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Black Xantus - Humboldt Brewing Co.

Black XantusBlack Xantus

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

790 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 790
Reviews: 349
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%


Brewed by:
Humboldt Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Barrel aged for 6 months in combination of Bourbon, retired Firestone Union and wine barrels and Infused with fair-trade, organic coffee from local roaster Jobella.

Style: Imperial Java Stout IBUs: 50 Color: Black ABV: 11%

(Beer added by: ThreeWiseMen on 10-09-2009)
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Ratings: 790 | Reviews: 349 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours an almost pitch black color with a one finger of tan colored head. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a moderate level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer has tons of chocolate and coffee in the nose. Along with these smells are some wonderful oaky and bourbon aromas mixed with a good dose of caramel and vanilla sweetness. Some other lighter aromas of a more dark fruit nature are thee as well with smells of cherry, raisin and plum all there. Overall the aroma is big roasty and sweet producing a nice warming aroma overall..

Taste – The taste begins with a huge sweet chocolate flavor with tons of caramel and vanilla mixed within along with a decent sum of a roasted malt flavor. While described from the bottle as a coffee stout, I got much more chocolate and sweetness out of this then coffee. From the onset with the big roasted, chocolate and sweet flavors does however come some notes of a coffee flavor as well as a bit of a oaky flavor. Some lighter alcohol flavors, for a brew of 11% abv, come to the tongue at the end of the taste, which are accompanied by some fruit flavor of raisin and fig, end up mixing with the other flavors that had come up throughout the taste profile to leave a nice smooth and sweet, chocolaty roasted flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both were fantastic for the big chocolate, and sweet flavors of the brew with the lower carbonation only accentuating these and making for a nice slow drinker that is surprisingly easy to drink.

Overall – A nice and “easy drinking” Imperial stout at 11 % abv. It has tons of nice smooth flavors that make it a real pleasure to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 01:04:17 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of neurobot01
neurobot01

California

3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured at fridge temp into a snifter, allowed to warm while drinking. Have been sitting on this since late Nov.

Look: Dark brown, with very minimal head, not much carbonation.

Aroma: Initial smell is really hard to place—pretty sure it was the wine barrels coming through, but didn't quite smell like wine. I think the best description I can give overall is that it smells Iike Ghirardelli Raspberry-filled Dark Chocolate Squares. Also a hint of astringency. Honestly not sure what to make of it.

Taste: First thought was, "What the hell is in my mouth?" Sort of bitter/tart fruitiness, has a kind of rotten something going on. Followed quickly by intense sweetness, chocolate, then sweet fruit (or fruit-like goo; see aroma). I also feel like I'm getting some char—maybe that's part of the initial bitterness. Lingering taste of fruit, chocolate, and burnt wood. Surprisingly pronounced yellow bell pepper way on the back end. As it warms, things meld a bit better—it almost has the feel of an ABA, thanks to the combo of roastiness and bitterness. Might also pick up a bit more Bourbon.

Feel: Fairly light, particularly for the abv and style. Pretty spot-on carbonation.

Overall: I really wanted to love this beer—it's a local brewer trying something pretty different. As it is, I may grab another bottle from a local shop where I know it's been in cold storage the whole time. But based on this bottle, this just doesn't quite work for me, and for this price, I'd much rather be drinking actual FW barrel stuff than this step-child brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2014 01:48:36 | More by neurobot01
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with one finger tan head that left lace patches. Dark fruit aromas like black cherry and figs are evident as are notes of vanilla and coffee for that java smell, roasted malts, molasses, chocolate and wood. Body is chewy, fuller bodied, breadlike, beer goes down smooth yet at times is also sticky, there are cherry and figs for dark fruit flavors, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, wood, chocolate and there all balanced for a both sweet and dry beer that is a monster sipper.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2014 14:05:37 | More by clayrock81
Photo of TTAmod
TTAmod

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Received this for free from my beer store. Thanks!! 22 oz. bomber poured into pint glass. Looking at the description, I must say I'm excited....

A: Looks really good. Pitch black beer, even when held up to the light. Thick dark brown head on top. Excellent retention for 11%.

S: Smell is also quite good. Sweet coffee, bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, wood, bourbon-soaked cherries....very nice.

T: Very well-balanced for a barrel stout. Get the sweetness up front. Lots of vanilla, fruit, bourbon, brown sugar, etc. Lots of coffee and espresso on the back end. A touch roasty, but not burnt. Not bitter at all. Finishes with a nice taste of coffee. Some alcohol is present near the end.

M: Pretty thick, but not cloying, thankfully. That's typically the problem with these types of stouts. Moderate carbonation, but more lively than your typical stout. Easy enough to drink for a big stout.

O: Color me impressed, here. Never heard of this one, but my guy at the beer store said it's going on clearance and gave me one because he had a ton of them. If people knew what this tasted like, it wouldn't be around long enough to go on clearance. There is a lot of strong tastes and depth with this beer, but nothing overpowers the other. This beer is quite the balanced barrel stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 02:00:14 | More by TTAmod
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hope there’s a good reason this bomber was over $15; still, I’m the sucker who bought it, so I guess that’s on me. Cheers.

Bottle 11/22/2013, about four months before the date of this tasting.

A: Dark, dark brown body, pouring nearly black from the bottle, with no head whatsoever. Give the glass a little twist and you get a bit of mocha-colored bubbles hugging the walls, but that’s it. Get a little further into the bottle and a bit of creamy head appears after the pour, but you have to work for it. Looks thick, at any rate.

S: Complex, gourmet coffee and artisan chocolate aromas create an alluring character, one I’ve experienced in only a few special stouts. Wow. Typical stout scents – vanilla extract, brownie batter, heavily roasted coffee – are present in force, but more intricate tones of bright ripe cherry, toasted pecan, and rose water add nuance; that, plus an ever-present maple and bourbon scent, shows that this has some wonderful complexity before even taking a sip. A memorable nose.

T: As expected, this is a rich palate packed with residual sugars, but the coffee and barrel tastes are just odd enough to turn this into something that’s not your typical imperial stout. In each sip, you have a vanilla ice cream and Hershey’s chocolate foundation laying flat beneath sharp and abnormally wild bitters – tastes of earthy coffee and hops add a twist of acidic espresso, herbal mint, raspberry, and a touch of cola. That all wraps up in a catty, mildly flowery hop taste that pulls on the palate a bit, adding some prickliness to the smooth sugars. The barrel aging adds a nice touch, as well, playing on the interesting bitterness with a slight oxidation flavor – a lightly papery note – and an oak sawdust and taste. Finishes with some light whiskey and smoke on the tongue, woody and very slightly dry.

M: This stout is the definition of “milky:” no real carbonation, a creamy (but not thick) body, and a lack of intensely drying features on the palate. It fits, though, since the palate is sweet in a meaty, lactose sugar kind of way.

O: Sometimes a beer with an odd palate is interesting; here, though, the abnormal fruity and herbal tastes end up perceived as off-flavors. I enjoy drinking it, sure, but that’s only because there’s a streak of traditional stout flavor to this beer. I’ll take a stout with an interesting palate any day – Porcine Unidragon, Surly Darkness, Bourbon County Cherry Rye – but it’s possible for out-of-the-ordinary to become unpleasant, and that’s what ended up happening with the hops and the coffee here. Underneath, though, you have a great stout with a spectacular nose and creamy drinkability that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 22:45:18 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff

West Virginia

4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Late '13/early '14 release, poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black with a thin light tan head that reduces quickly, leaving only a ring around the glass, no lacing & short lasting alcohol legs

S- milk chocolate aroma meshes with a roasted and slightly smoky charred malt, there's a big fruity aroma in the middle with notes of cherry and dark grape. Also picking up vanilla & oak, licorice, some woodsy notes with a hint of bourbon

T- big sweetness on the tongue up front with flavors of sweet cherry juice and more fruity flavors, perhaps from the wine barrel aging. Sweet milk chocolate kicks in mid-palate with highlights of vanilla and a red-wine-like tartness. The finish brings out a hint of fresh coffee, dark fig and a touch of bourbon warmth

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy, almost chewy mouthfeel, leading to a smooth finish. Alcohol warmth on the linger

O- Really enjoyed this, I think the wine barrel aspect used in this beer adds a nice fruity tartness to it. The bourbon is more of a compliment, rather than a focus, but I think it all balances out quite nicely.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 01:03:10 | More by Treyliff
Photo of ryannosaurus
ryannosaurus

Arizona

4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured to tumbler (snifter/tulip would be better for this)

Opaque dark brown with small brown head

Aroma is big on molasses with hints of anise, whiskey, and wood.

I rarely give anything a 5, but flavor here is so perfection, not too much oak, not too much bourbon. Anise and hot alcohol abound, tempered by delicious grape and fig sweetness. A hint of coffee bitterness for punctuation. It all melds to a dark chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is what one expects from a big stout: heavy and a little intimidating, nice bite from the bubbles, which stick around.

Overall... a whole lot of everything I want from a huge Imperial Stout, but still some very subtle elements. Fruitier then a lot of other big IS's, and the barrel elements very subtle and engaging. I brew to savor slowly and mull over. Probably my current favorite style of beer, Xantus was a surprise addition to my top 5 in style.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2014 02:32:19 | More by ryannosaurus
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner

Kentucky

4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black rich color gave way to to a thin layer of cream for a head. Smoky nose with a spicy chilli pepper. Lots of char, whole smoke, dry Graham cracker, chilli pepper capsaicin, chipotle , coffee and roasted malts on the tongue. Nice bit of spicy heat on the feel. Excellent and fun beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 22:09:49 | More by KYGunner
Photo of BB1313
BB1313

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours black with a little light getting through; small dark khaki head that fades and leaves little lacing and decent retention. The aromas are full of chocolate. Lots of dark chocolate followed by some sweet milk chocolate. There's a little bit of vanilla and caramel in the mix. The bourbon characteristics are pretty subtle in the aromas. The flavors are pretty bold and bitter. The dark chocolate really shines giving this one a solid bitterness. It's roasty. The wood/oak characteristics become pretty noticeable in the flavors, but the bourbon is still on the subtle side. There's just a kiss of bourbon. The coffee really comes through in the flavors, giving it another bitter dynamic. Some ash and tobacco is in the finish as well. Finishes pretty dry for the most part. There's a little bit of warmth to this one, but it's definitely not hot or boozy. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with active carbonation. It's smooth and silky without being super thick. This makes a nice sipper.

Very impressive beer right here. The flavors really shine. If you like bitter coffee stouts, this is definitely worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 22:04:22 | More by BB1313
Photo of MattSweatshirt
MattSweatshirt

Texas

4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks good in the glass. Pitch black body and a light brown head. Leaves some lacing.

The aroma errs on the sweeter side. Chocolate with vanilla and graham cracker barrel character. Bourbon and roasted coffee. Dark fruit comes out after warming.

So much more coffee than the nose leads on. Coffee and chocolate bitterness. Bourbon flavor especially when it is room temp and bourbon heat. Slightly fudgy with some vanilla. Dark fruit.

Has a thick smooth body with mild carbonation. Pretty spot on.

It's nice to find a good stout that doesn't fly off the shelf right away.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 00:07:47 | More by MattSweatshirt
Photo of BierJager89
BierJager89

California

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

A: Dark red up to the light but pretty much black with a mocha head.

S: Dark bittersweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla, caramel, oak, molasses, great bourbon character and a little booze, in a nose akin to Black Note and Older Viscosity.

T: Coffee is strong in the taste, vanilla, oak, dark, almost fudgy chocolate. Delicious but a bit too bitter for my taste.

M: Full bodied and smoothish, creamy.

O: A great barrel aged imperial stout. It's no parabola, but it's definitely worth the 16 dollar price tag.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 18:01:29 | More by BierJager89
Photo of Benjammin107
Benjammin107

Virginia

4.51/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amazing, complex flavor! It seems all at once, but not too suddenly, it goes through malt, chocolate, coffee, and a perfect amount of bourbon flavor. After the first sip I was left thinking, "how will I ever finish this 650 ml bottle!" But after a little while it grows on you in the best of ways! Great for keeping warm this winter. A+ beer!!!

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2014 23:23:53 | More by Benjammin107
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an inky, nearly opaque black color. A small, bubbly, khaki film forms and sticks throughout. Plenty of of lace is left behind.
S: A mix of dark fruits/stone fruits with roasted malt, vanilla, and chocolate. Coffee grounds and cream. The stone fruity aroma is at odds with the roasted coffee grounds. Still interesting.
T: Much the same with that stone fruit flavor up front. Pithy cherries and grapes almost. Roasted malts, coffee grounds, vanilla, and milk chocolate. Interesting, just does not mesh as well as I would like.
M/D: A full body and moderate carbonation. Almost oily and resinous. A big beer with a bit of fusel alcohol. A slow sipper and/or sharer for sure.

I do like this. I am just not sure what to think of the stone fruit mixed with roasted malt and coffee grounds. Interesting and worth the price of admission, just not one of my favorites for the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2014 02:19:11 | More by champ103
Photo of sprucetip
sprucetip

Alaska

4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle was given to me 2+ years ago, not sure how old it is.

Pours inky black but initially no fizz or foam at all. Eventually a very thin mocha head appeared briefly then receded. Questioning the carbonation, but it still looks petty inviting.

Sweet toffee, vanalila, cocoa, flavors balancing the deceptively strong boozyness. There is also a woody/earthy character that adds depth.

Caramel, toffee, oak, chocolate, and vanilla are what come through most clearly to me at first. The booze is sneaky, but more noticeable through the middle and into the finish.

It's pretty flat. But it still feels very rich, thick, full and highly viscous.

Really nice smelling beer, and it tastes great too. Damned good. Even with the low carbonation. Would like to try it again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 00:38:54 | More by sprucetip
Photo of McStagger
McStagger

California

3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

No idea how old this one is. Knowing my local liquor store, probably fairly. Says Nectar Ales on the label.

A: Pitch black. Finger of tan espresso creme head. Retention is moderate. Lacing is above average. Head is made of large and small bubbles. Looks fairly standard.

S: Huge hits of baker's cocoa. Underneath is chicory, super dark roast coffee. Toffee, some vanilla. Just a touch of dark fruit. Not much alcohol perceived.

T: Dark fruit up front. Transitions into prickly heat. Roasted barley, toffee, more dark fruit, dark sugar syrup, oak, some bourbon element. Coffee picks up in the end, but it's much milder than anticipated. I suspect that they've had this beer for awhile. Alcohol warmth helps the dark fruit to shine.

M: Low carbonation, as to be expected. However, this one isn't chewy enough. A bit thin across the palate.

O: Fairly mediocre for the style. And at the same price point as Parabola and from the same brewers...well, it's dissapointing to say in the least.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 08:00:34 | More by McStagger
Photo of artoolemomo
artoolemomo

Oregon

3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Received with excited head that is pushing a finger's worth of a foam crowning from the top of the glass. The head is a medium beige while the body is an opaque, dark chocolate black. Lacing is prevalent and tends toward sheeting.

Nose- Some chocolate notes, hints of cocoa at first. Needs to warm up a bit though. A little bit of fudge brownie. Light notes of caramel and vanilla. Very faint roasted notes.

Taste- Really broad and dark chocolate that evokes Tootsie Roll and beyond. Definite coffee but fortunately this doesn't take over too much. I realize they describe this as an Imperial Java Stout and it doesn't show its force until the finish. I think this works for this beer. Some oak and a bit of a vinous quality. Slight red grape. The coffee has a good amount of presence but still manages to be discreet. The barrel notes are very light- the beer tastes as if it were aged on spent barrels (whatever that's supposed to mean). Not exactly complex but is very solid. I can understand the displeasure from paying full price for a bottle of this. Good to very good beer but certainly doesn't command the price a Firestone Walker barrel-aged beer should. Some hints of coconut but not enough to keep me interested.

Mouthfeel- Between medium and heavy bodied. A tiny bit chewy and a little over carbonated. A beer this robust doesn't need this level of carbonation. Definitely drops my overall impression of the beer.

Drinkability- Pretty easygoing and shows none of the heat of a 11% beer. Fairly boring for a barrel aged beer though. 4 bucks for a 6 oz pour seems a bit pricey for the quality but I'm glad I gave it a try on tap instead of springing for a whole bottle.

Overall- It's good beer with some tendencies toward being a really good beer. I would try it but there are dozens of better imperial stouts out there for the price or less.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2013 01:27:47 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
OBeerMeGreatOne

California

4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with an inch of head (impressive for 11%). No real lace.

Smells of coffee, chocolate, oak and earth. Almost none of the 11% shows through.

Chocolate, coffee, earthy and slight citrus. Middle is earth, molasses, slight booze and a slight dry oak finish. Goes down thick and smooth.

I bet this ages very well!

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 05:13:01 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
Photo of Florida9
Florida9

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown in color. Appears black in the glass, but there is a fairly large transparency around the edges. Forms a moderate sized tan head that reduces fairly quickly to a nothing more than a thin ring around the edge. Very little lacing.

S: Aroma is quite pleasant. Loads of coffee, espresso actually, mixed with chocolate, dark fruits, plums, prunes, molasses and a hint of a vinous grapes.

T: Taste is similar to the aroma, but whereas the coffee seems to take center stage with the aroma, the chocolate dominates the taste. Mildly sweet. Cocoa powder, burnt caramel, coffee.

M: Lightly creamy and smooth, but rather thin for the style. Mild bitterness. Lower carbonation.

O: A nice beer. Great balance. Just feel it is a bit thinner than it should be.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 23:52:50 | More by Florida9
Photo of Axnjxn
Axnjxn

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

on draft at Mekong in Richmond. 2010 vintage into a snifter.

pours a pitch black with a mild head. smell has a bit of coffee but mostly chocolate and roasted malts. taste has just a fairly coffee flavor, lots of chocolate and malts. not boozy at all. goes down smooth. full bodied, low carbonation.

overall very good imp stout, probably was better fresh though.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2013 22:47:24 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of bnes09
bnes09

Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black, dense looking brew with no light visible. Bold and luscious, whole wheat-colored head gradually recedes to a thin film and creamy corona around the edges of the glass. Blankets half of the glass (opposite the drinking side) in creamy lacing.

Smooth, bourbon, dark fruit and molasses aroma dances around my nostrils begging me to take a sip. Sweet, oaky and very well balanced.

Flavor begins with smooth sweet molasses, prune juice and black currants. Oaky bourbon character comes next, rich and satisfying. Just a hint of booze. Mid-drink, coffee notes dominate and compliment the malty, roasted almond flavor. Hops come to life in the finish with a well balanced, herbal, leafy character. However, somewhere between the finish and the aftertaste, the hops turn from pleasant to off-balanced with an aggressive pine-sol, grapefruit, detergent bitterness which does not blend well with the smooth bourbon tones. Thankfully this flavor is short-lived and is not dominating thanks to the massive malt bill in this beer. I think there are just so many flavors here, you are bound to find something that doesn't quite fit.

Dense, full bodied beer. Near syrup consistency. Sticky texture on the tongue and lips. Relatively low carbonation but works well for the style.

Overall, a very tasty bourbon-barrel aged double stout. Has all the bells and whistles I am looking for and has great balance throughout the majority of the drink. I am about half way done with a glass and am already beginning to feel the alcohol take hold. This is some strong stuff but it does not taste that way. Respect this beer, sip and savor.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 02:11:12 | More by bnes09
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.51/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Espresso, bourbon, wine- ooh, my! Emboldened with utmost complexity, this powerful stout tantilizes with savory sweetness while promoting dry roast to take the taste buds on quite a wild ride!

Black Xantus pour with an onyx-black pour and complete opaqueness. A thick sheet of foam builds on top the dark ale before reducing to a delicate creme before holding firm for the duration. Where lacing is minimal, the beer instead prefers brandy-like legging that combines with the froth for a sultry and ominous appearance.

Decadent aromatics rise from the glass with a burst of espresso and dark chocolate first, and then the sweet bourbon aromas secondarily. Brought together with notes of molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla- the scents all intertwine into a savory mix of all-things-dark. Warming up a bit, deep sherry wine emerges and brings in the light soy sauce and char-grilled scent that's more meaty than smoky.

As the malt lays on the tongue, it saturates with black-strap molasses, espresso, bittersweet chocolate and burnt grain. Its merely mid-weight sweetness promotes a dry roast taste that accents its roast and introduces slight ash. While the roast easily balances the sweetness, the savory wine flavors peak through with aged sherry, rich meaty and salty soy sauce, and licorice-like pepper taste. Finishing with sweet bourbon- the caramel, vanilla and booze-soaked oak sweetens the taste before closing with a return of coffee-like bitterness.

Certainly full on the palate, the beer takes little time to cast the bulk of its malt sweetness and weight to the wayside in order to favor a drier and more drinkable palate. Where the dryness helps here, it exposes the powdery ash textures and roast-derived astringency that creates slight harshness in texture. However, this only keeps the beer from becoming world class; its still and excellent mouthfeel component.

Black Xantus is an incredible Imperial Stout with strong bourbon and mild wine undertones. Though delicious and dry on the palate, the stout promises sultry and savory aromatics that the taste and texture has a hard time equaling.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2013 05:04:32 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of SeanDonahue
SeanDonahue

New Jersey

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

I am having my 2011 vintage of Nectar Ales's Black Xantus.

The aroma on this beer lets off a ton of alcohol notes mixed with a strong roasted coffee bean quality.

The appearance is black with little to no head when poured in a tulip glass.

The taste on this beer has deliciously bitter coffee notes as is the only way I could describe it.

Overall, this is a solid beer and will age up to 2 years very well.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2013 00:40:21 | More by SeanDonahue
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Driftwood-Plymouth--served into a tulip.

Appearance: black in color, minimal head, minimal carbonation, opaque

Smell: coffee, cream, and roasted malt

Taste: deep roasted coffee, light cream, vanilla, and oak--especially at the end

Mouthfeel: smooth, moderate-high carbonation, medium body for the style, sweet with oakiness that gives a slight bittering

Overall: Was not sure I was going to like this beforehand, but I love it. The coffee is rich but not overpowering and it mixes very well with the oak. I would love to try this one aged, but on draft it was a treat. This is what a coffee stout should be to me and is the new standard bearer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-29-2013 15:51:52 | More by tigg924
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Good starting head but it settles to the rim. Served in a Brandy snifter--no lace. Near black where no light shines through.

Chalky with a good dose of semisweet chocolate. There's some sweet caramel in the background.

Thick, rich and oily. Lots of baker's chocolate and unsweetened cocoa. Interestingly, there's little coffe to the flavor. It's as if there's no black patent malt in the this stout. Instead, there's an extraordinary amount of chocolate malt. Ample alcohol in the swallow. Powdered cocoa aftertaste.

Serving type: on-tap

07-28-2013 20:31:38 | More by smcolw
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color with just under an inch of foam topping the liquid; the bubbles quickly fade to a ringlet but the beer leaves plenty of dots and legs draping the side of the chalice

Smell: Chocolate and coffee; black bread and Bourbon - nothing over the top

Taste: Coffee-infused chocolate Bon Bons, with the Bourbon expanding in the middle; licorice and black bread, after the swallow, cut the sweetness somewhat but the finish is much like the start

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: TIme has been kind to this brew, hiding the alcohol and bringing all of the flavors together; not a mind-blower but very, very good

As there is no date on this bottle, I think it may be from the original bottling in 2009 or possibly 2010 as it came in my 2010 Secret Santa box; thanks, mrmiles, for the opportunity

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 02:05:18 | More by brentk56
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Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 790 ratings.