Double Blaze is a Black IPA from Charlotte’s Blue Blaze Brewing, and as you can see from the picture, my local beer store stocks Blue Blaze’s wares in 64oz growlers. The head is heavy foam, and though there isn’t a lot of it, it sticks around for quite a few minutes. The strongest note in the nose is cocoa, with a bit of pine too. The middle is bitter with green pine, fading to a finish of coffee and brown sugar. The body is medium and the alcohol is a reasonable 6.1% ABV. It’s a nice base to grow from for a good bitter IPA, but still a little raw and unfinished, in my opinion.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
Dark Penance is a big 100 IBU Imperial Black IPA from Grand Rapids, MI based Founders Brewing Company. It’s certainly hoppy, but it has a solid malt backbone that balances it out, making it fully worthy of that Imperial classificaton. The nose is spicy with prunes, caramel, and earth. The middle has sweet dark fruit and brown sugar, balanced by bitter coffee notes. More earth and spice and tart cherries are waiting in the finish with a slight metallic bitterness right at the end. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a stout 8.9% ABC. This makes for an excellent fall or winter evening beverage.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.