Union Black IPA by Cobra Brewing Co

Union Black IPA by Cobra Brewing Co

Union Black IPA by Cobra Brewing Co

Union Black IPA by Cobra Brewing Co

You don’t see an awful lot of Black IPAs out there, so I was excited to see that Cobra Brewing Co had put one out.  This is my first taste test of a Cobra beer, so why not start with something off the wall, right?

I’ve had a couple of Black IPAs.  One from a big brewer and one from Austin.  Both of them seemed to really focus on bitter hops and roasted malts.

Here is what Cobra Brewing has on their website about Union Black:

“Union Black – Cascadian dark Ale/ Black IPA brewed with Mosaic hops ABV 8.04%”

Not a long description, but there is a key detail in there.  Mosaic hops.

Here is a Mosaic description that I dug up online:

“Mosaic is the first born child of Simcoe. Some have described it as Citra on steroids, but it’s much more than that. Rich in Mango, lemon, citrus, earthy pine, tropical fruit, herbal and stone fruit notes.”

That sounds awesome.  I wanted to know more about this beer, so I reached out to Cobra Brewing.  Neil MacCuish, Cobra’s Head Brewer, sent me the following details.  Thanks to him for getting back to me.

“Union Black is brewed in collaboration with Union Growler Company. It is brewed using only Mosaic hops. Mosaic is added three times during the boil. 60 minute, 20 minute and at flame out, then it is dry hopped during fermentation. The other unique thing about Union Black is it actually ages well. The batch you have may have been the batch from the end of June. Most IPA’s start to fall or taste stale after 3 months. I was very surprised with the flavor after aging. I love the fresh taste of the Mosaic after a fresh brew, but aging seems to bring out a balance between the hop notes and the roasted grain.”

Now for the taste test:

Union Black pours black in color with a head of off white foam.

I got strong aroma of tropical citrus fruit from all the mosaic hops.  This beer really smells tropical and sweet which is something that I have never seen before in a black IPA.

The hops really dominate the smell.  I got a little bit of roasty aroma from the malts, but not a lot.

The flavor is more balanced between hops and malts.  I got loads of tropical citrus flavor blending with a nice roasty flavor from the malts.

The flavor is really fruit forward more than anything else from the hop side.  I started thinking that Union Black almost tasted like roasted pineapple about halfway through my pint.

The malts give the beer a nice roasted coffee type of flavor.  It’s a little secondary to the hop flavor, but it’s definitely there.

Finally, I got a nice crisp and hoppy finish to this beer.

I think that Neil was right about the batch of beer that I got being a little older because I really noticed the balance of dark malts and hops.  It’s really unique in this beer.

I really liked this beer.  If you are a hop head, I highly recommend that you try this beer.  I was just creeping around the Cobra Brewing website, and they have some other really cool beers listed.  I plan to keep an eye out for those, so stay tuned.


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