Ten Bitter Years
Black Oak Brewing Co.

Ten Bitter YearsTen Bitter Years
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Style:
IPA - Imperial
Ranked #772
ABV:
8%
Score:
92
Ranked #3,622
Avg:
4.14 | pDev: 9.9%
Reviews:
79
Ratings:
199
From:
Black Oak Brewing Co.
 
Ontario, Canada
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  12
Gots
  26
SCORE
92
Outstanding
Ten Bitter YearsTen Bitter Years
Notes: To celebrate our 10th Year Anniversary in 2009, Ken wanted to put out a hoppy, bitter brew as a witty way to commemorate a decade of survival in the craft brewing industry. The result? Our 10 Bitter Years Imperial IPA. This strong brew pours a burnt orange colour and has a fresh, bright citrus and tropical fruit aroma. This beer is double dry hopped using three different varieties of North American hops leading to a full flavour of bitter pine and citrus. Although it packs a good hoppy punch, it finishes as smooth as possible for the style, with just enough alcohol warmth to enhance the flavour.
Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 199 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SSS
SSS from Canada (QC)

4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a clear strong orange color, with an off white head that lingers
S-malt forward aroma with toasted and roasted Caramel notes overpowering any hop aroma that might be prevalent
M-Body is medium mouth feel has a luxurious character with the carbonation being a little bit peppery at the back of the throat
T-Caramel and malt sweetness at the front with a hop bitterness that hits you over the head and stays and lingers for a while
O- this is a boozy, malty, Imperial IPA, that definitely hits the advertised 80IBUs. I am in between on this one...try it for yourself

Jan 23, 2018
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Mysticmage from Canada (ON)

4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a surprise. Served in a tulip glass pours copper brown and perfectly clear. Short lasting head. Variety of smells - i honestly smelled chocolate caramel but I am alone in that I think. It's got nose. agree witn hoppy comments but the clairty and colour will throw IPA drinkers. a nice find however.

Aug 24, 2017
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eberesford from Canada (ON)

3.09/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Served as draft and too chilled. Copper coloured with a smallish off white stable head that left good lacing. I find the reported IBU's astonishing as there was very little hop bitterness in the body followed by a whack of earthy floral (not citrus) aroma hop at the end which came as a surprise after the body. Not a winner, at least served on draft in this location.

May 02, 2017
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Jesterr44 from Canada (ON)

4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lots of hop aroma which is followed by a full mouth hop bomb on tasting. Citrus yes & some other fruit - perhaps mango-
part way through the sip, but the pine stands out for me with this one. The first sip it is there at the end & seems almost too much but with each sip after if feels a little more mellow & blends nicely with the full malty backbone of bready caramel flavours. A nice DIPA from Black Oak in Etobicoke.

Apr 09, 2017
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patre_tim from Thailand

3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Copper filtered with little carbonation, topped with 3 fingers of off white head.

Smells of pine, citrus, dank onion, and malt.

Tastes of malt, pine, citrus, onion, and a big solid bitterness that endures to palatial all-encompassing bitterness.

Medium thick body, syrupy, with little carbonation.

Got at LCBO, drank Oct 12th, 2016 in New Hamburg, ON. Bitter, yes! Sort of really bitter in a slightly ugly way that grows on you with each sip.

Oct 13, 2016
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Knuckles2531 from Canada (YT)

2.52/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Was shocked to read the IBU's is over 80.....that is why I bought it...but all I get is spicy peppered caramel malt flavor with a touch of hop backbone. Would classify this as a hoppy brown ale than an imperial IPA if someone asked me. It's not terrible but if you are a hop head IPA traditionalist....not sure this is for you. It's more like 80+ IMU's rather than IBU's (yes that is international bitterness units, and yes I made that up). To sum up...all malt no hop. Not a terrible beer but it ain't no IIPA.
Ops...I forgot to talk about the color, aroma, head, mouth feel, finish, etc. Just read every other review for that cookie cutter info.

Aug 18, 2016
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MaltyPythonsHopCircus from Canada (BC)

4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep copper pour. Off tan tight lacey head. Old school malty, bready flavour with herbal, earthy hops. Not boozy and slightly tannic As it warms lots of wood notes appear

Jul 16, 2016
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JonnyBeers from Canada (BC)

3.36/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

I've been wanting to try this one for ages cause it's always shown up on the top 100 CDN BA list. I find it chewy, meaty, and malty. Fair amount of citrus at the start but a thick caramel finish. I've had this weird taste profile with a couple Imperial IPA before that remind me of steak. Not sure how or why, I'm assuming it's a malt/hop balance, but this triggers that reaction. It reminds me of the smell of steak fat fresh off the grill. Tasty in food, but in liquid form it's really weird. Fresh-ish bottle from LCBO.

May 11, 2016
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Hat_Fulla_Beer from Canada (AB)

4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into Sam Adams pint glass.

Pours a hazy honey amber with one finger of firm beige head that leaves distant storm system lace as it recedes.

Smells amazing. Fresh sliced citrus flesh, lemon rind, tropical fruit, sweet caramel malt and piney hops.

Tastes of more juicy citrus flesh, pineapple and mango, fresh baked biscuit malt and more sticky pine resin.

Feels big and lively. Medium bodied with solid, frothy carbonation. Finishes dry.

Verdict: Vigorously recommended. I honestly don't remember having a better double IPA than this.

Feb 20, 2016
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beersareonme from Canada (ON)

4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A great Imperial IPA. Although I prefer a cloudy unfiltered IPA, this brew is still great. It has a light but surprisingly long-lasting head. And unlike some inferior Imperial IPA's, this one doesn't just taste like an IPA with alcohol added.

Feb 18, 2016
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akdo from Canada (ON)

4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: The beer has a slightly transparent and copper body. It produces a foamy one-finger white head. The latter is tough in that it recedes to a thin layer with a few holes. Also, it beautifully laces the glass as one drinks it.



Aromas: This is clearly a Double IPA from the East coast. The malt overpowered the hops. As a result of that, the beer has a tropical perfume.



Taste: The malt profile offers notes of honey. But the most dominant notes are those of mangos, citrus and peaches. There are few notes of grapefruit zest. On the back-end, the beer has a dry taste of pine woods. Because this is an East Coast Double IPA expect no smokey taste nor aggressiveness that places the beer on the high end of the bitterness spectrum.



Feel: The beer is medium-bodied. Because of its malt profile, it is well balanced and slightly refreshing. Although dry, the beer is not astringent. The alcoholic warmth is barely felt in the throat, which is fine by me.



Overall: For me, the best Double IPA from Canada is Rainhard Refuge. However, Black Oak 10 Bitter Years stands out because of its almost perfect head retention. Unfortunately, the hops and the malt to some extent were too dry causing the aromas to be barely discernible. I would still recommend this beer.

Jan 29, 2016
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leaddog from Canada (AB)

4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a pale copper with three fingers of off white head.

Smell - citrus and piney hops, pine resin, grapefruit peel, and bready caramel malts.

Taste - Bitter citrus and piney hops upfront. The pine resin and grapefruit peel follow suit. The bready caramel malts come in at the end to add a little sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes sticky with a pleasant bitterness.

Overall - A refreshing American IPA that showcases the citrus and piney hops quite well. The malts act as a nice supporting cast to the bitter hops.

Jan 25, 2016
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650ml bottle - wow, I've tried to acquire this perennial Canadian Top Beer list denizen for a while now, only to have it plunk onto the shelves of my local bottleshop, of course. Not that I'm complaining.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with two pudgy fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and mildly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some low-lying fog bank lace around the glass as it lazily recedes.

It smells of edgy and somewhat metallic pine and spruce tip bitters, acrid citrus pith, gritty and grainy caramel malt, some dried-out honey, and more leafy, floral, and pugnaciously herbal hoppiness. The taste is grainy, lightly doughy caramel malt, a further faint biscuity toffee sweetness, some chalky flintiness, muddled fleshy citrus, and a rather heady leafy, herbal, grassy, and floral green hop bitterness.

The carbonation is fairly restrained in its come-hither frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and generally smooth, the various hoppy esters stepping outside for a smoke, or something. It finishes off-dry, the base caramel malt holding tight, while the piney, citrusy, and herbal hops start to consider why that 16-proof booze hasn't quite shown up yet (or maybe that's just me).

Overall, a pleasant, and mildly challenging DIPA, the hop schedule leaning more towards the green forest floor, rather than the fruity side of the spectrum. I am happy to report that this is one of those quasi-whales that certainly lives up to the expectations built up around it, for better or for worse.

Nov 30, 2015
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EricVonStein from Canada (ON)

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice golden amber colour, clear, pours out thick like honey. Big puffy head three fingers or more and with a slight tan/peachy tinge. Nice lacing as I work my through the glass.

Really nice mix of toasty malts, caramels, cereals and honey sweetness with dried orange rind. Big pungent nose that is rounded off and feels likes its had time to round off sharp edges.

The interplay between roasty caramel bread and citrus rind continues in the taste. Thick honey and caramel flavours on the tongue right away, along with an equal tropical juicy hit, pineapple is present. The bitter comes on fast and sharp at first backed by the those toasted oats and whole grain malt characteristics, then it just gets dry and bitter, even resiny/piny. There is a really nice spiciness present in the background that rides out to the finish along with the orange and grapefruit rind bitter. Finish is dry, bitter, and warming down the throat.

Med-Full bodied and creamy, nicely carbonated. Goes down smooth and syrupy.

Whats not to love here? Really a strong beer and not just in the ABV. Great interplay of malt, sweet, toasted flavours with the citrus rind resiny bitters. Big and juicy and it feels like its had 10 bitter years to stew and even out ever so nicely.

Sep 02, 2015
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mtomlins from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper color with a tall off-white head with decent retention and lacing. The nose and taste both feature rich caramel malt with a strong spice and pine tar bitterness. i was hoping for a bit more complexity in the hop profile, but still a tasty beer.

Aug 20, 2015
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CantankerousCaveBear from Canada (ON)

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

650 mL bomber purchased from LCBO- poured into Tulip glass

The appearance of the beer is amber, burnt orange or even saffron in colouration, depending upon the lighting. There are some streaks of red and gold. Head is a cream white, about 2 fingers worth. It is hazy and turbid upon pouring. Carbonation seems to be on the higher side of things.

The nose is quite lovely. Immediately hit with grapefruit, pineapple, resin, orange rind, pine, and delicate floral notes. I can detect a malt presence, a shot of caramel, and biscuit in the background. Upon warming, I can detect some further smells of intense peach and mango.

Taste is crisp, medium body, with a smooth and oily mouthfeel. Finish is long, bitter and dry. You can detect a certain pithy quality and earthiness in the finish. Really smooth, drinks like a regular IPA, alcohol is only present in a warming sensation, there is no astringency. Again, the juicy tastes of jaffa orange, mandarins, blood orange, grapefruit, peach and mango are all present. Powerful citrus and pine notes are underpinned by a toffee/caramel/honey malt backbone.

Delicious, and almost restrained in a way. A treat to have. One of the better examples of the style in this province. I like sweet and juicy DIPA/IIPAs and this fits the bill.

Edit: Having another bomber, the malt backbone is sweeter and tastier than I remember!

Jul 27, 2015
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DaveBar from Canada (ON)

3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Purchased at the LCBO for an pricey $6.50. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a nice white heat that is gone pretty quick. Very dark gold color

S- Lots of.... yup you guessed it.... hops, roasted malt and barley.

T- See above!! Plus a lot of caramel and grapefruit.

M- Very dry

O- Very good but very expensive. Will not buy again just due to price

Food Pairing

This wonderful little IPA went well with...... take out Chinese food. All sorts and a good assortment!

Enjoy

Aug 23, 2014
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

650ml bottle purchased from LCBO for $6.50 CDN. Served chilled intoa pint glass.

Appearance - Mostly clear, but slight haze in this copper and amber hued brew. 3 fingers of decadent and dense white foam rest on top, taking its time in dissipating. After some time the rocky head reminds me of massive cumulus clouds. Great lacing left on the glass. A great looking beer.

Smell - Floral presence with a moderate tropical bill hit. Definitely more citrus then pine (namely some grapefruit melded with sweeter tropical fruits), but at the same time there is a slight piney aroma underneath the fruit. Well executed and rather complex. Low on the malty side compared with some other IPA's / DIPA's.

Taste - Fairly bitter, but its in moderation. Some sweet fruit and maybe even a caramel note shine through up front giving it a sweeter than expected feel. The dry more earthy finish, makes this not a quintessential West Coast Hop Bomb, but rather something a little more subdued. The malts come through a bit more than in the nose, but well balanced and very drinkable.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth and rich, feels well carbonated despite minimal observation of a large bubbling presence. Dryish finish and medium bodied. Could probably be even fuller bodied, but the taste and the finish restrict it to a fine balanced moderate body. Very easy drinking for an 8% ABV beer.

Overall - An excellent DIPA, that was worth the purchase. Look forward to trying this one again, as it has vaulted up near the top of Canadian IPA's just behind Red Racer with a couple of others from across Canada. Definitely worth a try.

Jan 30, 2014
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thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO; served slightly chilled and poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy orange-amber colour, topped with one finger of dense, creamy off-white coloured head. It recedes fairly rapidly over the next minute or two, settling into a generous collar and thin cap, but not before depositing a generous ring of lacing. I am loving the aroma on this one - lots of grapefruit citrus and pine, with additional notes of apricot, mango and lemon. Toffee or butterscotch is also detectable, but the hops steal the show here (and I'm completely ok with that).

Very tasty stuff, and fairly well-balanced for a DIPA. The malt backbone provides some toffee sweetness, but hopheads need not worry because the focus here is definitely the complex hop profile. Fruit dominates right off the bat, mostly of the tropical persuasion - pink grapefruit pith, mandarin orange, mango, apricot and even a hint of strawberry. It becomes increasingly bitter toward the finish, with earthy notes that intensify into a pine resin flavour. Lingering, bitter aftertaste with pithy undertones - almost as if it's begging me to take another sip, or at least have a snack on hand to help scrub the palate. On the heftier side of medium-bodied, with a slick, juicy feel in the mouth and mild carbonation levels. Very smooth-drinking; the 8% abv is not really detectable, easily lost in the wonderful astringency of the finish.

Ten Bitter Years is an awesome Imperial IPA that Black Oak should be exceedingly proud of. It is packed with bold citrus and tropical fruit flavour that will delight hardcore hopheads, yet it remains surprisingly balanced and drinkable for a brew of such significant intensity. Absolutely worth a try, and something that I hope becomes a year-round offering some day.

[Updated Nov 24 2017]

Now in tallboy cans; this one is dated Nov 3 2017, making it about three weeks old (and so a fine candidate for a review update). I served this one at room temperature, and enjoyed it immensely. This beer came out at a time when top quality, Ontario-made DIPAs were far more difficult to find than they are in 2017, and positively blew me away. While at least a few members of the competition have now caught up (with their own takes on this style), the truth is that not very many have managed to surpass Black Oak's. 10 Bitter Years is still a hophead's delight, and IMO remains one of the best beers in their portfolio.

Final Grade: 4.35, an A grade.

Dec 30, 2013
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joemcgrath27 from Canada (AB)

4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - hazy red copper hue, tall off white head held steady, decent spot lacing
S - peppery and earthy notes with hints of butterscotch and mild pine
T - earthy and peppery hops up front, light grains and caramel, touch of piney hops on the late finish along with alcohol sweetness, nicely balanced for a DIPA
M - almost drinks too easy for a beer of this stature, nice bitterness throughout, crisp dry through the finish
O - this is so well balanced without sacrificing the best aspects of a good DIPA, big flavours and very drinkable, a must try if you are an IPA fan

Dec 02, 2013
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FondueVoodoo from Canada (BC)

3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Big thanks to TheSevenDuffs for including this beer in the fall 2013 canbif.

A: Pours a clear cherry wood colour with 3 fingers of creamy light tan head. Plenty of lacing.

S: Initial hoppiness which is quickly followed by sweet malts, wet wood and earthiness. Slight citrus notes in the background.

T: Upfront citrus rind hop notes together with pine sap which moves into a creamy maltiness and wet wood. Finishes again with hoppy bitterness.

M: Medium bodied and creamy. Reminds my of a Chardonnay in terms of the creaminess from the wood.

O: An extremely balanced yet hoppy brew which is extremely drinkable despite the higher ABV.

Nov 30, 2013
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Digimaika2 from Canada (ON)

4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(3.75) A: Clear amber with a reddish tinge and a relatively thin head that recedes quickly to form a ring.

(4.0) S: Pine, butterscotch/toffee, citrus pith, nutmeg (& other spices), touch of vanilla, and rich buttered bread. This has an enticing earthy-damp forest floor aroma. Nice and smooth aroma.

(4.0) T: Identical to aroma with pine, spices, toffee, and buttery bread the standout flavours. It goes without saying this is quite bitter but the sweeter elements (toffee, bread, spices) keep it moderately in-line.

(4.25) M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Oily sheen with just enough resin. Outstanding.

(4.0) D: This is a great Imperial IPA that is very easy to drink and smooth. Bitter but in a manageable dose that is complimented well with other impressive flavours.

Nov 02, 2013
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polloenfuego from Canada (ON)

4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 650 ml bottle into a tulip.

A: amber/copper in color with a two finger head that stays solid eventually breaking to a thin film.

S: Pine and citrus hops with a fruity background.

T: follows the nose, with a burst of pine and bitter hops with a sweet finish.

M: medium body and carbonation.

O: a nice DIPA. I enjoyed this beer, but wish I would have had it a little fresher. The hoppy taste is not overwhelming, and the sweetness that comes in on the end is quite nice. A solid beer.

Oct 19, 2013
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andrenaline from Canada (ON)

4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice copper colour, thumb of fluffy/soapy head, solid retention and nice chunky lacing.

S - Sweet pine, citrus, hints of cotton candy and mangos, with caramel on the finish.

T - Sweet citrus off the top with bitter rind lingering. Solid caramel malt backbone and an ABV that goes completely undetected.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - There's a reason this brew is top rated. They've nailed the balance, making an extremely easy drinking, full flavoured DIPA that is sure to please even the harshest critic.

Oct 18, 2013
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mick303 from Canada (ON)

4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My 500th beer on here, figured to round out that milestone with a nice Ontario DIPA.

Poured into a tulip glass. A lovely cap of creamy soft tan head, soft and soapy, with really great lacing that lasts till the very end. Colour is a deep orange tan, bit amber. 4.25

S – lots of juicy fruit aromas out of the glass, grapefruit, lemon, apricot, some nice candied pine aromas. Mild nuttiness and interspersed foresty and herbal hop notes, lots of hop character but not oily or bitter. 4.25

T – starts with a piney herbal note, then grapefruit citrus comes through, quite a strong piney note, some light resins, almond, a really dry profile for sure. Has some nutmeg, tropical fruitiness, with some bitter pineapple, citrus pith. A really balanced fruitiness, not all that bitter for the style, with pleasant flavor. Finishes dry with a pronounced herbal bitter kick. 4.25

M – pretty full-bodied, moderate carbonation to let the fruity and pine notes sit on the palate. Very easy drinking with no alcohol harshness, solid dryness and hop character on the finish with just a hint of oily slickness. Develops a nice thick feel. 4

A very pleasant and flavourful DIPA, atouch restrained for the style but a nice balance of lively dry citrus and some solid piney character. Not as juicy or outwardly complex as some but this is still a very pleasant IPA, good balanced profile and remarkably drinkable. Very tasty and worth a try, would make a good introduction DIPA. 4.25

Sep 09, 2013
Ten Bitter Years from Black Oak Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 199 ratings