Deschutes Brewery calls their American-style Black Ale, also known as Black IPA, a Cascadian Dark Ale, which reflects the nature of it’s origin. This beer is a great example of what happens when you innovate to combine a hoppy, bitter IPA with a roasty, chocolatey porter.
The American-style Black ale style of beer was originally created by the late Greg Noonan at the Vermont Pub and Brewery. However, it hasn’t been until recently that the style has gained popularity among craft beer drinkers with the advent of such beers as Deschutes Hop in the Dark and 21st Amendment Back in Black.
Date Reviewed. August 29, 2010
Where I Found It. Whole Foods California St., San Francisco, CA.
Appearance. Hop in the Dark has an opaque obsidian black color with faint clear dark-brown color on the edges. The head is the color of espresso crema and when first poured is thick and frothy.
Aroma. This beer exudes roasted malt aromas with a bit of earthy nuttiness. It smells bit like peanut or beer brittle candy. The hops bouquet adds a floral, citrus, and grapefruit quality much like an American IPA. The hops also have a touch of green vegetation and herbs.
Taste. Hop in the Dark has a nice dark roasted flavor from the barley malt but not overly so. It is just enough dark malts to add the obsidian color while bringing in roasty flavor. The hops come through with a nice IPA bitterness accompanied by just enough sweetness to offset the bitter. This is a hoppy beer, there is no question about it. The hops have a bit of the same qualities as the aroma with some grapefruit qualities. It is not particularly sweet and can be characterized as being more dry than sweet. Hop in the Dark is truly like an American IPA with the careful addition chocolate malts.
Mouthfeel. This is a medium bodied be but maybe on the lighter side of that spectrum. It has a smooth not-quite silky texture.
Overall. This is a surprisingly crisp, snappy, and refreshing beer. It is a perfect example of this somewhat new style of beer. Hoppy like and IPA and roasty like a porter or stout, while maintaining a body and sweetness more like an IPA. It is well crafted and enjoyable to drink.
Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.
- Appearance (6%): 4.0
- Smell (24%): 4.5
- Taste (40%): 5.0
- Mouthfeel (10%): 4.0
- Overall (20%): 4.5
- Total: 4.62
- Style: American-style Black Ale
- Brewery: Deschutes Brewery [more info]
- Alcohol by volume: 6.5%
- Bitterness: 70 IBU
- Original gravity: 1.067
- Malts and grains: pale malt, flaked oats, munich malt, dark crystal malt, chocolate malt, chocolate wheat malt, black barley, toasted oats, dark candy sugar
- Hops: Northern Brewer, Nugget, Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade, Citra
- Web page: Hop in the Dark by Deschutes