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Founders Brewing Co. | Dark Penance

Founders Brewing Co. | Dark Penance

Imperial Black IPA

ABV: 8.9%

IBU: 100

October is finally here! And half gone at that! But, there is still plenty of time to drink some of the best seasonal beer selections breweries have to offer. Now, it is no surprise that pumpkin beers have been taking over the market selection for seasonal brews this year. However, there are a ton of other great beer styles to drink this October, such as Harvest Ales, Brown Ales, Black Ales, really any full-bodied dark beer with toasty notes to keep you warm by a fire. Founders Brewing Co. introduced one such brew to their autumn line-up, a bold new speciality beer, Dark Penance Imperial Black IPA. From appearance all the way to flavor, Dark Penance sets a fresh new tone for beers this season, capturing all the right characteristics of fall.

So let’s talk about this name, Dark Penance. Penance: “voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong,” as defined by Google. Dark: “Go flick your light switch off,” as defined by me. What you have here is some serious repenting for some serious crap. I mean, just take a second to really look at the gentleman (I think) on the label. This guy has guilt written all over him. Not the kind of guilt a child has after getting caught stealing candy, but the heavy stuff. This man obviously ate the last piece of pizza from a pie he did not buy. Now don’t take this as a guilt trip, because we have all eaten that last piece of pizza, but this is an ode to the creative director for producing a great name for a great new beer.

That’s right, the beer, that is what this showcase is all about, the bittersweet beer! Bittersweet is one of the best ways to describe this beer from start to finish. Dark Penance pours black with a small, frothy, mocha head that is quick to fade. Living up to the name, the dark body blends right in with the night. The nose has a hauntingly beautiful bouquet of aromas. You pick up some sweet caramel and molasses, with a little bit of coffee thrown in, and a predominantly lasting aroma of pine. Just picture yourself in a dark pine forest in the middle of October. Ya, freaking creepy, but that’s where this beer takes you. If that’s not intense enough, the bitterness is. 100 IBUs will leave any palate screaming. I suppose that’s the penance part of this beer, the punishment for the decades of drinking macro-brews. There are some great toasty malt flavors that come and go as you swish the bitter liquid side to side though, and a sweet resolution with a subtle but pleasant burn from the 8.9% ABV that encourages you to take that second sip. Once you’ve made it through a bottle, you will feel like a new beer connoisseur, one with a refined holy palate, living up to the definition of repentance, acknowledging your wrongdoings and never returning to plain beer.

In sum, Dark Penance is a phenomenal must-try beer for fall. Repent for your beer sins, like jumping on the pumpkin spice band wagon in August and September (you know who you are), and have a real Halloween beer, one that instills the dark secrets of the season and engulfs you in the blackness. You may be afraid to try it at first, but you know deep down that curiosity will always get the best of you, so why fight it? Go grab a four pack, succumb to the sacrament of Founders Brewing Co.’s Dark Penance, and partake in this self-reproach of craft beer.

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