Review: Double Black IPA, Alaskan Brewing Co.

Double Black IPA
Alaskan Brewing Co. — Juneau, AK

  • Style:  Black Imperial IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale
  • Bitterness:  70 IBU
  • ABV:  8.5%
  • OG:  1.087
  • Malts:  It's a secret!  I asked, but was denied (in a very polite way).
  • Hops:  Cascade and Centennial
  • Sampled:  3 oz. draft

Description: “Alaskan Double Black IPA is a combination of traditional beer styles, with a flavor profile most similar to an Imperial IPA and the dark black color, rich flavor and light chocolate head usually found in heartier stouts and porters.  The Black IPA, also called "Cascadian Dark Ale" or "American-style India Black Ale," is a relative newcomer to the craft beer world. We may not know what to call it yet, but we do know it's dark and it's hoppy and we can't get enough of it.  This limited edition batch of Alaskan Double Black IPA is made from glacier fed water, the finest two-row barley, wheat and dark specialty malts and premium quality Pacific Northwest hop varieties."  — Alaskan Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  My quest to sample CDAs led me to Alaskan Brewing's doorstep in Juneau.  This limited edition beer is part of Alaskan's "Pilot" series, which provides a vehicle for Alaskan's brewers to experiment with different styles and flavors.  When they say limited edition, they mean it—only 100 barrels of Double Black were brewed.  So if you want to try it, you better find a 22 oz bottle now!!  It's not sold in six-packs.  By the way, the label artwork is one of the most visually striking designs I have seen.  If anyone from Alaskan is reading this, please make a poster, t-shirt, or hat with the crows!  I'd love to buy anything with this artwork.   

The tasting:  Color is near black with a tan colored head.  Aroma is very IPA-esque.  It's a bit of a surprise to smell floral when you're looking at a black beer.  It has the roasted malt taste of a porter but is balanced with the hoppy bitterness of an IPA.  Also picked up some coffee flavors.  Body is medium and it has a nice creamy mouth feel.  Although it has a high alcohol content of 8.5%, you wouldn't know—it's very smooth.

Rating:  5 star.  Liquid Perfection!   I've formally reviewed 21 beers so far, and this is just the second time I've awarded a 5 star rating.  I really like Double Black because I think it's a perfect mix between the dark ale and IPA styles.  I hope they add this to their regular beer lineup.

Have you had this or any other Black IPAs / Cascadian Dark Ales?  What did you think?


  1. This sounds like a must try. I've recently had the Laughing Dog Brewing (Sandpoint, ID) Dogzilla Black IPA. Delicious! It combines what I like about IPA's and Stout/Porter style brews.

  2. Mark, I think you'd really like it. Hope you can find a bottle where you live. In my area, it's available at speciality stores--for now.

  3. I found the Double Black IPA in Market of Choice and tried it on your recommendation. One of the best beers I've had. Thanks for the tip.

  4. I thought you'd like it! It's not a cheap bomber, so I'm glad I didn't steer you wrong. Check out today's post on BridgePort's Nightcap. This is another must try. Grab a bottle and let me know what you think!

  5. I will. I'm a fan of Bridgeport. I'm lovin' Lagunitas from Petaluma, CA right now. Have you tried them? I usually try to stick to supporting the NW brews, but this brewery is hitting it out of the ballpark with Brown Sugga, Lucky 13, A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' and A Little Sumpin' Wild. Check 'em out.

  6. I have not tried Lagunitas yet. I've seen Brow Shugga'. I think it's their winter seasonal. I'll pick it up for Round 2 of my winter reviews. Thanks for the suggestion Mark!

  7. If you read my first comment above, I mentioned Laughing Dog from Idaho. I just tried their Alpha Dog Imperial IPA. Holy moly, that's a good IPA. I like this brewery. So many beers, so little time. Julie and I are going to Astoria this weekend for her birthday. Going to Fort George to try the North Forth and eat their good grub.

  8. I'll keep an eye out for Alpha Dog. I tried North the Fourth at HAF. Let's just say I wasn't a fan. Buy the smallest taster you can and let me know what you think.


Thoughts? Tell me what you think.