Friday, July 22, 2011

Hop Knight India Black Ale

Thanks to Justin Parris for giving me a bottle of this towards the beginning of the summer. Reviewed after a 2 x 2 mile workout in Pepsico on a 97 deg. day. Josh and I tasted this with dinner from entirely from the garden!

Appearance: Predominantly brown with a dark black hue. Head is unusually strong with a bubbly, yet stable consistency. Clear for the most part with a transparency inhibiting haze.
Aroma: First impression was an underlying stale hop scent with a herbal undertone. Not much malt comes through except for subtle hints of roasted sweetness.
Taste: Basic malt sweetness in the beginning, relatively lackluster. By the midtaste, much of the hop complexities come through, complemented by an integrated chocolate malt sweetness. Herbal back half with a boastful dose of pine and forestry conifers. The finish is nice and sweet as both competing flavors come together in a harmonic flavor. Some dark roasted cherries and plums seem to be a product of this. Finally the aftertaste resides as a strong grassiness. As the beer warms, more of a toffee and nutty flavor emerges
Mouthfeel: Really thick body with a low level carbonation, but enough to allow the hop complexities and encourage a focus on what the subtle flavors of this beer have to offer. Dry and a bit resinous at the finish, and an ever-remaining grassy flavor.
Overall Impression: Decent at best, though I probably wouldn't seek this beer out again. I felt the stale hop smell was a big deterrent. I did however enjoy the development that came once the beer warmed - more maltiness and sweet flavors emerged among the hop backdrop.


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