Pacific Northwest - A couple of weeks as we were approaching the steps we came across a box from Alaskan Brewing. Inside was the next in the Alaskan Brewing Pilot Series, Double Black India Pale. Another Black India Pale, although with a twist, the first (at least to us) Imperial India Black IPA.
Admittedly much like a few of our fellow writers admitted, we had never considered a someone creating a Double / Imperial Black India Pale Ale, but here it was. Granted it isn't the first time that a brewer thought about creating a Double / Imperial India Pale Ale, given the sheer amount of praise-worthy beers out there (Pliny, Wisdom Seeker, Ace of Spades, etc.), but this beer still held our imagination.
Rather than bore you with details regarding the history, we decided to crack this beer open and get started on what makes this beer interesting.
Alaskan Double Black India Pale Ale, is a beer that pours our dark without any light passing through. The head that develops starts strong (almost mocha in color) before receding slowly, leaving behind dots of lace inside the glass.
When one swirls the glass around and wafts it under your nose, a citrus fruitiness is detected along with a noticeable nuttiness throughout before the aroma of mild coffee finishes the presentation.
Sipping, you are greeted first by notes of dark roasted coffee, that finishes sweet with a familiar orange citrus.
Overall this beer feels a tad heavy and with the presence of alcohol as the beer course from the front of the tongue onward down the throat.
Alaskan Double Black IPA is a combination of traditional beer styles, with a flavor profile most similar to an Imperial IPA and the dark black color, rich flavor and light chocolate head usually found in heartier stouts and porters.
The aroma of Alaskan Double Black IPA consists of fresh, citrus notes from Northwest hops and the heavy, dry bouquet of roasted grains. Brewed with an array of dark malts, Alaskan Double Black IPA features the distinctive flavors of coffee and bitter chocolate with a subtle toasted sweetness. Large hop additions late in the boil, and dry-hopping after fermentation, lighten and refresh the overall perception and flavor of the beer. It finishes with a dry palate and lingering warmth and bitterness.
The Black IPA, also called "Cascadian Dark Ale" or "American-style India Black Ale," is a relative newcomer to the craft beer world. We may not know what to call it yet, but we do know it's dark and it's hoppy and we can't get enough of it.
This limited edition batch of Alaskan Double Black IPA is made from glacier fed water, the finest two-row barley, wheat and dark specialty malts and premium quality Pacific Northwest hop varieties.
The balance of dark malt flavors and big citrus hop characters make Alaskan Double Black IPA an outstanding pairing beer for everything from savory black beans to spicy, blackened salmon or black cod.
Found in creation myths and folklore from all over the world, ravens are woven into the history and culture of Alaska. Seemingly impermeable to both blistering heat and blinding cold, ravens are comfortable everywhere from the rainforests of southeast Alaska to the dry extremes of the northern latitudes, making them the most versatile songbird in the Northern Hemisphere. Big, loud, and powerful, the resilient raven is not too unlike our big, bold and boundary-challenging Double Black IPA.
You Should Try. There aren't too many Imperial Black India Pale Ales out there. However, this beer considering the quantity of beers we have consumed, feels more like it's leaning towards a Cascadian Dark Ale (or maybe Imperial CDA), with its coffee and roasted presentation. If you are feeling up to it you might take the brewery's advice and cook up some blackened fish (salmon, cod, halibut) or for the veggie out there, maybe a black bean burger.
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.