Pitch Black IPA | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

very good
319 Reviews
Pitch Black IPAPitch Black IPA

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally brewed as a 2010 one-time release called W'10, now a seasonal called simply 'Pitch Black IPA'

availability: January - April
bitterness: 65 IBU
alcohol by volume: 6.5%
original gravity: 16° PLATO

Two Row Pale, Caramel 10 L, Special Roast, Carafa Special II

Bittering: Alchemy
Aroma: Alchemy, Cascades
Dry Hop: Cascade T-45

Added by JohnGalt1 on 11-21-2009

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 319 | Ratings: 802
Photo of avaldivia
2.09/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle dated march 3 2011. I know old, but I work at a grocery store and a rep for Widmer gave this to us today to convince us to carry this product. We will not.

A: Good look. Nice head but very little retention.

S: A bit fruity and roasty but vey light. Watery.

T: Wow, boring. The hop is there but very light. I think this would have been better if we had been given a bottle. This tastes watered down. I feel like I would be given this at a dive bar that waters down it's drinks.

M: Surprisingly carbonated. Very light, hardly any body.

O: I feel bad because I got an old bottle, but this is just bad. Not flavorful or interesting. I don't understand why a rep would give us an old bottle when he wants us to bring this in. I will give this one more try if I find a fresher batch, but am hesitant as to the quality of this beer regardless of age.

 855 characters

Photo of bmwgirl9606
2.29/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a nicely chilled bottle into a pint glass.

Deep opaque brown-black with light tan cream head that lingers. Minimal hop and malt aroma. Flavor was almost non-existent, watery and lacking in both hops and malt. No deep bitterness. Light crisp mouthfeel.

Overall impression - watery and flavorless. Ended up dumping it down the drain and poured a Short's Huma-Lupa-Licious instead.

 394 characters

Photo of BeerGod27
2.49/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This was a disappointing offering. First of all I love IPAs but I've only had a few black IPAs. Second, this wasn't a bad beer but it tasted more like a porter than an IPA. Smell was dark with a slight hop aroma. Taste was smokey (like a porter) and never tasted any hops. The aftertaste was the worst. It was slick, oily and tart.

 331 characters

Photo of bobhits
2.58/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2


Pours deep mahogany and turns black in the glass. There's a nice tan head with great lacing and a lot of body.

Well hopped, a touch of burnt malt, and a hint of chocolate.

This is where the beer starts to underwhelm. A good citrus hop finish and start but it never really reaches that intense level. The malt here comes off watery, certainly adding in some darker flavors and caramel sweetness. This beer just never really comes together. It just feels watery.

the watery flavor or lack there of is here in a big way. The beer tastes nearly flat which is amazing given how nice the head was.

I'm not sure why this beer is 9+ for a 4 pack as it isn't big, it isn't bold, and it isn't impressive. Perhaps this beer is a bit old 4 months is a long time for an IPA, but this is just showed up here so it wasn't available fresh.

 862 characters

Photo of mikechance
2.64/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A --- deep black with a nice 1/2" head

S --- malts, raisins, grass

T --- caramel, coffee, roasted malts

M --- light body, watery, light carbonation

O --- Disappointing. Compared to all the other solid Black IPAs on the market this one doesn't measure up. It's closer to a roasty Porter than an IPA. Not crazy about it.

 322 characters

Photo of harrymel
2.64/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

June 3 bottle date

A: pours a coffee ground black with excellent clarity where allowed. Less than single finger off white head all but disappears to a scattered sheet of the same. Spot lace.

S: Nice and woody with pine and resin aromas. Nothing special.

T: Nice and bitter. Not very flavorful, but wood, yeast, cocoa and coffee grounds (just the grounds, no coffee). Interesting.

M: thin and bubbly with a dry finish.

O: okay beer. Last time I'm likely to drink.

 471 characters

Photo of BB1313
2.66/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Freshness date noticeable. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours pitch black, hence the name. There's a nice foamy off-white head, which disappears pretty quickly; decent lacing. The aromas are all chocolate malt, the hops aren't really present in the aromas. The aromas also are pretty faint, overall. Wow, the first sip was pretty unimpressive. The flavors just fall flat, with an awkward aftertaste. Lots of chocolate running wild, and finally the hops are noticeable. There's nothing fruity about this one. The mouthfeel isn't bad, it's pretty light and creamy, maybe a little too fizzy. Overall, it got better as I drank it, but I'm not really too impressed. Bad bottle maybe?

I'm a big fan of Black IPAs, but this one really didn't do it for me. Maybe I'm being harsh, but I've been enjoying alot of Black IPAs lately. This one isn't worth the price of admission.

 885 characters

Photo of kencarman
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Did I get a different bottle than everyone else here? Black? Yes. Head: pillow with at tad rock and nice white. Garnet highlights. Nice Centennial-like nose with some malt: grapefruit. So far so good. Taste? Grass: pure grass with some medium body dark malt background. I LOVE fresh hops. But this is pure grass without the fresh taste. Dominants. Becomes ANNOYING and astringent.

A bad bottle? Possible, but not likely. No cardboard, no sense of infection: no defects other than the hop problem here. Phenolics? No. DMS? No. It really tastes like someone boiled the hell out of the hops, or used funky hops. Did they get bad hops for this batch of Pitch? Could be, I suppose.

I do not recommend this, and that's unfortunate. Less of a hop boil might help. No indication this is fresh hops, but if so: the boil is probably still off. The hopping ruined it. It could have been damn good. Get a better brewer: one who knows how to use hops.

 942 characters

Photo of Kegatron
2.85/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap @ the Widmer Gasthaus (Portland, OR) on 9/4/11. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a pitch black in the glass, with a ½ finger of light mocha head. This retains mostly with a foamy ring but does have a decent looking flare-up to it, leaving back some light spotty froth. The aroma smells very floral, with an extra touch of spice and pine embedded in the nose as well. Grapefruit and sweet malts combo to add a green twang to this; while darker roast finishes things off in the back. I think that this is focusing a little too much on that green twang here overall.

Malts are prominent up front of the taste, with chocolate character and some tangier feeling caramel as well. This melds into that green citric bitterness before finishing with a roasted backend. Dry pith, spice, and pine all linger fairly strongly. That green bitterness here is just coming on too strong and really throws the profile here off at times. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sharp on the tongue but is a bit creamier and smooth feeling on top, which helps this go down. For 6.5%, the alcohol here is very well hid.

I just wasn’t digging this one. That flat tasting green citrus flavor just controlled too much of the taste here and ultimately made this a fairly bland drinking experience. It’s too bad to, as the nose showed some promise.

 1,333 characters

Photo of WastingFreetime
2.96/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A. The same color as a Guiness. The head also mimics a Guiness, one finger thick sandy tan made up of millions of tiny creamy bubbles.

S. Okay, this is bugging me, why is this even called an IPA? To me an IPA speaks of fruity scents, which are absent from this beer. Instead the hop scent is entirely floral and light. Very subdued nose. I totally agree with this site classifying this beer as an American Black Ale on the evidence of the nose alone. Besides the small bouquet of flowery hops, there are some vaguely acrid charred malt smells. I mean that in the best way possible. Still, I think that there is a hell of lot of room for more complexity in there.

T. Burnt unsweetened chocolate with earthy hop tones which fall apart a bit too rapidly for my liking, leaving me with alone with a bit too much astringency. Than it turns into subtle leathery flavor tones that I do enjoy. It is difficult to tell where the bitterness from the malt and the bitterness from the hops separate.

M. Not nearly heavy enough, and yet it is too oily. The biggest downfall of this brew.

 1,077 characters

Photo of StlHopHead77
2.98/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A-Pours out,oddly enough,pitch black with only some very slight crimson slivers sneaking in at the edge of the glass.Two fingers of dusty but stiff tan head that dissipated at a moderate rate and left thin ribbons of lace.

S-Caramel,metal/mineral notes,some faint citric hops,black tea and chocolate.

T-The taste was reminiscent of an English IPA.Somewhat tinny with flavors of old hops,mild chocolate,weak coffee and stale,brown bread.

M-Thin and uninspired.No real depth of flavor and no real punch.Flaccid.


 530 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.08/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A lighter shade of black. Mild viscosity. Aroma didn't give enough hops, gave more roasted qualities.

Taste once again puts it in the average category, most black ipas simply come off like thinner, hoppier porters, merely schwarzbiers with ale yeast instead of lager.

Plenty bitter. I dunno, not enough aroma, flavor, more than enough bitterness and roast.

 365 characters

Photo of brewski09
3.09/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A beer by widmer bothers to introduce you to the Black IPA style.

A - This is exactly what the beer is supposed to look like. Dark to the point you would think it was a big ole porter or even a light, dry stout. The minimal head was light brown for me.

S - For a dark ale/black ipa, this was kinda lightly hopped to me. I know this is a new style and all, but all of the other ones I have had are more aggressively hopped and better off for it, so i have an expectation of IPA style hopping (not double or triple IPA hopping, just regular)

T - The taste was fine. More like a pale ale or american bitter than anything else. I found the debittered black malt to contribute a bit of flavor, but not bitterness.

M - This was light and lacking in body to me.

D - This was drinkable, but not spectacular. A good beer for someone who wants to start trying dark ales/black ipa's. Just realize that others in this style are more aggressively hopped.

 947 characters

Photo of rwathree
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, poured into tulip glass.

A: Nice. Not quite "pitch black," but dark, near-opaque, a little brownish red at the edges when held to light. Yields about a 1/2 inch cream head that leaves a nice sticky lace on the glass.

S: On first whiff I get the hops, though the Cascade citrus doesn't stand out. On another, I get more coffee notes, a little bit of sugar.

T: Nothing's really standing out here. I was expecting more of those coffee notes to come through in the taste, or at least something other than hop bitterness. Again, the citrus notes that I'd expect from the hop aren't coming through, and I don't know what they're losing out to...okay, on a third sip I get some toffee, so that's redeeming.

M: Kind of thin, kind of gritty. Going downhill...

D: On the other hand, goes down easily. This might be because of its failures in the last two categories, but I can imagine having a few of these at a backyard barbecue. This would actually be pretty good with smoky wings or ribs.

I wasn't expecting much from this -- I'm lukewarm on Widmers for the most part -- and nothing's really changing that. I wouldn't turn away a pint, but I can't imagine paying that much for a 4pk any time soon.

 1,210 characters

Photo of MPLS
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pitch Black? I challenge the brewers to see if they are seeing browns as though they are black. Nah, I get it. This style, the "Black-IPA" seems to be growing in popularity.

A: The beer pours a pitch brown (see above) and fetches a nice small 1.5 cm head. It's nearly opaque, certainly with some lighter highlights. Lacing does exist.

S: What I expected, hop profile shines about the dark black malt that Widmer uses. Pleasant hops.

T: The resiny hops are the dominent flavor in it's profile. The black malts and roastiness come through, sort of. This is pretty hop dominated, but the hops aren't bright, big, and juicy like I'd like them. Alcohol is not masked in the finish where bigger hops or more flavorful malt would have helped the cause.

M: This is lighter bodied than I would have expected, too much carbonation.

D: Average offering, run of the mill AIPA. Whatevz.

 878 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank this with elrogish up in WA last week, thanks bro. Can I call it light black? Easy enough to see through, average viscosity, average stuff. Aroma was pretty plain, didn't come across hoppy or fruity.

Taste, just right down the middle. Bitter, hoppy, but pedestrian. No major discernable flavor, but no off flavor. Not roasty, coffee, chocolate, don't taste them. Maybe a mild toffeeness to it. Would put the ibus around 45. Dry finish, yet smooth enough for easy drinking. A decent beer at a good price. Kind of a go to for people new to the black ale emerging phenomenon.

 580 characters

Photo of NicoDuval
3.19/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Like the name says, pitch black, poured into a mug with about 3 cm of creamy foam. Looks great.

S- Light malt and caramel. Not nearly as much I had anticipated.

T- Lightly malted at first, then a little bitter hops. An interesting aftertaste of dark chocolate and burnt caramel once the hops fades. A few minutes after a drink, I get a bad pill taste for about 10 seconds.

F- Smooth with a slight bite at the end.

O- Back and forth on this one, one sip is ehh, but then the next is pretty good, then there is that bad pill taste. In general, probably won't be trying this one again.

 590 characters

Photo of constahoogan
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My pour draws dark brown and red body gradates out to a deep ruby red, amber edge. The head is a mix of milk and creme brulee. Very faint vines of lace stick to the glass as the head quickly disappears.

The nose is dominantly caramel and toasted malt followed by a faint spark of juicy citrus hops. Upon tasting, it's just as it smells but with an addition to even more faint choco-java malts.

Pretty medium bodied and not harsh on your palate. It's a good beer, but nothing to rave home about.

 498 characters

Photo of teromous
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Well, it's pitch black. Even holding it up to a light won't do much to diminish the opacity. It pours a lumpy tan head with large and small bubbles. The head drops down from about 1/2" to 1/4" pretty fast.

S: It smells of hops, and I can actually smell some roasted scents. It smells very much like a west coast style barley wine.

T: It's pretty mellow for an IPA. It's strange because the category listed on this website is just "black ale" which really suits the character. It doesn't really have an IPA hop character. There are slight roasted notes, and a decent amount of bitterness. It tastes pretty malty, and essentially has the character of a weak barley wine.

M: The mouthfeel is good, it has a nice carbonation level and it covers the mouth well. It doesn't leave any dead space of flavor in the mouth.

O: Overall it really wasn't anything special. It was a good dark ale with a decent level of hops and bitterness. I would probably look for a better one but this one would be alright in a pinch.

 1,013 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Dark brown color, not quite opaque at the center, with greater light transmission at the edges. Beige foam diminishes rapidly, leaving no head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Roasted malt and smoke are most pronounced, with muted hops and slight solvent also detectable. The smoke largely disguises the aroma qualities of the hops.

T: Off-dry roasted malt and coffee quickly give way to very thin hop bitterness. Although these qualities struggle to find harmony with each other, there are hints of oak present that add interest. A bitter finish lingers, but does not overpower the palate.

M: Light-medium viscosity leaves the mouth cleanly--this beer comes across as less resinous that a typical west coast IPA, but does not burden the palate with smudges of lingering savory roast as some others of this style may do. Carbonation seemed noticeably over-abundant at first, but diminished to a more tolerable level by the end of the serving.

D: This beer is not a particularly noteworthy contribution to its style, but then most others of its peer-group come across as exceptionally crafted brews. While some of the flavors detected here are genuinely interesting for the style, Widmer fails to bring all of the qualities together into a refined final product. A good black IPA should, in the end, be greater than the sum of its disparate parts, and this one is not.

 1,426 characters

Photo of morimech
3.24/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not quite pitch black until it fills the glass. Large tan head forms and has good retention. Plenty of lacing is left on the glass. Plenty of citrus hop aroma. Smells like a straight up IPA. Not getting much from the darker malt. And the taste is the same way. More of a non-descript pale ale rather than an exciting dark beer. Nice flavor for what it is but I wanted something more. Plenty of citrus flavor and a little caramel malt. Bitterness is moderate. The body is also nice but not as big as I would like it to be. Good carbonation and smooth feel. Has good qualities but rather boring especially for a proclaimed Black IPA.

 631 characters

Photo of Robert_Ray
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Unfortunately, I had this after a 97 BA Imperial Black IPA from Uinta. Maybe that is just unfair. I mean it is okay, but nothing special. Flat. No malty sweetness. No Hops to speak of. Minimal head and lacing. Kind of bland. Not saying it is not a drinker. It does go down rather smooth with no noticeable characteristics. That's the problem, it is just too middle of the road, which should appeal to those who like bland beers. Just won't be on my buy list again.

 466 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
3.27/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle with Feb 02 11on the bottom right corner. Pours a black color with brown hues and a thin layer of head that disappears quickly. Fair amount of lacing. Light citrus aroma along with some sweet coffee. Roasted malts as well. Taste has very little hop presence. Mostly tastes of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malts. Not really getting any of the citrus I smelled. Mouthfeel is light and watery. Overall this beer is pretty average. Once is enough.

 461 characters

Photo of nitro0292
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Moderate pour produced a full 2 finger head. Pitch black, like the name states and an off white sticky head. Retention and lacing are above average. Bottle has the date of July 21, 2011. Hopefully that is the bottled-on date and not the expiration date. Considering the availability of this brew listed above, it looks like the expiration date. Meh.

I can smell roastyness and hops. Hops smell of the typical Pacific Northwest varieties.

Taste is mild. Not very roasty, but enough for the style. Sweetness from the malts blends with the bitterness for a nice smooth balanced flavor. I'm assuming most of the hop flavor has passed me by, because although I can detect pine hoppyness, it is a bit watered down. If this were fresh, I'm sure (hopeful) that there would be a more abundant hop flavor, with the accompanying bite and bitterness.

Malt taste is some chocolate and coffee notes with a touch of caramel sweetness. Typical dark beer flavor profile, but watery, like a slightly tastier Guinness (just not nearly as roasted).

Mouthfeel is thin, with low carbonation despite the ample head. I think the relatively thin mouthfeel keeps the hops in play.

Overall this is not a bad beer, in fact it is a good beer all things considered. That being said I have had better ABAs/BIPAs. I will seek out a fresh example.

 1,320 characters

Photo of hmich176
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I think the beer has a great ruby color when you hold it up to the light. As a result, it's not pitch black like it's name, but I think it looks great nonetheless. It's an okay beer otherwise. It's got a decent taste, with a bit of a piny smokiness to it. The brew is a bit thicker, and the carbonation gives it a bit of an edge. It did have nice lacing. It's a drinkable IPA, certainly.

serving type : Bottle.

 412 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 802 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.