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Pitch Black IPA | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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Pitch Black IPAPitch Black IPA
Very Good
802 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 802 |  Reviews: 319
Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint a deep dark brown with a one finger beige colored head that never really settles completely.Wow love the big resiny/prickly hops in the nose,molasses and roast out the profile out,very nice.Dry and roasty with a healthy doe of resiny hops on the palate,a little molasses-like sweetness comes into play as it warms,but it stays on the dryer side.I think this a great ABA,its Pacific northwest in its big hop notes,a damn good beer.

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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.

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

Poured *almost black* with a petite light brown head leaving good lacing. Smell fluttered on what I would call 'hoppy' but was still dominated by the dark malt presence. Hops coming through were mostly fruity. Taste was rather well balanced- the hops came through enough to give the beer's "IPA" title merit (although that IPA title is apparently a misnomer?) I rather enjoyed the roasted, coffee like malt flavors that were complimented by the fruity hops. Mouthfeel was smooth, but a bit oily.

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Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown, not black. OK, but given the name Pitch Black this earns a small deduction on appearance. Clear with small tan head that quickly reduces to just a ring.

Smooth but little too thin and watery.

Excellent and rather strong citrus hops aroma and flavor with surprisingly little bitterness. This makes for a particularly pleasant finish and aftertaste. At first, I missed having a bit more of the bitterness from a typical IPA hop hit, but I grew to like this better with repeated tasting.

Easy recommendation for those who love hops but have trouble with excessive bitterness.

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Photo of cbutova
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black beer pours into a snifter with a tan colored head. Size is a decent one finger but it fizzes out fairly quickly. Cloud and ring remains leaving some spots of lace.

S- Hop forward right off the bat. The aroma hops are mostly floral and citrus and fade with time allowing malt to shine through. The malt is caramel and roasted. Fades a bit over time.

T- A pretty nice balance of malt and hops. Hops are a bit dominant with good citrus, grapefruit, pine and floral notes. Malt backs it up with a roast, biscuit and slightly nutty flavor.

MF- Silky smooth moderately thick, somewhat creamy body. Finishes bitter. High carbonation level which works with the flavor present.

Simple yet effective. Black IPAs don't always do it for me but this one has a nice balance and drinks easily.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Schooners Patio Grille in Santa Clarita, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch tan head that fades to an oily film on the top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted dark malt and a pungent herbal hop aroma. Taste is of roasted dark malts with citrus zest and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is also a bit of a roasted coffee bean flavor I am picking up too. Very mild bitterness on the palate after each sip quickly fades. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good black ale with a nice balance between the roasty malt and the hop flavors.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours a very dark brown, not quite black, with some reddish highlights. A finger of khaki colored head.

S: Not the best hop aroma. A bit of pine and some floral hop notes. Subtle tropical fruit notes, mostly pineapple, with quite a bit of roasted malt. A slight sweetness of toffee.

T: A bit astringent from all the roasted malt. There are some floral hops, some grassy hops, and a bit of pine. Some toffee and bread sweetness, perhaps some hints of pineapple.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Too much roast and not enough hop flavor.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last beers of the day...weekend...Widmer Pitch Black IPA...SCHWING!!!! This is a great beer....and I dont care who you are!!!! This beer pours "pitch black" with thin good ecru head that is lacing nicely. The smell includes fresh hop, pine and subtle citrus. The taste starts as an ipa pine bitterness and a little citrus. Then the after taste is malt with a semi sweet kicker. The mouthfeel is awesome, I am glad they didnt get too crazy with abv...really makes for a great session ale!!! Good Job Widmer Bros!!! Good job!

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Photo of bramsdell
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to pint glass.

A: A very nice, dark, near-black. When held up to light, there are dark red colors, as well. Decent head, probably 2 fingers. Not a whole lot in terms of retention.

S: Ok, this is where things go a little overboard. The smell is almost 100% of hops. I'm not a huge hop head, and so I was a little nervous about how a beer of this color could yield a smell quite like this.

T: This is one of the strangest tasting brews I've had. The most remarkable thing about the flavor is that is it is, pretty much, unremarkable. The color is very dark, indicating a porter or stout. The smell is all hops, prepping me for an IPA experience. The result is, in all honesty, that the two cancel each other out. The immediate flavor is that of the hops. It's not really very bitter, but has a distinct hops flavor. However, nearly as soon as one starts to appreciate the hops flavor, it dies down and the malty characteristics come to play. The malty flavors really are not noticeable; they actually just cancel out the initial hop flavor. The flavor in the end ends up being very mildly hoppy and only a subtle maltiness.

M: Carbonated like an IPA but thick like a porter. Just like the flavor of the beer, the feel occupies a strange limbo that doesn't seem to take a side. There is a noticeable thickness on the back of my tongue, however.

O: Overall, I don't have much to say about this beer. There is a hop flavor that is cancelled out by a malt flavor, resulting in really a zero-sum beer. Yeah, that's a bit of flavor, but it's actually difficult to locate. I honestly don't know what to say about this beer. It's utter lack of distinction overall is what makes it distinctive.

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Photo of thain709
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Well the body isn't pitch black, but it is a darker shade of brown and showcases some nice ruby highlights...one finger, light brown head...some retention shows a thin, broken cap...nice lacing

S - The nose was very balanced...citrus hops and a lighter dark roasted malt...some coffee sneaks in there towards the back-end

T - Again, balanced...each sip showcases a different flavor profile...one sip will highlight the roasted malt and another will be loaded with citrus hops...the finish is also balanced with citrus hops starting the finish and a coffee bitterness ending it completely

M - Medium bodied...there is a slight roasty finish but it focuses on the bitterness from the coffee and hops...my only complaint is that it comes up a little thin sometimes

O - A nicely balanced version of the style...this is a Black IPA that you could go for anytime because it's cheap and readily available

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Photo of sweett3k
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Stout IPA? You bet. My favorite two beers on two different levels come together in some strange jungle fever way. Great creamy head, lacing and dark brown color looks like a stout. Then wait give it a whiff and it's an IPA. A magical IPA! Mellow easy on the nose aromas of hops, nuts, and coffee. The taste is light and complex of hops, coal, metallic and a citrus nut after taste. One of the best and strangest beers I have ever had. Love these outside the box beers. My favorite that the Widmer Brothers make. Love it.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Look - pitch black indeed, with very little foam, which happens to be close to off-white in color.

Smell - wonderfully hoppy and sweet smelling at the same time. The hops may be cascade, and the sweetness seems to be something like caramel.

Taste and Mouthfeel - deep, dark and molasses like in the taste. The bitterness is only felt in the finish and aftertaste. Not quite as sweet as the smell would have led me to believe. The texture is pretty well balanced, but leans a tinsy bit more on the watery side.

Overall - not a bad brew at all, but not as interesting or intriguing as I would have thought.

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Photo of miadw3
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a dark black with half a finger of cream-colored head which dissipates quickly. Decent lacing remains.

S - Starts slightly hoppy, but balanced in the end by sweet malt and coffee.

T - Roasted malt and coffee dominate the taste, with a slight note of hops in the end. Not very hoppy for a black IPA, but the hops are present.

M - Thin body and medium carbonation. Feels like an IPA.

O - Better than I expected honestly. It's far from my favorite black IPA, but it's definitely not bad. Reminds me much more of a hoppy stout than a black IPA if that makes any sense.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Widmer Pitch Black IPA
12 oz brown bottle
March 31 2011 jet ink on the label
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

Pours black with some ruby highlights toward the bottom of the glass. Decent head on top with sticky trails of lace on the side of the glass.

Hoppy aroma with whiffs of citrus fruit and pine.

This beer provides a real nice roasted malt backbone with hints of chocolate and perhaps coffee. The finish has a pleasant hop punch with lemon zest and grapefruit flavors. I also detect an herbal quality as well. A smooth and drinkable black IPA.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Definitely a few shades shy of pitch black, but dark enough. 2 fingers of frothy head that leaves patches of soapy lacing scattered all around.

The nose features a nice balance of roasted malt with pine, floral and fruity hops. Fairly stinging bitterness and sharp burnt malt flavors make a potent 1-2 combo. The soft feel seems to balance out the beer moreso than do the light citrusy/floral hops and a dash of cocoa. A very solid offering in the style; give it a chance and you just may be surprised.

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Photo of pzrhsau
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours a rich dark color with a huge foamy caramel/parchment colored head.
S: The aroma of bitter hops hit your nose right away but soon you get some hints of coffee and some sugary sweetness to take the bite off the aroma.
T: Hops really do dominate this beer. You get a very strong bitterness that overwhelms but doesn't over power. You do get some rich dark malt flavor that borders on a slight cappuccino.
M/O: Very crisp and bubbly. The beer has a nice tingle to it which helps to deliver the flavors. Overall, its a very hoppy interpretation of this style but you do get some of the good balanced coffee aromas I expect from a style like this.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Two finger cap that is frothy and thick. After a few minutes there is still a lot of head there. The body has licorice highlights and an opaque, black body.

Smell: Hoptacular nose that combines grapefruit, lemon rind, and some funky hop flavor. The funk is borderline skunky, but not bad.

Taste: The hop profile is not powerful enough. It’s there, it’s just small. And it’s not even that it is being mellowed or over run by other flavors. It just - isn’t - there. Some grapefruit, some clementines, maybe even a little mint. But really, this is too tame.

Mouth feel: It is a very smooth beer to drink at least. Not very bitter so it doesn’t finish very dry.

Overall: This is the first black IPA I’ve had and I’m not sure I’ll be trying very hard to seek out anymore. I mean, I’ll spend some time trying to get other people’s opinions on what is a good bench mark for the style. I really hope they don’t say this one.

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Photo of psuKinger
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at 6-and-Save, poured into a tulip.

A: As the name indicates, pours pitch black, but with a surprisingly light colored off-white head on top that didn't stick around for long. 4.0

S: hoppy goodness is prominent in the nose. Not exactly sure of the variety, if I had to guess I'd go with Cascade, but whatever it is it's very pronounced. 4.5

T: an awesome blend of roasted malt and hop, this is what "black IPA" should be. Roasty malts are present but take a back seat to the hops, which are prominent here. Finishes nice and bitter. 4.5.

M: moderate body, the dark malts add "thick heft" here. Would prefer it just a touch lighter... 4.0.

D/O: Drinks well, an overall pleasant hoppy black IPA. 4.0

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Photo of FightingEntropy
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Living up to it's name, Pitch Black IPA is...pitch black. Only with a directly light behind it could I get copper highlights on the very edge. Tan head on top that fell with a nice lace. Big hop off the top--Cascade hops, from smell and according to the website. Some malt in the nose underneath, but mostly the hop. Not overly complex hop continues in the mouth with a clean, solid bite. Tastes like the hop addition was fairly early--or at least fairly big for the early hops. Nice roast taste without an bitter or coffee taste. Debittered black malt can account for the lack of bite from the malt--lets the hops stand out from the base of the beer. Grass and roast off the back, dry and clean. Not a bad beer, and, depending where I was, would have another if I wasn't distracted by other choices. Mouthfeel is a bit lacking and watery, but otherwise a good beer.

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Photo of rundocrun
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep, but slightly translucent black with brown highlights. 1 finger of light brown head. Good amount of lacing on the glass.

S - Earthy and piney hops. Dark cocoa and caramel flavors meld together with an estery sweetness not commonly found in IPAs (but this is obviously no ordinary IPA).

T - Sweet citrus up front. Notes of caramel and dark chocolate. Mild-to-medium hop bitterness in the middle, but it fades to sweet and slightly tangy esters and biscuity malt toward the finish. Not much residual bitterness.

M - Thin body. Interesting juxtaposition of dark beer (in looks and mildly in flavor) and the body of a light and refreshing IPA.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pint at a pub in the Basque Quarter of Boise, ID.

This beer appears a clear, very dark cola colour, with a half finger of creamy off-white head, which leaves some sparse stringy lace around the glass as it quickly fades. It smells of toasted bready malt, and mild citrus hops. The taste is light roasted chocolate malt, and soft bitter, earthy hops. The carbonation is on the low side, the body medium weight and smooth. It finishes off-dry, the same two components carrying through to the end.

A nicely drinkable, understated black IPA. I could see this as a transition beer for the style.

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Photo of Scorpious
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.
floral, herbs, earthy, slight alcohol, ginger??

Well balanced hops slight citrus.

Medium Carbonation
despite being an IPA slight coffee as well.. A little weird but still pretty tasty.

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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.

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Photo of Coplains
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured pitch black from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Brown foam with minimal lacing in glass. Smooth bodied with full malt flavor. Thin mouthfeel that was somewhat surprising. Well balanced hops that where citrus, piney, very mild bitterness. A bit of a surprise on a for a style I am not very familiar with. Would try again with a few other black ipas to compare.

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Photo of Hershdawg
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle into Widmer Snifter

A: Pitch black as the name with a small 1 finger white head that turns into a ring. Some nice lacing.

S: Roasted malts and hops. Not as intense as some of the style

T: Hops, a little grapefruit and pin. A deal of chocolate. A bit darker in flavor then some of the others in the style

M: Not thick not thin. Pretty easy to drink.

O:Not bad example of a Black IPA but many other betters ones are on the market. Though for someone transitioning from a stout to IPAs it might be a good intro.

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Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 802 ratings
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