is actually the second black IPA I’ve had from Founders this year. How
this flew under my radar when it was release last fall I’ll never know.
Though I do think Dark Penance would be substantially better if the
bottle weren’t over four months old. That being said, it’s still a
highly flavorful and drinkable brew. I’d expect nothing less from
I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. It was bottled on 10/11/14 and cost $4.95 ($0.41 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark black hue, but still translucent with some red
highlights. Pours to a small, tan, soapy head that laces and retains
Smell: Strong aroma of orange candy and some black licorice.
Taste: A truly great black IPA should be the best of both worlds: the
rich maltiness and roasty flavor of a stout and the delicious
citrus/pine flavors and bitterness of an IPA. Founders Dark Penance is a
bit more of the latter and much less of the former. Orange is by far
the most dominate character here – in the aroma and the palette. It’s
sweet like candy, though in a way that leads me to believe this bottle
may be a bit oxidized. The malty side is obscured by the hop presence,
even in an older bottle like this. Instead of rich dark malt and
chocolate, it’s more of a general dark malt base akin to that of a
porter. Which would be fine if this weren’t purporting to be such an
imperial Black IPA at 8.9% ABV and 100 IBUs. Still, I do like the hop
character here. The orange citrus comes through (and how) on the finish,
along with a dry bitterness to match. A little more balance and this
might be world class, but as it stands it’s still very good.
Drinkability: What’s also nice about a Black IPA is it often has the
mouthfeel of a beefy stout – calm, smooth and chewy. Founders Dark
Penance has the mouthfeel of a traditional IPA – full-bodied as far as
flavor, but thinner in viscosity and higher in carbonation. It goes down
smooth with little alcohol flavor or warmth despite the 8.9% ABV
potency. I appreciate its easy drinkability, but I’d prefer a thicker,
softer mouthfeel that doesn’t finish quite so cleanly (though the hops
definitely linger here).