Icon Series: Cascadian Dark Ale | Saint Arnold Brewing Company

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Icon Series: Cascadian Dark AleIcon Series: Cascadian Dark Ale

Brewed by:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The key to a Black IPA is to artfully balance the aggressive hop flavor and bitter with the roast of the black malt to create a wonderful marriage of the two competing tastes. Icon Blue starts with a big hop nose up front, the result of Centennial and Simcoe additions at end of boil and dry hopping. There is also a roast malt character that starts with the nose and goes all the way through the end. At the finish, the Chinook and Columbus hops kick in to create a lasting bitter. We fermented this beer with our Saint Arnold ale yeast, which contributes an additional complexity. This beer is best served at 45°F to 55°F.

This beer was inspired by Pete Garza’s winning entry in the 2012 Big Batch Brew Bash.

Added by Pesci on 03-19-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 128
Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Extra from Steve. Who would expect a dark deep blue bottle would be a black ipa from St. Arnold? Fairly basic, too much roast, overwhelming the hops. Deep black colour, a bit of smoke with the roast aroma. OK drinkability. Yes its there, the cascade hops, the roast, but Mediocre for the style.

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Photo of champ103
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at a new place in Houston. Local Pour.

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black. A light ruby hue around the edges. A two finger beige head forms with good retention. Plenty of spiderweb lace is left behind.
S: Citrus, grassy hops up front. A light resiny pine aroma. Then some toasted and caramel malts in the nose. A lingering grapefruit, citrus bitterness.
T: Follows the nose. A very clean hop presents. Citrus, grassy, light grapefruit. Then the malts come in. Toasted malts, caramel sweetness, light chocolate as this warms. Not much lingering, which I was expecting in the nose. Pretty much clean cut. Hops then malt.
M/D: A medium body with good carbonation. Crisp, clean and smooth. Not hard to drink at all. I finished the pint with no problem.

Not bad at all, especially considering this faux "style." Similar to Boulevard's Black Rye IPA. If this does not turn me on to the style, not much else will. Still I did enjoy my pint for what it was.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours mostly back with a moderately-sized khaki head. Decent retention and really nice lace.

Nose is more hoppy than malty, mostly tropical - grapefruit and papaya. Malts are not as roasty as most of the style but does have some toast and toffee. A little cold-press coffee comes out as it warms.

I like the way this beer highlights the hoppy flavors while deemphasizing the roast and hop bitterness that sometimes gets out of hand when combined in some black IPAs. The body is a touch on the thin side and the hop flavors are somewhat simplistic...the palate adjusts quickly if that makes any sense. Its not bad, but its probably one of those beers where one or two 4-packs are plenty and I doubt I will miss it when its gone. The ICON series hasnt been bad by any means, but it really hasnt done a whole lot to excite either, though I will always welcome some much needed innovation from Saint Arnold.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Saint Arnold Icon Blue has a medium, beige head and a dark, yet clear, brown appearance, with thin lacing left behind. The aroma is very fruity, and I found it was of apricot. Taste is also quite fruity, but, here, I was picking up grapefruit. There is also sweetness, brown bread crust, and mild bitterness, but the overriding note is of the fruit. Mouthfeel is slick and medium, and Saint Arnold Icon Blue finishes semi-dry, refreshing, and easily drinkable. The 7% alcohol is just not picked up with this ale. Overall, it’s delightful, and I rate it as such.


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Photo of elNopalero
3.59/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a solid black with a bit of thick, creamy foam atop. The aroma is hoppy and creamy, with a sweeter roast note and some light citrus. Not the grapefruit-hop aroma I expect from a Cascadian IPA, at least not pronounced enough for my tastes. The flavor comes across with the same muddled characteristic, much more like a hoppy stout and not a crisp black IPA.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz, winter '13
Bruery tulip

A: Pours a really dark brown color. Initially brown with reddish hues. Lots of head, about three fingers of loose bubbles tan head. Sticky.

S: Pine and earthy hops on the nose. Also roast and chocolate. Almost a porter malt and nose.

T: Not getting too much bitterness from those hops on tongue. Pretty much nice chocolate and roasted malt. Dark chocolate lingering on tongue. Finish is dry.

M: Big medium body.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark into a Duvel tulip. Mostly black with some brown and ruby highlights. Light brown head. Good retention and lacing.

Packs a nose of coffee malt with citrus but more along the piney resinous hop angle. A little floral as well.

Lightly bitter but still with plenty of hop flavor bringing pine. The malt level is right up there with the hops with roasted coffee and chocolate.

I would liken this to the Alaskan Black IPA in terms of its easy drinking and not being in the upper tier of Black IPAs. It's def worth a try.

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Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter glass from a bottle.

A - Solid black with a thin, white head.

S - Nice hop aroma, with hints of dark chocolate..

T - Really nice citrus notes up front on the tongue that balance nicely with the roasted malts. Initially, I thought it finished a tad too bitter, but as it warmed the malt sweetness became more pronounced.

M - Medium-bodied. Very drinkable.

O - Very good black IPA. One of the better ones I tried.

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Photo of Premo88
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(2/18/13 printed on bottle)

L: black with no backlight, perfect tan head of thick foam about 1-inch deep and maybe a bit more, nice lacing off head; dark brown with nice amber highlights when held up to light. possibly very clear, perhaps 100% clear, but it's so dark that it's hard to see through. not a ton of lacing on the way down, but a little -- and keeps a nice collar of foam. pretty-looking brew.

S: 50/50 split between big malt and big hops ... really what I would expect out of a "black IPA" with good balance. a hint of chocolate down in there behind the piney/citrusy up-front hops; that sweeter malt shows through more and more as it warms up. last third = dark sludge chocolate ... kind of cool.

T: follows the nose closely, split between big malt/big hops ... like a burnt-hops salad with loads of sweetness in it, malty sweetness that occasionally hits a chocolate note.

F: solid all around; a mouthfull ... almost "lumpy" like an american milk stout at times, but plenty of carbonation to keep it drinkable.

O: might be my favorite Saint Arnold brew so far; a lot of taste packed into a very drinkable brew that has a little bit of everything in it. more hops as it starts off cold, malt takes over as it warms up for a well-balanced 12 ounces of good beer.

I saw this out for a couple of months and kept sleeping on it, so when I finally bought a four-pack, I was a bit late -- 2/18/13 printed on bottle for the born-on date and drinking it 6/16/13. but after four months of existence, the brew is fantastic.

bravo! for the Icon series!

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Photo of acevenom
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass. The beer pours dark brown out of the bottle and collects as an opaque, black liquid in the glass with a quickly dissipating light tan head. The beer smells of dark roasted malt, hazelnut, and some citrus hop notes. I get some coffee in the nose as well. The pine and citrus hop flavors hit the mouth along with that hazelnut and coffee. There's a nice roasted malt backbone. Those coffee and nut notes go with the hop flavors very well. The body is medium with moderate carbonation. The finish is a little dry and there's a lingering roasty aftertaste. The alcohol provides a nice warming feel even though it does not come out in the flavor. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of Seanniek91
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Grey Sail pint. 02-26-13 bottle date.

Appearance- Jet black with one finger of off-white foamy head that is leaving lovely lacing behind.

Smell- Bitter piney hops mingle with chocolate malts. Quite roasty, but not giving off any coffee aromas. Rather one dimensional. Mild, hopefully not due to the freshness of this bottle.

Taste- Starts off with a lot of bakers chocolate flavors, but as soon as they came in, they left. What is left is mildly bitter and "burnt" earthy hop flavors that leave me wanting more flavor. Nice lingering bitter aftertaste though.

Mouthfeel- Quite nice. Smooth and reasonably creamy with moderate carbonation. Not sticky or resinous, but rather dry. Very mild heat from the booze at the back of the throat.

Overall- Not a bad Black IPA by any means, but not one of the best I've had.

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Photo of BryanCarey
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Saint Arnold Icon Blue is a very dark brew and a good pour will result in a nice, frothy head of tan- colored foam that releases a very fragrant aroma of pine and citrus wrapped around a malty foundation. The foam eventually settles, but it does leave some lacing as you drink.

This beer has an interesting taste combination for a dark beer, combining flavors of pine and citrus with some roasted malt and dark chocolate. There is an earthy character to this ale and the beer is medium in body. It finishes dry and smoother than expected.

This beer, also known as Cascadian Dark ale, is listed as a black IPA and among the previous black IPA I have tried, this one is pretty good tasting. I like how it manages to create such a good balance and offer flavors not usually associated with dark beer. Not knowing how it is made or anything else about it, you see the dark color and expect a certain taste and character, but once you check the nose, you realize this is not your typical dark beer. It is also less malty and lighter bodied than other black IPA, but still unique and interesting in spite of its less full- bodied attributes. One taste confirms the uniqueness and encourages a second helping.

This beer may not be made by Saint Arnold again, so be sure to try it if you get the chance. It’s an interesting beer, less heavy than other black IPA, and another fine ale in the Icon series.

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Photo of BigBarley
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pleasant surprise from one of my favorite breweries. Adhering to the relatively recent style of "black IPA," this beer does great to showcase both sides of the style. It's a sheer black with a respectable crown of light brown head. Decent lacing. The nose gives you a punch of hops wrapped in a mild chocolate note with just a hint of roasty bitterness. The flavor is that of a completely balanced black ale, aggressive hop profile balanced with sweet roasted notes. Neither side dominates, but both get to shine. Very well-brewed, delicious and balanced.

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Photo of Pesci
2/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

It is a Cascadian Dark Ale, aka Black IPA. It has a big hop nose and flavor with a great roast finish yet with a light body that allows the hops to come through.
The initial nose is both malty and hoppy at the same time when poured from a cold bottle. Neither trait dominates the nose. The first sip begins very malty, with the essence of dark roasted malt coating the tongue, followed by a bitter hoppy middle. It leads into a clean finish with a hoppy aftertaste followed by a mild warming effect in the mouth and body.

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Photo of kyleelton
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I really like this style. As a native Houston guy, I also tend to root for my hometown brewery (although there are many more breweries in Houston, now).

My brother brought this one to me since I have onl been able to find the Red from the ICON series here in Abilene.

The pour is extremely dark brown and has a rather frothy head. Maybe a little active, but once it settled down the beer held a head for a few minutes before reducing to a thin layer across the surface of the beer.

It smells like Malta and yeast, but not overbearing. I'm also picking fruity, prune in the nose and coffee. The taste has lots of roastiness and prunes balanced with a really nice bitter hop flavor.

I like this beer a lot. I have had cascadian dark ales before and this one is definitely at the top of the list.

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Photo of dwpiercetx
4.79/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It is what it is. The Cascadian Ale/Black IPA/American Dark Ale is and has been my favorite type of beer for quite a while now because it is the best of both worlds with the hoppiness and maltiness. The fact that my favorite brewer has brewed it has made my day/month/year. This is about as perfect a beer as I could hope for. Thank you Saint Arnold! I will be leaving the country soon so it was great to have before I left.

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Icon Series: Cascadian Dark Ale from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
3.95 out of 5 based on 128 ratings.
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