Tagged: imperial stout

Bell’s 30th Anniversary

30th ANNIVERSARY: 97 Points

Great achievement

Great achievement

This Imperial Stout is a one time release in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Flavors of dark chocolate and fruit meld to create a full-bodied, roasty stout. A fair amount of Polaris hops lend a brightness and a nice character that will help carry the beer in its early stages making it incredibly drinkable and interesting. Malt characteristics will continue to develop over time, so that beer drinkers who choose to cellar it can enjoy the beer for years to come. This big, strong celebratory beer (11% ABV) will be released in September coinciding with our 30th anniversary celebration.”

My Description: This is one chewy stout that is dense and flavorful. It begins with a decent sized, dark beige colored head that fades to a film that holds most of the way leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming with deep dark fruit notes along with some caramel malt and a touch of sweet chocolate. 30 Ann. is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is slightly complex with dark fruit undertones accompanied by hints of licorice, espresso, and a touch of alcohol. Smoky notes can be detected along with some roasted malts. The aftertaste is moderately low in bitterness bringing great balance to this otherwise sweeter stout. Overall, this is great Imperial Stout that is best sipped to enjoy all the developing flavors. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled steak, tiramisu, or strong cheeses.

ABV: 11% Color: Black Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Smuttynose Rocky Road

ROCKY ROAD: 93 Points

Liquid Ice Cream

Liquid Ice Cream

This Stout is released in limited quantities in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Rocky Road is Smutty’s first dessert stout. An indulgent blend of marshmallow Fluff™ and chocolately cacao nibs in a full bodied, sweet stout beer that has been aged on amaretto soaked oak chips.”

My Description: This sounds like a novelty beer, but this is a nicely brewed stout that keeps those Rocky Road flavors in check. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind some lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of coffee, cocoa, vanilla, and faint marshmallow notes; this beer smells great. Rocky Road is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is enjoyable and nicely balanced, the sweetness from the marshmallow addition doesn’t ever set the beer to that cloying sweetness level. A dark chocolate backbone holds up notes of roasted malts, burnt sugar, and char undertones. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter with lingering marshmallow notes. Overall, this is clean stout that is well executed. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with chocolate desserts, tiramisu, or smoked ribs.

ABV: 7.3% Color: Black Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10

Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist

BIG BAD BAPTIST: 100 Points

Potent chocolate notes

Potent chocolate notes

This Imperial Stout is available in limited quantities in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “One Big Bad Imperial Stout with Cocoa nibs and Coffee beans. Each season’s release uses a different dark roasted coffee.”

My Description: What first caught my attention was just how ridiculously smooth and flavorful this beer is, it is a work of art. This beauty begins with a large, dark beige colored head with a great retention level that leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is welcoming and entrancing with deep dark chocolate notes along with oak, coffee, and a touch of smoke. Big Bad Baptist is medium/full bodied with a moderately low carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is complex and highly satisfying. The big dark chocolate notes from the aroma take center stage in the taste with the wonderful addition of dark fruits. A woodsy presence throughout as well as hints of coffee add character and the whisky flavor is subtle but definitely detected. The alcohol is beautifully hidden, hardly being tasted and the aftertaste is moderately bitter bringing an overall perfect balance. This beer is rich, delicious, and excellently crafted. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with Tiramisu, grilled lamb chops, or baked duck with raspberry sauce.

ABV: 12.2% Color: Black Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 4/10

Stone Americano Stout

STONE AMERICANO STOUT: 97 Points

Exquisite

Exquisite

This Imperial Stout is released seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “The coffee notes in Stone Americano Stout are bold, rich and full of American swagger. For each 120-barrel batch, we incorporated over 250 lbs. of artisanal espresso-roast beans into the mash and added in Columbus, Chinook, Amarillo and Cascade hops to invigorate the coffee taste with a slight citrus and resin hop presence. When it came time to selecting our coffee, we chose the same local roasters who contributed to our sought-after 2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout. Their fantastic beans helped us achieve this dark, hoppy and wonderfully aromatic espresso stout.”

My Description: This Imperial Stout is absolutely delicious. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with a great retention level leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is inviting and rich with bold roasted coffee notes along with some pine hops and a touch of dark malt. Americano Stout is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is complex with a great depth. Deep espresso notes can be detected immediately along with notes of toffee, dark chocolate, citrus hops, and a touch of sweetness. Hints of smoke creep in from time to time adding character. The alcohol is beautifully hidden making this beer extremely smooth and highly drinkable. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering coffee notes. Overall, this is beauty of a beer that is flawlessly executed and needs to be sought out. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with Thai curry noodles, smoked cheddar, or grilled venison.

ABV: 8.7% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 4.5/10

Evil Twin CEA NY Hotel Room

CHRISTMAS EVE AT A NEW YORK CITY HOTEL ROOM: 94 Points

Word

Word

This Imperial Stout is released in late Autumn in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: N/A

My Description: This beer grows on you as it warms up, more flavors are realized and the beer as a whole is cleaner and bolder. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is interesting with notes of roasted malts, leather, chicory, dark fruits such as cherries, black pepper, and tobacco. This stout is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is just as complex as the nose. Soft chocolate and coffee notes are accompanied by licorice, tobacco, dark fruits, and roasted malts. There is a hint of sweetness but it is quickly balanced by the slightly bitter aftertaste. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the texture is smooth. Overall, this is welcoming Imperial Stout that sticks to the style while providing unique flavor notes that blend harmoniously with the rest of the beer. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled lamb chops, dark chocolate, or a maduro cigar.

ABV: 10% Color: Black Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3/10

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

BLACKOUT STOUT: 95 Points

Enter Darkness

Enter Darkness

This Russian Imperial Stout is released in November in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Bold and dark as a power-less metropolis, our Russian Imperial Stout commemorates the infamous 2003 blackout that briefly left some 55 million people utterly unplugged.”

My Description: I can see myself going to this beer when the power goes out. It begins with a decent sized, dark beige colored head that leaves a ring the whole way with some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of roasted malt, chocolate, a touch of caramel malt, and faint dark berry notes. Blackout Stout is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose nicely with notes of roasted malts, semi-dark chocolate, a touch of alcohol, and faint vanilla notes. Some earthy hops can be detected but are definitely subtle. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering dark fruit notes. This is nicely crafted Imperial Stout with a complex flavor profile that blends cleanly. The body is softer than other representations of the style but it is not incorrect, more of a brewer’s preference. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled steaks, chocolate desserts, or baked ham.

ABV: 9% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Stone Chai-Spiced Imperial Russian Stout

Stone Chai-Spiced Imperial Russian Stout (2015): 95 Points

Big spice notes

Big spice notes

This Imperial Russian Stout is a limited release in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “(A) fascinating addition to our “Odd Beers for Odd Years” series, incorporates cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, a dash of black pepper and a dose of black tea to emulate the aroma and taste of authentic chai tea. Combine these strikingly piquant ingredients with the classic version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout―with its incumbent flavors of chocolate, black currants, coffee and roastiness―and an already profoundly rewarding beer ascends to new, flavorful dimensions.”

My Description: The addition of all spices to the amazing Stone Imperial Russian Stout works well if you’re looking for something a little different from time to time. It begins with a decent sized, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is spice forward with notes of cardamon, ginger, and an overall Chai presence with a hint of alcohol. Chai-Spiced IRS is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is expected with Chai notes dominating. Ginger, cardamon, and clove are easily detected along with faint notes of caramel malt, chocolate, and molasses. There is a slight alcohol warmth and the aftertaste has a noticeable bitterness but it is subdued. This is a great holiday beer because it is big, warming, and the spice notes fit the mood. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with curry dishes, teriyaki chicken, or tiramisu.

ABV: 10.6% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 3/10

New Holland Night Tripper

NIGHT TRIPPER: 95 Points

Walk Slowly

Walk Slowly

Part of their High Gravity Series, this Imperial Stout is released randomly in 12 oz. and 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “An abundance of roasted malts and flaked barley create rich, roasty stout with deeply intense, lush flavors.”

My Description: This beer just melts in your mouth delivering a plethora of flavors while keeping the alcohol in check. It begins with a large, beige colored head that leaves a thin film the rest of the way as well as a good amount of lacing. The aroma is subtle but welcoming with notes of roasted malts and faint dark fruit notes. Night Tripper is full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is amazingly crafted and immediately becomes addicting. Notes of roasted malt and caramel are accompanied by tobacco, espresso, dark cherries, coffee beans, and a slight earthiness. This beer has great depth and the aftertaste is slightly bitter bringing great balance. This is an excellent Imperial Stout that is perfect for those long nights. This beer is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with chocolate desserts, blue cheese, and grilled steaks.

ABV: 11.5% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

Olvisholt Brugghus Lava

LAVA: 98 Points

Delicious is an understatement

Delicious is an understatement

This Russian Imperial Stout is available in random locations in 500 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Smoked imperial stout with a thick brown head. Sweet with chocolate and roasted malt in the flavour. The aftertaste is roasted malt, smoke and warming alcohol. Aroma of smoke chocolate and a bit of alcohol.”

My Description: Iceland has created an amazing beer. It begins with a good sized, dark beige colored head that lasts for some time leaving behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming and complex with notes of dark fruits, chocolate, hints of alcohol, and an overall sweet presence. Lava is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile sets this beauty in the world class level. Excellently blended, the flavor notes work harmoniously together. Roasted malts and dark chocolate take center stage along with notes of dark fruits like dates. Some sweetness creeps in along with a delicate tobacco addition. A subtle smoked malt flavor can be detected throughout and lingers slightly in the finish. The transition to the aftertaste is very smooth with a touch of bitterness to balance this beer beautifully. Overall, this beer is more on the roasty and chocolate side than on the dark fruit side and it does it beautifully. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with dark chocolate desserts, grilled steaks, or smoked brisket.

ABV: 9.4%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

Boulevard Dark Truth Stout

DARK TRUTH STOUT: 98 Points

Seductively Smooth

Seductively Smooth

This Belgian Style Imperial Stout is available year-round in 12 oz. and 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Throughout the ages, man has been fascinated by the quest for hidden knowledge, the search for the secret to transforming the elemental into the extraordinary, the simple into the sublime. Ladies and gentlemen, we present for your consideration this exotic, inky concoction, the almost magical creation of our modern day alchemists who have turned humble grains—barley, wheat, rye, and oats—into black, liquid gold. Layers of complex flavors slowly emerge from the glass: espresso, roasted fig, crème brulée. Belgian yeast provides a plum-like fruitiness, noble German hops reveal spicy, herbal notes, while the rich, velvety mouthfeel mellows to a dry, smoky finish.”

My Description: What’s so addicting about this beer is how smooth and rich it is. The flavors are polished and even though it is not big and bold, you still know you are drinking a hefty beer. This stout begins with a large, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention that leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of roasted malt, chocolate, ripe fruits, and Belgian yeast notes. Dark Truth is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is delightful and exceptionally balanced. Deep malt and chocolate notes are prominent along with notes of dark fruits like plums and raisins. A slight char note adds depth and a hint of tart reminds you that this is Belgian. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the aftertaste is slightly bitter. A lingering roasted coffee note is the cherry on top. This Imperial Stout is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled lamb chops, tiramisu dessert, or a mild cigar.

ABV: 9.7% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 3/10

Boulevard Imperial Stout

IMPERIAL STOUT (2014): 95 Points

Complex flavor notes

Complex flavor notes

This Imperial Stout is released seasonally in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Like India Pale Ale, the classic Imperial Stouts were originally brewed with high levels of alcohol and hops to withstand the rigors of a long sea journey, not to India but to Imperial Russia and the Baltic States. Our version is an over-the-top riff on the style, with a huge grain bill featuring several kinds of malted barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt. Robust grain and coffee flavors are counterbalanced by date and plum notes from the Belgian yeast. To add extra complexity and depth, this Imperial Stout is made up of a blend of freshly brewed beer and several barrel-aged beers, carefully balanced. Za Vas!”

My Description: There are many different grains in this beer along with the fact that it’s aged in whiskey barrels, yet it never feels like there is too much going on. This beer is smooth and clean. It pours a very large, dark beige colored head with an awesome retention level that leaves behind a thick amount of lacing. The aroma is strong and complex with notes of whiskey, roasted malts, chocolate, dark breads, and dark fruits like dates. Imperial Stout is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is complex and not one flavor note dominates the other, this beer is excellently balanced. Whiskey, milk chocolate, vanilla, and hints of char blend beautifully together. There is also some sweetness that creeps in along with notes of tobacco and cherries. The alcohol can be detected slightly and the aftertaste is moderately bitter. This is a great Imperial Stout and definitely warms you up in the Winter. It is best served around 60°F and pairs nicely with roasted game meat, smoked cheeses, and caramel desserts.

ABV: 11% Color: Black Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Victory Storm King

STORM KING: 95 Points

Strong and Robust

Strong and Robust

This Imperial Stout is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Emerging from the deepest shades of darkness, a rolling crescendo of flavors burst forth from this robust stout. The thundering, hoppy appeal of Storm King subsides into the mellow subtleties of roasted malt, exhibiting an espresso-like depth of character in its finish. An exquisite blend of imported malts and whole flower American hops merge harmoniously in this complex ale. Discover the dark intrigue of Storm King, as it reveals the rich, substantial flavors that it holds within.”

My Description: This stout is smooth from start to finish with a sticky texture and bold flavors. It begins with a very large, beige colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind an amazing amount of lacing. The aroma is complex and inviting with notes of chocolate, roasted malts, pine hops, coffee, and dark fruit undertones. Storm King is medium/full bodied with a moderately low carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is also complex and tastes delicious with notes of espresso, cocoa powder, tobacco, and some caramel sweetness. The aftertaste brings a welcoming bitterness with lingering roasted malt notes. The alcohol is beautifully hidden behind the robust body of flavors. This gem is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with smoked ribs, beef brisket, or chocolate desserts.

ABV: 9.1% Color: Black Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 4.5/10

Goose Island The Muddy

THE MUDDY: 88 Points

I love it muddy

I love it muddy

This Imperial Stout is released seasonally in September in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Brewed with molasses, brewer’s licorice, and Belgian dark rock candi sugar, The Muddy is an imperial stout with amplified sweetness for a taste as distinctive as the Chicago blues that inspired its creation.”

My Description: This is a nice stout for the season. It is fairly smooth with tasty flavors and enough warmth for those cool Autumn nights. It begins with a good sized, beige colored head with a decent retention level that lasts for some time leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of milk chocolate, some sweetness, and hints of dark fruit. The Muddy is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. A sweet malt backbone holds up notes of espresso, dark cherry, raisins, tobacco, and some licorice undertones. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter but does not take away from the overall sweetness. Warming alcohol notes add to the enjoyment without getting in the way. This is a nicely done Imperial Stout, I just think the finish could have had more depth. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled steak, smoked ribs, or chocolate desserts.

ABV: 9% Color: Very Dark Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

TEN FIDY: 98 Points

Extrordinary

Extraordinary

This Imperial Stout is released seasonally in Autumn and Winter in 12 oz. cans

Brewer’s Description: “This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hide a hefty 98 IBUs underneath the smooth blanket of malt. Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and boundary-stretching beer.”

My Description: The term “viscous” in the brewer’s description is a great adjective for this stout; this beer is dense, deep, and highly enjoyable. It begins with a very large, dark beige colored head that fades to a thin film leaving behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting with notes of caramel malt, dark roasted malt, and some coffee as well. Ten Fidy is Full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavors in this stout work harmoniously together to produce a highly refined and addicting experience. Roasted malts and deep chocolate notes are accompanied by, what tastes like, burnt malts and coffee. A slightly smoky taste makes an appearance from time to time and hints of earthiness add complexity. The alcohol adds character and warms the body. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and a perfect finish to this beauty. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with chocolate desserts, hard cheeses, or your favorite cigar.

ABV: 10.5% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

North Coast Old Rasputin

OLD RASPUTIN: 99 Points

Mystical Flavors

Mystical Flavors

This Imperial Stout is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes. It’s a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish. The Old Rasputin brand image is a drawing of Rasputin with a phrase in Russian encircling it—A sincere friend is not born instantly.”

My Description: An exceptional representation of an Imperial Stout that would be worthy of anyone’s court. It begins with a very large, beige colored head with an excellent retention level that lasts forever leaving behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is warming and inviting with notes of roasted malts, dark fruits, dark chocolate, and a hint of licorice. Old Rasputin is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. Smooth is the first impression I got when I started drinking this beer, it goes down easy but this beer is made to sip slowly. The flavor profile is complex and the flavors blend beautifully together. A roasted malt backbone holds up notes of chocolate and caramel with woodsy notes creeping in and hints of alcohol to add character. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter with a creamy texture. Every piece of this beer is world class and very few Imperial Stout’s can compare. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled game meat, potent cheeses, or dark chocolate.

ABV: 9% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

Great Divide Oatmeal Yeti

YETI, OATMEAL: 95 Points

Summertime Yeti

Summertime Yeti

This Imperial Stout is released seasonally in the Summer months in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Much like its legendary predecessors, this Yeti is big, bold and dark. The addition of rolled oats softens Yeti’s notoriously roasty backbone and the small amount of raisins added in the brew kettle create a unique dark fruit character. Just as admired as those that came before it, Oatmeal Yeti Imperial Stout is a gentle beast.”

My Description: Even though this is an Imperial Stout, warm days should not stop you from enjoying this beauty. It begins with a large, beige colored head with an excellent retention level that hangs around for a long time leaving behind an amazing amount of lacing that glues on. The aroma nice and welcoming with roasted malt notes along with subtle hints of dark fruits and dark chocolate. Oatmeal Yeti is full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. This ale is very smooth and the texture is chewy making this Stout a pleasure to drink. The flavor profile is slightly complex and tasty with a noticeable roasted malt backbone holding up notes of coffee. A soft dark fruit presence can be detected with some raw grain notes as well. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and the alcohol is beautifully hidden. This is a great beer for a cool summer night with the wind blowing. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, grilled portabella mushrooms, or blue cheese.

ABV: 9.5% Color: Very Dark Brown Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 4/10

Ballast Point Sea Monster

SEA MONSTER: 87 Points

A monster for sure

A monster for sure

This Imperial Stout is released at various times in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A beast of an imperial stout. Our Sea Monster Imperial Stout explores the darkest reaches of the traditional oatmeal stout. This bold, rich brew first lures you in with roasted coffee notes, then grabs hold with hints of bittersweet chocolate and currant. Backed with a perfect hop balance, you’ll soon discover this is one monster of mythic proportions.”

My Description: This is one strong beer and Ballast Point does not bother hiding the alcohol, it is in your face. It begins with a large and pillowy, beige colored head with an excellent retention level and it leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is not potent but there are noticeable notes of dark chocolate, some minor hints of coffee, and earthy/herbal hops. Sea Monster is full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile lacks some depth and the alcohol flavor is definitely front and center but it is still a really good imperial stout. There are notes of chocolate, espresso, hints of smokiness, and a minor touch of dark fruit. The aftertaste is moderately bitter bringing a welcoming finish. I was feeling pretty drunk after one bottle so watch out. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with chocolate cake, oysters, or aged Gouda.

ABV: 10% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 4/10

Founders Imperial Stout

IMPERIAL STOUT: 100 Points

Extremely Smooth

Extremely Smooth

This Imperial Stout is an IBU of 90 and is generally available between January and March in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Brewed with ten varieties of malted barley, this stout is smooth as silk, yet complex and rich in body. Serve this guy at cellar temperature. Put another log on the fire, sit back and enjoy the friendship of this ultimate winter warmer.”

My Description: This beer just glides down, it is so smooth and clean with delicious flavors and a satisfying finish. It begins with a large, brown colored head with a great retention level for this style and it leaves behind a good amount of lacing that sticks to the glass for some time. The aroma is warming and smells great with notes of coffee, chocolate, licorice, roasted malts, and hints of vanilla. Imperial Stout is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish; this helps to make the texture extremely smooth and it brings out the flavors more clearly. Notes of cocoa, roasted malt, tobacco, and hints of toffee welcome you gently which transitions into an aftertaste with a tamed bitterness and lingering coffee notes. Hints of dark fruit present themselves from time to time and the alcohol is slightly detected but beautifully hidden. This is a pleasure to drink and a great winter warmer. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with baked ham, dark chocolate, or a cigar.

ABV: 10.5% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 4/10

Sweetwater Happy Ending (2014)

HAPPY ENDING (2014): 91 Points

yeah sure, if you're offering

yeah sure, if you’re offering

This Imperial Stout is released seasonally in the Winter in 12 oz. and 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This seasonal “Catch and Release” Imperial Stout is a dry hopped stiffy, leading to an explosive finish at 9% ABV that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.”

My Description: Gotta love the name, and the beer is really good also. It pours a good sized, beige colored head with a nice retention level and it leaves behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is not as strong as I had anticipated but still very pleasant with notes of vanilla, roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of woodsy hops. Happy Ending is medium bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is more on the balanced side, I thought this beer was going to be slightly more bitter and dry. Vanilla and sweet notes are the first flavors I detected when drinking this stout. Coffee, roasted malts, and a hint of chocolate are also present. The alcohol flavor is beautifully hidden making this beer easy drinking and smooth. The aftertaste is somewhat bitter with a hint of woodsy hops. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with brisket, slow roasted ribs, or grilled asparagus.

ABV: 9%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 4.5/10

Courage Imperial Russian Stout

COURAGE IMPERIAL RUSSIAN STOUT: 97 Points

A Russian Treat

A Russian Treat

This Imperial Russian Stout is generally available in Autumn in 275 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “As Originally brewed in 1795 for Catherine the Great of Russia. Enjoy now or allow to mature in the cellar. Brewed to perfection only once a year, Courage Imperial Russian Stout enjoys a rich, espresso body with pear overtones and an intriguing fresh smokey, fruity finish.”

My Description: Terrific is the first adjective I thought of when thinking about how to describe this ale. The flavors blend cleanly, the body is very smooth, and the whole experience is a rich one. It pours a good sized, light brown colored head with a decent retention level and it leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is complex and inviting with notes of chocolate, dark fruits, raisins, and hints of coffee. It almost smells like a premium cigar. Imperial Russian Stout is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. Intense dark fruit notes immediately take over your taste buds: cherries, raisins, maybe plum. The alcohol flavor adds a nice character and it is not hot or harsh. Tobacco notes and a hint of smoke add to the complexity. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and makes for an easy drinking ale. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with strong cheeses, chocolate desserts, or cigars.

ABV: 10%  Color: Dark Brown  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 3/10