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Black Raven IPA | Olde Hickory Brewery

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very good
70 Reviews
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Black Raven IPABlack Raven IPA

Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by SaCkErZ9 on 07-23-2010

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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 204
Photo of SpdKilz
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to mullenpc for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a dark black with a slight mocha colored head that dissipates slowly leaving some nice coating.

Smell – Lots of roasted malts, slight hops, a hint of citrus, and chocolate.

Taste – Orange peel, bitter and charred malts, slight chocolate, and some earthy herbs.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, good carbonation, a hint creamy.

Overall – A decent Black Ale, though a bit too bitter honestly.

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Photo of Jenkster4
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nearly jet black with a nice frothy head. I picked up bit citrus notes on the nose with a roasted malt character lingering in the background. The first thing that hit me in the taste is the citrus hops up front then you get some of the chocolate malts in the back of the tongue. More of a hop forward black IPA, however it's pretty damn tasty. Maybe sitting this one down for a year (even though it's not recommended because it's an IPA) would do the darker qualities more justice. Overall a damn good beer for the price.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to holden303 for sending me this one as part of the N00B BIF 6!

Best before December 2011.

Pours an opaque black with dark brown highlights around the edges and a 2 inch puffy dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap. A nice latticework of lace forms on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and some pine and citrus zest hop aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt and pine and citrus zest hops up front. The aftertaste brings about cocoa and coffee ground flavors. There is a medium amount of bitterness in the middle before the cocoa and coffee flavors kick in that slowly fades after each sip. The mouthfeel on this one is a bit flat with a medium body. Overall, this is a solid example of the black IPA style that is easy to drink.

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Photo of wedge
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoy Before: F/12

Pours a very dark brown color with a thin, but very creamy off-white head that last awhile. Aromas of piney and orange-y hops and a dark underlying maltiness to even things out. Much more malt in the flavor...delicious semi-sweet chocolate roast and hoppy pine notes. Some citrus. Very balanced and tasty overall. Bitter, medium body and slick. I liked this one quite a bit...

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing this one.

Pours a deep, dark brownish black with very little head. The nose has notes of chocolate and roasted malts and piny hop aromas. The taste is roasted malt and chocolate malt up front with floral, citrusy, and piny hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth; decent carbonation.

This is a solid drinking Black IPA. I'll definitely have it again.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shout out goes to McNuts for sending this one as part of a trade- thanks!

A: pours deep black with dark and creamy brown head, appears like a nice thick imperial stout, almost entirely opaque, great lacing, decent head retention

S: nose features lots of hops up front in the form of earthy pine, a considerable amount of roasted malt is mixed in there as well, notes of chocolate and coffee, hops take the center stage though

T: taste starts out brutally bitter with piney, resinous hops all over, some malty sweetness in the middle, a touch of chocolate and caramel, and then a big time bitter finish

MF: smooth and somewhat thick body, high carbonation

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Photo of beer2day
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour with just the faintest hint of light shining through. Not quite 2-fingers of lighter head than expected. Very light lace and no retention.

Chocolate and very light roast nose. Nice shot of grapefruit there, too, but the chocolate overshadows that. Combination gives this a bit of a bourbon feel.

Chocolate comes out first, followed in the finish with a nice burst of citrus hops. Stronger roast malt than in the nose. Good hop burn later in the glass.

Feel is spot on for the style. Just heavy enough to stand up to the chocolate and roast malt, but not too thick to let the hops play.

Another solid offering from Olde Hickory.

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Photo of Dope
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very dark brown pour with a frothy chocolate milk head. Retention is amazing as is the lacing.

S: Roasted malt and chocolate mixed with some nice citrus hop smells. Some hints of dark fruit in there too. Smell reminds me a lot of a hoppy porter, much like Pretty Things EIP.

T: Lots of bitter chocolate and roasted malt. Hops are overpowered so you don't taste much of them but you can feel the bitterness especially in the aftertaste. A little bit of citrus and pine is evident after the chocolate and roast has dissipated a bit.

M: Pretty thick and creamy. Delicious.

O: Good black ale, could use some more hops to try to overcome the strong chocolate and roast but it's still quite good. Strong bitterness from all aspects of the beer. Avoid if you dislike dark chocolate or roasted malt!

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Photo of lanamj
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into an old hickory pint glass.

A- Nice black beer with a light brown head that thins out to a minimal lace around the glass

S- Nice bitter hop aroma, balanced by sweet roasted malts. I get some dark fruit as well as citrus. Very nice balance.

T- Lots of bittering hops not much else. I do get some roasted malt and coffee at the end but rather one sided.

M- It has very nice residual hops bitterness that sticks to the palate. Kind of on the watery side.

O- A good black IPA kind of one sided but still good for the style. Also the drinkability is very approachable making it a good beer for anytime.

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Photo of jpro
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from Total Wine in Charlotte...

A: Poured into a Brasserie D’Achouffe tulip... Dark, coffee brown, with a one-finger light beige head; recedes quickly, but leaves some nice patches of lace; definitely not as black as I was expecting.

S: Citrusy hop aroma; some pretty noticeable chocolate malt (more than other Black IPA’s, at least); maybe a hint of roastiness and some resin, too. Nothing in your face, yet well-rounded and nice.

T: Follows the aroma, more or less... Pretty hefty citrus rind bitterness, with some pine; lighter chocolate malts in the background; maybe some pumpernickel in there, too.

M: Full-bodied, creamy, moderate carbonation; much heavier / more velvety than others of the style - almost too heavy.

D/O: An interesting Black IPA... its hoppy, but also has a more pronounced malt (i.e. chocolate) profile than many others - both in the aroma and taste departments. Mouthfeel is full and creamy - almost stout like. This actually seems like more of a really hoppy stout or fuller-bodied porter than Black IPA. Its an interesting brew, though, with some nice things going on - pretty tasty. I’d have it again -

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Photo of doughanson78
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Thanks to HopDiggityDawg for this.

A: Very dark, almost pitch black. Dark red highlights at edges when held to the light. One and a half finger mocha color head with great retention and OK lacing.

S: Nice roasted aroma. Sweet dark chocolate. Very light citrusy hop aroma. Grapefruit and orange. Smells like a good porter.

T: Sweet/bittersweet chocolate upfront. Good roastiness throughout. Citrusy and piney hops in the finish leaving a light bitterness.

M: Light to medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Mild creaminess. Nice roastiness. Light lingering bitterness.

O: As I'm not a big fan of Black IPA's, this is easily one of the better that I've had (next to Deschutes' Hop In The Dark). Definitely much more like a porter in look, taste, and smell. The flavors don't blend as well as they should but I guess that's just the style.

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Photo of devilben02
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown/black, with a dense yet foamy chocolate-milk-colored head that clings to the glass. The aroma is hop forward, with characteristics of pine and fruity citrus. The flavor is more complex, with an almost ashy roasted malt character that builds on the bitterness provided by the fresh and lively hops. The result isn't a powerful bitterness, though, but rather is more of a dull, lingering ache on the tongue. The light carbonation doesn't get in the way but simply helps things glide along.

Overall, this is one of the best attempts at a black IPA I have had yet, with the different components complementing each other rather than competing with each other. Stated otherwise, many beers of this style come across to me like a rowdy biker bar with loud rock music encouraging a raucous crowd to chug their pale lagers and pick a fight with the little guy that's wearing the wrong colors on his jacket. In contrast, with this beer, although there are a number of bikes parked out front, the clientele inside is enjoying some local craft beer while discussing the finer points of international copyright law.

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

Pours black with mahogany highlights and a decent head that fades to a cap and a leaves some nice lacing. Smells roasty and nutty in turn with some spicy hop notes and a bit of creaminess. The taste is similar, with lots of piney bitterness, some roasted grain, and a long very nice bitter finish. Big and bitter in the mouth without being chewy. Quite a solid version of the style. I enjoyed this.

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Photo of AgentZero
2.76/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to jrallen34 for sharing this one.

A - Black beer with a slightly tan head that left a lit of spots. Looks brownish in the light.

S - A lot of roasted malt with unsweetened chocolate and some hops.

T - I don't like this. Tastes like unsweetened chocolate malts, ash, and bitterness. Really not a good combination, and doesn't have a particularly full flavor. Finish is pretty dry too, which isn't good after the bitterness and ash taste.

M - Medium carbonation, dry finish, active carbonation.

O - Wouldn't drink this again, it's not a beer that I really enjoyed. Black IPAs are kind of a bastard style. Definitely would pass on this one.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jason for sharing this one. Sampled side-by-side with Peak Hop Noire. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - A half-finger of off-white foam settles to some wispy bubbles, thin collar, and leaves behind tiny spots of lace. Dark brown body that is lighter at the fringes.

S - Molasses, chocolate, roasted malts, and some oranges. Not sure of the age on this one, but it's definitely on the roasty and dark side of things. More like a porter with more hops.

T - Again, roasted malts, chocoalte, some char and burnt flavors, and a late-appearing moderate herbal bitterness. Not much in the way of hop flavors beyond the finish.

M - Medium-bodied, chewy, with medium-low carbonation. Minimal alcohol warmth, although I didn't expect any at 7%.

D - A decent but largely unexciting Black IPA. Needs more late-addition and dry hops to go with the bitterness. I also don't understand why every Black IPA has to have a least some char and black patent astringency.

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Photo of Durge
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid black in color with a big frothy tan head and plenty of lacing to go with it. The nose picks up chocolatey-charcoal malt and odd herbal seaweed hops. I like it. The tongue finds more charcoal and malt over a nice bitter herbal/citrus. Solidly medium bodied with pleasant carbonation this is fairly drinkable though it has some stick-to-your-ribs feel, smooth and silky. This seems like a bit of a cross between a good stout and a good IPA. Either way, it’s good stuff. Nice job!

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Photo of kflack
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: On draft, pours black with a one finger, cream colored head. Looks great.

S: lotsf of roasted malt, with a strong chocolate aroma. Bittersweet.

T: expresso up front, with bitter orange peel. Has a hop bacbone that lingers. Smooth in the finish.

O: a great 'black ipa'! Not boozey at all, with a good hop ting. I would grab this any chance you get!!

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a newly acquired Old Hickory pint glass. Enjoy before September 2011, so this is a fresh one.

4.5 A: Pours black. Two fingers of creamy tan head with very good retention and tons of lacing.

4.0 S: Smells more like a hoppy porter than a black IPA. Anyway, this starts out with a light roasty burntness then the hops kick in and add citrusy and earthy components. Subtle chocolate notes worth well with the citrus giving the impression of orange flavored chocolate. Not bad.

3.5 T: Like every other black IPA I've had, the flavors compete instead of complement. Good bit of roastiness to start again with a light burntness. Subtle chocolate and caramel notes. Hops are strengthy and contribute citrus with emphasis on orange. Slightly more than moderate bitterness. Roasty aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. A bit lighter in body than I'd like. Could also be creamier.

3.5 D: Not bad for the style (which is one I can't get into). I'm not sure if I'll ever love drinking a black IPA, but I'm not going to give up just yet. There has to be some combination out there that will please me.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fellow BA (thanks Skuter) got this in a trade and brought it to a tasting.

A: Poured from a 22oz bomber bottle into a Bruery tasting glass. The beer pours a dirty brown, that is near black in color, with dark ruby red highlights. Solid inch of off white head rose, and stuck around, leaving sticky lacing.

S: Piney hops, some fruit notes of peaches, then roasted coffee, and chocolate.

T: Sweet chocolate malt, mixed with citrus bitter hops. Some bread in the middle, with a lingering roasted and bitter finish.

M: Oily, with medium to high carbonation, but a an odd finish, that is both roasty, dry, and bitter.

O: Glad I got to try this, since it's not available in California. Above average, though black IPA's are bit of an odd style, kind of like a quarter porter blended with a IPA. Only had a few Black IPA's, but it does seem to be an emerging style, or at least style that is being re-introduced more now, and this is certainly one of the better ones I've had of the style.

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Photo of corby112
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber received in a trade with McNuts. Thanks again Keith! Best by 7/11.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a 1.5 finger frothy light beige head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with soapy lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with lots of earthy hops and subtle citrus notes. Hints of dark chocolate, burnt toast, oatmeal and caramel along with earthy pine and citrus rind. A bit malty for my preference but standard for the style.

Medium bodied with a blast of dry and bitter earthy hops that linger throughout over the deep roasted malt flavor into a long dry finish. The hop presence is much more prominent than the aroma suggest with lots of dry earthy pine flavor and subtle citrus notes. Very dry and bitter with slight sweetness to balance things out. This is balanced by a deep roasted malt profile with hints of dark chocolate, burnt toast, oatmeal, caramel, toffee and coffee/espresso bean. Very complex and well balanced and although it has plenty of roasted malt it is still plenty hoppy and can still be considered an IPA. Complex and easy to drink with a well masked ABV.

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Photo of PatLarsen
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Okay this is the real deal right here. Had at Duckworths in a pint glass. It's a dark brown color with a good tan head. Roasted malt and caramel with citrus. Love this thing. Drinking it all in. One of the few Black IPAs that I can really get behind. Taste follows smell in the best way. Great body with good carbonation. I really like what they have done with this beer. One of the better black IPAs out on the market.

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Photo of brentk56
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a murky dark brown color with a firm tan head; nice retention and some streaky lace is left behind

Smell: The roasty malt and burnt caramel sugars are dominant, but the pithy citrus and coffee tones are not far behind

Taste: The pithy citrus and burnt toast flavors complement each other right from the outset, with a coffee character adding complexity by mid-palate; the battle between the malt and hop elements continues after the swallow, with the bittering elements of the coffee and citrus finally emerging in control of the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Olde Hickory is producing some very tasty beers and this one is no exception; really like the balance here

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Photo of beergod1
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a small light tan head. Aroma of citrus, light roasted malt, cocoa, and resinous hops. Taste is roasted dark malt-cocoa, then the resinous/pine hops with some bite come through and predominately stays, this is more IPA than anything, but the Malt does a nice job balancing out. Not at the top of my list for Black IPA's, but still pretty good.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Funny how this style is so new that even brewers are mislabeling their product. I'm sure someone has picked this up without reading the fine print on the label, just seeing that big "IPA" out front, and being utterly shocked upon pouring. Speaking o' which, let's pour...

Definitely black in color, or insanely dark brown, with a tan ice cream float head that's firm and creamy. Simple and gorgeous.

So okay, despite my little rant, a blind sniff test would definitely bring IPA to mind. Citrusy hops, like Cascade or Amarillo, come to the nose rather strongly. But then there is that hint of deeply toasted grain that leans toward the burnt end of the spectrum. Very much true to style, if favoring the hops quite a bit.

Strong flavors from opposite ends of the ABA sphere: the north pole a lot like nothin'-special black coffee grounds, though not harsh, and the south pole being a green, tangy, citrus fruit sort of brightness. Very much "night and day." Do they meet at the equator? Just barely enough to provide a harmonious enough experience. My only complaint is that a mineral steeliness comes into play in the middle somewhere. Tart and almost puckery in the finish, which finds the hops winning out in the end.

Carbonation is fairly aggressive, although the body itself is of a soft, round, smoother sort, so you get a kind of struggle in the texture...which you also get in the taste.

Not a bad take on the style at all. Black ales like this are tough, you've got what are two rather opposing characteristics (heavily toasted/burnt grains vs. bright fruity hops) trying to not only coexist, but work together in harmony. This isn't the best version of the style (I still think Southern Tier's Iniquity is king) but enjoyable and pleasant enough.

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Photo of fear025
2.94/5  rDev -23%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma:Mostly malty, although a little grapefruit and roasted malts.

Appearance:Beer is black with very little head and low apparent carbonation.

Taste:Piney hops provide a decent amount of bitterness. The mid to aftertaste has more roasted notes. The aftertaste is a little roasty and a little bitter.

Mouthfeel:Light to medium body. A little creamy.

Drinkability:This beer is enjoyable enough, but there's nothing to really make it stand out from other black IPAs.

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Black Raven IPA from Olde Hickory Brewery
3.82 out of 5 based on 204 ratings.
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