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Hop Head Black India Pale Ale | Tree Brewing

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BA SCORE
86
very good
35 Reviews
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Hop Head Black India Pale AleHop Head Black India Pale Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Tree Brewing
British Columbia, Canada
treebeer.com

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hop Head Black IPA is dark brown / black in colour, delivering an aroma of roasted malt tones. With five different varieties of superior hops and six malts, Hop Head Black IPA brings out a malt forward taste with a lingering hop bitterness.

Added by Derek on 02-14-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
35
Ratings:
78
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
14.84%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 78
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.17/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottle: Poured a black color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of roasted malt with light dry bitter notes. Taste is also dominated by dry roasted alt with some hoppy bitter and dry notes. Body is a bit light for style with good carbonation. I thought this was too bitter and almost astringent with the body too thin for the style.

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Photo of drinkininthewood
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650 ml bottle from the LCBO $6.25 served into a Guinness glass.

A- Dark brown pretty much black color with a thick frothy head of light brown foam and good lace.

S- Nose is fairly malty with aromas of roasted malt, caramel, bittersweet chocolate and a touch of dark fruit. Hops are in the background and barely noticeable.

T- I must say, a Black IPA is a style im relatively unfamiliar with but if this was a blind tasting id swear that this was a stout or some kind of dark Christmas ale. Its is quite roasty with flavors of caramel malts, dark chocolate, roasted nuts, mid palate is smoky and slightly grassy with a touch of coffee. Only in the end do i really find the hops to be noticeable and give way to mild flavors pine and some citrus in the finish. Alcohol is not present in the taste whatsoever which is surprising given the high ABV%.

M- Appearances can be deceiving. After pouring this beer it resembles that of a world class stout, but the mouthfeel is really quite light as is the carbonation.

D- a tasty beer with excellent mouthfeel, if the alcohol wasn't so high it would be quite sessionable.

Overall I was expecting more of a typical hoppy IPA with a darker appearance. I think a touch more hops would bring this brew to a higher level but im happy with the final result. Worth a try.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml Bottle from the LCBO Ottawa for 6.50$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size frothy/fizzy beige coloured head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Malts, chocolate/coffee, smoke

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts mixed with coffee/chocolate and hops. There is also a bit of a smokiness and a dark fruit sweetness. It ends with a malty chocolate aftertaste with a medium amount of hop bitterness.

Overall - I expected more from this one. It basically tastes like a hoppy imperial porter/stout. Perhaps a storm king by victory. Not really an american black ale in my books. It doesn't have any of the west coast lip fruity smacking qualities found in a Stone Sublimely Self Righteous. (one of my favourite ABA's)

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, clear brown with significant red highlights. Limited head and no lacing, with little carbonation in the mouthfeel.

Aroma focuses on roasted dark malts, with hints of coffee and chocolate. The flavour is also very malt-forward, albeit with a delightful bitterness that lingers for an impressive length of time. Alcohol burn in the finish highlights the 8.8% ABV.

Unfortunately none of the "west coast" citrus, pine or tropical fruit “cascadian hop” elements for which I'd hoped - and that I typically associate with this style classification. Glad to have tried it. I have a lot of respect for this brewery and will try any future releases, but not certain I'll buy another in 2012.

Just tried first 2013 and much more impressed - unbelievable roasted malts with decent bitterness - look forward to trying again!

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 12/09/12. Poured in to Bruery tulip.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black. Half a finger of bubbly light brown head formed and receded to a thin layer.

S - Huge roasted malt aroma up front with a touch of coffee. Some lighter hop aromas are present as well but they take a back seat to the roast. Some very light pine and floral aromas come though.

T - Big roasted malt profile up front with a prominent hop bitterness. The malts really overpower the hops and make it difficult to pick out any of the hop flavours but some light citrus and pine flavors are present. Finish is dry and bitter.

M - Medium body, somewhat creamy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Easy on the pour there.... huge billowy head. Quickly patches up and drops to a reasonable level. Clear, ruby red liquid underneath.

S - Lots of roast with hints of char and pineapple. Dark sugars.

T - Big alcohol punch seems too strong for a dark ale like this. There's hops here, but they take a back seat to the booze and sweet malt. Dark, roasted grain and hoppy bitterness compete on the back end. Hints of apple and mild fruit as well.

M - Medium-light in mouthfeel. Low carbonation despite the big foam.

D - Pretty drinkable given the bigness of this brew. There's a lot going on here. Seems to lean a bit too much on the sweet side for me.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with plenty of ruby glints and rays. The tan foamy head on top quickly dissipates but musters up plenty of lace patches on the glass. Coffee and dark chocolate notes fill the nose. Some burnt molasses mixes with citric PacNWt hops. The taste is more malt driven, in fact it reminds me of a strong Porter with a compliment of American hops. Roastyness and milk chocolate mix with caramel soaked bread on the malt side. a piney, earthy hoppiness provides a solid hop background. The mouthfeel is full bodied and more affected by the sweetness of the malt than the bitterness of the hops. Alcohol is well hidden throughout. The finish is moderately bitter and chocolatey.

This is a decent American Black Ale, could be a lot less restrained with the hops though, they tend to be one dimensional here. Still, a delicious beer worth a try.

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Photo of liamt07
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the LCBO, 650ml into a tulip.

Black body with a light brown head. Good retention and nice lacing. Nose has some lightly burnt bready malts, char, dark fruits, molasses and sweet malty notes. Not a lot in terms of hopping I thought. Taste is roasty, milk chocolate, charred notes, dark fruits and caramel. Bitter hopping is really evident. Mouthfeel is full, bitter and really roasty long into the finish. Not the Black IPA I had expected, almost idenifies with some hoppier imperial stouts. Bottle was too much for me to finish alone.

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Photo of leaddog
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

650mL bottle.

Appearance - Pours a dark cola brown/black with two fingers of beige frothy head.

Smell - Roasted malts, hops, cocoa.

Taste - Strong roasted malts balanced with piney hops. Hint of bitter cocoa. Bitterness lingers in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall - A black IPA that is more roasted malts than hops-based. It is balanced, however I expected more of a "hop bomb" based on their other Hop Head brews. Still an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Near pitch black. Pours with a cola-like fizzy foam head that appears quite creamy.

S: Dark dried fruits (cherries, dates, figs), molasses, caramel-like malt, and somewhat fainter dark chocolate. Full and robust roasted malt aromas that are enticing.

T: Dark chocolate upfront coupled with other roasted malt tastes of caramel and dark fruits. Pleasantly sweet with a certain creamy and smooth quality. Tart hops poke through enough to provide bitterness. Alcohol well hidden.

M: Full bodied with a moderate carbonation.

D: Very pleased with this offering from Tree. Enjoying the smooth and creamy aspects in relation to the amount of tart bitterness.

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Photo of biegaman
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The brewery calls this beer Hop Head Black but could just as correctly gone with Hop Head Brown. It's actually both depending on how it hits the light. Either way, it is drastically darker than even the Double Hop Head, which is far from bright itself. A lot of head generated off the pour but turns out to last only short-term.

The hops are there, no doubt, but they've got a lot less energy than you'd expect from a West Coast beer. The beer smells more like the inside of a coffee shop than it does a tropical forest, but I suppose that's partly to be expected with the style. Roasted, chocolatey malts spring out the glass whereas the pine needle scent crawls. Both are present, just in considerably uneven proportions.

Waveringly 'leafy', the hops feel light and barely crisp. The hop presence is more a molehill than a mountain, which is not inherently good nor bad, although does leave a little to be desired for the 'hop heads' out there. It feels more like brushing the inside of your mouth with freshly-ground espresso beans; there's a lot of strong coffee flavour.

Most people are generally put off by dark malts and/or an abundance of hops, but this is a beer that's easily enjoyed. I had to do a double-take at the 8.8% on the label; hard to believe. The combination of oily and roast qualities makes for an immensely full mouthfeel (and quite the lingering aftertaste). It has the delicate balance of a tight-rope walker.

There's nothing sacred about definitions, and the 'Cascadian Dark Ale' or 'India Black Ale' or whatever it's called certainly has many interpretations (as the multiple names to refer it by suggest). This example is a little tame, and leans much more to the malt, but it's by no means a bad offering. Nor is it a common beer, so if you see it, give it a shot!

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

650ml bomber served cold into a pint glass. Purchased for about $7 CDN from the local liquor establishment.
This bottle is advertised as 8.0% ABV as opposed to 8.8% ABV.

Appearance - Dark brown in color with ruby highlights. A nice finger of off white head is poured with reasonable head retention. A thin white film lingers on top of the beer. Clarity is good although the beer is just a dark enough shade that only the most direct light permits you to see through it.

Smell - Light roasty aromas, sweet slightly burnt caramel backbone and a general tropical fruitiness.

Taste - Pretty much like the nose, some mildly toasty flavors offering slightly burnt caramel backbone and some tropical hop flavors that aren't quite as intense as I was expecting.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, full bodied, good levels of carbonation and super easy to drink.

Overall - A well crafted if less bold than expected Black IPA, that hits the right notes of sweet and bitter with a good balance between the two. Certainly worth investigating and trying a bottle while this presumable limited run is in stock.

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Photo of Duke
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(From a hollow-stemmed beer glass)

Appearance: Hop Head Black IPA pours a dark amethyst colour, almost black and almost opaque. There's a pretty just-off-white head, which hangs around and leaves moderate lacing.

Smell: Blackcurrant jumped out at me from a distance, both from the bottle and my glass. After that, the smell is piney, and I'm getting aniseed in there. The smell is very deep indeed and quite complex. If I think about it, I'm noticing digestive biscuits too.

Taste: Lovely hoppy profile which is offset ever so slightly by the fruit, and then matched all the way by that liquoricey aniseed. The flavour is all quite bold. Good stuff.

Mouthfeel: I think Hop Head Black India Pale Ale feels surprisingly full and bold. There's a low level of carbonation, which befits the beer's appearance.

Overall: I hope Tree Brewing Co. makes this one a year-rounder. The bold mouthfeel, combined with the rindy, resiny flavour, bullies the early fruity smells out of the game, so I certainly wouldn't call this beer "balanced", but it's an interesting beer and I certainly wouldn't refuse a glass.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO for around $7.00 or so for around $7.00 or so for a 650ml bottle. Served at 5deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 2" high white head that has a bit of a brown hue to it that dissipates in less then 2mins. Very dark almost black colour.

S- Not much here at all.

T- Nutty and hoppy. Nice black IPA. Does not have that burnt flavor to it at all. Very malty for an IPA. Slight metallic taste to it though.

M- Pretty creamy

O- Rather good blend. Like it and will buy again while it is fresh and again when I see it on tap.

Food Pairing

This nice little brew went well with...... brazed lamb shank! Root veggies and a nice Moroccan spice blend just does this brew well

Enjoy

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Photo of biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml single bottle, 8.0% ABV, part of Tree's Hop Pack.

This beer pours a very dark reddish brown hue, with two pudgy fingers of densely puffy, silky, and foamy beige head, which leaves a thoroughly consistent pock-marked cement wall of lace around the glass as it evenly seeps away.

It smells of dry bready malt, a bit of burnt toast, some caramel and vanilla cream sweetness, a twinge of bittersweet chocolate, and a pithy wet ashy character. The taste is roasted caramel malt, some tart citrus fruitiness, a bit of astringent pine, a dry oily nuttiness, and some faint grainy woodiness.

The carbonation is average, and well supportive, the body a decent medium weight, and more or less smooth, the ash and hop notes adding a certain mild edginess. It finishes off-dry, the beleaguered sweetness of the malt (roasting, drying, hopping) still gamely holding on, in the conspicuous absence of a single modicum of alcohol warming.

An enjoyable enough ABA (no lawyers, here, mmmk?), the roasted and bitter hoppy sides of the equation fairly well balanced, and the booze well integrated. I would gladly have another of these.

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Photo of IllNate
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown, with ruby highlights and a mountain of tan head, good retention. Aroma is very nice with the roast malt and hippos playing off each other. Coffee and chocolate mix with citrus and earth hops. Taste follows with currents and chocolate, mixed with Chris and earthen hops. Not sure I would call this an ipa, more like a porter on the hoppy side of the spectrum. The us breweries are calling this a cascadian dark ale. Mouthfeel is smooth, but bitter. Overall a good beer.

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Photo of Molson2000
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slight chocolate malt aroma. Nice full body with hints of chocolate and coffee. Hops come out a little bit in the finish but in all do remain rather subdued. Alcohol seems well hidden flavor wise but I do seem to feel in the head as I drink, even after two tastes.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big up to andrenaline for including this in a recent trade, surprised this never appeared in Calgary stores as far as I know
A - fully black and impenetrable, solid tan head retained at half a finger and left ample lacing
S - chocolatey, nutty, light roasty, and a touch of grass in the background
T - cold coffee and pine hops out of the gate, nutty malt and a touch of perfume hops towards the end with a subtle boozy bite
M - somewhat heavy body, bitterness cuts through it, finishes full
O - a black DIPA is an interesting challenge, and they've done a great job making it a big beer with balance, its not a mind blower but a solid offering that i would buy regularly as a seasonal

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Photo of andrenaline
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Props to peensteen for the hook up on this gem.

A - Pours a dark mahogany colour with a ruby red hue, two fingers of mocha head with solid retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Rather mild on the nose, but nice cocoa notes, hints of coffee and espresso, and an earthy cedar hop note.

T - Not your typical black ale, this one is dominated by the cocoa and roasted coffee malts, the hops are definitely more earthy than citrusy. The alcohol comes through with a touch of heat and bite. The chocolate notes linger on the palette reminiscent of an imperial stout.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet.

O - A tasty ale, though my preference for the style lies more on the citrus hop side. This one was definitely heavier on the malt side. Nonetheless, a tasty brew and worth picking up.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into pint glass 29/10/12

A dark cola with a two finger mocha head that falls to a thick film after a few sips and the film sticks around, two partial rings of lace followed by random patches

S more dark malts then hops on the nose, coco powder, charred wood with faint smoke and some coffee, faint floral and citric hops but you need to search a little for it

T a little piney resin and citrus peel but I can't distinguish, more hops then the nose and a little more booze too, faint earthy woody notes and the flavors stronger compared to the nose

M medium-full body with creamy carbonation, a little heat and a citric, char, booze finish, strong aftertaste hangs around for a while

O pretty good beer but I though I'd be blown away considering how much I like the DIPA and Spy Porter from these guys, I was expecting more of a hop bomb but I suppose balance can work too

I was a little surprised to see that this one's 8%, the booze is noticed but well concealed it would seem. I'd drink another and I'm going to because I still have three left in my most awesome mixed IPA pack from the lovely people at Tree

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fresh bottle at the LCBO, brewed for the Ontario market. Pours black with a generous lasting head. Big roast aroma. above average mouthfeel, with a bold roasty flavour and also a citrus grapefuit hoppyness Big abv to match. Good drinkability. Decent for the style.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Near enough black as matters I suppose. Thin mocha head, not great retention. Not much in the way of lacings, but it may have been sitting around a bit too long.

Dark fruit on the nose with boozy chocolate.

The hop flavour is crowded up front. Slight pinyness gives way to roasted malt flavours. Transitions to very dark chocolate in the finish with a bit of heat. Restrained resinous bitterness in the finish. Nice chocolate flavours stick around for awhile.

Great mouthfeel, just the perfect body for a roasty beer like this.

I'm not a hophead, but tried to judge this according to style. No doubt the hops are less in your face than the style might dictate. That said, they're certainly evident and the stout aspects of this one are just great. Would certainly drink again. At 8.8% this is dangerous.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber picked up at the LCBO; best before Sept 23 2012.

Pours an opaque black colour, with tinges of crimson visible under the light. Topped with about one finger of dense, creamy beige-coloured head that soon wilts away, leaving behind a filmy cap and a few smudges of lacing. The aroma is a pleasant blend of malt and hop notes - caramel, molasses and chocolate sweetness along with some subdued piney citrus. Gives off a nice roasted vibe.

The hop flavours aren't exactly mild, but they are still forced to take a backseat to the more prominent malts. They give off impressions of toasted bread, molasses, dark chocolate and coffee; an enjoyable combination that plays nicely with the earthy, slightly piney hop flavours which come forward toward the finish. Dry, earthy aftertaste with a bit of heat from the ethanol. On the heavier side of medium-bodied, with mild carbonation - a bit flat for my liking, but not really a huge cause for concern. Not something I'd want to drink quickly or in large quantities - this bomber is plenty for a night.

Most of the Cascadian dark ales I've tried in the past have clearly focused on the hop bill - and as a big IPA fan, that has always worked out well for me - but this one switches it up a bit with a powerful malt profile and just enough hoppy bitterness to justify its categorization. Let's get one thing straight though - even if it's not a stereotypical black ale, it's a thoroughly enjoyable brew.

Final Grade: 3.92, a B+. This is the third (and last) of the Tree bombers I picked up at the LCBO last month. I was not a big fan of the doppelbock or hefeweizen, but this one is right up my alley. True hopheads expecting a wallop of West Coast hoppiness might be a bit disappointed with Tree's Hop Head Black IPA, but I happen to appreciate this one's unique, more balanced profile. A fabulous sipper for the relentlessly hot weather we've been forced to tolerate this year. Pick up a bottle before they're all gone!

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Photo of BGDrock
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pitch black with chocolate head that's thick and sticky

Aroma: some bitterness from the roast; burnt; I found it light, but my girlfriend smelled it across the room so must have had some strength, guess my nose was off

Taste & Mouthfeel: battle of bitters - from both roast malt and hops - is a great back and forth; malt starts things off, trades places with grassy, spicy hops, and lingers in the mouth with intense espresso notes; thick and silky mouthfeel; some raisin flavour

Overall: great mouthfeel and flavour, almost a meal in itself

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Photo of bylerteck
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.

A - Crimson red pour. Nearly black. Two finger creamy light brown head. Good lace rings and a finger of retention.

S - Biscuity, citrus, chocolate, dark fruit. Well balanced.

T - Earth, citrus, roasty as hell, dark fruit, more citrus in finish.

M - Good carbonation, medium to full body, roasty finish with noticeable hop bite.

O/D - A well balanced and strong Black IPA. Could be fresher I think, but all in all it was a good example of the style. Easy drinking and subtle when needed and aggressive in the departments required. Good.

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Hop Head Black India Pale Ale from Tree Brewing
3.84 out of 5 based on 78 ratings.
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