Imperial Black | Buxton Brewery

very good
21 Reviews
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Imperial BlackImperial Black

Brewed by:
Buxton Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Barley & Wheat malts

Added by CwrwAmByth on 04-06-2013

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Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 70
Photo of thierrynantes
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33 cl.), purchased from Le Souffleur de bières.

Appearance : dark brown color with tan foam head.
Smell : roasted malt and hops aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : roasted malt and chocolate notes, leading to a bitter finish.
Overall : a nice beer in the style Imperial IPA.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle in Harrild & Sons, London (£5.50):
This one was a really excellent black IPA, quite possibly one of the best that I've tried of the style to date (I'm not 100% sure but it is certainly up there anyway). Juicy, flavoursome & really refreshing to drink, this one was an excellent tasting beer that went down in no time at all. After finishing the majority of the bottle I realised the beer had been bottles just over one year ago but this definitely didn't seem to have a negative impact on the taste, the beer was superb & it's one I'll be hoping to pick up again now.

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Photo of mdagnew
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle bought from Lighthouse Wines, Jordanstown

Poured a deep black colour. Light tan head poured big, thick and foamy and faded slowly to good thickish covering... lots of sticky lacing most of the way down the glass...

Aroma - Juicy fruits (grapefruit, pears, lemons) followed by lots of earthy and roasted malts, light chocolate and coffee notes, burnt bread, faint brown sugar traces, piney and citrus hopiness, nutty, some rubberiness, honey, cut wet grass / hay...

Taste - Piney, grassy and citrus hop bitterness mixed with lots of roasted chocolate malts, some tart fruits (grapefruits and lime), coffee, nice caramel malts and notes of floral honey, some brown sugar hints, quite herbal, some liquorice, quite earthy

M&D - Fairly smooth with a little oiliness in the background then some sharpness comes through... full bodied... incredibly drinkable considering it is 7.5 percent

Overall - An excellent black IPA and another fine brew from Buxton... recommended..

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Photo of dcmchew
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Black pour with a full finger dark beige head, receding to a thick lasting lace and a small cap on top.
Great hoppy smell, with lots of grapefruit and pine, a bit of tangerine and a light tropical note. Some subtle roasted malt, even some faint coffee. Nice.
Wow, big juicy hops in the front, lots of fruit, tangerine, lime, pomelo, bit of mango, bit of pineapple, dark berries. The citrus is so clear, with pulp, pith and peel, really tasty stuff. Some floral notes too. Malts start with caramel, some biscuit and toast, with burnt bread crust sharing the finish with piney hops and extra bitter grapefruit peel.
Medium body, prickly carbonation. Great hoppy aftertaste, again with citrus and pine, but also burnt malts and some espresso dregs.
A surprisingly good black IPA. Straightforward, but intense, far from boring.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Pours black with a fading light tan head.
Nose shows pine, roasted malt, caramel and grapefruit.
Similar flavours. Big spicy, piny and grapefruit notes followed by roasted malt and a little sweetness.

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Photo of Sam-VW
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark, black and very opaque. Tan coloured head with great retention

S - Roasted Coffee, Piney and Citrusy Hops, Caramel

T - Starts with a roasted coffee/caramel brown sugar followed by a great hop hit with a lot of citrus and pine finishes off with a sweet malt that lingers on the tip of the tounge.

M - as smooth as a stout and medium/low carbonation but works well for this style. Sweet finish

Fantastic beer, after purchasing from the pint shop in Cambridge I expected nothing less.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a dark black color ale with a nice dark brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of roasted malt with super nice notes of green hops with light piney notes. Taste is also dominated by deep roasted malt notes with some fresh green hops notes is really enjoyable. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Superb balance between green hoppy notes with some lightly roasted malt notes. I wish this beer was available locally on a regular basis.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours extremely dark brown with slight amber glints on the edges of the pint glass. A gigantic espresso crema head lasts the whole glass draping it in lace sheets. Citrusy, floral hops fill the nose. Some roastyness is there too. The taste is moderately hoppy with lemon and grapefruit flavors. A lactic sweetness mingles with a somewhat restrained roastyness, chocolate and coffee. English yeast esters and diactetyl are also noticeable. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a sparse carbonation. Light bitterness and some roastyness makes up the finish.

A decent American Black Ale. A bit too much yeast character and the malt and hop profiles could be more robust. Still worth a try.

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4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle. ½ pt glass. Enjoyed @ L´Espumossa (Barcelona). Pure black color & very dark amber tints to the light. Beige foam, nice, copious & lasting crown. Intense chocolate aroma, hoppy notes, citrics & slight fruity to the nose. Enters creamy & roasted then floral bitterness is felt. Medium to full body. Moderate to soft carbonation. Viscous texture. Velvet & spicy palate. Touches of coffee & resins in the middle linger into a long bitter finish. Dark fruits on the aftertaste. One of the best American Black I´ve ever tasted!!

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Photo of DaveBar
4.31/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at the LCBO for around $5.80 or so for a 500mml bottle Served at 8deg C in a tulip.

A- Nice dark brown. Super carbonated. Good

S- WOW This is good. Malt galore. WOW malt.

M- Creamy good. Super nice tongue.

O- Going to buy a couple more for sure

Food Pairing

This girl went well with curried goat.


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Photo of beholder_pl
4.79/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: pitch black with a huge tan head that just won't drop. Great lacing.

Aroma: fresh, citrusy and hoppy. Exactly how a Black IPA should smell. Even though it's black, there's no roastiness, no coffee, no chocolate in the aroma. Only fresh hops.

Taste: pretty much the same as the aroma: hoppy, citrusy, however there are some roasty notes in the background, very subtle though. Medium bitterness, perfect for this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, soft to medium carbonation.

Overall: a perfect example of how a black IPA should look, smell and taste like. This one is one of my all time favourite beers and I enjoy drinking it every once in a while. Highly recommended.

Enjoyed from a teku glass.

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Photo of biegaman
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Buxton Imperial Black is unfiltered and its milky-looking natural sediment sits at the bottom of my glass like distant stars suspended in the infinite wonders and darkness of outer space - looks like something Alfonso Cuarón brewed. The surface looks pretty milky too - chocolate milk that is.

The aroma is as rousing to the senses as the spring air and smells vividly of freshly-tapped tree sap. It has the fresh aura of a budding vegetable garden and blossoming flowers. It has a kind of mintiness, a cinnamon-like spice, and the vivid expression of fresh herbs. And just smelling it can emulate the sensation of actually eating a juicy pink grapefruit.

Black IPAs offer about as diverse and expansive a flavour profile as any style of beer. Their hoppiness can be earthy (pine needles, spruce tips), herbal (grasses, minty), fruity (tropical, citrus), and/or floral or spicy. The maltiness might be roasty (coffee, dark chocolate), smoky (burnt grain, charred wood), sweet (custard, caramel), or grainy (biscuits, wafers).

It would be a complete cop out to say that Buxton's Imperial Black has elements of all the above, but it wouldn't be untrue. The flavour, like the aroma, has super pulpy citrus fruit and fresh mint flavours, except on the palate it tastes as though brown sugar was melted and caramelized over top the grapefruit. There's also minor hints of tiramisu and crème brûlée.

While this style (sometimes referred to as 'Cascadian Dark Ale') originates and is still arguably best represented in the American North Pacific, the Brits have evidently caught on. This is a thorough beer if ever I tasted one; whether we're talking malts or hops, Buxton Imperial Black leaves hardly a stone unturned. And I plan to leave no shelf unturned in my search for more.

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Photo of peensteen
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with brown around the edges, 1.5 fingers off white head, nice lacing as well. Smell is full of pine and citrus, citrus notes become more dominant, orange and grapefruit are more pronounced, a little roasty, dark chocolate and a bit of cold coffee but still very hoppy for a bottle about 6 months old. Taste is fairly hoppy, fruity citrus with a big bitterness, hop flavours have fadded over time so the citrus flavours are a bit muddy but still there, medium roast with more dark chocolate, as it warms there is a bit of a lingering sweetness and touches of butter, fruity aftertaste. Medium cabonation, dry prickly feel, medium full body. Suprisingly very good for 6 months old, i'm sure this is only better fresh too, would revist a fresher bottle of this gladly.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle purchased from LCBO for $5.50CDN. Looked interesting and price point wasn't unforgiving enough to try something new.

Served chilled into a pint glass.

Appearance - Very black, some sediment accumulates in the botttom of the glass. Impressive 3 finger ivory head is poured and leaves sticky rings of lacing as it slowly (ever so slowly) recedes. The head is light looking, tan, dense and fluffy.

Smell- Wonderful hoppy citrus aroma, perhaps some passionfruit. Not a really big nose on this but definitely sufficient.

Taste - More tropical flavors, namely melon and passionfruit with a slight lemon mix. This is rather IPA -like with such a tropical presence but the hop bitterness is signifcantly muted. Sweet without being cumbersome. The more and more I had of this, the more I enjoyed it. A real treat.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, low carbonation, and a full bodied feel, and while sweet it doesn't reach that sticky sensation that would not be good for this beer.

Overall - Really pleasantly surprised, as I picked it up without looking too much at the details since it was new. A really delicious black ale, that toes the line in becoming big and bold and something that is also somewhat sessionable since it doesn't fatigue the tastebuds the way "big" beers sometimes do.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Black pour with a two finger fluffy beige head. Good lace and really good finger of retention.

S - A nice aroma. Filled with dark fruit, ripe grassy and citrussy hops, not really roasty.

T - Roast comes out more, dark fruit and less hops, but they're still quite present. Lot's of dark fruit and hops, but not serious citrus hops, more a grassy and earthy character. Roast is pretty full one but combines well with the dark fruit and hops. A pretty cool flavour combo.

M - Good carbonation, medium creamy body and a decent bitterness.

O/D - This is a pretty good example of the style. Easy to drink and really flavourful. All the elements really blend together well. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 500 ml bottle to a pint glass.

A: pours a lovely dark brown nearly black with a heavy three finger head that is off white in color. The head lasts for a while before breaking and leaving copious lacing along with an interesting island of foam.

S: hops is prominent. Malts and a touch of roast also appear.

T: hops again dominates. Lovely citrus and pine. A bit sweet at the end with some malts.

M: creamy with fairly strong carbonation.

O: Well color me surprised at this one. I really didn't know what to expect and I got a bit of a surprise. I didn't expect it to be as hoppy as it was, but I liked it. For some reason I was expecting it to be maltier...I guess I forgot I was drinking a black ale.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $5.50

Appearance - Dark brown/black colour with a large size frothy light beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, chocolate, coffee, grapefruit/oranges

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of hops mixed with some citrus notes and some chocolate and coffee. There is also some malts and just a touch of anise. It ends with a hoppy malty aftertaste.

Overall - Surprisingly solid. I'd never heard of this brewery but this is one of my favorite styles of beer and they've done it justice. Needs a little refining, but there is a nice mix of fruity/malty/hoppy notes.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

BB Aug 2014

Beer is black in colour, with a large tan head. Good retention. A nice-looking beer.

Nose contains some citrus fruit - orange primarily. Some roast malt and a bit of chocolate.

Taste is a nice mix of citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit) and chocolatey, roasted malt. An anise flavour as well. Pretty balanced between the two aspects of this style. Moderately bitter.

Full bodied, highly carbonated. Oily.

Overall, pretty good.

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Photo of danieelol
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours dark black (slightly brown) with good head/lacing.

Smell is an orangey citrus hop ahead of a chocolatey grain.

Taste is an acidic citrus- more orangey, mandarin, tangello-type of flavours. Almost a bit of sourness to this.

Mouthfeel is sour and tomato-y.

Probably have held on to this for too long but underwhelming and nondescript in its current form.

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Photo of rudzud
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recently stumbled across my notes from The Festival 2012. Lets do this!

A - Poured a nice dark brown nearly black hue with a good, solid one finger mocha head that fades to leave nice lacing.

S - Aromas of faint citrus, roasted malts, chocolate. All semi faint.

T - Taste is MUCH better, hops come to play front and center with very nice grapefruit and pine. Lends to roasted malts and light chocolate only to back with a strong bitter pine resin finish.

M - Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with sold carbonation. A touch on the heavy side.

O - Overall, a damn solid black ale, from England of all places!

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a dimpled pint mug. Bottled Feb '13.

Pours a thick dark brown/black colour with a thick tan head.

Smells hoppy, of dark malts as well, but very held back.

Tastes like sex in a glass. Balanced but strong hops - fruity, citrusy, with roasted bitter malts, and a sweet smoked taste following. Those hops kick up again on the finish, quite piney and strong, and lip-smackingly bitter. Heavy thick mouthfeel.

Overall a really nice beer, I'd love to get this again.

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Imperial Black from Buxton Brewery
4.02 out of 5 based on 70 ratings.
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