Black Ale
Bent Paddle Brewing Co.

Black AleBlack Ale
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Porter - American
Ranked #84
Ranked #8,354
4 | pDev: 8.25%
Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Minnesota, United States
Very Good
Black AleBlack Ale
Notes: Brewed to be smooth, chocolatey, semi-roasted ale that bridges the islands of porter and stout. And if you aren’t a fan of bridges, there’s always the canoe. This Black Ale drinks like a porter but is opaque like a stout. Brewed with a generous amount of oats to round out the flavor.
Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 266 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from North Dakota

3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a black color with a massive, light-tan foamy head. SRM of 24. (4.00)

Aroma: Large aromas of smoke, soothing chocolate, and roast. Hints of coffee roast, but not too much. More coffee, but not too airy. Hints of bitterness. Then I get lots of smoked ham which is weird. (3.75)

Flavor: Flavor follows the nose with smooth and silky milk chocolate with only hints of coffee roast. Mild bitterness with the roast. Again, some ham in the middle. (On a later review in 2021 I get less ham, but a dark fruit plum flavor). A little bit of tar. Licorice lingers on the end. Leans mildly sweet with lactose sugar and chocolate. (4.00)

Feel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Feels very balanced on the palate and finishing with some milk sugars left on the palate. (3.75)

Compared to Bell's Porter: More smooth chocolate. Less roasty. More watery and lighter overall.

Compared with Deschute's Obsidian Stout: Similar color. More airy milk chocolate on the nose. Much less chocolate. Less dark chocolate. It has more cream and air. More skim milk. Dryer and much lighter.

Compared w/ Trader Joe's Dark Lager: Pours a darker color. Stronger and more roasty aromas. More milk chocolate and roast. Less red fruit and molasses. More bitter and roasty. Dryer and cleaner with a more bitter finish. Less malty.

Compared with Mocha Marlin Porter 4/8/20: Pours a similar color with a lighter head. Milder aromas. Less chocolate and espresso. More mild and smokey. Dryer and cleaner overall.

Compare to Lift Bridge Fireside Flannel 1/13/21: Pours a slightly darker color and blacker. Similar aromas of dark chocolate, dry roast, dry roast and coffee. Slightly sweeter and more chocolate here. On the flavor, stronger chocolate and dark patent malt.

Compared to Summit's Great Northern Porter 2/16/21: Pours a similar color with a stronger and darker head. Stronger aromas/flavors. More chocolate and dark fruit. Less airiness and sulfur & airplane plastic. Stronger malts, hops, and body.

Overall: I'd say this one is just as described. Smooth and silky chocolate with only hints of roasty flavor. Has a pleasant dark fruit/plum flavor too. MIldly sweet due to the attenuated bitterness. Definitely between an oatmeal stout and porter. Extremely smooth, drinkable and one worth coming back to. (Final Rating: 3.98)

Feb 17, 2021
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Truegent2004 from Minnesota

3.26/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The coffee taste is too strong and I really cant taste any chocolate. The bitterness factor is too high for my liking. Its a decent porter but there are better (and cheaper) ones out there.

Dec 26, 2020
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KTCamm from New Jersey

4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10/8/20...Pours deep black, with thick dark brown foam with a 1/4" head. Smells of coffee and espresso beans. Smooth creamy taste, Light & creamy. Light bitter sneaks in and cements the flavor. Quite nice, well balanced and just enough bitters.

Dec 06, 2020
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz can, no date, just a partial code

Looks like a beaut. Smells just okay. Drinks great. Dark malts, choco, tar and char. Bitter enough, but not a ton of hop flavor, more aromatic and in the background

"A shark on whisky is mighty risky, a shark on beer is a beer engineer" - Dr. Worm

Sep 08, 2020
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got a can of this beer from the single shelf at a beer store in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It poured an opaque dark with thin ecru head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent had faint roast and sweet malt notes. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink with sweet molasses malt and roast highlights. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall its a solid beer.

Dec 14, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.69/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can
Zildjian K Pint Glass

Deep shiny black with a creamy beige head of 1 finger, stable. Nice lace left on the sides.

Aroma is faint but of dark malts and slight roast.

Flavor comes across a bit more hoppy than I'd like. Very green. There are nice notes of pumpernickel and darker fruits and karo on the back end, much like a good Doppelbock or Schwarzbier. Some dark chocolate or cacao.

Feel is on the thin side, again this is much like a thinner version of a Schwarzbier. Mild hop resins on the finish. Some coffee roastiness. Mild warming alcohol.

Overall, if you're in the mood for a hoppy Schwarzbier, that's what this is basically, only in ale form. Had no idea they'd be claiming this to be a porter - a bit too thin for that, even if it was lagered as a Baltic Porter.

Aug 17, 2019
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cardfan212 from Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a nonic pint.

Look - Blacker than midnight on a moonless night. Opaque and oily with a cascading leathery tan head that lingers for nearly ever and clings heavily as it slides down the side of the glass.

Smell - Bitter earthy dark chocolate with tiny sweet background notes of caramel and vanilla. Very faint bits of grassy herbal hops if you really stick your sniffer in there.

Taste - Like biting into some 100% cacao baking chocolate. The bitterness pummels you in a pleasant way, but things swing up to a mild sweetness on the aftertaste. It sticks with you for a long time, slowly changing and evolving for an entire minute after swallowing.

Feel - Surprisingly thin body, but the lack of carbonation and high amount of oats make this silky smooth, somewhat creamy, and a bit oily.

Overall - A heavy hitter that's very easy to drink. Big in flavor, menacing in appearance, and surprisingly inviting. I can definitely see myself coming back to this regularly.

Jul 20, 2019
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Ctoastcrunch from New York

4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A phenomenal beer that is both easy drinking and tasty. I discovered this on my first trip to the Northwoods and I feel like every time I drink it at home I am brought back to that wonderful time. I always have a few on hand as my "go-to" brew.

Apr 01, 2019
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bent Paddle Black Ale (Porter), 6% ABV. Pours black with a two+ finger tan head that left decent lacing. Nose is sweet and malty, taste is slight roast malt, a touch of chocolate, with a slight bitter close. Excellent smooth mouthfeel, overall excellent.

Mar 23, 2019
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BrendanJ from Minnesota

4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark, opaque brown-black. Light brown, toasty head about a finger deep.
S: Roasted coffee on the nose, with a hint of dark chocolate.
T: Nice and thick malty taste. Heavy coffee and dark chocolate notes. Mild bitter kick lingering at the finish
F: Thick mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.
O: Had this one on tap at a local resturaunt, just as old man winter has started to knock on our front door. This is a great beer for late fall to winter, or if you just love coffee.

Nov 12, 2018
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mngermanshepherd from Minnesota

4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap @ Crooked Pint in Rochester.

Tap handle says "Black Ale - Porter/Stout"

Pours dark black, had to ask bartender if oatmeal was part of recipe as it was so smooth. Oddly enough, no aroma (served in English pint glass) and I stuck my nose in there a few times (before people began looking at me weird). Taste is smooth, silky, and delicious.

Oct 02, 2018
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into glass. Bottom of can is stamped '360-17'.
Black coffee color, opaque. Fluffy tan head upon pouring settles to covering cap, Tentacles of lacing.
Smells of smoked, roasted malt, dark chocolate, with a hint of coffee.
Tastes of 60% cacao, dark roasted malt, a little black coffee, with sweeter toffee and hops at the end.
Feel is silky smooth, moderate fullness, minimal bitterness.
An easy drinking hybrid with the look of a stout and the taste of a porter. Very pleasant lingering aftertaste with the sweetness lightening the dark chocolate.

Oct 10, 2017
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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown/nearly black with a solid though quickly-dissipating head. Excellent lacing. A fine looking beer.

The nose is strong coffee and toasted--nearly charred--malt, which imparts a touch of smokiness, and perhaps a bit of bitter chocolate.

The flavor is an interesting straddle of porter and stout. Big coffee flavors with char and astringency of an RIS, but melded with a deceptive sweet smoothness of the porter persuasion. Just enough hops arrive at the finish to take it out of either arena. A very simple, yet deceptively nuanced, flavor.

The mouthfeel is excellent. The carbonation, astringency, and touch of hops provide a crisp finish. Medium-full bodied, and definitely a notch closer to "porter" than "stout" in that department. Very drinkable.

Overall, this is an excellent chameleon porter. Recommended.

Sep 30, 2017
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unlikelyspiderperson from California

4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Can't say this is the fairest review I've ever posted. When I got around to this new brew I was a little drunk and it was real late and I drank it on the back porch while some friends I was hanging with smoked and we looked at the red moon from the wildfire smoke. All that said, this was a great little brew. Like a brown ale but darker, as the name implies, it was rich and malty and smooth as a baby's bottom. Was great as a cap to a wonderful hot summer night with good friends, would surely be great on a cold Minnesota winter night. Certainly an all around loveable beer that gives you that rich roasty malt flavor without the weight of a stout. Fuller than a typical porter. Truly lovely.

Sep 02, 2017
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barnzy78 from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can, date stamped 227-17; thanks to my friend, Ken, for splitting his 6 pack with me after his trip to MN
A - tall creamy tan head holds good retention atop a near black colored ale
S - roasted barley, dark baker's chocolate, faint dark roast coffee, earthy hops
T - big bold flavors of roasted barley, dark chocolate, caramel, grain, with piney and earthy hops
M - medium to full body, ample carbonation, finishes semi-bitter and dry with roast and pine lingering on the palate
O - definitely drinks like a stout [porter]. Very good beer. Glad to try it.

Aug 06, 2017
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vette2006c5r from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Black Ale pours a black color, with a big. long lasting tan head. Big rich malty aroma, with big hints of sweet smoke. Flavor is big, sweeter, dry, lots of smoke hints of chocolate. Good body and feel. Overall, a fantastic no frills porter.

Jun 16, 2017
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A nice bubble show produces a two finger beige head that caps the translucent coffee colored liquid; fair retention and a splattering of lace

Smell: Roast, chocolate and caramel tones

Taste: Roast forward, with burgeoning chocolate and caramel; some coffee, through the middle; the finish is roasty, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A nice porter that drinks easily

Jun 04, 2017
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KarlHungus from Minnesota

3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours an opaque black color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes slowly leaving decent lacing. The aroma is of dark chocolate, French roast coffee, and some roasted malt. The taste more roast than the aroma with cocoa powder, and hints of graham cracker. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a velvety texture. The carbonation is a touch too high for the style. Overall, this is a decent beer in its own right, but I think it functions much better as the base for Bent Paddles Cold Press Black Ale.

Feb 12, 2017
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Peepskp from Wisconsin

4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice chocolate and roasted malt flavors, a bit of coffee and vanilla. Nicely carbonated and very drinkable. I could easily have a couple of these in a row unlike other beers in this category.

Nov 01, 2016
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tempest from New York

3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Among porters this is both brighter and smoother (that part likely thanks to oats). The roast is there, but doesn't dominate. And I get more caramel sweetness than chocolate. But this is still a tasty porter and I appreciate that it's a bit different.

Jul 30, 2016
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ta_hagen from Minnesota

4.71/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite session-able stouts. Similar to a oatmeal stout, nothing in my craft world compares to this black ale. Taste is roasted malts and burnt brown coffee dry finish. Herbal hops notes, cream, and dark chocolate. There is a dark fruit, bitter taste, slightly at the finish. This a by far the easiest drinking black session porter/stout I have ever had and its REALLY good. I have been watching the rating of this beer on beer advocate and it's been really escalating. There has been more recent hype around it and I can definitely see why. So if your a person that has coveted this beer outside the Minnesota area, definitely try to trade for it. Its a thumbs up in my book Bent Paddle. Good job!!!!

Mar 02, 2016
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superspak from Ohio

4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce can into pint glass, best before 12/15/2015. Pours nearly opaque dark brown/black color with a 2 finger fairly dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, light nuttiness, light pine, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate earthy/piney hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, light nuttiness, pine, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/pine and roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate herbal/piney hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and fairly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent American porter style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt and light-moderate herbal/piney hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Dec 25, 2015
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Pj27 from Indiana

3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

L - pours black with cream/off white head that disappears quickly
S- very well balanced between chocolate an coffee. Chocolate is a bit more though
T- more roasted and coffee notes than chocolate, but the chocolate isn't absent. Not off flavors to be found. Great drinkable beer.
F - after taste is a bit off but nothing drastic. Smooth with a bitterness on the backend.
O - I enjoy this beer and would definitely go after it again. If in Minnesota, would be a beer I go after to bring back

Dec 09, 2015
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Wer34truh from Minnesota

4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a gorgeous head, with a lot of bubbly activity and a creamy appearance. The body of the beer is pitch black, with a small amount of rising bubbles. This definitely looks the part.

Smells of roasted coffee beans and malt.

Has an incredibly present chocolate aftertaste, which dominates completely. Carbonation is there, but kept to a minimal.

I haven't been particularly exposed to this style earlier, and this is a beer that had the same effect on me as Modus Hoperandi or Moo Joo's when I first had it. Meaning that it feels like I finally 'get' what people love about the style. This is incredible.

Nov 10, 2015
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mikevanatta from Minnesota

4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell and taste both give a lovely amount of roasted malt with the taste also offering slight hints of coffee and chocolate. This beer seems to fall somewhere between a stout and a porter (I would lean more toward the latter) and, at 6% ABV, I find it to be very satisfying when I crave something dark but don't need a "big" beer.

Oct 08, 2015
Black Ale from Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 266 ratings