Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPASpecialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA
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American Black Ale
3.99 | pDev: 8.52%
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPASpecialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA
Notes: To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Specialty Imports' specialty wine and beer import business, Midnight Sun Brewing Company brewed a very special beer--a black double IPA--to honor this Alaska company's long-term success.

This Specialty Beer Black Double IPA celebrates Specialty Imports' success in importing and distributing the world's best wines and beers to the appreciative folks in Alaska. This "Specialty Beer" brings together smooth, dark malts with intense aromatic hops to create a wonderfully balanced yet committed-to-flavor ale.

87 IBU
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 178
Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ChrisPro for sharing. I'm guessing this is from January 2011? Served in a wine glass while consuming Thai BYOB.

A - A finger of white foam settles to a thin cap, leaving behind spotty lace. Dark brown body with some reddish tints.

S - Not much hops left here. Nice chocolate and caramel malt flavors, minimal alcohol. For an aged Black DIPA this has turned into a nice porter-esque beer.

T - Taste is again mostly chocolate and nutty malts. There's a bit of herbal hop flavor in the finish as well as a low level of bitterness. Again, it's somewhat bland at this stage.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, extremely silky-smooth texture, no alcohol, and a very clean finish. Best thing about this beer.

D - This was probably much better nine months ago, but it was still pretty enjoyable. Easier to drink than the oak-aged version although lacking in complexity. Will revisit when a fresh batch is released. I appreciated that there was actually a beer underneath the hops instead of bitter and astringent black malt, like in so many Black IPAs.

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Photo of Docer
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: (4.0)
- Rich dark brown brew.. can't see through it... heavily poured into a glass.. rendered about a finger and a half of light mocha colored bubbly foam. Settled to some creamy spotting like a nice porter. Big bubbles left about.

Smell: (4.5)
- Lovely roasty chocolate and bitter coffee touch.. perfectly sweet and grassy bitter with hops. Nice grainy malt, and plenty of bittering hop here.

Taste: (4.5)
- Yum. Perfectly solid and balanced brew. Taste is rather light actually, but melds so well. Chocolate grainy malt, bitter husky barley flare.. light coffee skunk, and grassy earthy bitter hops.. perfectly melded. This is a really good Black IPA.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Creamy medium to heavy body.. though the flavor was certainly smooth and drinkable. Bitter dryness, and chewy. This is a light meal in a bottle. Carbonation is just right, and leaves a slight chalky finish as it should.

Overall: (4.5)
- A beer I would buy many more of if more available. On tap I am sure this beer would be bliss. It holds up to my favorite CDA's and has certainly found its spot at the top. Get it.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Sierra Nevada hop tulip glass.

A: Pours a nearly jet black color with a thin light tan head. When held up to the light it's a ruby red hue.

S: Milk chocolate malt with a hint of northwest hops.

T: A very good black IPA. The first thing on the palate is that of the chocolaty malt, milk chocolate to be exact. Nearly no roasted flavors which I like to see in a black IPA. The hops are bursting around the edges as well as the finish. Loads of citrusy and piney American hops in this one. Nice balance between the two.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

O: An enjoyable black IPA, would seek out again.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

black as night with a light colored head that rose up about an inch and a half before settling down into a nice broken crown that stayed throughout the session. The aroma was very bright, lots of citrus here, orange and tangerine mostly and a wonderfully bright lemon like aroma that rose up, not at all what you would have expected from something that looked so fark. Nice medium body with a smooth and mellow carbonation and a lightness to it that again was outside what I was expecting. Smooth flavor, clean, crisp, loaded with bitter citrus hops. Lots of grapefruit and pineapple here.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.57/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Dan. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip. Currently the #24 American Black Ale. Reviewed from my tasting sheet.

Pours nearly black with a small tan head, not much lacing, and a thin collar throughout. The nose carries some good resinous pine and roast plus some earthiness in the background. The flavor drops off with the roast coming through too much and not bringing enough hops. Mouthfeel is very dry, though it tastes like it's coming from the roast rather than hops and bitterness, which isn't ideal. A bit of a disappointment from a brewery that's normally dead on with its beers.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan!

The beer is a dark brown hue with 1/4" or so of tan head and sparse lacing.

The aroma consists of roasted malt, with pine and citrus hops.

The flavor brings some nice chocolate, with a healthy dose of roasted malt. The hops get lost in the shuffle here, as they are overshadowed by roast and chocolate.

The finish has some of the hop bitterness I was hoping for, along with a lingering chocolaty roast.

Overall, this was a decent brew, but a bit out of balance, as again, the hops were buried in the flavor too much.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 07/07/11 notes. Brought this one to a small get together. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Fantome tulip.

a - Pours an almost black brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Some light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of citrus hops, roasted malts, pine hops, and chocolate. Some definite hops in the nose, pretty good.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, and pine hops. Hops are not as strong as the nose, but still present.

m - Medium body and light carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a good Black IPA, but like most, heavy on the roasted characteristics. Better than the other Black IPA we tried that night, North Peak's Furry. Would give it another shot.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think this was mdfb79's bottle, maybe. Thanks Dan! Consumed out of a snifter. At the time of this review this beer is #28 on the best of American Black Ale list.

Beer is black with a thin brown head that leaves a little lacing behind.

Beer has a piny aroma to it, mild citrus. There is perhaps a little bit of roast.

Beer is medium in body and mildly sweet on the front end. Overall the beer is fine but not as hoppy or as bitter as I assumed it would be. There is more roast at the back end but there are some nice pine notes in the midpalate. Overall this comes off as a hoppy porter more than a IPA that has some roasted barley in it. I think I'd skip it the next time around.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Source/serving: 22 oz. bottle

S: Well balanced roast and citrus hop character. You'd actually believe this was a ridiculously fruity coffee. Pine forest. Fresh moss as it warms. Not very sweet, but its fairly sticky with a faint bourbon/rum character.

T: Quite intense, but not harsh. Again, the roast/citrus hop balance is perfectly precise with each character neck and neck. Smooth espresso with a woody edge starts up front. Just a light touch of acidity that elegantly smooth. Semi-sweet here which only dried out slightly throughout. Definitely not very bitter though there is definitely some rummy alcohol and it could be a touch smoother. Oily citrus, grapefruit and light pine are there, but lay low until the middle when they slightly push the roast character into second. Finish is smooth except for prickly carbonation. Lingering pine oiliness and a hint of rum that gives way to pleasant, soft, lightly roasted bourbon. Doesn't really dry out much. Fairly full bodied, but not too creamy.

Notes: Nice, drinkable but still intense BDIPA.

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

Pours a dark brown, but with murky red tinge up to the light. Head is beige, dense, pretty good retention and lace that is thin but clingy. Yeah, nice look.

Smells very coffee-esque. Lots of roasted malt with rich cocoa chocolate blending with bitter espresso. Touch of mint, licorice adding a sweet spice note to it, but it's ultimately more like a big bitter stout hit than an IBA.

Taste is dryer than anticipated. Starts rich and malty, lots of dark roastiness on the front, develops into a mid-palate which is spicy and roasty with espresso notes. Finish is mostly spicy with black pepper, fennel and even turmeric on there. It's spice without a lot of the flavour, because the roast doesn't quite last until the end except in bitterness. Good palate, nice overall, a bit heavy on the spice and could use more floral hoppy notes to carry it through.

Seems thin on the front but there's definitely plenty of body. More spunk on the back, almost too much with a fair boozey heat.

Yeah, good beer and interesting take on the IBA style. Rough at times and also a bit too much towards stouty blackness at times, but the rewards are ultimately there.

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

Purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA and carted back to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable, at his request.

Pours a deep balck-brown colour, but lightened at the edges, with a fine and frothy head of mocha-coffee beige. Lacing is excellent, and sticks like sediment to the sides of the glass. Body is a bit lighter that I expected, but otherwise, it's a good looking black ale.

Nose is roasty and dark, but the hops (or at least what hops are present) just lighten it enough to make it seem like a weak dark ale, without adding any true hoppy fragrance or citric acidity. It ends up a pleasantly sweet, slightly coffee charactered dark ale, but missing some of the best elements of the genre. Honestly, if you overhop an ABA anywhere, it's on the noseā€”and this doesn't do it.

Taste is pleasntly roasty, with a slight citric overtone, and a hint of greenness that reins it in from being overly dark. Here the hops just balance the palate nicely. I'd actually be quite a fan if there was some true hop fragrance on the nose. The palae is good, however, giving a subtle twinge of freshness above the roasted black notes. It leavens the palate very nicely.

Feel is light, but appropriate.

It's a decent brew, but one that doesn't ever step up for its genre. There are much better examples, and beers I'd much rather drink on a regular basis. Something that I'm glad I've tried, but not something I'd be excited about drinking again.

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Photo of vande
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A ~ like a carbonated pepsi... dark and a bit bubbly...

S ~ not a lot [could do with its age, being june and brewed this past winter]...hints of dark chocolate/coffee....little bits of hops

T ~ held up really, really well... lots of coffee up front, hidden hops blended in....dark chocolate a bit on the back...

M ~ smooth...somewhat cream medium bodied Black IPA

O ~ a really good beer.. Next time, I'll have to drink it fresh and compare!!

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Photo of MADhombrewer
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle date looks to be the third week in Dec. I assume that is 2010. I swear the store just got this in.

Appearance- Black with a small tan head. The head ends in a film with a ring around the edges. 4.5/5

Smell- Muted piney hops and roasted barley. Some chocolate. It seems that the rostyness has taken over the aroma. 4/5

Taste- Good piney hop flavor with good bitterness. Not over powering. This is good. Chocolate and bits of coffee and roasted malts smooth out the taste. 4/5

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied. Somewhere beteen an IPA and a stout. The roasted and special malts give it a creamy feel at the end. 4.5/5

Overall- This was a good beer. My two favorite styles are IPAs and Stouts and this newer style combines them both. Due to the date on the bottle I will revisit this in Dec if it is around. The hops have surley deminished some. 4/5

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Photo of mikereaser
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rich black with 2 inches of foamy tan head that is just sitting on top taking its time disappearing. There is lots of lacing already forming. The aroma is roasted malts and coffee. Nice light aromas. Wow, the flavor isn't what I was expecting. Nice roasted malts are complimented by a fair amount of juicy citrus hops. Some coffee and chocolate come through in the finish along with a slightly burnt flavor. Its nice and smooth, light enough to drink alot of, and boy do I want to. Nearly 9% and you wouldn't know it. This is a beer i'd love to have more of.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 4.9.11

22oz bottle

A- Deep dark brown with a 1 finger tan head.

S- Smells like oats and corn.

T- Different, like slow roasted hops, or over cooked hops.

D- A bit bitter, but drinks very easy.

O- I didn't know what to expect, but I enjoyed it.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burled walnut mixture of black and brown, slight notes of ruby-orange along the edges. Head is creme brulee-toasted, tight, and leaves great lacing. Perfect so far.

As expected, espresso and chocolate notes form the backdrop for a full range of citrus and fruit notes. Solid herbal component from the Amarillo.

Midnight Sun, this is my first of your beers. I'm sad about that. This is great.

Hoppy enough to be noticeable, with lots of grapefruit and orange peel alongside the herbal notes of evergreen and mint. Wash that down with herbal tea, espresso, and a bite of dark chocolate and you've got XXX.

I thought this might have turned out a slight bit thinner than I was hoping; as it warms it reaches a nice creamy expansiveness. However, if there's any looking for improvement, that's the place.

Highly drinkable, dangerous even, and a damn fine beer. I would like more.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at the Olive Tree tasting room.

A: Appears deep brown, nearly black, with a frothy light brown head. Faint ruby tinge near the edges when held to light.

S: Nice moderate roast with aromatic pine notes and a dash of chocolate. Grapefruit and orange waft from the glass with each swirl. Light earthiness.

T: Smooth moderate bitterness with a nice balance between grapefruit, pine, chocolate, and roast. Nice flavor, with some noticeable booze in the roasted bitter finish. Booze lingers.

M: Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is creamy and sticky.

Overall: An enjoyable black IPA, though a bit boozy.

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Photo of daveytheformer
3.41/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce into a nonc

Pours black with a slight reddish hue when held up to the light. Tan head that fades to some lacing.

Smells like roasted malt and a little bit of hops.

Tastes are very malt forward with a noticeable hop bitterness rounding out the flavor.

Mouthfeel is thin with decent carbonation.

Overall is not something I'm really into but don't hate. From what I'm aware of this is a decent representation of the style just not the best.

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Photo of zeff80
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a dark, dark brown color. Opaque with a small, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left some sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled of citrus fruits with a good roasted malt nose. It was a really great blend of strong aromas.

T - It taste of bitter piney hops with a citrus-like tartness. Good roasted maltiness is reminiscent of a big porter.

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

O - This is a really tasty black ale. I would love to find more of this.

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Photo of Tone
3.86/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of citrus hops, sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, and slight yeast. Fits the style of an American Black Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, strong citrus hops, hint of alcohol, and a hint of yeast. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, moving it to its appropriate locale, 3/24/11 review,

A: Pours black with a medium white head, good retention and lace.

S: Notes of roast and charcoal, noticable hops.

T: Heavy dark chocolate and light espresso initially, but the hops come in and carry the beer to the end. Well balanced with an attractive piney juicy hop flavour.

M: Medium to full-bodied, smooth, soft frothy carbonation.

D: At this point a DBIPA is looking like a hoppy imperial stout, and this is what is it in my book. If you're a fan of Yeti or Storm King you'll like this, just don't know why these MS beers have to be so expensive.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic.

A finger of pale khaki head. Very dark black with dark amber hues on the edges.

Nose bursts of citrus and stone fruit. Peaches, mangos, oranges, and even papaya as well as a nice earthiness. Not much in the way of malts on the nose very much hop driven.

Taste follows the nose ...at first. Then chocolate, bread, licorice, molasses and a touch of tar. Then papaya, mango, apricot, and a touch of orange zest finish things up.

The beer is fairly light on it's feet for such a big beer. Full booed with lots of crisp carbonation to lighten things up. Prickly alcohol spice and a bit of heat is present, but not in a bad way.

Really solid beer, one of the best black double ipa's I've tried.

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Photo of Kadonny
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra from Dabecassis in a trade. Thanks David! Poured from a bomber bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: A jet black color with a perfect one finger off white head. Full glass lacing that does receede.

S: Citric hops with some earthy and floral notes and a heavy roasted malt smell. Chocolate and some licorice. Wow!

T: Wow, this isn't a stout? Flavor starts with the citrus and earthy hops that gets quickly beaten down by the huge roasted flavors. Dark chocolate, licorice, tar and roasted malt flavors take over that remind me of a hoppy stout. Hops come back to finish out with a huge bitter finish. Again, wow.

M: Full, bitter, prickly, alcoholic and nice carbonation.

D: Pretty good but the alcohol does limit drinkability.

Overall a beer that really reminds me of a hoppy stout more than a black IPA. Storm King anyone? Still, it was really enjoyable and a wonderful beer. This is the first that a beer that was an IPA really tasted like a stout...really. Still a very nice beer that I enjoyed immensely.

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Photo of tl00camaross
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured pitch black with a thin tan head and decent lacing. Piney hops dominated the smell with a light roasty character and boozyness towards the end. Taste comes across the same with hops dominating except the boozyness hits you in the middle and leads to a nice roasty aftertaste. Still suprised just how boozy this tasted even at just 8.5%, but not a total knock on it for me. Carbonation is perfect in my opinion nice and crisp like a good IPA. A pretty good beer but at $10 a bottle, I can find better offerings.

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Photo of lnashsig
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to AugustGarage for the chance to taste this-however I am not a huge fan of this beer. Poured into a bourdeaux wine glass (I was at a party, they had no fitting beer glasses). Pours a silky black color, a little bit of white foam that leaves very little lacing. Smell- some citrus hops flavors, but I can smell the alcohol heat already. Taste- definite hops presence, but nothing there to counter. A real lack of malt flavor, aside from some cloying sweetness. Big alcohol heat makes this a real tough beer to drink. My biggest peeve with this beer is how badly the alcohol is masked...and its not even that big of an IPA at 8.5. Mouthfeel- this lacks carbonation to a fault. Makes this even tougher to drink. Drinkability...bad. I wasn't inspired to finish the second half of the bottle, and left it for some friends to try. I am becoming more and more skeptical of the "black IPA" style in general...is this a farce, or a true style?

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Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 178 ratings