May 13, 2015

Founders Dark Penance

I’ve had far too many poor versions of the Cascading/Black IPA thing the past several years to say that I’m a fan of the style. I’ve only crossed a couple that I can think of that I truly enjoyed — and even then I can’t recall names or breweries without having to look them up. This offering from Founders Brewing, however, is one that I’m sure I won’t forget. Dark Penance is a damn tasty black IPA.

This 8.9% ABV (100 IBU) beer is about as balanced as a beer of this style can get. It’s chock full of fruity, piney hops, but also has a welcome and appropriate amount of roast malt to round it all out. Neither end of the spectrum dominates the other, though the beer does lean a bit more on the hop side of things — with, dare I say, a bit of an Arrogant Bastard hop bitterness element to it.


A dense head of beige foam caps the dark, mahogany edges brew.

Founders Dark Penance photo


Tons of pine and tropical fruits march from the surface with just a twinge of roast malt hiding in the background. The beer smells great.


I hate to say it, but this is a great beer. A swell of pine and tropical fruits arrive immediately with a touch of burnt caramel and dark malts int he background. The bitterness dailies slowly to a peak effort before fading gently in the lasting and softly warming finish. It’s got a bite for sure, but isn’t palate wrecking. The beer has a medium body and is fully satisfying.


This is an incredible beer really. I’m not a fan of black IPAs, but this beer has excellent flavor. It’s “hoppy” without destroying your palate and has just the right mix of roast malt to keep everything just about in check. I have to admit, I do believe I will be on the hunt for Dark Penance in the future — I certainly won’t have any trouble remember its name, that’s for sure.

Rating: 4/5

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