Zonker Stout - Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub

Not Rated.
Zonker StoutZonker Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

226 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 226
Hads: 391
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 130
Gots: 24 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub visit their website
Wyoming, United States

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-26-2001

A rich, well-balanced foreign style stout with a huge amount of roasted barley as well as chocolate, black, and caramel malts. The intense roast character is the main attribute of this black colored beer. The alcohol content is 6.0%. Zonker has been recognized time and again as one of the top foregin style stouts.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Zonker Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 226 | Hads: 391
Photo of JNewbs
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is black as night with a small off white head that doesn't go away. Decent lacing as it drinks.

Smell is exceptional - sweet with a malty background and hints of coffee and caramel.

Taste is more coffee than was in the smell, but the roasted malt and chocolate still come through.

The mouthfeel was pretty typical of the class. Thick but not Imperial thick, if you know what I mean.

Drinkability was superb. I could house a 6er of these no problem, and the psychosomatic effect of the coffee taste would keep me going all night. (543 characters)

Photo of germaniac
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Inky blackness from a 12oz stubby bottle.

The aroma of sweet malts and chocolate dominate, with hint of coffee bean in there, too.

Taste is roasted malt, with a slight hoppiness that fades into a baker's chocolate sweetness.

Has a medium body and carbonation levels, smooth and easy to drink. Really enjoyable. I think I might have found a replacement for 8 Ball and Sierra Nevada Stout. (397 characters)

Photo of hopsleeroy
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JohnGault1 for this traded bottle. Poured a black stout with slight lightness about it-not really viscous pour with that oily look. Smelled of toasted malt, chocolate, and maybe some darker fruits. Taste followed up the smell with a roasted coffee, vanilla flavor. Some dark bitter cocoa was there. I didn't pick up a lot of fruit but maybe a slight bit of caramel. Fairly full in the mouth but crisp for a stout. Hops are there but don't add floral or citrus maybe add to an earthy feel on the swallow. I could drink a few of these in a row. Nothing that will blow you away, but this is a well crafted, well balanced beer that highlights classic stout flavors. (671 characters)

Photo of jhammerly
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with a notch in the month of Jan. on the label. Compliments of JohnGalt1.

Near solid black body with a frothy, mocha head. Roasted coffee aroma, and the same goes for the taste. Aftertaste of coffee flavors lingers on the tongue with some hop bitterness right before. Good carbonation. Not a heavily bodied beer. A very nicely balanced stout that is extremely drinkable. One of the better stouts that I have had in awhile that didn't have "Imperial" or "Russian" in the name. (493 characters)

Photo of tar
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I first tried this beer while doing field work in Wyoming and made sure to bring a few back with me to Chicago (wish I had brought more). Pours a nice thick black-even when held up to a light, none passes through. A thinish, red-brown, foamy head diminishes fairly quickly to a thin layer of light brown bubbles. Wonderful smell of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. Full bodied, smooth, and very tasty. Lovely coffee and chocolate malt taste. Filling but highly drinkable. An outstanding beer and definitely one of my favorites. (531 characters)

Photo of kaszeta
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer camed with a deep, deep black body and a thick dark caramel head that lingered. The beer sports a strong roasted malt aroma with plenty of mocha turns, and a bit of a pleasant burnt smell. Tastewise, this was a wonderful stout: a bit of initial bite, plenty of sweet maltiness rolling over your tongue, fading to coffee and roasted malt aftertaste. A well-balanced, smooth, rolling mouth feel. A very drinkable stout, easy one of my top five. I highly recommend it. (474 characters)

Photo of crhensel
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Bottle into English pint) Pours a velvety black with a small tan head that fell fast, except around the edge of the glass, leaving a nice lacing as it went. Aroma is, as expected, of the roast with some hints of chocolate and a slight hint of smoke. Very smooth in the mouth, there is a little more jump to the carbonation than I expected, but it helped to pull the nice roast chocolate flavor forward, as well as a bit of a sharp hop bite, which was a pleasant surprise. I would have liked a little more of a sharper finish with that bite, but the flavor just seemed to linger a hair too long. Not the best example i have had of the style, but FAR from the worst! (665 characters)

Photo of alarmclock314
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz can with no date. Pours reddish black with a large brown head. Smells of piney hops and roasted malts. Balanced taste of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and hops. Some tartness and drying finish. Average body thinness and medium-high carbonation. Has a strong roasted malt presence and stays fairly true to the style. (327 characters)

Photo of Knuckles
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I moved to Bozeman, Montana back in December of 1995. Being a native Seattleite, this was my first exposure to real winter. It was a harsh introduction, as I quickly realized that there was no such thing as a "snow day" (of course, I didn't have a car, either, so that made life a little difficult as well). It was with great joy, then, when I dragged my frozen ass into Osco and picked myself up a six pack of Zonker to warm myself up (and, quite seriously, thaw out my ass). I've loved this stout ever since, and a decade's passing hasn't cooled my ardor. Come to me, sweet, sweet, Zonker. Knuckles misses you terribly.

Appearance: This may not be the Beer of the Sith that the Silver City Imperial Stout is, but it could pass for Palpatine's underpants of evil. Black, but not totally opaque. Slight hints of light brown/ruby around the edges if held up to the light, but the center of the glass is completely impenetrable, much like my wife.

Smell: This thing is so much more than I remember: oak, raisins, caramel and smoke. Pinot Noir? Syrah? Damn. Am I at the casino with my kids, or am I huffing beer? It's fantastic.

Taste: My initial reaction on drinking this beer is this: Wyoming! Fuck Yeah! Even though I don't care much for Wyoming itself (but by GOD do they have the nicest goddam rest stops I've ever had the pleasure to pee in), and Jackson, WY is about as representative of that state as Kenny G is of Washington. It's smoky, vinuous, raisiny and delicious. Stouts like this one just aren't fair to the other stouts of the world. I love you, Zonker Stout. You make me happy.

Mouthfeel: Again, if you could drink Salma Hayek's pants (and please god, let me try at least once!), this beer is the zymurgic equivalent. Understand, of course, that is is purely an idealized construct of what I envision Salma Hayek's pants to be in liquid form, and that I would drink them if covered with cat hair cigarette butts, and mold. But that's neither here nor there. This beer is one velvety smooth motherfucker, and strikes a perfect balance between malt character and malt body. A mouthfeel that belies its relatively low ABV. Yow.

Drinkability: Well, here I'm in a bit of a quandary. Not everyone can suck down stouts like I can, and this beer is only distributed as far as Montana (as far as I know). That said, I have downed so many cases of this spectacular beer that I'm going to rate it at a solid 4.5. Any stout that clocks in at a mere 5.8%, and tastes like a stout rather than an ill-named brown freaking ale needs to be supped as much as possible. Sadly, I only have one bottle left, squirreled away in my basement (ok, it's not IN my basement yet, but it's in my kitchen. Which is by my basement. Sort of. I'm working on it.). (2,760 characters)

Photo of FirstMan
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Knuckles picked this up for me in Montana along with a number of other delicious beers. Many thanks yet again for Knuckles and his 2005 beer safari.

Pours a very nice, deep dark brown - almost black from the squat bottle that I had. Overall the coloring was good, but I can't say that there was really anything to set it apart from other nice American Stouts that I've had. A coffee-colored head of tiny, round bubbles came up, but didn't linger quite as long as I had hoped.

Smell is wonderful on this one. Coffee, smoke, with a somewhat sharp woodiness to it. There's malt in there for sure, but the thing that gets me the most are the sharper elements in the nose.

Taste is good, but just a tiny bit disappointing after the nose. One thing I can say for sure is that this beer warms up well. My first sip didn't have the same kind of malty tones that my later ones did. Definitely there are notes of chocolate and smokey grains in there, but these are a little weak until the beer has had a chance to warm up.

The initial mouthfeel of this beer when it's cold may be its weakest point. It's almost too dry for me. I like an American stout to give you that creamy rich malty mouthfeel and this one didn't really get there until after it had warmed up a bit and then only a little.

If you like a dryer stout, this may not be a problem for you at all.

Overall this is a really good stout and one that I would have absolutely no problem drinking on a regular basis. I'd just make a point to let it sit for a few minutes before I started. (1,557 characters)

Photo of RJUGA03
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Poured a used motor oil colored body with a slight medium-brown head.
S-Aromas of coffee, chocolate, nut, and malts.
T-On the draw it offered flavors to the coffee and chocolate smells. The sip finished smoothly.
M-At first it was quite viscous and flowed into a lingering coffee bittered aftertaste.
D-This is a great year round stout beer and I do enjoy it. It has a bit of a hard time standing apart from other stouts in my humble opinion. (445 characters)

Photo of PhantasIPA
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This brew is a thick, black color with a dark brown colored head. The head pours thick from a can into a glass and leave a heavy, pronounced lacing on the glass as you drink, leaving tell-tale rings along the glass.

The smell is heavy, thick coffee, caramel, chocolate and spice. Really nice, dark scent that you would hope and expect from a decent porter.

Taste is great! Smooth sweet flavor followed immediately by the bitter, coffee flavor and then ends with a dark chocolate-esque, heavy flavor. Great balance between the bitter coffee, chocolate and sweet barley (caramel and toffee) flavors!

Mouthfeel is nice, syrupy and smooth with little carbonation. Very good fro the winter!

Overall this beer is very nice. Balance and solid flavor. Could be heavier on the ABV but 6% is right down the middle and the flavor really comes through. Nice! Worth a try most definitely! (879 characters)

Photo of lespaulrocker
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the brewpub.

A: Very dark. Lets through no light. Small brown head that doesn't really fade. Moderate to heavy lacing.

S: Sweet. Earthy hops with hints of malt. Hints of coffee.

T: Great taste. A little sweetness up front, maybe some cherry? Coffee and chocolate finish. Amazing.

M: Full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall, this was an amazing beer. One of the best I've ever had. I will definitely seek this one again. (456 characters)

Photo of kylejohnson03
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours pitch black, and lets absolutely no light through. A fairly impressive looking one inch caramel colored head, but fades away too quickly. Smells of roasted malt, coffee, and just a hint of smokeiness. All those notes come back in the taste, along with some bitter chocolate. Dry finish, low carbonation. Drinks very thin, combined with almost no trace of the 6% ABV = good drinkability. Overall, a very average American Stout. Would drink again if offered, but probably wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out. (562 characters)

Photo of dqderrick
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at 47°F.

Nice frothy chocolate milk colored head that has staying power. Awesome. Nice lacing on the side of my glass. I'm not sure a beer this style could have a better appearance. 5.

Chocolate hits the nose with roasted malts. The smell isn't as strong as I hoped, but quality is better than quantity I suppose. 4.

Taste is mellow, dark roasted, a little sweet honey, maybe a hint of tobacco with a pinch of cocoa and maybe... I'm reaching here, a little coffee. Fun stuff here. 4.5

Mouthfeel bangs it out of the park. The carbonation plays on my palate and makes for a bubbly mellow experience that begs for more... and more. What a great 6.0 % beer! 5.0

I could drink several of these. The flavor is approaching imperial stout levels which blows me away. I don't drink many regular stouts, but I've had Mad River's Stout, SN's Stout and a couple other within the last 6 months... this one is better. Not by a lot, but it stands out. 4.5

In closing, I got this through a trade with JohnGalt1 who has always been a GREAT trader. I can't get this local to me in San Diego so I probably won't be getting more any time soon. Maybe I'll throw this on my WANTS in case I can pick one up as an extra.... hmmm. (1,219 characters)

Photo of DanThomas
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Easily the best stout, of any kind, that I've tried to date.

A- Simple. Black opaque, minimal foam rim, no lacing.

S- Pure roasted barley dominates, and a mild nutty coffee undertone.

T- The roasted barley dominates initially (and it's an extremely dark roast), but the finish is a nice melange of complex roasted flavors, particularly coffee and maybe hazelnuts. Finish is a good amount of bitter.

M- Sharp carbonation in between the initial intake and the finish, maybe a little too much, but it helps introduce that wonderful roasted complexity on the finish. Beer feels substantial, too, like drinking (or chewing) french press coffee as opposed to something like drip.

D- It's both strong and robust, perfect for cold winter nights by the fire, and light and refreshing for warmer weather/ lighter occasions. I don't know how they do it, but this is a fantastic stout for any occasion. Unbelievable. (910 characters)

Photo of andyo
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What else can I say that hasn't been said from the other reviews? I had this on Labor Day almost on accident. I reached into my buddies cooler (in the dark) and pulled this beer out, as well as an Old Rasputin. Having had the Rasputin on several occasions, I opted for the Zonker Stout. I'm glad I did.

Jet black in appearance, with an earthy, chocolate nose. Upon first taste I was pleasantly surprised! This beer is fantastic! It's not that it is far too different from most stouts, it is just somewhat better. It seemed to me that all the best qualities of a stout were just magnified in this beer a bit- kicked up a notch! This beer resemebled milk chocolate flavors, with a faint nutty vanilla background. Nice espresso notes come through with a bit of hops in the finish. Very balanced, very good.

This beer could easily become a session stout for me. I will definately be visiting this one again. (909 characters)

Photo of electricfields
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Gave it an aggressive pour and came up with a quickly dissipating finger-and-a-half hot chocolate brown head with an opaque dark reddish-brown body.

S: Lots of roasted malts and caramel. A slight coffee bitterness. Smells really delicious.

T: Sort of tastes like a bitter mocha. Chocolate and coffee of course, with a nice light honey style sweetness. This is probably one of the better stouts I've had lately, and definitely renews my faith in a style that i wasn't really sold on before.

M: Nice and thick without being syrupy. A little sticky, but refreshing. Very creamy with a good amount of carbonation. Pretty much exactly the exact texture I expect from a good stout.

D: This is about as drinkable a stout as you're going to find. Good from the second it's poured 'til the second you're pouring another. (819 characters)

Photo of Twerknasty
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours incredibly thick, dark as hell and a weird foamy bubbly dark-white head. Smells of dark roasted peanuts, coffee, and dark chocolate. Almost a little medicinal note hands on the background, which scored the nose a little lower than it could have been. Palate is well integrated, with candied dark chocolate, with a surprising light mouthfeel. COFFEE rolls out hardcore at the finish, showing all its privates. Good (419 characters)

Photo of Musky
3.24/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured silky smooth with a thick reddish head that has small and larger bubbles intermixed. The aroma of coffe and chocolate are strong. Smooth and tangy this one is as the bubbles dance on your tongue leaving a roasted barley aftertaste or burnt however you describe it. Mouthfeel is not as rich as you would normally see from this style of beer and very carbonated. A decent example of the Stout style, does have more hop flavor than I would expect from this style. (467 characters)

Photo of samoblue
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at approximately 45 degrees F.

Pours a deep, inky black. Absence of light black. Black as my soul black. The shit's black. A finger of medium- to dark-tan head disappeared rather quickly.

Dark chocolate and roasted barley on the nose, but my sense of smell is terrible so I'm sure the reviews that caught other aromas aren't inaccurate. All the same, the chocolate has got to overwhelm everything else here.

On first sip, more dark chocolate, and espresso--definitely more pronounced than the typical coffee flavors one can get from a stout. Roasted, nutty notes, and sweetness...sweet like dried or candied fruit...probably more raisin-y than prune-y.

Mouth feel is pretty smooth. Fairly low to moderate carbonation. I expected it to be thicker, given the dark, dark color (did I mention the shit's black)? Semi-dry on the finish.

Although I can appreciate a good one, I've never really been much of a stout guy. I really, really liked this beer, though, and would certainly be into others that walked these lines. (1,046 characters)

Photo of txbrewer
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the Snake River site - "A rich, well-balanced foreign style stout with a huge amount of roasted barley as well as chocolate, black, and caramel malts." - That being said, if you don't drink coffee, you probably don't want to drink this beer. I have yet to meet anyone who likes this but does not like coffee (and I am not talking some frozen cream and sugar loaded concoction, I mean black coffee).

For such a dark beer it just looked clean in the glass, not cloudy or creamy - just clean. Heavy on the malt flavor while you taste a bit of the hops, it was mostly the malts comings through. I can only imagine what the place smells like when this stuff is cooking (and I think I would like it). While this would not be a regular drinking bottle for me, I would definitely look for this when I want something with good heavy flavor just to sit down and sip down. (867 characters)

Photo of ditmier
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bottle - Pours black with a small tan head...aroma is toasty malt, white chocolate, fruit...flavour is nicely bitter on the front end, very dry, char char bitter, dry fruit but not malty...smells bigger than it tastes, but is still very nice...way to go wyoming... (269 characters)

Photo of dtumminelliob
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It pours a beautiful deep brown, with a milky brown head. The smell is very strong with roasted malts. The flavor is all roast, but with quite a bit of nuance and layers. It is nearly creamy, despite not being a milk stout, but maintains a certain dryness. The roasts fill up the palate without overwhelming. An incredibly tasty beer. (334 characters)

Photo of Wilyum
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A very dark brew with a creamy tan head and a smooth, mellow mouthfeel. Very well balanced hops and malt with a great toasty, roasted flavor and aroma; this beer is very easy to swallow and I could drink it all night. It went very well accompanied by a plate of kraut with sausage!
I think anybody who hates this probably shouldn't be drinking beer! Best regards, W (365 characters)

Zonker Stout from Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub
93 out of 100 based on 226 ratings.