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El Jefe | The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center

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El JefeEl Jefe
151 Ratings
El JefeEl Jefe

Brewed by:
The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center
Vermont, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American Black IPA. Our Christmas IPA from the days of the pub. Loaded with Simcoe and Galaxy.

Added by Jason on 12-02-2013

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 151 |  Reviews: 30
Photo of shrimplypibbles
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of kevanb
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can, freshly filled, purchased at the Visitors Center in Stowe, VT, poured into an Alchemist stemless angular glass. Enjoyed on 1.21.17, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a nice black color with cola brown hues, good opacity, off white head that's two fingers tall with good retention and lace. The aroma is quite piney, very earthy with plenty of hops, quite resinous and grassy, strong roast builds with dark grains and light chocolate. The flavors are okay, very hoppy out of the gate, strong pine and grassy flavors lead the way and are quite bitter and earthy, dark grains, bittersweet chocolate, mild roast build as it warms, the balance isn't quite struck as some coffee flavor, a touch acidic starts showing itself with some warm alcohol at the finish. The mouthfeel is good, medium body, prickly carbonation, exceedingly dry but coats well with a bitter and sharp finish.

Verdict: A decent Black Ale/CDA from The Alchemist. The balance on the tongue leaves a bit to be desired, too roasty at times, too bitter at others, quite acrid when the coffee flavor presents itself. When kept cool, it's easier to drink, but at typical serving temperatures, I found this one to be a bit harsh.

 1,212 characters

Photo of raspy22
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had one in a becher pint glass, another in a mason jar and another in a tulip. The color is dark brown. The head retains the longest in the mason jar and leaves a ton of messy lace running all around. The aroma blends semi-sweet to bitter thick sprucy hops. Thick sweet chocolate malts. Dark bitter coffee grounds, sly roast. The flavor leans to the bitter spruce side first. Nice portion of the sweet dark chocolate nipping on some bitterness of the cocoa bean. Sly roastiness. Quick semi-bitter to sly roasty and sprucy aftertaste. Quick dry bitter finish. On the palate, this one sat about light to medium on the body. Good carbonation. Bitterness hits appropriately, feels like a black IPA. Overall, I'd have this again preferably for me.

 742 characters

Photo of Scotty_J
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Celtics76
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JLK7299
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a recent trade. Delicious! I may be biased because I love Galaxy hops so much but man this is one good IPA! Alchemist continues to be an elite brewer!

 162 characters

Photo of ScientificSquill
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Boto
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can: This one pours a fairly opaque dark brown color. It had a bit of a tan head on it. Nice aroma. Some roastiness, orange, grapefruit, pine notes. The taste is along the same lines. A good bitter bite!

 208 characters

Photo of MakeBeerGreatAgain
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Cpmitchno1
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Duffman79
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of AMCimpi
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Danstaats
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This aroma out of the can was strong much like those big boozy DIPA . Taste and mouth feel were solid tasted like a cross between a solid hoppy bitter IPA and a good amber with a meaty backbone

 195 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to SawDog505 for this can.

A - Dark burgundy brown color with a cream colored creamy ring and thin layer of foam.

S - Some tangy citrus, earthy, herbally.

T - Some dank citrus, a little bit of chocolate (but very minimal), some herbal character, very delicate roast, but overall the hops steal the show. Citrus sweetness on the front end and lingering citrus bitterness on the back end.

M - Medium body.

O - Not a fan of dark IPA's at all but this is fantastic!

 480 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wvsabbath
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

While the crux of many black IPA lies in that they simply resemble a hoppy porter. But with the hop schedule looking much more IPA like and the roasted grains only used to amplify the bitterness, a proper example of the beer rolls out of The Alchemist.

Boldly perfumy at the onset of the pour, the nose bursts onto the nose with a host of citrusy aromatics. As grapefruit, orange, pine and lime register to the senses, the ale settles with a mildly hazed crimson brown color. A snow globe of coagulated matter swirls about while a creamy ecru blanket of foam skirts the glass. Its taste is surprisingly toasty sweet with caramel, cocoa and toast before the hops arrive.

But once they arrive, the tastebuds forget all about those malty influences and simply celebrate the hops. The middle palate is all IPA with the taste of pink grapefruit, under ripened oranges, lime and passionfruit. Much more citrus than tropical, the hops fade into a grassy, piney bitterness with a bold resinous grip along with a return of the char from toast.

What may seem medium bodied and medium balances quickly trends dry and hoppy to tilt any semblance of balance clearly toward the hops. This IPA influence carries the finish into a crisp, clean and bitter finish that allows the char of huskless charred grain to amplify hop bitterness to a point that it would require overuse to achieve on their own. Masterful, bold and imaginative all at once.

 1,432 characters

Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into teku, a dark brown brown body with a foamy head that is off-white, almost khaki head that fades but leaves a nice lacing.
Light roast, well hopped as well.
Wonderful balance on this in the smell and taste. Great mouthfeel. I've have quite a few black IPA, some of which I've enjoyed a lot. But none that have been as drinkable. I can enjoy a few of these in succession. Excellent beer.

 398 characters

Photo of lochraneg
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: 16-oz. can
Glass: Hardwood Artisans shaker pint
From: My friend Charlie
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A; Received Jan. 27, 2017
Consumed: Jan. 28, 2017
Reviewed as: American Black Ale
Misc.: No COD

Was lucky enough to get 10 pretty sweet beers sent to me by a college buddy. Not the biggest fan of Black IPAs lately, but it is the Alchemist. Here’s to making it a good one.

Poured a medium brown color with two fingers of frothy khaki tan head. Serene setting underneath. Very good spotty lacing. Excellent retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled hoppier than most black IPAs to start. Got that normal smokiness, but also spicy Simcoe and (because I cheated and looked at the description) some Galaxy. Also some herbal, menthol, bitter woody pine and small hints of charred wood. (Smell - 4.25)

Tasted a lot different than the nose, coming out with herbal tea to start. Also smokiness, lemon, spicy Simcoe, Citra, menthol, unsweetened iced tea, mango and cocoa. Getting than Galaxy late, but subdued. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt finish. (Feel - 4.00)

Pleasantly surprised with this one. Would have it again for sure. (Overall - 4.00)

4.06 | 91 | A-

 1,195 characters

Photo of eifster82
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was not like most typical dark/black IPAs. Appearance was dark brown with some sediment. Smell indicated nothing but standard dank IPA. Even taste was on the piney, dank and eathy side, but the aftertaste and feel was more balanced with roasty and malty profile. Thats about the only thing that indicated it was a Black/dark IPA and not a 'standard' high quality IPA.

Very good beer.

 393 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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El Jefe from The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 151 ratings
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