Black IPA
Big Rig Brewery

Black IPABlack IPA
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American Black Ale
Ranked #485
Ranked #34,739
3.68 | pDev: 12.77%
Big Rig Brewery
Ontario, Canada
Black IPABlack IPA
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 51
Photo of eberesford
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark almost black with a thick creamy parchment coloured head with moderate lacing. Aroma: piney citrus Flavour: Espresso bean that clashes a little with the hopping leaving a somewhat metalic effect. I fon’t know the style but from the colour expected more malt balance and more complexity of flavour. Pleasant, but underwhelming in the end.

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Photo of Jesterr44
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 473mL can at LCBO, around $3 Cdn. Enjoyed at around 8 degrees C.

Appearance - Pours dark brown, with a nice thick light tan head, some lacing which fades slowly, some remained til the end.

Aroma - Deep earthy, malty hops.

Taste - Full malted barley up front, hints of fruit & caramel, & then a smooth hoppy finish, hides the 6.2% ABU fully, very drinkable.

Feel - Nice & creamy mouthfeel, carbonation comes through lightly - just the right amount. Update: Don't drink this too cold! Had one just out of the fridge at a friend's place & it's not ready at that temperature (nor are most good beers!).

Overall - First, what a label! (not the one with the sheep - the one with the hound eyes - I think I liked it as soon as I picked up the can). Really liked this. I will definitely enjoy again.

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Photo of portwood
3.07/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smell: burnt malt, chocolate, coffee.
Taste: smooth carbonation, medium body.
Finish: bitter chocolate, bit resiny.
A lot of burnt flavors but lacking something.
(canned 04/12/16)

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Photo of jimmycrix
4.39/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I'm going nuts for this beer. I've been combing the craft beers at the LCBO. and this f**r stands out. its got character. i mean, it tastes different. if that translates as sh*t for you, well then, thats it. but i can say, ive ordered it 3-4 times now, and it has yet to disappoint. some craft beers fall flat, or are too sweet, or too bitter. but this one is like, very f*n solid. im lovin it. its not just one of those uber bitter craft beers that say "look at me, im bitter". nah, this one tastes f*n good. Unique-like. i think, if i owned a hipster-assed resto, i would put this sh*t in it. and i'd be all like "o, you want a big rig black IPA? sure. 20 bux." and they'd pay it,, they'd be all like "OMG, its so crafty" but seriously. i wish i had, but one more can. the beer drinkers lament.

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Photo of fortyfield
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours almost pitch black with a very nice coloured thick light brown head. The head doesn't last for quite as long as some top tier stouts, but still impressive nonetheless.

Hops are more prominent on the nose. Citrus and pine are very obvious. You can detect just a touch of the malt.

Here comes the malt. Very nice chocolate flavour comes through, and quite roasty. The hops arrive shortly after, with a bitter, piney finish. Quite literally tastes like somebody mixed a stout with an IPA.

Mouthfeel seems to be appropriate for the style, with ideal levels of carbonation.

Overall this is a nice beer and is my favourite American Black Ale that I've tried. And as much as I enjoy tasting a new beer, especially that of an uncommon style, I just can't really see myself wanting to purchase this very often again. I'm generally either in a mood for something sweet like a stout, or bitter like an IPA. Still worth a try though, even if just to see how the flavours all mingle.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one at the LCBO in Toronto I think.

From a can into a snifter
Gold medal winner in 2014 at some lame made up beer competition.

APPEARANCE: Pours out clear dark brown and yields a small, one finger, looser, foamy off-white head with decent retention. Clear black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains until the end leaving some decent lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Lots of piney hops, grapefruit with roasted malts and cacao aromas as well. Piney hops are the more dominant, but the roasted character provides a nice backdrop. Good stuff.

TASTE: Piney hops and lightly roasted up front. Flavorful, hoppy, and a big finish with lots of grapefruit and piney hops, roasted malts and bitter chocolate as well. Flavorful and hoppy with a nice roasted base. Gets more pronounced as it warms as well. Really good.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly higher levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes a touch dry. Some bitterness lingers.

OVERALL: Really, really good stuff. A touch too carbonated, but that’s a minor complaint. Lovely roasted and chocolate base with piles of piney hops all over it. Very well balanced and plenty of bold character to think about. Give this one a try if you see it. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of dipso123
2.29/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

L: nice fine long lasting head, lacing
S: Odd chemical and vegetal odor
T: Not much hop flavor for an IPA and a long lingering unpleasant astringency
F: thick on the tongue, almost syrupy
O: Other than the lovely appearance this beer has real problems.

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Photo of BeerWatcher
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark brown with hints of dark red in it. Off white head leaving considerable lacing behind. Aromas of citrus and pine. Tastes of citrus and pine with an underlying vein of caramel. A very enjoyable black IPA

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can served cold into a pint glass. Purchased for a reasonable $2.75 CDN.

Appearance - jet black beer is poured with a finger of tan head. Modest retention. Some traces of lacing left behind.

Smell - some of bready in all actuality, some citrus notes but they are subtle and hidden. General roastiness, is minor.

Taste - straightforward with some burnt malt and a nice hop bite. Nothing too extreme, just a Black IPA at its simplest form. Still pretty solid across the board and tasty.

Mouthfeel - smooth with moderate carbonation, a bit on the thinner side, but it's not a negative.

Overall - damn solid and easy to drink. I will call this another hit for Big Rig. This plus their delicious scotch ale, is making a believer out of me and this is a brewery on its way up. Even though it's not too special within the class, it's good for the price.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $3.00 for a 473ml can. Served at 6deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a good high 2" whitish brown head that films out in a minute. Very dark black

S- Good malt and hops. Caramel and smoked coco

T- Nice bitter brew. Nothing special but a very good blend. Smokiness and malt shine through

M- Tart!!

O- Nice brew. Will buy again and for a black IPA very good

Food Pairing

This nice little brew went well with..... Steak and eggs!


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Photo of thehyperduck
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

473 mL shrink-labelled can picked up at the LCBO; there is a date code stamped on the base but it's completely illegible. I love black IPAs, but unfortunately there aren't too many widely-distributed examples for sale in this province - which makes this particular brew a very welcome addition to the retail scene, indeed. Served slightly chilled.

Pours an inky, bulb-blocking black colour, producing just over one inch of dense, creamy, beige-coloured head. Retention is pretty good; it takes the better part of ten minutes to subside entirely, leaving behind a modest cap and frothy, creamy collar. An uninterrupted curtain of sticky lace is also deposited around the edge of the glass. Looks great, but the aroma leaves a bit to be desired - there is an odd, vegetal 'canned peas' aroma in the background that I find off-putting. The underlying notes of roasted malt, chocolate and toffee do their best to distract me, while the hop bill comes off as disappointingly understated - a little earthy and piney, and that's about it.

I was feeling a bit uneasy at this point, but the first sip assuaged my worries. Roasted malts provide the initial punch of flavour - somewhat bready, with coffee grounds and baker's chocolate bitterness interacting alongside some moderate toffee/caramel sweetness. Nearer the tail end, notes of earthy pine resin, citrus pith and floral hops begin to surface, with a lightly smoky, roasty astringency lingering into the aftertaste. Light-medium in body, with restrained carbonation levels that result in a smooth mouthfeel that seems a bit too watery for my preferences.

[Updated Jul 13 2016]

Another can, dated May 9 2016 (also with new and improved label art). This one has improved since last time - no vegetal notes in the aroma for one thing, though I'm still not that big on the thinnish mouthfeel. Flavour-wise, Big Rig's Black IPA is ok and difficult to beat in terms of price, but compared to some examples of the style it's a bit of a sheep in wolf's clothing.

Final Grade: 3.57, a B.

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Photo of ludachris
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Concentric legs of lace coat the inner rim of the glass as its two fingers of frothy beige head slowly recedes. Its portion of malted wheat does wonders for its appearance. The body itself is a deep cola brown with garnet red highlights.

Its malt character comes in layers; toasty with a sweet graham cracker/honeyed edge, rye bread, dark chocolate and a refined roast. Its hop character is much less present, giving off woody and floral notes. Maybe a bit piney as well. This is a good smelling beer but much less hop forward than many other beers of the same style.

A slap of grassy, piney hops sticks to the back of the palate, coming through in a reassuring manner. Spicy, earthy rye bread follows closely behind. Its bitterness lingers but is tame. Toasty, sweet graham cracker and cocoa powder flesh out the center. A dash of roastiness comes through in the finish as well. Mixed with the leafy, piney flavor that's left over, its dry finish is accentuated.

Medium bodied with a slightly elevated level of carbonation. Its malt character gives the body density but it does come across as light and slightly thin.

A middle of the road offering from one of Ottawa's most respected breweries. I found the body to be a bit light and its hop character to be underwhelming relative to the style. With that being said, kudos to Big Rig for putting a black IPA on the LCBO's shelves. I still do look forward to trying more of their offerings.

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Black IPA from Big Rig Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 51 ratings