Phillips / GLB Puzzler Belgian Black IPA | Phillips Brewing Company

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Phillips / GLB Puzzler Belgian Black IPAPhillips / GLB Puzzler Belgian Black IPA
51 Ratings
Phillips / GLB Puzzler Belgian Black IPAPhillips / GLB Puzzler Belgian Black IPA

Brewed by:
Phillips Brewing Company
British Columbia, Canada

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by canucklehead on 11-01-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 51 |  Reviews: 19
Reviews by Cookeeman:
Photo of Cookeeman
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This may be the most appropriately named beer Phillips has ever produced. I was Puzzled by this beer. Why? Because a Black IPA, made with Belgian yeast, brewed in-part by a supposedly hop-crazy brewery (Phillips), should be extremely flavor-packed! Surprisingly though, I found this to be a very mildly flavoured beer. The Belgian yeast barely even shows up in the taste, mostly just in the aroma, along with some roasted malt. The body also has a hint of roasted malt, and a little cocoa/chocolate... but not much else. The biggest flavor is the hop finish, but even that isn't overpowering like Phillips tends to like to brew. The hops finish dry and slightly piney, but again, not in any appreciable amount. At 9.1% I definitely would have expected a boozy finish, but it is mysteriously missing as well. I hesitate to put this next statement on record given that this is a collab with Great Lakes, but my overall impression while drinking this beer was that it was... eerie. This is actually what I thought when I finished this beer, pun not intended. I went into this with expectations that were, perhaps, too lofty, but I have to say this beer let me down.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
2.5/5  rDev -38.3%

Photo of FadetoBock
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of BashOnABike
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 650 mL bottle into 16 oz pint glass, served ~5º C.

(A.) - A nearly opaque, dark chestnutty root beer-esq shade; light tan, super frothy head, formed almost "lumps" w/ 1.5" and some very messy lacing with long retention. Cool stuff!

(S.) - Mostly IPA, with generic citrus & hop much like Phillips' other "Belgian IPA" offering, 3x Cross; hints of almost pineapple, lime, and just a tad of malt.

(T.) - Holy flavour-mashup batman! This thing's simultaneously hoppy (IPA), malty (belgian), smoky (brown/amber) AND burnt-coffee-ish (stout). When I 1st read about Cascadians coming to Vic, this was sorta what I hoped for...and 1y later, here we are! Additionally, it's got some toffee, chocolate, citrus, and nutmeg. Given a little less hop, this could be perfectly balanced IMO.

(M.) - Decently smooth, with that IPA astringency lingering. Medium body on the tongue, but not too heavy.

(O.) - Certainly the strongest Cascadian I've had, I'll give it props just for being unique. They certainly didn't chintz on the flavour profile, so it's definitely full-featured. I'm getting a little sick of the brewery's hopsession (punny, I know!), but we are in the Pacific NW, so no real surprise I guess..

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Photo of Ry-guy
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of biboergosum
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle. Another nice cross-Canada collaboration from Phillips, released concurrently with a fresh hop offering - nice!

This beer pours a clear, I think, very dark chestnut brown, with mahagony highlights, and two fingers of tightly foamy mocha head, which leaves a low rocky shoreline of lace around the glass as it genially ebbs away.

It smells of bitter grapefruit rind, roasted, somewhat meaty caramel malt, a bit of fleshy stone pit fruitiness, some earthy Belgian yeast, and floral, leafy hops. The taste is big bitter citrus and pine needles, toasted bread and caramel malt, a waning Belgo-yeast character, muted fallen orchard fruit, and a trailing leafy hoppiness. Little, if any warming from the hefty ABV.

The carbonation is on the reserved side, though hardly inert, the body a tremulous medium weight, and really quite smooth, none of the heavy hitters messing with this metric, which is rather nice to see. It finishes pretty dry, the roasted notes from the malt kind of dominating a depleted field of competition.

A tasty Cascadian Black Ale, with a subtle Belgian twist, which fades soon enough, leaving us with the hoppy, toasted goodness of the style, unencumbered, (or enhanced, depending on your outlook) by the still AWOL, and very well integrated, elevated booze.

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Photo of Sammy
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

multi servings at GL WVRST takeover. Black with virtually no head. Wonderful aroams, the cascade and the roast in perfect harmony. Fuller mouthfeel, smooth. Hops, roast, in a great ale. Very good drinkability. The roast is perfect. Great collaboration.

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Photo of CWVegas
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - very dark cherry cola look, tall mocha head retained very well, plenty of random sticky lacing
S - nutty and earthy, mild fruity belgian funk, certainly a head scratcher at this point
T - roasty, earhty, leafy, nutty, not much Belgianishness other than a bit of funky strangeness, I must admit I am puzzled
M - full malty feel, touch of hop dryness and alcohol heat thin it slightly
O - don't know what to say other than I am puzzled, which I guess is a good thing ...?

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a rather large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of dry roasted malt with huge resin and green citrus hoppy notes. Taste is also a good mix between some dry and bitter roasted malt with a side of black chocolate and some aggressive green citrus hops notes with some resinous notes at the end. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed for the style and something I could see myself having again in the future.

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Photo of RYthebeerGUY
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle from the brewery poured in to tulip glass. Stated IBU of 100.

A - Black with half a finger of light brown head

S - Bitter hop aroma up front with grapefruit, peach and pine notes. The malt bill adds roast, chocolate and some sweet molasses aromas.

T - A big bitterness up front with pine, grapefruit, orange peel and peach flavours. A fairly prominent malt backbone adds roast, chocolate, and sweet molasses flavours. There is a good bitterness but it doesn't appear to be anywhere near the stated IBU of 100. Good overall balance. Not getting much of a "Belgian" profile here at all.

M -Medium body; creamy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of CookstLiquor
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650ml bottle. This beer pours a thick black with slight tannish-brown head. Though this is a "Belgian" IPA, any subtle flavours or aromas from the Belgian yeast are obliterated by the dark malts and massive aromatic hops. That said, this is a really tasty brew that hides its high alcohol well. There's mint and black chocolate on the nose, while flavours of meat, iodine, molasses and grapefruit show up on the palate. Very unique, very drinkable.

 462 characters

Photo of MrTinnedPEach
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of liamt07
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at WVRST, Great Lakes Project X Movember. Into a sampler glass several times over.

Dark brown with burgundy hues, light retention and a good bit of lace. Nose has big citrus notes, grapefruit, clementine, tangerine and pine. Light roast and chocolate in the back. Taste has bitter citrus rind up front, bitter chocolate and a big chunk of roasty flavours tailing right behind. Long bitter, mildly herbal hoops in the finshs. Medium full feel, medium carbonation. An excellent black IPA with a brilliant nose, great stuff. Glad to have some extra bottles of this.

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Photo of Aggro
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of jrenihan
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from GLB. No date but probably 2-3 weeks old.

Beer is black. Almost no head results from the pour, just a thin tan fizz that dissipates quickly.

Smell is good. Citrus fruit (orange sticks out), chocolate, a bit of anise. Nothing very Belgian sticks out for me. I can perhaps get a bit of Belgian yeast but that may be the power of suggestion.

Given how prominent citrus was in the nose, the taste is initially a surprise as roast malt and dark chocolate are the immediate flavours. The citrus is there but is not as strong as in the nose. Taste reminds me of blood orange. The Belgian element is more noticeable, with a yeasty flavour, but still pretty minimal for a Belgian IPA.

Pretty heavy for an IPA (of any stripe), but it is a strong beer. Moderate to low carbonation. Pretty smooth, somewhat oily.

Overall, quite good. I tried a small glass of this on tap at a GLB event recently and was not impressed by it at that time. Not sure if that was a function of it mixing poorly with other beers, but I am liking it now.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another treat courtesy of joemcgrath27, looking forward trying this mystery style out.

A - Pours a dark ruby red, thumb of off-white head, solid retention and some nice sporadic lacing.

S - Loads of citrus and earthy pine hops, hints of cedar, grapefruit and subtle burnt malts.

T - Again, the citrus and pine notes dominate with a bitter citrus rind lingering, toasted grains, burnt cocoa and chocolate notes linger. The higher ABV is insanely well hidden, and goes completely undetected and the Belgian yeast notes seem to be almost as hidden.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - A tasty brew indeed, the Belgian aspect is overpowered by the hops, so it reveals little in terms of traditional fruity yeast esthers. That being said, as a black IPA, it is absolutely delicious. Loads of flavour and an ABV that will certainy sneak up on you if you're not careful.

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Photo of Kmat10
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of rogerdandy
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of Howlader
3/5  rDev -25.9%

Photo of leaddog
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. I missed out on last years batch but Phillips has brought it back. The ABV is 7.3% as opposed to the 9.1% of last year's collaboration batch.

Appearance- Pours a dark brown with two fingers of foamy mocha head.

Smell - Belgian yeast, roasted malts, piney hops, citrus.

Taste - A nice mix of the roasted malts, Belgian yeast, hops and citrus flavours. Good roasted flavours and bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall - For my first go at a Belgian Black IPA, Phillips delivers a flavourful brew that has a nice mix of Belgian and North American ingredients. Perfect for the time of year in Calgary when the weather is changing.

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Photo of Mack
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of StJamesGate
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Alibi Room, Vancouver.

Pours like an Irish Stout: ruby black with a tan collar than rings.
Roast and smoke on the nose.
Black rye bread, a whack of phenols, then orange oil hops.
Red berry finish and clovey linger.
Medium, chewy, smooth.

More stout than anything else. Way too phenolic. But it does hit all 3 notes named on the label.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber poured into tulip 10/11/12

A nearly black with a deep cola edge, a large well retained mocha head stick around to the bottom of the glass leaving several rings of lace deep down the glass, were off to a great start

S Big nose on this one with lots of tropical notes, tangerine, pineapple, and grapefruit, hard to believe the hops shine through a beer this dark. Loads of pine, some coco powder and more hops, the Belgian influence is minor but adds a nice touch, the booze is nowhere to be found and just a little licorice as it warms, smells perfect

T more yeast then the smell with a earthy, woody aspect I didn’t find on the nose, just a little nutty flavor with some smoke and char, the hops are still there but the dark malts take over in the mouth. Taste is good but the nose was wonderful

M medium bodied, almost foamy but not quite, a nice bitter bite and no heat at all, long rind and char finish

O such a sexy beer from start to finish, smells divine and zero booze at any point, great hop kick and a solid dark malty backbone, I’m loving this one

I’ll have another please, and for 7$ I’ll be enjoying a few of these before their gone from the shelves

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Phillips / GLB Puzzler Belgian Black IPA from Phillips Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 51 ratings