I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. There was no discernible freshness date.
Appearance: Opaque black or dark brown hue. Forms an average sized,
beige, frothy head which mostly evaporates but does leave lacing on the
Smell: Mild nose mostly of pine and a mild stout aroma.
Taste: As a brewer of black IPAs myself, I know this style is tricky to
get right. It’s tough to get the hops and the roasted malts to both be
prominent. In the case of O’Connor Great Dismal Black IPA the hops
definitely are the star of the show. Strong East Coast-style pine and
resin bitterness and flavor from beginning to end. There’s a somewhat
stale flavor to it, though (possibly an old bottle?). The bitterness
remains consistent and never really peaks at any point in the palate.
Though it does turn a little more dank right as the beer finishes.
While the palate as a whole is quite pleasant, I can’t help but notice I
don’t get much "black" from this black IPA. There is a bit of a coffee
flavor in the aftertaste and a hint of chocolate through the middle, but
I’d prefer much more balance.
Drinkability: Though a bit unbalanced, O’Connor Great Dismal Black IPA
isn’t so bitter than only hopheads can enjoy it. The palate is quite
drinker-friendly all around with a relatively soft mouthfeel that’s not
overly carbonated nor thin. It goes down smooth, but the hops definitely
linger on the tongue leaving a resiny aftertaste. I was surprised to
learn it’s 7.5% ABV as it doesn’t seem to have the weight or energy
level of something that big. Probably an ideal beer to pair with a heavy