Great Lakes 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA | Great Lakes Brewery

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Great Lakes 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPAGreat Lakes 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA
24 Ratings
Great Lakes 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPAGreat Lakes 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheSevenDuffs on 11-03-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 24 |  Reviews: 16
Reviews by Digimaika2:
Photo of Digimaika2
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(4.5) A: Black as night with a creamy and bubbly grey-brown foam head. Very good retention and lacing that’s equal.

(4.5) S: A ton of fruity and herbal hop-like aromas coming through in the form of grapefruit, pineapple, and banana. Faint dark fruits of raisins and dates along with nut elements. Also can detect a root beer aroma and spices including cinnamon. Complex and well put together with an enticing end result.

(4.5) T: Herbal weeds, grapefruit, pineapple, banana, dried dark fruits, and roasted malt evident with faint velvety chocolate notes. As expected this is quite bitter with a very dry and incredibly earthy herbal taste that works superbly with the big pineapple taste amongst other fruits. Alcohol is very well hidden considering this is just under 10%. This is delicious.

(4.0) M: Medium bodied with a low-moderate carbonation. Not too heavy or oily with just enough resiny and chewy texture.

(4.5) D: This is my favourite GLB anniversary offering to date, and that’s tough considering the other quality offerings. I would also say this is one of my favourite Ontario beers to date. Please make this year round.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of BGDrock
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours thick like motor oil, very dark brown; milk chocolate head is frothy and long lastiing

Aroma: big resinous hops, spruce; hint of spice; fresh and woody, feels like I'm in BC

Taste & Mouthfeel: taste is an exact match to the aroma, like drinking pine needles - except I'm liking it; strong resin bitterness is present start to finish and has great length; medium body, perfect carbonation; alcohol can't be detected; some roasted malt provides a sweet foil, but stays in the background with chocolate and anise

Overall: great mouthfeel and fresh taste, not complex but that's no hindrance; if you love your hops, give it a go

 645 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at WVRST tap takeover. Cascade aroma, not the puzzler's balance. Back with a bubble head, big roast, carbonation, and these characteristics dominate the hopping. Holding back some carbonation, such as by cask, may help. Still good drinkability and spot on the style, worthy of an anniversary labelling.

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Photo of Boozecamel
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large light brown color head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bitter, floral and earthy hops with a nice side of roasted malt with light lactose notes. Taste is a great balanced mix between some roasted malt with dry bitter notes and light coffee notes overplayed with some good pungent, floral and citrus hops. Body is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Well brewed with lots of complexity.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle stamped 2272, so presumably bottled on September 28th??? Seems too long ago, so I am not entirely sure if I have the freshness dating right.

Poured in to GLB 25th Anniversary tulip.

A - Poured black. One finger of mocha coloured head with good retention and good lacing.

S - Massive fresh hop aroma up front full of pine and citrus with some tropical fruit. Specifically, some grapefruit, peach and mango aromas are present. Roast is present but takes the back seat to the hop aromas.

T - Bitter punch up front that immediately gives way to a big roast profile. Grapefruit, tangerine, pine and peach flavours are present. Lighter chocolate and licorice flavours in the background.

M - Medium body, smooth and silky. light carbonation. Full of tongue-coating hop oils.

O - Another well made 25th Anniversary beer from GLB!

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Photo of papat444
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to MaltyTasker (BarTowel) for this one.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle, no freshness info.

Appearance: Darker than dark body with a huge 3-4 finger head that settles itself comfortably with no signs of going anywhere. Intricate lacing is spots the glass.

Smell: Freshly squeezed grapefruit, rinds an all. My eyes squint at every smell like i got hit in the eye by some pulp (pulp can move baby!). It's followed by a mellow roasted aroma.

Taste: Get my hops fix right off the bat with the whole package of grapefruit, skin and all. Mile, roasted creamy coffee follows and it all ends with a nice lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Starts smooth, veers a bit bitter but maintains its balance and is totally drinkable.

Overall: Very much enjoyed this and i hope they bring it back.

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

750ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for 10$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige coloured head. It's hard to make out the amount of carbonation and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for 5-6 minutes.

Smell - Malts, hops, grapefruit

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and it feels a little watery. I can taste hops and malts mixed with grapefruit. There is also some coffee/chocolate notes. It ends with a malty dry hopped bitter aftertaste.

Overall - Reminds me a bit of a beefed up version of their 666 Devils Pale ale. A great amount of hop bitterness if that's your thing, but it's missing a little bit of the lip smacking nectar/juiciness I can find in a Firestone Wookey Jack or a Stone SSSR. Still a very very good beer.

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Photo of RedAleMan
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of liamt07
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the LCBO, 750ml into a tulip.

Black as can be with a mocha head. Brilliant lacing and retention. Nose has a whole load of honeydew melon, some tropical notes and some herbal and piney character. Roast and coffee notes are behind the hops. Some yeast as well. Taste has more melon, citrus rinds, bitter hopping in from of some yeast, roast, coffee and dark chocolate flavours. Long bitter finish, fruity and herbal notes hold out for a while. Medium full body, lower carbonation. An awesome black IPA, highly rec'd - one if the better brews Great Lakes has ever publicly released.

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Photo of kinguy
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of duimie
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of jrenihan
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I don't see a date on the bottle, but this has to be quite fresh.

Beer is black with a very small tan head that dissipates quickly. Decent lacing.

Nose contains citrus fruit (grapefruit and tangerine stick out for me) and roasted malt. Well mixed together.

Taste is a nice balance between roasted malt and bitter chocolate on the one hand, and juicy citrus fruit on the other. The citrus jumps out at me first, but the roasted flavours are not far behind. Quite bitter. Good.

Medium bodied, highly carbonated, I find the bubbles irritating. Oily.

Overall, quite a good Black IPA.

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

wickedly good, poored from a 750ml bottle obtained from the maple leaf gardens lcbo.
had the pleasure of the GLB/biergotter collaboration of the same style earlier and this was an improvement with more hops and depth...

black, thick and covered in a dense and lasting crema of head.

nice aroma of papaya, pineapple, and roast with a nice touch of anise.

taste is much the same, hops at the forefront, with a great underlying roast and obvious yet almost subtle anise character. the flavours worked well without clashing.

a nice rich and thick mouthfeel, big hop presence thanks to effective dryhopping, with an almost palate stripping presence. as it should be...

this was top notch, and really delivered everything i want/hope for from a beer like this. i would recommend it to any fan of the style, or whiny canadians who cant seem to find top notch craft beers brewed right here at home ;)

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Photo of KeKeKumba
5/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with brown on the edges. A rocky, tan head lasts the entire glass. Very impressive, with massive foam chunks sticking to the glass. Aromatic floral, citrusy hops mingle with roasty malts in the nose. A big bitterness hits the pallete on the first sip, very quickly a big roasty, coffee malt flavor rushes in. Sweet chocolatey and caramel malt flavors kick in after a few sips. An abundance of grapefruit hops and some roasty, coffee malt make up the long, long finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied and silky with a lot of very small bubbled carbonation. Alcohol is impeccably well hidden through out, adding just a complimentary warmth in the very back.

This is an excellent American Black Ale/Imperial Stout. Lots of hops mixed with a fantastic IS malt profile. Roasty, bitter, fruity, dry. Delicious stuff. Seek this out. I wish GLB made this a year round release.

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Photo of korguy123
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black pour. Two finger slightly creamy light tan head. Lacing is fantastic.

Bright citrus, slight pine and a nice sweet chocolate presence. Coffee also dominates. Very balanced, nothing over powers and it's excellent.

Sweet chocolate up front, than quickly shifts gears to bitter pine, sweet mandarins and finishes dark with coffee and burnt toast.

Medium body, good carbonation, sticky on the lips.

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Photo of hopsolutely
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well done, Great Lakes! A stunning example of this American style...

Pours an oily dark, dark brown that is murky in the glass. Beautiful head leaves an impressive amount of lacing. Hop-forward aroma is full of my favourite "c" hops, with a bitter citrus tone balanced against coffee and roasted dark malts. The flavour is also very hop-focused, but with enough roasted malts to provide decent body prior to the lingering citrus finish. Lots of chocolate and coffee elements before the bitterness kicks in. The 9.5% ABV is terrifyingly well hidden....

An excellent treat that was hard to find. I hope it gets brewed again in Great Lakes' 26th year!

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Photo of biegaman
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This Black IPA is not quite black, but rather deep, dark brown. It's still worthy of intimidation, mind you, and won't even negotiate with the light. Its head is coloured like brown sugar and leaves the beer looking like Bill Belichick on a cold December Sunday, all covered up. The lacing it leaves appears permanent; I'm not even going to try to wash the glass, I'll just throw it out.

The bouquet has enough pineapple juice to glaze a pig and such a spiciness that it smacks of fresh-grated ginger and cinnamon. If you like 'em hoppy, sexy and rich, this one definitely qualifies. It layers the citric fruit flavours with a structure that is solid, dense, and dark. It smells loosely like a Mexican-spiced chocolate drink, albeit with an extra espresso kick and a boatload of citrus.

Most Black IPAs fall under a simple formula: leafy hops and roasted malt. Lather, rinse, repeat. But this offering has a depth of hop flavour that includes virtually every tropical fruit in existence: pineapple, tangerine, grapefruit, papaya, lime, lychee. The malts, however, have a tarry, coffee-like character that is full of dark chocolate and mocha flavouring.

Imperial Black IPA is the juiciest beer I've tried from this end of the colour spectrum. In fact, it may give some of San Diego's sunniest double IPAs a run for their money, too. It drinks like a blend of fresh-pressed juices. The citrus is extraordinarily refreshing, resulting in a beer not as powerful than its first sips suggested. It also seems pretty much immune to the 9.5% alcohol.

The citrusy acidity is well integrated; it cuts right into the beer's lean muscled frame. The malts refuse to stand down, however, and impress an almost leathery texture owing to their tarry, sooty roast. A rich, coffee-liqueur-like (i.e, Kahlua) quality adds a subtle silkiness. What ultimately prevail are the hops, or rather their spiciness (which has the zing of fresh ginger).

Great Lakes has been brewing sound, exciting beers for their Project X events for some time now, but the mere existence of this in LCBO distribution promises as-yet impossible diversity and quality in selection for the Ontario market. I'm not sure they can catch lightning in a bottle twice, but it's definitely worth a try - this is a phenomenal Black IPA that I'd buy again and again.

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Photo of rappmann
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A - Pours pitch black, two fingers of beige head nice lacing

S - Really in your face piney resiny hops, you can smell this one across the room when you open the bottle

T - In your face hops up front, nice roasty quality from the dark malt on the back end of this one, nicely balanced for such a hoppy IIPA

M - Really creamy mouthfeel on this one, which is an unusual but enjoyable quality for such a big bottled IPA, really easy drinking, too bad it's no longer.

O - a great beer, glad I went to the brewery to snatch up a couple before it's gone forever. Kudos to Great Lakes, killing it right now.

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Photo of bigox420
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of peensteen
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Jet black, 1.5 fingers of tan head, good amount of lace. Smell is in your face pine and citrus, no shortage of hops here, fair amount of chocolate and roast, more tangerine and grapefruit comes in as well. Taste is quite roasty and chocolatey initially before your hit with a big bitterness, pine and citrus orange flavours and some coffee. Lightly carbonated, medium body with nice hop oil slickness. This is a super solid Black IPA, nice roast and hop bill, would love to see this as a year round or at least seasonal release sometime again.

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Photo of DaPan
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Great Lakes 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA from Great Lakes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.19 out of 5 with 24 ratings
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