Velky Al today has pointed quite directly to the question that has been in my mind since I opened this six the other week:
Clearly then, while roast is an element in the beer it shouldn't be the dominant flavour or aroma, and in opinion that has been the problem with pretty much every Black IPA I have tried, whether professional or homebrew, it is simply so roasty that it may as well be an "American Porter". Clarification is most definitely in order.
I have associated a balancing measure of burnt toast scrapings with Black IPA in the past. But maybe that was wrong. It's not like it's a style I understand. Yet I have not particularly associated the chocolate malt that I get in this, along with some toast and, yes, the pine tree hoppiness. Made me wonder if, instead of these hops, the hop profile from Thornbridge Kipling was swapped... what would this be? Pacific bitter? Kiwi stout?
Not my concern. I like this just fine whatever it is. The beer pours dark cola with a creamy rocky mocha head. The aroma is dark dank pumpernickel, date, cocoa, pine and berries more than citrus. In the mouth, a bit less. Cocoa, toast scrapings, cream yeast, caramel or crystal malt sweetness, a zip of pine needle burn towards the end resolving into astringency balanced with a little roast. A pretty fine can of beer all in all. The brewery says this. BAers say this. Someone presents this to me as west coast porter or California stout? I wouldn't notice but I would have another.