Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout - Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

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Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice StoutMegadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

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BA SCORE
87
very good

109 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 109
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 14.07%
Wants: 18
Gots: 14 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BDTyre on 01-08-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 109 | Reviews: 38
Photo of Svingjo
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black. The nose had definite licorice and anise, with a molasses sweetness on the edge. Licorice comes forward on the taste followed by the molasses and malt. There is a definite hoppy bitterness but not as much as the advertised 78 IBU may suggest. I enjoyed this beverage but can see someone who doesn't like licorice may not appreciate this much.

Photo of brureview
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a jet brown-black color with less than a 1/2 finger head in a snifter.

The aroma wafts outward before I place my nose near the glass: very strong black licorice and anise.

The alcohol is strong on the back of my tongue. I possibly get a bit of hop bitterness from the mouth feel.

Taste: Deep, rich, licorice and anise. I drank this beer slowly, and put it back in the refrigerator for 5 minutes a few times. After a while I could taste the roasted malt character of this beer.

I switched to a Imperial pint glass for comparison: the snifter brings out the aroma, licorice -anise taste, and roasted malt more intensely. In a imperial pint glass, which is shown on the brewer's page, the beer is lighter bodied , with more of a malty mouth feel,
and pours a bigger head.

Drink this beer slowly in a snifter. It has a Grolsch bottle cap, so putting it back in the fridge will preserve the aromatics.

The beer well goes with a meal: I ate a spicy chicken dish which greatly enhanced its flavor.


This is my first Howe Sound Inn& Brewing company beer. They finally are being distributed in my area. I am looking forward to tasting more of their beers.

Photo of imfinished
2.15/5  rDev -45%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

Too intense for my taste.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you don't enjoy black licorice, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. If you like black licorice, GET THIS. All other stouts that encorporate anise, I have a hard time picking it up besides the subtle anise notes that are apparent in many other stouts by nature. This beer is full-on chocolate covered black licorice and I love it. The bottle, however, is a bit intimidating. A one liter behemoth of a swing-top bottle. Danger.

Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Pours a three finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Licorice nose and flavor is licorice, some malt, smooth. Good - not a wussy beer. The high ABV is hidden. $10.49 for a 1L flip-top bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Photo of BaalDagon
4.59/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Well... couldn't help but to pop the top on this behemoth of a bottle of pure pleasure! WARNING: If you don't like black licorice, STAY AWAY! As the label clearly states... its a Licorice stout! To start with, I am at complete room temp as I was advised. One might also start this brew off in the sink when popping the top... I got a little overflow as the carbonation proceeded to equalize the pressure. What came out can only be described as "black gold!" First up; the ultra sweet flavors of an uber roasted malt rocked my taste buds as hints of molasses and brown sugar rounded out my sheer pleasure up to this point. Next, following closely to the malted flavors an aromas is the wonderful smoothness of a well blended coffee! Mind you... a dark roast, but so incredibly butted to the malt that I almost missed it. However, once my taste buds grabbed a hold of the subtle current... every sip after seemed to pull it out even more! Thirdly, and living up to its name... ANISE! LOTS AND LOTS OF ANISE! Lastly, is a slight hoppy bitterness that tones the sweetness of the malt and sugars to PERFECTION! What rocks the most is that the longer it sits in your glass... the smoother it becomes! My next WARNING is that it IS a high grav brew @ 10% ABV, so be careful... IT HAS A KICK! Don't let that scare ya off though as Howe Sound Brewery has done a wonderful job in masking the alcohol in the wonderfully rich and vibrant flavors and aromas that the "Megadestroyer Double American Imperial Licorice Stout" provides

Photo of seand
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nearly opaque dark black with a fair amount of tan head. A solid layer retains, leaving good lacing.

S: Sweet strong and nutty, with heavy notes of anise.

T: Again, sweet and strong, and the anise comes in at the middle through the finish. Nicely put together overall.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, a solid stout in a great bottle. Save some for later, because it will hit you hard!

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a black body with two finger head and minimal lace with an aroma that is sweet and boozy although I must say it is mostly anise/licorice but I do get some touches of molasses and a bit of roasted/charred malts as well. Beer is thick, chewey, bready, has good balance for a while between the dry, roasted malts (bordering on burnt) and licorice and touches of dark chocolate with a slightly boozy finish. This is a good beer but, aside from the 1 liter bottle being too much, the licorice starts to overpower everything as I keep drinking and it is not something that I could keep drinking as time went on.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a relatively large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of liquorice with sweet malt backbone. Taste is dominated by liquorice with some sweet malt and black chocolate notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Liquorice is an interesting ingredient but over-dominant in this case. Not sure why they insist in bottling this in 1 litre bottle.

Photo of Jeffo
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from Rutager a while back. Cheers! We drank a relatively fresh 2012 vintage in the summer of 2013 and I found it much too licorice forward. I have higher hopes for this 2011 in January 2014.

From a 1L capped swing-top bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2011
IBU: 75
23 Plato

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a two finger, thicker looking, fluffy, tan head with great retention. Clear black body with slightly higher levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a full foam cap. A slight ring with a few dots of wisp remain but leave no real lacing down the glass. Decent looking, but a little too light in color, much like their Pothole Filler.

SMELL: Light roasted notes, dark chocolate, light molasses and some anise on the nose. Definite licorice, but not the bomb that the 2012 was a while back. This one is actually really well balanced at this point.

TASTE: Light licorice with some roasted grain and sweet molasses up front, then some dark chocolate bitterness and more roasted grain at the swallow. Medium but lingering aftertaste is roasted with bitter chocolate, sweet caramel and molasses, and some definite minty anise flavor. Like this nose, this vintage is quite well balanced at this point and actually quite enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, enough weight, goes down smooth and finishes a touch mouth coating. Good feel. Just like Pothole Filler actually.

OVERALL: I liked this way, way more than I thought I would. The fresher 2012 vintage was pretty much a drain pour for me, but I easily finished this whole 1L over the course of an evening. The anise has subsided considerably (or perhaps it was more in tune to begin with), and what we have now is a very nice imperial stout with some hints of licorice in there for good measure. Nowhere near the undrinkable anise bomb I was expecting. If you've got a 2011 and are waiting for a good time, this is the time. Thanks again Rutager!

Photo of oberon
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Although not a black licorice fan by any means this be was calling my name out today so i grabbed it on a whim.Pours mor of a deep dark brown than stout black with a thick creamy lighter beige head that settles ever so slowly into a frothy mass.It smells almost like black licorice extract...that much licorice in the nose,some molasses and a hint of vanilla is present as well.A nice full creamy feel is almost airy in the mouth.Alot of beers say they are flavored or enhanced by a certain thing and Iam left wondering where it is,this one not at all.Licorice really hits home in this beer in the aromas and flavors,a bit of coffee roast and vanilla round out the palate along with some warming alcohol.This beer is no joke,I hate licorice but like this beer,go figure.The Jagermeister of beer?Maybe.

Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Jet black, somewhat inky, pretty thick. Even at the edges there's not a lot of light getting through - what does shows a dark reddish brown. Head was modest, medium brown.

S: Huge licorice / star anise - it's really nice but a little one dimensional too. Some hops and alcohol prickling as well.

T: The licorice is more balanced on the palate, combined with brown sugar - this is still pretty sweet despite the 75 IBU. Some sweet cherry and plum perhaps too.

M: Syrupy thick, not as thick as say a Dark Lord or anything but beyond the average RIS.

O: I would love to try a barrel aged version of this, I hope Howe Sound does it sometime. It seems to contain the sweetness (and the hops) to go the distance. As it is, it's delicious anyway - especially if you like licorice!

Photo of maximum12
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rutager for sending this along in a springtime trade, the last bottle standing from that deal, as I begin my bi-annual back-shelf fridge sweep. Big, wide-hipped bottle containing 33.8 ounces of black liquid, with '12 in black marker on the label. Capped, with optional swing-top. I like it.

The pour is black with a surprisingly peppy head curling from the top of the brew. Nose is drowning in several klafters of bad-guy licorice with a side of anise: yizza. Like a molten field of black licorice.

Megadestroyer is singular, as I've never tasted anything in its weight class. Licorice follows the nose down the throat, but it's cut with plenty of hot-tar roast. Anise is a bit stronger than I'd like, & accentuates the oral licorice assault. Slightly sensed leftovers include cocoa, vanilla, with a nice drying bitterness mid-palate. But the end is all about the Red Vines. Very thick. And strangely drinkable, as my sips often turn into glugs, complete with sound effects.

An interesting beer that's hard to judge using conventional methods. Not a beer I need to drink everyday, but a very good one, & a worthy experiment.

Photo of souvenirs
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1L bottle bought at Lennox Liquor Store for $9.65 + deposit.

Appearance: black, impenetrable to light, with a massive light brown head that's quite slow to dissipate.

Smell: licorice (from the anise), some booziness, not much else. Definitely appealing, and rather unusual.

Taste: loads of licorice flavour, some sweetness from the molasses. I think it seems less bitter because of the licorice flavour, which either makes the bitterness less pronounced or more expected.

Mouthfeel: thick. Probably about what you'd expect from a beer made with blackstrap molasses. Not overly carbonated.

Overall: with flavour so pronounced and ABV of 10%, this isn't something I'd want to drink often or very much of at once. I kind of wish it were available in a smaller bottle, but it would be fine if you had a friend (or two) to share a bottle with. I'm very glad I tried it, but I probably wouldn't have it again anytime soon. I might like it to be a bit more complex, but it is what it is.

Photo of srhoadsy
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served slightly chilled into a snifter.

Pours black with half an inch of light brown head that slowly recedes leaving heavy surface layer and lacing.

Heavy aromas of anise.

Flavors are all bittersweet. Heavy on the anise with hints of dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sweet finish with strong but quickly fading aftertaste.

A nice, flavorful beer. I have had other licorice stouts where the licorice is too mild if not altogether unnoticeable. Not very complex, but focuses on it's flavor profile. Excellent when paired with dessert.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - pitch black with a thumb of brown head, held at a thin cover with decent random lacing
S - big licorice root aroma backed by strong espresso and some molasses
T - the licorice is in your face along with a rich black strap molasses flavour, cold pressed coffee along with more subtle roasty flavours bring up the rear, make no mistake this is a big boy beer with big boy flavours
M - chewiness in tempered by the high ABV, has a strong bitterness of both the licorice and coffee, finishes with a warm feeling in your chest
O - this beer is huge all around, and the licorice is more pronounced than any i've sampled, definitely made for beer geeks and not for the faint of heart, and finally big props for collaborating with a cool company like Megadestroyer!

Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

1L capped, swing-top bottle. This is one bad-ass label, the name and austere Soviet iconography setting the tone with a sledgehammer.

This beer pours a dictionary-definition black, with the slightest of slight pencil-thin basal cola 'highlights', and two beefy fingers of densely foamy, rocky beige head, which leaves perfectly consistent drop-down speckled drip patterns of painted lace around the glass as it very slowly abates.

It smells of musty, dusty, Zellers-going-out-of-business black licorice, middling dry cocoa, bittersweet cupboard-bound raw molasses, soft day-old coffee notes, and a latent black fruit infused caramel malt - good, sure, but a bit over the top, and I can't believe I'm saying that. The taste is ethereal anise, with a near cousin, more quotidian packaged black licorice essence, sweetly grainy, slightly roasted caramel malt, syrupy root beer, understated sugary molasses, a touch of espresso, and duly under-appreciated earthy, musty hops. The 20-proof booze is more than capable of keeping its hedonism well under the radar.

The bubbles are present, and mostly perfunctory, to no ill end, the body an adequate medium weight, and tacitly smooth, the hops and slightly metallic alcohol choosing this particular point to make their debut. It finishes a whole lot more dry than anything up to this point, the licorice character having a hard time differentiating itself from an ouzo cameo.

A big, big, big, (did I say big? Ok, then) beer, of the Imperial Stout bent, fo sho. The licorice and anise (the difference is real, I know) is readily noticeable, front and center, really, with the other flavours eventually just a futile exercise of pissing in the wind, it seems by this point. Not the most complex of offerings for the style, but agreeable enough in its weight, a suitable Saturday Night Special, as ever was.

Photo of IronDjinn
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 1 L brown bottle. Pours out a dense opaque black hue, impermeable to light. Tall dense spongy beige head that retains well and eventually settles to a thick cap.

Intense molasses and sweet black licorice on the nose, along with sweet dark malt and notes of chocolate and coffee.

More intense sweetness in the flavour, almost cloying. Yeah, sweet black licorice dominates (seems more like anise to me though, perhaps some sarsaparilla root as well), with dark malt, mild chocolate, and molasses, with some dry cocoa and coffee rounding out the finish. Astringent dark malt and alcohol appear in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, velvety and slick texture, also dry and astringent on finish, with moderate carbonation.

A real heavy hitter, and it delivers with everything mentioned on the label (hell, in the name alone!). 1 L is a bit much for anyone to tackle on their own, a friend or two to help out is well advised, or the remainder would make one hell of an expensive but kick ass marinade for ribs. Worth seeking out, however only if you enjoy licorice, as that most certainly is the powerhouse in this stout, hands down. That aside, certainly worth seeking out.

Photo of leaddog
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a dark chocolate black with two fingers of dark and dense mocha head.

Smell - Molasses, roasted malts, anise seed, licorice, cocoa.

Taste - Licorice and anise seed star in the flavours, followed by the roasted malts, molasses and cocoa in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slight creaminess.

Overall - A unique flavoured stout by adding licorice and anise seed. Since those two ingredients are notoriously strong, I was concerned about their flavours being overpowering - not the case in this brew, which balanced all the flavours well. If you want to try a stout that's a little off the beaten path, give this one a taste.

Photo of ZiggyPop
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

So this is my first real review, so sorry for any "amateur" terms or mistakes :P

Poured from a 1 liter bottle into a pint glass. My pouring hand wasn't used to pouring this amount of beer, so it definitely quivered. I should probably work out more often.

Appearance: Opaque black/brown body, with a mahogany head and some lacing, but not as much as expected.

Smell: Licorice smell is the most dominant, yet I sense another lesser smell, something along the lines of a nut of some sort. I'm assuming this could be roasted malts.

Taste: Right off the bat, a very smooth licorice flavor accompanied with a roasted flavor. Neither is over powering and are very balanced. Was pleasantly surprised by this, because I feared when buying this bottle that it'd be a liter of alcoholic licorice. Finishes with a great licorice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The standard stout feel. I don't know how to describe it in any further details to be honest, other than that classic stout feel we all know.

Overall: Very content about this one. My first from Howe Sound, and I was a little skeptical about their line because of the liter sized bottles at the very reasonable price of 10 dollars. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a brew off the beaten path, or just a fan of stouts in general.

Photo of mattsander
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Opaque w/ chestnut edges, mocha head, decent lacing.

S: A nice complexity of roasted malts and licorice. The combo is almost minty/herbal, slighty nutty, an interesting smelling stout.

T: Well balanced roastiness that never seems acrid. Doesn't lean strongly towards sweet or dry, impressive for a 10% stout. Nothing especially exciting here, but a well made stout with strong licorice flavor.

M: Full and creamy throughout.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

1L swing top bottle...Shazam! Split with my bro in law.

Pours black, all black, with a dark tan head and lots of lace.

The aroma is sure as sh*t licorice.its not too daunting, and there's plenty of roast and chocolate coming through to even the score.

Taste also starts off with a licorice kick, then some chocolate, even a soft coffee note and some brown sugar.

Full bodied, for the most part, but a smidgen lacking in overall stoutness.

Not a big fan of licorice, but it works nicely here and isn't too godawfully overwhelming.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours an opaque pitch black with a nice two finger brown head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma is dominated by fresh black licorice with light roasted malt and a hint of cola. Flavor is fantastic, roasted malt, lots of licorice, anise seed, caraway seed, charred coffee. Finishes with light hop bitterness and lingering licorice. Medium bodied with light creaminess. High ABV well covered, making this dangerous in such a large bottle. Must resist finishing the bottle tonight... A great stout and the best use and integration of licorice in a beer that I have ever had. Outstanding.

Photo of Hornet2003
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Extreme black, tan head. Small, creamy bubbles linger on the glass.

Smell: Huge roastiness. Some chocolate and coffee but definitely a lot of licorice. Very little hop aroma, given its 75 IBUs.

Taste: Has a distinct flavour of salted black licorice, but without the saltiness. It's dark malt flavours are sweet and identifiable while the adjunct licorice is at the forefront.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy and light on the palate, given the hefty nature of this beer. Lots of malty sweetness and some decent bitterness that comes through after the sweetness subsides.

Overall: Great imperial stout by Howe Sound. Added bonus of coming in a 1L swing-top bottle...Great for sharing, or for saving to drink over a couple (few?) nights.

Photo of peensteen
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Jason

Jet black with some dark brown spots, thick tan head, and nice lacing along the glass. Smell is full of liquorice and anise but not so much that it dominates, still a good amount of roast and chocolate here as well as coffee, black liquorice towards the end again that leaves a bit of a fruity scent. Taste is roasty with tons of liquorice but again never seems to dominate due to the fact that there are giant roast and dark chocolate flavours here and to a lesser extent coffee, finishes bitter sweet with a liquorice aftertaste. Light carbonation, sticky medium body, almost felt like cough syrup consistency at times as well. I liked this much more than I had expected since I am not the biggest fan of black liquorice or anise flavours, rather enjoyable and something I would probably pick up my own bottle of, the second best liquorice beer I have had behind Labyrinth.

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Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.