Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Moa Imperial Stout (Aged In Pinot Noir Barrels) - Moa Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Moa Imperial Stout (Aged In Pinot Noir Barrels)Moa Imperial Stout (Aged In Pinot Noir Barrels)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

126 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 126
Hads: 490
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 31.49%
Wants: 10
Gots: 59 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Moa Brewing Company visit their website
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: KickbacksSteve on 01-14-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 126 | Hads: 490
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.7/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Moa Imperial Stout has a medium, creamy, beige head, and a very dark brown or black appearance, with lots of thick lacing left behind. The aroma is a mix of dark, sweet cherries and a dark-roasted malt. The flavor is strongly fruity, sweet, roasted, dark malts, and bitterness. Quite bitter. There is even a smoked aspect to this. Mouthfeel is heavy, and Moa Imperial Stout finishes dry, super rich, and pleasant. The alcohol is not present in the taste, but does show up in a strong way in the brain after a few sips. This is one to have! I rate it most excellent.


 571 characters

Photo of LubricatedWisdom76
2.87/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I am a big fan of most of the Moa and had never tried this beer so was hoping for big things, especially with the barrel aging. Unfortunately the over-carbonation ruins this beer, big time. In a category that is filled with tasty complexity and outstanding examples, this is below average.

Appearance: jet black but way to much yeasty carbonation from the bottle conditioning, even when poured carefully.

Smell: probably the best part of the whole experience as it combines roastiness and burnt flavors with a sourness and musty element from the barrel aging. Not my preference with this style but definitely interesting.

Taste: Like the aroma, it is a mix of burnt coffee and some definite tart, vinous qualities and sourness. The carbonation, though, scrubs the palate way too quickly so none of this good complexity hangs around.

Mouthfeel: The great ruiner of a beer that might otherwise have some unique features.

Overall: I wouldn't buy this again. At a time when the market is flooded with Imperial Stouts and DIPAs as most breweries' showcases of flavor this isn't one that can compete. I'll stick to the MOA pilsner and St. Josephs Tripel.

 1,153 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
2.24/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I like Moa, and their attempt to make an imperial stout aged in pinot noir barrels attracts me. Bottled in a small 375 ml corked and caged container, on to the beer:

Gusher! Once that cage is untied, the cork pushes right up and pops, bringing the force of the beer behind it. Reset. Still pours very foamy. Soapy looking suds sticking around on topand leaving a lot of lace. The body below is obsidian colored and looking pretty. The nose is two worlds, offering a good roasty and smokey stout on one hand and a sourness in the other. The melding of the two isn't perfect, so I'm a haveta deduct from the score.

Extremely carbonated and bubbly, and even this level might be too much for a Belgian. If you can get past the carbonation, you find the taste, which is a bland sourness (possible infection) and some stout character (smokey, roasty, and some molasses). Just the stout base that I can sense would make it a good beer, the rough sourness (whether it's infection or the aging in pinot noir barrels) and hyper-carbonation make this tough to drink.

That's a bust. I still like the Mao brand, but this is not the reason why.

 1,134 characters

Photo of Lare453
2.59/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle Into a riedel Shiraz glass

First of all, fuck this beer. After barely loosening the cage, the cork, cage attached, blew out of the bottle grazing my forehead. Then started foaming like an asshole all over my new floor.

A unbelievable amount of foam... I'm talking about foam like I've never seen before. Soapy foam sits on top, thick dish soap foam like what you get from sanitizing when you brew. Black in color...

S very sweet, musty, like a used barrel...

T musty, sweet beginning, ou definitely get a lot of the Pinot noir/red wine in the middle and ntp the end, the end also has a slight malt and roast. The aftertaste is dry red wine.

M thin and way over carbonated. Not great...

O the only thing this beer has going for it is that it is one of the few beers aged in red wine barrels that you actually get red wine in the flavor. Other than that I would not get it again...

 893 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle I brought to share at Skuter's UCLA vs. USC viewing party.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and some slight dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with a smokey finish. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer that shows no real barrel aged aromas or flavors.

 589 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown, appearing black in the glass. Massive three finger medium brown head with great retention and tons of lacing. Interesting aroma of toasted malt, vanilla and a light fruity component that must be the wine barrel contribution, but it isn't all that vinous. Great flavor of dark toasted malt, chocolate and a light, intriguing vinous component. Finishes with toasted, slightly charred malt, chocolate, plums and hop bitterness. A unique and interestingly flavored stout. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. Wine barrel aged beers are usually not the most enjoyable of barrel aged beers for me, but this is superb. The flavor combination and progression is very enjoyable. An unusual and excellent stout. A brewery that tries to brew a bit outside the box, but succeeds with flavorful beers. I hope to see more of them.

 845 characters

Photo of spoony
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 375 ml bottle into a snifter.

A-Tons of light brown head...tons of it. Seriously. Like four fingers-plus from a gentle pour (the cork basically jumped out the second I loosed the cage, so this wasn't surprising). Anyway, the brew is inky black. I couldn't see if there was any carbonation, but I assume there was because the head hung around for the entire glass and left considerable lacing.

S-Some dark, roasty malts, but also quote a bit of red wine and oak. There are hints of vanilla, too. A slightly different aroma for an imperial stout, and maybe a bit on the lighter side. Not much alcohol is present until the beer is room temp.

T-The taste was strangely tart with black cherry notes to go along with some mild roasted maltiness. It reminded me a bit of Madrugada Obscura from Jolly Pumpkin (or other sour stouts). There was just a touch of bitterness and very little alcohol heat. There was a slight soy sauce quality to it, as well that was not terrible, but not entirely pleasant.

M-Way too light for an imperial. The brew itself wasn't particularly light, but the level of carbonation makes this difficult to savor, and really detracts from the overall experience.

O-This beer has some potential to be a different type of imperial stout, and one that I enjoy. In fact, I actually enjoyed the smell and taste. Unfortunately, the over-carbonated nature makes the unique taste difficult to enjoy.

 1,420 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.47/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 mL bottle courtesy of fthomasl pours a black color with ample tan head. Nice lacing. No over-carbonation issues that seem to be rampant in this beer.

Fruity, coffee and wood. There is some definite notes of dark red wine. Interesting, and quite vinous.

Ohhh, taste is really nice....perfect cocoa and vinous fruit. I really like it, different for sure. The malts are tame, yet flavorful and the yeast plays a dusty, integral part. Tobacco...yes, yes with some roasty afterthoughts.
I am seriously impressed with this complex offering from New Zealand. Nice. Worth a shot even with the steep price tag.

 608 characters

Photo of StuartCarter
4.23/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A deep, dark black/brown as you would expect with a RIS. A moderately heavy pour produced a finger-deep tan head which subsided to a thin coating at the top of the beer.

Smell: oh yum. Coffee, sweet fruitiness, a slightly earthy funkiness underneath the surface smells.

Taste: dark coffee bitterness, some alcohol, subtle dark fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: silky, but enlivened by lively carbonation. It almost dances on the tongue which is very unusual - and pleasing! - for a RIS.

Aftertaste: lingering hop bitterness with distinct coffee overtones.

As it warms: the bitterness subsides, leaving a rich roast coffee flavour with subtly sweet notes.

Note: this beer is corked and caged. This is for a reason. This is a RIS that is carbonated like a champagne. If you bear this in mind you won't have so much collateral damage to your nerves or your ceiling when you open it :P

 888 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.94/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a way to overcarbonated jet black color with a big brown cap that took about five minutes to settle.

S: Charred wood, licorice, chocolate, dark fruits, nice and light funkiness

T: Some dark fruit notes upfront, with charred wood, hint of funk giving way to acidic, coffee and licorice

M: Way overcarbonated, medium to big body, boozey

O: Meh. Pass.

 362 characters

Photo of Phelps
2.39/5  rDev -34%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A stout aged in pinot noir barrels. Poured from a green bottle (why still use these?) into a snifter.

One twist of the cork cage: everything’s fine. Two twists: fine and dandy. Three twists: BOOM! The bottle begins spewing foam like molten lava and the cork is lodged somewhere in the ceiling. This bottle could be used in warfare. What I manage to salvage sits in the snifter at about an 80-20 head-to-beer ratio — the head taking up the majority of the space. This is what overcarbonation looks like. The liquid is inky black; the expansive head a cavernous graham cracker-brown.

Acrid aroma. Bread burnt to char, licorice, tangy soy sauce, oak barrels, a touch of plum. Fairly wine-heavy.

The flavor isn’t much better. Dark chocolate and plum are sadly hidden behind blackened, overly bitter wood and soy sauce tang. The fruit imparted by the wine barrels is the only redeeming quality of this brew. Better as it warms, becoming fruitier and less bitter.

As expected, the liquid explodes the second it touches the tongue. A thin, whipped body quickly fizzes like aerated soap, filling the mouth with foam. Tang and burnt bitterness settle into the back of the tongue.

Moa's imperial stout isn't pricy, but it’s not even really worth the low price. I’m off to fix the ceiling.

 1,294 characters

Photo of MisterClean
1.95/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Purchased from total wine roseville, hope it's good. Shared with Abecall and others.

A - After unleashing the cage, I nearly lost an eye. As soon as the cage came undone, the cork did not pop, but fired out. The beer started gushing and oozing out of the bottle. Not a good sign and could be infected. The color was dark brown to light black with some garnet highlights. Head would not drop out, which is a little unusual for an imp stout.

S/T - Smokiness, which could have been phenolics or a suggestion that the brewer was a little too generous with black patent (easy does it big man). Some huskiness and graininess and some sourness with a rich tannic quality, which could have been from the barrel the beer aged in. Bittering hops were present, and there may have been some aroma/flavor hops included, but was masked from the smoke, husk, and slightly sour taste imparted from the barrel.

M - Malt dominated and medium-full bodied. The beer was a bit hotter than warming, and could have stood to age further to reduce heat. Moderate levels of huskiness and astringency. Additional levels may have been imparted from the use of black patent malt as well.

O - A bit disappointed to say the least. An imperial stout typically doesn't have many flaws, but found a few here. Would recommend for the brewer to age longer, use much less black patent (Carafa III is my darkening malt of choice), make sure there are no "bugs" crawling around the barrel, and lowering the original gravity.

 1,490 characters

Photo of DonDirkA
3.01/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crazy, death-level carbonation. Strange smell. Chocolate, sour grapes and cherries, coffee and some strange funk. taste is sharp and acidic. Grapes, dark roasted coffee, slight chocolate, and sour cherries. The mouthfeel is very light and bubbly for a stout. The pinot noir notes may be a bit too strong for the base beer. Not bad but not something I'd buy again. The $5.99 price tag just made it too tempting to pass up.

So insanely carbonated that as soon as I removed the cage the cork exploded across the room. Murderous.

 526 characters

Photo of heygeebee
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

No BB - from Warners.

Pours a massive four-finger tan head over black body. That from half the bottle first-up. Good lacing. (Plus five minutes to get the cork out!!!)

Aromas of roast malts, chocolate.

Taste is more chocolate, warmly alcoholic. Add coffee. Moderate bitterness builds as the bottle goes down to become quite roasty and charred..

Mouthfeel - quite light bodied, moderately carbonated.

I seem to be somewhat in the monority here, not really as bad as could be. More like an over-alcoholic foreign stout than an RIS tho.

 538 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
2.34/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I picked this up mostly due to teh $5 price tag. You don't see many barrel aged imperial stouts that cheap. Unfortunately there is a reason for that... First off this thing had the worst pour. No matter how slow and carefully I poured the glass was completely filled with foam. It had been chilled for at least a week. The smell was a little off too, like maybe it had some brett or maybe it was just the wine but I didn't care for it. The taste was not bad, little roast, little stout but almost no barrel character whatsoever. Overall this was pretty disappointing and it just goes to show that you really do get what you pay for.

 632 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The cork blows out as soon as the cage is taken off and the beer pours with a huge, five finger head of medium brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head sticks around almost indefinitely and eventually leaves thick lace in its wake.

S - Dark malt with notes of oak and red wine.

T - Brown malt and some chocolate up front with a hint of dark fruit. Some much darker chocolate notes in the middle with a bit of black cherry and some oak. Finishes with licorice, dark chocolate, red wine, and charred malt.

M - Medium body, very high carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - This beer is very intense and really is just too much on several fronts. The base beer seems like it would stand up really well on its own, but the pinot noir barrel character is just too much and it clashes with some of the darker, charred tones of the base beer. The aroma is much more promising than the flavor turns out to be. I feel like both the barrel aging and the base beer were done well here, but they don't play well with each other. I would like to try a whiskey barrel version of the stout and another of the brewery's beers (perhaps a Belgian) aged in a wine barrel, but I think they may need to abandon the idea of putting this stout in wine barrels.

 1,257 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: about a two finger very frothy off white head on a jet black body with really no light getting through.

S: lots of wood character, mostly cedar and oak. roasted malts and floral notes. dark fruit notes.

T: interesting and unique flavor for sure. coffee and chocolate malts with the pinot noir minimally represented, less so than in the aroma, and mostly competing with the crispness of the carbonation.

M: medium body and very very high carbonation, almost like club soda level.

Overall: This one is good in some areas and poor in others. I was very interested in this one given the pinot noir barrel aging but it didnt meet those expectations.

 651 characters

Photo of harrymel
1.36/5  rDev -62.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bottled: unk

Pours dark black with some tan foam. Nose comes forward with apple skins, ink, some hops, oak, and soil. Flavor is charred oak, tannins, bitter, generally reminds me of burnt meat from a grill. Medium bodied with really hi carb and a difficult finish as the flavor continues to linger. This is not a good beer.

 324 characters

Photo of ADZA
2.85/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

First of all ive got say its abit daunting when your about to review a beer and you see such a low average anyways here goes and it pours a dark black hue with crimson edges and leaves a massive three finger dimple laden head and lacing everywhere,the smell is mocha,dark chocolate,herbal hops and a touch of pinot noir,and from the mouthfeel i begin to understand the low average as its light bodied way too light for a RIS and especially with this high ABV and the taste doesnt get much better as its mainly watery dark chocolate,a light touch of milky mocha,herbal hops and the finish is definately dominated by the pinot noir oak and overall dont believe the hype just believe the overall average as i would not revisit this anytime soon and still in shock about the mouthfeel cheers.

 788 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Huge thanks to DmanGTR for the opportunity to try this brew.

A: The cork shot out with a loud pop. Pours chestnut brown, in the glass it is black with hints of deep crimson when held to the light.. I'd like to think it's the pinot noir shining through, but reason says it's not. Nice fluffy tan head on top.

S: Dark and roasted grain aroma comes out, light chocolate and licorice as well as a little bit of an earthy aroma. There is a rich berry aroma in the finish that I think is coming from the pinot noir barrels.

T: Interesting. Not quite the beast I was expecting. Coffee notes, as well as licorice. Some berry flavors, as well as a nice earthy bitterness. This beer is all about the finish, when a little more dark chocolate comes out, as well as some booze and a touch of a nut flavor.

M: Mouthfeel is remarkably light. Carbonation is a touch high for the style, although there is a bit of a creamy finish to it.

O: Overall a bit of a odd brew. The barrel process adds an interesting note, but I wish the base beer had a little more uumph.

 1,056 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours solid black with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows char, roasted malt, cocoa and dark chocolate with a little smoke.
Similar flavours, but less complex. Roasted malt, booze. Not much else.
Body could be a bit thicker.
Pretty straightforward, whereas considering the alcohol content I would expect something more complex.

 326 characters

Photo of kscaldef
3.14/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: 1/2 finger mocha head over dark brown liquid. Do I imagine a little purple tint from the wine barrel aging?

S: Lots of wine barrel character: cherry and plum dancing with chocolate and light roast.

T: Some fruit notes upfront, giving way to heavy roast coffee, slightly acrid. Lots of carbonation seems to be masking flavor, which is unfortunate. Balanced bitterness.

M: High carbonation, which might contribute to an impression that this is a little thin bodied.

O: This started quite interesting, with a good contribution from the barrel aging. Unfortunately, the excessive carbonation really detracts from the taste experience.

 637 characters

Photo of madbrewer9
2.78/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Very dark brown. Low light tan head with very fine bubbles. Leaves some lace on glass.

Get some fruit and alchohol in the nose

Taste is somewhat wine like, med. Maltiness with slight hop bitterness. No hop flavor. Get a little barrel flavor.
Lacks the chocolate, coffee and roastiness I'd expect from a RIs

Mouthfeel is very thin.

Nice beer but lacks the oomph this style requires.

 385 characters

Photo of tbeckett
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Local Taphouse as part of the Moa Tap Takeover. From notes.

A - Poured pitch black with no visible carbonation with a big fluffy two finger brown head. Decent retention with a full finger and spots of lace.

S - Lot's of sweet chocolate and red wine.

T - Strong vinous character was there with lot's of chocolate and a slight alcohol ting. The barrel is quite noticable.

M - Gentle carbonation with really full silky body and a grope-style finish of dryness.

O/D - An interesting imperial stout. Not complex, but the elements are nailed. Barrel seems to have really impacted this, almost taking away from other flavours that would pull through. Worth a shot for a different barrel character.

 705 characters

Photo of mulder1010
1.97/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

375 ML bottle, corked and caged. Good presentation. Good to see Moa back in Australia again after a bit of an absence. Been looking for this for a while.

A-- Poured a dark cola color, settled midnight black with just touches of ruby here and there. One finger mocha colored brown head that faded to a nice film, then collar. leaving a few streaks of lacing. Half finger of head when swirled. No more, no less.

S-- Got oak and wine when popped the cork but when in the glass not a whole bunch really. Some roasted notes and some oatmeal character. Maybe some faint chocolate. More lacking for nose than anything else.

T-- Thin, quite thin. Watery soy sauce, watery mocha, watery roasted and scorched malts and oats. Flashes of wine and oak.

M-- Oatmeal stout like in the front and mid and sweet char and ash in the back and finish. Candied ash tray. ICK. Smooth but very thin body. Medium and slightly perky carbonation with a thin, weak body. Does pick up once warmed and get a lot of acidic coffee to hide the thiness in the feel so giving a few points more.

O-- Bad Imperial stout, bad imperial stout. At least the ABV is hidden well and drinks more like a 6% stout. Too thin and too weak.

 1,200 characters

Moa Imperial Stout (Aged In Pinot Noir Barrels) from Moa Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.