Labyrinth Black Ale - Uinta Brewing Company

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Labyrinth Black AleLabyrinth Black Ale

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293 Reviews
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Reviews: 293
Hads: 984
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 139
Gots: 245 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Uinta Brewing Company visit their website
Utah, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  13.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 06-01-2010

Labyrinth Black Ale, from Uinta's new Crooked Line, was triumphant in its first competition since it was conceived earning a Gold medal in the Imperial Stout category of the competition at the 2010 North American Brewers Association Awards. Aged in rye barrels.

56 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 293 | Hads: 984
Photo of heyta
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Medium density head, which kind of resembles bread yeast in how it falls. Retention is above average, and the lacing is world class. It's not completely black, takes on amber and copper hues in the light.

S - Smell is not that promising, it's hard to pick up anything, but what's there is some mild licorice and a little vanilla. As it warms up the bourbon starts to come through.

T - Hard to believe this is 13.2% alcohol. Taste comes through stronger than the smell, with similar characteristics. The taste could be a little stronger with this big of a beer behind it.

M - Now this is interesting, because this beer has a unique mouthfeel to it. I would say the carbonation level is perfect for this type of beer, and I wish some other beers of this style would be this creamy.

O - I think Uinta has the process down here to make a beer appealing in all of the categories that make a good beer great. The problem is they have a mediocre beer, and the process brings it to be a good beer. It's about what I expected after drinking other beers by them. (1,061 characters)

Photo of JLeege
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared bottle, poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pours out jet black with a nice dense tan head, good retention and lacing for such a monster brew.

Smell- Aromas of sweet chocolate, licorice, light coffee roast, and some subtle oak. Booze on the nose too.

Taste- Sweet chocolate and licorice start things off leading into darker fruit notes, plum particularly stands out. Then there is some very subtle oaky notes (wood, earth, vanilla, smoke). Lingering light coffee roast and sweet chocolate. Very boozy throughout the drink as well.

Mouthfeel- Medium full body with ample carbonation. A little bit sticky, a lot a bit “hot”.

Overall- Not bad, but incredibly boozy. It is 13% so you have to expect it, but it does become very distracting. Upon warming the alcohol heat all but covers up the rest of the flavor profile. Also, if I didn’t know it was oak aged, I probably wouldn’t have even picked up the “oaky” flavors. Decent overall, but I don’t think it nearly lives up to what it claims to be. (1,018 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Dark brown with a meaty tan head. Thick lacing that recedes fairly quick.
smell: Not getting the licorice in the nose. Hint of oak. Chocolate.
taste: Still not getting the licorice or and no oak. Damn good though. Dry, bittersweet thought mellow chocolate start with a sweetness creeping in the finish. Damn tasty.
mouthfeel: Nice, fat and creamy.
overall: Damn good.

Edit 2/3/2013: 2 year old pulled out of the cellar.
taste: Cranked up from a 4 to a 4.5. The 2 years have not changed it radically but smoother, and just tasty as hell.
overall: From a 4 to a 4.25. (579 characters)

Photo of vince4953529
3.71/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

$14 listed price here in CA, and my first beer from Utah. Bottled on 2/28/11, um... 228; the day when the evil KMT slaughtered the pro-freedom Taiwanese people; I digress, here it goes...

This one started off with a bang, the cork popped with gun smoke oozing out. I had this serve in room temperature, a tad above 65 degrees F.

Not much smell, probably due to the high temperature, I will let this slide.

Taste was thick. It was nutty, musty chocolate, and sweeter than the other stouts, not much bitterness here. I did not detect the usual vanilla taste in a barrel aged stout.

Clocking at 13% abv, Labyrinth is at the higher tier of an imperial stout. The alcohol heat was well-hidden, and overall satisfactory, but the truth is I can get better imperial stout at a much lower price. (791 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours an obsidian black body with a deep inky quality and a tan creamy head that turns bubble but last for a good bit. The beer coats the glass with a inky film after each sip.

S- the dry oak wood aroma has a syrupy black malt with some soy sauce hints to it and a buttered popcorn quality comes through as the beer warms.

T- The soft black malt hint is blended with dry wood flavors and a dark caramel and sweet black malt inky flavor. The finish is a nice sweet thick black malt flavor with some light roasted notes lingering but no real bitterness noticed.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a thick texture and a warming alcohol heat in the finish.

D- No big and bitey like i expect from a imp. stout but a nice blend of smooth complex flavors and a softer support from the barrel. It is a nice beer and very different from typical American monster stouts. (915 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

Pours pitch black with a big creamy tan head. Really nice lacing and retention.

Aroma is roasted chocolate malts, coffee and sweet dark fruits, raisins especially. Also lots of licorice, vanilla and oak. But as it warms, the chocolate comes out even more.

Taste is even better than the nose and very complex. Tons of chocolate malts, vanilla and booze soaked overripe fruits. The licorice really comes out as well and the finish is smooth but with some toasted oak.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth, soft carbonation. Really creamy and the ABV is really well hidden.

Overall, I loved this beer. Tons of things going on with fruit, roasted malts, chocolate and oak barrels. Fantastic stuff. (718 characters)

Photo of BarrelO
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black body with a big tan head that leaves some lacing.

S: Chocolate, licorice, wood, and alcohol.

T: Lots of complex sweetness. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Some herbal notes which I think is from the hops. Alcohol is really well hidden, which is especially impressive for a beer this big.

M: Rather thick and creamy, which comes as a pleasant surprise since it looked pretty thin when I poured it.

D: This one impressed me a lot. It's pretty much the definition of a nightcap. It's a great way to end a meal, but it'll also knock you out in a hurry. (604 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/31/10. Picked this up at Julio's Spring Beerfest last year. This beer is what started my cellar. I bought this knowing I would try it a year later, now I have to go back and buy another bottle of this, though it wont be as old.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip. My goodness, a nice oil slick pour with a very, very dark mocha one finger head that faded to leave light clouding and a small halo, quite impressive considering the ABV. This is the darkest head I've ever seen.

S - So this is that melted chocolate chocolate and cake aroma people talk about. Its chocolate and alcohol.

T - Boom, chocolate, super light coffee. I get a faint, faint licorice taste that others mention, but mostly this is dark, rich, heavy chocolate and booze. Wow, this is nice.

M - I guess its a little thin. Nice low carbonation to be expected with this big of a beer. Nice and smooth but that ABV is definately present.

O - Yeah, I really like this. Just as good as I remember it being a year ago. I would LOVE to try this with some big time aging on it. Such a wonderful barrel aging. (1,082 characters)

Photo of flexabull
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted blind courtesy of neorunner, thanks again!

Pours a deep dark flat black color with a massive tan colored head.

Nose is nice, dark heavily roasted malts, chocolates, sweet dark fruits, and oaky booze.

Taste is really malty, heavy roasting, bitter bakers chocolate and slight brown sugary creaminess. Finish is warm, booze, with some oak, possibly barrel aged, and with light mineral hoppy bitterness. This beer is on the strong side, not subtle, but I like it.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but the body is a touch thin, especially with all the bold flavors.

Overall? Excellent beer, really dig it, top notch stuff.

I'm impressed Nate, whatever this is, it could hold it's on against some of the best Imperial Stouts. (which I think this is, and I think it's barrel aged too...)

Ok, let's reveal this wonderful final beer...whoa! Uinta Brewing Labyrinth Black Ale with licorice sticks and aged in oak (914 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Pours very thick out of the bottle, giving a very large coffee brown to dark chocolate like head. Very big sticky lacing along the glass sitting on a very dark dark brown body. Reminds me of ice cream. Super foamy head.

Initial bouquet is kind of musty borderline cheesy. AFter some time there is a sense of milk chocolate first, without a lot of heat.

Taste is an obvious candied licorice, mixing with milk chocolate sensations. There is no hint of barrel, wood, or tannic qualities to be associated though with this as the label claims. This is quite thick in body it feels a little syrupy, chewy also. A bit aggressive but hides the abv well.

Overall this feels like a fun dessert beer, and it really seems fit for that. It tastes and feels often like eating melted chocolate ice cream with licorice. If that's your thing go for it. (879 characters)

Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottled 11/10 so 5 months on it. Fairly thick looking black pour. Just a little more than a thin layer of dark tan head. Retains well, but doesn't lace too much.

Aroma seems a bit muted. Roast malt, molasses, anise. A little woody booze.

Taste much more with it. Roasted malt, heavy molasses and anise. Lighter chocolate and a large oak component in the middle. Slight bourbon, more licorice and cocoa in the finish. Pretty nice.

Lighter side of full bodied. Coats very well, carbonation seems a little prickly up front, but mellows to near creamy. Alcohol is very well hidden, could pass for 8% easy.

Better than the barleywine in the series. Worth trying and should get even better with age. (703 characters)

Photo of John_M
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and decent lacing. The nose is attractive, showcasing considerable coffee grounds, licorise and vanilla. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, except there's almost something of a second layer of flavor in this beer. Initially I get plenty of licorise and coffee grounds, which then dovertails into a long, vanilla and dark chocolate, slighly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is otherwise full, with a long, moderately sweet, chocolate and licorise finish. Drinkability is pretty good, at least for a 13% beer. It's not at all heavy, hot or tiring on the finish, though one can tell there's some alcohol in this beer.

While I can't say it's wowing me, this is nevertheless a pretty impressive, solid effort from the folks at Uinta. (834 characters)

Photo of jwinship83
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked and caged bottle. man the little cork is a pain to get out. drank from my stone IRS snifter.

A- this one pours a menacingly thick looking opaque black body. there is a surprisingly large coffee colored head on top. the head falls rather quickly and leaves behind small spots of lacing.

S- dark roasted malts are the first thing to greet my nose. after that i get some dark chocolate and some faint licorice notes. plenty of alcohol in here. a little bit of vanilla reminds me that this was aged on oak chips. lots of coffee at the end. this is going to be a big, bad beer.

T- the taste starts out with darkly roasted malts. almost burnt tasting. after that it moves onto some sweet caramel and bittersweet dark chocolate. a subtle hint of vanilla from the oak chips. plenty of molasses and licorice. definite heat from the booze.

M- full bodied. palate coating. low carbonation that really works in its favor. pretty strong heat from the alcohol, but it is a beer just over 13% abv.

D- 1/4-1/2 of a bottle is a perfect amount for this. way too strong to attempt the whole thing. definitely worth the price. i bet if i gave it some time to smooth out the edges, this would be a fantastic beer. check it out if you get the chance. (1,248 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked & caged bottle into a snifter

A: Pours dark black with a nice dark brown head that fades to a ring and leaves a tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The aromas are mainly bakers chocolate and cocoa. Not much barrel in the nose and a bit weak for an imperial stout.

T: Damn the nose did not prepare me for the taste. Huge flavors of licorice, molasses, chocolate syrup, dark fruits, and roasted malt. There's a bit of rye spice on the finish. This is intense in flavor which also makes you notice the alcohol a bit as well.

M: The feel is relatively thick and oily. Coats the mouth nicely and the finish lasts for a while with those big flavors. Nice carbonation as well.

D: This is dangerously tasty and drinkable. It's a bit boozy which makes it tough to drink a lot of but I would gladly drink this often.

I emailed the brewery and someone responded saying this was aged mostly in Rye Whiskey barrels but some of it is aged in Bourbon barrels as well and blended together. Highly recommended. (1,012 characters)

Photo of ccrida
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into a tumbler, Labyrinth is black with a dark tan head leaving scattered lace.

Smell is big and brawny, loads of dark roasted, crystal malts. Perhaps a bit skewed to the sweet side.

Taste is majorly intense, this is one massive barrel aged RIS. Loads of oak, bourbon, dark malts, some char and roast, caramel, it's all there in spades. Really not as 'hot' as I feared, even though it's obviously a massively strong beer, it's well integrated taste wise, although on the sweeter size, like the nose. The finish doesn't quit, it basically coats you're whole mouth and throat. Huge score for the huge flavor without any flaws.

Mouthfeel is thick, a big syrupy stout, semi-dry.

Drinkability is pretty good for such a massive, young beer. Sure, age would round it out, but it's a well made beer ready to drink now, in spite of it's aggressive flavor and size. Rated to style AND size, like the other attributes, this bad-boy is well executed, in-spite of what is an obviously arguable design, being so over the top. (1,039 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours as black as black can get. Concentrated light from the sun could not shine through this stuff. A big 2 finger tan head dissipated very slowly and provided little lacing.

S - Chocolate cake batter, dense caramel, molasses, roasted malt, toffee, dry oak, spicy alcohol, hints of licorice,

T - Bittersweet chocolate and milk/sugar coffee up front. The oak comes in early to suck up the sweetness and adds a good amount of vanilla to the mix. Sour berry fruit, roasted caramel malt makes adds another level and stays until the oak and hops sweep back in towards the finish. Finish is charred vanilla oak with hints of cocoa bitterness.

M - Full bodied, rich, silky, creamy, sticky.

This is a chocolate bomb! The oak is definitely present but not overpowering. Alcohol is mostly buried especially for 13.20. It's a big beer all the way around. This one will not disappoint. (884 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas are coffee and chocolate, but as this warms a little you get deeper sweet aromas of licorice and blackstrap molasses. Quite complex.

The taste begins with bittersweet coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, and some dark fruit in there. Excellent balance between the bitter and sweet. Not really getting the licorice which is good because I hate the stuff. Pretty hefty and complex; the flavors are so rich and deep that you barely notice the slight alcohol. Flavors become a little burdonsome towards the end of the 750 ml.

Super full bodied with some tingly carbonation that keeps this in balance and allows your palate not to be overwhelmed.

Overall this is a really good big beer that went down far too easily. Did not get much from the barrel, but I'm not complaining. This would probably improve a little in the cellar for a year given the huge ABV, but it is absolutely fine right now. Recommended and worth seeking out. (932 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a nice jet black with great carbonation and a huge brown head

S: Roasted malt, cocoa, liquorice, hints of espresso

T: Burnt sugarm roasted malt, chocolate, liquorice, big shard American oak notes, booze

M: Nice and full, lots of oak, booze sting, dry, very sweet

D: Very good. I enjoyed this beer immensely and think it is a great candidate for aging (364 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black ale brewed licorice sticks and aged in oak barrels. Pliers were used to remove a stubborn cork.

A: A viscose black pour from the bottle yields a monstrous 3 finger thick and frothy cinnamon colored head that was frothy and whipped while bunkering down for the long haul retention wise. Lacing was decent, a thin coating of moderate coverage.

S: Alcohol and oak are dominant on the opening aroma. Light to moderate in strength, not so much licorice as oak, and not so much alcohol, more reminiscent of a 9% rather 13%.

T: For flavor a creamy rich dark roast coffee, bitter, with definite indications of licorice are present. The oaky alcohol tones are present coming through as hinted upon by the nose. Dark fruit with a bit of sugary notes of plums mixes with a wet minerality while the alcohol once again registers much lower then expected adding a nice spicy tone combining with the oak and licorice on the fade.

M: Full bodied with a creamy smoothness and quiet carbonation that adds to the silky and heavy feel. There is a bit of alcohol and licorice on the swallow as well fresh coffee roast.

D: I normally would argue otherwise but this 13% really does drink like a 9% at best even when warm. Drinkable per bomber, not a good session beer, but very acceptable at 1 or 2 servings. Dark and fulfilling. (1,322 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
2.33/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bottled June 2010. Drank Feb 2011.

A - Shiny black with no highlights. Super thin, milk chocolate head.

S - Sweet mocha, sugary booze.

T - Super sweet. Brown sugar and caramel. Big malt and coffee body mid profile, but not enough to rescue it from the candy up front.

M - Bitter pine on the back end with a rolling sweetness and a touch of booze. Full body.

D - Too sweet for my palate. A bit boozy as well. (413 characters)

Photo of rye726
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Up for review is a 750ml bottle of Labyrinth from Uinta. $14 or so for the bottle. Poured into a snifter at cellar temp. Dark, near black color. Nose is roasty wit a subtle barrel presence. The barrels come out more in this that their BA Barleywine. Nice body, drinks well. (273 characters)

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.54/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked & caged. Bottled 6/11/10.

Served at about 50 degrees into Chimay goblet. Pours with a short brown head over a jet black body. Head fades quickly to film, and there's plenty of lacing.

Terrific aromas - full of oak barrel and black licorice. Touch of sherry or liquer.

Quite oily slick on the palate. Flavor is outstanding. Much sweeter than the nose suggested, with plenty of milk chocolate-like malt quality balancing the hoppy bite. Vanilla/oaky wood presence is solid along with licorice root - not overdone. Alcohol is surely there, but nowhere near as harsh as I expected. Mouthfeel is creamy and finishes with a lightly bitter bite to cleanse the sweetness and alcohol.

Shockingly drinkable for the ABV. This one is a great find - I'd highly recommend it... even if it's in the $20 range. (813 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Scored this today at Macadoodles in Bentonville, AR. Bottled on 09/03/10

750 ml corked/caged bottle opens with a nice pop. Pours black with 3 fingers of bubbly brown head. Good head retention & lacing. It was great the last few drops of this slowly drip from the bottle like molasses!

S: Bourbon & vanilla & some booze at the end

T: Follows the nose, much oaky dryness, dark chocolate, licorice & vanilla. Oaky dryness, vanilla, charred caramel, dark chocolate & a good taste of Bourbon & woody hops sneaking in the back door. Finishes with boozey vanilla, herbal 7 woody hops, oakyness & carob

MF: Chewy, low carbonation, smooth as can be, nice warming feel to this, slickens up at the end

13.2 % ABV is not really showing through this sucker is too drinkable. If I get a chance to hit that store again any time soon, I will probably buy every damn bottle they have. This is a very hidden gem that Arkansas beer drinkers should be tickled pink to get (957 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This cork was a son of a bitch to remove. I think it was glued in. I was seriously thinking of using pliers after 5 minutes of struggle. No way to start a weekend.

The appearance here makes all the sweat and toil worthwhile though. Oily black in appearance, with a bronzed golden-brown head that pops and crackles and tries to hang around but that 13.2% ABV doesn't allow it to last long.

A beautiful aroma if you don't mind a bit of alcohol flare in your beer. Sherry-like, it also features licorice (no surprise, as the label reveals this was brewed with licorice sticks), wood (same deal, this was aged in oak), and big blasts of a mingled dark fruit-meets-sweet milk chocolate kind of deal. If the alcohol was dialed down just a notch, I'll bet everything else would shine through brighter, but as is, wow, it's fantastic.

The taste delivers all the aroma promises. All flavors, and there are many, combine perfectly. "Just right" levels of licorice, cocoa nibs, sweet liqueur, chocolate cake, wood and succulent overripe dark fruits hang out, while near the back and finish of the sip sits a healthy hop brightness and a flash of sweet cream.

Where lots of big stouts have milky, sweet, long wet finishes, this one has a dryer complexion, and more bubble action than you'd expect from the style. It's got enough roundness though, and while I might have liked something chewier, it works very well like this. Did the oak have anything to do with this I wonder?

Big and bold, rich but controlled, Labyrinth is so damn good I want to drink it much quicker than the 13.2% will allow. But I'll have no problem taking it slow, it'll last longer that way. If this was super-ultra-rare it would likely be ranked even higher (a la Black Tuesday) by the geeks who like to play those games. It really is that good. (1,815 characters)

Photo of bosco7
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really nice packaging. Black with a tan head.

Aroma is subtle. Chocolate powder, a hint of coffee, and vanilla.

Extremely decadent flavors here. Rich chocolate cake in the front that moves into dark fruit flavors. Almost vinous. Oak in the finish with a hefty boozey note.

Luscious velvety mouthfeel with perfect carbonation. Beautiful. Overall a fantastic beer. Highly recommended. (387 characters)

Labyrinth Black Ale from Uinta Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.