitter to me than the regular IPA athough supposedly the IPA has one 1 bitterness unit!

The feel is surprisingly moderate to full while being smooth yet prickly from the good amount of carbonation.

Where their regular IPA was loaded with fresh in your face hoppage this seems to have more of the harsh bittering hops that punch you in the face. Due to this its not insanely drinkable.

Still, a very good offering from the 3 heads!

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Photo of KimR
5/5  rDev +37.7%
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 +20.9%
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 GrindFatherBob
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
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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Skunk Black IPA from Three Heads Brewing
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 148 ratings