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 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 Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Cole's, the only bar on elmwood open on July 4th. Dark, creamy, thick chocolate.Great porter. Very drinkable. Yes, thick chocolate milk shake, with some roasted coffee. As good as it sounds. Rich malty chocolate aroma. Ithaca on a roll.

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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 CharlieMurphy
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark chocolate black with a brown trim. Looks real thick, like milky chocolate. Leaves a slender cream head that sits like foam and laces like a . Carbonation is stagnant if even there at all after a certain point.

S: Smells of pepper, chocolate, hickory, smoke. The brett does something interesting in it's interplay with these dark malts that I can't quite define. It definitely seems to contribute this "hickory" smell. This could be the yeast's handling of the sugars which gives it a sort of mild warmth. Requires agitation to really get any bretty tartness.

T: More subdued than I was expecting. Very barely sour, however the thin sourness is what you get first rather than the decently robust dark malts - the opposite of what I might have expected. The brett's influence does carry through the dark roasted malt flavored finish but contributing the pepper/hickory flavor, but not in the dose the nose received. Very... interesting. Some candy-like tartness penetrates more toward the bottom of the glass. Unexpected, but interesting.

M: Thin for a more robust porter, and thin for a sour beer too. More on point for a bruin tho. Again, carbonation is docile and bogged down in this. And I can't stop mentioning this hickory aspect of it that kind of starts to tan my tongue toward the end, but I love it. Very very easy drinking though.

O: A curious brew if I ever did have one. Would definitely drink this again, wish it was a tad cheaper though.

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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 musicforairports
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half-growler from Westmere Beverage in Guilderland, NY.

Pour is black, with a decent head that dissipates quick but leaves good lacing.

Smells like roasty chocolate malts and a lactic sour character.

Taste is like a light porter, with a green apple musty/funk on top of it all. The brett is neither sour nor very funky, but it's noticeable for sure. It keeps the dark malts from dominating, but doesn't smack you with barnyard.

Mouthfeel is light for a porter but a bit robust for a brett beer, if that makes sense.

I wasn't sure what to expect. While I think the flavors work fine together, this won't automatically please fans of either porters or sour beers, both of which I love. It's a unique animal. Like someone who reviewed this earlier said, the brett adds a new dimension to a porter that lots of hops would, but it's a different flavor.

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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 DmanGTR
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Coles in Buffalo.

Poured dark brown with a thin beige cap for a head. Actually looked kind of lively. I can imagine the base beer being a fairly roasty and chocolatey porter since I get a nice waft of toast, dark chocolate, and mineral from it, but there's an overlying funk and sourness that adds a whole new level of complexity to the beer. A lactic type of sourness and an earthy, leathery, and nearly musty type of funk makes for a very interesting drink. Not overdone at all, which is impressive. You can still tell this is a porter/stout, yet there's something different about it. No doubt, this is a different animal. The richness of the beer is retained and carbonation is spot on. You would expect the bugs to eat through the body of the beer but this is not the case. I wish they would bottle this, wouldn't mind a few to keep for a while.

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Photo of mjtiernan
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a New Belgium globe

A: A finger and a half of khaki colored head. Sparsely spotted lace remains as you consume. I’m fairly color blind so I’ll take the others’ word that it’s somewhere between dark brown and black with reddish hues.

S: Grape bubble gum with some subtle hints of roasty malt. The roasted notes come to the forefront with some vigorous swirling and you start to get some chocolate in there.

T: Delicious bittersweet chocolate and coffee that fades to moderately biting tartness. I know the brett is present, but this doesn’t have any of the champagne quality that I associate with any of the other sour beers I’ve had. Much easier to drink than I anticipated although I’d probably like to re-visit that sentiment after two glasses.

M: Medium to heavy body. Quite acidic. Appropriately astringent. The carbonation's biggest contribution is to add a creamy characteristic like a stout. The very finish brings you close to the edge of being puckering but you’re never really worried that you’ll be carried over.

O: A fantastically interesting and well executed experiment from Ithaca and Iron Hill. While I truly enjoyed this, the biggest thing I got out of it was wondering what they used for the base beer before they infected it…because that alone could be a really great one.

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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 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 tempest
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a 10 oz. pour at Good Beer in the East Village. I like the balanced Brett character. I wouldn't have guessed the strength, but maybe the wild yeast has helped dry this one out a bit, the mild tang certainly seems to lift the body. Otherwise there's a wonderful, clear chocolate roast with a little bit of candy sweetness. The Brett pops in for a sharp, slightly acidic citrus note, but not much else. Heck of a 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 Lillie1128
3.16/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into my black Terrapin pint glass

A - Pours a deep espresso with a medium coffee colored head

S - Hoppy and a little sour

T - Kind of sour, very interesting. Finishes with a mild hoppy note. Think mine might have gotten a little funky in the mail

M - medium, a little carbonated

D - pretty easy to drink

Thanks to BobCS for this one!

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Photo of rfgetz
2.3/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a murky light to medium brown color, some chalkyness to its appearence, small cap of tan head. Scent tastes lightly roasty, earthy and muddy, no massive brett presence, notes of cheap milk chocolate. One sip and I knew i was in for something different... sour pumpernickle bread, sour cherries, roasted nuts, cheap milk chocolate, rancid fruit, rancid yogurt, damp earth, musty wood... a lot of notes that I wouldnt look for in a beer. Medium bodied, chalky, highly carbonated for the style.

This is my second experience with a wild yeast porter, and the other, from Dock Street was much more appropriate to showcase the yeast.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Ithaca Ale House Memorial Day weekend 2011. Served in a goblet.

Pours a medium to dark brown color with a good tan head that stuck around as a thin cap for awhile before fading and leaving some spotty lacing. The nose carried some slight roast along with chocolate and a bit of brown sugar. Beyond that, a moderate amount of funk, though that didn't really come into play until the flavor and finish. Good funky presence in the taste along with some brown sugar and slight roast. Interesting combo that I really enjoyed. Medium body and a somewhat-dry finish. Good brew.

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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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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 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 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 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 xnicknj
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at good dog in philly

Pours a deep brown color, almost black, thick tanned head retains well. Spotty and cloudy lacing on the glass.

Pretty interesting nose with chocolate, nutty brown malt, light sweetness. The brett funk is also apparent with tartness.

Starts off like a regular porter with roasted malts and some chocolate undertones. Fairly sweet with some solid body, followed by bretty funk. Not necessarily sour but definite tartness towards the finish, which is a bit strong and dry.

Medium body, higher carbonation, lasting finish and smoothness. This was pretty much what I was expecting, and I wasn't disappointed.

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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 rlee1390
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on top at IBC for their release of the beer

A-Deep black, some tan head. Not much lacing left.

S-Roasted Malt is the only thing I got.

T-The roasted malt is present. And then something that I can't put my finger in. It must be from the Brett. An interest flavor none the less.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation

O-A very interesting beer, glad I had the chance to try it. I can't wait to try more beers with brett.

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Photo of stegmakk
3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from cask at J. Ryan's Firkenteenth event.

A - Beer looked GOOD. Dark opaque motor oil with a good amount of tan head and a little lacing.

S - Roated malt with a hint of something else...couldn't quite put my finger on it until the taste

T - OK...maybe I am one of the only ones that did not like this beer. I got a roasted coffee up front with a ton of sour flavor and some bitter coffee at the end. TOO much sour tasting for an american porter in my opinion.

M - Crisp smooth

O - It LOOKS good and feels good...just didn't taste good. If the sournees was smoother or blended well, this could be decent. But the usual chocolatey taste of some of my favorite porters got drowned out by the sourness.

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