Double Black IPA (Pilot Series)
Alaskan Brewing Co.

Double Black IPA (Pilot Series)Double Black IPA (Pilot Series)
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Style:
IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
89
Avg:
4.01 | pDev: 8.73%
Reviews:
54
Ratings:
139
From:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
 
Alaska, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  37
Gots
  22
SCORE
89
Very Good
Double Black IPA (Pilot Series)Double Black IPA (Pilot Series)
Notes: The aroma of Alaskan Double Black IPA consists of fresh, citrus notes from Northwest hops and the heavy, dry bouquet of roasted grains. Brewed with an array of dark malts, Alaskan Double Black IPA features the distinctive flavors of coffee and bitter chocolate with a subtle toasted sweetness. Large hop additions late in the boil, and dry-hopping after fermentation, lighten and refresh the overall perception and flavor of the beer. It finishes with a dry palate and lingering warmth and bitterness.
Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 139 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.36/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have had in various forms, draft and bottle. Black, tan head, 1/2" nice lace. Aroma was more roasty than hoppy.

Substantial bitterness. Not a lot of hop flavor. Clearly not a top tier black ipa. More like a hoppy porter. Expensive format in the bottle. At least hid the alcohol nicely.

Apr 01, 2016
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L0ne from Texas

4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From backlog. 22oz bottle, April 2015.

Malt-forward example of a black IPA. Lots of roastiness, some coffee & sweetness, dark malt bitterness, and cocoa. Citrus/piney hops are in the back seat but make themselves known. Medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.

Really enjoyed this take on the black IPA style. Was nice to enjoy all the roasty, stout-like flavors, complimented by hops, rather than just being blasted by hoppiness with dark malts in the background.

Sep 11, 2015
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Cannibalgasm from Minnesota

3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz. bottle.

A: Pours opaque black with and inch and a half of frothy mocha colored head. Excellent retention and leaves behind some nice lacing.

S: Aromas of dark roasted malts, espresso, and citrus initially, then peppercorn, earthy hops, caramel, and subtle molasses.

T: Flavors of dark roasted malts, dark roast coffee, earthy dirty hops, and pine up front, then you get some nice citrus, sweet bready malts, and caramel. Finishes with subtle tobacco, molasses, black pepper, ad cocoa flavors. Leaves a bitter resiny earthy hop aftertaste.

M: Medium light body with moderate carbonation. Slick, smooth and slightly creamy feel. Nice lingering astringency and subtle alcohol warmth.

O: A very nice take on a black IPA. I enjoy this beer as it has a great flavor profile and is very drinkable. A very malt/coffee forward brew where the hops play the backbone. I recommend this to fans of the style looking for a slightly different take.

Aug 14, 2015
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.52/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

7.7% ABV per the label.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thick rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, earth, char, dark fruit, pine needle, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, char, earth, pine needle, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice mix of cocoa, char, and hops all around.

Serving type: bottle.

Jun 20, 2015
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mactrail from Washington

3.12/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours black with a frothy beige foam in the Kasteel chalice. A good deal more carbonated in the mouth that is good for it. This tastes like a stout gone a little wild in the bottle. Flavors are clean enough, though it gets tiresome with the insinuating bitter and burnt taste. A touch of fruit and rusty water.

If the code 040515 is "Drink by" rather than "Bottled on," that would explain why it seems past its prime. This is so fizzy on the tongue it's silly. From the 22 oz bottle purchased in Washington.

Jun 16, 2015
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RyanK252 from California

4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours deep brown with a ruby tone, some light makes its way through, with a frothy tan head that hangs around, settling slightly to a solid layer and leaving lots of foamy lace.

S: Roasty malt, coffee, hints of baker's chocolate, a little dark fruit, pine, and a little citrus.

T: Roasty malt, a little coffee, burnt toast, and chocolate (especially as it warms), citrus, lemon, pine, hints of dark fruit, and a little sweetness.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, creamy smooth.

O: Really enjoyable brew. Glad I snagged this bottle when I saw it.

Jun 08, 2015
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garymuchow from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

$3.99 bottle.
Sweet and sticky hop aroma with some herbs. Darker malts that only hint at roast. Deeper and darker fruit with lighter sweetness.
Very large dark foamy head. Very dark body with garnet highlights.
Nice blending of hop and malt flavors for a very enjoyable whole experience. Malt is closer to roast and holds some sweetness too. Less distinct hop flavors, but tasty and enjoyable - more herbal, woody, rustic, outdoors, autumn and blending to a soft but persistent and pleasing bitterness.
Moderate feel and no bigger. Pleasing sticky feel makes it seem heavier. With the alcohol it feels like its size.
This seems more malt forward than hops, but an enjoyable blend nonetheless. Solid.

Apr 18, 2015
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arizcards from North Carolina

4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a bomber from TW Arrowhead in late December for $8.99. Best by 040515.

Beer poured black with a beautiful tan head that is long lasting and leaving tremendous lacing.

Nose is a citrus blast with some hints of roast and cocoa.

Taste are divergent yet work well for me. Roasted dry malts provide a nice base and the citrus hops pile on top.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this beer rocks. I can understand why people hate this style as there are some crazy rough things that it does to one's palate but it is right up my alley! Nice job by the Alaskan Brew team!

Mar 28, 2015
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BeerDawgs from Georgia

4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A 22oz bomber picked up at Whole Foods Santa Cruz, CA

L - pitch black and 2 full fingers of head. Sticky lace all over the glass.

S - fresh hops, dark grains

T - fresh hops, pine and citrus.

F - well carbonated, smooth and well balanced.

O - a great black DIPA. Get it if you can!

Feb 16, 2015
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.07/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded copper colour pry-off pressure cap. Generally appealing label art. 650ml. (Late) 2014 vintage. Pilot Series.

7.7% ABV. Reviewed live as a black imperial IPA per the label. Served cold into a pilsner glass at low altitude in Austin, TX, and allowed to warm a bit during the course of consumption. Expectations are average; as much as I like Alaskan I'm frequently disappointed with black (imperial) IPAs, which are still part of a young style which is ludicrously difficult to brew with balance in mind.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: This healthy 4 finger wide head mushrooms out of the glass, exposing its apt khaki colour, notable creaminess, and apt fullness. It boasts a smooth, even consistency and a soft appearance, but could be more supple. Retention is impressive - easily 9 minutes. Leaves a light coating of lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque solid black with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

Appears well-carbonated. Overall, it's a conventional appearance for the style but isn't unique or special. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect, but with an uncommonly good head retention.

AROMA: I'm immediately not a fan of the hop profile, which is comprised of cotton candy, bubblegum, mint, herb, and leaf. There's actually not enough hop bitterness - which is usually the opposite of my issue with black IPAs. The cotton candy and bubblegum hop notes dominate, which is off-putting coupled with the sweet caramalt and dark malts. What does work is the well-executed chocolate note on the backend - likely a result of simple but effective chocolate malting. There's also a kiss of roast on the finish.

Constructively, a more piney and/or evergreen-dominant hop profile is usually the way to go in this style. Hell, why not spruce given Alaskan's yearly experience brewing with it? Overall, this suggests an overly sweet brew and is missing the roasted barley that should be at the heart of the dark malt build.

Aromatic intensity is average.

There's no yeast presence, off-notes, or overt booze.

TASTE: I may have misjudged the hop profile. While it's certainly not the pine/evergreen/spruce hop profile that I'd usually go for in the style, it does have a certain appeal; the bubblegum largely disappears beneath the dark malt sweetness, and the cotton candy isn't as obnoxious as I'm accustomed to. The faint mintiness does work well - reticent though it may be - and the leafy and herbal notes could definitely be worse. I do think that though this hop profile works better than the aroma suggested, it still lacks the fundamental hop bitterness needed to balance the sweetness of the admittedly generic dark malt and chocolate malt backbone.

There's no roasted barley presence - which is criminal, and I struggle to find any coffee whatsoever. While I wouldn't call this a balanced black IPA build, it's not the cloying nightmare the aroma suggested. Depth, duration, and intensity of flavour are average. It's not a very complex, intricate, nuanced, or subtle brew, but there's deliberation and intent behind the ingredient choices - which is a lot more than I can say about attempts at the style from, say, Stone Brewing.

This hop profile is by no means citrusy - and that's a good thing in this style. But more of a resinous flavour would help.

Finally, it's worth noting that while this is fairly imbalanced, it's nowhere near as badly executed as most beers in this new - and still very young - style. It's by no means a gestalt build, but there're the beginnings of cohesion here.

TEXTURE: Medium-bodied, unrefreshing, smooth, fairly coating, wet, adequately thick, and approachable. It's not the sticky mess it could be, and its mild creaminess plays well with the chocolate malts. But this texture doesn't even come close to elevating the beer, and fails to draw additional depth of flavour from the taste. Overall presence on the palate is decent albeit wanting. It's well-carbonated.

OVERALL: A more drinkable black IPA than the vast majority I've tried, but nevertheless forgettable. I trust Alaskan, and methinks this is merely a casualty of the style's youth. I wouldn't get it again. I'd like to see Alaskan continue to hone their attempts at this style, and - if I may be prescriptive - would love to see a spruce tip black IPA from them at some point. You could do far worse in terms of pricing. If you already consider yourself a diehard fan of the style, I'm sure you'll like this offering. But the discerning drinker will be unimpressed.

Low C+

Feb 03, 2015
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AtrumAnimus from Texas

4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a black as the devil's asshole at midnight at the bottom of well on a moonless night with heavy cloud cover. It is rather dark.

The head is very thick., long lived and a nice tan color. the head settles very slowly leaving a decent bit of lacing on the glass.

The nose is smokey, tart and has hints of coffee, raisins, alcohol, earth and grass some citrus.

The taste is a nicely done malt that has been dominated by the hopping that then falls way to the master flavor of the roasted grain. Strong notes of bitter and floral hops combine with dark chocolate, coffee, bourbon, raisins and cherries with a shallow note of vanilla. Very drinkable and complex flavors to be enjoyed

The mouthfeel is rich and just right for the style.

Overall an very drinkable and pleasing beer from Alaskan. I highly recommend it.

Jan 19, 2015
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mschantz from Colorado

3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on draft at Stone tasting room. Pours medium black brown and clear for a dark beer. Malt, hazelnut and toasted rye bread on the nose. Flavor is nutty, chocolate and malty. Nice pleasant BIPA but not surprising in any way.

Dec 30, 2014
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SitkaSteve from Idaho

3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Some was poured into a snifter and the rest into a nonic pint glass.
The appearance was pure jet black in color and in the pour itself. A slim half finger-ed white to off white foamy head rises and falls at a nice pace. Light lacing strings its way around the glass once the head died off.
The smell started off with a sharp pine infused bitter to roasty coffee and as it warmed, a light roasted chocolate enters in.
The taste was pretty much the same as the smell with a light roasty coffee aftertaste leading into a dry finish.
The mouthfeel sat about a medium in body with a sharp bitter pine rolling over my tongue. This wasn't as sessionable as I had hoped it would be, but then again looking at the ABV, I ask myself really, Steve? Sigh, anyways, somehow the ABV does hide itself a little bit.
Overall, an imperialized black ale? Hey, uh...sure, I dig it. I'll have this again, but I think my palate is kinda ruined for the rest of today as there's just a lot going on.

Dec 22, 2014
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It pours a black but not pitch black; holding the glass to the light proves it. Never the less, it's a very appealing beer to look at with it's small but stubborn head of foam and the decent amount of lacing.

The smell is a super amount of grapefruit, very bitter as you can imagine but it has a pleasant spicy bitterness to it that smells like a coffee thing going on. What roasted malt brings to the table?

The taste confirms my suspicions; this Black Ale is all aboot grapefruit from the hops and coffee from the malt.

Medium body and carbonation.

Well, my overall thoughts are that this Black Ale is one tasty son of a gun. Worthy of a go if you see it on a shelf near you.

Dec 14, 2014
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Karibourgeois from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black pour with a brown one-finger head. Smell is very light with faint pine, citrus and roasted malt. Taste has a nice dark bitter flavor. Can taste citrus, resin, grass, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes with a lingering citrus bitterness.

Dec 07, 2014
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 040515 at 40 degrees into shaker
Aroma of pine
Head enormous (>8 cm). light brown, frothy, slooowly diminishing to 3 mm ring and layer
Lacing good - most of wide rings remaining, tiny bubbles
Body Dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor begins with some light pine followed by slightly bitter roasted malt, ends quickly;no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate light to medium, slightly oily, lively carbonation

Appearance 4.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4

Nov 12, 2014
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arvidkoval from Alaska

4.25/5  rDev +6%

This just came back on the shelves.

22oz bomber. 7.7% ABV

A dark black color pours into the glass, almost coffee like. Smells roasty, toasty and dark. Reminiscent of a stout on the first taste but with a hoppy finish. Light to medium body. Well balanced between the darkness and the hops; Neither overpowers the other, but think double black, not double IPA. If you lean more towards dark beer this isn't a bad choice as the hops don't kick you in the tastebuds. If you are more into IPAs maybe check out Sublimely Self Righteous from Stone for some Black IPA action that will suit you more.

I would not try to talk you out of drinking this. Maybe a good segue from stouts to IPAs? You be the judge.

Oct 25, 2014
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LiquidAmber from Washington

3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 9/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark, dark ruby red with a thin, attractive dark brown head. Aroma of smoky malt and hops. Medium bodied. Dark and smoky malt and dark fruit start merging into hoppy middle and finish with the dark malts staying present. Very different and tasty.

Aug 01, 2012
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phishsihq from Colorado

4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Alaskan Double Black IPA pours an opaque creamy black with an inviting tan head that sticks around and to the glass with decent lacing throughout. Rich and malty aromas are intertwined with hints of coffee, caramel, dark fruits and hops. The caramel and chocolate notes are again front and center in the first few sips, and the coffee flavors develop in the middle as the ale warms. Hops balance this dark brew very nicely, while the finish is excellent with a great creamy finish. Hopefully the new Spring Seasonal Black IPA from Alaskan Brewing Company shares a lot of these same traits.

Dec 26, 2011
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beerguru14 from Arizona

5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour, Color, & Aroma:
The Alaskan Brewing Company has always been one of my favorites. I remember my Dad tended to have their beers in our refrigerator at all times. I also recall my first sip of the Alaskan Smoked Porter. Talk about a memorable beer. Getting my hands on their Double Black IPA proved to be much more difficult than I thought; however, a friend pulled through for me and manged to get one in my hands.

True to style, the beer poured a very nice black color with an inviting tan colored head. The retention was long lasting and was very smooth and velvety.

The beer had some serious malts on the forefront of the aroma. I got an excellent roasted chocolate, caramel and molasses. A plum sweetness was barely identifiable with some other dark fruits closely followed by a light banana aroma. On top of all this was a strong zesty citrus and a slight pine that made its presence known. I am already intrigued by this beer.



Taste:
Oh my goodness. Alaskan Brewing nailed this style of beer. My initial thought that came to mind was again of the malts. A caramel sweetness, rich and creamy chocolate malts, and definitely a sweetness of which I attributed to the dark fruits. There was also something about the taste reminding me of a sushi joint perhaps ginger?

Furthering the taste was a not too aggressive astringent bitterness that leveled out the sweetness. The hops added balanced grapefruit zest and a citrus tang. I can not get enough!!



Finish & Body:
The finish was one of the best I have ever had in any beer. There was a pleasant marshmallow creaminess that lingered on my palate. The finish also had a slight bitterness that did not intrude on the creaminess but one that was complimented in a beautiful way.

I would consider this to be a pretty full-bodied beer. The mouth feel was significant but not overwhelming. One thing I realized towards the end was that I hardly noticed the alcohol level. At 8.5% I thought it would be much more apparent.



Final Thoughts:
I may have found my new favorite beer. After drinking the brew, I wanted to have another one as well as call all my friends to let them know not to pass it up if they have the chance to drink this. Alaskan Brewing did a superb job representing one of the fastest growing styles of beer. My only disappointment is that I can't have another. Prost!

Jul 26, 2011
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beer2day from North Carolina

4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black with 2-fingers of rich, mocha head. Thick sheets of lace all around the glass. Still a 1/2 finger of head left with the last sip.

Nice crisp mix of chocolate malt and citrus hops. More chocolate than citrus. Light flowery hints, too.

Chocolate and citrus again mix well, especially in the finish. Getting dark roast coffee too in the follow on. After a few sips, coffee come out at the beginning. Light sweet chocolate in the middle. Bright mix of hops, coffee, and chocolate define the end. Nice bitter finish.

Feel is a little too light matched up against the robust flavors.

Overall a very good beer I would get again.

Jul 18, 2011
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HuskyinPDX from Washington

3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Deep brown with a smaller tan head. Good Retention and lacing left on the glass.

S - Hops and brown sugars.

T - Piney hops up front, followed by sweet roasted malts.

D - A touch thick in the mouth for an IPA. A slight bitter bite as well.

May 28, 2011
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Ryan011235 from Ohio

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

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 3/25/11

Stamped A020911

Mid-range cola brown that exhibits deep hues in the glass with dark ruby and grape juice highlights. One finger head reduces to a thin, smooth layer of retention (second pour had three fingers). Lacing starts off as solid swaths that dry and become webbed grids and, even later, specs.

To some degree the aroma reminds me of a hoppy porter. Roast offers a tangy notion that's blended with earthy hops and hints of nuts. Sugars are present but it smell far from sweet. Molasses, unsweetened cocoa, caramel. Wisps of smoke, especially as it warms. Lightly floral. I picked out a stray, dulled citric hint once. It seems to have something of a cola vibe, actually.

While alcohol heat was mostly absent in the aroma, one sip finds Double Black IPA to be a warming critter. The aroma also seemed tame and this beer tastes anything but. Lots of roasted malts and a touch of smoke. Bittersweet chocolate is ramped up and is most prominent through mid-sip. Some dry, roasted coffee creeps in toward the finish. Moderate bitterness throughout. Some pine and remnants of citric zest on the peripheries.

The feel leaves me torn. On one hand it's a smooth, reasonably viscous, full bodied beer. Carbonation however, is far too high. The first sip was nearly painful with sharp, scathing carbonation. The up side is that the carbonation dissipates over time and of its own accord; I didn't have to swirl much away. Undercurrents of grit. After it opens up it is far more enjoyable. Finishes roasty with coffee and some residual bitterness.

Aside from the carbonation and the nose being on the weak side, I've found this beer quite enjoyable. Definitely one to let warm up, too. Not at all a CDA but a solid beer regardless. Worthwhile to give it a shot.

Mar 27, 2011
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thecarster1 from Pennsylvania

3.14/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- bomber poured into a snifter, dark brown black coloring, full fingers worth of tan head that fades slow leaving nice trailing and bubbly and wispy lace.

s- i'm getting some major alcohol esters in the nose, it's definitely off putting. bone dry malts, very little hops.. this is no good.

t- thankfully better than the nose. roasted malt front - bitter chocolate, coffee beans, some smoke, those dark flavors linger long in the finish as well, but give way to some mayor hopping, citrus and strongly bittered that linger long. this is some mild sweetness mid sip that is a welcome touch.

m- medium to full bodied, slick, coating.

d- this is a solid black ipa, glad for the chance to try this, all except for the nose. it's ok but nothing i would go out of my way to seek out again, that said it's no drain pour.

Mar 13, 2011
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this back at Hopfest at Brouwer's Cafe. Solid, dark and black looking dipa, slight ring of head to it, good clinging lace. Aroma was not huge in terms of hops.

Taste, lots of bitterness, but not a lot of hop mouthfeel. Hid the alcohol decently, came across more like it looked, like a hoppy porter or stout moreso than a dipa. The only things reminiscient of dipa territory would be the caramel malt flavor and the high bitterness.

Mar 04, 2011
Double Black IPA (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 139 ratings