Hutton & Smith Bivouac Black IPA

Based entirely on my reviews so far, both black IPAs and black ales tend to do pretty well with my taste buds. The only other Hutton & Smith beer that I've had before was a straight IPA, and it was very good. Based on this set of data points, I'm guessing I'm really going to like this beer. So, let's see what the boys in Chattanooga brought.

Black beer with a red skew, the head on top is a medium tan. Is khaki a color or a style? I think it's a color, but I don't know for sure, and it's not like I have the internet to search here in my cabin in the mountains. This is a thick head, too! And is lots of it. The aroma is stale, woody malt with definite chocolate nibs and coffee vibes going on. There's resin and light fruit adding to it, but I have no idea what kind of fruit it is. Let's go with… star fruit!

First sip is a bit of a taste hit. If I didn't know better, I'd say this had some hard liquor in it. The coffee mixed with the pine and then everything being all roasted together really gives the impression of a dark liquor, but the alcohol seems to be missing. It almost tastes like this was aged in a bourbon barrel. Let's see if a full swig can tease this Chattanooga beer out.

Tip–in is light espresso with a brownie-like chocolate that's been seared on the bottom while the carbonation is barely at a tingle. The middle is heavy with resin and a mixed bag of fruits, but again they are really indiscernible. I just can't pin down what the fruits are - it's almost like a V-8 fruit juice or something. The middle is heavy and sweet, but it still seems smooth. The finish is a bit more bitter, with the burnt coffee and light chocolate remaining for a bit and slowly getting sweeter on the lips as it trails off.

Bottom Line: It's certainly not a bad beer, but it can't match a good Stout or Porter as far as black beers go.



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