Conspiracy | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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29 Ratings

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Conspiracy Belgian-style Black Beer is the result of a collaboration between Midnight Sun brewers Gabe Fletcher and Ben Johnson and Pelican Pub (Pacific City, OR) brewer Ben Love. These brewers conspired during barley wine fest week to brew up a deviously delicious dark Belgian-style beer.

Conspiracy is opaque black with a creamy beige head. Black malt shrouds it in mystery; the Belgian yeast imparts intriguing flavor; the alcohol adds danger. If you're up for this mission, watch your back.

25 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-07-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 29 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of GClarkage
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

08/08/07- Purchased at John's Marketplace, in Portland, OR.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with an un-notched date strip on the side of the label. Poured into my Anderson Valley tulip.

Appearance- Deep oraque brown, approaching black. 3/4 inch dirty brown head which subsides at a nice 1/5th inch or so for the rest of the beer. Looks very creamy. Leaves nice lace sheets and layers.

Smell- Damn, this one is nice. Tons of stuff going on here. Nestles Quick powder, sweet chocolate malt, fresh brewed black coffee and a assortment of dark fruits....prunes and raisins come to mind first. Very sweet scent.

Taste- Sweet chocolate malt taste is the most dominant that I can tell. Coffee is present secondary. Lightly hopped, a bit caramely, ripe prunes and dates add to the taste experience. Just like the scent, this one has lots going for it. Maybe even a light coca cola flavor as well.

Mouthfeel- Not as creamy as it looks, but still fairly smooth. Just the right amount of bitterness as well. Mid level, maybe a tad higher in the carbonation dept.

Drinkability- Not sure what the hell to label this under. Seems a bit strong to be a traditional dark ale. Has characteristics of export stout, baltic porter, strong dark ale and schwartzbier. Whatever is falls under, it's a damn good beer with lots of twists and turns. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of alexgash
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle served at 55 degrees F.

Charcoal black body with slightly lighter edges. Firm, creamy, long-lasting, light cocoa brown head. Roasted coffee, stewed fruits, dark candy sweetness, with strong dark chocolate bittersweetness. Nice and complex.

Tangy and sweet dark fruits (prunes, raisins, figs) start out. Notes of caramel and dark chocolate fall in, providing a very nice contrast/harmony. Bitterish, vinous-tannin edge throughout and more noticeable in the long, warming finish. Very nicely done! Medium-full body with a smooth, creamy feel. Delicious and drinkable.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Kolohoe, you are an angel. Thanks for sending me brew.
Poured a deep deep dark chocolate black with a smallish tan head that disappeared rather quickly.

Aroma is heavy on the alcohol but lots of chocolate, coffee, and nut notes as well. Somehow the three 'candy' aromas make a blend to remind me of toasted dark caramel.

Taste is dark dark fruits with burnt malts, dark burnt chocolate, a hint of espresso if you look for it, and lots of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth.
Aftertaste is slightly powdery cocoa, dark candied fruit, and yes...lots of alcohol.

Did I mention it seems to have a lot of alcohol in it? While this really is a hot beer, it isn't offensive and somehow the alcohol compliments some very intense flavors found in the brew.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this one for about a year.

Pours a nice deep black color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger plus creamy tannish head, which then leaves a thin layer of sticky lacing. The nose is malty, slight yeast, chocolate, toffee, caramel, figs, raisins, and plums. The taste is slightly sweet, malty/yeasty, and the good dose of dark fruit. The alcohol is hidden very well, almost no existent. Medium body, a well rounded complex brew. Very drinkable, a nice take on the style from two excellent breweries.

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4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of slaintemhor
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found a bottle of this at Woodstock Market and Deli in Portland, OR. in Sept. '09 and decided to see how it was doing. The colour was black with no head. The aroma was that of sweetened black coffee and brown sugar. On the palate, plenty of froth with sweetened coffee grounds,bittersweet chocolate, and a slightly metallic feel with a long tangy aftertaste.

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Photo of grumpy
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A pretty nice Belgian Strong Dark. A bit of a roastiness in the taste, as well as a touch of coffee. More prominently, flavors of Belgian candy sugar, chocolate, caramel and fruit. Medium bodied, prickly carbonation in the mouthfeel, very little alcohol observable. Very easy to quaff. Midnight Sun/Pelican collaborate well. How about another new beer??

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Photo of beersabound
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What an excellent brew. It's black with an active well formed tan head. The aroma is of mild roast with a dark fruit ester and a hint of alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and elegant with a pleasant alcohol warming. The flavor is of mild roast blended incredibly well with a light hop bitterness and plum cherry esters. It finishes dry, slight smoky and roasted malt.For 8.5% it's very drinkable.

I had it tonight with a salmon spinach salad topped with pomegranate bacon and balsamic vinegar and it was spot on. The balsamic and Conspiracy taste great together. Brew it again MSBC and Pelican!!

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with mahogany edging. A tan head barely developed and faded quickly.
Aromatics are a great blend of dark chocolate, sugar-powdered nougat, caramel, Kahlua and spice.
The spicing is well integrated with the other bold components, but shades of coriander, cloves, orange peel and spearmint gum shine through.
Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is a bit low. Sticky and lightly tacky.
The pallet is laced with roast malt, brown sugar, spice, cocoa nubs and dark rum. Alcohol is warming but not hot.
Finishes with lingering spicy malt and caramel.
If not for the dark color, this would be a convincing grand cru.
Very tasty.

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Photo of Floydster
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle thanks to Steve, drank this a while back, reviewed from notes, poured into my Rubicon snifter, color is a very dark brown that is almost black, thin 1/2 inch creamy light tan head that does not last very long, some nice lacing though, especially for a beer that has some age under its belt, aroma consists of Belgian yeast, candied fruit, and sugar, roasted malts, chocolate, lots of raisins, toasted bread, and some mellow spices, flavor starts off with dark chocolate and sugar, chewy and roasted malts make up the middle, sweet and spicy finish with more malt, warms up nicely with a big raisin flavor as well as other dried dark fruits, hint of boozy warmth in the finish but barely detectable, more chocolate by the end, nicely balanced between sweet and roasted notes, medium to full bodied, on the lighter side when it comes to carbonation, sweet, roasty, chewy, and spicy mouthfeel, taste lingers well, drank this bottle by myself but probably could not have done much more, not overly sweet or rich, just filling after a while, had been wanting to try this collaboration between Midnight Sun and Pelican for a long time, have not had many Belgian-style black beers but this certainly sticks out as one of the better ones, would like to drink again, recommended

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Photo of khiasmus
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Black. Brown highlights when held to the light. Two fingers of head that drop to a single layer in a few moments and leave no lacing.

S- Smells like a belgian strong dark, albeit not quite as complex. There's also a roasty aroma in there that is certainly not Belgian... I suppose when it's fifty below outside you want something with a roastiness to it, eh? There are some good dark fruits, bready aromas, a bit of Belgian yeast. An enjoyable nose.

T- Initially sweet and malty, but then the roasty comes back in, followed quickly by uniquely Belgian characters: the phenolic; clove, coriander, but then, too quickly, the almost rauchbier character comes back, and the finish is almost a strictly roasted rauchbier flavor. I don't have any guidelines for the style to go on, but I feel like rauchbier is a German thing, not Belgian...

M- Very highly carbonated, medium-full body, and a dry finish.

D- It's very good, but it's a hybrid, not really an adherent to any style. If I had to place it, I'd say Schwarzbier/Belgian strong/Rauchbier. Still, try it if you get the chance. It's quite an experience.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Politics is the conspiracy of the unproductive but organized against the productive but unorganized."

--Joseph Sobran

Darkest mahogany that hints at the suggestion of lightening when the glass is held up to my less than brightly lit front window. For all intents and purposes, however, the beer is opaque. The head is the color of caramel nougat and has a less than wonderful texture. It's soft and styrofoam-like, is essentially featureless as it departs, and doesn't deposit even a scrap of lace as it does so. Not a good start.

The nose is most reminiscent of a BSDA. Belgian dark ale works too (especially since the brewery calls it a Belgian black ale), but the ABV seems a little generous for the smaller style. Each sniff delivers dark fruit, dark brown sugar, molasses and even a little anise. Spicy Belgian yeast is a nice touch.

Conspiracy is another one of those big ales whose flavor profile is let down by less than optimal carbonation. An improved mouthfeel would put this Midnight Sun brew into the stratosphere. As is, it's merely good, with a great deal of wasted potential.

It looks like the brewery knows what the hell they're talking about in calling Conspiracy a Belgian black ale. It's darker than most BSDAs, probably due to the use of more black malt than is typical. How's that for a brilliant assessment? I'm still getting a generous amount of aniseed, although I'm pretty sure that spice wasn't used.

In addition, the flavor profile consists of raisins and dates soaked in brown sugar syrup, dark caramels dipped in bittersweet chocolate and a healthy pinch (or three) of ground clove. The beer is sweeter than it is bitter, which is right up my dark ale alley.

Actually, the mouthfeel deserves a little slack, especially from someone who doesn't mind laid back carbonation. The problem is that I hold Belgian ales (and Belgian-style ales) to a higher standard.

Conspiracy Belgian-Style Black Beer isn't one of Midnight Sun's most outstanding offerings, but it could be with one simple change. The brewers are on the right track, they just need to work on the carbonation to turn a good beer into a potentially great beer.

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

dark brown liquid poured down into the glass. A huge head of tan then rose up to a height of around two inches before settling back down into a frothy and foamy cap that stayed with it throughout the session. Only real knock here being too much head if anything. Aroma was fairly light, nice spice notes up front, hints of caramel, dark prune like fruit notes and a hint of cinnamon of all things. Carried over well in the flavor which was equally rich. Strong notes of spice up front and a smooth, mellow texture that really seemed to hit the nail on the head. Earthy and herbal with nice hints of dark fruit, I really felt it summed up the part quite well

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jasonmech77 for sharing this...
Appears a dark amber with a light tan head that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is plummy, with notes of cocoa, nuts, doughy yeast, and mild coffee if you dig deep.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with nuttiness and yeast standing out with sweet fruit up front leading to a gentle, roasted espresso-like, bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, full of caramel, and semi-dry on the swallow.

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

22oz bottle.

Poured a dark, dark brown color with an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of roast, dark fruits (mainly plums), some citrus, chocolate, and spicey. Tastes of caramel, chocolate, roast, plums and spices. Light alcohol finish.

Notes from 7/18/07

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of tpd975
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with red highlights. The tan colored head is on the smaller side.

S: Aromas of dark chocolate, dark fruit, bread, and roasted malt.

T: Nice sweet candy malts and dark chocolate. Hints of roast and bready yeast. Hints of coffee, vanilla, and light green hops.

M: On the fuller side of medium, smooth pretty enjoyable.

D: Unique beer that seems to really work.

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Photo of gford217
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber courtesy of bu11zeye poured into a tulip.

Pours dark mahogany out of the bottle and settles in almost black in the glass with a fluffy tan head that recedes to a cap and leaves only a little bit of lacing.

Smell is very sweet with candi sugar forming the backbone for some dark fruit and Belgian yeast on top. Hints of chocolate in there as well.

The dark chocolate comes out a little more in the taste and starts out the sweetness along with some plums and raisins. The Belgian yeast is there in the middle along with some licorice which gives way to a dry, slightly spicy finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied but the massive carbonation makes it feel thinner than it should.

This is a another very good effort from MS and though it's not in the same class as some of their beers, it's much better than most beers out there. Recommended.

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Photo of Sixpoint
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Midnight Sun is one of my favorite American Breweries. PERIOD.

Special thanks to Warren for procuring this one for the FUNKY beer tasting.

This beer poured a nice, rich cacao color and had a similar aroma. Little pungent whiff of hops before the first taste...

However, it tasted a little flat to me. Not in carbonation, but in flavor. The edges seem to have been blunted, and the beer fell flat in the end.

Yet, redeeming qualities include a fantastic cacao/hazelnut flavor, and a nice dryness from a healthy fermentation.

Even a "bad" beer from Midnight Sun is still a top-notch selection, IMO.

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Photo of brdc
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks markgugs for this one.

Large capped bottle poured into a snifter, good looking dark, opaque body topped by an incredibly creamy, coffee and milk colored thick head, with great retention and lacing.
Aroma keeps up with the appearance, a very nice strong fruitiness comes right out of the glass, plums and berries mostly, but along come notes of chocolate, coffee and yeatiness.
Medium to full in body, quite creamy on the palate, the taste is a bit more delicate than expected but still quite nice, fruity and malty, roasted and full of chocolate.
As it warms a bit in the glass, the sweet and coffee flavors turn a bit too much, which reduced the drinkability a lot. Still nice, but you should find someone to share this one.

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a good sized cola brown head that slowly recedes. Aroma is fruity and belgian yeastiness. Some cola sweetness and roastiness as well as some dark chocolate and vinuous notes. Taste follows with some cola sweetness, tangy roastiness, black licorice, yeasty breadiness and a drying finish. Mouthfeel is medium in body, carbonation is somewhat soft up front with just a small bite of pepperiness in the back of the throat. Slightly drying in the finish. Interesting beer and very drinkable for its somewhat high abv. Thanks Tim for the opportunity.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, 8.5% ABV, 25 IBU. Pitch black in color with quite a few chunks floating about. Thick foamy tan head trickles down to a thin layer rather quickly.

Nose is a bit soapy at first, followed by rich toffee and caramel notes. A few dark fruits hang out in the back.

Big alcohol presence up front. Dark fruits, black cherries and currants. A bit of Belgian spices and yeasty flavors. Finishes with a bit of dark chocolate.

Medium body with a high amount of carbonation. Well balanced. Tasty.

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Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an espresso brown with a buoyant tan head that literally leaves gobs of lace all over the chalice

Smell: Aromas of cocoa powder, nougat, tobacco and nuts, with some lactose underneath; others have picked up fruit but I am not detecting any of that (perhaps because the bottle has now aged somewhat)

Taste: Opens like a Schwarzbier, with a black bready quality that moves in a sour rye direction by mid-palate (only if you swirl it long enough); after the swallow, the sourness disappears and is replaced by a roasty quality, with cocoa powder, wood and pipe tobacco and some coffee; at the very end, the lactose appears as a hint of milk chocolate on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with a bit too much carbonation

Drinkability: This is an interesting brew and, although it has a number of things going on, I would not have put it in the Belgian category despite what the label says; nevertheless, a worthy experiment, although I don't love it enough to re-visit it any time soon

Thanks, joe1510, for the opportunity

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cwier for this beer.

A: Pours a thin cola like brew but darker than its counterpart. The head is many inches tall made up of medium sized mocha colored bubbles.

S: Grape juice, powdered cocoa, coffee grounds and sawdust.

T: Begins mildly sour around the tip of the tongue, a bit how a Guinness hits you. Some red grapes, chocolate milk and dark bubblegum round out the sourness. Fairly doughy, like pumpernickel bread dough with some sugar added to it. It continues with the sweetness allowing apple, prunes, licorice and burnt caramel continue to lure the drinker in. Finishes with hints of aluminum, good amount of roastedness, brown sugar and some vanilla.

M: Medium body, soft mouthfeel.

D: The smell almost turned me off…I’ve had enough beers with that aroma that have turned out bad. This was a pleasant surprise for sure

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to a generous BA for sharing this. Review from notes.

Poured a very dark brown. Almost looks like a stout. Some ruby hues and a beige/cream colored head. Smells delicious: touch of spice, nice rich caramel, and raisins. Only problem is that's all I taste too and it's rather one dimensional. I'm not overly impressed by the flavors. I guess it's not as "alive" as some other Belgian dark ales I've had. It's hard to compete with the classics of the style. However, it's still a well done beer. I'd be interested to see what else Midnight Sun has to offer.

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Conspiracy from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 29 ratings