Sonoma Springs “Onyx” Double Black IPA

This little brewery–right in the heart of Napa wine country–swings both ways for me. I’ve been SONOMASPRINGSBREWERY.COMpleasantly surprised with their Scottish Gruitt (review), but remember their Freude as being well below what I expected.

I actually purchased this bottle for someone else, but forgot to give it to them and couldn’t stand a $15 bottle of beer staring at me from my fridge and sat down to take care of business.  I’m a big fan of black lagers, black ales, black lambics even, but am still a bit put off by the hoppity hop bombs that are permeating the craft beer industry right now. What the hell, let’s give it a go.

onyx glassPour: Brownish red and pretty dirty. Barely any head. Certainly strange for an IPA…hmmm…I’m intrigued.

Smell: Definitely some tannic aromas, thinking this thing might be a sour? Some grapefruit, other bitter fruits.  Not hoppy.

Taste: Reminds me of a Flemish brown sour ale. Wow. Definite overtones of chocolate, malt and toasted oak. But this is a DIPA, where’s the hops!?! Considering it’s an aged ale, the hops have taken a back seat to other flavors.  Very complex and interesting. Salty even. Red wine, more oak, and some citrus brings the rye-ish hops to the front.  Wow. Really a fun beer. 9%ABV and

Note: This is brewed, then aged in Pinot barrels that are refilled with whiskey. It’s then re-fermented in the bottle.

Unfortunately, not the best after taste I’ve had. Pretty bitter…in an unpleasant way.

Definitely an interesting beer from the guys at Sonoma Springs. Would I drink this again? Absolutely.  It’ll also make a great gift for that beer person who likes bottles a bit out of the ordinary.


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