The Unlikely Return of Black IPA

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by M-Fox24, Apr 6, 2021 at 7:50 PM.

  1. M-Fox24

    M-Fox24 Meyvn (1,198) Mar 17, 2013 New Jersey

    Darkest Before the Dawn — The Unlikely Return of Black IPA

    MrOH, Scotchboy, Redrover and 8 others like this.
  2. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (578) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Love me some Black IPA... Elation put on Black Straw this past Friday and its the best beer I've had from them in a while. Miss the style.
  3. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,736) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    SSR is the gold standard imo, when it’s fresh it’s simply amazing. But other spin off takers weren’t so hot, one I had tasted burnt. Undrinkable, the bar had a name your price on a pint to get rid of it and even that didn’t work, guys wouldn’t spend a $1. Finally it was a freebie and still lasted a week in limbo.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,930) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “I think it’s too aggressive of a style for a lot of the younger generations’ tastes” – John Kimmich

    That pretty much sums up the lack of popularity for Black IPA with a portion (vocal portion) of the craft beer market. Needless to say but Black IPA does not taste like Juicy-Juice boxes.

    I personally enjoy quality Black IPAs (e.g., fresh SSR like Dale mentioned above and I enjoyed FW Wookey Jack as well) but there is little doubt in my mind that the broader craft beer consumers (e.g., Haze Bros) will not support these beers.

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  5. eppCOS

    eppCOS Poo-Bah (1,652) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    WBAYDN x-post.
    SUCK IT Haze Bros? :wink:
  6. Raime

    Raime Meyvn (1,321) Jun 4, 2012 Greenland

    Too bad.

    Founders Dark Penance has long sat in my top 10. Would love to find it again.
  7. CBlack85

    CBlack85 Crusader (733) Jul 12, 2009 South Carolina

    The problem with Black IPA's is that if not brewed right they can tend to have a muddled taste, or end up being too full bodied and resembling a hoppy Stout/Porter. Could also end up with an unwanted smokey or burnt quality as noted by JackHorzempa above.

    I am a fan of a good Black IPA, SSR being the poster child for this style. While I have had several good examples of the style, unfortunately I have had just as many bad examples.
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  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,930) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It was Dale (@nc41) who made that observation.

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  9. beergoot

    beergoot Poo-Bah (6,757) Oct 11, 2010 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Beat me to being a TRVE advocate...:grin:
  10. MightyTrustKrusher

    MightyTrustKrusher Initiate (68) Nov 5, 2014 New Jersey

    I've yet to have a black IPA that wasn't either just sort of pointlessly made black with dark but non roasty grains or that didn't go too full throttle with both roastiness and hop bitterness in a way that I find off putting. I certainly enjoy some imperial stouts that have a hefty amount of IBUs, but I don't really want west coast IPA hop levels in a dark beer. One of the few styles that I'll say "more for everyone else" about.
  11. jonphisher

    jonphisher Devotee (455) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey

    on the topic of John Kimmich, beelzebub is an awesome beer that I would probably call a black ipa. They label it an American Stout but it’s hopped quite intensely. A beautiful beer if you haven’t tried. I don’t think it’s been brewed in a while though.
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  12. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,246) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    I'm sick of people pissing on the Black IPA (or lumping it in with the abomination that is the White IPA like it's a ying yang thang).
    The sweet spot between hop & roast = FIRE!
  13. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,597) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    All I've seen is the Stone. No local brewery has put on out, no other one from any brewery has shown up.

    The SSR IS marvelous.
  14. bring

    bring Initiate (89) Aug 17, 2005 Massachusetts

    Totally agree with this. Beelzebub is a delicious black ipa that the brewery calls an American imperial stout.
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  15. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (451) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    Agree, that is one hoppy stout. First time I had it was on draft in Waterbury and was not expecting the hops in a stout when I ordered it, but loved it.
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  16. beaulabauve

    beaulabauve Disciple (398) Aug 5, 2011 Louisiana

    Real Ale’s Blakkr is THE best I’ve had.
  17. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,176) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I'm pretty sure Catamount Brewing Co. predated Noonan's Vermont Pub & Brewery by a couple of years, and the author is confusing (micro)breweries with brewpubs - licensed breweries that sold and served beer at retail, both on- and off-premise. Granted, these days the legal differences are disappearing in many states.

    Vermont, like most every other US state, had to change their alcoholic beverage laws to allow brewpubs, since so-called "Tied House" regulations prohibited them. (The websites linked above confirms it).
    #17 jesskidden, Apr 7, 2021 at 12:12 PM
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 12:19 PM
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  18. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (332) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts

    I love a good black IPA and I've had some from the hip breweries that were outstanding to good. Hill Farmstead S&S 2 is the best I've had in the genre, the way they perfected the mouthfeel was amazing. Trillium Black Mettle is decent, but needs to age away the green a month or so. Tree House Raven is pretty good too and just slightly under wookey or dark penance. Agree SSR is another great one in the style. All the ones named above are in the 8+% range, so wonder if the balance of slight alcohol heat also helps the style. I also used to drink a lot of Victory Storm King which was a very hoppy stout.
    eppCOS likes this.
  19. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,014) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    The Black IPA style may have been pushed into the back seat, but at least it's not in the trunk. It's likely to continue to show up like a seasonal, but I doubt it will become a standard in any brewery's lineup.

    Bell's re-released their Black Hearted Ale a few months ago and it flew off the store shelves. I'm guessing that it will continue as an occasional release with that kind of consumer reaction.
  20. CBlack85

    CBlack85 Crusader (733) Jul 12, 2009 South Carolina

    Sorry about that, I may have been a couple of beers in when I credited you with nc41's observation
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  21. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (3,832) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
    Society Trader

    I drank that beer on Sunday and it was quite good...more roast than I normally want in an IPA, but well made and tasty nonetheless. Cheers!
  22. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,887) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Misipillion ? Spelling?
    Had one called Black Tie that I enjoyed. The only other one I’ve ever seen was Stone and Uinta
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  23. eppCOS

    eppCOS Poo-Bah (1,652) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Yes, that's why I thought it was good and different; in some ways, I don't a give a rat's ass what we call these: Black IPAs, Hoppy Stouts, Chinook or Cascade Porters, whatever... it's that combination of hops and dark roasts that really compels me to seek these out.
    Then again, I'm a Libra, so I'm supposed to be indecisive. :wink:
  24. Nugganooch

    Nugganooch Poo-Bah (2,030) Jan 13, 2011 California
    Society Trader

    I had heard from a few of my local breweries that Black IPAs just don't sell. Period.
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,930) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The Alchemist also made (makes?) a beer they brand as a Dark IPA: El Jefe. I thought that beer was excellent.

    #25 JackHorzempa, Apr 7, 2021 at 5:08 PM
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 5:21 PM
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  26. jonphisher

    jonphisher Devotee (455) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey

    Unfortunately never have tried it, it has never seemed to be available when we’ve been up there. If it is one day I look forward to trying it.
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,930) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    FWIW it is listed as being a rotating/seasonal beer on BA.

    Below is how I detailed this beer in 2017:

    El Jefe

    For those of you are fans of the TV show Ash vs. Evil Dead you already know what El Jefe means; the lead character Ash Williams is referred to as being El Jefe by his friend Pablo.

    For those of you who are not fans of the show El Jefe is a Spanish term meaning "the chief" or "the boss".

    So, does this mean this beer is “The Boss” of beers!?!

    The only details on the can is “Dark IPA 7% ABV”

    From the BA description for this beer:

    “Dark I.P.A. is packed to the gills with Simcoe hops. The aggressive hop character is enhanced by the crisp, dry finish. Black, bold and bitter as hell!

    90 IBU”

    I find it a bit interesting in that they choose to label this beer as a Dark IPA vs. the term of Black IPA. Oh well as my buddy John would say: same difference.

    Served in my Gulden Draak tulip glass:


    Dark burgundy color and an off-white fluffy head.


    A complex combination of aromas. There are hop derived aromas of citrus, earthy and herbal. There are also some dark malt aroma as well: chocolate?


    The flavor pretty much follows the nose with the citrus/earthy/herbal hops being prominent. The dark malts are a bit more prominent on the palate with a subtle but notable chocolate aspect.


    Medium bodied.


    This beer features the hops flavors but there is a nice, pleasant balance of dark malt flavors.

    This is the best Black (Dark) IPA I have ever had!! I really, really enjoyed drinking this beer.

    It seems like Black IPAs are not all that popular anymore. I would be willing to bet that if there were more beers available that are similar to El Jefe this style would be more prominent.

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  28. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,597) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Oh yeah, Dubhe was very good.
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  29. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,420) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Generally speaking, roasty/smoky is not my thing but I'll buy the first sixpack of this stuff I come across.
    beergoot likes this.
  30. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,176) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    But, but ---- every beer ticker in the country promises to buy it - (once)!

    Well, as long as the price is right and they can buy a single and it's not a bomber or in a 16 oz. can or brewed by a brewery owned by AB, MC or Heineken.
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  31. Nugganooch

    Nugganooch Poo-Bah (2,030) Jan 13, 2011 California
    Society Trader

    Can't tell if serious or jess kidden :thinking_face: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
  32. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (578) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    I'm wondering what the correlation is between ppl who like black IPA s vs ppl who like their coffee black, dark roast, straight up. For the record, this is me.
  33. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,745) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Big fan of the style. Hopefully Firestone brews another batch of wookie jack so I can revisit that one. My new favorite in the style is 4 & 20 from Culmination brewing in WA (I think? Maybe OR? Either way, PNW for certain). Its an amazing beer
  34. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Zealot (571) May 5, 2015 Illinois

    Founders Dark Penance....
    beergoot likes this.
  35. Raime

    Raime Meyvn (1,321) Jun 4, 2012 Greenland

    +1. Adding anything to coffee is simply ruining it. Anything lighter than the blackest of black is just bean water.
  36. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (133) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    The Black IPA actually helped me get more into mainstream IPAs, especially since I tend to try supporting less popular styles. I was curious about trying the BIPA for the novelty aspect, but I found that I liked the hoppy aspect and began seeking out "normal" IPAs to match it, when I had that craving. The particular ones I've managed to enjoy so far have been Port City's Long Black Veil and Blackstone Brewing's Black Matter IPA.
    Bitterbill, beergoot and Harrison8 like this.
  37. scootny

    scootny Poo-Bah (1,695) Dec 31, 2007 New York
    Society Trader

    I LOVE SSR. My review of it is ancient now. I used to think of it as a winter ipa but no more. It's a welcome flavor yeast round and it's a style that is in need of a resurgence.
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  38. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,219) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Interesting take. More I think about it, the more I agree.

    Stouts got me into craft beer. When I wanted to be a more well rounded BA member, and prior to my review days, I would buy mix sixes in varying styles. IPAs being the most abundant meant some packs were 4-5 IPAs. The IPAs were always choked down. But once I had a Black IPA, which carried some of the characteristics I loved in my stouts, it helped me appreciate the piney hop aspects of a regular IPA.

    Hope to see more Black IPAs made, although I can understand why they are not made in the same quantities as other IPA sub-styles. We're fortunate to have a local Black IPA flagship here, and that is probably enough to satisfy the market demand.

    P.S. I prefer my coffee black, and unadulterated.
  39. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (446) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    I love both the style and the back story of the BIPA. Roots in both VT and the Pacific Northwest - and then perfected in San Diego County. Mitch Steele has some really nice recipe details and stories about the style in his 2012 IPA book (it is woefully outdated but is still an incredible read). Here’s a snippet.
  40. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (650) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    One could argue the black IPA was never anything more than rebranding of a hoppy stout/porter... gotta get that IPA label on everything or it won't sell, you know. That said, I'm not making any sort of stand here because I think the ship has sailed already. I'm only giving some context. Call a dark hoppy beer what you will. I think the bit of back and forth above about whether Alchemist Beezelbub is a black IPA or hoppy stout is indicative of the classification problems/overlaps here.