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Dark Depths | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 297 | Ratings: 915
Photo of John_M
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The description sounded intriguing, and so... on tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a dark cola color with good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is OK, but really seems a bit dialed down, even for a baltic porter. In any event, I get some light coffee, chocolate and vanilla. It's attractive enough... I just wish there was a bit more to it. On the palate.... seriously SA, this is the best you can do with this style? I get some coffee grounds, vanilla and burnt toast, but it's on a fairly sweet frame that's just not working all that well for me. There's also a hint of alcoholic heat on the finish, which only further serves to detract from this beer's drinkability (thank God I only ordered a sample size pour). Mouthfeel is otherwise medium bodied to fairly full, with some coffee grounds and hoppy bitterness in the finish.

Mehhh... I give SA an A for effort, but this just isn't working for me.

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Photo of prototypic
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A Baltic IPA brewed with lager yeast. Very interesting.

Dark Depths pours a dark mahogany brown color. It’s not opaque. Backlighting reveals quite a few burgundy highlights. A lighter tan head caps it off and stands about two fingers tall. It’s very slow to recede and leaves a sticky, thick web of lace trailing down the glass. Not bad at all.

Frankly, the nose is very average. It’s not overtly bad, but it is very weak and needs more strength. It kicks off with light chocolate and subtle coffee. Light hop scents follow and are notable. Smells like grapefruit, pine, and grass. The malts and hops work fairly well together, but are just too weak. As it progresses, some roasty notes emerge. That pretty much wraps it up. Alcohol is blended well and isn’t strong. It’s okay. That’s all.

The flavor is a little better. It starts out with a mix of chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Bittersweet dark chocolate mixes well with roasted coffee notes throughout. Hops are fairly prominent. They feature citrus grapefruit and pineapple flavors. There are also some piney and grassy flavors, as well. They have a slight bitter kick. As is expected with most Baltic Porters, it is rather acidic. That produces an interesting mix of flavors given the hop presence. It’s not bad, but isn’t great. Alcohol is masked pretty well and isn’t all that noticeable. Finishes chocolaty, bitter, and acidic.

Dark Depths has a medium body that is relatively smooth. Carbonation is light and the bubbles feel soft. It goes down easy for the most part. It’d be even easier if I liked the flavor a little more.

I admire Boston Beer Company for trying new things. The results here aren’t bad, but aren’t great either. Dark Depths is a hoppy Baltic Porter. It’s reminiscent of a Black IPA, but is a little more mild mannered and balanced. I’d prefer it to lean harder in any direction. It’s not bad though. Worth checking out.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a five finger khaki head that fades very slowly to leaving a good lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Grapefruit nose and flavor is smooth caramel and grapefruit. Lingering grapefruit finish. $5.99 for a 22oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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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 MattyG85
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 650 ml bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown that is nearly black with a tint of ruby red. Lots of rising bubbles and a huge five finger light tan head that almost overflows and retains very well. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of spicy, dank piney hops up front with some citrus grapefruit and oranges. Also some dark caramel malts with light hints of chocolate. The porter elements are pretty faint here as the hops dominate. Smells like an IPA that is slightly blackened.

Taste: Much as the smells leads. A fairly strong mix of spicy pine resiny hops and citrus hops. Hints of grapefruit and orange. Has a pretty substantial amount of caramel malts but not as dark and roasty as you would think. Hints of chocolate are pretty light. As an IPA it tastes pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, somewhat chewy, and finishes pretty dry.

Overall: A good tasting beer if you consider it more of a Black IPA than a Baltic Porter. Has a nice piney spice and good balance of malts.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a cloudy consistency. There was a huge, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Great lacing.

S: There were notes of coffee, hops, and some malt in the aroma. Not as big as I would have expected.

T: Tasted like it smelled: Coffee, malt, hops, and a bit of citrus in the finish. This beer tastes more like an American Black Ale than a Baltic Porter, but even then it's a little unfocused and off the mark.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole, this isn't a bad beer, but it is very uneven.

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

22oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance is a very dark brown, almost black, with a 1.5 finger tan head. Really good head retention and lacing.

Smell is almost all piny hops. There isn't really any roasted malt detectable at all.

Flavor is all piny hops up front quickly followed by a rapidly increasing moderate to high bitterness. Maybe a tiny bit of roasted malt becomes detectable towards the finish with the faintest hint of cocoa. A little bit of dark fruit in there as well. Mouthfeel is pretty thin considering the abv.

Overall I am a little let down by this beer. I was hoping for a lot more roasted malt. It ends up being not much more than an average IPA.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass, this beer is an opaque brown, with a small tan head atop it. The nose offers plenty of grassy, slightly floral hops, with a little bit of caramel malt. The taste is more balanced between sweet caramel malt (and a light touch of roast) with nice bitterness and floral hop flavor. The yeast profile is pretty clean--the standard Sam Adams yeast?--and the body is not at all heavy.

Nothing too special here. Actually, it reminds me of their classic Honey Porter, removed from standard rotation years ago. It's better than the last couple beers I've tried in whatever series this is. But, not worth buying again.

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

Pours a deep brown color with ruby highlights. The tan head is fluffy and has some big bubbles. It dissipates into a solid cap and leaves plenty of chunky lacing on the glass.

The aroma is of toasted pumpernickle and a noticable hop presence. The hops are grassy and has a touch of citrus and pine. The aroma is not very strong.

The taste is a mixture of roasted malt, tea, and piney bitterness. Roasted malt mixes with heavily burnt toast. This is followed by some pine and resin hops that add bitterness and some tropical fruit notes that add sweetness. There is an undercurrent of tea flavors as well.

The feel is moderate to light with soft-ish carbonation. Mainly bitter on the palate between the hops and the malt. A metallic bitter aftertaste lingers on a bit.

A beefy black IPA/hoppy porter. Probably lean towards porter. Style doesn't really do it for me.

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Photo of babaracas
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark red/brown with big oatmeal colored head that settles slowly to a half inch leaving thick rings of lace on the glass. Smell: toasted dark bread, plum, herbal and slightly citric hopping. Taste: pine, red plum, toasted bread, sweet orange note. Medium bodied, drying and sweet finish. Feb 2012 release.

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Photo of stampfler07
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Smooth black with a two-finger thick and foamy light brown head, fairly thick lacing

S- Strong pine and citrus hop, slight roasted malt as well with a touch of sweetness

T- Smooth dark roasted malt, coffee-like with a touch of sweetness initially, transitions to more citrus hop flavor in the middle, finish is lightly bitter, roasty and just a touch of dryness

M- Somewhat heavy on the tongue but very smooth and lightly carbonated

O- I found it quite well balanced and complex, a good play between the roasted malt taste and strong hop nose

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, a grapefruit like citrus hops and a small caramel like roast. In the taste, a small grapefruit hop, but a caramel like roast overrides it all. A small hop bite with a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a note of dryness and caramel in the aftertaste. A nice hop nose, a good caramel roast, and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Spider889
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Baltic IPA... I really was not sure what to expect of this when I bought it but I figured it was worth the unique experience. BA lists this as a Baltic Porter though the label never mentions "porter" once.

Poured into a Lost Abbey tulip. Darker than I was expecting, though this never does reach a full black color. The head is tall and frothy and the retention is very respectable. Awesome sedimentary layers of lace ring the glass the whole way down.

The aroma is the best part of the beer. It is dank and musty, floral, and with a touch of earth in it. You don't typically see noble hops in an IPA which I was very interested to see in action. I'd say that while the aroma is certainly different, the mixture of hops definitely works.

The flavor is where things start to go awry. Right away you notice a brine-like quality to the brew. The hops are bitter but seem a bit subdued for actual IPA territory. I was also disappointed in the lack of darker flavors given how dark the color of the beer is. The lager yeast only seems to thin out the flavors even more.

I suppose with some warmth the roast starts to come through - but it is minor, and mainly in the form of bitter black char flavors, which only blend with the hop bitterness rather than stand out as their own attribute.

The mouthfeel is quite thin - disappointingly so. The lager yeast creates an extra crisp and clean character that only further accentuates the dexterity of the mouthfeel.

Overall this wound up being very interesting, but also very odd. Not sure if I'd purchase again.

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Photo of silentjay
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

hmmm. a Baltic IPA. Baltic porter brewed with lager yeast called an India Pale Ale which would be brewed with ale yeast, I like them thinking differently but don't call it an ale if its a lager.

dark brown with mahogany highlights with an oversized khaki colored head that almost overflows the glass, recedes kinda quickly while leaving behind tons of lacing.

not very aromatic. sticking my nose into the foam I get some roasted nuts mixed with a small dose of aromatic hops bringing in some citrus and a bit of earthiness.

nutty aroma transfers to the flavor, but the beer brings in a lot of toffee and caramel. hops are a bit citric and woody/earthy, but not as strong as I expected with "IPA" in the name. cocoa and roasted malts are there as well.

medium bodied with a good, subtle level of carbonation and a lingering candied nut sweetness.

It's good, just in a bit of an identity crisis.

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Photo of fank2788
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown to black in the glass with red highlights. The head is light tan and quite thick and large at first but settles to a thin film. As expected hops tend to dominate the smell mainly in the form of citrus and pine. Beyond the hops there is a malt base with some coffee character but it is faint. The taste is very much like a slightly toned down west coast IPA. The hops again dominate with the pine and citrus flavors evident. They are balanced with nice maltiness that definitely is more sweet than roasted or coffee/chocolate like as the beers' color would suggest. The mouthfeel is full with a sweet start and a epic bitter finish. The carbonation is low which adds to the heavier character of the beer. Overall this is a pretty solid offering. It is a strange style, one that I'm still warming up to. You cant' just mix characteristics of a dry stout and IPA and expect it to work and it seems like that was in the minds of the brewers of this beer as there is clearly a lot more going on here.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown color into my trusted Duvel tulip from a 22 oz bottle, with ABV and Batch # (1) on the label.
Two finger off-white/khaki colored head that dissipates very slowly. Good amount of carbonation.
Aroma up front is extremely malty; akin to roasted malt and dark chocolate/cocoa character, with hints of floral, piney hops making their way through intermittently.
Taste is full of malt upfront with slight hints of sweetness. This beer is almost full-bodied and coats the palate nicely from the middle to the finish. There is a nice balance between the malt and hop bitterness that plays out well till the finish. Very smooth and easy to drink with loads of flavor. Wonder if the lager yeast they added makes it more carbonated and gives it a much smoother and silkier mouthfeel.
Very good mouthfeel and drinkability of this porter (IPA?).
Nice lacing along the insides of the glass.
I will admit, I was pleasantly surprised by this concoction from Samuel Adams.
Overall this is a very tasty brew from Sam Adams and is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Kromes
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: An opaque dark brown with ruby highlights and a thin tan colored head that sticks to the sides of the glass.

S: Roasted malt, coffee and herbal and grassy hops.

T: Very nice flavor to it. Starts with a very deep hop flavor citrus, pine, and herbal hop. I like the mix of simcoe and saaz. This gives way to sweet roasted malt and coffee flavor that perfectly balances out the hop. I'm very impressed with the quality of this beer.

M: Medium feel with a nice smoothness to it.

O: I keep getting faint traces of Baltic Porter through the hops. With all the history and technology it amazing the combination that brewers can come up with. This really is the best of both worlds. A quality porter and IPA in one.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.46/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow.This is one drinkable baltic porter. Others of this style might be too yeasty or tohoppy. This one is just right - maybe a little TOO easy to drink - it should offend more.

The appearance cannot get better. Black, laced like my grandma's living room. It smells unique - roasty, dark. The taste is outstanding. Balanced. The aftertaste is so good I don't want to eat my food. I would definnitely recommend this and hope to buy it again.

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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 videofrog
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 220z bomber into an imperial pint glass. No trademark "Best By" notch, only a note indicating that this beer can be consumed now or aged for later. Batch No. 1 indicated on back label.

A: Dark brown, almost black, nearly opaque. 2 finger tan head that lasts for a while and leaves thick, sticky lacing down the sides.

S: Mostly the citrus hops, with hints of roasted malts and a faint sweetness.

T: Citrusy hops are up front and dominate. Roasted bitterness is there with chocolate that lingers in the aftertaste.

M: Nice and thick. Low carbonation.

O: Definitely worth a try. If I hadn't grabbed the last bottle at the store, I would've liked to see how this one develops over time with the hops tamed. Thick for an American Black Ale, hoppy for a Baltic Porter. Take your pick; it's a solid brew regardless of style guidelines.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep clear brown when pouring that in the glass is black, two finger head that is almost tan.

S-Roasted malt but is seems to be dominated by citrus hops.

T-Starts with some roasted malt and ends with some bitterness. The flavors do not mesh well and the citrus flavors from the hops is not present.

M-Medium bodied some carbonation and no where near as creamy as I was expecting.

O-A disappointment from SA. I was expecting better.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look - dark brown/very close to jet black, with about two fingers' worth of light khaki-colored foam that dissipates somewhat slowly.

Smell - the Saaz hops really come through in the aroma. Beyond that, all I can barely discern is a subtle sweetness.

Taste - there's a slight bite that's felt before it's tasted, probably from the Saaz hops which are then the first thing to be tasted. I think the malt blends then add in a layer of complexity that comes out in the middle of the taste, leaving the finish and aftertaste mostly with the bitterness of the hops. But the bitterness tends to fade in and out.

Mouthfeel - pretty well balanced, actually, but if it leans anywhere, it's toward the watery side.

Overall - not a bad brew at all. I usually feel that Sam Adams beers leave a bit to be desired in terms of complexity, but this one fares pretty well in my opinion.

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

Dark Depths opens with a hoppy nose, the aromas coming out somewhere between medium-light and medium in strength. Hops provide nice grapefruit and pine touches. Malts are also present in decent quantities, these bringing strong toffee and vanilla-based notes, mixed with toasted whole grain bread crust and floury baguettes. As a whole, the nose is intriguing, though I did want for a bit more punch and pizzazz.

On the tongue, the beer proves more flavorful and enticing than the nose hinted at, the malts coming across strong in waves of vanilla, caramel, and toast crust, with strong touches of fig and faint hints of tawny port. The hops are also much stronger here, bringing huge pink grapefruits that play oddly, but nicely off of the dark fruit esters, as well as pine sap. The beer does have a noticeable alcohol vapor lingering at the edges, which is strange considering the fairly light 7.6% ABV. Black pepper spices provide an interesting grounding. The hops become more present as the beer is held on the tongue and the sugars die off, and similarly dominate the aftertaste, joined by roasted pecans and subtle ashy tones. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is good fare, though I don't find that it quite matches up with the other brews in this series. The flavors are quite nice, bold, and nuanced, but I simply wanted a bit more character and presence, especially from the hops.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Samuel Adams Dark Depths (batch 1) is an unusual beer. I don't think I like it.

A: Dark red colour and a huge 3 cm head that lasts quite awhile. 4.5

S: Malty with strong spicy hoppiness. 4

T: Malty with hints of spicy hops and some bitterness. This is a strange beer and I'm not exactly sure what I'm tasting. Salt? Smoke? 3.5

M: Foamy. 4.5

O: 3

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

A - Pours a dark black cherry color into my Belgian tulip glass with an easily light colored caramel head that's four fingers deep!

S - This is an odd one...mild onion and garlic resin, a little earthy, And some chocolate and pine notes. Honestly, this was a tough one for me to peg in the aroma for some reason.

T - Taste mimics the aroma, unusual. Toasted malt, mild onion, some pine, alcohol effervesence, and some buried citrus rind. I'm getting alot of fusel alcohol for only 7.6%.

M - Medium to thick medium body, mild carbonation on the tongue is borderline smooth.

O - it's an IPA, no wait, it's a Baltic porter - my palette is confused. Definitely a unique beer.

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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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