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Black Oak Ten Bitter Years | Black Oak Brewing Co.

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Black Oak Ten Bitter YearsBlack Oak Ten Bitter Years

Brewed by:
Black Oak Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our 10 Bitter Years has been voted Canada’s best Imperial IPA. For us it celebrates a decade of survival in the craft brewing industry. It was first brewed as an anniversary beer when Black Oak turned ten. Categorized as a Double IPA, it has perfect balance between caramel malt body and hop bitterness. Double dry hopping, using three different varieties of hops, creates lots of flavour and hop aroma. You’ll smell pine, grapefruit, mango and pineapple. All that malt and hops balance it’s exotic character and provides just enough alcohol warmth to enhance the flavour. The exact ingredients are top secret and we are sworn to secrecy. It’s so popular we can’t keep it in stock (Please take smaller sips).

We hope you enjoy our special edition anniversary beer.

PS Ken’s still bitter.

Added by Sammy on 11-26-2009

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 180
Photo of Knuckles2531
2.52/5  rDev -39.4%
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.

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Photo of JonnyBeers
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

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Photo of kjyost
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very fresh, received through trade with TheSevenDuffs. Thank-you!

A: Orange red with a light white cap atop it. No major lacing. A bit light for a DIPA IMO.

S: Spicy hop aromas with a bit of an earthy undertone and a matly sweetness playing into it. I always look for a DIPA dripping with juicy hop aromas, and this isn't doing it for me, although it is stylistically fine.

T/M/D: My first thought was that the beer itself seems watery. A nice warming beer with low carbonation that plays well leaving sweetness and earthy pine hop atop it, with a few citrus notes coming through. Would be a good, though not great DIPA if it would be a little thicker in the mouth...

I hate to be so harsh on this, but it isn't doing it for me. I am going to go downstairs and have a Hummulus and compare now...

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark amber color with dense activity. Creamy beige 2 finger head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with good legs. Flavors of pineapples, orange, mango, lemon, caramel, butter, sweet grains, floral and herbal spices. A little sweet with tropical fruits and bitter piney hops. Slick oily medium body with prickly carbonation. Strong finish, long tongue coating and astringent feel of thick grassy piney hops tar and very sharp citrus. A little excessive, acidic, and missing some freshness. The flavors are nice, yet quickly overwhelmed by the heavy finish. Lacking a little balance. Overall good quality craft, very good if you like highly bitter IPAs.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear amber with a light cover of foam.

S - Soft, floral and fruity aroma. Hints of citrus and grapefruit in the back.

T - Bitter for sure. Light sugary sweetness, apples, raisins and pine.

M - Slightly astringent and lightish in body. Sharp carbonation.

D - Not bad. A different balance on the DIPA. Could definitely use some smoothening out.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Viggo for this bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark orange with a nice off white head and some sticky bits of lacing. Nose brings a hefty dose of malty sweetness underneath some citrus and pine notes. The taste is a bit sweet, although the bitterness kicks in here as well, though the actually hop flavors from the nose aren't particularly well represented. Feel consists of a medium body with low to moderate carbonation. Not quite a standard DIPA, but straddles that line with American Strong Ale or American Barleywine, and was a nice beer to try.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

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!


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Photo of patre_tim
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

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Photo of Ryborg11
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Very clear amber color, little bit of white head.

Aroma: Very distinct caramel, burnt biscuit and smokey notes. Mild fragrant berry notes.

Taste: Very mall forward flavor, no real hint of the alcohol, very distinct smokey and burnt flavors balancing out the bitterness. Slightly astringent bitter after taste.

Mouthfeel: Quite low carbonation, smoothly coats the tongue.

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Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Rhino's. This beer is the rage, and a rare DIPA in the Ontario market, worth the try. Pours cloudy grapefruit with sitting pretty white crowning head, and a sheet of lace. Hop aromas. The taste is big bitter, with malting to tame it somewhat. A DIPA all the way, and alcohol is well hidden. Full mouthfeel.

Had on cask at Volo's, and the aroma came through a little stronger, the drinkability better, however the appearance and mouthfeel were not the same. Just as good, overall, on cask, which is saying a lot.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from the Ottawa LCBO for $6.50

Appearance - Clear amber colour with an average size fizzy/frothy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for 4-5 minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts, caramel

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, hops, and caramel. There is also some toffee notes and some resin and a touch of a fruitiness. It ends with a malty sweet fairly bitter hop aftertaste.

Overall – A good dose of hops, but lacking the fruit flavours I like in my IPA/DIPA's. More of a east coast tasting brew rather than the citrusy/tropical fruity west coast versions.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brass color with a patchy rather shortlived head that manages to muster up a lot of lace. Citrus and pine sap mix with lightly roasted malts in the nose. The taste is assertively hoppy with a pithy, resinous PacNW profile like the nose. Light vanilla, oaky notes mix with the doughy, caramelly malts in the back. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a light to moderate carbonation level. The finish is moderately bitter with a balancing maltiness, The ABV is well hidden throughout.

I pretty decent DIPA, but perhaps a bit anemic in the bitterness and hop aroma departments. Still very complex and drinkable.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
I got this one from someone (???) at DLD 2010. Thanks to someone whose name I can't remember.

Pours a nicely clear, medium shade of amber. A head of leass than a finger of beige foam sits on top. It fades away to a surface covering film with some craggy conglomerations of sorts. The lacing is in thin strands, but is nicely sticky.

Loads of citrus/tropical hop notes dominate. Lots of grapefruit and pine resin. Good notes of citrus peels. Strong hints of pineapple and a light touch of papaya. Totally biscuity yeast presence. Mild traces of caramelly maltiness.

Slightly more balanced than the nose suggested, but still hops dominated. Flavor follows the nose, very well. Good level of hops bitterness and a cutting sharpness. Malty sweetness is buried, fairly deep.

This is full-bodied and has a light level of carbonation. Lightly smooth, to counter the bite of the hops, with a hint of creaminess.

It's good, but a bit too out-of-balance for me to rate it all too highly.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Viggo via CanBIF6. From a 341 ml brown bottle, says "Ken's Bitter" on the back of the label. Pours out a bright clear copper hue, tall frothy off-white head that eventually settles to a thin creamy cap with a thick frothy ring.

Mostly citrus hops on the nose, leaning more towards bright tangerine and mandarin, some pine, spicy, some dry earth, some alcohol warmth.

No real discernable malt in the flavour, all hops. Citrus rind, earthy, spicy notes, more pine and herbal on the finish, some warmth in the aftertaste with lingering dandelion greens. Dry, bready malt comes out in the middle as it reaches room temperature.

Medium-full mouthfeel, assertive carbonation, quenching.

One-dimensional leaning towards the hops, however the hops have a variety of character to keep things interesting. If you're looking for bitter then this one delivers with several facets, with a good quenching mouthfeel. Yet in the end it didn't leave me craving more.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a dark amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus and piney hops is quite dominant with some light spicy notes (some rye malt maybe). Taste is also dominated by powerful citrus and piney notes with some bitterness with light spicy notes and a dry malt backbone. Body is average for style with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed and very enjoyable. Glad they kept making this anniversary beer.

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Photo of mtomlins
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Volo.

Pours a hazy orange/amber, thick off white head forms, drops to a solid layer on the glass, good lacing, looks nice.

Smell is neat, big grapefruity hoppiness, some pine and floral, caramel sweetness, a bit spicy, alcohol comes through but is well hidden, more grapefruit, a bit yeasty, some toasty bite to it.

Taste is nice too, brown sugar and caramel, a bit sweet, nice grapefruit, yeasty, toast, earthy, pine, big herbal bitterness, alcohol, but still well balanced, yeastiness is throwing me off though.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, goes down too easy for 8%. I've heard this is better on tap, so I'll have to check that out. It was a little muddled on cask. Still a great accomplishment for a brewer here to make a beer this in your face.

*Had this on tap a bit later and it was quite nice. Very clean compared to the cask version. Pretty drinkable stuff as well, its like an 8% session beer!

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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Photo of cmadd
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The body pours a orange and rusty straw colour with two fingers of head. Great retention and lacing.

S: Almost exclusively piney and citric hop aromas with a malt backbone. Edit: grapefruit aromas develop as the beer warms.

T: Upfront again with the citrus and the pine, the middle is dominated by a nice balancing malt, and the finish is a strong pine bitterness. There is definitely a brashness to the hops that works nicely here and fits the name well. I don't love this style, but I appreciate that it's well done.

M: Great body with perfect carbonation. Not much to report, solid.

O: Before the advent of Witchshark IIPA from Bellwoods Brewery this was likely the best IIPA brewed in Ontario. Now I prefer Witchshark, but I chalk that up a stylistic preference not quality; this is an excellent brew. It's a shame it's so limited and sells out so damn quick. Everyone should get a taste of this.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this one from kv84 in some summertime trades. Thanks for hanging out man!

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium looking, white head with good retention. Perfectly clear burnt orange body with no carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good film. A film and ring remain until the end leaving dots of lacing down the glass. Pretty good looking double.

SMELL: Bigger nose of pale malts, caramel, and lots of piney and citrus hops. Lemon and grapefruit notes, with splashes of orange peel in there. Very bold and fruity for sure. Quite enticing.

TASTE: Pale malts, some caramel malts and buttery notes, and a good dose of bitter pine at the swallow. Big, bold and persistent aftertaste of caramel sweetness, bitter pine and hops, with some citrus notes in there as well. Grapefruit and orange peel are in there to accompany the piney bitterness. Lots of bold flavors that pack a punch. Great stuff.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Light and semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine with some heat at the swallow and finishes slightly dry on the palate. While not problematic, the alcohol burn could be toned back some for an 8% brew.

OVERALL: This was excellent! An Ontario DIPA that I would gladly drink on a regular basis. It would be nice if they made this a regular offering, or at least brewed up another comparable beer to have regularly in their lineup. Can compete with some of the other big boys out there. Give it a shot if you have the opportunity. Thanks again for bringing one of these along kv84. Recommended.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Jason for picking these up from the brewery, and big thanks to Eric for schlepping them down to Dark Lord Day. Served in my Kuhnhenn tulip. This can't be more than a few weeks old.

A - Pours with two fingers of creamy off-white foam that leaves behind glass-coating lace as it recedes to a thick cap. Transparent dark copper-gold color.

S - Pine, citrus rind, light tropical fruits. Definitely hop-forward, with a slightly spicy and bready backbone. There's a bit of catty pungency too.

T - The taste is a bit disappointing compared to the smell. The malt character is more sugary than spicy, and the hop character is one of bitter grapefruit, pine, and only light sweetness. Aftertaste gets pretty intense bitterness-wise after half a bottle. This is probably a 3.75 but I'm going to invoke "homer" bias here.

M - Carbonation is a little higher than I like, but not harsh. Medium body that is sufficient for 8%. Finish is more sticky than dry. Not what I prefer in a DIPA, but still solid.

D - At 8% this is on the lower end of the ABV spectrum of DIPAs. However, the aggressive bitterness and so-so feel keep it from being super session worthy. It also has the misfortune of being consumed a few days after the incredible Kern River offering.

All that being said, this is the best beer of this style that I've had from Ontario. Kudos to Black Oak for brewing an East Coast American-style DIPA that I wouldn't be embarrassed to serve to my American friends. Look for this on the Canada Top 25 any day now.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Masterski on this one. We exchanged some beers on a recent visit to Chicago. Great guy and BA.

Straight amber color with excellent clarity. Finger + of white head that forms and fades rather quickly. Some sticky lacing clings to the glass.

Aroma is pretty well balanced and leads me to believe this will be a balanced DPA. At first there as a bright citrus aroma but then this settled and you got much more of the toasted malt and some deep fruit tones.

Pretty interesting flavor and pretty much as the aroma led me to believe. Fruit, toffee and pine. Some bready tones. You certainly know the abv is kicked up, but the fruit flavors really help to round this out. Not hot at all. Some definite spicy notes here and a deep sweetness that balances with the strong hop notes. As it opens up further, the malt flavor becomes more caramel like and sticks with you for some time.

Medium body with an oily finish. Carbonation is light and correct for the style.

A good effort and the hoppiest Canadian beer I've ever had. Very glad to have had the opportunity to try this.

Thanks Alex!!

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Photo of biboergosum
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Black Oak Ten Bitter Years from Black Oak Brewing Co.
4.16 out of 5 based on 180 ratings.
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