Art Of Darkness
Brewery Ommegang

Art Of DarknessArt Of Darkness
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
3.97 | pDev: 10.83%
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Art Of DarknessArt Of Darkness
Notes: Let us now acknowledge the dark arts of brewing. Our limited edition Art of Darkness Ale is deep, dark and magical, with champagne-like carbonation and rich matiness from a complex recipe of multiple barley and wheat malts, as well as flaked oats.

Using no spices or flavorings, Art of Darkness gains all its rich aromas, tastes, and apparent spiciness from the malts and Ommegang's proprietary house yeast.

There are no secret ingredients or magical incantation. There is only Ommegang brewers' creating the finest quality dark, strong ale of complex and deep character.

Art of Darkness is a fine ale to enjoy immediately, and is excellent to cellar.
Reviews: 136 | Ratings: 687
Photo of DMXLOX22
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 22 oz. of this brew at my local establishment. Fully stoked to be drinking this beer. I just had to review this beer.

Appearance: Pours a black, earthy, with a great showing of a nice, white, fluffy head.

Smell: Has a strong aroma of spiced almonds and hints of chocolate. Enjoyed the presence of dark roasted malts.

Taste: The first sips brings a infiltration of dark malts, light flavors of banana and some tangy prunes. Has a moderate alcohol complexion. It did leave me wanting more. Has a clean aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Presents moderate carbonation. Light-bodied for a Belgian Ale.

Overall: Actually a delicious brew. Quite mellow and enjoyable, but also presented a strong-flavored body. Really enjoyed this beer and will have to try again if and when its available.

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Photo of Gmann
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very deep brown color, almost black. The khaki colored head is moderate bubbled and slowly settles into a light cap.

The aroma is sugary sweet with some dark fruit notes. There is some plum, prune, and cherry notes. There is a light peppery spice from the yeast. Nothing crazy going on here.

Good cherry and prune flavor. Some musty clove notes from the yeast. A bit of woody or char flavors from the roasted malt but not much. Seems to be a dumbed down version of their quad.

The feel is moderate but way fizzy. The carbonation takes away from the flavor as it is hard to pick up some notes with all the fizziness. Sweet on the palate with a light spice offset.

A decent Belgian brew. Well made but not distinct, nothing really stands out and the carbonation is way too strong. Not really sure why they made this beer.

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Photo of Kevin73
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a mostly opaque reddish brown with a thin tan head that disappears quickly. One of the darkest quads I've ever tried. Also one of the driest. A fairly high carbonation is apparent from the first pour. The smell is yeasty and not much else. The taste is rye bread, malts, a hint of hops and very little sweetness of any kind. The beer is a bit boozie a result. Mouthfeel is good, nice carbonation, and not too thin. Basically my only complaint is it needs some sweetness to balance it out. Otherwise worth a try.

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Photo of ckk527
4.21/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Last 32 ounces of a keg into growler of same volume. Served in a chalice.

Appearance: Deep brown, almost black. Thin head just forming a brief film. Spotty lacing.

Aroma: Initial hint of a well fermented Christmas pudding. Dark fruits soaked in alcohol, with a subtle sweetness softened by a malty quality. Subtle cinnamon or allspice notes add interest and warmth. Very appealing.

Taste: Supported by the aroma; no surprises here. Reminiscent of a raisiny bread pudding or figgie pudding - but without the Devonshire cream weighing everything down. Pleasant, balanced. Raisins, plums, hint of molasses cookie and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium, really. Surprisingly silky, followed by alcohol warmth. Quite lovely.

Overall: An interesting and very good example of the style. Pleased to have picked this up. Another quality statement from BO.

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

Pours a dark cola color with a tan head. Smell of vanilla,bread and wood. Taste follows nose with some candied dark fruits. Mouth feel was sweet and full.

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Photo of teromous
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pitch black with a very thin off-white head on it that disappears into a small ring around the rim of the glass and small islands of bubbles. Small droplets of lacing.

S: Cocoa comes to me immediately. Then alcohol comes through, along with some light candy scents. The candy scent is similar to one of those old fashion root beer barrels...not the root beer scent but that sweet smell that accompanies it. It smells pretty good but I think it could possibly use some aging to get rid of the alcohol scent.

T: I'm approached with a combination of banana and fig flavors. Immediately following is a coffee flavor. I get a slightly iron taste to the beer as well. Some of the alcohol comes through, but there is a burnt character that masks it.

M: The mouthfeel is relatively bright with carbonation. Despite the limited head, there is a fizzy quality to the beer. I'm not overly fond of the carbonation level. It has a full mouthfeel, and has a welcome dryness.

O: I felt that the beer was a little too roasty for a Belgian Strong, and that it was a bit overcarbonated. I wanted more phenolic character, but it was masked behind the roasted flavors. Much of its Belgian yeast character was not brought to the forefront. It's not a bad beer at all. I felt that despite everything, it was a relatively average beer. I will enjoy my beer, but won't be looking for this beer anytime soon.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, clear brown around the edges, one finger tan head.

S-Mainly darker fruits with some spice, not much else.

T-Sweet dark fruits, plums and raisins, not much bitterness nor spices.

M-Light lots of carbonation but a tad watery.

O-A nice beer but it doesn't have anything that stands out, had it with some age on it, maybe fresh it would be better.

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Photo of Suds
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a deep, nearly black, brown color. It reveals slight red highlights when held to the light. The head is fizzy and short-lived. The aroma is of brown sugar and candied fruit, dark malt and Belgian yeast, pepper and a distant, fleeting smoke-scent. Nice. The taste is sharp with alcohol and carbonation. Warming and malty, with dark fruit and yeast. It seems highly attenuated, yet is sugary on the lips. Full and satisfying body.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark chocolate brown with clear ruby highlights. A thick, beige head reaches a dense, creamy three inches with golden flashes. The head is long lasting while dispersing a complex web of lace on an Ommegang tulip glass.

Opens with aromas similar to cherry cordial and a molasses background. Some notes of light pine and yeast open with warmth.

The flavor profile generally follows the nose while adding light coffee and cognac. Warmth brings out a roasted character with earthy fruits such as fig. Tartness is slightly off style but is well balanced against bitterness and sweetness. The complex progression with warmth is consistently followed with a long, chocolate finish.

This is a full-bodied, satin-textured beer with fine effervescent carbonation and lightly warming alcohol.

Well-suited for sipping while reading on a cold, wet autumn day. This is an interesting rendition of the style.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is black with a large light tan head. Pretty good retention. A bit of lace.

Smell is light and malty. Some dark fruit, primarily raisin and grape. A bit of yeast.

Taste contains malt, some chocolate, some dark fruit, but not as noticeable as in the nose. A bit of roasted malt. Mildly sweet. Strikes me as closer to a stout than a BSDA - I guess Belgian Stout is the closest description.

Medium bodied, lighter than expected. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, disappointing. A decent beer but nothing exciting. Not something I would go for again.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on 02/20/12.

Appearance: Pours a very dark blackish brown with a slight hint of ruby at the bottom. Moderate bubbles and a big four finger light tan head which slowly recedes into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Aroma leaps out from the glass with dark fruits and yeast. Belgian yeast with hints of clove and black pepper. Dark roasted malts with hints of burnt toast, biscuit, bitter dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, and coffee.A very lively and big mix of dark fruits including raisin, dark grapes, berries, fig, and prune. Light hints of anise and smoke. Subtle earthy hop presence. The dark grapes really stand out. Pretty nice smell.

Taste: As fruity, spicy, and complex as it smells. Belgian yeast along with a taste of cloves, black pepper, and other spices. Very roasty dark malts with a taste of dark chocolate, toast, biscuit, coffee, burnt caramel, and toffee. Big taste of dark fruits with notes of dark grapes, raisin, fig, prunes, and berries. A little burnt candied sugar and subtle notes of anise and smoke. Some earthy hops add a little drying bitterness towards the finish. A really nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Creamy, spicy, and drying. Alcohol heat is subdued.

Overall: A really good take on a dark Belgian ale. It has the fruit esters and spices of a Dubbel and the roasted characteristics of a Stout. Really nicely done.

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Photo of fx20736
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml wired and corked bottle into a chalice, served at cellar temp.

Onyx black which permits no light to pass through. Thick, souffle like sandy colored head that leaves spectral lacing.

aroma of dark fruit and molasses

slippery mouthfeel

Dark prunes and raisins with a treacle like bittersweetness riding atop a tidal wave of malt.

Notes: outstanding, tasty, yummy.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Orval chalice on 11/19/12

Medium, ruddy sort of brown that settles much darker. The head is fizzy, reaching 1/3rd of an inch before settling down to a fraction of that. Some lace.

The aroma has an interesting culmination of goings-on: rum soaked raisins, figs, black licorice, clove, toasted grain and overtones of Dr. Pepper and RC Cola.

The flavor has a lot of dark fruit - raisins, plum, maybe even some prune. Dark grains and spice, too. It has a slight cola bent, as suggested by the nose. Yeast tones throughout. The finish is dry and quite bitter with notes of earthy hops, unsweetened cocoa and perhaps a touch of coffee.

Art of Darkness has a smooth, rolling medium body with granular undercurrents. Carbonation tapers off over time, leaving a pillowy, plush feel. Very nice.

I worked on Art of Darkness for over two hours and I enjoyed it more with each sip. One to let warm. An easy recommendation.

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Photo of Brant
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BLUF: A very well balanced dark ale, great for dessert or cold winter nights. A subtle and tasty mix of dark fruits and sweet malty alcohol.

A - Right out of the bottle it's a nice chocolaty brown with a hint of deep amber. In the glass it looks black. Nice head that fades a little too fast.

S - Sweet, hints of raisins and figs, mildly alcoholic scent.

T - Incredibly well-balanced. No one flavor stands out, but there's chocolate, raisins or figs, malt, and a slight alcohol tang (that by no means detracts from the experience!). Very nice.

M - Medium bodied, creamy but not overly so. Was not as heavy or syrupy as I expected it to be.

O - I bought two bottles of this because they both stated "Limited Addition" on the label. Glad I did! I'll drink one myself and save the other to share with my family over Christmas, and will certainly grab more if I see it. It has a very well balanced taste, nothing overwhelming, everything working in concert to yield a fantastic, warming ale.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 2/27/12. Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Very dark brown with some deep amber present during the pour. Completely opaque. Half a finger of light brown head.

S - Belgian yeast, dark fruit, roast, spice and hints of chocolate.

T - Belgian yeast and some clove notes present up front that are well complimented by chocolate, spice, cherry, raisin, brown sugar and fig flavours. No one flavour dominates.

M - Medium body; creamy. Moderate carbonation. A little too much carbonation.

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Photo of chinchill
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, murky brown color with a tan head.

S: nicely balanced array of roasted grain, dark fruits, baked bread, vague spices and caramel.

T: Plenty of dark fruit mid-taste and in the aftertaste, with a kick of dark chocolate in the finish. A trace of light smoke.

M: superb -- full body and very creamy.

O: exceptionally enjoyable and better than expected, even from a premier American producer of Belgian style beers.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from Champagne bottle into a Duvel glass. Pours dark black with full thick head of 1/2 inch brown foam. The laye remains. Dark fruit smell. Oats. Plums, subtle raisin nose. Taste is fruity blend, mostly dark fruit - plums. Strong Belgian yeast. Some chocolate notes. Much happening - all good.

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

[Suggested Glassware: Trappist Glass]

The pour was a murky dark brown with some maroon highlights and an average (1-2 finger) creamy beige head that was mostly lasting and had excellent sheets of sticky lacing.

The aroma was nice and rich with a dark grain malt and a doughy Belgian yeast and possessed notes of dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, dark fruit (raisons and dates) and a mild medicinal alcohol scent.

The taste was lightly sweet, rather malty and a tad acidic with hints of dark chocolate and dark fruit from the beginning, but quickly became roasty with a strong yeast presence and a note of roasted coffee and a touch of vanilla towards the finish. The flavor lasted a long good time with a roasty, wheat alcohol taste left to linger on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was just a hair below medium in body with a semi-dry creamy texture and a moderate carbonation.

Overall a good strong boldly robust brew with tons of flavor, which is quite amazing as it all comes from the grains and yeast (nothing else was added). Basically a simply fantastic beer...

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Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - very dark brown with a huge, thick, brown head that has great retention

S - sweet, a bit of chocolate, some yeast, some dark fruit

T - chocolate, fruity, cherry, plum, medicine

M - medium to full bodied, smooth, well carbonated

I really enjoy this beer. The flavor is rich and complex. The fruit is a nice balance to the big malt bill. The yeast comes through but doesn't take over. Overall, very enjoyable and worth trying.

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Photo of jwc215
4.73/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thick tan head. Lacing covers the glass.

The smell is spicy with anise, candy, chocolate. Robust and inviting!

The taste is spicy and sweet, Earthy/hoppy notes blend with chocolate, anise and espresso. Wonderfully balanced and delicious! It has a taste similar to Duval but dark. Some alcohol is noticeable, but enough to add to the complexity rather than detract. It has a long finish.

It is velvety smooth. Rich and full-bodied with soft carbonation.

This is a great dessert brew. Aptly named, this is truly a work of art!

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Photo of pkalix
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- beautiful thick, black with a tan head and hexagonal lacing down the sides.
S- definite belgium-type aroma; i've not been able to pin that down in a vocabularistic manner.
T- dark fruit flavors, some bitterness, some alcohol; but when it leaves it seems as if it might have been a lighter brew.
M- as someone else pointed out,some carbonation, but "silky".
O- easy to drink at a 8.9 clip. tasty, the bitterness is not too bad at all. someone mentioned he allowed some of the yeasty sediment to pour into the glass and it seemed "smoother". the little bit of yeast i tried with it came out a bit tangy but i dont think it was meant to be poured in as a hefe weizen is. i'm flashing back to the days of the Thomas Hardy Ales . . . . back then, THAT was the WORST of all the beers on the DER BARON's list to finish in Las Vegas... does anybody remember DER BARON's???

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Photo of scootny
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A Lovely thick head atop a very dark clear but opaque black brow fluid. Some lace here and there. Smell is sweet with dark fruits. Raisins and figs, brown bread and yeasty esters of banana. Taste is complex with a firm sweet malt body and notes of licorice and anise. Some chocolate and cocoa/mocha. There is a very faint alcoholic edge in the finish and that quickly faded to a sweet warmth. Bitterness is low but adding the yeast by agitating did seem to all a bit of light chalkiness to the finish while at the same time adding a smoothness. Curious. Feel is quad like in its thickness but a touch lighter and well carbonated with a gentle creaminess. A very deep and delightful brew. Much to enjoy and savor and I hope I find some more to cellar.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice looking deep brown color, the head was creamy looking and tan in color. The smell of the beer is sweet and a little yeasty. There are some slight dark fruit aromas in there too. The taste is a slight blend of the candi sugar, the fruits and the malts. No real noticeable bitterness in this one too much. The mouthfeel was smooth, gently carbonated and silky. Overall I thought this was a very nice release from Ommegang.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a big tan head. In the aroma, dark fruits and a sweeter roast. In the taste, dark fruits, a small dryness of alcohol, and a mix of small caramel and somewhat grape like. A boozy bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a dry small alcohol and dark fruit, to a clean aftertaste. A bit boozy, fruity, caramel like, and Belgian like, almost feels like a quad.

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Photo of Pencible
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with lots of fluffy light tan head.
S: It smelled like banana and clove and raisin, with some milk chocolate and cream, and a bit of maple and candi sugar.
T: It tasted like banana and clove and cocoa powder, with some sweet raisin and candi sugar and sour Belgian yeast. It had a clean and mild aftertaste that was sweet and sour.
M: It was oily and smooth with lots of fine natural carbonation. Beautiful slick body.
D: This was one of the sweeter Belgian dark ales I've had, with nice delicate scent and taste. The body was great, the alcohol was well hidden, and the finish was very mellow. So it was quite easy to drink, but sippable too. It could probably age quite well, but it was nice fresh also. Solid brew.

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Art Of Darkness from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 687 ratings