Total Score: 6.7/10
Back when American Black IPAs (or Cascadian Dark Ales) came out in Australia I was a big fan. Then they exploded a few years ago with every man, woman and dog brewing them, and I grew tired of them. Now, 2018, I’m back into Black IPAs [insert “Back in Black” opening guitar riff here], they’re so dark, earthy and moody where everything else is so cheery atm (except Stouts and sour beers), bring on the Black IPAs I say! This Aether Brewing Black As Your Heart is the first cab off the rank for me with their brews. It’s the “Biggest Beer Litmus Test” (BBLiT) that I go through time and time again: 1) Find new brewer, 2) Pick their heaviest ABV brew, 3) Review it, 4) Find out if they are worthy or not based on your subjective experience with that one brew. Easy as bro!
Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.
A: Presents a hazy ™cola-coloured body with a nice meaty 2 centimetre beige head that leaves scrawl work lace on the glass side as it descends, noice Garry! Just like drinking a glass of ™cola with a beer head, like a spider-float you could say. 7/10.
S: Earthy and caramel notes from the get-go. Floral hints, along with a slight citrus note rounds out this predominantly earthy aroma. Well that’s all well and good but at 6.7% ABV I’m expecting a bit more of a punchy aroma – something that wafts up into the nostril from the glass sitting on the desk, with this brew I fully had to stick my nose in the glass and inhale deeply. 6/10.
T: Caramel, biscuity and full earthy flavours all over the palate. Citrus and floral hops come in towards the finish and add a light bitter foil to the proceeding characters. Aftertaste is really dirty and earthy, very much an Aussie Black IPA flavour profile here – we always seem to conjure up earthy flavours in our brews, even more so in Black IPAs. Flavour overall is an improvement from the aroma. 7/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a reasonably dense carbonation, it’s not creamy smooth but it is alright, a bit more body would improve it though (I look for “medium bodied” with this style). 6/10.
D: So how did Aether’s BBLiT go? Better than the average bear I would say. However they don’t stack up against the upper crust of Aussie craft, brewers like: Pirate Life, Green Beacon, Modus Operandi and Blackman’s. Aether feel more upper-mainstream craft, brewers like: Nomad, Slipstream, Balter, et al. Beers you can relate to but ultimately you want something a little more. 7/10.
Food match: I would err towards roasted meats with this earthy brew.