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Black Xantus - Humboldt Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black XantusBlack Xantus

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

998 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 998
Reviews: 366
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 108
Gots: 263 | FT: 20
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 998 | Reviews: 366 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BB1313:
Photo of BB1313
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

BB1313, Feb 12, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a nonic a near jet black with a creamy-like deep beige head that looked good but faded rather quickly.Great mix of vanilla,roast,coffee,and bitter chocolate aromas,really rich aromas.Sweetish and rich on the palate with vanilla and molasses being the main component,its roasted and it holds up to the sweetness well but the sweetness wins out in the end.A rich RIS and its a good nightcap but it gets a tad sweet after mid bottle in my opinion.

oberon, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of Beerdless
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Beerdless, Mar 24, 2014
Photo of t2grogan
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

t2grogan, Oct 08, 2014
Photo of Tiernan
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Tiernan, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of SanFranJake
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

SanFranJake, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of Krafty34
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Krafty34, May 04, 2014
Photo of warnerry
3.38/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours black with one finger of quickly dissipating tan head.

S - Sweet bourbon notes up front, with some vanilla, coffee and oak also coming through.

T - Taste is also sweet vanilla, coffee and bourbon, with some roasted malts coming through that were not apparent in the smell. Oak becomes more prominent the further into the bottle, but not necessarily in a pleasant way.

M - a little thin for an RIS.

D With the abv, thin mouthfeel and pervasive, drying oak, drinkability is moderate at best, and definitely not worth $15 a bottle.

warnerry, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of BeerMe13
4/5  rDev -4.5%

BeerMe13, Aug 11, 2013
Photo of SuperbikeShaun
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

SuperbikeShaun, Mar 02, 2014
Photo of mctizzz
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%

mctizzz, Sep 16, 2013
Photo of tigg924
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

tigg924, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev -4.5%

aquazr1, Feb 27, 2014
Photo of Mora2000
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer.

Beer pours black with a tan head. The aroma is sweet, with a little bourbon as well as some vanilla and raisins. The taste is a strong mix of vanilla and milk chocolate. You also get a little bourbon and oak character. The beer has a thick, creamy mouthfeel and is very good.

Mora2000, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of fo1ksguitar
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle

A- Pours very dark, a fair amount of carbonation

S- Smells sweet; hints of coffee & vanilla

T- Very well balanced, upfront is chocolate and coffee, as it warms up the back end is more complex, can taste more fruit and a little more booze.

M- Medium body, but still smooth

O- Overall I really enjoyed this. The 2 year point was perfect to smooth it out. Hope this comes to St. Louis in the future. Love the FW line.

Reviewed on: 07-02-2011

fo1ksguitar, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of Mattco
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Mattco, May 25, 2013
Photo of jaminjohnson
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

jaminjohnson, Jul 11, 2012
Photo of kingcrowing
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a tulip.

Pours a very dark brown, almost no head but it's dark. Nose bis oaky, a bit sweet and very mellow with vanilla.

Taste is sweet, oak, some. Sort of liquor and a good rich vanilla flavor. Mouthfeel is full, creamy and very good.

kingcrowing, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of jburchett
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

jburchett, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of jondeelee
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black Xantus (Xantus being a species of hummingbird, as per the label's picture) begins with a heavenly Imperial Stout aroma--chock full of tobacco, ash, smoke, coffee, and molasses--but this one is tempered by the promise of brown sugars and caramelized figs.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a lash of coffee, ash, tobacco, black malt, and anise that is truly spectacular. As the mouthful ages on the tastebuds, a sugary layer of caramelized figs and brown sugar filters through, but is obviously struggling to do so against the weight of the primary flavors. Subsequent mouthfuls reveal deeper layers of figs, vanilla, and aged port, as well as a rim of bourbon at the edges. The aftertaste is a continuation of the darker flavors, as well as a slow bourbon alcohol burn that actually increases in intensity, and lasts for quite a while. Mouthfeel is a smooth medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high.

Overall, this is a great Imperial Stout, and sure to please fans of the style. The beer might be a bit too heavy on the bourbon-and-alcohol burn (which does tend to dominate the flavor profile if several sips are taken in a row), but at 11% ABV, it's actually surprising that this isn't more present, and speaks volumes of the levels of flavor otherwise assaulting the tastebuds. Sip this one slowly, but otherwise well worth the price.

jondeelee, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A very dark brown with an extremely thin and light brown head. Leaves significant lacing down the glass. A pretty beer, but it doesn't strike me as special or beautiful.

A muted yet pleasant aroma of chocolate and coffee and some sweet dark fruits, but nothing is leaping out of the glass to attack my nose.

A good taste that follows the nose, yet everything seems muted a bit. There's some roasted coffee, some burnt chocolate, and a touch of fruit, but nothing overwhelming or overtly special.

An appropriate velvety and smooth mouthfeel.

A pleasant enough and drinkable enough RIS but it doesn't do any one particular well enough that makes it one of my favorites. Fortunately, I can find better RIS on a regular basis. Ultimately good, but not great.

ehammond1, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of TKEbeerman
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into my SA perfect pint, this brew pours a super dark brown. Held to the light you can see some light shine through. The head is lacking body.

S: The aroma deserves a 4.5 simply due to mouth watering .complexity. Medium roast coffee, notes of chocolate and vanilla, some toffee, and maybe some hazel nut.

T: The flavor is almost equally as complex and satisfying as the nose. Very smooth chocolate, vanilla, coffee mix with a slight bitterness on the back of the pallet.

MF: The mouth feel is velvety smooth with excellent carbination for brew supposedly aged in various barrels.

Overall, a brew completely worth the price. It is rare to see a brew of this quality on the shelves here in FL

TKEbeerman, Dec 05, 2012
Photo of Soonami
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Chad for sharing this bottle of Black Xantus. This was a delicious RIS, I can't remember having a better example of the style. The beer was nearly opaque, dark as midnight with mahogany hues when held up in the light. The beer was topped with a cappuccino foam that held a wonderful aroma of mocha, roasted malt and fresh ground coffee. The beer had great balance with a wonderful amount of malty toasty grain. Often stouts are all bitter and astringent roast, but this beer has delicious maltiness that just makes it for me. Great beer thanks a lot Chad for sharing, i can't wait to be able to buy this soon.

Soonami, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as beer, tons of coffee aroma, taste was immediately very reminiscient of Alesmith's Speedway Stout, until the sweetness creeps and creeps on you.

Coffee and chocolate dominate more than any barrel aging bourbon stuff, and yet the heat on this beer is definitely there. I don't see why this gets such a bad rap, its basically like a ris that has enough coffee to not make the dark fruits turn me off like they have a tendency to do at times. Smoky comes on as well. What originally was a simplistic Speedway Stout comparison evolved into something more complicated, not always working out, but definitely a successful effort from Firestone Walker on this one.

"Imperial Java Stout aged in bourbon, the first barrel aged release under the Nectar Ales banner. Brewed with Michoacan Fair Trade Coffee."

Beerandraiderfan, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma: not bad but more suggestion of woody roots than expected.

Flavor: rich and strong, even for style. Essentially no burnt qualities but very dark roasted grains dominate. Black coffee jumps in in the aftertaste.

Feel: very full body with proper carbonation.

O: a rich, strong sipper worth seeking out.

chinchill, Nov 04, 2014
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Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 998 ratings.