Black Abbey "The Five Points" IPA

The last Black Abbey beer was interesting, but ultimately disappointing. But, I won't let a mediocre beer set this brewery on a path of underwhelmingness. Instead, we soldier on with the next in the batch, and I have high hopes for the IPA. I rarely come across an IPA that I flat-out don't like, so I'm expecting good things here.

The beer is a deep, deep amber with a cream-colored head with teeny-tiny little bubbles that grip the sides of the glass with the tenacity of a dog with his favorite chew toy. Lacing is, consequently, very intense and almost artistic. The aroma is more malt than hops, which seems pretty odd. The hops are pine and fresh baked rolls.

First sip is... distinct. It is very strong - the pine is going nuts all over the place, and that totally wasn't what the aroma had me expecting. The bitterness of the hops is overwhelming any kind of nuance that there might have been in the rest of the beverage. So, sipping isn't the way to go, but that's not where we stop here. It's gulping time.

Tip-in is pine, caramel, and fresh rolls. Carbonation burn is there, but it's pretty minimal. The middle is very harsh. It grates the top of the mouth with pine needles and wild carbonation. Then the finish is bitterness and torment. The limited amount of information on the can says that this beer is "graceful," and I couldn't disagree more. If they'd have gone with "bold" or "full of character" I could see it, but this is not graceful.

Bottom Line: An untamed beer that desperately needs to be tamed. Hops without a balance of malt is an unfinished beer.

Update: I originally gave this beer a fairly low 0.75/5, but I have found that the beer tamed down quite a bit as it got a little warmth in it. Trying this cold was a mistake - mildly cool is the way to go.



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