“So it’s a contradiction in terms. A black India Pale Ale?! The concept we came up with revolved around the old chewy sweets ‘Black Jacks & Fruit Salads’. We wanted to take a big fat IPA and lace it with slight undertones of roast and aniseed and blend with the huge tropical aromas of Pacific West Coast hops. We gained the hint of roast by using Carafa malts from Germany. They give us the dark colour and a touch of roast but minimal bitterness, thus letting the hops fly and fly!”
We love a good label, especially when a story is being conveyed. Although, usually we can work it out! This one tells of a sombre and slightly dark story revealing what appears to be pyramid-shaped holding cell that’s being towed by a horse-drawn cart and driver up a lonely path way to an ominous looking platform and a noose. Someone is about to meet their maker. As we said, very dark and slightly depressing. Served in an IPA glass. The deep cola-black pour reveals dark crimson edges when held to the light. A short, but well retained cap sits on top, shedding hieroglyphic-style lace trails down the walls of the glass. This style of brew really has us intrigued recently, we love the combination of roast and tropical fruits. There is no lack in said characters here as a brilliant combination of dark roasted chocolate, molasses, coffee, licorice, and jaffa are up against a fruity splash of grapefruit, lemon, orange and dampened pine resins. These make for an absolute belter of an aroma! In the mouth it’s dry and chalky with a mild-moderate carbonation level. 60 IBU’s do a bit of talking while the 7.4% ABV is quite well disguised. Essentially, a smooth feel for an IPA of this size. It all seems to be a little restrained on the palate, however we do get some firm roasted characters that come through with a nice subtle hop bitterness. Pine resins also show up on the front palate as it steadily develops in to an assertive hop bitterness through the mid. Underlaying is a dank, earthy malt flavour that sits quietly through the fore-flavour, gradually opening up as the beer progresses then finishing softly, allowing the hops to ram it home. We can’t ignore this long, lingering bitter, roasty flavour on the back end, really emphasising the arm wrestle between the hop bitterness and roasted malts. Look, for our first review of this breweries range, it’s definitely not a bad way to initiate things. But, to be brutally honest we’ve had better BIPA’s, that’s not to say this isn’t any good, it is and it’s surely worthy of recognition. Good drop.