Closer Encounter
Pipeworks Brewing Company

Closer EncounterCloser Encounter
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,481
Ranked #4,404
4.1 | pDev: 7.07%
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
Closer EncounterCloser Encounter
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 185 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuitarIPA
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium bodied stout with dark chocolate flavor and a chili pepper burn. Served at WoodnTap chilled - would love to try this again at room temperature as it got better as it warmed

 179 characters

Photo of kkleu357
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

Great dark heavy body. Very carbonated. Not too keen on the smell. Wet musty aroma, but tastes great. Over the top hopped stout is accurate. Dark chocolaty taste with a punch of hops. Yummy.

 190 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to YYZ for sending this down as part of the '13 NFL Confidence Pool BIF! Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a Peg's snifter.

A: Very dark brown to black, essentially opaque. Forms a thin tan head with fairly low visible carbonation.

S: Richly roasted malts, resinous hops, cacao and a bit of tobacco in the background.

T: Rich malts, cacao and tobacco, then some resin and orange rind hops. The big malt roastiness with the hop bitterness almost comes across as balanced. Very tasty.

M: Full-bodied and thick, though not quite the heaviest mouthfeel in around. Relatively low carbonation sensation, and the alcohol presence is well-hidden.

O: I found this quite enjoyable. Huge roast, nicely balanced - big malt and hop flavors. Highly recommended.

 774 characters

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pipeworks Closer Encounter

Thanks to ncketchum for the bottle!

Poured this bomber into my trusty CBS snifter. Served chilled.

A) Deep brown brew with a nice tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

S) Love the hops here... Pine and citrus blend wonderfully with chocolate and light coffee. A hint of dark fruit and pipe tobacco.

T) Follows the nose nicely... Love the citrus chocolate coffee combo. Reminds me a bit of a Starbucks Mocha Valencia. Nice aftertaste too. Oh, and the 11% ABV is completely undetected.

M) Solid medium body with no carbonation issues. This beer was smooth with a pleasant hop coating.

O) Really impressed by this beer. Just a pleasure to drink. Glad to recommend. Would love to try more from this brewery.

 740 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle. Thanks Jeff.

Pours a dark brown, near black with a light tan head. Nose of roast malt and chocolate, fairly hoppy, grassy and citrus. Sweet chocolate, caramel, burnt sugar body with a grassy bitter finish. Light citrus throughout, earthy and roasty. Smooth, full body, low carbonation.

 300 characters

Photo of ncketchum
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Tyranena snifter

A - pours a midnight black with light brown head, thin head

S - coffee, chocolate, piney hops

T - chocolate dominates, coffee follows, with strong hop undertones throughout

M - bitter, smooth, low carbonation

O - fantastic stout, interesting hop presence, would love to drink again

 315 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is jet black with a caramel colored head with some large bubbles on top. Nose has a light roast, note of chocolate malt, lots of citrusy hop. Taste is much heavier malt up front. Loads of roast to it, faintly chalky, lots of bitter chocolate mid palate. Hops aren't as assertive as they are in the nose but still offer a light citrus that is cool and refreshing. Body is full, softer carbonation and very soft and creamy on the palate. Fairly dry in the finish.

 466 characters

Photo of Axnjxn
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

batch 278 into a snifter

dark black pour. nice creamy head. smell is big on hops and then roasted malts. good blend. the taste is extremely hoppy up front and then follows up with some toasty malts and a big charred finish. full bodied for sure, ABV very apparent.

overall I liked it a lot. big sipper. better as it warmed.

 326 characters

Photo of KFBR392
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours with a medium thickness. Sits dark brown to black in the glass. About half a finger of head which dissipated shortly after the pour. Some random lacing left on the sides of the glass. Good amount of active carbonation in glass while drinking.

Smell: Dark hops explode out of the glass. The hops mix well with the dark roasted malt. The aroma is sweet and extremely hop forward. An enticing darkness with some good complexity.

Taste: The front is a smooth hop presence with a strong roasted malt character. The hops continue to warm up through the body and continue to be felt long into the aftertaste. Chewy, gummy malt character on the back end. Surprising amount of earthy hop tones as well throughout this brew. A lot going on here, very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied heaviness with a lot of malt character. Outstandingly drinkable at 11% abv.

Overall: Probably my favorite Pipeworks stout so far, including all of the Abduction series. A ton of complexity and interesting things going on with this brew. Pipeworks continues to grow up before our eyes.

 1,082 characters

Photo of Fcolle2
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours thick dark black with a thin tan head that retains nicely.

Smell has notes of charred dark malt a sweet strong alcohol presence. Some citrus pine hops add an odd contrast that I can't really describe.

Taste is pretty unique. There and some smokey notes forward before the nice hop flavor and bitterness. It's kind of an odd combination but it works for the most part. More rich malt and smokey charcoal flavors follow and the there is a charred bitterness that stays on the palate for a while.

Mouthfeel is good, thick and lots of small bubble carbonation.

Overall this is a really interesting stout. The charred malt and hop combination are a little to persistently bitter for me, but closer is right.

 713 characters

Photo of csparace
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell (3.75) – Hops are present almost immediately. Smells dry. Once in the glass the hops really come out. Some smoother milk notes come out once it warms.

Appearance (4.25) – Medium/Thin pour. Finger and a half mocha head that sticks around for a bit. Nice lacing!

Taste (4.25) – Dry up front. Hop bitterness really sinks in a second or two later and is more along the pine variety. Some coffee notes – a super dark, maybe over roasted bitterness. This taste lasts quite a long time and the bitterness lasts much longer once it warms.

Mouthfeel (4.00) – Crisp character that seems to come from the hops. 11% is hidden nicely. Not sweet at all. Lips are super sticky.

Overall (4.00) – I'm not that impressed by this one. I'm not sure hoppiness and stout are a good combo. It gets a good bit better with warmth but on the whole it is just dry, hoppy, and a typical strong stout without much character to it.

 926 characters

Photo of homebrew311
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black with brown creamy head that leaves quite a bit of lacing and nice head retention. The nose presents a heavy dose of earthy and piney hops married with heavy roasted barley and coffee. This is heavily hopped which seems to match the big malt bill nicely. Taste starts on the bitter side and feature more pine. This gives way to roasted barley which carries on the the hop bitterness to a rich chocolatey finish. The flavors are bold and lean more towards the hoppy side. The body is big and creamy which holds up the bold flavors nicely. Overall, this is a full flavored and tasty stout that defies typical style guidelines. This would probably pass as an imperial black ale if such a style existed. Worth a try for sure.

 740 characters

Photo of Treebs
3.61/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle served in a Pipeworks snifter. Batch # 190-1.

A: Pours a dark black color with a khaki head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thin film and thicker collar. Sheets of lace are left down the glass.

S: Heavy roasted malts with some light coffee grounds. Sweet chocolate, some toasted bitterness and a little nougat. Underneath the blanket of stout is a thinly veiled citrus and piney hop profile.

T: The hop profile comes out way more in the taste than in the nose. Citrus orange with a little grassy/pine needle combination. The finish is super roasty with a bitter dark chocolate. Mild sweetness. As it warms a little cola taste comes out that detracts from the taste.

M: Medium bodied with a creaminess to the mouthfeel. Finish is roasted malts. Thins out a bit once it warms up.

O: I enjoyed this one, but not as much as the regular Close Encounter. The balance wasn't there between the hops and and heavy roast and it was a tad sweet.

 958 characters

Photo of Vonerichs
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black with a cinnamon colored dense head. Excellent retention.

Huge hoppy nose, mostly pine with a little orange. Roasted malt and chocolate.

The flavor is that of a hoppy stout that walks the line of a black IPA. The roasted malt and bitter chocolate are front and center then the hops explode with pine and berries. The bakers chocolate and hops give it a dry finish.

Thick and smooth mouthfeel with moderately low carbonation, another aspect the. Lends itself more to a stout than a black IPA.

For 11% abv is very drinkable. Smooth, full of flavor, and aromatic. Another great beer from the folks at Pipeworks.

 621 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter.

pours pitch black with a 2 finger dark mocha head. tons of leopard spotting and trails of lacing remain.

chocolate, light roast, pine and pretty big aroma of citrus (oranges mainly).

follows nose, with nice chocolate and roasted malts, big punch of citrus and citrus hops. finishes with a big pine hop bitterness that lingers.

Wow! definitely more of a double/imperial black ipa than a stout, but a very good beer. No alcohol at all with a big body at the 11% this beer is. silky creaminess with slight dryness from the bitter pine hops.

 584 characters

Photo of Florida9
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Fully opaque black in color. Forms a moderate sized dark tan colored head. Reduces down to a thick ring of bubbles around the edge. Some spotty lacing.

S: Strong aroma of heavily roasted malts. Notes of dark baker's chocolate, char and some piney hops with some lighter citrus hops in the mix.

T: Taste is quite in-your-face: heavily roasted malts dominate. Char, bordering on smokey, baker's chocolate, bitter chocolate, and then some piney hops nearing the finish. Finish has a slight fusel spiciness drying it out and offering up that chalky cocoa feel.

M: This one is quite heavy and full bodied. Lower carbonation, (but it's there), creamy, and velvety on the front end. Slightly prickly and chalky on the back end. Surprisingly restrained bitterness.

O: One of my critiques of Close Encounter was that it was listed as Imp Stout, but seemed to lie more in the category of Black IPA. Closer is firmly planted in the Imp Stout category, but the balance is remarkable. This is very well made hopped-up stout. Dare I say, this beer is better than many of those other Imperial Stouts that are only released on certain days of the year.

 1,145 characters

Photo of jegross2
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing the Closer Encounter from Pipeworks Brewing Company out of Chicago, Illinois. The bottle bills itself as a "hopped up imperial stout."

Score: 94

Batch "190-1." I have no clue how a beer can be batch 190-1. Either you are batch 190, or you are batch 191. Served in a Perennial snifter and enjoyed on 08/20/13.

Appearance: Dark chocolate color in appearance. Pours less than half a finger of khaki head that settles to a ring around the glass. Poor lacing, average retention. 3.75/5

Smell: The aromatics are of a black ale done extremely well. Milk chocolate covered pineapples, piney hops, a little muddles citrus and pretzel-like doughiness. Notes of cake batter too. The hops come through very clean on the nose, and are not dirty/earthy/spicy/floral/oniony at all. This a really lovely smelling beer. 4.5/5

Taste: Bitter bakers chocolate and cocoa followed by bitter piney hops. Juicy pineapple and nondescript and muted tropical citrus backbone with a little maltiness too. Unsalted pretzel flavor in the finish too. Really unique tasting, and I love the bready flavors here. No booziness. This brew hides the double digit ABV very well, though a little palate warmth occurs around room temperature. Really nice mix of stout and clean IPA flavors here. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, low carbonation. Very creamy. Bitter on the palate with a little backbone sweetness for counterbalance and added drinkability. 4.25/5

Overall: Shockingly excellent. Not because of who makes it (Pipeworks makes some great beers), but because of the style. Few black IPA/hoppy stouts are this good. Cheers to another excellent brew in Pipeworks' portfolio!

Cost: $11.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

 1,709 characters

Closer Encounter from Pipeworks Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 185 ratings