Black IPA – Brouwerij Emelisse (Netherlands)

Black IPA – Brouwerij Emelisse, 8% ABV, 33 cl., (Kamperland, Netherlands)

  • Style: Black IPA / CDA
  • Taste: Toasted immediate bitter hopped light coffee barley malt slight burnt long hops
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.20 CAD (after 10% off) – 33 cl., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: fabulous

Visual: Pours iced tea brown with a small creamy head, superfine sticky lancing as well as a layer of retention, sporadic bubbled streams.

Nose: sweet caramel barley malts. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: smooth-slick, fine CO2 mouthfeel, slightly watery

Mid-palate: immediate grassy bitter hops, (lvl-6-sweetness), coffee, roasty-toasty toffee barley malt,

Finish: lingering bitter hops, light burnt, dark chocolate, barley malt exhale

Summary: The attack is somewhat thin for an 8%’er but otherwise I very much liked the high quality smooth CO2 and prominent hop-roasted barley combo. I get a dark & green vibe from this one – rich yet still lush with vibrant hops. Great stuff.

India Brown Ale – Brasserie Trois Dames (Saint-Croix, Switzerland)

India Brown Ale – Brasserie Trois Dames, 6.0% ABV, 33 cl., (Saint-Croix, Switzerland)

  • Style: (Black IPA / CDA) India Brown Ale
  • Taste: Sweet toffee roasted barley mocha chocolate milk burnt coffee bitter hops SMOOTH
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $6 CAD (10% off) – 375ml., April 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes way

Visual: (cellared for 3 years). Pours dark root beer brown with a ridiculously large lasting foamy head, clusters of very active streams, barely visible sediment.

Nose: sweet toffee brown sugar barley malts (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp-barely slick, fizzy-tingly lively CO2

Mid-palate: toffee-caramel barley malt, (lvl-5-sweetness), chocolate milk

Finish: distinctly aromatic roasted barley, mocha, very subtly smooth bitter hops, lingering roasted finish – clean.

Summary: Not quite as dark as a black IPA and has more the characteristic nutty brown ale notes, this one is masterly balanced. The roasted barley and coffee notes are integrated seamlessly, transitioning super smoothly in bitter hops which accentuate the bitter mocha experience. Numerous layers of flavour plus an engaging mouthfeel make this one of the standout beers I’ve had to date.

The Obsidian Dagger IPA Noire – Dead Frog Brewery (Aldergrove, BC, Canada)

The Obsidian Dagger IPA Noire – Dead Frog Brewery, 6.5% ABV – 50 IBU, 650 ml., (Aldergrove, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

-I appreciate that they list they specific hops used in the brew

on the front-left label:

Sparks fly when bold and beautiful tropical hops meet a brazen and daring roasted malt base. The hop flavours and aromas of a powerhouse IPA are balanced perfectly with the depth and intricacy of a complex dark ale in an unforgettable experience.

Hops: centennial, columbus, galaxy

Malts: pale ale, cara 60, biscuit, chocolate, carafa II, special B, roast barley


  • Style: Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale
  • Taste: Grapefruit hopped bitter deep roast bitter sweet barley malt dark chocolate
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50 CAD – 650 ml., May 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: go get it

Visual: Pours obsidian black with a decent-sized 2cm lasting super foamy head, thick fine lacing, barely visible bubbles here and there.

Nose: a bit toasted malts (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: almost slick-crisp, immediate hop presence

Mid-palate: background bittersweet roast, micro-tingly, sharp grapefruit bitter, (lvl-4-sweentess)

Finish: peppery, hop oil citrusy tang, dark chocolate, lingering off-dry deep roast bitterly hopped

Summary: Lots going on here with citrus bitter hops, deep bittersweet roasted malts, creamy tingly smooth mouthfeel, and lots of length and good depth. Overall well constructed.

Disruption Black IPA – Category 12 Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)


Disruption Black IPA – Category 12 Brewing, 6.7% ABV, 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)

  • 2015 Gold Medal @ Canadian Brewing Awards

this is the 3rd CDA ever that I’m trying, the first being P49-Black Christmas CDA [C], the second Tree Brewing Hop Head Black IPA [B]. It’s a relatively new style with ongoing debate about what to name the style – Black IPA? Cascadian Dark Ale? American-style India Dark Ale? Time will tell. Me, I prefer Black IPA.

on the back label:

Compulsion will drive you to distraction. While most of us are happy languishing in the comfort of predictability, there are a select few who are restless. They spend their days trying desperately to hide an urgent need to disrupt this culture of mindless repetition, but their desire to maintain appearances is ultimately overshadowed by their fascinations.

Get ready to challenge what you think about dark beer. This black IPA is a calculated anomaly. It looks big and scary like a stout, but it drinks like an IPA. Close your eyes, you’ll never guess how far into the dark you’re sinking. With its fresh hop aroma and roasted malt flavour, Disruption is a whole new beast.


  • Style: Black IPA / CDA
  • Taste: Bold resiny-pine dry sweet roast grapefruit peel burnt bitter
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $6.30 CAD (10% off) – 650ml., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: decent

Visual: Pours very dark brown (SRM=21.5) with small foamy head, 1mm spotty layer of retention, fast tight streams all around.

Nose: roasted brown sugar barley malt, background citrus hop oils. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: creamy crisp, incoming big hoppiness

Mid-palate: dry big nutty roasty barley malt, bitter dark chocolate, (lvl-4-sweetness), resiny-grassy pine hops

Finish: subtle burnt bitter, sharp lingering grapefruit peel hopped bitter, long finish

Summary: Lots of big hopped flavour with a balanced roasted malt mouthfeel, though somewhat on the drier side. Very good transitions.

Phillips Snowcase 2014 Calendar Day #17 – Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale


Phillips Snowcase 2014 Calendar Day #17

Longboat Chocolate Porter – Phillips Brewing, 5.2% ABV – 341ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

on the front-right label:

“SKOOKUM [skookum m] (adjective) From Chinook, West coast North America

  1. A monster indigenous to the cascade region
  2. Strong, reliable and/or hard working
  3. IPA with big, bold hop characteristics and a smooth, rich maltiness
  4. The unofficial fuel of the cascadian revolution”


  • Style: Black IPA
  • Taste: Roasted barley malt sharp piney & citrus hopped bitter
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: worth a shot

Visual: Pours cola dark brown with a decent creamy dissipating head, a 1mm layer of retention with sticky lacing, clusters of fast streams.

Nose: sweet bread, toasted-light roasted malt. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: slick-crisp, half creamy-tingly

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) dry piney & citrus tangy bitter hops, brown sugar, roasted barley malt

Finish: lingering sharp hoppy bitterness, roasted woody malt exhale, resiny finish.

Summary: A very drinkable balance of smooth entry, sharp bitter, and roasted malts. Good texture throughout.

Phillips Snowcase 2015 Calendar Day #23 – Barrel-Aged Puzzler Belgian Black IPA


Phillips Snowcase 2015 Calendar Day #23

Barrel-Aged Puzzler Black IPA – Phillips Brewing, 7.3% ABV – 341ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

on the front-right label:

“Our original Puzzler recipe is aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels. Midnight roasted malt, Belgian yeast, and American hops, are infused with velvet textures.”

  • Style: (bourbon barrel-aged) Black IPA
  • Taste: Chocolate roasted malt bourbon anise
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, super smooth
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, delicious

Visual: Pours dark coffee brown without a significant head, very thin spotty retention, a few microbubbles here and there.

Nose: roasted barley malt, chocolate. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, incoming roast

Mid-palate: creamy-fizzy, (lvl-6)-sweetness, background sourness, (MAIN) chocolate, roasted malt, bourbon

Finish: bourbon heat + mild oaked exhale, anise, thick malty finish.

Summary: Drinks super smooth with a sweet touch yet soft roasty bitterness. Surprisingly well-balanced.

Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #13 – Black Christmas CDA


Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #13

  • My Rating: [C] (downgraded from C+ from 2012 rating),  I gave it a (2.8 of 5) on

Black Christmas CDA (Christmas Dark Ale) – Parallel 49 Brewing, 6.5% ABV – 341ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

This one is a repeat, I had it back in December 2012, which I gave it a C+. Check out the review here.

  • Style: (Black IPA) Cascadian Dark Ale
  • Taste: boring basic sweet liquid barley malt no body
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: don’t bother

-Initial tasting [12/2012]: Tasting notes: pours super dark coffee black/brown with a very small creamy head, some sticky lacing, thin ringed retention, a few active clustered streams. Toasted caramel malts on the nose. Drinks with a bright sharp-hoppiness up front, 7/10-sweetness, roasted-toasted caramel medium malts, clinging hoppy bitterness, coffee, dark fig/dates, grapefruit sourness in the mids and finish, ending with a mildly grapefruit sour hoppy light-med bitter finish. Overall medium bodied with a partially watery mouthfeel. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability.

[November 23, 2015 – re-tasting]

Visual: Pours dark cola brown, tiny head, murky half thin retention.

Nose: sweet brown sugar roasted caramel barley malts (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: fizzy-micro CO2, incoming dark malts

Mid-palate: (MAIN) nutty, thick caramel malts, coffee -> (lvl-7)-sweetness

Finish: burnt citrus sourness = astringent malty finish.

Summary: I’m not digging the finish; the mouth is left with an incoherent hoppy burnt maltiness, not good. Attack, mids and structure are fine.

Zwarte Piet – Brasserie de la Senne (Brussels, Belgium)


  • My Rating: [B],  I gave it a (3.7 of 5) on

Zwarte Piet (Retired, now Brusseleir Zwet IPA) – Brasserie de la Senne, 8.2% ABV – 33cl., (Brussels, Belgium)

  • Style: Black IPA
  • Taste:Sour roasted burnt brown sugar malt grapefruit bitter hopped
  • Where I got it : 16th St. Liquor (W.Van)
  • How much: $5 (after 10% off) – 33cl., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours ultra dark cola brown with a large lasting super-foamy head, thick layer of retention, some lacing, tightly knit steady micro CO2 streams.

Nose: sweet brown sugar caramel malts, roasted coffee and choco. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: tingly-micro fizzy, crisp-smooth

Mid-palate: medium sourness, (lvl-5)-sweetness (MAIN) dark roasted malts, caramel, brown sugar, burnt, chocolate

Finish: residual dark malt sweetness, burnt bitterness, grapefruity bitter hops, lingering sour-bittersweet malty finish.

Summary: A good counterbalance of sourness<->bittersweet dark roast malts, all tied together with a nice crisp body, tingly-smooth mouthfeel, and strongly hopped finish. Somewhat all over the place initially, the flavours and textures settle down after the first few sips. Better at 16°C

NightTime Ale – Lagunitas Brewing (Petaluma, CA, USA)


  • My Rating: B+,  I gave it a (3.9 of 5) on

NightTime Ale – Lagunitas Brewing Co., 8.2% ABV, 65 IBU – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Petaluma, California, USA)

on the front right-side label:

“There are two kinds. There is the DayTime kind, which is bright and welcoming and then there is the NightTime kind, which should never be confused with the DayTime. NightTime is dark and deep and may take you to unexpected places, places that the DayTime cannot. But then, the NightTime is not suited for ordinary life and ordinary tasks. In fact, NightTime may be the answer for that sort of thing, meaning that those sorts of things may never get done. Things take time in the NightTime, things slow down and you can puase (you have to, actually) and investigate carefully to find that level of objective detachment that is only possible under the spell of the NightTime. Seek the Day, but fear not the Night.”

  • Style: Black IPA
  • Taste: Pineapple bitter hopped caramel malt, medium sweet
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.40 – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., July 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: ok for one shot

Visual: Pours dark cola brown with a smallish but super long lasting top-foamy/bottom bubbly head, a wall of super sticky lacing, a meteor shower of CO2 activity.

Nose: lively grapefruit citrus hops despite its stout-like appearance (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: incoming hops

Mid-palate: immediate pineapple, ultra bright (lvl-6)-sweetness, fizzy, (MAIN) soft caramel malts, resin, *hint* chocolate

Finish: sweet malts + sharp pine/grapefruit hopped bitterness, a touch of roast.

Summary: A heroic balance of bitter hopped character, bright fruitiness, dark malts and gentle sweetness. Full-bodied and very drinkable, all for a great price.

Hop Head Black IPA – Tree Brewing (Kelowna, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: B

Hop Head Black IPA – Tree  Brewing, 8.2% ABV – 650ml, (Kelowna, BC, Canada)

  • Style: Black IPA
  • Taste: biting hops/creamy -> malt/choco/bitter roast coffee -> coffee malt exhale/grapefruity bitter hoppy finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $7 (after 10% off) – 650ml., July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Too bad no info about the beer itself, but a nice printed ink on the bottle. Pours coffee black with a nice smallish creamy dissipating head, thin layer of retention, sticky lacing.

Nose: strong thick malts and coffee/chocolate on the nose, very nice. (8)-aromatic strength.

Attack: biting hops, creamy-fizzy mouthfeel,

Mid-palate: (8)-caramel sweetness (MAIN) malt, chocolate, bitter roast coffee (HINT) pine, licorice

Finish: coffee malt exhale, lingering (6)-bitter grapefruity hops.

Summary: Good complexity. The body is almost there, just a wee thin but the good transitions and depth make up for it. Better than the Black Christmas CDA from Parallel 49. Just like a bittersweet coffee with a good kick to it. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)