Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

C4 Imperial Black IPA | Free State Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
20 Ratings

Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
O.G. - 19/1.076
Hops - 85 IBUs

Added by DCon on 05-12-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 20 |  Reviews: 5
Photo of fredmugs
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of 22Blue
3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Whiskeydeez
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Hohnbaum
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kguyty
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of KZane
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of aphamer
4.04/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Hellpop65
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of MrWizzard
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very good beer. It pours deep brown/black with a small off white/tan head, and looks much like an RIS in the glass. Very little lacing or retention as the meniscus recedes. When this beer is very cold it's boozy in the nose, as it warms this seems to disappear and you pick up scents you don't frequently find in an IPA, caramel, figs, raisins, and dates, with a nice, very piney hop back ground.

This beer tastes even better than it smells, and the nose is pretty good. Sweet carmel and bready malt is the first thing I pick up, with a nice piney hop finish . The hops are complex, pine, grapefruit, and juniper stand out, but some tropical notes (banana, papaya) are detectable as well.

The mouthful is medium to full bodied, and the carbonation medium to low. The finsh is outstanding with a nice clean bitter snap that leaves you wanting another drink post haste. The alcohol in this beer is noticable, but not abrasive, and very well concealed within the excellent malt and hop profile. Did I mention this beer was very good? I think I'll have another, and try to excerise some discretion as I proceed.

 1,120 characters

Photo of dubmax
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Living816
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Totally surprised by this. First, it was kind of a surprise since the beer was not listed on their online menu. It pours like a cup of coffee. Perfectly black. Slight white head that looks brilliantly white in comparison.

The smell is profoundly hoppy. But a medicinal evergreen, grassy, sappy, smell. Not at all what I expected. Nothing citrus about this at all. It's one of a kind. There's far too much of a medicinal quality to it.

The taste is extensively bitter with that same intense mouth filling piney flavor. Subtle roasted malt with some burnt bits, but it's hiding under what feels like 15 feet of juniper trees. It's medium body.

I rated it 4/5 and 3.5/5 in one category, but 4.5 overall. Seriously, it's a Gestalt thing. If you were to sum it, you'd miss the point. Any one category isn't outstanding. It makes a lot of well executed errors. But it makes the same syncopated errors like a well done jazz song. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I don't know why this beer works as well as it does. It should be an out of balanced, out of whack mess. But instead, it's insanely good.

They need to ditch some of the ho hum brews on the menu and keep this thing a regular brew. I'd buy it in bottles on a regular basis. Until I read this page, I didn't even know it was an 8.8% abv. That explains how I got a solid buzz after just two of them. The alcohol is perfectly hidden.

 1,404 characters

Photo of Coopersbeer
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of sammo
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of alalvarez75
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of JEdmund
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of tronester
4.44/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark brown in appearance, with a thin tan head. Smell is intoxicating by itself, bursting with tropical fruit. Amazing! Taste is awesome, a hint of char, followed by a solid malt middle, followed with a grapefruit pounding. Resinous, dank, solid bitter finish. Mouthfeel is very good. Amazing drinkability, I can't believe this beer has as much alcohol as it does. I have to try this beer again. My favorite from Free State.

 431 characters

Photo of bpgpitt10
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Taster cup growler pour thanks to another BA member at DLD 2011.

A: Nice black/brown color with a off-white head that laces pretty well.
S: Very mild citrus smell with some hints hints of malts coming through. Not the most interesting smell, but definitely decent.
T: Tons of roasted malts throughout this. A bit nutty as well. The hops hit in the back end. Very clean aftertaste given the hops that hit you.
M: Great carbonation. Very bubbly and interesting.

O: I really enjoyed this. I had no idea of the ABV when I tried it and seeing now that it is 8.8% blows my mind. I would NEVER have guessed that. I'd definitely give this one a shot.

 645 characters

Photo of DCon
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the Free-State Brewing Co tent @ the St. Louis Microfest in Forest Park (St. Louis), MO. Poured from the cask into my 16oz Microfest Pilsner glass and enjoy only one (due to the abv).

Appearance- Has the darkest black color body you can get with a 1 finger, off white head that had great retention. The lacing wasn't huge but still stuck to the sides.

Smell- Has nice dark chocolate aroma with a hint of a woody background. With the ABV being so high, you can't smell any of this extreme alcohol percentage. Very roasty as well. Nice!

Taste- Starts very sweet, with a fruit background. Huge citrus and roasty hops with roasted malts too. The roasted smell earlier came into play with the drink and has a nutty flavor to go with this. Black pepper is all over the place and ends up having a nice grain flavor and bitterness finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium viscosity, leaves the palate Sticky and has a low carbonation.

Overall- While the ABV was 8.8%, I couldn't smell or taste this anytime throughout the experience. This was an awesome Black IPA and am glad I tried it! Have never heard of Free State Brewing Company (probably b/c its located in Lawrence, KS), GO MIZZOU, but they do a good job brewing. Drinkability was tough but I only enjoyed 16 ounces of this IPA, so it was a perfect amount for me. Look forward to trying more from Free State!

 1,393 characters

C4 Imperial Black IPA from Free State Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 20 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.