zach8270 (3585) - Henrietta, New York, USA - AUG 31, 2012
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
(bottle - 22 oz) Dark black pour with a thick tan head. Heavy hop and floral aroma with a lot of pepper and citrus notes. Dry chocolate malt and grassy hop flavor dominates the flavor and leaves a really nice and bitter earthy hop aftertaste. Very nice.
Chad9976 (1248) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 5, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
The best Black IPAs are a marriage of both IPA and stout or porter brews. It’s amazing how well hops can complement flavors of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. In the case of Horseheads Black Horse Ale it’s more a hop-forward brew with incidental porter/stout characteristics (if any at all, really). That’s okay, because the palette is actually really enjoyable because of its delectable hop selection.
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date. I bought this at the brewery tasting room for $5.75 ($0.26 per ounce).
Appearance: Completely opaque black body with faint brown highlights. Pours to a large, tan, frothy head which laces and retains with excellence.
Smell: Pungent bouquet of orange and grapefruit, as well as a clean, floral scent.
Taste: It seems like most Black IPAs tend to incorporate hops of the “East Coast” variety; i.e. those with pine and resin flavors. In the case of Horseheads Black Horse Ale, it’s all “West Coast” hop character: huge orange and ruby red grapefruit flavors. They’re present immediately, creating for a candy-like flavor. Maybe even a bit sweet. The bitterness doesn’t kick in until the apex of the swig, which is rather dry and a little biting, but it finishes exactly as it starts with an almost juicy flavor and refreshing quality. I didn’t get much of the dark malt character, unfortunately. There is a faint coffee sensation underlying here, but no chocolate nor roasted malt flavors. I’d actually say this kind of fails as a Black IPA, but since that’s still a style that’s yet to be cataloged, it still works as an original, delectable, and enjoyable brew.
Drinkability: As far as taste goes, Horseheads Black Horse Ale could be mistaken for a regular IPA if drank blind. However, when it comes to palate, it definitely has the body of something else. There’s a noticeably smoothness to the texture here; softer, smoother, and lest overtly crisp than a normal IPA and something more akin to a porter. It does seem a little inefficient at 7.4% ABV, though. Yes, there’s plenty of body and flavor, but not much complexity or raw energy. It is highly drinkable; I was able to gulp down the entire bottle quickly and easily and without any complaints.
Ferris (5002) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - AUG 27, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle - Perfumy hops and roast malts. Jet black with a nice beige head. Roast malts and a nice piny hop bitterness. Pretty nice, but more hoppy than roasty.
generallee08 (717) - New York, USA - JUL 24, 2014
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This beer pours a beautiful dark almost black color with dark reddish highlights. It foams a tall just off white head on top that hangs on well and makes cool lacing on the glass. The aroma has some nice bready and toasty maltiness backed up by a generous bouquet of citrusy hops. Like the aroma its flavor has a solid bready and lightly toasted maltiness that give good balance to the big citrusy hop character of this beer. Solid hop bitterness slowly fades off the tongue in the finish leaving me wanting more. The body is not too big and there is an easy drinking medium body feel to it with plenty of carbonation.
Sammy (8939) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 12, 2014
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bang on black IPA. Bold flavour, with roast more than the Cascadian hop.Citrus flavour there in finish, less able to taste after getting lower in the bomber. Still good drinkability.
Slipstream (2076) - USA - MAY 11, 2014
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I celebrated my return from India with a kind of beer that you would probably never find in India. In fact, I did not see even one IPA in any of the places I went to. India pale ales are an American specialty, and this black IPA from Horseheads is a nice one. Black Horse is a strong, smoky, subtly sweet brew with flavors of espresso, dark bread, charcoal smoke, Dunkin Donuts coffee, prune, and orange peel. Handmade and complex. Black IPA is not my favorite style, but this is a good example of it.
merc7186 (2250) - North Tonawanda, New York, USA - OCT 19, 2013
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
A: Dark Opaque Hue, Passes No Light at all, Foamy Brown Head, Decent Lacing
S: Mild Roasted Dark Malts, Pecans
T: Dark Roasted Malts, Nutty, Hearty, Black Bread
M: Decent Carbonation, Medium to Full Bodied, Hearty, Mildly Bitter
Overall, a really good Black Ale with a full hearty, nutty taste. A nice change from most dark beers (porters, stouts, black IPAs)
mabel (6723) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 29, 2012
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
[4691-20120817] Growler. Hoppy lightly burnt hops aroma. Black body with a medium-lasting creamy tan head. Burnt wood and toasted cocoa grain malt flavour. Full body. Super roasted but with quite dry undertones. (7/3/6/3/13) 3.2+
(@ Campground Brewdown 2012, Millmont, PA)
Glouglouburp (6104) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 5, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
In short: A semi-roasted malt backbone harmoniously coexisting with a whole lot of fruity hops. A superior Black IPA.
How: Bottle 22oz, shared at Camping Brewdown 2012.
The look: Black body topped by a medium beige head.
In long: Despite its obvious black color I thought the beer smelled of tropical fruits hops (pineapples mainly) and dank hops. I would never have guessed the color by the smell. Taste is medium roasted, some of the usual suspects (ground coffee, bittersweet black chocolate) and a whole lot of fruity hops (citrusy, tropical). High intensity bitterness. I thought the fruity hop bill worked very well with the stout-like malt bill. Very good beer. I loved this Black Horse, I wish all black horses were that nice, last week a talking black horse told me I was too drunk to drive my car … come to think of it, there might have been a cop sitting on top of it… yep, very drunk.
dmac (4209) - Toms River, New Jersey, USA - OCT 26, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Sampled at Campground Brewdown. Poured a super dark brown almsot black body with super deep orange edges and a larger foamy beige head that leaves lots of lace. Aroma of citrus, earth, burnt toast, chocolate and earth. Medium to full mouthfeel with strong carbonation and a lingering bitterness. Flavor of roasted malts, citrus, burnt toast, roasty, earth and orange slices. This is an awesome Black IPA.