Dark Depths | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

very good
297 Reviews
Read the review
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.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 297 | Ratings: 915
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

 890 characters

Photo of andrewjraab
3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark black with creamy off white head. Good lacing and stick.

S - Sweet malts, chocolate, hop resin, candied nuts.

T - Malty and sweet with hints of black licorice in the back end. Mouth feel - Bitter and drying finish. Some flavors competing and leaves a bit of a confusing flavor profile.

O - Pretty solid offering in the IPA Hopology mixed pack. I'd give it a shot, but would never buy a sixer.

 405 characters

Photo of bark
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The liquid is clear; the colour is dark brown, almost black (60 EBC). The firm three finger head is warm brown and airy. It sinks slowly leaving some lacing.

The smell is hoppy and somewhat bitter with lots of caramel, roasted malts, dark chocolate and red berries. It is sweet with not that much black malt sourness. Some perfumed fruity notes and a touch of rubber bands.

The taste is bitter, almost tart. The almost ammoniac-like bitterness fades quickly leaving rooms for smooth sweet fruity flavours, citric fruits, liquorice, strawberry jam, chocolate toffee and prunes. Medium body. The aftertaste got notes of Danish salt liquorice, somewhat harsh malts, citric hoppy bitter notes and hints of beef stock.

The carbonation is medium strong with a lager-like freshness. The small bubbles are long-lived.

A pleasant and complex brew with high drinkability, without any alcohol notes.

 895 characters

Photo of Huffs
4.66/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass developed a tan, creamy head. Head lasted and laced greatly. Appearance was black with a hint of red/brown when held up to light. Aroma was malty with hints of smoke and coffee. Taste was of coffee and hints of smoke and chocolate and a slight hop note. mouthfeel was full with a dry, slightly smoky aftertaste. Great beer.

 349 characters

Photo of BrewerB
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to Healthy Spirits for including this in their December Beer of the Month Club selections!

Pours a clear copper with a thick, dense light tan head that's retaining well and leaving lacing along the glass. Musty, blueberry, hint of garlic. Also some sweeter caramel/toffee malt present in the aroma. As the beer continues to breathe I get a nod of tangerine. Toffee malt again in the flavor along with a citrusy hop presence. Also a musty/funky quality that seems out of place in the style. Moderate body and carbonation.

 529 characters

Photo of Joshpu
3.89/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a duvel glass.

A: Nice three finger tan head. Poured a darker redish brown color. Nice lacing on the glass. Looks great.

S: Smells like malt and dark fruits. Also, the citrus hop in the smell. As it warms, I smell caramel.

T: This one is kindof hard to put my finger on, nothing really just jumps out and screams at you. It's got porter, ipa, and maybe a touch of stout characteristics. The thing is though, its not strong enough to be an ipa or stout. Roasty, I taste the malt and dark fruits, also the hop citrus note. Also has a smoked characteristic to it as well.

M: Pretty light mouthfeel. Little carbonation, pretty smooth. Easy to drink.

Overall it is a good beer, but not sure what it is. Pretty well balanced and there are definitely a few different flavors going on. Sidenote: This is batch #2.

 836 characters

Photo of Chadhowie
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love that Sam Adams is making some craft brews now that are competitive. This IPA was by no means mind-blowing, but was certainly good and worthy of trying. I am a huge fan of Sam Adams, who I deem to be the best beer for your money, and regularly good beer. I've tried at least 40 of their brews and I can only think of 2 or 3 I didn't like.

 344 characters

Photo of Altrurian
3.89/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Unimpeded pour yields weighty-sounding glugs and a big, tan topographically diverse head. Excellent lacing. Distinctive aroma brings to mind neither sweetness nor hops. The flavor follows through--a corrective, as it were, for porters and stouts that veer too far toward the dark fruits. But what is it? Smoked meat? Not smoked, exactly, but cured, with a minimum of seasoning. And yet, a refreshing, thirst-quenching quality too. Robust but quaffable. Creamy texture. Henceforth, on my list.

 492 characters

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.

 1,827 characters

Photo of abeerwiseguy
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA at 7.6% ABV. Poured this from a 22 oz bottle into a pint bar glass.

Dark brown color with a light brownish fairly dense 2 finger head that did not last long.

Fairly indistinct aromas of roasted malt and coffee for the nose.

The first thing to register on my tongue was the fairly astringic hop tastes followed by roasted malt and coffee. The flavor profile was earthy with a fairly smooth and long finish that was malty and slightly sweet.

This beer had a fairly light mouth feel initially followed by a well carbonated, lengthy, dry finish.

Overall I think that the Boston Brewing effort here is likely faithful to the style but somewhat reminds me of a Dopplebock.

With many of their newer products the Boston Brewing folks are giving us novel and interesting beers that are worth trying and the lower prices for 22 oz bottles as compared to most smaller micro breweries are certainly noticeable and welcomed.

 956 characters

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

A: Pours a dark, nearly opaque brown, with a thick blanket of tan foam. The head dissipates to a thin but solid layer and leaves big walls of lacing.

S: Sweet malt and floral citrusy hops.

T: Medium sweetness with some complexity over top of a solid hop base. The balance works well, with no real roasted malt flavors.

M: Medium to full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, quite nice. It's something different, and it's well done. I'd have it again.

 452 characters

Photo of Celt44
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've never had a Sam in anytging larger than a 12 oz. Bottle and since Boston Lager is my go to session, I finally gave this a try.

Appearance - pours a dark blac with a reddish hue. Nice frothy tan head that lasts throughout.
Aroma - sweet malt bomb. Brown sugar, baked bread, cookies.
Mouthfeel - very smooth, bit of a burn.
Taste - where's the IPA? Not getting the hops or floral aspect of a good IPA. Malty and alcohol at the finish.
Overall - not bad, but could be better. Sweet malts, cookies, slight fruity plum taste saves it.
Probably won't pick it up again...

 571 characters

Photo of Strix
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep clear brown, good initial head, some lacing.

Rich roastiness and breadiness in the nose, a slight hop finish.

A giant amalgam of flavors. Sweet caramel, roastiness, earthiness, and a wash of citrus hops.

Mouthfeel smooth, light carbonation.

Definitely points for creativity, but I don't think this was as good as the sum of its parts. Ended up being a wall of flavors that seemed muddled and directionless. It's in the spirit of a Black IPA, but the flavor profile didn't really work for me. The roastiness gets lost in the hops and it just becomes a wash of sweetish hops like you took an IPA and poured it into a dopplebock. It wasn't offensive, but for me it didn't really work.

 691 characters

Photo of gpogo
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Blackish dark brown with a small tan head that sticks around as a foam cap, little to no lacing.

A- Dark fruity aroma, slight breadiness with an even fainter light roastiness. Some piney hop aromas, but not much for an IPA.

T- Sweet malty flavor throughout with a nice sweet bitterness. Juniper and a hint of cocoa.

M- Medium-heavy body. Low to medium carbonation. The sweetness isn't cloying, but it does stick around.

D- Not my favorite and not what I expected for something with IPA in the name.

 505 characters

Photo of FreshHawk
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark garnet brown with a medium, fluffy, creamy, light khaki head. Average retention leaving a light, patchy lace.

S - Licorice/anise along with some dark fruit (plum especially). Some pine and herbal hops. Touches of earthy and cocoa notes. Touches of roasted malt but not too strong.

T - A good amount of tart dark fruit and licorice. Good amount of bitter herbal and piny hops that get stronger on the finish. Some earthy, cocoa, roasted dark malt. Touch of citrus on the tip of the tongue. Strong bitter finish.

M - Medium to light body. Above average carbonation with tingly and prickly finish. Slightly dry finish.

D - Dry with a lot of bitterness on the finish. Fairly easy to drink although it isn't super refreshing. Good hop presence and plenty of dark fruit.

Notes: Interesting mix as a Baltic IPA. Nice hoppiness that works fairly well with the dark fruit flavors. Some earthy/roasted flavors balances it out. Not bad, but nothing that made me want more.

 975 characters

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

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a very dark brown, nigh black, but shows mahogany trim around the bottom edge of the glass. Three fingers of tan craggy head last for four minutes and leave large loops of lacing behind with every sip. It's a good-looking beer, if nothing else. Medium body and carbonation strength, smooth and semi-creamy texture.

Smells of dry grapefruit rind combined with mostly herbal and strangely tannic notes with plenty of charred malt and a helping of dark fruits on the side with a very light grape mustiness in the background. This grape must pushes through along with the roasted and blackened malt flavors onto the tongue, with a heady hit of resinous hopping providing my hop fix for the day. I like this one, it hits a good balance between the qualities of a BP and an IPA for my preferences.

 824 characters

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.

 801 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown with a nice tan head. Good structure and some nice lacing.

Some herbal hop notes, hop oil, and charred malt/coffee in the nose, but not strong enough.

A well-hopped baltic porter. Interesting hop presence, with some coffee, some cocoa, bitter herbs, mild sweetness and firm bitterness. Finish is bitter and it comes from a combo charred malt and hops. Nice carbonized edge to this.

Fuller bodied. Nice silkiness to this, and something you can swish around. Standard Sam Adams carbonation.

Overall, likable. Nothing earth shattering but a very solid brew.

 575 characters

Photo of vickersspitfire
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice dark hearth amber color and is filled with a sexy thick bubbly head that’s roughly two fingers thick. The head sticks around for a while and creates a beautiful lace around the glass. The aroma is light, sweet and filled with various dark fruits, fig, grape, some spice and mild clove. Its crisp and bitter when it first hits your tongue, the feeling widens and becomes a bit more mellow as it hits your entire mouth. Spiced flavors come through along with some roasted malts and mild hops as it hits the back of your throat. Its got a medium body and goes down very well, I can’t wait to have another!

 623 characters

Photo of RickS95
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure what kind of beer it's supposed to be, the bottle says Baltic IPA while this site says Baltic Porter. Looks like a porter but smells like an IPA. Regardless, it's batch 1 in a bomber poured into a snifter.

Pours a thick black, almost struggling to exit the bottle. The head is a light beige a couple fingers thick. Head has characteristics of both an IPA and a porter. Good retention and nice lacing.

A strange smell in that it's dark and malty, but also fruity with dark ripe fruits AND with some citrus backnotes.

The site is wrong, it's clearly an IPA. Good hop flavor with both the savory hops, as well as the citrus variety. A lot of different fruit flavors, with some caramel maltiness to thoroughly confuse the taste buds. It's like a pineapple flavored coffee...strange but it works.

The feel is all over the board. Some sweetness and acid from the different fruits and malts and some bitterness from the hops. Some crispness from the carbonation and acid with a dry, bitter finish.

It's as crazy a beer as I've had, but I liked it. It's got a little bit of everything and keeps your palate completely guessing the whole time. Easy drinker despite being an IPA, if you can get past the workout from your nose, taste buds and palate.

 1,255 characters

Photo of MouthfulOfchris
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light black color with a large khaki foamy head with good retention and some lacing left on the glass.

S: The aroma has a dark roast aroma with molasses and earthy hops in the nose. The hops are not in your face but are still pretty big.

T: The taste starts out with a 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.

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

O: I enjoyed the beer. It is tasty, goes down easily, has decent kick with a complex variation of style. It’s a solid beer worth drinking if you’re looking for something different.

 754 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this out, its dark, not heavy dark billion srm darkness and viscosity, but a dark brew over a relatively thinner body than most things this color, thin wisp of off white beige head on the top, around .33" in depth. Aroma, burnt roast, licorice, some bitter hop notes, toffee and chocolate malt (no chocolate itself).

Taste, plenty bitter, pretty heavy in that way in fact for a porter, but this calls itself a baltic ipa, which is different. Maybe because it doesn't have the thickness, they called it more of a porter. Relatively dry, a little anise residuals. A little more dark fruit figgy notes and aftertaste than I would hope for, the biggest complaint I have about baltic porters is all the dark fruit bitterness, or sometimes even sweetness. This being a SA beer, it doesn't go to hard at the edges, tries to be right around the middle, and for the most part, other than the higher than normal (way higher) hopping, it pretty much accomplishes what it set out to do. I think the roasted/burnt barley is the biggest signature on the beer.

The beer really runs across a lot of different style spectrums. Ultimately, this, like every other SA beer from this series, is interesting, decent, yet overpriced.

 1,220 characters

Photo of rarbring
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A brown tinted black beer. A huge tan head with good lacing and good curtains.

Smelling of dough, bitter oranges, sausages, dark chocolate and hoppy herbs.

Tasting of dark bread, dark cocoa, dried fruits and a splash of coffee.

Medium low carbonation, a soft texture. A big body with a somewhat dry finish.

A very well balanced and clean baltic porter.

 356 characters

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.

 807 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a very dark brown, usual excellence for the brewery with the head of foam and lacing.

The smell is of a grain monster. And bread monster. Thoroughly malty as a Baltic Porter should be.

The taste is of bread, something really sweet like maple syrup, roasted malt, not much bitterness.
Oh, the finish does have some bitterness to it. Quite a bit, actually. An interesting ending to a malt forward Baltic. I like.

Bordering on if not on full bodied, the carbonation is medium and they make for a nice mouthfeel.

I spent +$5 for the 24oz bottle and I feel I got my money's worth and then some.

 602 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.