Phillips / GLB Puzzler Belgian Black IPA | Phillips Brewing Company

very good
52 Ratings
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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.

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Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 19
Photo of rogerdandy
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of MilkLeg
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of vondutch
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of stevergca
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of DaPan
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of Aggro
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Mack
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Coastal_Brew
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of DoktorZee
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a three-quarter size pint glass. No obvious best before date on the bottle.

A - this beer is nearly black with just the smallest ruby hints at the edges in full light. The head is fluffy, tan, and leaves horizontally streaked lacing on the glass.

S - the nose is all juniper and pine resin with just a hint of nuttiness in the background (almost like a bit of peanut butter).

T - intertwined with the resin and bitterness is almost a chocolate/peanut butter thread that weaves through the beer. In addition to the resinous bitterness there's a very slight hint of dates, plumbs and other dark fruit (rather than smoke or roastiness) in the finish that are overwhelmed by the hops. It maintains an excellent balance throughout.

M - slightly heavier on the tongue with a medium heavy to heavy body. Carbonation is low-medium and doesn't fully cut through the body of the beer. There's certainly some alcohol warming, but nowhere near booziness.

Overall I really, really like this beer. It's powerful and muscular, but remains balanced. The only qualm I would have is either slightly lighter body or more carbonation to cut through it more aggressively. Regardless, this is a great, great beer.

 1,223 characters

Photo of ZachT
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

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

 1,191 characters

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.

 570 characters

Photo of MrTinnedPEach
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of shagal
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of jmdr
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of IanSpindler
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of kjyost
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

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..

 1,214 characters

Photo of peensteen
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brownish-black colour, whisp of tan head, light lace. Smell is lots of citrus, tangerine, orange, lots of citrusy hops, cocoa, roast malt along with some belgian yeast and its all very well intergrated and comes together quite nicely. Taste is chocolatey and yeast with tons of dry fruity hops, more tangerine/clementine/orange flavours, citrusy with quite a good deal of roast as well, a bit spicy and belgian in the finish. Light-medium carbonation, pretty full mouthfeel, oily and slick, creamy feeling points. This was a delicious beer, certainly something I would love to see all year long, I hope this gets made again.

 629 characters

Photo of Converge
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a tulip.

A - Pours nearly black, with only subtle hints of ruby highlight. Big, thick, and dense head of light tan foam. Awesome looking brew with a good head and thorough, sticky lacing, as with all Phillips brews. Cool label as well.

S - Certainly more hop forward than malt. Big West Coast character, with citric rind, grapefruit, pine, and all that jazz coming through. A subtle hint of roast, and a distinct spiciness, with a peppery feel. Some big earthy hops in there too, behind the citrus and pine. There's certainly a big malt backbone as well however. Doesn't strike me as the aroma of a 9.00% ABV+ beer, however.

T - Big assertive hop character throughout, with citric rind, grapefruit and pine upfront, and a solid earthy feel as well. Big malt as well though, with dark crystal malt and a touch of chocolate. A lot of the reviews on this one state a Belgian yeast character as well, but I don't really get it. In fact, I don't get any real Belgian influence on this brew. Still, this ale packs a full bodied profile with a solid hop bite; good stuff.

M - Quite thick, with a pretty hefty body. Carbonation is on the lower side for such a hoppy offering, with lots of fine bubbles permeating the body. Overall smooth, with a slightly dry finish.

D - Really strikes me as a jacked up Cascadian Dark Ale of some sort, like a Skookum Cascadian Brown on steroids. A little disappointed at the lack of Belgian character in this one, but this is still a formidable brew with a full bodied feel and assertive profile. Good stuff from Phillips, as usual.

 1,577 characters

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

Following the collab between Garrison and Phillips in the Spring this is a new Black Belgian IPA from Great Lakes Brewery out of Ontario and of course the great beer mind of Matt Philips. Considering this beer came out at the same time as the great fresh hop IPA Green Reaper makes Phillips a continued challenger for best BC brewery.

This is indeed a puzzle as the name of the beer suggests. Black as ink with a very interesting nose ( hops mixed with a strong black malt smell underlined with Belgian yeast). Given that this beer is over 9% ABV you find yourself almost stopped in your tasting tracks by the bigness of flavours and the complexity that opens up as the beer warms. There are lots of hops but what really catches the attention is the dryness and bitterness that come out in the midbody and continue through the finish. This is not a criticism as this works for the beer but it takes awhile to reconcile the Belgian notes with this huge dark roasted flavours while at the same time realizing the hops are also out in force. Not since Belgian Black from Lighthouse last year have I had such a interesting take on the Cascadian style. While Lighthouse went for a more luscious Dubbel take on the DIBPA , Phillips and GLB use dryness and the bitterness of the hops to grab the drinkers attention. All in all a unique beer that shows the unrestrained creativity in Canadian craft brewing.

 1,402 characters

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.

 252 characters

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.

 1,045 characters

Photo of andy1701
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%

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Phillips / GLB Puzzler Belgian Black IPA from Phillips Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 52 ratings.
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