Nelson Crowle's picture

Judge's Review: 90 Rating - Stargazer Black IPA by Land-Grant Brewing Co.

February, 2020
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Stargazer Black IPA by Land-Grant Brewing Co. was judged as a BJCP 2015 style 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer with the underlying base style of 21B Specialty IPA (sub-sub style of Black IPA). As such, the 21B Black IPA should be identifiable with coffee added. This beer pours an opaque very deep brown color with reddish highlights, and a large dark tan head (probably indicating inclusion of more roasted malt character and flavor than expected for a Black IPA) of tiny bubbles that leaves Belgian lacing on the glass and is persistent. The initial aroma is of fresh cold brewed coffee and moderate coffee/chocolate roastiness. There is a medium hop aroma that is mostly earthy with hints of tangerine citrus. Flavor follows the aroma with fairly high notes of coffee and some coffee bitterness (not cold brewed) and astringency. The flavor hops are again earthy (which might be being disguised by the added coffee) with orangey citrus notes, and are at a moderate level. Hop bittering is moderately high (as appropriate for a Black IPA). This is a full-bodied beer (quite a bit more body than expected for a Black IPA) and could quite easily pass for an American Stout (BJCP style 20B). Carbonation is relatively high and very pleasant when presenting the beer's aroma, flavor and mouthfeel -- almost creamy but offset by the coffee and hop bitterness that lingers into a long off-dry roasty finish. There is a clean alcoholic warmth to this beer, and it seems to be close to verging on imperial strength of around 8 percent ABV. Overall a quite drinkable and tasty beer, but those expecting a Black IPA might be surprised by the full-bodied roastiness. In any case (style discussions aside), this is a great beer to put in a blender with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or serve it with a chocolate-based mole chicken for a nice set of complementary flavors.