Beer Class at The Porter: Black IPAs
When you think of your favorite IPA, you’re thinking about a beer for which the most obvious description would probably be “hoppy”. IPAs are designed for fans of the refreshing bitterness and the possibly piney, maybe fruity tang of the hop. Sometimes, though, hoppiness isn’t the only sensation you desire. Sometimes you need a strong, dark, rich malt lagoon for those hops to hop into. Hop with us now, won’t you, into the black waters of the Black IPA.
They’re still called IPAs, so clearly crisp bitter hops are to be found, but they’re complemented by equally important malt notes, which can range from a light and slightly sweet kind of maltiness to intense, highly toasted flavors similar to the ones you might find in a stout. Likewise, alcohol content ranges from moderate to high.
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, while not technically a black IPA, has enough of the characteristics of one that we thought we should include the delicious beer today. Hoppy enough to satisfy IPA drinkers, the most interesting notes in the 7.2% ABV brew come from the malt: we taste molasses, coffee, brown sugar, raisinettes, ginger… what do you taste?
The 21st Amendment Back in Black achieves the harmonious balance of zesty hops and roasted malts for which the brewer of a black IPA strives. Crisp citrus hops are cushioned by a rich, slightly caramel maltiness in this well-rounded, 6.5% ABV brew.
Heavy Seas’ Black Cannon is the black IPA brother to their Loose Cannon IPA. It delivers bright pine and citrus hop flavor with a coffee-esque, malty backbone, and the bitterness of both. Delicious at 7.25% ABV.
Dark Hops from Beer Here is big and very dark brown, almost black. The malt flavor is almost burnt and balances well with intense hop bitterness. Coffee and dark chocolate flavors are strong as well. The beer is 8.5% ABV.
The modest Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale from Stone Brewing is exceptionally bold in its hoppiness, with a giant smack of grapefruit wrapped in bitter, stout-remeniscent flavors of coffee and chocolate. It’s 8.7% ABV.
Spicy hops are nestled into a rich, slightly bready malt foundation in Southern Tier’s Iniquity. Rich and smooth, the beer has a complex, multi-faceted flavor– caramel, dark fruit, floral hops, toast… a lot is going on. It is 9% ABV.