Dark Humor | Ithaca Beer Company

very good
52 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-18-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 85
Photo of suspect
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler into a small wide-mouthed glass. Picked up this growler at the brewery a little over 10 days ago.

A: Deep mahogany brown in color with a milk chocolate colored head that measures about 1 finger high. Head disappears shortly after pouring. Leads to spotty lacing that remains present throughout.

S: Toasted malt, chocolate, fruity tones and the famous Brett earthy smell. Wonderful aromatic notes that all blend nicely together. Nothing too strong, yet the complex tones all add up to a really powerful nose.

T: Hot damn. Follows the nose almost exactly with toasted malts, chocolate and fruit tones with hints of coffee that wasn't initially picked up in the nose (by me...probably was there, I just didn't find it amongst all of the other wonderful smells). All of those fine flavors are wrapped up nicely in the brett yeast's sour flavors. This was without a doubt, the best porter I've ever had.

M: Medium bodied, perfectly carbonated creating a creamy mouthfeel that leads me to want to drink more and more and more.

O: Holy cow. I wasn't expecting to like this nearly as much as I did. I am familiar with the Brettanomyces yeast through Orval and I wasn't sure I would like this in a porter. Wow was I wrong. This beer is really fantastic and I'll be headed to the brewery for another growler asap. Bravo, Ithaca and Iron Hill, bravo.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to my man up north for this growler, i was thrilled to death to be able to try this one! Gotta love two new ithaca growlers!

pour was jet black with a small tan head that kept a ring around the entire glass leaving a good bit of lacing up and down the sides of the glass that really looked to be quite nice to me. aroma is deep peat and smoke, much more then i really thought it would be, nicely done. warming brings up lots of oak and touches of vanilla in the flavor. the grape and slightly sour character from the barrels is not very noticeable until it really warms and by that time it is still quite light but near perfectly placed. rich and smooth, with a deep smoke flavor that leaves a long lasting oak note on the palate an a light, but enjoyable finish that really gives a nice rounded profile.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

man was I waiting for the firkenteenth at J Ryan's. Dark Humor has been totally anticipated by all my friends from our favorite local brewery. Looking forward to this...

A- pours an opaque, dark body with a small mocha like head of foam. Minimal lacing, but a hearty looking brew nonetheless

S- there it is... a good whiff of brett that blends with a malted sweet flavor. The scent flows through with a robust finish that creates an initial outlay of the deemed "brett porter"

T- can you say one in a million??? Look, I will never declare that I have the most experienced palate on the east coast. Nevertheless, Dark Humor delivers with a roasted flavor that is enrobed in the brett experience. The end snaps your tongue with a charcoal flavor and disappears with that expected bready flavor. Man this is unique. I need more (oh yeah I will be getting growler fills at the brewery this thursday)

M- the flavor creates a secondary coating barrier on your mouth. It's good and crisp

D- ok, the best part... Dark Humor is so drinkable and unstoppable with flavor. Hate to be redundant, but the concept of a brett porter that was on cask is unbelievable. Ithaca, you have delivered a brew that will echoe with differentiation.... this is that good

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Photo of sliverX
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presented with a pitch black snifter with a thick mocha head very nice
Smell is nice dark chocolate not picking much else up
Tastes is bitter in a funky brett way but backed by chocolate and coffee and a nice hop bite at the end
Medium bodied and suited perfectly nice carbonation
Over all a very interesting and delicious twist. Can only hope this isn't just a one and never again .
On tap at Mr. Goodbar

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Photo of Damico
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet light bitter chocolate notes on top of light cherries, absolutely awesome aroma. The brew pours awesome dark black with a huge creamy mocha colored head frothing on top. The flavor is light tart chocolate covered cherries on a creamy body,need I write more,

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Photo of cbutova
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Sunset Grill.

A- Pitch black in a tulip. Small tan head with a nice creamy texture. Spotty lace on the glass.

S- Brett + porter = sour cherries, barnyard, smoke, licoriceand roast malts.

T- Like the nose but more intense and complex. Dark roast malt, cocoa, licorice, coffee thrown into a barnyard of sour cherries and straw

MF- Lighter end body with moderate carbonation. Tart makes me pucker up a bit.

Probably the best random menu choice I have ever made. All Brett porter is a great idea.

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Photo of DaveHack
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in an Ithaca tulip from a Growler I got at the tasting room in Ithaca, NY at the end of Memorial Day weekend

A- Very dark, almost black. Solid carbonation, but not as much head as I would expect and very little lacing

S- Smells like a bitter chocolate, with a definate 'funk' to it

T- Very malty, typical porter taste, but then the back end hits with that beautiful sour taste. It is an excellent combination of flavors. The trend lately has been combining malt with hops, but I think this combo of malt and Brett works much better.

M- It is rather light drinking given the color and style. I find myself wanted to 'chug' rather than sip, because it is light in my mouth, yet the flavor and taste is all there, I'm lovin' it.

O- This collaboration I between Iron Hill and Ithaca is a one-off (I believe), but this could definately be a regular or seasonal at least. This beer is fantastic and I'm sad the growler is about kicked.

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Photo of mfunk9786
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Didn't expect to like this as much as I did. Picked up a growler from Iron Hill Media (An aside: I wish Iron Hill weren't so touchy about filling my flip-top growlers, taking home theirs is always a race against the clock to finish a half gallon of beer before it goes flat, which takes place in about a day. Ugh.)

Anyway... the beer pours a lovely ruby-toned black, and smells like it tastes - like a particularly sour cherry dunked in dark chocolate. I really didn't expect Ithaca and Iron Hill to be able to pull off such a masterful use of brett, and was expecting something like an infected bottle of Abyss (especially when very fresh without as much of a chance to come together) but I was very impressed with what we've got here. And I'm surprised that Russian River didn't jump all over the idea of an all-brett porter first, it's really quite novel. This is right up there with Bell's Cherry Stout as one of my favorite sour/chocolate combination beers, and I'll definitely be picking up another growler soon if it hangs around. I'm very lucky to live close to one of the sources of this stunner of a beer.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at the brewery in a taster glass.

A- Pitch black with a 1 finger tan head that sticks around.

S- Dark roasted malt smokiness, that's quickly taken over by brett and funk.

T- Just like the aroma. Thick creamy malts that have been burnt and smoked. Tons of funk and brett dry out the mouth after it goes down leaving you wanting more.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and I nice dry sour finish.

If they weren't out of stock on growlers I would have definitely gotten one filled. Such a damn good beer!


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Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark brown/black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a nice mix of roasted and caramel malts along with a very aggressive Brett aroma. The roasted malts and Brett sourness compliment each other well. The taste is great as well. It has a damn fine malt flavor that boasts of roasted and caramel malts. It has a bit of caramel sweetness as well as a mild earthy feel. The Brett character is quite aggressive. It lingers on in the finish with a good deal of funk. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good beer. The porters of the past used to get a slight Brett character due to barrel contamination. This one is unique and well done.

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4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Iron Monkey in Jersey City. Served in a pint glass. Minimal head upon arrival. Had a nice toasty aroma. Has a nice roasted taste that gives way to a malty sweetness. The taste has hints of chocolate. Has a smooth mouthfeel. Enjoyable even in warmer weather.

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Photo of clegolfski
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At Bukowski into my trusty mug

A - Pours a deep dark brownish black. Slight head off colored brown.

S - Bitey from the brett

T - Sweet, cheery pie tang at the start and switches to slightly roasted flavor followed by tartness

M - very smooth goes down incredibly easy with nice dried out wild finish

D - goes down way smooth

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a rich brown-black color with a finger of frothy brownish head. The head fades down fairly quickly to a thin ring leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of some sweet roasted caramel malt and some evidence of brett in some sourness and a hint of dark fruit.

T - Starts off with a mix of some sweet malt and some sourness and a touch of dark fruit. Through the middle some stronger roasted malt flavors and sourness come through with a hint of chocolate flavor. The finish is a mix of some sweet malt and some sourness that lingers nicely.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Feels really smooth. There is some nice lingering sourness on the tongue after the beer finishes.

D - Very drinkable. Very interesting flavor combination here of the brett elements and the porter. Everything seems to mix together and work very well. The sourness is nice and does not overpower the beer.

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Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Iron Hill - Media into a tulip.

A Pours a pitch black, different from the porter from which it was spawned, tan 1.5 finger head that shrinks to about half a finger without drinking, once a sip is taken is leaves a foamy layer on top with thick bubbbly lacing.

S Roasty and tart, cocoa, slight cola scent, earthy, thyme.

T Sweet and roasty, carmelly, earthy, very strong tart and bitter, but its quite smooth as long as it doesnt sit too long in your mouth thats when it realy kicks in, raspberries and tart cherries with slight sour strawberry, thyme (esp in the belches), hidden hints of citrus like lime.

M Biting sourness on the front and sides with strong burnt-like bitterness in the back, smooth still and abundantly carbonated.

O Immensely complex, like a huge party and everyones dancing and swirling and having a great time with sourness and roastiness being the long lingerers at the end of the party.

This was a great collab between Iron Hill and Ithaca. I love what the guys at Iron Hill - Media have been doing.

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4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft pour served in a pint glass for $7.00.

A: A frothy, medium brown head of 1 finger goes quickly. The body is completely black and nothing can be seen through the other side of the glass. As the drinking continues, half sheets of lace are stuck behind. Not bad, but a very standard appearance.

S & T: Dark malts, heavy roast and chocolate - all backed by a strong brett component (100% brett fermentation), plus some rich soil and a little wood. Cherry and other dark berry fruits are modest but noticeable. Dark earth and leather work their way in on both the upper and lower palate, and the fruitiness much more noticeable on the lower.

M: Medium body with a semi thick texture. A predictably dry finish and above average effervescence wipes the tongue clean.

O: Dark Humor is a very well executed all-brett porter. If you like brett dominated beers, you will definitely appreciate this one.

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Photo of Blanco
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is dark/brown black typical of porters. smell is of roasted malts mostly, chocolate, with only a hint of brett. The taste is all porter, and a fantastic one at that. the roastiness from the malt comes off smooth rather than bitter. The brett is more of a background flavor that only starts to come through as the beer warms more and you get toward the end of the glass. Medium bodied. Overall, I'm impressed with the beer, but more with the porter components. I can't help but wonder what it would taste like to try the base beer without the brett because it would probably be fantastic.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Cole's in Buffalo.

A: Pitch black, with a thin tan head. Small bubbles line the rim of the goblet. Lacing is solid. Sticky lacing that fades to thinner and smaller.

S: Roasty and sour. Tons of toasted malted barley with nice yeasty and hoppy notes.

T: Roasted malts, smoke, sour, and tons of brett yeast. It coats nicely on the palate. It's kind of sticky and chewy. There is a lingering sour flavor but it has nice balance.

D: It's quite a beer. I'm really enjoying this, but I don't know if I want more than 1 glass. The brett sour explosion is intense in this beer.

O: I had this in a 2 oz. sample at ACBF and hated it. Having a full glass of this on-tap seems to make a difference. I like this beer.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excited to see this on tap at Fathead's original location.

Poured into a nonick pint: Black with dark red highlights, ring of foam around the crown with just a dusting of lace. Little lacing as the beer disappears.

Smell is sharply grapy, a little musty, with some tart cherry & that nice twang to it with wild yeast. Some light cocoa appears, but it's kind of subdued by the funk.

Nice combination of dark, roasty, almost coffee malt up front in the taste, & melded with that tart twang, like cherry skins. Actually balances out pretty well & ends nicely. The mixture of the acidity from the dark malt & brett is pleasant & not overwhelming. There's a kind of crayon waxiness in the aftertaste, something I get in coffee stouts a lot. A strong roasted bitterness emerges after a bit.

Medium-bodied, nicely slick & smooth. Acidic, leaves me salivating afterward. Some astringency, as mentioned above. As also afore-mentioned, it kind of coats the mouth with a slightly waxy feeling.

I'm really into this, changes a little as it goes & warms. Interesting, a good balance of disparate flavors. I kind of wonder if this is equivalent to an American black ale, just with a different flavor component to counter the roasty malt (funk vs. hops).

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

Had this at ACBF and enjoyed it much more this time.

A: Classic porter look. Black with some brown when held up to the light. A little less than a quarter finger of slightly mocha head with some spotty lacing.

S: The initial pour and smell had a big hop bite which I was not expecting. After that it calmed down and had a very oaky note to it even though this beer never saw a barrel. Very earthy. A hint of damp basement. My mind is picking up some vinegar but it really is not there. The bret is definitely in there though.

T: I think they hopped this a little too aggressively. It gets in the way of the bret. That being said this has the great bones of a porter. Tons of chocolate. The bret and chocolate work quite well together but the hops kind of get in the way of that interplay. Earthy and again some oakiness to it. Lingering aftertaste of bret and a slight piney hop.

M: Quite dry.The carbonations drops off quite quickly as well.

O: The pours I had at ACBF were way too hoppy. This has calmed down but if they were to make this again I would say dial down the hopping. Other than that a solid beer that shows that bret is just another tool out there. This beer is not super funky or wild. Just a really nice beer.

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Photo of Kendo
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a half-growler (32 oz) of this at Westmere Beverage Center on 6/30/11, cost about $12.50. Consumed on 7/1/11.

A: Poured from the growler into a pint glass. Body is black in color, though brown around the edges when backlit. Small light-brown head that settles fairly fast.

S: Aroma is a mix of sweet, roasted caramel malt and sour cherries - presumable from the Brett. Also a touch of roasted coffee.

T: First impression is the sour finish - like the nose, I wrote "like sour cherries." There is good roasted barley malt underneath, however, providing a nice roast/sweet/sour balance. Lingering roasted malt and sourness, with the malt more noticed as it warms a bit.

M: Seemed a bit thinner than I expected. Carbonation is a little low, call it just lighter than medium-bodied.

O: Very drinkable. Interesting flavor combination between the Brett and the more expected Porter elements. Balanced nicely all around. A bit pricey, but I'd recommend it.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bartrash for this extra. Served in a Heady Topper glass.

A - Quick-dissolving tan foam settles to a thin ring. Dark brown body that is slightly lighter at the fringes.

S - Chocolate marshmallows, sugary malts, and a light musky funk in the periphery. Never would have guessed this was a 100% brett beer. As it warms up it gets a touch medicinal, but it's mostly chocolate and dark fruits.

T - Taste is unusual - a mix of slightly sour cherries, milk chocolate, bread and yeast, and a light medicinal note in the finish. Reminds me a bit of Cherry Cola. Somewhat watery, but otherwise quite nice.

M - Smooth texture, medium body, lower carbonation, and a dry clean finish. Alcohol isn't present at all.

D - This was quite nice - a very interesting beer. I had no problem consuming a few pours of this one and I'd certainly try it again if they make a new batch.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to mikesgroove to sharing this one with me! Served from growler into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a massively dark brown with a one finger khaki colored head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, tangerine, citrus, and citrus hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, citrus, citrus hop, floral, and tangerine. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The citrus on this one was really nice on both the flavor and aroma. Really well balanced and enjoyable. Definitely glad I got the chance to try this one and I suggest you do the same.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a traditional summer beer, but I knew this beer would have a short run on tap for growler fills.

This beer is dark like its name boasts and has a thin brown-tan head. It's impossible to see through this beer, even held to the light. Some light, sticky bubbles provide lacing. This beer looks like a classic porter, what else do you want me to say?

Terrific aromatics. There is a very light sweetness and roastiness, which is prefect for drinking during the summer (nobody wants a heavy beer on a sweaty ass night...). In harmony with the beer's sweetness there is a tingling ethanol bite and hoppy bitterness. I give this beer more points than usual because of its refreshingly light, balanced aromas.

Drinking this beer with ripe cherries, blackberries, and raspberries helps build this porter up to a very appropriate summer porter. Although it's the fourth and I should be drinking american piss-water pilsners, I'm sure the founding fathers would have preferred this slightly less patriotic beer instead.
The beer is boldly roasted and bitter. The aftertaste is smoke and black coffee. However, the distinct creaminess of the beer makes it seem as though several ounces of half&half were dumped in. This beer is clearly about the malt flavor and specialty grains.

Light, bitter and roasty. The beer is light-medium bodied and highly drinkable. I tried paring this beer with some steak and grilled fish, but it wasn't ideal. I would much more prefer this beer as an after dinner dessert beer. The carbonation was perfect the first night, but started to run syrupy by the second night (growlers...)

So glad I made this purchase, which was approximately $16 for the fill. I'm not sure when I'll see this beer on tap or in bottles, so it's worth trying while available. I would have been happier to pay $10, which I think is more than justified for this porter, but it is still packing a generous 7%abv.
I am so pleased with the beers that Ithaca has been producing and look forward to more dark humor next year.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Humor has a black, opaque body and a finger and a half of solid looking head. Retention and lacing are both pretty good.

The aroma has a good bit of roast to it, but also a noticeably sour brett characteristic to it.

Up front comes a good bit of roasted malt, followed by a nice chocolate flavor. Dark bread is pretty noticeable also, providing a bit of sweetness. The finish has a good blast of brett, that is sour without being overwhelming. I like it a lot, the sourness and the malt base work together and I like them together better than I would like either on its own. I like porters with a little bit of sourness, and this one is pretty good.

Fairly light body with smooth, natural carbonation.

I like it. I think from here on out, all of the brett collaboration beers that Ithaca does will be must-tries for me. Also, this reminds me a lot of the New Glarus Old English Porter that I had with about a year of age on it.

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Photo of timtim
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

very dark brown (almost black) with a tan head that holds very well and leaves pretty lace. nose is cocoa powder, marshmallow and chocolate covered cherries with just a hint of earth, mushroom and roast. taste is chocolate covered mildly sour cherries and other dark fruits with touches of roasty malt, earth and a marshmallowy finish. sounds strange, and there are lots of layers here, but definitely works somehow. medium-full body is soft and pillowy. very clean finish. 100% brett? really? nice collaboration here.

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Dark Humor from Ithaca Beer Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 85 ratings.
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