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Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout - Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice StoutMegadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

41 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 120
Avg: 4.08
pDev: 23.53%
Wants: 22
Gots: 16 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 120
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.41/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle I brought to share at mrbubbler's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and black licorice aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, char, and black licorice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable, but the black licorice characteristics come though much better in the smell.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of korguy123
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick, opaque, black pour. Two finger tan head. Lacing is decent.

Black coffee, dark chocolate and a huge amount of licorice. It's really potent.

Dark chocolate, coffee and copious amounts of black licorice. It's fairly one dimensional in the sense that the licorice dominates everything else.

Full bodied, low carbonation and sticky on the lips.

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Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A litre of a story in licorice. Black with a large head, big lace. Black licorice and anise. Looks like a stout but overwhelmed by the licorice taste. ROasted malt in secondary.Significant carbonation. Jason's bottle from his BC friend. A fun beer, a novelty.

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Photo of seand
3.74/5  rDev -8.3%
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!

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Photo of ZiggyPop
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of mattsander
3.79/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of kjyost
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 L swing top bottle shared at a recent bottle share. Poured ~6C into a 5 oz sampling glass. From notes.

Pours as thick and opaque as oil with a tan head that drops and laces lightly. Tons of liquorice on the nose though not much else as it blocks everything else out. The body is much the same. Roasted notes in the finish with perhaps a hint of mint? A really odd finish and flavour to this beer. Definitely fennel seed flavours here causing a vegetal finish. I know it is advertised as such, but why so much liquorice?

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of maximum12
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of souvenirs
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of BashOnABike
3.91/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 1L bottle into snifter:

A: ~1/2" tan, foamy head, which dissipated moderately quickly. Dark cola appearence. Messy, tan lacing

S: Coffee, licorice/anise, vanilla, faint nutty. A little mild, considering the snifter pour

T: Much like scent, but much stronger. Almost salty, reminescent of Baltic Porter. Coffee, licorice, nutty with a boozy aftertaste.

M: Low carbination, fairly foamy with a boozy bite, short on tongue.

O: A very good, heavy beer, but not as unique as I hoped. Not too heavy body, and disguises alcohol well. After flattening out a bit, though, the anise really came through,

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Photo of srhoadsy
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
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!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of Svingjo
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev -2%

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.

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Photo of papat444
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to chickenm for this one.

Poured from a 1L bottle and shared with my wife.

Appearance: Really dark brown body, huge thick head that really takes its time, bubbly a bit. Each sip leaves some lacing in its wake.

Smell: Some licorice, raw cocoa powder mixed with actual chocolate.

Taste: Black licorice present but doesn't overpower. Leaves equal amounts of cocoa, milk chocolate and roasted coffee get to play.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, nice smoothness mixed with a bitter feel. Chewy a bit.

Overall: Found the licorice to be a nice compliment without obstructing the other flavors. Wish it came in a smaller format though!

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Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
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!

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Photo of peensteen
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
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!

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep, almost black color with copious tan head that resolves quickly. Smells strongly of anise/black licorice, roasted malts, coffee. Leather. Tastes sweet malty forward, pleasant but not overpowering black licorice flavor, cocoa (semi-sweet), caramel and brown sugar provide a nice sweetness to the profile, coffee and just a hint of piney hops on the back end with a pleasant if a bit cloying finish. A rather sweet stout – mouth feel is medium bodied with just enough carbonation to prevent it from being syrupy.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. I was hesitant (I don’t particularly care for black licorice) – and honestly had not seen that when I picked it up at the store. But I was pleasantly surprised, though the anise smell is strong, the taste is well balanced, pleasant, and the licorice component/anise is well complemented by the other flavor profiles.

Great beer. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again. I wish it came in a small bottle (perhaps a 4 pack) because that 10% abv will sneak up on you!

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Photo of Niceroad77
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got this at my local BC Liquor Store as part of a trio pack (this, Pothole Filler and Wee Beastie) that came with a free tuque.

Look: As dark and obscured as can get with two fingers of dark tan head. Medium retention. Leaves a dense and complex lacing on the glass.

Smell: Anis, faint coffee and cocoa. Sweet.

Taste: Anis, more coffee and cocoa. Good hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Very complex and well balanced.

Feel: Medium to thick bodied. Light carbonation. A little boosy.

Overall: This beer is all about balance. It is loaded with a lot of stuff and seems like the Alibi Room and Ken Diamond have found just the right proportions. Seriously recommended for "real stoutheads" and those who like black licorice. This beer is not for everyone but if you like it, it just gets better with every sip.

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Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.