Project MJ-23 | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

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Brewed by:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Kentucky, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mrfrancis on 02-05-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 3 | Ratings: 6
Reviews by elNopalero:
Photo of elNopalero
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a chocolate black with tan-colored foam. There’s some hop, some roast, and some coffee on the aroma. The flavor comes across as sharp and roasty, with a high hop bittering. It’s like a hoppy stout—that is, the hops are noticeable and used appropriately. It has a smooth finish with a strong, prominent roastiness. Some coffee and dark fruit flavors come through as it warms. Enjoyable.

 407 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of JDizzle
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

With the explosion of "Black IPAs" on the craft beer shelves and tap lines, many stand out by over compensating the roasted grains, hops, and even chocolate and coffee flavors in an attempt to rise above the rest. Against the Grain's version refutes the bigger-is-better notion with a grounding in what makes IPAs great... but with a dark twist.

The dark bark-brown beer shows the look of richer brown ales or porters. Lightly creamy to the eye and with the release of lightly tanned foam tops the beer in dense and confident fashion. Firm retention and artistic lacing adorns the glass as only IPAs can.

But a visit to the glass reveals very un-porterish characteristics- hops! The nose is dominated by zesty grapefruit, orange peel, pine, and an overall vale of grassy aromas. The malty backbone supports the hoppy aromas with moderate (maybe even mild) coffee, chocolate, and heavy toast.

However, the taste seems to act in reverse as a dry malt flavor of burnt toffee, toast char, embers, slight cocoa and coffee deliver the flavor of malt but such a suppressed associated sweetness that the hops easily overtake the flavor profile heading into the middle palate. That's where the intensifying flavor of red grapefruit pulp and pith, freshly zested oranges, mulled grasses and herbs, and an underlying piney flavor sets in and develops into a deeply resiny bitterness to finish the beer.

Creamy to start as ample carbonation provides a fuller-than-actual effect, but the beer soon dissolves it's suds and gives a dry malt feel as the alcohol warmth and hoppy-dryness dries the mouth as only IPAs can. An aftertaste of toast and pine linger well into the next sip, but with a clean and refreshing interpretation.

This beer know it's an IPA- not a fusion of porters, brown ales, or even stouts. It's an IPA in its showcase of hop character, suppressed malt flavor and sweetness, and ultimate dryness. The darker grains inform the beer with nuances of complexity but doesn't detract from the IPA discipline. The beer is a joy to drink despite the mild chlorophenolic character that seems to be present in all of these American black ales, maybe because of the hop vegital matter and dark grain interaction.

 2,213 characters

Photo of howard12
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of mrfrancis
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a virtually opaque black with a compact, creamy tan head. If held up to the light, slight amber highlights can be seen around the edges of the glass.

S: Initially, this one was quite a bit more subtle than I expected, with aromas of roasted grain, dark chocolate, and coffee the first to arrive. These scents, however, are quickly followed by pine, spruce, juniper berry, lemon, and grapefruit. As the beer warms, the roasty malt scents and the piney, citrusy hop scents merge nicely, resulting in an interesting and understated effect.

T: Notes of roasted grain, heavy cream, bitter chocolate, and coffee are the first to be detected. Shortly before mid-palate, the hops arrive fashionably late, showcasing notes of juniper berry, lemon rind, kumquat, grapefruit, spruce, and pine. The finish is long and bitter, displaying notes of pine, juniper, chocolate, coffee, and lemon rind underscored by mellow alcohol.

M: On the heavier side of medium and fairly dry, yet smooth and a bit creamy at the same time. Carbonation is firm, but not all that forceful. Very drinkable considering the strength.

O: This is a nice black IPA that breaks from the rapidly growing pack by cleverly layering its scents and flavors. The result is a sophisticated, unique, and cerebral approach to the style that many other brewers have yet to attempt. Still, I did find myself pining for a more pronounced hop punch at times, and also found this one relatively easy to overintellectualize, though in the end, these are minor quibbles. If you're a fan of quirky dark ales and/or IPAs and are going to be in Louisville in the near future, this would be an ale to investigate.

 1,667 characters

Photo of ADTaber
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Project MJ-23 from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
4.08 out of 5 based on 6 ratings.
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