Dark Penance (Founders Brewing Company)

Style: Imperial Black Ale

8.9% ABV

100 IBUs

Brewery’s Note: “A heavy malt foundation includes Crystal malt for sweetness and just enough Midnight Wheat malt to push the color to black. The bitterness is huge, but balanced by malt sweetness and alcohol burn. The hop flavors and aromas range from citrus to floral to pine thanks to a delicious blend of hand-selected Chinook and Centennial hops.”

The beer pours a dark, caramelized brown with amber accents, and a head of tan of creamy, large bubbles. The head settles to a finger’s width above the glass, and leaves a thin, absolute sheet around the glass. In body, the beer is dark, and opaque from a distance, but when held to a light the beer is clean, with a slight haze. On the nose, the beer smells of rich, dank, wet pine with the accent of dark chocolate and toasted bread. Hints of grapefruit, raisin, subtle mango, and even a hint of pineapple. On the tongue, the beer tastes of light sweet bread, which moves to roasted bitters, and then slowly slides into hoppy bitters that end with a hint of acidity, and a light bite of booze. The finish is of a thick and resinous bitter that coats the tongue. As the beer warms, some chocolaty sweetness enters on the finish. In flavor, the beer tastes of toasted bread, slight char, and then it slowly divulges into thick, a resinous pine forest after a rain shower. Subtle earth, pine, and chocolate weave their way through the sips. The finish is of thick resinous pine with bitter biting, very light alcoholic bite, and a touch of medicinal bitters that lasts forever. As the beer warms, there is a subtle hints of roast coffee. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied with a middling carbonation, with a smooth mouthfeel that is at times nicely sticky. When the beer, leaves the mouth is left dry and sticky with hop resins. The cheeks try to ooze out spittle, but this become turbid among the lasting hop resins. Overall the beer is resinous, dank, with a beautiful hoppy bite, and a great subtle roast and earthiness. This may be my favorite of Founders hoppy offerings, in fact. This Black Ale falls more on the IPA side of the spectrum, but incorporates lovely subtle roast and earthy malt into it. I like.


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