highibus (786) - Vail, Arizona, USA - MAR 31, 2012
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Aroma is lightly smoky and piney. Up front light toastiness and a decent bittering. Really nice smoky character. No clashing like in some ball ipas. Really nice with a bitter finish.
BillKismet (3818) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 10, 2012
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Black-bodied with a chocolate froth cover. Mild piny hop nose with a rustling roastiness. The body is juicy and fruity with a definite roasty current that finishes with a bluster of dry ash.
quiznoaz (309) - Arizona, USA - MAR 6, 2012
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Arizona strong beer festival. Black with no head. Toasted malt, pine, but no citrus. One dimensional, but the bite is probably similar to that of a scorpion sting.
FlacoAlto (4139) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 22, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Labeled as Double Black IPA at the brewery, 9.8% abv; Sampled February 2012
Arrives from the tap with an almost one-finger thick, nicely browned, dark tan colored head that leaves some nice lacing on the sides of my glass. The beer sits a concentrated, burnt amber color (not really black) in my glass but shows an opaque, concentrated brown hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of burnt grain husks at first, but a couple more sniffs of the aroma become much more hop dominated with aromas of grapefruit, sharp pine, tangelo zest, burnt lychee, Meyer lemon zest (more noticeable after the brighter fruit notes fade due to palate fatigue).
The flavor has a much more expressive hop character than the nose did (which is likely the fault of the standard straight-sided glass this was served in rather than the beer). It is nicely bitter, with lots of roasted citrus zest character, some biting, herbaceous (though not quite dank), and pine laden flavors; these last two definitely linger in the finish for quite some time along with some burnt notes that are made a bit sharper (perhaps even acrid) by their coupling with the aggressive hop character. A bright citrus character really comes into its own in the middle of each sip and even lingers on the palate for quite some time; specific notes of tangelo zest, touches of kumquat and lychee, curacao orange zest, . At times this makes me think of a burnt, orange-chocolate bread of some sort. The roasted character provides a deep nuttiness to this beer as well as coffee evocative flavors . The alcohol remains fairly hidden till I pair this with some food, at which point it adds some heat in the finish. The body of this beer is quite a bit lighter than one would expect from a beer of this strength; it certainly has some viscosity to it, but the alcohol and carbonation make it to be perceived as almost light, which is certainly a dangerous combination for this beer.
I could wish that the same flavor profile was achieved without quite so much alcohol, but this is certainly within what would expect from a Double Black IPA. Quite tasty, and a lot better than I was expecting; if this was served in a glass that helped to accentuate the aroma I could quite possibly be in heaven. This has quite an ample roast character to it, without seemingly over-roast focused somehow, but it is most definitely a hop focused beer; this last focus is perhaps the most surprising part coming from this particular brewery that hasn’t understood the modern hop-heads craving for American hops (up until this point at least). Interesting, this and the Scotch are the two best beers I have ever had from this brewery.
BOLTZ7555 (3014) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - FEB 19, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Sampled at the AZ Strong Beer Fest. Really impressed by this. Dark chocolate pour with a small latte head. Assertive grapefruit, orange peel, lemongrass, and a touch of malt. One of the brightest Black IPA’s I’ve tried. The dark malt doesn’t minimize the hop presence. Damn good!