Hop In The Dark Cascadian Dark Ale | Deschutes Brewery

506 Reviews
Hop In The Dark Cascadian Dark AleHop In The Dark Cascadian Dark Ale

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
An India Black Ale.
Available - May to September
Alc. by Vol. - 6.5% (2010), 6.9% (2011)
IBUs - 75

Added by JohnGalt1 on 05-27-2010

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Reviews: 506 | Ratings: 1,345
Photo of vfgccp
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Cola brown with redish-brown highlights. Light khaki head with ok retention, but great lace.

S - Nice soft roast grain, pine, edge of cilantro, and a little cola sweetness.

T - Bright, bitter pine right up front. Dry, bitter grapefruit and cocoa nibs through the center. Coffee grinds, bitter chocolate, touch of dried dark fruits, and a residual grapefruit bitterness through the backend.

M - Light, brisk, smooth body.

O - An enjoyable black IPA. Nice roast character with a solid bitter backbone.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark, stout like in appearance, with a rich tan-brown head that's about an inch thick. The head is just beautiful in my Alpha King glass, a really great looking beer overall.

Smell: Lots of hops, if you smelled this without looking at it first you'd be expecting an aggressively hopped DIPA.

Taste: Wow, not quite what I was expecting. The hops come through in a big way, but in the form of some tangy dark fruit flavors. Some roasty porter like flavors too. The aftertaste is a more typical piney kind of hop flavor mixed with some roastiness. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy but with good carbonation too.

Overall: One of the nicer black IPA/Cascadian dark ales I've had. All too often beers in the style end up being like a hoppy stout or like an IPA with a touch of dark malt flavor, but this one's very well balanced. Definitely more IPA than stout, but the dark malt flavors are strongly present as well, very nice balance.


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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love all things Deschutes, but this seems to be falling short a bit. It carries the required black ale character, but it isn't blowing me away; or even keeping it interesting really. It's kind of a mundane brew that isn't really memorable. Unfortunately.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Happy Holidays...at my bro in laws and he brought back a lil' piece of heaven from Oregon. The Hop In The Dark is a dark ale that hopped with cascade hops. The appearance is a opaque dark with a off-white head that is lacing nicely. The smell is big piney hops. The taste is hop/pine leaning dark ale. There isnt as much roast as I would prefer but it is still very good. The mouthfeel medium to full body with smooth carbonation. Overall it is a decent beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Good till August 31st 2012.

Out of the bottle comes a big dark brown nearly black walnut body, providing a big four finger tan head, settlng down nicely and very slowly.

A very subdued nose, light malts and hint of milk chocolate, small pine hop it seems, but very closed.

Taste and palate really seems mellow. A soft bodied palate, almost creamy and chewy, with a mild roast density, and this mushy fruit hop angle. Finish hits with chewy orange and citrus on the finish, with a good controlled bitter. Bitter zest of orange oil comes through in the palate, whaffing nicely.

A real interesting take, with a mellow hop profile for this style. Nothing better from Deschutes as always, I dig it.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had an aversion to this style of beer lately, the Black IPA, the India Black Ale, the Cascadian Dark Ale, whatever it may be called (and it WILL be called many things). There were a few too many that were not integrated well at all, resulting in a dark, chocolatey, goopy, grassy mess. So much so, that I'd forgotten that this is one of the good ones. Of course it is, it's Deschutes.

And it's on tap now, for our mini-events, Hoppy Days are Here again. After all these IPAs and Imperial IPAs, it's back to Belgians, and stouts, and maybe a few German brews, for a change. This one won't last long, though, it's a big favorite so far.
Here come the notes....

Thoroughly stygian appearance, ultimately black, huge head, cocoa-toned, rocky and lacy. Beautiful.

Aroma: Grassy hops up front, cocoa and toffee below. dark, lush malt meets full bore hops. Very nice. Dark, malty, and hoppy all at once, what do you know?

Taste: more incredulity, as the tongue is greeted by sweetness, and grassiness together. I'm getting a minimum of bitterness, just enough to keep the sweet at bay. Great balance. Full bodied, long finish. Uniquely flavorful. Yum. Zesty hop sting on the palate, with tasty, sweet malt below.
Intriquing integration, a wholly unique hybrid of dark malt, and pungent hops, well played. Delicious, honestly, seriously.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber, and pouring into a pint glass. The beer pours a dark, dark brown with amber highlights at the edges when held up to the light. The beer had an initial thick, foamy, 2-finger head that was a tan coloring, but dissipated over time. The beer has a hoppy aroma, with toffe and caramel notes, as well as fruity hints. The flavor is a bit complex, so bear with me. I'm getting a lot of different flavors, well blended, that attack the tastebuds. Bits of hops on a slightly sour malt backbone, with characteristics of molasses, bubble gum, and roasted coffee. It is full in mouth, but still remains light and crisp. The finish smooth and a little dry, and there is a bitter and hint of coffee aftertaste. The beer is extremely drinkable, and with the low ABV it is an easy going brew for the evening. Very tasty.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.62/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by November 28th, 2011. So this one must be pretty fresh. At the time of this review, this is the #23 top American Black Ale on the beeradvocate.com best of style lists. Served in a Russian River -tion glass.

Beer is black with a thin, tan head with low retention, some lacing, low carbonation, beer is seriously dark.

Aroma is mildly piny, with hints of fruit and some sweetness, interesting how I don't get any of the roast from the darker malts in the aroma.

Beer is medium in body with a mild bitterness at the back, there is a hop palate but this beer is mostly a sweet porter wtih some hops in it. I'm a little let down. There is close to no bitterness from the hops or the roast. This beer could have done a lot of great things, but mostly it is sweet with some hops in it. Oh well.

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Photo of stevoj
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice dark roast grain bitterness combines with hops for sharp taste and palate. Black body with abundant beige head, lots of lacing. Aroma is a mixture of IPA and stout/porter. Medium body , nice drinkability, bitter finish.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark as night black with a half finger tan head that left a little sticky lacing.

S: there is good mixture of roasty hoppiness with a good malt presence which also had hints of coffee and chocolate. It had a little smokey character as well.

T: nice bitter hop bite that meshes very well with the roasted malts and had chocolate and smokey accents.

M: medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation that had a roasty smokey and slight hop bitter finish.

D: very drinkable dark hoppy brew that is pretty well balanced between the hops and roasted malts.

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Photo of Gavage
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown in color with a 2" heads that slowly falls.

Smell: roasted tones, some soft citrus, and a general earthiness is easy to detect.

Taste: caramel, toast, some orange and sweet grapefruit citrus, and a moderate pine bitterness are wrapped in a light earthy tone.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Aftertaste is long.

Overall: this beer was very easy to consume and more than one was had in the session. Nice balanced flavor.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So the bottle states 'a new style' in Cascadian Dark Ale, the style on BA is AIPA. I'll compare it to the latter...aside from appearance.

Dark brown as it pours, becomes much darker in the glass. An off-white head and some nice stickiness makes this beer look pretty darn good. A bit more chunk in the head would boost this rating.
Aroma is hoppy coffee. A pine/citrus nose at first, with deep roasted (but a bit weak) aroma sneaking in the middle.
Nice flavor. Not a huge IPA. Citrus and floral, with pine come first, then along comes a roasted flavor, but is still weak. It seems the dark roast is for looks primarily, then flavor. Expected a bit more umph.
A good mouthfeel, but expected a bit more as it warmed. I hate to say it's weak, but something is missing here. It's a darn fine beer, and easy drinking. Not sure what separates it from IPA, other than the color. Does color really separate us? :)

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Bomber
Best After: 7/24/10

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy light tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with some malt notes, chocolate/toffee. The taste is hoppy, slightly bitter, nice malt blend, a good dose of chocolate/toffee upfront. Medium body. Very Drinkable, not a hop bomb, but it sure is tasty. Well done Deschutes.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours dark brown to black with a tan head. The aroma is strong pine and resiny hops. If I didn't look at the beer, I would think this is a standard orange American IPA. The flavor is pine, resin and just the slightest bit of dark malts. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at The City Tap House for their Deschutes event during beer week 2010, from old notes.

Muddled red with some brown and black mixed in as well, looks kinda sludgey. Ring around the glass. Semi slight dots of lace, nothing extraordinary. Smell is piney, grapefruit that's sharp, semi boozy even with the low ABV, malty but not really. Taste is a black IPA alright sharp taste of grapefruit and oily hops, resonous. Some malt in the back, not terribly complex. Medium bodied, highly carbed, kinda prickly on the tounge there, bitterness is noted. I liked this stuff, it did not blow me away, but I will look for it again when Deschutes comes to Philly in 2011!! Yep, they are finally making it out east and what a better place to start than good ol Philly.

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Photo of biegaman
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hop in the Dark is so deep a brownish black that it could have been born a coffee. No transparency is afforded and even highlights are out of question given this oily charcoal body. Its surface is coated in tan brownish foam which isn't complete by any means but still occupies most of the facade (and even marks its territory on the glass' sides).

The aroma, more than roasty coffee or wet leaves and pine bark, smells of smoked duck breasts. It is a thick, fatty smell with plenty of earthy, herbal seasoning. The darker notes aren't quite as dark as raw cocoa or black coffee, but they do have a similar smokiness. Enough wet forest leafiness perspires, mind you, to impart strongly earthy aromatics.

If we were to combine herbal teas with coffee we could somewhat simulate the taste of this dark ale. It has an oily astringency as well as an earthy bitterness, neither of which, however, is all that impressionable. Most 7%, 70 IBU beers aren't nearly as evenhanded as this offering. It's either the most malt-minded IPA or the most liberally-hopped stout I've ever tried.

The finish is smoky, with a coffee-ish aftertaste and leafy, bitter earthy herbals. A small amount of candied citrus makes it through but it's matched by the bitter sootiness of unrefined cocoa. This is truly a beer to give you semantic difficulties. It's a brainteaser; it has bitterness as well as roastiness, a creamy richness that is filling yet satisfyingly refreshing.

Deschutes makes an incredible porter and they have a few solid hoppy brands too; this beer, which combines the two, seems like an offering they've made just to stroke their ego. Indeed, it's a fantastic combination of both worlds: clean but burnt grain maltiness and candied fruit hoppiness, satisfying but easily quaffable. It's a beer for amateurs and connoisseurs alike.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best After Date May 2010; Sampled July 2010
A big pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces an almost four-finger thick, darkly brown tinged, tan colored head. The beer is quite dark, almost black and is opaque when held up to the light. Up front the beer smells of lemon-like and herbaceaous hops, but quickly becomes quite roasted in character. The roast adds an almost acidic edge to the up front hop character. Unlike most dark IPAs I have had, the dark malt character in this beer is huge; layered notes of mocha, dark chocolate, toasted grain and espresso. Interestingly enough, the sharp, acrid roast character has now become more subdued, allowing both the rich malt, as well as more of an expressive, fruity hop character to come through; aromas of tangerine, lychee and kumquat now mix in with the dark chocolate of the roast grain. The nose on this didn't start out all that great, but a little time has really allowed this to open up and it is quite enjoyable. I am digging the ample roast / dark malt character found in the nose, definitely atypical for a Black IPA, but it works here.

Smooth, with a touch of carbonation texture (my aggressive pour knocked a bunch of the carbonation out apparently), the beer tastes of a hint of roast grain, but mostly bitter, citrusy hops up front, while the finish sees a lingering, dark roasted coffee flavor that intermingles with the hop bitterness. The roasted malts contribute to the bitterness in the finish and also add a touch of burnt acidity as well as a touch of roasted grain husk like acridness. A rounded dark chocolate note in the middle is faintly noticeable underneath the more dominant hop and roasted malt character. A bit of malt sweetness is found here, though the body is actually fairly light. A second, soft pour sees a lot more carbonation surviving, which adds some fizz to the texture and also boosts the roast acidity; because of this last, it does better as a smoother, less carbonated beer. The citrus hop notes aren't as fruity and intense as one would find in a beer that doesn't have roast malt; it makes it more lemon like almost, and really mutes the tropical fruit and bright, characterful citrus character that one expects in an IPA (and that you can smell in the aroma of this beer). During certain sips though, you do get a certain sense of the tangerine / lychee character that is here, in a certain oral-nasal presence.

Interestingly enough, given how it started, the aroma ends up being the highlight of this beer for me; the flavor is certainly not bad, but the integration of dark malt and hop character just seems to work quite a bit better in the nose than it does in the mouth.

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Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: color is extremely dark brown with hints of amber-brown when held up to the light. Head is almost two fingers of light tan foam. This is extremely porteresque in appearance; I like it.

Smell: big, funky, piney, earthy hops tend to crowd out anything else that might be present, but I think I detect a little chocolatey malt aroma underneath. This is promising.

Taste: lots of rich flavors coalesce here, from the earthy, bitter hops to some tasty, chocolatey roasted malt flavors. I rather like this combination of flavors -- it is quite similar in vein to Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. Some of the hops seem a little rough around the edges, though.

Mouthfeel: medium body; silky smooth with a moderate yet enjoyable level of carbonation.

Drinkability: I find this beer rather drinkable. I like the dark IPA style, though, so that shouldn't be a surprise. Though this beer isn't perfect, it is a relatively well-executed example of the style.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this 22 today at the COOP... Wooo Hooo!! It says best after 5/29/10... I guess maybe I should have waited until the weekend. :-)

Poured into my smaller goblet... 2 finger dark an head with great retention and lacing.... the brew is pretty much black with highlites showing only when held to a bright bulb... then the deepest garnet appears.

Nose is a bright citrus hoppiness with some floral elements thrown in for good measure... the hops are balanced nicely by a bit of roasty malt.... the roastiness is there for sure, but it is in the background behind all the fresh smelling hops.

Balanced bitterness out of the gate ... more roasted malts appear on the palate than the aroma .... lite coffee and whaffs of dark dry chocolate ... there is some mild malty sweetness to tie everything together...

As this warms up, I really am appreciating the balance... bitter... hoppy... roasty... mild sweetness... The brew really meshes and is well integrated.

Nice medium/lite body with a smooth small bubble carbonation that makes it feel pretty smooth.

My only "knock" could possibly be on drinkability; just because, even given the lower ABV, this is a true sipper for me that I never see myself quickly knocking back a big glass.

Really glad Deschutes decided to bottle this "style" ... Yummy and a very good change of pace from the usual hop bombs in the PNW.


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Photo of Zorro
3.39/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark brown colored beer that is almost light proof. Tall brown colored head.

Smells like a carrot stick, a sensory effect of high hops and patent malt in the same beer. Scents of grapefruit and chocolate with a bit of smoke. Still though this smells like carrots.

Starts out sharply bitter and smoky. Hop and patent malt combine to make this considerably bitter. Grapefruit and chocolate flavor. Tastes like a carrot in a glass of Guinness.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is just OK. This is an OK beer if you just want lots of bitterness and no nuanced hop flavors. For me I need the many different flavors and aroma of the Hop, and this beer doesn't have it.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.8/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours dark brown with a light off-white head, above average retention, no lace.

S: Definite coffee/roast, and citrus hops.

T: Clear hop flavour of tangerine, melon and grapefruit upfront with a nice chocolate and coffee finish. While the finish was nice, the flavours did not meld to well together, awkward and disjointed.

M: Medium-bodied, with a soft fizzy carbonation, pretty long aftertaste.

D: Not one of Deschutes better efforts. The beer is kind of all over the place, the overall flavour isn't up my alley. I finished the bomber fine, but it sure took me a while, not something I'd realistically want more than 10 oz. of.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Poured into a snifter. A vicious pour yields a thick light brown head atop a near black body. Excellent retention. Great lacing.

The nose exhibits notes of oranges, grapefruit, and a little pine, accompanied by a pleasant moderately roasted malt character and...a dash of chocolate. I really like the roast/citrus combination.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, with an enjoyable combination of citrus and roast. I detect orange pith, grapefruit flesh, grapefruit rind, and a little pine resin. There's a slight astringency to the roasted malt character, as well as a light sweetness, and bitterness is at a pleasant moderate level. Alcohol is deftly masked. The finish leaves lingering notes of citrus on the palate.

The mouthfeel is creamy and slightly dry, with a moderate level of carbonation. Very nice. This is a subtle beer, rewarding the drinker with each sip. I am the drinker.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a certainly dark, almost black colour, with a reddish tinge around the edges. Head is frothy and bubbly and extremely voluminous, leaving chunky and solid lacing around the glass. Something about it seems very three-dimensional. There's something solid, real and believable about the beer, and I like that.

Nose, expectedly, is extremely hop-forward, with Cascade citric characters being of course the dominant character. It's true, it smells like an IPA, not a dark ale; very fruity, hoppy with resin, but perhaps with a slightly roasted grain note behind it. The hops are indeed dominant though, and it has a genuine west coast IPA swing to it. It's nice.

Taste is where this beer, and the style in general, comes into its own. Initial fruity and lightly spicy hop hints come through robustly, but almost immediately a dark, roasted character wells up to remind us that this is where the beer is at, really. It ends up lending a cherry-kirsch kind of bite to the beer - the deepness giving an astringency to the otherwise dry and fragrant hop bite. Finish is very dark and rather confrontingly roasted and bitter. Surprisingly, the bitterness on the back certainly comes more from the roasted grain than from the hops. Feel is rather light, although if it were thicker, it would be harder still to place this as something other than a heavy stout.

This is a very complex and deep beer; one that requires respect and recognition. While, unsurprisingly, the dark and the hoppy characters jangle against each other uncomfortably, they also create a kind of harmony that is hard to ignore, and which demands recognition as a unique style. A fascinating brew.

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Photo of corby112
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at London Grill.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without a trace of lighter color.  Frothy two finger light beige head that slowly settles into lasting cap/ring.  The glass is left coated with chunky lacing.  

Nice hop aroma with a  good balance of earthy floral notes and sweet citrus.  Hints of pine, grapefruit and citrus rind.  This is counters by a nice roasted malt presence.  Not acrid but slightly toasted with hits of chocolate, toffee and caramel.  

Medium bodied with a blast of dry bitter hops that linger throughout but are countered by sweet citrus and slightly roasted malt.  Dry resinous pine with subtle citrus rind as well as some toasted malt, choclate, toffee and coffee bean.  Good balance of roast, sweet, bitter and dry.   Well balanced with a dry finish.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$5.99 for the 22oz bottle.

Best by Nov 28, 2011.

It pours a black colour with about an inch of tan foam and has lots of fine lacing. My second pour, I didn't pour as slowly so I ended up with a good close to 2 finger head of foam.

It smells hoppy and of roasted malt, about equal proportions..nice.

The taste is also of a firm hop presence of grapefruit and pine, roasted malt, a bit of sweetness here as well, bitter chocolate, and a suggestion of some coffee? Lots of nice flavours going on and it is pleasing my palate...like most of the beers from Deschutes.

Silky smooth mouth feel because of the medium body and proper carbonation, I find this super easy to drink. I'm glad Hop in The Dark finally showed up!

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Hop In The Dark Cascadian Dark Ale from Deschutes Brewery
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,345 ratings.
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