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Dark Force | HaandBryggeriet

very good
314 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Norway | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
From a country far, far away, comes the only imperial Wheat stout in the known universe. This Imperial really strikes back. Made with wheat malt and wheat yeast.

Added by Sigmund on 06-17-2007

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Reviews: 314 | Ratings: 499
Photo of BrownNut
3.21/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch 449, brewed Feb 2012, drunk Feb 2013, cool, from a tulip.

A - 4.25 - Black, with a finger of nice tan head that really endures.

S - 3.75 - Hey surprise, smells like a wheat beer, although backed up with some char, bordering on metal. The wheat sweetness is almost that characteristic Belgian yeast smell, and a little bubble gummy. There's a decent malty smell.

T - 2.75 - Surprisingly crisp and dry. The dryness is of an unfortunately metallic kind. The dryness makes it kind of hollow overall and there's not a lot to fill that void. Aftertaste mostly of faint char and borderline metal.

M - 3.5 - Surprisingly not even medium bodied - just shy. Dry. It wants more than this.

O - 3.0 - Overall kind of weird. The wheat notes don't seem to come together well with the char notes. The dryness and lack of viscosity leave it kind of empty. And faint metal in the aroma, palate, and aftertaste are unwelcome and distracting. I've had more/worse metal, but this is juuust enough to register. An interesting attempt, but it didn't work out. Don't want the rest.

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Photo of McD0uche
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass:

Pours a dark brown color typical of stouts with a decent head. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and sweetness. Taste is similar to the smell with roasted toasted malts and chocolate prevailing and coffee and fruits playing in the background. The wheat is present but subdued. Has a sweet flavor but is not overpowering. Mouthfeel is consistent with stouts. Carbonation is at the right level.

Overall, I enjoyed this one a lot, and I'll try to get it in the future when I see it. Definitely a cool play on wheat beers.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.34/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

500mL bottle from Bullock's (Marietta, GA). 6.49. No bottling date. Served in a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Pours black with about a half finger deep tan head. It doesn't lace much at all but a beautiful thin ring of dark head remains around the edges most of the way down.

Smells of rich dark chocolate and stone fruit.

Taste is a great blend of chocolate, cherries, mild licorice, sweet raisin bread, caramel, roasted malts, smokey bark, leather and creamed coffee. I guess there's some booze in there too but it's covered by layers of flavor that make this go down smoothly.

Rich, creamy full feel that coats the tongue. Carbonation is fairly light but appropriate. Long bittersweet cocoa and dark fruits finish.

Wasn't sure what to think of a wheat stout but apparently more breweries need to be trying it. The wheat adds a nice sweet complexity to the heavy dose of roasty flavors. I'll definately be picking up another bottle or two and recommend any fan of imperial stouts give this a whirl.

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

Pours essentially black in color with a rather lively tan head. Somewhat smokey with quite a bit of licorice, burnt sugar, and roasted malt. There’s a decent amount of coffee as well. The flavor has a nice touch of chocolate to go with roasted malt, coffee, and licorice. There is also some of the light smokiness that was present on the nose.

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Photo of charlzm
2.73/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Consumed on July 11th, 2012. Poured into a Klokke Roeland goblet. Batch number on bottle is 342. Could not find a brewed-on date on the bottle or online.

Beer pours an almost-opaque deep, deep, deep, deep brown. A two finger head the color of coffee with a little cream appears and lingers for quite some time. It is not particularly fine, uniform or sticky, but it does the job.

Aroma - A very dark roasted malt, nearly charred, is topped off by a whiff of vanilla and the unmistakable metallic tang of wheat. Interesting and different, but not especially appetizing.

Odd flavor. At the beginning, there is a big wheaty flavor replete with a metallic twang. Fruity, like pears and apples and dark, sour cherries, due perhaps to the yeast strain used. Honey accent as well. The back end is allbitter burned coffee. As unique as this is, I wouldn't call it "good", necessarily.

The beer is light in body for an RIS, but this is what the brewers were aiming for, according to the Haand Bryggeriet website. Decent carbonation: a slight tingle on the tongue.

Overall, I have to call this beer a fail in drinkability. It's a very interesting and admirable experiment that perhaps should have stayed in testing a bit longer.

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Photo of leaddog
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a dark ebony with a finger width of frothy mocha head.

Smell- Roasted grains, hint of coffee, burnt caramel, and espresso beans.

Taste- Nice cocoa, roasted grains, coffee bean, and wheat. Wheat lingers in aftertaste. There is a light bitterness. Overall, the flavours are bold and intense.

Mouthfeel- Medium to full bodied with light carbonation. Has a little creaminess to the body.

Overall- An interesting take on a RIS. Considering the bottle says this beer is an "Imperial Wheat Stout" it delivers on that front. I'm sure this will be a new style added in the future. Besides that, an enjoyable stout with some unique flavours and mouthfeel.

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Photo of biglite351
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black as night with a short quickly falling brown head

S - Roasty malt, dark fruit, dark chocolate. Deep and bold.

T - Toasty malts, smoke, prune, dark cocoa and oak. not quite as deep and

the scent.

M - Okay coating with a mild tingle on the sides of the tongue.

O - Very good but falls just short of being great.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch NR 93, Brewed Sept 07

Pours an opaque black body beneath the viscous mocha head that patiently dissolves to leaves a sticky, yet thin lacing around the glass with traces of the mocha head lasting throughout.

The aroma is magnificent, rich with roasted malt and wheat with hints of cocoa nibs and slightly boozy.

The flavors are fantastic as well, again with the generous amounts of roasted malt, coffee, and wheat with fainter notes of milk chocolate. The finish is part smoky and part boozy.

Much lighter in body than your standard Russian Imperial Stout, which is suitable given the beer. Carbonation is generous and the finish is boozy and warming.

This is a fantastic beer. This batch was brewed in 9/07, so it is approaching 5 years old which probably lends to some of the character I am experiencing. I can’t say I have ever had a beer like this before.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque and extremely dark midnight black in color with some hints of dark brown when held up to the light. The beer has a finger tall dark mocha head that slowly reduced to a single medium sized patch of thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Overall the aroma is mild and lighter than I expected for the style. There are light aromas of dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and just the slightest touch of wheat.

T: The taste of this beer builds from the smell and has a nice amount of complexity. It starts with a dark roasted malt body that also includes some flavors of wheat, bittersweet chocolate, and coffee. Additionally, there are hints of smokiness and molasses. There is a light amount of bitterness that lingers in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Dry in the finish with some light amounts of alcohol warming. Slightly lighter in body than expected for the style due to the wheat.

O: Other than in the mouthfeel of this beer, the high ABV of alcohol is quite well hidden. The tastes of this beer are very complex and interesting but the smell is a little too mild for me and the wheat makes the body a little lighter than I would prefer. This is a very enjoyable sipping beer.

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Photo of BradAndAdele
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A good solid stout. Welcomingly reassuring to see, smell and taste. Goes down a treat.

Appears nearly pitch black, and in the right light looks like gorgeously molten chocolate. A beer to sit and stare at ...

... and to smell. Gorgeously chocolately with aromas of coffee and malt hit the nostrils.

Tastes as it smells. Lots of dark chocolate, coffee, with malt coming through the aftertaste. A big fat stout.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as the night with a dark tan head.
Nose shows cocoa, liquorice, roasted malt, sultanas and dark fruit. Tempting.
Full-on flavours; big roasty characters, smoke, roasted malt, espresso, booze. Serious stuff.
Carbonation is pretty high for a stout.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed: Mar 08
Best by: Mar 12

A - Pours like think black burnt oil. One finger thick bubbly head rises and falls quickly with deep chocolate color. Brew has no lacing and is moderately thin.

S - Deep roasty coffee and chocolate. It would benefit from some citrusy hops. Slightly smokey.

T/M - Very nice chocolate. Pretty thin and body-less. There is a lot missing from the depths. It needs more bitterness and less sweetness. Overly carbonated..

O - A great starter stout. Much better with age then fresh! Throw one in the cellar and see what you think... Recommended.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at Beer Deluxe. From notes.

A - Poured black with one finger of dark brown head. Ring of retention and no lace.

S - Lot's of chocolate with alot of roasty malt as well.

T - Lot's more chocolate, lot's of roastiness and sweetness too. A good balance of aggressive roasted malt and sweet chocolate made this interesting.

M - Full body and medium carbonation with a sweet lingering finish that turned dry.

O/D - Good. Pretty easy to drink. Nothing special and could have had some more bitterness but otherwise a tasty Impy Stout.

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Photo of sasky7777
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As should be obvious from the style, this beer is black as night and pours a frothy head reminiscent of the crema on esspresso, but it doesn't stick around too long. I thought the bottle was contaminated, but realised after reading the label that there was a just a bit of yeast sediment on the mouth of the bottle.

Lots of dark roasty flavours. Chocolate, smokiness, coffee, very complex. No discernible hop flavour, this beer is all about the malt. There is maybe a bit too much alcoholic bite to it, but that is easily looked past.

Had this beer with steak, and it was a great duo. One of the benefits of globalism, a Norwegian beer enjoyed in the middle of nowhere Canada.

Batch # 332

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Plonk in Canberra.

Pours a lovely deep black-brown, with the suggestion of depth to the body. Surprisingly though, the body is quite light and fluid, giving a sense of thinness. Head is a wonderful deep chocolate brown, formed of fine bubbles that hint at creaminess. Some lacing. Apart from the body, looks very fine.

Nose is roasted, dark and slightly sweet, but with an odd clipped crispness to it. Slightly woody notes like freshly felled timber mingle with the base notes of chocolate and coffee. Almost a piney character comes through, giving notes of sawdust and resin. There's also a very faint slight smokiness to it, but restrained compared to Haand's usual handling of smoke. It's fascinating and a little different.

Taste is also pleasant, but more along the straight and narrow confines of the style. Some pleasant dark roasted notes giving a charred character and hints of high roast coffee and bitter chocolate, with lingering flavours of pine and a slight boozy astringency. The feel is certainly disappointing, and it leaves something of a hole in the centre of the palate that should be filled with gooey richness. It also accentuates the drying astringency of the booze.

It's a good beer, but it could certainly have been better: I just assume that the parts where it falls down are the result of the reliance on wheat in the grain bill and a weizen yeast for fermentation. i.e. It's the experiment itself that lets the beer down: what makes it unique also is what makes it slightly disappointing.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into snifter. Batch 90: Aug 07 bottling, best by Aug 2011. Pours pitch black color with a nice 1 finger dense tan head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big licorice, soy sauce, roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, biscuit, herbal, light charcoal, wood, earth, and molasses. Nice and interesting aromas, with good complexity. Taste of dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, smoke, wood, licorice, earthiness, light soy sauce, and light herbal spiciness. A bit of earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of smoke, roasted malt, chocolate, and earthiness on the finish for a bit. Nice balance of flavors, with no cloying sweetness. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is pretty much completely hidden, nothing more than a hint of warming after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice and unique imperial stout. Very smooth and balanced; with some interesting and complex flavors.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice thick tan head, retains a thin layer throughout. Dark brown.

Nose is rich, wheaty, almost a rauch, Pork, almost.

Interesting. Totally a wheat, but with enough dark malt to exceed dunkelweizen and go striaght into imperial stout territory. And there is a bit of a rauch character here which is an unexpected but welcome surprise. Trace of molasses at the end.

Big and thick, definitely wheat feel.

The style for this beer seemed made-up, but it was definitely as described.

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Photo of
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a tulip

Pours pitch black and oily, settles down to a half centimetre dark brown head that quickly recedes to nothing.

Smoke straight away, oak, soy sauce,liquorice. When you stick your nose in deeper you more of a date/port wine vibe.

Firstly I get sweetened liquorice and chocolate, it mellows out and turns toward some oaky notes. The finish on this beer is very long and dry with hints of smoke.

Really enjoyable brew from a great brewery. I guess I expected a little more body from the wheat addition, but hardly something to fault it on. Solid beer.

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Photo of Converge
4.55/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a 22oz snifter. I guess I could say this is the first beer I've tried to age, as the bottle is 2010 vintage (but only really about a year old). Batch 332.

A - Big, thick mocha colored head atop a deep, pitch black and viscous beer. The head eventually thins out to almost nothing, and leaves no lacing. The deep, dark stout alone is a treat to look at here though.

S - At first I'm getting a lot of metallic funk, so I might let this warm up a tad. After it warms up a bit, I'm getting lots of Belgian yeast and dark wheat with a lot of funk to it. Big dark chocolate character becomes very apparent as well. Smokey ash and licorice loom in the background. It's complex, but it does feel slightly off to me here.

T - Luckily, the odd funk in the aroma doesn't show up in the flavor at all. Upfront this RIS has a big, dark chocolate flavor that really spearheads the profile. There's definitely some roasty, coffee like bitterness throughout it, but it's balanced nicely by the sweet chocolatey notes. Finishes with a hint of dry leafy hops and lingering smokiness. The wheat presence is also detectable and quite nice coupled with the yeast here. The hints of smoke I detect are actually really peaty, and sort of remind me of Harviestoun's Highland Park Ola Dubh. Overall this beer has a dark, malty profile with a solid roasty bitterness balanced with a dark chocolatey sweetness and deep earthy smoke character. Also, nearly zero alcohol heat. Once it warms up more, I can even taste a touch of black cherry and other dark fruit in the finish, although it's light. I'm impressed.

M - Monstrous viscosity. Feels thick and full bodied, but is balanced nicely by the low, prickly carbonation. Aftertaste lingers for a while, with a touch of spice in it. Really low alcohol warmth. Compliments the big flavors nicely. As it warms it even becomes fairly sticky, but not too syrupy.

D - Despite the sheer size and complexity of the flavor profile, this RIS doesn't feel at all too overwhelming or astringent at any point. It remains, dark and drinkable for the whole duration with a rich sweetness balanced with a roasted malt bittering character. Judging by the other reviews this beer really comes through with about a year of age on it, so I'm glad I waited to open this one up. It was just a delicious, earthy, dark, rich, and complex treat to drink.

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Photo of CasanovaCummins
2.42/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Barnyard in a bottle. But uniquely so.

Smell brings to mind a wheatey, hayish, think south end of a north bound horse smell. All chicken poop and slightly stinky cheese.

The taste is about the same. Very different experience. Brings one back to what a few guys would brew between shoeing draft horses. I swear I can taste the Belgian drafthorse sweat in the aroma.

This is a beer you should at least try once. If for no other reason than to go back to a differing style.

This a tussle with a big, blonde farm gal. If you can take it.

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4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 10oz tulip for $7.50 with the menu indicating an even 9% ABV. Sampled 1/15/11.

A: The beer arrives with a small tan head that is quick to disappear and settles in without any film, collar or lacing. The color of the body is a notch below pitch black. Zero transparency - even at the edges and the thinnest parts of the glass.

S: The nose presents rich roasted (nearly burnt) aromas of coffee, bitter chocolate and ash. The smell is straight to the point and everything a RIS should be. In my mind, the integration of aromas is damn near perfect.

T: Very strong malt character with enough hop presence to back it up. Again, extremely roasty with rich, bold flavors of coffee, chocolate and charred wood. A less than acrid bitterness holds the final taste impression together and ensures the next sip will be soon after.

M: Soft, very rounded mouthfeel with a low level of carbonation that compliments the luscious texture. So smooth. I am a big fan of the wheat in the grist, which I think has the perfect impact on mouthfeel and consistency.

D: [DRINKABILITY] Excellent. Very little room for improvement from this serving type. The bottle I had was good, but not nearly as impressive.

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Photo of cradke
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very Dark with a fine head. Very viscous.

Smell: Malty. Can certainly taste the wheat which is a nice touch.

Taste: Very large flavors of molasses and dark chocolate. Wheat and bread flavors. A bit too sweet for me but a still some great flavor.

Mouthfeel: A bit more carbonation than most imperial stouts but it's nice. Quite viscous but the flavor spreads nicely across the palate.

Overall: A solid stout, it has some nice flavor and the wheat is certainly present which is unique. I wish they toned the sweetness down a little but but it's a solid overall stout.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The force was with me in a nonic pint.

Appearance- The head swelled quickly to three fingers of very soapy and solid foam. The color is a dark caramel color, kind of reminds me of Riesen's.

The body is utterly, unfathomably black. Forget about it, this things is a "dark force" all right. No perfect score because head retention was pretty bad and lace is non-existent.

Smell- It almost smells like a wheat whine at first sniff. It kind of gives you the idea of the sweet, brandy character of the nose. It is definitely not roasty, but instead is focused on sweet and dark mashed fruits.

Taste- Alcohol and a roasty tingle hit the tongue first. There is only a little bit of the sweetness from the nose actually translated here, honestly might as well be a different beer.

Anise and leather are prominent mid-drink, and a little bit of char. And in fact, it is a leathery char that finishes this beer off. Although, it does not make it caustic or hard to drink, that may be influence from the wheat.

It is certainly a "strong" stout, but not in a roasted malt way. The focus is more on earthy tones and leather. Different for sure, not in a bad way.

Mouth feel- A little watery, and a little slick. No need to worry about carbonation with this offering. Obviously this would be helped greatly by a bigger feel and a chewier body.

Overall- This stout does not really ever show me "wheat". I think if anything, the wheat prevents this beer from becoming undrinkable, because Haand Bryggeriet does not mess around with this stout.

The flavors are bold;the flavors are strong. And you will know immediately if you are up to task.

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Photo of DoktorZee
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a schooner. Batch 332, best before 15.12.12

A - pitch black with no light transmissible; big tan head loudly dissipates after a few minutes leaving just a hint of a head that leaves small chunky lacing behind

S - soapy/hoppy nose with a hint of smoke in the background and some caramel, a bit unusual on the nose - no idea what to expect from the beer

T - initial bitterness carries through to the end, with layers of smoke, a slight hint of dark fruit and coffee; very slightly tart, but still brooding and smoky. Sticks nicely at the side of the tongue and the back of the throat

M - smooth and velvety - carbonation serves to increase the creaminess; mild alcohol warming

D - it's strangely drinkable even with the bitterness and alcohol warming - somehow is balanced just right

Interesting and somewhat remarkable beer. Solid bitterness (moreso than many Imperial Stouts) but still balanced. Definitely one to try!

[As with most "wheat beers" adding in the maximum sediment from the base of the bottle really changed the character of this beer - it rounded off all the sharp edges, and added a slight sweetness - though the bitterness was still present.]

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Photo of mwilbur
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 500 mL bottle into snifter. Batch number 287. Bottled 24.06.10.
A: Pours a beautiful opaque black with 2-3 inch silky bubbly dark roast coffee head. Good retention.
S: Roasted malt and grains. Mild fig note. Hint of coffee and dry chocolate. Less powerful than expected.
T: Nice dark chocolate, smooth roasted caramel malt, fig and other dark dried fruit, and a hint of mildly roasted coffee. Smooth wheat/grain backbone. Sweeter notes of toffee and caramel in the finish.
M: Silky smooth and creamy. Moderately heavy body. Nice slow lingering on the palate.
D: Intriguing style and intriguing brew. Good drinkability and decently complex. Would give this a go if you had the chance.

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Dark Force from HaandBryggeriet
88 out of 100 based on 314 ratings.