Pitch Black IPA | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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

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Ratings: 802 |  Reviews: 319
Photo of mavbrew
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The color is a deep dark brown with a finger thick, light khaki colored head that takes an excess of 5 minutes to dissipate and leaves some nice lacing.

S: There is a nice floral aroma coming through the nose. Piney hops and resins are the most prominent floral scents. I'm not getting a lot of malt scent but they are slightly there.

T: The taste is similar to the smell, but the malts come through a little stronger. The piney hop notes come through up front which is followed by a hint of roasted and caramel malts that lead to the bitter finish with the hops remaining long after.

M: Medium bodied with average carbonation that leaves a tingly feel. There is also a hoppy/bitter feel throughout.

D: Very easy drink from this "Black IPA," goes down smooth and has some nice flavor. Didn't blow me away but it was solid nonetheless.

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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.


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Photo of Lauthaha
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Beer is, true to its label, pitch black. Slight mahogany tones are also present when held to the light. Head is a sturdy, creamy tan, and dimples heavily as it recedes. Very interesting to watch. Once dissolved, it leaves a marginal ring around the glass and a light foam on the surface.

Smell: Very robust, with a pronounced ester aroma. The malt mixes very well with the hops to create a toasty, buttery-sweet and bitterly-herbal masterpiece. Butterscotch, fresh-cut grass, maybe even some lemon? A lot going on here, and it's all really, really good.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Well, I've got mixed feelings. Beer is medium- to heavy-bodied, fairly oily on the tongue. Taste is mainly of alcohol. Some slight toastiness, but not a lot of sweetness; some obscure bitterness, but not a lot of flavor. What's happening? Aftertaste is much of the same, kinda like chewing on somewhat tasty wood.

Overall: Can't say it's a bad beer, but it certainly didn't meet my expectations for it. Oh well, no more WBBCPBIPAs for me any time soon.

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

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - 'pitch black' with a beige head that thinned to a ring and left a thin sheet of lacing.

S - good mix of roasted malts and citrus hops.

T - the balance is good, I got roasted malts with citrus and bittering hops.

F - medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - this is a good beer that I'd gladly have again.

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Photo of tapman
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's not pitch black, so... color is more of a dark ruby/brown with a tan, tight head of 1 finger with decent lacing. Still, why call it "pitch black" if it isn't?

Burnt brownies, pine and grass, soft floral notes when it warms with a little soap in the back.

Roast character is not as astringent as I thought. More toasty than roasty, actually. Bitterness is relatively low and the soft, flower/vegetal hop character blends well with the malt creating a woody character. Quite balanced, but I was expecting something a little more daring. However, the "daring" beer I was hoping for might have been crap, so I'll take this balanced brew for what it is.

Smooth with a little dryness in the finish. Feels like it looks.

I disagree with the name, but like the flavor. This is more of a Brown IPA, which actually works better than some hoppy stouts and black IPAs that I have had. Good work, Widmers.

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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.

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Photo of Kendo
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is black with a small khaki head. Leaves behind some lace.

S: Some roasted barley malt, some citrusy hops. Pleasant, albeit not terribly strong in the nose.

T: First impression: roasted barley malt with some char underneath. Finishes with piney, juicy citrusy hops. Good lingering dry bitterness.

M: Nice. Good creaminess - carbonation is active but fine.

O: Solid. Been impressed with some of the Widmer stuff I've had recently (e.g., this and the Nelson DIPA).

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Photo of mttaylor1066
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A -- Not quite opaque, more like espresso or dark coffee. A thin, tan head seeps back quickly into the ale.

S - Black coffee and malt. I'm trying to detect the hops but this is not a strong IPA style.

T -- Coats the tongue with a thick film of chocolate malt. It grows on you as the ale warms up. The hops help thin the ale a bit.

M - Not as thick as Guinness, but still pleasant.

Overall, not a bad beer. It grows in the glass and is great for sipping.

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Photo of tigg924
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, dark brown in color, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: chocolate,wood, floral and pine hops

Taste: big pine hops with some floral hops in the mix, charred malt, and some chocolate

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light body, bitter with some sweetness in the back

Overall: A very drinkable black ipa. I could drink a couple of these. I tend to like this style and this is a good representation. My favorite from the brewery so far.

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Photo of cvoss
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Black with lots of head that disappeared quickly. Long lasting lacing.

S - Hops and a piney smell that is to be expected with an IPA

T - Great. Citrus upfront and a hoppy bitter finish. A great tasting beer.

M - It has a light mouthfeel. Maybe the dark color made me expect something thicker

O - Great taste and light enough to session. Will definitely buy again.

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Photo of beer2day
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Near black pour with noticeable brown notes. Pillowy, billowing 2-finger medium tan head. Good retention and good lace.

Nose is light citrus, grapefruit mainly with notes of oranges. Shot of cream in there too.

Citrus right up front, with light grapefruit. Bigger citrus in the finish, with more citrus and further notes of orange peel. Shot of cream here, too. Light roasted malt comes in at the end.

Body is light and fizzy. Creaminess in the flavor is missing in the body.

Balance of flavors is not quite right for me, but not a bad beer at all.

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

5 oz. Taster @ Portland, Oregon Spring Beer & Wine Fest April 3rd, 2010. 6.5% ABV. 65 IBU’s. Clear dark bronze black color. Smoke hint toasted hop front. Dry thin sweet smooth crusty mild toasted IPA body. No black taste. Crisp hop spice smooth end. (4.0 / 5.0)

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company--W’10 Pitch Black IPA--Cascadian Dark: Join the shady revolution. Brewmasters’ Release: 2010 12 oz. Bottle. 6.50% ABV. 65 IBU’s. (4.0 / 5.0) India Black Ale--Cascadian Dark--CDA? No sediment. Thin mild lace tan head. Clear dark black deep ruby edged color. Floral hop roasted hint front. Crisp dry sweet soft smooth dark roast malt mild biscuit fruit pine hint IPA body. Tangy clean hop spice chocolate hint end. Well made CDA. Smooth hops. Sampled 5/27/2010. 6-Pack $6.99.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company--Pitch Black IPA--Smooth, Dark And Hoppy--Series 926--2011 12 oz. bottle. 6.50% ABV. 65 IBU's. (3.75 / 5.0) CDA--Cascadian Dark Ale. Light tan lacy thin rocky quickly dissapating head. Clear dark black ruby edged color. Smooth light toasted mild earthy hop front.Mild sweet dry soft dark unbittter roasted light hop infusion mild fruit no chocolate espresso body. Mild smooth refreshing mellow hop spice end. Soft black malts--Schwarzbier IPA. Mild hop character. Refreshing tasty balanced & smooth. Nice & well made but not exceptional. Tough to describe style. No sediment. Bronze pour. Sampled 4/27/2011. Purchased 4-Pack for $7.99 at The Ballard Market, Seattle on 4/27/2011.

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Photo of jbertsch
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On tap.

Black in appearance with a small frothy head. I can’t tell if a bigger head is easily gotten with this brew – I was served what I was served. Fair lacing.

Aroma was very roastey with noticeable charred notes and hints of chocolate. I did not notice any significant hops. Made me wonder iold the keg was and it’s been selling. But I did notice a couple other people having it.

Taste is all roasted malt with a sense of powdery oats and unsweetened cocoa. Notes of coffee grinds are also in the mix. I still don’t taste any major hop presence; however I know the remnants of som are in there for balance.

Creamy mouthfeel, and quite dry. This drank much more like a porter than a hoppy black ale.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Widmer's hefeweizen is well-known and one that I've always found to be a top-notch session wheat beer, but this one's escaped my radar, and sad that is.

This is (no surprises, please) pitch black, with a big head of off-white bubbles, and an intricate, spider web of lace.

A decent mild hops nose -- grapefruit and floral.

What a taste! All sustained citrus sweetness (orange, grapefruit) with some pine, and a bitter finish. Very tasty, and one I'd seek out again.

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Photo of Brenden
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is a dark red-brown. The head that develops is off-white, very light in color considering. It's also tight, creamy and dense, between one and two fingers tall, and drops plenty of sticky lacing in its wake.
The aroma shows a nice interplay between hops and malts, with an intersting mix of both crackery and roasty notes. A touch of smoke/char is present, and the hops that pull through are earthy with some citrus and just a little floral. There's a tinge of acridity and the dry malts with the roasted note are just a little odd.
The taste follows suit with a few exceptions. A little bit of the caramel drops off and charred flavors come out a touch acrid. A nuttiness comes out as well that I appreciate. The hops offer a little bit more pine resin in the bitterness with citrus also give a little bit of rind. Otherwise the same herbal, grassy and earthy characters come through.
The body is medium, but what seems to happen is that it starts off with more depth and a bit creamier, then something drops off and it goes lighter with a bit less character and activity. It's interesting, but a sharp crispness up front and relative smoothness save it from mdeiocrity.
This is a good ABA to try, but as with what other Widmer offerings I've tried, not a beer to pick up with other beers readily available.

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Photo of pitasoup
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

thanks to flexabull for this bottle as part of blind bif 5

A: Pours black (very dark brown) with an inch of off white head. A bit of lacing. 4.0

S: floral at first, then pine, american hops. A bit of spruce later as it warms. Also slight oxidation. 3.5

T: hoppy bitterness, probably cascade. Black patent, a hint of chocolate and anise at the end. There is a strange combination of malt bitterness and hop bitterness. At times, it is difficult to distinguish between the two. 3.5

M: medium body, a little bit creamy at first but finishes clean. A little bit alcoholic at the end, but by no means hot. I'd guess this is 6-7% area. 3.5

O: I'm not too familiar with the style but this screams black ipa/cda. The color is pitch black but it's not thick enough to be a stout – and certainly not enough, if any barley malt. Very drinkable – but not as good as a couple others of this style that I've had. 3.0

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep black with some dark brown edges along with a khaki head that leaves some spotty lacing as it falls. Aromas kick off with some solid roasted malts and a blast of floral and citric hops with Cascades taking their place nicely. Quite enjoyable with a cocoa/coffee undertone.

First sip brings tasty roasted malts upfront with touches of coffee, cocoa and caramel. The hops flow in quickly bringing citric and floral accents along with a nice dose of bitterness. Good balance overall as it finishes with some lingering hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with good carbonation - just an easy drinking brew overall. A solid black IPA that I was glad I picked up and tried. Hope Widmer keeps brewing this one.

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Photo of therica
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For an "American Black Ale" (ie Schwarz) you'd swear it was a heavy APA or a modest IPA if you had your eyes closed.

So what's the deal here, Hop-Heads?!?! Widmer pulls off a rather top-notch creative micro and the reviews are less than generous just because people think Widmer is a "macro" now?!?! Gimme a break-- Goose Island has the same distributor.

A= dark dark black, almost no light coming through, with a decent tan head, decent lacing and a modest watery rimming throughout.

S= very nice hops bouquet, some very nice floral hops as well as some west-coast hops notes. Some nice dark malts. Not potent but very present. Hickory nut.

T= fine floral hops as well as some nice bittering hops; very nice dark malts adding slight dryness; no chocolate or coffee or dried dark fruits-- just... very interesting and flavorful in the malts. Top-notch creativity.

M= dry yet pleasant, somewhat woody, with modest hops florals lingering and hints of molasses. Hickory nut.

O= if this stuff was $15 for a 25-ounce bottle and had a long German name (or dog and fish) youz guys'd be grabbing it off the shelves. Grab it if you can find it.

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Photo of marcobrau
4.24/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep black with a decent amount of carbonation that forms a grayish head. The bubbles retreat revealing just a little bit of lace work and quarter-inch collar of foam. Complex aroma of cocoa, more subtle chocolate along with a touch of cedar and leather. Very smooth and thick on the tongue. Tastes nicely chocalately with some piney hops before a bitter finish. Hop bitterness lingers. I've liked hoppy and bitter dark ales since having my first Sierra Nevada Stout. I sort of see this beer as an IPA crossed with a schwarzbier and the result is tasty.

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Photo of mactrail
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark color with some brown around the edges. Good head and lacing. Plenty of carbonation. Some malt with a tart and burnt flavor. Woody mouthfeel. Some hints of fruit, but more like burnt raisin toast. Hops are not immediately on the attack but aftertaste is long and bitter. There is a peculiar cereal flavor I don't like much.

I remember liking this better the first couple of times. Still it's worth a try for being interesting.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown with a white chunky head that lasts to a chunky skim. Nice brew.

Big pine aroma and some dark roasted malt.

Hop forward, but the malt is allowed to shine as well. One of the more drinkable of the style. Coffee, some light caramel, pine, wood. Good balance between the bitter, the hop pine, the malt -- sugars and bitterness.

Medium bodied, good carb. Liked this alot. Would drink again.

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Photo of SuperStory
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours almost true to its "Pitch Black" name. The head was about one finger of creamy, caramel colored foam.

S: Lighter aroma than I expected but did pickup notes of coffee. Almost came through like a light mocha in the nose.

T: Had the character of a stout but not quite as much hop bitterness as I had hoped to earn the IPA portion of its title. Almost like a Guinness with the bitterness of a pale ale.

M: Enough viscosity to let you know it's there without being overbearing. I would characterize this as a medium mouthfeel.

Overall a very drinkable Black IPA but could use more piney hop smell and bitterness to become top tier.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This black IPA is indeed a very deep brown. I say that because as opposed to stoudts which are like black holes this BIPA has a nice ruby red reflections around the edges.
With a vigorous pour I was only able to muster about half a finger worth of foamy head thats fairly dense and I must say lingers for awhile before fading. Some lacing was left in its weak.

Aroma is weak and not the usual aggressive hop aroma I would expect. Malts are there with a sweet toasted almost roasted aspect.

Taste is balanced. Flavor is weak, not much in line of hop flavor here. There is a little bitterness here but it is balance out with the malts. Very sutle hint of roasted malts and in general seems to tilt to the brown ale side.
Thin almost watery in the mouth with some grainy courseness. This beer seems like it wants to be a souped up brown ale.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty standard one finger head, I poured it pretty aggressively, it was fighting me, trying to not give me very much in the way of head. The head is just slightly off white, and is now almost gone, not surprising, considering it didn't give me much head. Decent lacing throughout, the body is black, that's for sure, but pitch black? No. There is clearly hints of red and brown in this beer, even when not directly held up to the light. Overall the beer looks ok-good, I have a problem with the seriously small head retention and the fact that it's not pitch black, but it's got a good look overall, nice lacing, plenty of bubbles still sticking around the rim and middle of the beer. The smell is very nice, it's got a very nice roasty smell to it, nice malt note, and a little hops. I've had an excellent black IPA before (Otter Creeks Alpine Black IPA), and I doubt this will be an excellent black IPA, it smells good and all, and it has all the necessary components for a good black IPA, it just doesn't seem as well balanced as the Otter Creek, and it's probably lacking in hops. We will see, it's a good smell, but comparing it to the other black IPA's I've had, it's only ok-good. Yeah the taste is exactly what I thought it would be, it's a really solid beer, but not as good as the other black IPA's I've had. It's not as smooth as some, and it doesn't have as much flavor. It's got a nice hop and malt flavor, but it's not as bold as it should be, and the taste is a little rough going down, like I said, not as smooth as the Otter Creek. I think the mouthfeel is what's making it not as smooth, too much carbonation. The balance on this beer isn't too bad, it's got a nice hop to malt ratio, which is critical in this style, it's just not enough flavor. If the balance is right it doesn't really matter if there isn't enough flavor. Overall a good beer, just not a great black IPA. I wouldn't mind drinking this beer at all, just not if I was presented with some of the other black IPA's I've had instead.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this beer up at Spec's in Kingwood tonight because there isn't much of anything there that I haven't reviewed already, and I had a good Black IPA when judging the Southern Star ProAm competition (their style in 2011). Let's give this one a shot as this style seems to be getting more popular lately.

Appearance: Like it says, it pours pitch black, but not Imperial Stout dark. The foam is a light tan and started fading immediately. After a pretty reserved pour, it was only about 1/4" high at the peak, and then fell leaving lace in its wake. There is some spotty lace left all over the glass when drank, so the beer looks pretty good overall.

Aroma: The aroma in this beer is already nice. It definitely has the American Citrusy hops required for anything that says IPA on the bottle, but it also has some Schwarzbier qualities to it that are different. There was a defined nuttiness to the malt right after the pour. The malt still has the feeling like it is from European ingredients, and I am thinking that it was carafa malt that they used for the color as this is really familiar to me and is how I make a Schwarzbier. There is a dark caramel to mild toffee coming out as the beer warms, but the whole time the hops continue to be a force in the aroma.

Taste: The flavor has a little more acidity to it than I was expecting from the aroma. It is still very bold, but is leaning more toward the malt in the finish, which I think is a good thing or the acidity from the dark malts might be overpowering. The beer is medium bodied with ample to slightly low carbonation. The finish is quite balanced and is giving more chocolate as the beer warms. The hops are a player, but to be honest, the beer seems to be tipped slightly toward the malt for the remainder of the finish. The alcohol stays reserved the whole time and gets mixed up with the acidity in the finish, so you don't really notice it until you have drank most of the glass, and that is just the warming effect.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer and one of the better ones that I have had from this brewery. The beer itself seems rather simple, like they took a good Schwarzbier recipe and changed it to American hops and bumped up the flavoring additions quite a bit. That is what you can expect with this beer, and I like it. Some people may be turned off by the malty balance in the finish, so it may be reminiscent of some American Brown Ales in that respect. Either way, this is a pretty good and I will enjoy the other three in the 4-pack.

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Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 802 ratings.
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