Moderate to moderately high coffee-like aroma, often with slight dark chocolate, cocoa, biscuit, vanilla and/or roasted grain secondary notes. Esters medium-low to none. Hop aroma low to none, may be lightly earthy or spicy, but is typically absent. Malt and roast dominate the aroma.
Jet black. Opaque. A thick, creamy, tan head is characteristic.
Moderate to moderately high dark-roasted grain or malt flavor with a medium to medium-high hop bitterness. The finish can be dry and coffee-like to moderately balanced with up to moderate caramel or malty sweetness. Typically has roasted coffee-like flavors, but also often has a dark chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Background mocha, biscuit, or vanilla flavors are often present and add complexity. Medium-low to no fruitiness. Medium to no hop flavor (often earthy or spicy). The level of bitterness is somewhat variable, as is the roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for interpretation by brewers.
Medium-full to full body, with a somewhat creamy character. Moderate carbonation. Very smooth. May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable. A slightly warming character may be detected.
A fuller-bodied black beer with a pronounced roasted flavor, often similar to coffee and dark chocolate with some malty complexity. The balance can range from moderately bittersweet to bitter, with the more balanced versions having up to moderate malty richness and the bitter versions being quite dry.