Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Crabtree Eclipse Black IPA review

Crabtree Eclipse Black IPAThe 16oz canning revolution is alive and well in Colorado. Crabtree Brewing Company of Greeley, Colorado recently became the latest brewery in the state to can beer in 16oz cans. And for their first choice, Crabtree chose to put a Black India Pale Ale into a can. According to Jeff Crabtree, they wanted to put something a bit different into a can, namely their Crabtree Eclipse Black IPA.

Now Eclipse was not the original name for this beer. It used to be called Syzygy. Syzygy was the name of their barrel-aged black IPA that they put into wine barrels. But wanting to avoid confusion, they decided to change the name to set it apart from their barrel-aged series. Another feature that set this beer apart was that it was canned using a mobile canning line from another company. Crabtree doesn't own a canning line, so they hired Mobile Canning, LLC of Longmont to come in and help them can this batch.

Crabtree Eclipse Black IPA is a hefty brew that weighed in at 7.7% ABV and with a respectable 71.4 IBU's. It's roughly the same recipe as Syzygy only without being stored in a Cabernet barrel for a year. It's billed as a Belgo-style Black IPA with both black and chocolate malts and a gob of hops.

Appearance: True to its name, Eclipse Black IPA pours as dark as a winter night with just a hint of brown around the edges. When poured cold out of the can, there was just a small 1 finger light brown head that quickly dissolved. There was even a noticeable hiss when I popped the can open so there seemed to be adequate carbonation.

Aroma: Here is where I had to let this beer warm up slightly to bring out the full aroma. I got a huge whiff of dark roasted malts, nearly coffee only with a slightly more burned touch and with a nice spicy sweet hop build.

Taste: Eclipse started out with a bitter roast and a cling to your tongue coating. The aroma made me believe I was going to get spice, but I didn't detect any in the taste. It's a full, thick chewy brew that has a nice hop bitterness from start to finish. As it warmed, I could pick up on the chocolate malt, but the real highlight here was roasted black malt. There seemed to be more black malt than chocolate.

Crabtree Eclipse can sideOverall: Usually in most Crabtree brews, I've gotten a lot of sweetness in the brews. Eclipse, on the other hand, had little of that. This brew had only a trace of sweet malts, but was mostly roasted (dare say charred) malt. I almost wished for this brew to have a bit more caramel, but seeing how the bitter hops were highlighted here, expect to be surrounded by darkness.

I could expect to pair this brew with a nice juicy chunk of beer with a sweet and peppery steak sauce. Perhaps even smoked meats would work well with this.

Being a fan of dark IPA's, Eclipse seemed to fit that style rather well while being a bit dry and heavy on the roasted side. I'd like to see Crabtree continue experimenting with this brew and perhaps draw in a bit more caramel to balance the black malt. The hops were more than adequate here to satisfy the hop head in me, but a full 16oz brew was nearly too much for me at this strength.

Overall, Crabtree Eclipse Black IPA was quite enjoyable. I question whether a 16oz can size was warranted in this strong powerful brew unless you want to share it with a friend. I think a 12oz can in a six pack would do just as well. I'd put a lower ABV brew into 16oz cans instead where you can more easily drink them.

Video showing the pour of :

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Related articles:
- Crabtree Oatmeal Stout review.
- Crabtree Serenity Amber Ale review.
- Crabtree Berliner Weisse review.
- Peak into the future with Crabtree Brewing.
- Crabtree Syzygy Barrel-Aged Black IPA review.

This article came from - a Colorado beer blog.
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