Monday, April 7, 2014


So we've done a lot with black IPAs here at the IBB. A black IPA is a relatively new style (new by beer standards that is) that we see all over the place here in America. I personally like this style a lot, but my concern is not with how the beer looks or tastes, its with the name. Right now we're calling it a Black Indiana Pale Ale... black pale. That just doesn't make sense to me, and seems a bit lazy. We are willing to call just about anything hoppy an IPA because breweries know that it'll sell. IPAs are popular, and a lot of breweries are trying to capitalize on that popularity. Recently the Great American Beer Festival officially added American Black Ale into the pantheon. This is what they are calling the "BIPA." I think its great. So many beers are named after the country and region that they're created but since America came to the beer game a little bit late we don't have many named after us, even though we are making some of the most unique beer this world has ever seen.

Blakkr is truly a great American creation. Three breweries got together to make this imperial black IPA Surly, Real Ale Brewing and one of our favorites, Three Floyds. This beer pours out an oily black color that looks more like a Russian imperial stout than any American black ale that I've ever seen. The color is deep and heavy. It has thick tan head that leaves great lacing all the way down the glass.

The first smells you get are the big roasty malts, dark coffee and bittersweet chocolate. That's followed up by a outdoorsy pine forest aroma with just a bit of grassiness. The flavor follows this up. The roasted malt flavor is huge in a great way. It tastes like a bitter sweet chocolate imperial stout. With this intense malty flavor you might worry that no amount of hops could shine through this brew, but Blakkr delivers the hops even more than the malt. There is a huge bitter piny resin flavor from the hops. All of this blends nicely with some sweet tropical and citrus hop flavors. It wouldn't be fair to compare other American black ales to this one because the imperial nature of the malt raises the stakes all across the board. This one of the best beers I've had in a long time. I'm really impressed.

I give it a 4.5

Russ - Pours a dark almost opaque brown with a 2 finger khaki head. Laces well as the beer does a disappearing act. Aroma is mostly toasted grain and pine, but there's a hint of soy sauce. The taste gives notes of dark chocolate, bitter dark roast coffee, and pine. Middling body, with average carbonation. The mouthfeel is slick with a long bitter finish. Yep it's a black ale, with typical heavy roast notes and a distinct soy sauce note that's interesting (but not bad). Other than the latter, there's nothing really different about this beer. Still worth trying as it's solid offering 3.5/5

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