Review: Revival Double Black IPA

Review of Revival Double Black IPA from Revival Brewing Co. in Providence, RI.

Beer Type: Black IPA  ABV: 8.5%  IBUs: 85  Tried from bottle.

Their Description: “The heavy roast profile of our Double Black IPA is accented by an explosion of hops. Tones of coffee, vanilla, wood and citrus mix with herbal notes to make this beer the complex beast that it is. Hopped with Chinook, Sorachi Ace, Nugget and Cascade hops.”

The Reality: It has a mild roasted malt and hops scent and is black as night, as expected. The flavor is an odd mix of roasted dark chocolate malt flavor with bitter hops and a citrusy sour back note that didn’t fit in. The finish is even a bit more “off” with a sour heavy hop flavor that really conflicts with the chocolate coffee notes. The aftertaste lingers and you wonder if the mild skunkiness is deliberate. The irony is that their description is pretty accurate, this beer tries to mix coffee, wood, citrus, hops, and herbal flavors, and it is therefore complex, much the way that Humpty Dumpty’s broken body was complex and couldn’t be reassembled.

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Final Verdict: This beer’s fatal flaw is that it is complex for the sake of being complex, and the flavors don’t really mesh, in my opinion. It’s always risky trying to get that many distinct notes to sing in harmony, and often times it just ends up being a lot of noise. The roasted notes and bitter hops and citrus tartness are like the last three guys in a Royal Rumble, all trying to throw each other out of the ring, and in the end no one wins, but your taste buds lose. Their own label even depicts two of the hops in this beer fighting in a versus boxing match,… I guess there is still truth in advertising.

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