Bristol Beer Factory: Indian Ink (England: Black IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Either very dark brown or black.  Head that manages an inch of froth with a rising mound of cappuccino colour in the midst.

Nose: Ground lemon and orange rind mix.  Bitter hops with a chilli tingle. Wheat influences.  Some milky chocolate and empty coffee cup remains. Jiff lemon and peach round it out.

Body: Growling bitter with a lime and lemongrass back.  Burnt malt. Apricots. Very smooth and milky texture.  Pineapple and orange.

Finish: Lemon Grass. Chinese vegetable stir fry. Charring and solidly bitter.

Conclusion: Black IPA’s are fast becoming a firm favourite of mine, despite the intrinsically absurdity of the styles name.  There just does not seem to be a bad example of the style out there ( Yes  I know I will eventually be proved wrong on this, and on that day I shall weep for my loss of innocence).

This is a particularly proficient take on the style, aiming as it is to make a comparatively easy to drink take on the style. I say comparatively as let’s face it, a black IPA without a hop growl to take your breath away just isn’t worth the name.

The smooth texture is attached to a body thinner than most of the style, with the high amount of fruit and especially citrus rocking the flavour it makes it so easy to drink.  Some of this style are masterpieces, such as Stones Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, however few are easy drinking, and fewer still can match ease of drinking with a decent punch of force and flavour.

Style wise then it pretty much goes head to head with Brewdog’s Equity For Punks 2011. Now EFP2011 is the better beer, on the other hand you can get hold of this beer without needing a minor miracle to find it first, which you have to admit is a massive point in it’s favour.

A seething mix of contradictions, but heck, what would you expect from something called a black IPA.  A quality fruit flowing beer of just enough force.

Background:  The free take away bottle from the BBF tour, this was a beer we had a lot of during the tour, so I thought I would give it a while before doing a tasting note so I can enjoy it fresh once more.  I’ve been enjoying black IPA’s since before I even knew there was such a thing, and was glad once I found the correct term for those hop ridden fruity dark monsters.  Bristol Beer factory in my opinion is a right treat and part of a thriving beer culture in Bristol.