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Hop Head Black India Pale Ale | Tree Brewing

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Hop Head Black India Pale AleHop Head Black India Pale Ale
BA SCORE
3.8/5
Very Good
78 Ratings
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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
35
Ratings:
78
pDev:
10%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
6
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 78 |  Reviews: 35
Photo of Molson2000
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 264 characters

Photo of WeedKing4
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with good carbonation. Tastes roasty up front, with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Could use a bit more hops in this, then it would be awesome. Still pretty good overall though, and it drinks down very smooth. No hint of the high alcohol at all in this one. Wish these black ipas were easier to get.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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 beerhunter13
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of sliverX
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of liamt07
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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 biegaman
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
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 RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of thehyperduck
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
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 jrenihan
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer is black with some brownish/reddish hints. A smallish tan head. Head fades quickly.

Big roasted malt smell, hints of cocoa. Behind this are some hops scents- some pine and citrus. Malt is dominant, for sure. I like it but it is more "black" than "IPA".

Taste is like the nose. Focused on roasted malt, hints of chocolate, but with a bit of a hoppy backbone, some citrus and pine. Relatively bitter. Almost like a light-bodied, hoppy stout. Works for me! I think it is quite tasty.

Medium bodied, a bit heavy for an IPA but thin for a stout. High carbonation- a bit much.

Overall, really quite good. Could probably be criticized for losing a lot of the IPA characteristics of a Black IPA, but I think it is a nice beer.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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 Digimaika2
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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 spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
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 TheSevenDuffs
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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 trxxpaxxs
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to northyorksammy for hooking me up with this bottle...

A: Pours a really nice deep brown, pretty much black, with one and a half fingers of khaki colored head. The foam settles fairly quickly, and there is a good amount of lacing left on the glass as it drinks.

S: Mmm. Nice roasted malt, tons of chocolate, light caramel, light licorice, and mild citrus. The nose is mainly stout-like, with just a touch of hops. I'm into it.

T: The taste pretty much follows the nose. It's bitter roast, chocolate and caramel to start. The hops come in toward the back end, and they come on strong. They hit hard with a good amount of pine, but some sweetness lingers. The hops linger for a bit, but fade nicely into the background as the palate clears.

M: Full bodied beer. It's roasty and creamy to start, gets bitter as the hops shine through, and finishes sweet. Nothing stick around for an excessive amount of time.

O: This is a pretty darn good beer. Black IPAs aren't my favorite style, but the huge roast helps it out in my opinion. It's way more coffee and chocolate forward than other beers of the style. I'd drink it again if presented with the opportunity.

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Photo of DarkHorse83
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of WeissBoy
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of andrenaline
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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 bryehn
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Photo of hopsolutely
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
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 Sammy
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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 peensteen
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown with ruby highlights, 1.5 fingers of tan head, some lacing near the top of the glass. Smell is roasted with a noticeable pine presence, fairly hoppy, some fruits in there as well, orange, chocolate and coffee scents as well. Taste is nice, tons of roasted malt with chocolate and coffee flavours, big bitterness, pine and grapefruit flavours in the aftertaste, some anise/black liquorice comes through mid palate, mildly astringent hop flavours, fruity aftertaste. Lightly carbonated, medium-full body, oily and quite dry. A fine beer here, tons of roasted flavours and chocolate that would have struck me as more of a hoppy porter than a black IPA if I didn't know any better but this is damm tasty and possibly my favourite beer from Tree to date.

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Photo of bumchilly25
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of oldp0rt
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of IllNate
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
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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Hop Head Black India Pale Ale from Tree Brewing
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 78 ratings
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