It’s been awhile since a beer really made me go “Hmm … interesting” and then want another long sip. Dunham’s Black IPA, however, is definitely a palette surpriser … and pleaser.
Even with the word “black” on the bottle, I was totally surprised at how this beer poured which you can tell from the overly generous head I created on my first pour. There is definitely a lot of carbonation in this baby, but it is of the much preferred micro-variety that makes it pleasing and leaves a wonderful creaminess in the mouth. In this case, lots of bubbles are good.
Looking at your glass quickly, you might think you have a Guinness in front of you, but the head doesn’t have the ‘stength’ of a Guinness’ head that makes it last for so long. However, Dunham produces a beautiful lace on the glass and you can even see the bubbles in this at the end.
It’s interesting trying this one so soon after the BDT Christmas beer I previously reviewed. There is definitely a rich carmelization to this beer that leaves you thinking porter from the start, but it doesn’t hit you as hard or as long and is much more balanced. So this is definitely going to be a crowd pleaser … and you don’t need to be a piano mover to drink this brew. But don’t get me wrong — this is no where near a porter.
In truth, this drinks like an IPA with the added strong, deeply roasted malts you’d find in black ale. It’s really a delightful bit of harmony that makes it a perfect winter beer: great bitters, some definite molasses sweetness, and a very clean and refreshing finish.
The aroma plays out the consortium of west coast hops used to produce this: Centennial, Chinook, and Crystal are all used, so that wonderful citrusness that comes off the head is there and in the taste. A bit of ice-coffee is in there too, I’d say, especially with the yummy creaminess that comes with the finish as well. But with the 95 IBUs (those are “international bitter units” I learned a short while ago), there is no mistaking the IPA roots of this beer.
This is really is a very charming beer and totally unexpected. I can’t say I’ve ever had another beer quite like it, but I’m glad I have the rest of the 6-pack in this instance. Truly, most dark ales really push the malts … and the hops are more of an afterthought. Not in this courageous and highly successful creation by Dunham. And I mean it, this is an almost perfect winter beer. Look for it where you can (I purchased mine at BroueHaHa again) and you might even consider bartering a distant relative for a bottle. You won’t be disappointed.
Stats: American Black Ale. 5.7% ABV. 95 IBUs. Dunham, Quebec.
Colour: Dark Brown-Black
Mouth Feel: Thick micro-carbonation with a creaminess.