Pitch Black IPA | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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Pitch Black IPAPitch Black IPA
Very Good
804 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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 804 |  Reviews: 319
Photo of SFLpunk
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Front label dated Feb 02 11, 06:59 WA.

Pours a thin black with some late cascading off-white head that stands up like frothed milk. Nose is all about dark roasted espresso and bitter chocolate with some earthy-herbal notes too.

Palate is medium-light bodied with some bittersweet chocolate notes up front that are quickly swept away by hop bitterness. Black patent malt in here maybe? Dark coffee beans and a little smokey cream note and then it's back to hops and earth. No citrus here which is appreciated. Finish is a little confused between roasted notes and hops.

Notes: A decent ABA, but not my favorite. Shows a little more dark roast than I want in a beer that's actually labeled "Black IPA." Just call it a Black Ale and it would score a bit better.

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Photo of Brad007
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up today and I do want to add that it's rare to see new Widmer releases.

Pours a dark brown, not quite pitch black color into my glass. Hmm. Close enough.

Citrusy hops are followed by just a hint of dark fruit and coffee in the nose. Very subtle.

A muted citrus hop presence clashes with just a hint of roasted coffee. It's a bit "rough" in some spots with a bit of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is rather thin and full of lingering flavors as mentioned above. Carbonation also takes away from the enjoyment of this example.

It's certainly a step above Magic Hat's example but nowhere near the Hill Farmstead or Stone examples I've had. If you don't want to be socked in the face by an overload of citrusy hops, then this will probably work for you. It's not Blackwatch but it'll do in a pinch.

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Photo of Zorro
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Newly brewed bottle, bottled on Feb 02 11. NOT the W'10 this is labeled as "Series 924 Pitch Black IPA."

Not quite black in color, this is a clear very dark brown colored beer. Small tan colored head.

Smell is strongly hoppy with a strong grapefruit and mint aroma. Patent malt there is a slight coffee and smoke aroma. Pine scent and the scent of carrot you get when you mix C type Hops with patent malt. Unexpected aroma of orange.

Taste starts out Strong hop with a coffee and smoke aftertaste. Good bitterness both from hops and malt. Nice smooth flavor but the taste is more subdued than the scent.

Mouthfeel is smooth.

Good drinkability but it could be more flavorful.

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Photo of Airyk12
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle:

Pours a rich brown color, with a slight reddish tint. Nice tan head with great retention and lacing.
Definite notes of Cascadian hops in the nose. Citrusy smells, combined with sweeter, more fruity hints. Notes of malt and coffee.
Taste is exactly what the smell predicted: Bitterness from Cascade hops followed by citrusy fruit and a roasted coffee flavor. Rich, but not as bitter as I expected.
Decent carbonation, with an almost creamy feel in the finish.
Definitely something sessionable for fans of the black IPA; maybe not the best representation of the style, but still great.

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Photo of champ103
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours pretty much pitch black. A bit of ruby/brown highlights around the edges. A two finger tan head rises with good retention. Some nice rings of lace is left behind as well.
S: Toasted malt of chocolate and coffee up front. Some sugar sweetness in the nose. Even some black licorice as well. Finishes with an oily hop bitterness.
T: Follows the nose. Big and lushes malt. Toasted chocolate and coffee are big. A light oily hop bitterness in the finish. The hops are there, but not the main show. Which I like.
M/D: A medium to full body. Very creamy and smooth. Easy to drink. I could quaff a few without a thought.

I like this a lot. This is what most examples of the style should be. Probably the best "Black IPA" that I have had. Something I would recommend.

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Photo of davidexactitude
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every brewery should use this CDA as a guideline for all future "Black IPA" endeavors.

This is a hop forward brew with a well-balanced toastiness...perfect for the winter or cold weather. Pairs great with a spicy bean stew and/or a severe snow storm.

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

Picked up a couple of these in a mixed sixer at Lukas a couple days back. Poured jet black, with a mocha colored head. Aromas of piney hops and some light roasted malts. On the palate this one is fairly light bodied and easy to drink. Flavors of pine, lightly roasted malt and coffee. A very enjoyable black ipa.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap @ 1702, Tucson; April 2010
The beer arrives with a frothy, one-finger thick, brown-tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, black-leaning, concentrated brown color, when held up to the light it shows a brilliantly clear, brown hue. The aroma has an earthy, herbal hop note to it as well as some up front pine aromatics. Upon second inspection it yields aromas of grapefruit zest, lychee and it develops even more citrus character as it warms up. The hop character is definitely dominant to the grain; the malt does seem to accentuate the earthy and herbal hop notes here and there is a touch of toasted malt character noticeable in the nose.

Herbal, peppery hop flavors are found as this beer first hits my tongue and the finish has a lingering pine-like flavor. Citrus oil and grapefruit zest linger on the tongue in the long finish. The malt is a touch more noticeable in the flavor than it was in the nose; this has a smooth malty finish with some dark grain notes and perhaps even a touch of cocoa. It is interesting how the dark malt plays up the herbal and hop pine flavors (at least compared to a standard IPA). The body has a certain creamy quality to it, but this is definitely a beer with a good quaffability quotient. A back-drop of citrus and a hint of lychee anchor the hop notes along with a smooth, not overly aggressive bitterness. Nice, this is definitely an enjoyable brew

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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.

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Photo of deereless
3.42/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with ruby hues visible, thin head and minor to no lacing - 3.25, S: Some interesting aromas involving what I perceive as lemongrass, there is also a good deal of charring and some faint melon of all things, citrus is present but muted - 3.50, T: Lots of dark speciality malts and a solid hop bitterness, coffee grounds and grapefruit - 3.50, M: Mouth feel is medium though borders on thin, quite slick while still having a hint of grittiness - 3.00, D: A drinkable dark IPA, quite good - 3.50

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Photo of aeminter
4.62/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Almost pitch black...there are some garnet hues around the outside when held to a light. The head is thick and moussy coffee color with excellent lacing.

S - Mmm, intense hoppyness...citrusy, perfumey hops.

T/M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Complex, but not as hoppy as the aroma would suggest. The malts are a bit darker and more to the forefront than in a traditional IPA. There is a little roastyness and sweetness, but the hops still make their presence known.

So, it's not a traditional IPA. It is still a great beer.

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass, black in color with some reddish tints. Head is one finger, offwhite and dissipates quickly to crown the beer. Minimal lacing. Hop aroma is present on the nose, with some slight citrusy hints. Flavor has more citrus but not a wham bam hit of hops. Feel is good and crisp, not a lot of oiliness, but nice nonetheless. Definitely drinkable and something I'll pick up again.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. This IPA pours black with ruby highlights and offers a thin off white cap. Retention is relatively brief, surrendering to a light film and light lacing.

Clean roast notes on the nose with some earthy hops. Nothing special for an IPA but perhaps in line with a 'Black' IPA.

Similar notes in flavor though a bit thin and watery in texture. Some smoked malt and chocolate notes are present and fight with the hops a bit too much. Feel is slightly sweet yet really void of any hop texture.

Black or white, this is an average IPA, and an average beer regardless of moniker.. Drinks like a lightly hopped black ale.

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

Living in Utah I knew I may not get another chance to try this beer for a bit. Purchased at a Gelson's grocer and poured into a straight sided pint glass right after getting home.

A- definelty dark but still lighter than most porters. Head is small/limited.

Smell-smells of a moderate level of US hops with a slight hint of roast. The low carbonation limited the hop aroma.

Taste-tastes like the smell with US hops and slight roasty ovetones. The hops linger a little but I would not classify this a overpowering hoppy beer but still in the IPA range.

Mouthfeel-fairly drinkable. The additional speciality grains add a little more complexity to the flavor that interplays with the hops. This does limit drinkability slightlly but I would drink a few w/out complaint.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer as a new twist on one of my perferred styles. It is hard not to compare this to traditional IPA's but it is a new style by itself according to the GABF (i.e. American Style India Black Ale or Cascadian Dark). This would appear to be a great IPA type beer to drink during the cooler months as it offers a slight bit more character and darker color than a typical IPA.

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Photo of jzm2500
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Dig Pub in Cedar Park (Austin). Gotta say I was a little skeptical when they told me about this beer, but I decided to give it a go. It looks like your classic stout: black w/ a thick, tan head. However, raising the glass the first time, it smelled mildly of citrus and hops. You know, like an IPA. hmmm.. Tasted grapefruit and moderate hops up front fading to a piney character. Left with moderate hops and possibly a mild roasted barley flavor (appearance skewing my perception??).. Will have to try again. In fact, I'm craving one now.

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Photo of exonthebottle
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pitch black is one cool looking beer. it smells like a weak IPA not anything special but still usually hop citrus. the taste is a bit sweet and little bit syrupy like that is okay but boring no real taste from the malts either. this beer could be better but it is very drinkable and enjoyable on it's own.

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Photo of RobertTh3Texian
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours first deep copper then goes to a pretty opaque black with a frothy off white head that leaves behind some minimal lacing. The roasted malt and some small bit of aroma hops are there on the nose. Deep fruit flavours, and less hops than I thought for a "Black IPA" They are there but just not in the amount that I was expecting. Taste some vanilla and unfermenters on the after taste. Dont know if any of you homebrew but the after taste is kind of the sweet taste of the unfermented wort just before the yeast. Good not great but a great session beer.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 16 May 2010.

Served in an Abita shaker pint. Large foamy light brown head. Medium carbonation. Clear dark cherry brown color. Light aroma of sweet roasty grains, earthiness and a slight bit of resin. Starts slightly bitter, resiny. Some chocolate in the background. Becomes more bitter in the aftertaste. Mild alcohol. Medium-light body.

If reviewing to style, appearance score should suffer, right?

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

I've been wanting to try this for awhile and I am not disappointed. But, I am also not overwhelmed either. The Cascade hops are noticable on the aroma and the taste. Juicy citrus...moreo f a roasted matliness than the a burnt black malt bill....it blends nicely...finishes with a light dry bitterness on the finish...this is a nice change of pace beer and I'll probably buy it again but it is not one I sit here sipping and saying to myself "wow this is awesome"...good...not great...

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

A: Dark brown/black with a hint of red; thin film of a head; lacing is present

S: Grapefruit and pine are the most prevalent, but there is a biscuity malt backbone with a touch of caramel sweetness that permeates as well

T: Hoppy and malty--balanced well; the flavors seem muted though; grapefruit and pine flavors do poke through the somewhat mundane flavors though

F: Even mouth coat with nicely balanced carbonation

D: A nice, easy drinking IPA; somewhat of a pleasant surprise

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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.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm a big fan of Widmer's Anniversary brews and when I saw this one today I just had to try it.
It's good, but...
Pours a deep, amber black with a tan head that was slightly disappointing. Bubbles were too large and it broke apart too quickly.
Aroma is primarily citrus (grapefruit) hops without a lot of sweet malt which surprised me considering the amount of black malt they had to use. Slight wet newspaper scent which I could have done without.
The brew is smooth on the tongue and the carbonation doesn't overpower, nor do the hops overly dry the mouth.
The taste is a surprising balance of the malt and hops. Like a faint dusting of sugar on your fresh cut grapefruit, the malt mellows rather than sweetens allowing the IPA hop goodness to come thru in all of it's glory.
Unfortunate metallic aftertaste MAKES you take another sip, just to clean your mouth.
It reminds me of Mendicino's Black Eye Stout, a brew I was particularly fond of.

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Photo of smares2
4.54/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Not being a huge IPA fan, but generally a fan of darker bitter beers, this selection caught my attention. It did not disappoint.
Appearance: pours smooth, decent amount of head but more thin and airy than most dark beers. The beer itself was deep brown-black like a porter. Impressive. The sort of beer that makes Bud Light defenders wince just looking at it.
Smell: I'll be honest, I didn't take an intentional smell until the beer was mostly gone. Nothing struck me by that point.
Taste: great hop/malt balance. The full taste palate seems to endure, rather than having stage 1, stage 2 effect. The maltiness lingers hand in hand with the hops. Strong roasted barley presence.
Mouthfeel: more lively than it looks; a bit more active than a porter it resembles visually.
Drinkability: smooth on the tongue, good aftertaste balance makes it a fine slow sipper. Overall taste makes you happy to tip more often.

A definite winner. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark ales, porters, and hops.

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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.

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

pours a dark burnt caramel nearing black in the glass. Not really pitch black, but I'm not complaining. A nice two-finger head has fair retention, leaving behind some nice chunky lacing down the glass.

aroma is nicely fruity and citrusy. a bit more caramel maltiness than your average west-coast IPA... intriguing and inviting.

Taste is in line with expectations - rich, bright citrusy ipa with a touch of fruit and a touch of earthy, evergreeny funk. Light roasty and brown sugary notes intertwine with the fairly sharp bitterness creating a pleasantly dark flavor. Not the most amazing, but I'm definitely up for more.

Mouthfeel is medium-full and rich with a good balance of resinous slickness and sprightly carbonation. Maybe a bit heavy on the carbonation, but that's picking nits. Nice lingering bitterness I'd expect.

Drinkability is solid. this really reminds me of another IPA I've had in the past, but can't quite put my finger on it. A good, well rounded IPA with a bit of added character from the dark malts. I'm not completely sold, but I'd definitely consider picking up another sixer of this one - something I don't usually say with it comes to Widmer.

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Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 804 ratings