Big Black Van | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Named after a 1988 Dodge Cargo Van that was the ideal vessel for hauling gear or stargazing with babes in the back. Big Black Van is a very aromatic Black IPA due to its abundance of New Zealand hops.

75 IBU

Added by TCgoalie on 12-12-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 9 | Ratings: 43
Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Three Floyds over Christmas. Reviewed from notes.

Pours near-black with a good tan head and a nice bit of lacing on the way down. Collar throughout. The nose carries some nice roast, coffee, and chocolate. Pine and citrus hops follow through along with that. Good flavor and a nice meld between the hops and malt. Light-medium body with good carbonation and a dry finish. Hops and roast combined well.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Three Floyds. Served in an imperial pint glass.

A - A very dark brown body with some lighter glints at the edges. Off-white foam settles to a thin cap and thicker collar, leaving plenty of splotchy lacing.

S - Smells like Nelson Sauvin hops alright. Tropical fruits, dank and earthy notes, a bit of grass. Malt character is somewhat toast, with perhaps a hint of smoke or tobacco. Not much sweetness from the malt here.

T - Taste is a bit surprising. There's plenty of citrus, fruity, and grassy hop flavor at first, but it gives way to a charry black malt backbone with low sweetness. The black malt and hops combine to provide some slightly harsh bitterness, but then there's a slightly sweet treacle aftertaste. Right flavors, odd order.

M - Smooth texture, medium body, pleasant moderate carbonation, and a dry finish with plenty of lingering hop oils and resins. I think my mouthfeel comments are on autopilot here, as all the beers today were somewhat similar in this regard.

D - If you typically like typical Black IPA, this will be a big hit for you. I just find that I can't really get into this style as I find the black malt and hop bitterness combo really fatiguing - all the Black IPAs I like are either IPAs with a *hint* of roast or aggressively dry-hopped American stouts. Not a bad beer here, just something that I probably wouldn't care to revisit.

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Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the brewpub last night. It arrived a medium bodied midnight black in color with a slight beige lacing around the glass. The nose is full of citrus fruits, slight pine, slight chocolate, and has just a touch of onion to it. The flavors are initially very hoppy and full of citrusy hops wild mld bitterness. The pine is there but plays second fiddle to the oranges going on. There is also a slight roast followed by some onion. The onion is the only detractor in my opinion. It had good carbonation and was very crisp. The alcohol isn't present at all. Overall this is a nice hoppy black ale. I just didn't care for the touch of onions in the flavor and aftertaste.

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Photo of mynie
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours super black, all lightless and shit.

Smells a little bit like smooth burnt barley but that's blasted through by some incredible, strong piney hops nodes. The beer menu said they were from New Zealand but no specific varieties were listed. It was unique, to say the least--I've drank a couple IPAs brewed with actual pine, and they smelled remarkably similar. Only BBV's pineiness wasn't as overpowering; it smelled like beer, not floorcleaner.

Tastes like a smooth schwarz up front, with light nodes of coffee and chocolate over burnt barley, moving quickly into gigantic piney boldess and then ending on nodes of bitter barely and sweeter, more traditional citrus hops.

Neat, this. I wish I could have reviewed it while I was drinking it, aside from having to type this up from notes. There were tons of cool complexities that are hard to describe a day removed. Suffice it to say, though, that his is a wonderful, unique, bold, and awesomely complex Black IPA.

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at FFF.

A - Pours darker brown/almost black, off-white colored head, thin collar.

S - Pine, citrus, light roasted malts. This one is more hop-forward and is light on the malts and roast, which is what I would expect from FFF.

T - Similar to the nose, more hoppy then I thought it would be. Pine, citrus, light roast, touch of chocolate sweetness. Good stuff.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - A really nice Black Ale that I enjoyed. FFF continues to provide excellent hoppy stuff and their lineup at the brewpub continues to impress me. Would definitely have again, if available.

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Photo of Chaney
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Brewpub.

A: Wow - This had a huuugge mocha head that seated itself firmly on top of the pitch black, hoppy brew.

S: I got tons of pineapple notes upfront, with lots of dark malt as well. All of this was wrapped up in FFF signature profile.

T: Extremely bitter, with pineapple, orange, and grapefruit on the bill, along with a mild sweetness...with the dark malts winning out slightly.

M: This was very creamy, and very bitter from front to back, with very much an ash-like, cigar quality that was kinda cool. Lots of lacing for sure.

O: I was highly interested in trying a FFF IPA in a black setting and it didn't disappoint!

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.02/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at FFF brewpub.
Served in imperial nonic.

Deep red as it pours, but dark brackish brown when viewed straight on. Backlit, the reddish hues reappear, but look more plum purple. Sand colored head (like the sand on Chicago beaches on lake Michigan-- fuck your Florida white sand shit!) sits atop the body and leaves big clingy sheets of lace as it settles slowly to a shiny film.

Smells; coffee, chocolate, black malt, minty, citrusy, earthy, and something I can't quite place... The flavor isn't as sweet as I would have expected-- the dry bitter coffee is there, but no chocolate. The earthy hop note becomes a "dirty" flavor with some earthy tobacco notes. Much too dry for the style, though I like the bitterness.

Body is hefty- medium/full with ample carbonation. Little oily feel on the backend.

Overall-- this isn't a style I really like. Why not just brew a hopped up porter? Aren't they the same thing?! This one is at the lower tier of beers made by beloved Three Floyds... It still destroys anything made by Victory or Shorts, but it falls short of my expectations.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black IPA with an abundance of New Zealand hops

Pours dark brown to almost black with a foamy white head. Lacing is solid showing globules around the glass.

The aroma is nice showing notes of tobacco, toasted grains, with citrus and tropical hops.

The taste leads with dark roasted malts and leads to a wonderful hop explosion featuring flavors of orange, pineapple, and grapefruit.

Medium in the mouth with soft edges like it is massaging my tongue. Nice and dry at the end.

This is delicious. If they bottled it I would buy a case to take back to Michigan. Try this if you are visiting FFF!

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Photo of PlinytheFarter
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Was excited to see a Black IPA being served up when I went to the brewpub the other day. This style seems to be so varied still that I had no idea how Three Floyds would go with it. A dark sipper like Hoppy Feet or a perfectly balanced dark hoppy beauty like Hop Juice Black. I would compare this more to the latter. The aforementioned Hop Juice Black from Two Brothers is my favorite Black IPA for full disclosure.

The appearance was very much like staring at the side of a Big Black Van from the 70's. One that had just been washed too so it was shiny and new looking. Perhaps though whoever did the wash neglected to get the roof and left about a finger of brown head on top.

I will be honest right now, I smelled it first as I always do. I took what I'm sure was an interesting sniff at the time. I got tipsy though and I would be lying if I told you I remember this enough to comment on it at this point. That brewpub does things to me and I drink so much greatness I just forget things when I leave.

The taste however I do remember. It was lighter on the mouth feel than I thought it would be looking at the dark color. I think it came off a tad oily though as compared to the crispness of fresh HJB. The coffee and roasty notes come through at the beginning and leads way to a pleasant hoppy finish with some bitterness. Just as a Black IPA should. The problem I have though is that the hop tastes weren't fresh enough. They seemed to fade away in a muted bitter fashion, unlike what the top tier Three Floyds beers do.. aka Behemoth, Zombie Dust, Gumballhead, Broo Doo.. etc. This beer I feel needs some tweaking and it could easily become my favorite Black IPA or at least a tie for favorite. As it stands, if you come across it give a go. You won't be disappointed, you just will want to tell the brew master that he is so close keep trying.

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Big Black Van from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.01 out of 5 based on 43 ratings.
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