Dark Ritual | Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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13 Ratings

Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Slatetank on 03-13-2011

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Ratings: 13 |  Reviews: 8
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Photo of chim52chim
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of Kegatron
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Iron Hill Lancaster (Lancaster, PA) on 3/26/11. Served in an oversized mug.

Pours a deep brown in the glass, with some ruby highlights shining through, and is topped with a thick rocky head of mocha colored foam. This retains with a huge frothy dollop in the middle of the glass, just drenching the sides with creamy lacing that slowly slides down the sides. The aroma has a bit of a tug-o-war going on with it, between the floral, spicy, piney and tropical fruit character of the hops and then the chocolate and roasted coffee notes of the malts. If I had to pick one though, I'd say that the bitter grapefruit here in the nose definitely pushes this over the edge for the hops.

Grapefruit and resins are sharp across the tongue in the taste, which is then tempered by a sticky mix of sweet tropical fruits, chocolate, and caramel, (especially the chocolate) before a wave of dark bitter roast swoops in to give this a lightly acrid burnt and crunchy feel in the back. Bitter fruit, coffee, and a touch of dry spiciness linger in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a firm crispness up front that then spreads out into a silky creaminess. This is very smooth overall with just some light alcohol heft in the body. That 6% ABV feels spot on here.

The hoppy hits just keep on coming here at Iron Hill Lancaster, with a full flavored Black IPA that surprised me with its complexity (especially coming out of those dark malts) and super easy drinkibility. I believe that this was assistant brewer Chad's second solo beer and he killed it! Good job man!

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Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Iron Hill Lanc.

A: The ABA is a deep, dark brown color that is concentrated to the point of blackness. A combination of black coffee and cola. An off-white head, mildly contrasting against the darkness, has a thin look and doesn't lace.

S: The nose is dominated by the dark roasted malts, a very heavy blend that crowds out hops. As the ale warms, piney hops stand out more but their resiny richness struggles against the dark malts.

T: The blackness is all-encompassing. The dark roasted flavors are chocolatey and full. The hops dont stand a chance, even as the ale warms up. What's there is piney but the quantities aren't sufficient to balance out the roast.

M: The mouthfeel is stout-like, accentuating the sweetness that comes with the darkness. When they do take control, the piney hops have a nice twang.

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Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of sturner26
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Iron Hill Lancaster released this beer on Friday 3/11 and I was able to have a mug on Sunday. It is excellent!

Appearance: As I am a mug club member, my beer was served in a mug. No notes on appearance as a result other than a decent 1 finger head that settled about half way through the beer.

Smell: Very good smell, exactly what you expect from an IPA- citrus, little hoppy, some malt. Also, as a "Black IPA" there were subtle roasted notes as well.

Taste: Excellent. Similar to the smell it was a great example of what an IPA should taste like with the added "darker" flavors to really make the beer interesting.

Mouthfeel: Very good, not syrupy or thick.

Drinkability: Outstanding. It was good my wife was with me or I would have had drank way too much. The flavors are so complex yet simple that I was drawn back for each and every sip. I actually frowned when I went for "one last sip" to find the mug bone dry. Great Stuff.

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Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the Lancaster location served in a short pils glass. The brew is a very dark brown color with lighter clarity around the edges. A frothy off-white cap restd atop producing patchy lace as it fades.

The aroma consists primarily of citrus, herbs and rindy notes of hops. A minor roast element is present before the onset of more fruity notes that come off like a blend of alcohol and hops.

The flavor has a bitterness seemingly coming from a combination of roast and hops. The distinct hop flavor comes across herbal, citrus, fruity, rindy and a bit pithy. Some earthen and cocoa to almost coffee aspects are thrown in towards the back.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest to light level of carbonation. This is a pretty nice brew overall that is easy drinking. I am admittedly not the biggest fan of black ipas but I would not mind drinking this again. It was very well rounded and perhaps even more approachable from the cask delivery.

 955 characters

Photo of number1bum
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this growler earlier in the week.

Pours a reddish brown color; not nearly as dark as many black IPAs, and certainly not black. Generates a pretty nice head, two fingers and tan in color. Keeps a thin but full lace and coats the glass pretty nicely.

Smell is fresh and hoppy, with aromas of grapefruit and pineapple, plus some pine. It's very fruity and quite nice. The roasted and malty aromas are not nearly as prominent; some sweetness, but this smells like a 'hoppy' beer, not a malty one.

With the taste I would make the same overall assessment as the previous sentence makes regarding the smell. This is hoppy first, malty second, and that's the correct order in my opinion for an ABA. It's fruity and fresh, with those tropical and citrus flavors, plus a touch of resin. Bitterness is moderate, and there is some caramel and very lightly roasted malt flavor too. I think it's really tasty, a bit maltier, with more dark malt than a typical IPA, but not overly roasty or sweet at all.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice slick, oily feel, good carbonation still and is quite smooth. It finishes pretty clean with a touch of sweetness lingering.

This is a pretty darn tasty beer, which really hit the spot for me when I had it on draft on Wednesday and again from the growler tonight. It's definitely darker than a typical IPA, but not overly so, and at only 6% it's not too rich or sweet. I think it's a job well done.

 1,441 characters

Photo of thain709
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hop Attack

A - Served with a deep brown body that boarders on being pitch black...there is a light brown head that stands one finger tall and only retains to a small ring...not much lacing

S - Roasted malts dominate the aroma presenting roast, chocolate, and some slightly bitter coffee...the hops are pushed way to the end of the nose only appearing ever-so-often

T - Again the roast dominates the hop flavors in this Black Ale...the description said it was brewed with dehusked malt but I'm finding more roast characteristic in this beer than hops...the roasted malt provides a dark chocolate flavor with a small trace of coffee...the hops, when they appear, come off as piney in flavor as they do combine with the bitter chocolate and coffee

M - Medium bodied...not quite full...great bitterness that combines the roasted malt and bitter piney hops

O - I was expecting more hops from this one after reading the description but I was presented with more roast...for the style it's more roasted than one would expect, stout territory...but overall it was a decent beer

 1,084 characters

Photo of GeoffreyM
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of Slatetank
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I enjoyed this fresh Black Ipa called Dark Ritual at the Lancaster location of Iron Hill last night -served chilled in a standard pint.

The color is deep walnut brown with ruby hues accenting the translucent ale. The head is beige and settles quickly leaving a wavy lace pattern on the glass. The bead is fine. The smell is really great with a mix of strong citrus and rind notes with slight black malt aroma which doesn't come off as roasted, more like dark cocoa with a slight tropical and grassy accent from the hops and gentle char effect with a mild yeast ester which hints at stone fruit. The feel is very good with resinous hop qualities bolstered by a high level of carbonation and mild astringent yet very juicy hop quality with slight sweetness from the malt but overall semi-dry with a relatively high bitterness level.

The flavor is great too with strong citrus hop flavors and bitter grapefruit on first sip bursting forth with a mild bitter dark malt undertone. The flavor has enough malt shadowing to create and nice counterpoint to the highly juicy and bitter hops which are at times herbal, tropical and grassy. I really enjoy the low amount of dark malt in the actual flavor, but a subtle caramel taste is present in the middle with the flavor drying out in the finish. the spicy black ale is so good I drank it quickly, but still let it open up as the temperature increased. The complexity is there with a great amount of hop flavor, not just bitter and high in aroma -this IPA is a winner I recommend you try it right away if you are close by!

 1,570 characters

Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub, 3/10/11.

A-Dark brown to black with a thin tan head and great sticky lacing..

S-Bitter spicy hops with a nice amount of roastiness.

T-Light citrus bitterness with a medium amount of roast.

M-Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation.

D-Tasty. A nice example of the style.


 304 characters

Photo of Durandal_777
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of Tucquan
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Dark Ritual from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 13 ratings