Close Encounter | Pipeworks Brewing Company

very good
69 Reviews
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Close EncounterClose Encounter

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Close Encounter is a bold venture into depths unknown. The best of both worlds co-exist between a rich roasted malt er’n character and an aggressive hop presence that will probe your taste buds like +thing you have experienced before. Don’t fear the unknown, embrace it! You never know who or what you may encounter…

Added by MasterSki on 03-14-2012

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 390
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Tasted in a Spiegelau IPA glass from a 1 pint can on February 4, 2017. Canned on 1/23/17. Look is nearly black with a thick tan head and sticky lacing. Smell and taste is almost all roasted malt and very little hop flavor. Feel is medium in body.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage; drank 1/21/15 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Black/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice tan head; a curtain of lace.

Orange citrus & roasted coffee bean notes in the nose.

Creamy, medium thick mouthfeel.

Orange citrus & roasted coffee bean flavors up front; creamy oat notes on the finish. Stout my ass, this is a(n above average) black IPA.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Close Encounter indeed looks like something from outer space - deep space. The beer is a virtual black hole; not only does this inky liquid emit no light but it snuffs out hue and transparency entirely, even when held directly against IKEA's finest, brightest desk lamp. The closest thing to colour you'll get is the head, a semi-dark mocha brown.

I try not to let my personal tastes affect my reviews. I honestly like all varieties of beer and can appreciate and enjoy well brewed examples of even my least favourite styles. But I'll be open about it: the combination of leafy-green, resinous hops and roasty, espresso-like malt is one of my favourite flavour profiles. Period.

So my scores for Close Encounter - which blends citrus peels, pine and spruce tips with rich tiramisu and chocolate ganache notes - may be slightly inflated. But they are well deserved nonetheless. The brewer obviously spared no expenses when it comes to ingredients; malts and hops were both used with reckless abundance.

This is referred to as a "hopped up stout". No kidding. All the earthy, herbal characteristics of an IPA and all the decadent, roasty, mocha-laden malt of a stout are present, but they're bent and twisted up and put back together in a different order. Chinook blends with caramel and chocolate malt, Falconer's Flight with flaked wheat and roasted barley.

Pipeworks beers have catchy names and absolutely phenomenal artwork, but they aren't all as good as they sound/look. I had a number of their offerings on my 'want' list for years and was really disappointed after finally getting to try them. Mind you, that doesn't apply to Close Encounter - it's every bit as sexy as the busty space alien lady on its label.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass from the can.

Appearance: Thin black body with an extra thick head rising at least one fingers length above the body. Drops after two or three sips, with slightly sticky lacing.

Smell: Hoppy scent, citrus skin and quite a bit floral.

Taste: heavy hops and quite bitter, still smooth to a sense but if you pay close attention you feel a light coffee hint to the brew.

Mouth: Medium to heavy carbonation with crisp floral undertone.

Overall: Pipeworks might call this a stout, this my friend is a black IPA. Good brew no matter what just need to

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Photo of ibrubeer
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can. Sweet malty aroma. Opaque black color with tan head of tiny bubbles that lingers. Nice lacing. Very nice malty flavor with just enough bitterness to balance. A little sweet. Full bodied. Overall, a very nice stout!

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Oil black colored pour, thin coffee colored head, lots of legs on the sides of the glass.

S - Earthy chocolate with light citrus.

T - Earthy, chocolate, and with a sweet bitter citrus finish.

M - Medium body, wet finish, slippery texture.

A - This is a confusing beer.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, dark brown in color with one inch head. Taste is pine, roasted malt, cream, and oats. Did not get much hops and only slight roasty bitterness. Did get a nice and layered oaty stout. Very enjoyable and smooth. This is one I would get again.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blackish brown with a tan, foamy head.

Roasty and milky aromas up front, with minty hops and lots of roasted coffee aromas following up.

Nicely roasty and milky flavors at first, with bitter spice of pine coming in second, providing a very dry finish. After a short while it becomes very apparent that this really is exceptionally roasty. With all the hopped-up elements, the level of roasted flavors is big enough to keep this in stout territory.

Very frothy mouthfeel.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can served in a tumbler. I think the canned on date is 3/7/16.

Pours black with a light brown head that flashes up high and then fades at a medium pace to a thick, chunky ring. Smell is coffee and a little yeast.

Taste is coffee and hops and strong roasty malts. Strange, not entirely successful combination. Not bad, but strange. It has a bit of dark fruity sweetness which makes it whisper "porter" in your ear.

Mouthfeel is surprrisingly light and slightly oily. Overall, a pretty good, but not great beer.

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Photo of jaypaul522
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark with a lot of thick head. No strong aroma, but hints of malts and hops. Taste was good, quite strong of malts, and then a mildly hoppy finish. The feel was medium to light, which wasn't stout-like. Overall a good tasting beer, with lighter than expected body.

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Photo of Dan_K
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep brown with 2 fingers of dense mocha bubbles. Coffee and chocolate intertwine with orange peel and pine on the nose. The taste of cocoa powder, orange flesh, and bitter pine dance across your tongue. A feeling of roasted bitterness, bitter pine, and a slightly sticky sweet feeling linger after the swallow. This stout is easy to consume and effortless to enjoy.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i cant imagine anyone not liking this. although i think its more black ipa than stout, its awesome beer, rich in flavor and feel, and another example of why pipeworks is so awesome. i see multiple listings here, and the label has changed on the four pack of pint cans this year, but i reckon the beer is the same. i love the beer, it looks like a porter, almost a porter on nitro, with a huge and dense micro bubble grayish tan head with excellent retention and well defined rings when i sip on it. it smells like centennial or some other heavy high alpha northwestern varietal, oils and sap, foresty and huge, and only exacerbated by a bigger dark malt grain base with some burnt coffee and soily notes, like compost and wet organic matter, growing medium, i bet this beer would sprout some seeds pretty well. almost no sugar in the flavor either, the only sweetness there is that honey hop thing, piney and awesome, but more than tempered by the bitterness of the dark malt. raw cocoa and unbrewed coffee grinds on the base, but flush and full, like some oats are involved too. i like these guys a lot, they sort of gender-bend some styles, but all of it is distinct and well done, and i am so glad they have found their way to colorado. this is one of the more interesting and delicious four packs i have procured in awhile. killer beer here!

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Photo of thepenguin
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a lighter shade of black with a small creamy tan head. Good foam retention and a decent amount of lacing.

S: Coming awful close to a Black IPA. Resinous hop notes of pine with some grapefruit, paired with some dark roasted malts.

T: On the drier side with very assertive piney hops and some dry roastiness. Has a long bitter finish with resinous hops giving way to .

F: Medium-light body with medium-plus carbonation.

Thoughts: Not a terrible beer but it really comes too close to a Black IPA without offering much nuance. It’s a bit too dry and light, and all around one-dimensional.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce can into snifter, no can dating. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense and fluffy tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, light smoke/char, floral, grass, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/tropical/pine hops and roast/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, light smoke/char, floral, grass, and roasted earthiness. Moderate amount of pine/citrus rind and roast/char bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, pine, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, light smoke/char, floral, grass, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/tropical/pine hops and roast/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from hop/roast bitterness that increases through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately sticky/resinous, and lightly creamy/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Black IPA style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/tropical/pine hops and roast/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tall can w/o freshness info...there is a "20" on the bottom of the can...(batch number?)

Anyway this one pours very dark and stout like, dark mocha head that's slow to fade, leaving a thicker collar and respectable low sheeting.

Pungent dark and bitter chocolate, expresso on the nose

Full flavor stout with more chocolate and coffee all over the palate. Aggressive hopping in full effect. Nicely crafted More HQ brew form PW Brewing - well worth a try

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

7.0% ABV printed on the can. Pours a dark chestnut brown color with some red highlights shining through. In the glass, it's black, topped with a dark tan head of tightly packed bubbles. The aroma provides qualities of both a stout and a hoppy ipa - as advertised. Lots of citrus, grapefruit, clementine, pine, deep roasted malts, milk chocolate, brown sugar, some coffee, and an underlying earthy/spicy hop smell. The mouth feel is medium-thin, heavily carbonated, with a creamy roast texture and good balance of bitterness from both a char flavor and the hops. In the taste, I get roast characteristics up front, a clean char, roasted espresso, dark chocolate, molasses sweetness, followed by the bitter citrus rind, resinous pine, earthiness, and slight tropical hops on the back end. A good black IPA overall, but lacks the thick mouth feel for me to consider this a hopped up stout.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a one-finger tan head. Great lacing. Smells of dark malt, slight hops and little citrus.
Very big on the chocolate/nutty malt. A little licorice as well. Piney hops are abundant. Bitterness lingers. a medium body makes this an enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Beaver13
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can. Pours dark brown black with a medium creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet roast and piney hops with a little fruit.

The flavor is roast chocolate malt with lots of piney fruity hops and a little black licorice. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, a nice hoppy stout / black IPA.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good stout but not great. Pours a nice dark color with light head. Tasty but nothing overly special. I love Pipeworks but this one left me a tiny bit disappointed - their IPA's and Ales are outstanding. Stouts don't seem to be their strength. Not a bad brew - but not one I'll seek out.

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Photo of seedyone
4.51/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From a can at Home, NYC. Had no idea what to expect when this was recommended to me. Pours thick & creamy. Head is a deep beige & matches the sound of the pour. Aroma carries more chocolate than coffee but the blend is great.

This reminds me of a black & tan made with superlative brews.

I love a big chewy pint & this delivers. Makes up for it being 70F here in NYC on Christmas Eve.

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Photo of pkalix
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

definitely Black IPA meets stout kind of brew.... awesomely beautiful chocolate-y head. a little more weirdly bitter than i prefer, but overall a decent brew and always glad to try the stuff out of my "distribution reach".....

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Photo of JustinCider
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Black in color, like motor oil that should have been changed 5,000 miles ago. Foamy, dark tan head that leaves some impressive lacing.

S: Aromas of pine cones, chocolate, roasted coffee and citrus.

T: Hops start and hang around for the entire time, from the first sip to longer after it is swallowed. Roasted malt, and to a lesser degree, chocolate and coffee, show up in the middle, only to be outshone by the piney hops.

M: Smooth, medium bodied hybrid.

O: Heavily hopped stouts and ales are becoming more prevalent, much to the dismay of some purists, but I personally like the mix of flavors. This beer has some faint similarities to Three Floyds Dark Sun and Surly Blakker."

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from can (quite fresh) into a snifter. Nice can, although the can says 7% abv, not 8.5% like this beer's profile on here, which would make it a regular stout and not imperial.
Dark brown/black body, a mocha tan head that fades quickly but the lacing left on the glass is nice.
This is a hopped up stout, and the aroma has that. First, you get the roasted malts, coffee character is strong, and then you get some hop aroma.
Taste matches the aroma, coffee first, followed by a hint of pine, and some oatmeal. The hops add a slight brightness. A beer I'd buy again

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Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice stout action with enough hoppage to set it apart from the bulk of its kin. Chocolate and dry roast, bittersweet, with edges of herbal pine. Medium-full body and moderate carbonation. I liked it, but not necessarily my style for a stout.

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Photo of ksimons
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-almost black in color with a fingers worth of dark tan head that leaves a thin layer of lacing around the top

S-roasted malt and piney hop bitterness

T-taste is similar to the smell with a roasted malt backbone, dark chocolate, and a strong pine hop finish

M-medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall this reminds me much more of a Black IPA than a true stout. Wish there was a bit more sweetness to this one, but overall not bad.

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Close Encounter from Pipeworks Brewing Company
3.98 out of 5 based on 390 ratings.
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