I have been drinking and brewing Black IPAs since before the naming controversy had left the Portland beer blogosphere and before anyone had gotten tired of the style. I have brewed several different recipes and had different "takes" on the style (more crystal, less crystal, adding wheat, English yeast, etc...). But the one constant for me was that I used Carafa Special II as the coloring agent in the beer and I always added it at sparge (I am a batch sparger, fwiw). In some cases, I used more or less Carafa and sometimes the sparge water was as cool as 120 degrees or as warm as 170, but that was always how I did it. This time, I wanted to try sinamar, so I did the math and 2 bottles (8 oz total) was the amount to use to get my IPA from Pale to Black. I added it at the beginning of the boil.
Awful idea. The color is about 10 SRM lighter than calculated; it is more of a dark brown than black, probably 25 SRM or so (not exactly out-of-style, but not my preferred black). And the subtle but pleasant roasty oreo-cookie note I am used to getting from the boatload of carafa? Not there. The smooth texture and head retention I get from the addition of 16-24 oz of Carafa? Not there. Instead of building a beer that goes where regular IPA can't, I just have a really dark IPA. I consider this a failed experiment. It is still a decent beer, but I was hoping to get a more consistent coloration from the sinamar and expecting it to contribute SOME roasty flavor. Instead, it just makes it taste like I used a darker crystal than I did.