Silk Scorpion | Karben4 Brewing

Silk ScorpionSilk Scorpion
BA SCORE
88.5%
Liked This Beer
4.07 w/ 96 ratings
Silk ScorpionSilk Scorpion
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karben4 Brewing
Wisconsin, United States
karben4.com

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by pschul4 on 02-20-2013

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#4,319
Reviews:
12
Ratings:
96
Liked:
85
Avg:
4.07/5
pDev:
8.85%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
18
Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 12
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Duff27 for sending me a 32oz grumbler in a trade!

Served cold into a pilsner glass at low altitude in Austin, TX. Reviewed live as a black IPA. Expectations are average; this is my first Karben4 beer.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Boasts a healthy three fingers of foam. Creamy, supple, and luscious, with sufficient thickness. Could be softer looking and fuller, but for a growler pour it's not bad. Retention is good - ~5-7 minutes. Leaves some light lacing on the sides of the glass as it slowly recedes.

BODY: It's a conventional opaque black with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

Pretty typical of the style across the board without standing out. The head retention in particular makes this an above average appearance.

AROMA: It has a fresh cocoa nib presence, which is a refreshing change from the usual generic chocolate malt character. I even think I find some oats? In any case, it doesn't come off too sweet at all, and the malts nicely check the hop bitterness. Hopwise, it's interesting. Not the usual pine/spruce/evergreen hop profile that usually does it for me in Black IPAs, but seemingly well-tailored to fit the malts: moderate resins, mild citrus...and that's about it. No off-putting bubblegum or onion here, and no dank bitter grapefruit to ruin the balance. There's even a kiss of coffee in here, lending it still more complexity. We may have a winner on our hands; this actually seems balanced. Constructively, I'd like more of a roasted barley presence, and they could commit to deeper coffee and chocolate notes.

No yeast character, off-notes, or alcohol are/is detectable.

Aromatic intensity is mild.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Easily one of the more balanced beers I've had in this often problematic style. Malt sweetness from dark malts and chocolate malts checks the hop bitterness nicely, and the brewers didn't overhop; there's an aptly restrained hop presence comprised of mild resins and tame citrus.

There's added complexity from some faint coffee, which also helps coarsen and dry out the mouthfeel to keep it more in line with an Irish stout - though it lacks an Irish stout's signature roasted barley presence, to its detriment. I also pick up on some oatmeal, but the mouthfeel isn't smooth or porter-like, so I'm probably wrong about that. I love that this doesn't have the sleek silky texture so common in bad examples of the style. Its medium body and moderate heft on the palate supports the flavour profile but never feels overbearing. Carbonation is almost perfect - and this from a growler.

I do find it well-balanced for the most part, though the hops sort of steal the show in the third act, and I'd like to see the malts continue to put up a fight. Still, this build has a cohesion that is rare in the style, and there's some impressive depth of flavour. Maybe it's not a real intricate build, but I'll take balance and elegance over complexity and messiness any day of the week. As it warms, I notice a slight powdery feel to the beer which accentuates the cocoa powder notes. The chocolate/cocoa presence here is surprisingly nuanced, and sets this beer apart from inferior offerings in the style.

Flavour duration is above average, as is flavour amplitude. Flavour intensity is average, however - but I consider this a good thing; it's a mellow Black Ale, not a crazy intense bitter bomb.

A Black IPA I actually like? Maybe the style is finally maturing...or maybe it just takes brewers who really know what they're doing. This is surprisingly well-executed.

OVERALL: A shockingly drinkable stab at a notoriously difficult (and often fundamentally imbalanced) style, Silk Scorpion is one of the few Black IPAs I've had that I'd want to drink again. I'll probably finish the entire grumbler tonight, and this has me very curious to try more of Karben4's ales. Its strength is its restraint; it leans more towards the malt side than most attempts at the style, and it has a downplayed hop profile that's proof hop selection is more important than hop quantity. The hops fit the malts, and that's more than I can say about 99% of beers brewed in this style. This will interest the discerning drinker, and I'd recommend it to friends. That said, this is a style which is still finding itself (if you'll forgive the pretension implicit in that phrasing), and as good as this is relative to most beers in the style, it's still far from world-class.

Huge thanks to Duff27. Who knew he could find a Black IPA that would tickle my fancy?

High B- (3.5)

 4,542 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mendvicdog
3.03/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of jgunther71
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Spiegelau IPA glass from a 12 oz bottle on February 20, 2015.

73 characters

Photo of VeganUndead
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jwc215
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz.bottle - from 4-pack (paid $12 and change at Sendik's in Franklin, WI):

Pours black with a tan bubbly - becoming creamy - head. Web-like lacing sticks.

The smell is of cocoa powder, pine, grapefruit, roast, sharp alcohol.

The taste is of chocolate, pine, orange/grapefruit. Roast almost clashes with hop bitterness, but enough chocolate-like sweetness peaks through to keep it from clashing. Some alcohol warmth in the finish.

It is full-bodied and pretty silky.

A bitter, hop-forward brew with roasty notes, but, as mentioned, enough sweetness comes through to balance it. Characteristics "almost" clash, but sweetness ties it together. An interesting brew that works out well.

 689 characters

Photo of Duff27
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sweffin
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tommy5
3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of fredmugs
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with khaki colored head. Roasted malts, pine, citrus notes, and some cocoa on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with pine and roast. Well done.

 191 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of jzlyo
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is the expected pine and dark malts, along with spices and spruce. The flavor is grapefruit, tropical fruit, spruce, dark malts and a mix of acidity and slight bitterness/heat in the finish.

 197 characters

Photo of Dactrius
3.86/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of egrace84
4.39/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Gotti311
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of BarrelAgedG
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of atone315
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Zuidman
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of oldvines
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of qcbrewer
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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Silk Scorpion from Karben4 Brewing
Beer rating: 88.5% out of 100 with 96 ratings
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