Total Score: 6.95/10
Being brewed in collaboration with gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller back in March 2012 means that with this Dark Harvest (the named derived from the fact that this is a Black IPA with experimental hops harvested mere hours before the mash) I am rather late to the show… and also that if you were keen on trying this brew you’ll have a damn hard time tracking it down. Regardless on my quest to provide beersumer advice I continue, even if the brew is a rare limited release that you will never get your hands on, let’s press on dear reader [actually it says bottled on 10/04/14 – so not really a limited release then – peasants rejoice!].
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Big and black, not unlike like my motorcycle, with a fairly dense 1cm mocha head. Looks mocharific I must say, can’t wait to tuck in. 8/10.
S: Dark chocolate, vanilla and green (i.e. unroasted) coffee mixes with light earthy/herbal hops and a hint of smoke lingering in the background. Perhaps lacking a little in hops from other Black IPAs I’ve come to know and love (the Feral & Kooinda brews spring to mind). 7/10.
T: A subtle earthy hop note followed by some big dark chocolate and green coffee flavours and that unmistakeable smoke, finishes with some light citric bitter orange. The palate is well-balanced, though it edges towards a smoked Porter more than an IPA. As it warms the earthy tones come out more and you even get a hint of nuttiness as well. A good Black IPA then, but shy of greatness. 7/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a fairly active carbonation, perhaps a little too active. 6/10.
D: As noted above this Black IPA borders quite closely to a Porter, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I love a good Porter), however when you buy a Black IPA your expectation is for the best of both worlds and the hops in this are too earthy and lacking in punch. Granted, that said this is still an enjoyable drop, it just isn’t going toe to toe with Feral Karma Chameleon or Kooinda Full Nelson or Kaiju! Cthulhu On The Moon in the Black IPA stakes… still I would buy this over many Porters I’ve had in the recent past. 7/10.
Food match: Anything cooked on a barbeque, specifically char-grilled meats.