El Jefe
The Alchemist

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American Black Ale
Ranked #12
Ranked #2,341
4.2 | pDev: 7.86%
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
Notes: featuring Simcoe hops and cannabis terpenes
Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 216 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of egrandfield
egrandfield from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this at Doc Ponds in Stowe.
Poured from tap into a 12oz tumbler.
L: brown foam, 2 finger head, dense bubbles, body dark as night
S: malt and bitter hops
T: like a really bitter stout—Rasputin stout meets a Vermont IPA
F: Very satisfying
O: of this style, definitely one of the better ones I’ve had.

Nov 17, 2019
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dull blackish-brown with a fluffy thin tan blanket.

This is a quality black IPA with roasted coffee and nutty pine via a frothy medium-light body finishing dry. The strong bitterness is woody but not bad.

May 13, 2019
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amano_h from Oregon

4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sometimes a beer is just so straightforward in its pedigree that you just can't help but marvel in its excellence. There's nothing complicated about this beer at all; dark roasty medium-roast espresso like coffee notes dominate up front, but before it's given any chance to get its feet on solid ground, the pine-y earthy Simcoe just sweeps the coffee off its feet in one fell drying swoop.

I wish I could write more about this, but it's such a simple combination that just feels so right; the resulting concoction is a brew that melds together the creamy mouthfeel of a porter, the medium body of a classic IIPA, the rich roasty malty notes of a no-nonsense non-adjunct stout, and that hop-filled drying finish that Alchemist endows upon all its brews.

There was an interesting roasted seaweed (nori) smell attestable to the beer when this was fresher (last week-ish), but the roasty malts cover up that fresh Simcoe stank as you let the beer mature over time.

Oh, and caaaaaaaaat.

May 12, 2019
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

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

A: Pours a dark brown color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap that leaves good lacing

S: Lots of pine and herbal hops up front along with some lighter caramel and dark chocolate. Some light roast in there as well

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the piney hops and then picks up some roast and herbal hop notes. Very light dark chocolate and caramel notes as well. Finishes with light piney bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. On the prickly side

O: A great dark IPA that is easy to drink. Definitely on the hoppy side but incorporates the malt well. Solid winter seasonal, for sure

Dec 11, 2018
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polloenfuego from Canada

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

Quick: dead black on pour with two fingers of head. Break leaves an Island of foam and some lacing. Smell is roasty hops...and yeah, weed. Taste is nice, Simcoe comes through as does the weed component. Feel is really quite nice smooth with a bitter finish.

Interesting beer. This is the future of beer in Canada now that the weed is legal.

Nov 24, 2018
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NotAlcoholicJustAHobby from Vermont

4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- The beer pours glossy black with a towering 3 finger mocha head of mousse like consistency. The head eventually recedes to a large island leaving copious amounts of lingering lace.
S- On the nose its an amalgam of roast, bitter chocolate, and pine from the hops. They sort of all swirl around in there taking turns for prominence.
T- The elements found in the nose are found here as well, but much more integrated. I get more chocolate than roast, but both are overtaken in the bitter piney finish.
F- Mouthfeel is medium, and similar in thickness to a lot of porters. Carbonation is medium and keeps the beer from becoming a chore to finish.
O- I don't normally gravitate to this style and I tend to find it a bit confusing. This one however is one of the more drinkable ones that I've had. Not something I'd drink more than one of in the sitting. If you enjoy the style however it's certainly worth your time to obtain.

Jan 22, 2018
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daudelin2000 from Vermont

4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark and opaque with a nice tan head that hangs around a while. Aroma is slightly roasty with some earthy pine. Not overwhelming.

Taste follows the nose. I get the roast flavors from the malt and pine from the hops. The mouthfeel is medium to medium plus with quite a bit of bitterness that lingers.

This is not an overly complex beer, but I don't think it is supposed to be. Drinks slightly bigger than a 7% IPA. Overall, I'm really enjoying it and I'm glad I picked up a bunch when I was there.

Dec 14, 2017
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kevanb from Illinois

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.

Aug 09, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

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.

Jun 05, 2017
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JLK7299 from North Carolina

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!

Apr 02, 2017
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Boto from Connecticut

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!

Mar 11, 2017
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Danstaats from New Jersey

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

Feb 21, 2017
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

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!

Feb 13, 2017
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

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.

Feb 10, 2017
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JordonHoltzman from New York

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.

Feb 08, 2017
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BucannonXC5 from California

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-

Feb 05, 2017
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eppie82 from Illinois

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.

Feb 05, 2017
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Chico1985 from Massachusetts

4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really excellent sharp hop profile with a decent roast/chocolate backbone, definitely one of the best tasting black IPAs I've tried. I sorta wish there was more dark malt backing though as the bitterness is a bit much, that with some pretty prickly carbonation makes this a bit of a sipper.

Jan 25, 2017
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours like a well made porter (coal black) with a frothy cap. Aroma of pine and spruce bursts out of the can; roasted malt takes a supporting role. Taste is pretty much right in line - pine, lemongrass, bright citrus followed by bitter chocolate,
toasted brown bread, light char. Finishes crisp with bright pine balanced by an earthy bitterness. Nice pine resin feel throughout. Great balance, outstanding beer.

Jan 23, 2017
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Drvitlkeyustolit80 from Pennsylvania

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

First had 1/10/17 at home from Andy K. A roasty bitterness, balanced with a creamy mouth feel, and a clean, crisp, short, piney finish. I'm grateful to be able to try more beers from this awesome brewery.

Jan 16, 2017
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.42/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

16 oz. can. Pours a brown body with a big off-white head. Aroma is toasty malts and a resiny hop aroma. Tastes of grapefruit, resiny hops, strong grassy bite begins very early. Some toasty malts and a bit of chocolate. Hefty bitterness. Medium body with high carbonation. This is an aggressively bitter beer. That doesn't bother me so much, but I'm not that enthused by the flavor before the bitterness.

Jan 03, 2017
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz. can served in a tulip. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a tight, half inch, cream-colored head. Nose is very subdued - hints of pine, char, dark malts and perhaps dark chocolate. Taste consistent with nose with the addition of an earthy/herbal bitterness that comes out at the finish and lingers between quaffs. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a mild, even carbonation. All and all, not my favorite style and a bit nondescript, but a solid offering nonetheless.

Dec 31, 2016
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Can shared by Dave. Thanks man!

Dark brown body with a quarter inch of tan head. Aromas of pine, lightly charred roast, a hint of coffee, resinous hops. Smooth sailing on the palate with a beautiful balance of pine, hops, and roast. I'm typically not drawn to this style. However, El Jefe is on point.

Dec 30, 2016
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GabrielEVH from Massachusetts

4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is easily the best black IPA I've had. Like chocolate covered pineapple, with some roasty coffee notes and a little burnt malt. Smooth mouthfeel. I'm a huge fan of this beer within this category. Great for this winter season.

Dec 28, 2016
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Dragginballs76 from South Carolina

4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours cloudy grey color with off white head excellent lacing.

Aroma - Smells of pine resin, hints of grapefruit and smoke some chocolate.

Taste - The taste is amazing slightly smokey, pine and citrus notes and bitter chocolate.

Feel - Medium body light creaminess well carbonated.
Overall - This is an amazing beer one of the best black IPA's I have had.

Dec 27, 2016
El Jefe from The Alchemist
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 216 ratings