Blend your own Black IPA!

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Snowcrash000, Jul 18, 2021.

  1. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (3,788) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    Ever since I had two different Black IPAs that described themselves as Black & Tans, basically a blend of IPA and Stout, I got obsessed with the idea of blending my own Black IPAs. See, I love Black IPAs, but can only get them very rarely, unfortunately, so why not simply make my own? Actually it's not even that simple, because you kinda need a West Coast IPA for this to work and these aren't exactly plentiful around here either, although they have been on the rise a little in recent months, which is a very welcome developement.

    So I went with with Old School, a West Coast IPA by a local German brewery which I really loved when it was fresh and Narwhal, which is a favorite of mine and pretty much the only non-pastry Imperial Stout that I could get my hands on. Unfortunately the Old School is already 4 months old now and has already lost a lot of its bite, while the Narwhal is not an ideal choice here either, especially at 12+ months old, but overall I still consider this experiment a smashing success and thoroughly enjoyed drinking this blend.

    I started out with a 2 parts IPA and 1 part Stout blend and after some experimentation that's what I went back to as well, but adding just a splash of IPA on top. This really gave me that characteristic mix of roasted malt, bitter hops and notes of chocolate, coffee, licorice, citrus and pine. While I did enjoy drinking this blend, I think there is a lot of room for improvement as well, especially when it comes to beer choices, which is where things really start to get interesting.

    This has a lot to do with personal taste, obviously, but I would have loved a much fresher WCIPA with more distinct hop bitterness and pine and also a Stout that is a bit more bitter, dry and roasted than Narwhal is, perhaps even a bit hoppier. I love Narwhal, but it's a bit too sweet and chocolatey here, athough those licorice notes certainly work very well. Still, I think something like Old Rasputin, which is a lot more bitter and coffee-forward or Ten Fidy could work much better here.

    So while it may not be perfect, it certainly was a very interesting experiment that I hope to be able to revisit soon with different beers. Will you join me? How about blending YOUR own Black IPA? It will be fun, I promise! So if this is something that you have done before, or if I perhaps aroused your curiosity, please feel free to post your own blend in here.


    Pours a deep mahogany coloration with a large, foamy head. Smells of roasted, caramel malt, chocolate, citrus hops and hints of licorice and pine.

    Taste is a great balance of roasted, caramel malt and bitter, resinous hops, with notes of grapefruit and pine, as well as distinct milk chocolate and hints of coffee and licorice. Finishes bittersweet, with a light/medium bitterness and some chocolate, grapefruit and pine lingering in the aftertaste. Full mouthfeel with a medium body and carbonation.

    I really enjoyed the balance of roasted, caramel malt and bitter, resinous hops here, although it could have still been a bit more roasted, bitter and less sweet for my personal taste, with a bit more coffee and less chocolate, although the licorice and pine are certainly coming through very nicely here and are really adding to the character of the blend.

    Overall, this made for a very interesting drinking experience that I would be happy to repeat and try to improve on, although the resulting beer was already perfectly serviceable, with a good balance, full mouthfeel and rich flavor profile.
    puck1225, CBlack85, Peach63 and 35 others like this.
  2. eppCOS

    eppCOS Poo-Bah (1,767) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Well dang, but maybe this could (also?) be a future online blending/tasting thing organized by Gritty (@FBarber ?) or someone like yourself?
    I think it has real potential because of the variety of weights (ABVs) for each beer chosen to blend. I need to think on this and whether my liver can stand up to it today.

    Great idea tho....
    puck1225, Peach63, Whyteboar and 12 others like this.
  3. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,736) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    I reckon that a mix of Snake River Pako's IPA and Zonker Stout could be interesting.
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  4. jkblr

    jkblr Poo-Bah (2,828) Nov 22, 2014 Indiana
    Society Trader

    I used to make these all the time about 8-10 years ago when black IPAs (a personal favorite of mine) began to stop seeing regular distribution. On the lower ABV range, I would pair Guinness FES with SN Torpedo or Stone IPA. If I really intended to go for broke, it was SN Narwhal or North Coast Old Rasputin with original recipe Stone Ruination. Session IPAs and stouts are not my style, so I never tried any mix up of a sessionable ABV.

    It would be fun to recreate some of these. The key, as the OP mentioned, is high IBUs in your IPA. Stone reformulated everything and I'm not sure even Torpedo has the same IBUs it had 10 years ago. The SN website shows it at 65 IBU now. I may have to pick some things up just for curiosity.
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  5. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (3,788) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    If there is enough interest for such a thing, which I kinda doubt :wink:, I'd be happy to host a "Blend Your Own Beer" tasting. This wouldn't need to be restricted to Black IPAs either, obviously, an anything goes kinda tasting could certainly be fun and interesting.

    I did some lambic blending before as well, which I was quite happy with, to be honest. Basically, whenever I did a comparative tasting of two lambics, I would blend the two together after finishing and I always quite enjoyed the resulting beer.
    Peach63, Whyteboar, cavedave and 9 others like this.
  6. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,828) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Bravo @Snowcrash000 ! Love the idea and I'll try to get around to some of this myself and post the results
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  7. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,609) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Heaven & Hell was always a popular dare. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout mixed with 120.

  8. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,828) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    That sounds way to malty and boozy for me. I'm thinking an ipa that features a fairly thin body would work best for my tastes
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  9. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,772) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    It'll get easier after about the third one. :sunglasses:
  10. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Meyvn (1,251) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Society Trader

    I had a friend who owned a now-closed bottle shop. He was always telling me about his latest blends he tried, and he personally loved mixing stouts with West Coast-style IPAs. He was a bit left-of-the-dial, but he was passionate about the potential of blending beers.

    Perhaps he was onto something...

    When I'm feeling a bit reckless, I may just have to give this a try and see what all the hoo-ha is about.
  11. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Initiate (119) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey

    I have both of those on hand now. I'm going to do it!

    Wait......I like it. The FES is dominant in the mix.

    My homebrewed Black IPA is basically a dry hopped dry Irish stout.
  12. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,239) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Anyone try blending a quality NEIPA with a classic roasty stout like Narwahl? Just curious. For the OP, if you receive Sierra Nevada distribution in Germany than SNPA or Torpedo should be fine to try and blend with Narwahl. Keep it in the SN family.
  13. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,856) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    FTFY :smile:
  14. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,772) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I made a Bell's Black Slam™ once. It started out as a Black & Tan with Hopslam and Black Note, but I couldn't get it to separate. The resulting murky mess wasn't bad, but the stout really dominated the flavor profile.

    See, this is why I want everything to be available in 7-ounce bottles. :wink:
  15. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Meyvn (1,251) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Society Trader

    I personally haven't, but I recall drinking Raven from Tree House - a black IPA that definitely leaned into the "New England" style. A fruity, fresh, late/dry-hopped profile that very much differed from a typical black IPA. While it wasn't my favourite, it definitely worked well, and I could see that idea having some potential.
    dcotom and Bitterbill like this.
  16. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,276) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    Do not blend your own Black IPA!
  17. ClemsonMike

    ClemsonMike Initiate (96) Aug 13, 2010 South Carolina

    My best blend ever was Victory at Sea and Habanero Sculpin. It was delicious.
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  18. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (8,698) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Where would one find such a creation? :wink:

    Seriously though, the hops are so mellow in the murkbombs, the stout would easily overpower it.
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  19. Fordcoyote15

    Fordcoyote15 Meyvn (1,004) Nov 19, 2011 Kentucky

    Though I seldom drink Victory beers I can't help but think the roasty/hoppy profile of storm king stout would be an ideal stout counterpart for this. Perhaps even with their own dirt wolf DIPA and its grapefruit and pineyness.
  20. Whyteboar

    Whyteboar Crusader (758) Jun 7, 2008 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Yeti from Great Divide is a very hoppy imperial stout. So hoppy that I don’t enjoy it as a stout but it might be excellent for this sort of thing.
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  21. ChazMania

    ChazMania Aspirant (215) Jun 13, 2006 California

    Back when Stone was still small and well before releasing Subliminally Self Righteous, I was there getting growlers filled at the original Mata way location (now Lost Abbey). The person working said 'have you tried the blended 'smoked indian' yet? 2/3 IPA 1/3 Smoked Porter. It was great and I got 2 growlers of it. Then I would regularly buy Stone IPA and Smoked Porter and blend it myself. I haven't done that in many years.
  22. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Meyvn (1,321) Oct 17, 2012 Texas

    I've done this before, and was never terribly pleased with the results. I found the blended a stout carrier over too much roasted malt character.
  23. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,275) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    I’ve done this black and tan before. It was fun to say I tried it but wasn’t particularly good. Which probably should have been the expectation; and for what it’s worth I very much like WWS and love DFH 120min as stand alone beers. So if you’re adventurous try it once, but once is enough IMO.

    I used to dabble with B&T experimentation on occasion, honestly never had great success, with the exception of using Guinness as one of the two. There’s really something to those OG black and tans, also I think B&Ts drink differently (better) when they are layered, in some ways you get to enjoy both beers on their own and together! The non-guinness version I remember liking the most was a COAST Brewing Company mix of Boy King and Blackbeerd, that seemed to work real well. I do like a number of variations that use Guinness, my favorite was Guinness and SN Pale Ale. Used to get that all the time at my favorite Irish Pub before it burned down. I think they called it a “Black Mountain”.

    Interesting thought about blending these with the intentions to mimic a black ipa, I never blended with that intention but I could see that being an interesting approach.
    Snowcrash000, jkblr and zid like this.
  24. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,609) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    One can adjust ratios to preference:

  25. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (868) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Storm King was almost a black IPA on its own.

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  26. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,856) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Yeti used to be hoppy AF as well. Haven't had it in years now, probably worth a revisit on my part.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  27. lpteague

    lpteague Initiate (80) Dec 11, 2009 North Carolina

    Hah - this reminds me of the Sam Adams mixed 12 (maybe it was winter?) a decade or so ago where they had the cherry wheat and the milk stout. Cherry wheat was too sweet for me, but someone on this forum recommended blending the 2 to get a passable cherry stout. It worked - good way to consume a beer I didn’t really care for.
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  28. lpteague

    lpteague Initiate (80) Dec 11, 2009 North Carolina

    ETA - it was the sam adams cream stout I was thinking of
  29. jonphisher

    jonphisher Zealot (565) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey

    Agree with both of you but sadly storm king has been no more for a while now.
  30. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,533) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    I've done the Black&Tan to tone down roasty bitterness of some very dark brews. Often with pleasing results.
    Snowcrash000 likes this.
  31. foundersasap

    foundersasap Disciple (308) Feb 2, 2015 Michigan

    I’m a big fan of black IPAs and so why not give this a shot, @Snowcrash000. Bells had one out a few months back, Black Hearted that was fantastic. So here I tried a nice bitter Kalamazoo stout and Stone IPA. Turned out pretty dam good.