Mad River Serious Madness Black Ale

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I was lucky enough to get a sample of Mad River's new seasonal, which they're calling Serious Madness Black Ale.  When I hear a beer described as "black", I usually think it will be similar to a German schwartzbier or a Belgian black ale like New Belgium's 1554, but this was neither.  I think the closest would be some sort of heavy porter, but there seems to be a lot of confusion about this beer's categorization, so I'm not even going to try.

It pours a beautiful black, showing a deep ruby when held up to the light, with a tan, frothy head that has good retention and some nice lacing.  On the nose, there is primarily a smell of roast coffee, which follows through in the taste.  This beer has a pleasant sweetness with perhaps some hints of a unique yeast in the finish.  It doesn't present a very strong hop character, but the roasted darkness reminded me strongly of a porter, I think, or a strong stout.

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