Dark Depths | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

very good
297 Reviews
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Dark DepthsDark Depths

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Combination between a Baltic Porter and an IPA.

Added by Bierman9 on 01-09-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 297 | Ratings: 915
Photo of kylehay2004
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: 1.5 beer tan head on a dark brown/black body with some light passing through.

S: nose is very very light with minimal earthy hops, roasted malts, coffee and smokey notes.

T: smokey, coffee and roasted malts. the hops provide an earthy note but I am not sure if this is more than a typical porter. The hops seems to provide more of a bittering and piney presence otherwise not sure if this is an IPA.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: not too special overall. Very drinkable and good tasting, just not very unique.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out nice and dark in color with a light brown colored head on top. The head was sticky and left a nice lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer had plenty of hops on the nose. The taste of the beer was has a really nice blend of IPA and Porter I think. The rich smoothness of the dark malts blend nicely with the tingling of the hops. The mouthfeel has a good amount of body to it along with a lightly creamy texture. Overall I think this was pretty good, I would drink it again.

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Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is near black in color and has traces of brown near the bottom of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It has a moderate amount of visible carbonation and poured with a one and a half finger high beige head that took a long time to die down and also left lots of lacing around the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of licorice and roasted malts in the nose along with some faint hits of citrusy hops.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, but is a little stronger and has a light amount of bitterness. No malty sweetness is detectable.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Although it's dubbed as a "Baltic IPA", this beer definitely tastes more like a Baltic Porter, except that the hops from the IPA help from subduing sweetness and keeping this from becoming too sweet and malty.

Note: Batch #2

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish/brown mahogany color, medium sized white head to it. Not much present in the smell department. Nice mouthfeel, medium bodied, get some caramel and toffee notes, maybe some fig or raisin flavors on the back end. Pretty well balanced, finishes clean and smooth. Pretty solid beer all around, nice change of pace from the typical IPAs... worth a try if you see it around.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With the rise of Black IPAs, what base beer might provide the best display of flavors to support the hops onslaught? Though the jury is out, the experimentation is in with Sam Adam's rendition...

The beer pours as most Baltic Porters do- with a mostly clear dark brown, slightly purpleish hue that allows low lights of ruby and garnet to emit. Well headed with stark-white foam, creamy moderate formation and retention and low-lying lace, the beer seemingly suits the eye as a Baltic Porter.

Dry toast, grapey esters, and a focus on citrusy and resiny hops begin to shape the nose. There's a soft and sweet underlying body that allows the rise of toasted berries, confectioner's sugar, and raisony that's elegant; but the citrus and pine notes that are zesty and somewhat brash.

Flavors also start with a Porterish toasty and chocolaty taste that weaves in the Lager-like elements of mature malt taste yet with the grapey esters that make them so wonderful. Low on coffee taste- all that's surplanted at mid palate with the rise of white grapefruit, and leafy freshly mulled grasses, and orange zest that morph into pine resin bitterness as the malty and estery flavors fall and the hoppy taste develops into a dry sappy bitterness in finish.

Semi-malty and robutst to texture, the beer starts sweeter and more Porter-like. But the beer covers a lot of ground in a hurry, turning quickly to sharp citrusy bitterness to dry resiny (almost sticky) and crisp in finish. A linger of resiny bitterness and charred fruit chase into aftertaste for an extended enjoyment.

The true nature of IPAs are to showcase the hop's aroma, flavor, and bitterness; so I naturally find that the malt influence of toast, sugar, and esters to detract from what hops do best dimishes the character somewhat. But I like it that the exploration of what a base beer of "Black IPAs" should be takes me to the flavor combinations that I find here. Any fan of Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale should find favor with this offering.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz squat bottle, another Whole Foods Kahala procurement whilst in sunny, oh so sunny Honolulu.

This beer pours a clear, very dark cola hue, with three fingers of peppy, foamy, and bubbly beige head, which leaves a stellar honeycomb pattern of lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away. Purdy, indeed.

It smells of thin pine resin, some mild doughy yeast, slightly roasted caramel malt, and further softly spicy, earthy hops. The taste is bitter pine and citrus rind hops, sour, tangy, and somewhat chocolaty toasted malt, some mild herbal tendencies, and a very subtle rising booze warming.

The bubbles are quite restrained, the body a pretty hefty medium weight, and smooth enough, if you're inclined to tolerate that tacky hop incursion. It finishes quite off-dry, the grainy malt showing some rather sweet backbone, amongst that general roasty character, and a lingering bitter hop melange.

A strange mixing of beer cultures, and given the result, a more or less successful one, if you're into this particular meshing of flavours - kind of an East Coast attempt at replicating the Cascadian Dark Ale. Once again, as in the war between the coasts for the IPA, the East loses, really for lack of a bracing hop effect - stylistically, of course.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.81/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass. Reviewed live. Expectations are low - it just sounds like a poor idea to mix a Baltic Porter with an IPA. I'm prepared to be blown away - and I hope that I am - but shit don't bode well.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard pressure as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of light khaki colour, nice cream and thickness, and average retention. Colour is a dark caramel with amber hues. No yeast particles are visible, though it's nontransparent. No bubble show. A bit dull.

Sm: Lovely roast and dark malt qualities are intruded upon by invasive hop notes. The balance feels wrong, but I'm game. A moderate strength aroma.

T: The balance is indeed completely wrong. Baltic Porter notes compete with IPA notes outright, with the IPA losing; the drinker loses as a result. Dark malts fight with vague indistinct hops. Caramel is cut short by aggressive citrus. All things considered, it's scattershot but enjoyable. Admittedly, the balance could be worse. I wouldn't say it's refreshing, but I like it in a general sense (after all, I like beer).

Mf: Smooth and wet - at least both styles agree on that. Adequately thick and carbonated. Suits the flavour profile in a general sense.

Dr: Drinkable, but unremarkable. I won't be getting this again. An interesting attempt by Sam Adams, but one that fails. Meh. Move along, lads. Leave this one on the shelf where it belongs.


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Photo of emerge077
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark body, bright clarity with a ruby red glint in the light. Persistent creamy tan foam, leaves a bunch of lace and an ever present layer of skim on top. Thick rings of lacing form as the beer disappears.

Dry roasty grains, carob sweetness.

Tastes a bit sweet, carob and a dry herbal bitterness. Not much distinctive hop character besides the bitterness on the back end. Comes off more like a straight Baltic Porter than IPA as listed on the bottle. Medium bodied, a little too sweet and full to tackle a bottle solo. Thanks Wayne for sharing this one!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light black color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of dry roasted malt with some pine floral hoppy notes. Taste is a mix between some lightly dry roasted malt notes with a pretty solid pine and citrus hoppy notes with a balanced bitter finish. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Interesting experience that I wouldn’t mind having again.

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Photo of zeff80
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a jet black color with a two-finger, light brown head of bubbly foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled roasty and malty with a touch of pine.

T - It tasted roasty and of bitter piney hops. There was a touch of booziness and some sweet toffee.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice Baltic Porter. I've had better, but this is pretty tasty.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip, batch 1. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a nice 2 finger khaki head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Spotty lacing on the glass, with a good amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of big grapefruit, pine, and herbal hops; with a bit of roasted malt and caramel in the background. Decent aromas but was hoping for more dark malt presence. Taste of grapefruit, pine, herbal, caramel, roasted malt, molasses, dark fruit, and a bit of coffee. Good amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, caramel, roasted malt, and dark fruit on the finish for a bit. Some nice roasted malt backbone in the taste, but the hop flavors are still most prominent. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and lush mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Overall a very nice Black IPA, with plenty of flavor. I was hoping for a bigger roasted malt backbone, but it was still a very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one and a half fingers of light brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The foam settles quickly, but leaves nice lace on the glass.

S - Toasty brown malt with a touch of smoke and spicy hops.

T - Sweet malt with a little bit of toffee and brown malt. Some chocolate comes out in the middle with a touch of nutmeg. Finishes with a brown malty note along with caramel, a little chocolate and moderate bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - Not bad, but I get a lot more Baltic than IPA. The dark malt is sugary and a bit flabby, and while the bitterness is sufficient to balance. Decent, but not something I would drink again.

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Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love the hops and I love a good Baltic porter so I picked this up today to see how the two styles mesh.Poured into a 1/2 liter stein a deep dark roasted chesnut brown with some deep reddish hue,a huge fluffy tan colored crown that never really settles atop.Dark roast,molasses,and earthy hops in the nose,the hops are not in your face but are pretty "big".Heavy roast and molasses-like sweetness up front with a bit of coffee,the hops provide earthiness and leafy notes.Hmm I wanted to like this more than I did,I have had hopped up big porters,and American black ales but this is a little different.It's decent but not great although I applaud SA for giving it a try.

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Photo of jlindros
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a creamy darker colored 1.5 finger nice looking head that fades very slowly with nice lacing, over super dark molasses almost black colored beer with slight hints of burnt sienna light hinting its way through.

Nose has some earthy hops at first, earthy and slight grassy as well as a bit of spicy hops with a touch of pine. Under that is a nice dark malty aroma, not super malty but a nice dakr slight chocolatey hint of roast, creamy toasty brown malts, with a bit of caramel and toffee as well.

Taste brings more malts at first, toasty brown malts, caramel, toffee, a bit of cocoa and creamy milk chocolate, hint of dark roasty like malt as well. Then plenty of hops, earthy and a bit spicy hops, with some pine, slight grassy, and chewy. The creamy brown toasty malts with caramel add a nice addition. It gets fairly bitter but not too much, the hops are a bit too overpowering although that's what it's supposed to do. The malts and hops don't meld as well as they could, but still tasty components. Finish is fairly bitter still, earthy spicy and light piny hops, a bitter roasty malt flavor that gets a bit icky tasting, and a bit of toasty brown malts, caramel, etc.

Mouth is a bit fuller bodied, somewhat creamy and rich, decent carb.

Overall not bad, interesting flavors, the malts are quite nice, the hops are a bit icky bitter that go in the wrong direction from the hops, chewy and piny, spicy, too icky bitter. Overall really interesting but doesn't blend well. They pretty much did what I expected, with baltic porter and cascadian dark ale blended, but it just they just don't play well.

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Photo of chinchill
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from Sam Adams "IPA Hop-ology" 12 pk dated best by Sept. 2012; bought and stored cold.

A: Pours clear but very dark brown. The medium size tan head looks quite dense Decent retention and great coverage of varying density on the glass. Great looking! 4.75

S: Primarily a piney hop aroma with a faint malt background. Hints of pepper and a spice mix I couldn't untangle. Fruity and flowery too. Unfortunately, the nose carries a bit of wet dog.

T: The flavor largely follows the aroma. There's plenty of piney hops, but way more tame and balanced than the aroma suggests. Some pepper and flowery notes. Odd impression of saltiness too.

M: Crisp; medium+ body; good medium+ carbonation but perhaps a tad too high.

O: My first Baltic IPA leaves the impression that SA has done a good job crafting a blend of two styles that really do not mesh nicely. Still, it is complex, unique and fun to drink. A rather balanced brew for an "IPA". I think I would prefer a hop mix that was more herbal/citrus and less piney.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains grassy hops, roasted malts, some chocolate and some coffee.

T: The taste starts out with a heart roasted malt character that is quickly followed by a strong hops bitterness. Then some mild flavors of coffee and chocolate come in along with a touch of citrus creating a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, complex variation of style, it’s a solid beer worth drinking for a while if you’re looking for something different.

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Photo of mactrail
3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tangy and bitter black ale. Very dark in the Affligem chalice with a jammy rich flavor. Hops are not so aromatic but provide a hearty backdrop of flavor with a bitter aftertaste. Reminds me of the "Cascadian" black IPAs that are making the rounds. More of the charred malt flavor. A little residual sweetness. Starts to get tart as you sip. Woody and a little astringent.

Really nice touch of foam on top, but the lacing and creamy carbonation are way above average. Another interesting and impeccably made brew from SA.

From Mega Liquor in Hemet, Calif. I hadn't seen this one before.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a deep black with a one finger head upon pouring. Decent retention, leaving a very thin cap on top. Very nice lacing all around the glass, pretty thick.

S: A surprising amount of floral hops, some resin, a little bit of roasted malt, and coffee. As it warms a slight alcohol tinge comes forward.

T: Some cocoa, mild citrus and pine, more resiny hops and some roasted malt. Not really very hoppy though..nor is it full of dark malt and chocolate/coffee. Kind of confusing.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly chalky feel to it.

O: Not really sure what's going on with this beer. Not really very hoppy but it also isn't very malt. Expected it to be more like a black IPA, but it isn't.

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Photo of russpowell
4.29/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1 pours a garnet-hued mahogany with a thumb of rocky tan head. Great lacing & very good head retention, fine looking beer!

S: Roasty grain & chocolate

T: Charred & roasted grain with a touch of coffee & dryness up front. Some herbal & citrus hops fight through as this warms, but mostly roasty grains, & dryness though, faint raisin notes in the background, along with even fainter carob. Finishes roasty, dry with a touch of pine, fig & woody hops & just a bit of booze

MF: Medium/thick bodied with soft carbonation, nice balance

Pretty easy to drink, seems to skew way more to the Baltic Porter side of things, but pretty nicely done

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Photo of Slatetank
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Wegmans, shared with tenderbranson69 enjoyed from a pint chilled.

An onyx color with opaque appearance and thick cream of tan like a porter with fine bead. The smell is pine and herbal with some slight citrus tangy odor coming through with moderately sweet note of dark malt and slight toffee tinge. The feel is good, yet mostly dry with strong bitterness from the hops keeping the malt balanced with moderate carbonation and slight alcohol in the semi-dry and spicy finish.

The beer tastes sufficiently malty to be considered a hoppy porter is not far off or American Black ale if you prefer. The flavor of slight plum and mild pine with some grapefruit tinges of simcoe and pepper from the saaz giving a nice contrast to the slightly sweet toffee-like malt elements. The overall impression is it is more of a porter but is pretty highly hopped so it is not great but very good -it just has a kind of split personality and feels like two styles put together for the sake of it.

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Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large dome head that leaves plenty of webby lace throughout the tasting. When pouring, the head ever expands with an upward cascade of bubbles (like Guinness). The liquid is dark mahogany brown, but light does shine through.

This smells closer to an IPA than a porter. That is to say that there isn't much in the way of darker malts, but there is a decent bouquet of floral hop.

Plenty of darker malt flavor. Closest flavor is treacle or caramelized molasses. There is a touch of sweetness to the taste. The finish is balanced where the hop comes out. The aftertaste is mild but long lasting.

This is a nice blend of styles. I very much like the complexity of this beer.

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Photo of Jason
3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Very active carbonation, epic lacing, black, opaque

SMELL: Herbal, hop resin, faintly citric, coffee, sweetness, cocoa powder, dried plums, faint alcohol

TASTE: Very smooth, full bodied, roasty, very sweet, milk chocolate, burnt sugar, toffee, hop oil, hop bitterness, nougat, charred drying finish

Pretty good, seems a bit chaotic with sweetness, roasted flavors and hoppiness not meshing all of the way. Worth a try.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown in color with a khaki head. The aroma is fairly herbal with a fair amount of licorice. Lots of pine in there, too. Quite a bit of molasses sweetness. The flavor is somewhat bitter, but also sticky and sweet. A fair amount of herbal and pine hop flavors. Sweet chocolate, molasses, and licorice dominate the flavor. More of a baltic porter than anything.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a tumbler.

So, a hybrid Baltic porter/black IPA, eh? Well, I'll try anything once... It pours a deep black-brown highlighted in ruby and topped by a finger of light tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, dark chocolate powder, pine needles, dark greens, and a kiss of molasses. The taste holds notes of mild cocoa, bitter coffee, juniper sprigs, light roasted malts, pine resin, licorice, and eucalyptus. It's an odd amalgamation, but one that is not altogether offensive, surprisingly. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a generally smooth feel. Overall, an interesting beer, one that shows that you can hop up a Baltic porter without killing the character of the beer. I may not have been the biggest fan, but it's really not all bad, honestly.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the dark depths of my cellar to the dark depths of my glass ... It is a cold post-snow evening and I have no desire to stir out into those depths.

From the bottle: "Dark, Fierce, and Blustery"; "Across the cold and brackish waters of the Baltic, the English porter was transformed from a mild ale to a dark and complex lager that confounds definition. Immersed in dark, roasted malts and a bold citrus hop character, these big and contrasting flavors are brought together with the smoothness of a lager for a brew that's bold, mysterious, and full of flavor."; "At Samuel Adams, we love experimenting. This series of limited edition brews represents some of our favorite small batch creations. Batch No. 1".

My pour created two fingers of dense, deep-brown head with good retention. Color was a deep, dark-brown with caramel highlights at the edges. Other than that, it evidenced a darkness as deep as its name. Truth in advertising. Nose had a citrusy hop quality intermingled with a roastiness. I may as well cop to it now - I am not a fan of the style as the malts seem to get in the way of the hops and this seemed like it was going to be more of the same. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with an initial smokiness from the dark malt. The hops seemed to have faded, giving the taste a medicinal quality, like the Geritol that my grandparents used to take with breakfast. Warming, I got notes of dried dark fruits, like a combination of the cherry and blueberry-infused porters that I got to try yesterday. I still was not getting a lot of (if any) hops. Nice lacing appeared as I drank through it. Finish was semi-dry, very roasty and I was glad that I had set it aside for a night like tonight as the wind howled outside. This was not bad, but it was not as good as Baltika # 6, which I think is the best of the style.

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Dark Depths from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.75 out of 5 based on 915 ratings.
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