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Quilter's Irish Death - Iron Horse Brewery

Not Rated.
Quilter's Irish DeathQuilter's Irish Death

Educational use only; do not reuse.

88 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 88
Hads: 282
Avg: 3.73
pDev: 27.08%
Wants: 22
Gots: 53 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Iron Horse Brewery visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: RedDiamond on 09-18-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 88 | Hads: 282
Photo of brentk56
3.79/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a muddy dark brown with a foamy tan head that leaves strands of lacing with every sip

Smell: Toffee and cherry cola (or Dr. Pepper, perhaps)

Taste: Toffee with a cherry cola character building in the middle; hints of fig and date, but none too prominent and, perhaps a dusting of cocoa powder; finishes rather sweet, with a cola undertone in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Interesting to read the reviews of this beer as various raters try to wrap their brains around this beer; moving it to a Strong Ale was a good idea as clearly it is not a beer that lands in stout territory; I am not a big fan of sweet beers but I found this rather enjoyable

Thanks, kemoarps, for the opportunity

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Photo of mactrail
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber brown with a sticky foam and lots of lacing in the narrow-waisted glass. Sudsy mouthfeel with a creamy carbonation. This does defy categorization, but it's a dark brew that seems like an odd Baltic Porter for a couple of sips. But it gradually reveals weirdness on all fronts.

Darkly rich with sweet caramel and burnt sugar. The sugary flavor never goes away, and the candy and leaf mold finish is just too strange. Then it tastes like an imperial Hefeweizen with flavored M&Ms. Butter and caramel aroma. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at The Market in Anacortes.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure I agree with the classification on this as a Double/Imperial Stout. Not what the brewerey says! More of an Irish or Strong Red Ale.
Poured a deep red color with lots of brown gues and a small white head. Nose is dry with rich fruits, candy sugar and chocolate and perhaps some peat. Taste follows nose prewtty close, big malt, syrupy, booze, chocolate, caramel.Very drinkable!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a very dark mahogany brown with very little light transmission and a half finger light brown head with good retention and lacing. Nice aroma of toasted malt, chocolate, hints of coffee and vanilla. Flavor starts similar to the aroma, with toasted malt, chocolate and nuts with a lighter fruit element quickly developing to finish with dark malt, light cherry and berry juice, chocolate and a light tartness in the finish. Medium bodied with bright carbonation. A beefed up brown ale with an interesting flavor progression from almost a nut brown into a lighter slightly tart brown. The ABV is well covered, probably explaining the demise of the quilter. Interesting and I'm long overdue reviewing this local classic.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: extremely dark brown in color with not much in the way of translucence. One finger of creamy tan head. Looks pretty good.

Smell: roasted malts, coffee and a little tart character. Pretty good; smells a lot like and English porter.

Taste: quite a lot of bitter, tart roastiness up front. Starts off kind of astringent but mellows in the aftertaste. Flavor drifts off into chocolate notes toward the end. A nice dynamic experience, if a bit bitier than I'd like.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a nice level of carbonation. Creamier than I normally expect an imperial stout to be.

Drinkability: this beer is not bad but not exactly a session brew.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber into a teku glass. 7/18/13 bottling date

pours a very dark brown with reddish hues. Smell is of caramel, toffee and malts and is quite strong. the taste is also of caramel and toffee as well as some bready notes. very malty as well. reminiscent of arrogant bastard but without the hops. body is a tad light, id like it to be fuller. light carbonation as well.

overall a pretty good ale here, id drink another but i would always prefer arrogant bastard to this, so i'm not sure if i'd ever choose it willingly.

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Photo of beertunes
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pint raised in memory of Jim Quilter (who developed this beer and whose name is on it) who passed away yesterday (6/30/09) at age 52. Cheers Jim!

Served in pint glass. Poured very dark, but not quite black, with just over an inch of deep tan head that dissipated quickly, leaving moderate lacing.

A rich roasted aroma is the upfront scent, with an unexpected spicieness noticed on the finish. The flavors coat the tongue nicely, the roasted malt goodness dominating with that little spice taste and a little hop tang on the end.

The body on this beer is outstanding, being full without being heavy. The drinkability is hampered only by the strength of this, truly, stout.

A beer worth seeking out. A job well done Jim.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours black with a 1 finger head of off white foam and has some nice lacing.

It smells roasty with a hint or 2 of fruit, but the nose is very light and I'm serving it at room temp. And then, I take a few more whiffs and I get lots of alcohol with an almost cognac like aroma.

There's some roasted malt in the taste, a touch of fruit, a light tartness, and quite a bit of a milky flavour with some notes that resemble something that has been barrel aged. That being said, it's tasty and brings quite a bit of warming.

On the edge of being full bodied with a light amount of carbonation, it certainly IS a smooth one. I like it.

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Photo of rudzud
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared with a friend and poured into my Dogfish Head chalice. Reviewed from notes.

A - Pours a hazy, ruddy brown with a one finger off white head that faded to leave a nice light side lacing and a wispy blanket.

S - Sweet, bordering on too sweet, with lots of figs and dark fruit and caramel.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with more malty sweetness and dark fruits (mostly figs), caramel, and toffee. Its not bad...

M - Mouthfeel is pretty good. Nice carbonation keeps this from being heavy or syrupy thanks to the sweetness.

O - Overall this was a good beer, albeit too sweet for my liking.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a mix of brown and black, brown winning the appearance war, with a creamy texture to boot. But seriously, who in the world would ever confuse/call this a double/imperial stout. This is more like a strong ale or a strong brown.

Aroma had a little bit of peat to it, as if a red or brown. Taste, very smooth, hid the alcohol well, toffee malt feel for it. I liked it, drank this with over a year of age on it, nice and rich. Advertised as smooth, and I would agree. This one went great with enchiladas, covered up the spiciness well.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served a nearly pitch black color with a one finger head of tan colored foam. The head has a decent level of retention, fading over time to leave a good level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is heaviest of a roasted malt smell along with some lighter sweet vanilla smells and a bit of a toast smell. Along with these are some light caramel and coffee aromas.

Taste- The taste begins a with a roasted malt taste with a good deal of vanilla and some caramel. As the taste advances the roast dwindles some all while the sweeter flavors of vanilla and caramel gain intensity. Other light hints of chocolate and coffee come to the tongue at the very end along with just a bit of a graininess, to combine with the rest of the flavors to leave a rather semi-sweet and smooth roasted flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the slightly thicker side with a carbonation level that is rather average to slightly below average. For the darker and sweeter flavors of the brew it is rather appropriate and makes of a rather nice drinker.

Overall – A fairly nice stout overall with a decent sweetness but yet balanced by a good deal of roastednesss. Overall rather nice.

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Photo of Brenden
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Irish Death is almost black but not quite, though even at the edges light has trouble sneaking in. A light-medium brown head reaches a finger in height and shows some resilience, though it does fade off. Lacing is above average, going spotty for the most part.
This isn't exceedingly complex, but it isn't simple either. A sturdy malts base with only enough hops for balance make for a brew on the sweeter end, but it's by no means too sweet. There's a bit of caramel and vanilla and a touch of something like candy sugars. A gently peppery bite is one way to add character and complexity. There's also a strong breadiness, giving the impression of something like fruitcake, as there is a fruity element, particularly as it warms. It's not so much dark fruits as berries. There's even a touch of peat detectable in the background. Alcohol is well-masked, peeking out in the finish and more so as it sits. All in all, it works together nicely.
The body is medium, and this beer is rich on the tongue and velvety smooth. There's just a very light crisp nip, as smoothness seems to be the intent, but smooth it absolutely is and makes for very nice drinking.

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Photo of maximum12
1.69/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Thanks to a, ah, unnamed but generous BA who dropped this bottle in as an extra to a winter-time trade. A brewery I hadn't heard of before, always a good thing. Nice bottle!

Pours flat, oily, dead black. No hint of carbonation, which is a bit disconcerting. Smell is lactose & sweet, like a milk stout, not strong.

Sadly, this is not a good beer. I'm not sure if the lack of carbonation is the sign of a bad bottle or if this is just naturally putrid. There's a touch of sweet, but the overwhelming taste is of burnt, acrid, dirt-stomped coffee grounds. The taste is only slight sub-average, but the aftertaste this leaves with your normal beer drinker is appalling. Makes me want to go brush my teeth with steel wool & ice cream.

Drinkability not good. Drain pour, for both myself & the wife. Too bad.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quilter is the name of the brewer. I’m otherwise not certain why the “Irish” reference is affixed to this stout as the beer is not remotely a dry Irish variety. It is a sweet imperial stout – heavy sweet – thick and muddy with an almost fiendish neglect of bittering. It is deep root beer brown to dull ruby with a strong smell of brown sugar and Madeira.

The taste is both dark and fruitful. Malt sugars dance like a ballet across the pallet – ornate, fleet-footed, graceful. The beer is sweet, yes, but not cloying. The flavor hinges upon grape and tamarind – very nice. And with a succinct finish that doesn’t stray on the tongue.

Currently not available in bottles, Quilter’s pours on tap at the brewery where half-gallon growler fills are a mere $6. Highly recommended if you find yourself in the Ellensburg area.

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Photo of hopdog
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle shared courtesy of Josh.

Poured a dark brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of roastiness, earthy, chocolate, and some nuttiness. Tastes of roastiness, earthy, chocolate, caramel, and toasty. This one was roasty all the way around.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

Pours very dark brown, very little foam. Some tan spots start out but fizzes out. Very malty nose. Some milk chocolate. Opens a sour malty taste. Very light carbonation leads to a creamy malt. If there is a hop in here, its buried in the thick wash of the malt. Ok.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I remember being wowed by this beer at Oregon Brewers Festival last year. At the time, it seemed a strange entry for a mid-summer festival, a malty stout amidst a sea of wheats, pales and IPAs. I recall going for at least 3 tastes before the taps ran dry sometime on Saturday. Found this bottle in the beer case at 'By the Bottle' a couple weeks ago, had to snatch one up to see it compares with my fond recollections; 22 oz. poured twice to a pint glass.

Straight from the brewery's website: "Quilter's Irish Death is what we call a dark, smooth, ale. Any attempt at classifying it just ends up sending beer geeks into a style guidelines diatribe. So forget style guidelines. Is your pursuit of micro beer about tasting copies of a style that fit guidelines anyways? (Neither is ours) Irish Death is a malt bomb. We lovingly refer to it as beer candy."

A: Deep mahogany with a glimmer of ruby. Vigorous pour yields a heady tan creamy topping 1-finger. Ebbs slowly, replenished by tiny carbonation creeping up the glass. Translucent in strong light, shows a little more carbonation a a fine siltiness. Lace is fairly subdued, a patchwork of amorphous shapes.

S: The brewer's self-assessment, 'malt bomb', is absolutely correct. Aroma of brown sugar, caramel, sweet berries and raisins. A tickle of alcohol fumes.

T: First sip is liquid candy, but a spiced/sugared kind of candy. Raisins galore, brown sugar and cinnamon. Molasses, ginger snaps or Fig Newtons(?). Sugar and spice get balanced by a fair roastedness, there may some hops in there providing a bittering, but they're indiscernible. 'Cocoa' flavor builds as it warms.

M: Sweet, without being overbearingly thick or syrupy. In fact it's rather thin-feeling, TOO smooth, perhaps. Carbonation is soft, a little tingling spice. A cool sensation down the throat; lip-smacking maltiness sticks around.

D: Tempting to have more, once the palate gets used to the malty sweetness. The need to categorize this beer leads me to disagree with the 'Double/Imperial Stout' that the first reviewer settled upon...Strong Ale (a catch-all term if ever there was one...) could work...were there a little more peat/smoke I could be swayed toward 'Wee Heavy' (and what with a name like 'Irish Death' perhaps a sideward glance at the Scots?). Heck, my wife even thought it 'tasted' like a quad', but much thinner. Suffice to say, this beer won't appeal to the hop-lovers, but it's one of the more intriguing and -yes- style-defying beers I've had in a while. I liked it well enough and give it a nod for a try - not quite the ringing endorsement, but so be it.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.82/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into Russian River -tion glass. Appearance is a deep chestnut brown with auburn highlights. A thin layer of head sticks around to form a collar. Not much in the way of lacing. The nose features some sweeter notes of vanilla and cherry along with notes of caramel and toffee. Not getting anything in the way of hops. The taste is pretty sweet, just as the nose suggests, with lots of vanilla and caramel paired with dark fruits. The sweetness is strong but never becomes cloying. The mouthfeel features mellow carbonation with a moderate to heavy body. Overall, this is a malty treat that is balanced well and is deceptively strong.

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Photo of harrymel
2.31/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the brewery.
Hazy brown ale with a slight caramel hue. Done sweet Esters or banana and clove. Smells of smooth milk chocolate and hints of molasses malts. Nice brown ale flavor is then upended with some sweet what I think are off flavors in the beer, but this is the flagship beer so must be their intention.medium body and low carb and semi dry finish.I don't really care for this one.

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Photo of beergoot
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Mahogany and cola colored body crowned with a thick, stick, off-white head. Sweet caramel, toffee, and licorice aroma; fig newton. Sweet and mildly boozy flavor combined with a bitter chocolate touch. Medium-heavy body; thick and chewy, semi-dry finish.

A very nice big beer. It's smooth with just the right touch of thickness and deftly balances the malt sweetness with the hop bitterness and subtle alcohol heat. There is nothing earth shattering here, but it's very tasty and drinks very easily.

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Photo of woemad
2.53/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber purchased at the Rosauer's up the hill from me for $3.69. No freshness date. I tried this once on-tap about a year ago.

Poured a viscous-looking black, with a tan head that was so thin and brief I'm not sure it was ever actually there.

Vague dark fruit and brown sugar odor. Nobody else home.

Weird acidic taste to this. Very mild raisin-like flavor that does not stand up well at all with the brown sugary thing, which isn't too strong on it's own but dominates by default. There's some metallic notes in the mix as well.

Coating, kinda dead mouthfeel.

Truly a lousy beer. Grimly drinkable. Seems like this brewery has gone quality skydiving.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had missed my chance to try it at a beer festival in Portland because the sampler line was about forty-five minutes long. I'm glad I didn't wait, because a couple ounces of this beer wouldn't be nearly worth it.

They had run out of it by the time I got to the Fremont Oktoberfest (Washington). I finally ended up getting a bottle at Bottleworks.

Anyway, the beer is very sweet, with some cherry flavor coming out. Not hoppy at all. Too sweet and sticky in the mouth for me.

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Photo of stevoj
3.2/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from Albertsons. This ones all over the place, like pinkzambia said, lots of different elements of lots of different styles. Yes, its black, head a bit thin for a stout. Tons of sweetness, mostly malt, some candy. Then there's a smidge of bitterness, equal parts roast grains and hops. So they admit it's a sweet, malt bomb, and that's what we get. Definitely not for everyone's palate.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine glass on 12/2/10

Dull, dark brown; not particularly cloudy but it has a murky bent. Rust & amber highlights. 2/3rd inch head held for a few minutes, dropping to a puffy skim. Some lace.

Soft aromas of earthy & floral hops with a hefty malt backdrop. Partially-baked bread with yeast notes. Toasted caramel & a touch of toffee. Vague notions of cocoa & coffee beans as it warms.

Smooth malt taste - caramel; mild, dry cocoa seated in the back; toffee. Modest flourishes of juicy hops with an even-keeled bitterness. Reasonably tasty, even if it plays it safe to some degree.

Slightly over medium body with moderate carbonation; just a little underlying prickliness. A hint of grittiness. Coffee-esque notes linger.

Drinkability is fine; I've enjoyed it. This doesn't at all seem like an imperial stout to me; maybe more of a Scottish ale or some such. Regardless, it's pretty solid. Rating doesn't reflect imperial stout as the style.

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Photo of bum732
3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

S: slightly fruity, some coffee and chocolate, a lot of alcohol.

L: Very dark brown with ruby highlights, light tan head that dissipates to a ring of foam.

T: Slightly fruity esters with a coffee backbone. Some toffee with some alcohol. Medium bitterness followed by a touch of caramal sweetness.

M: Medium-bodied, medium-low carbonation, alcohol very noticeable.

A pretty messy beer. I would hardly call it a double stout, more like a big Irish stout. A lot of alcohol is present which really distracts some of the other aromas and flavors. Not a fan.

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Quilter's Irish Death from Iron Horse Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.