Black IPA was a trendy style a few years ago, but it seems to have lost
its cache. When breweries can do one really well it impresses me
greatly. That’s certainly true of Rare Form’s “Bioluminescence” – a
Black IPA brewed with Brettanomyces yeast. It’s not an especially “wild”
beer, though, as the brett is quite subtle and only accounts for a
slightly dry, tart sensation on the finish – which complements the rest
of the palette nicely.
I poured a 32oz growler fill into a tulip glass. It cost $13 ($0.41 per ounce).
Appearance: Opaque dark brown/black. Pours to a fairly large, dark tan, frothy head that laces and retains extremely well.
Smell: Strong nose of roasted malt and coffee; but a distinct sweetness like ice cream.
Taste: It’s weird drinking a black beer and getting the flavor of an
orange one. That’s what’s happening here. Orange citrusy and clean,
bright floral flavors are pretty strong throughout the palette.
Interestingly enough, there’s also a strong sensation of dark malt.
Roasted malt and coffee are prominent from beginning to end, with an
underlying sweetness to give it an almost iced coffee or coffee ice
cream flavor. A hint of milk chocolate on the back end with a light,
arid tartness right as it finishes. It’s a fairly faint sensation, but
it’s a nice twist on the style. It helps prevent the hops from becoming
Drinkability: A hoppy dark beer is the last kind of beer you’d expect to
be refreshing, but that actually happened with Rare Form
Bioluminescence. Probably due to the citrusy hop flavor and fairly tame
bitterness that finishes clean due to the brett. The mouthfeel is soft
and smooth, but not thick. At 5.5% ABV it’s perfectly medium-bodied; so
much so that I was able to drink the entire growler myself!