Way back in July 2014, when Kees Bubberman (Brouwerij Kees) and John De Vries (now at De Molen) were manning the tanks at Emelisse, we included the Black IPA in our beer club packs. Now its called BIPA!
Many changes since then, with the brewery being sold and all the beers now being made by the new owners at the Slot-Oostende brewery. Possibly my favourite of the old Emelisse beers was the Black IPA, so it was with some consternation learning that the recipe of this beer had been changed.
The main difference to my senses is a real roastiness in the newer version versus a much fruiter (it was almost tropical) nature to the old version.
This beer has a much more noble hop character and a quite restrained hop bitterness. There is a lot more roastiness there though, with hints of coffee, burnt toast, charcoal and a little licorice.
It is pretty well balanced, with the slightest hint of alcohol. There is a little bitter chocolate, slightly spicy and very dry finish.