Founders Dark Penance Review

Featured Contributor – John Fahrner @fahrn13 from Michigan

Black IPA is one of the more interesting styles of beer out there and Imperial Black IPA is even more rare.  The style of beer is somewhat polarizing on it’s own and really, in my opinion, is one of the more hit and miss styles of beer in existence right now.  The big flavor that some of us have come to love and expect from an IPA is still there but the maltyness that’s more common in other styles of ales is significantly more present with black IPA, Dark Penance is no exception.  Founders, as usual, definitely has a hit with their new introduction into this annual line up.  Before I get into talking about this beer I just want to take a moment to point out that i really appreciate the label on Dark Penance, granted this has little to do with how good or bad a beer is but I dig the bottle and just wanted to give it due credit.

Dark Penance pours with a very dark (surprise surprise) brown color and produces a light head in a glass.  The aroma that comes off this beer is a bitter but pleasant dark licorice scent with hints of coffee peaking through.   The ABV comes in on this delectable brew at 8.9% which is not at all overpowering but complements and balances out the bitterness of the beer.   The balancing act with this beer, and really this style of beer, is huge.  Black IPA is becoming more and more prevalent on the shelf as an option and for the majority of these beers the line between good and bad is how well the brew master balances out these two often intense styles.  Dark Penance being an imperial offering in the Black IPA world kicks that intensity up even more and nails it.  The only detractor I can give this beer after enjoying it on two different nights is that it leaves you with a very prominent morning after aftertaste.   Granted a cup of coffee will cover it up pretty quick, but after only having 1 or 2 of these the night before I was a little surprised to still be tasting it the next day.  This doesn’t take away from what Dark Penance does right though.  The beer is innovative and distinctly a Founders Brewing style of beer, a great addition to their annual specialty beers. Dark Penance will be available from October through sometime in December and it’s well worth picking up a 4 pack of.

Overall Beer Rating: 4/5 stars


John Fahrner


Sommbeer – John thanks for your review.  I happened to purchase a 4 pack last week and tried this beer before I read your post.  Great stuff and definitely a balancing act that is not always well done when brewers attempt the Black IPA style.  True to form Founders has nailed it again.

John Fahrner Bio:

John resides in Wolverine Lake, MI and is interested in craft beer, the Detroit Red Wings and MSU.

Twitter Bio  @fahrn13

#craftbeer #beer #MSU #redwings #sommbeer #ArtPrize #founders

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Fan of Hockey, Football, and Mexican Food. Preferes beers in the style of Stout, Porter, IPA, and Red Ales.
Not a fan of Pumpkin beer or Sours