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Black Xantus | Humboldt Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
420 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
420
Ratings:
1,319
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
18.45%
 
 
Wants:
126
Gots:
378
For Trade:
32
Black XantusBlack Xantus
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

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%

Added by ThreeWiseMen on 10-09-2009

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 420 | Ratings: 1,319
Photo of KensWorld
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

650ml bomber purchased back in November 2014.

L = thick light brown head with killer silky solid lacing. Almost black.
S = not much going on
T = wow, very powerful taste bud explosion. Ending with a burn down the throat. Brown sugar and burnt caramel dominate. No coffee taste at all, nor is there any hint of barrel aging here. Very sweat.
F = thick, chewy, robust, over the top.
O = a very powerful RIS, almost too much! I wish I could save the rest of this because it's going to be hard to finish. 4.45

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Photo of oregonduck
3.1/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very sweet, but not a lot of complex flavors. Taste is sugary sweet mixed with some bitter coffee. This doesn't really have the typical nice bourbon barrel aged flavors. Smell is coffee and alcohol. Texture is nice, thick and silky. Overall, this is a decent stout, but nothing special. It is just too sweet for my taste, as the sweetness just takes over and becomes overwhelming. Hard to finish the bomber. WNBA.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From the waxed on 650 ml. bottle. 2014 batch. Sampled on April 3, 2015.

Jet black pour with modest tan had that fades out some.

Aroma of deep roasted caramel malts, coffee, and a hint of that 11% ABV booze.

The body is full and smooth.

The taste tends to bring out more sweetness in those dark malts. But the booze is a little more evident and lingering. Still delightful all around.

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Photo of TheDrunkenNerds
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Imperial stout that has a suttle sweet taste. This is aged in bourbon barrels and you taste the bourbon after the first taste. A great tasting beer with the perfect color

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Photo of AppaZappa
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured 22oz bottle into a tulip. Brown in color; lighter than expected. Smell is chocolate, malt, coffee, caramel, slight oak and tannin. Taste is malt, cocoa, and a bit of soy sauce. Bourbon is understated. Taste is light for abv. Unique beer, but doesn't come together for me.

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Photo of Spiegle
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

At boneshaker in rockin ca. Draft in tulip glass. Pour dark black with very little head. Get lot of chocolate small amount of coconut in the taste. Feels very thin for a stout. Overall pretty good beer. Not great but would drink again.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 15.49/22 oz bottle from Craft Shack
Bomber at 45 degrees into snifter
Aroma of roasted malt
Head average (2.5 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, diminishing to 2 mm ring and island
Lacing none
Body dark brown/black, clear
Flavor predominantly roasted malt; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl; alcohol warming immediately when swallowed.
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation
Appearance 4.25, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 3.75, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of zerosiah
3.74/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer poured a very dark brown into my glass. With the term "black" in the name I was expecting a darker color. I would put this beer into an imperial (barrel aged) brown category rather than a stout. The toasty bitter taste one might expect in a stout is lacking. However, chocolate presence and smooth barreled mouthfeel are quite forward in this offering. If this beer was labeled as an imperial barrel aged brown I would give it a 4.5.

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Photo of tprinzing
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a stout tulip glass.

L: There was a nice red hue when held up to sunlight. With an aggressive pour it had a three finger head that dissipated within a few minutes. Left a slight lace.

T: For me the chocolate was fairly significant. The coffee was nice and subdued. The bourbon was lighter than I would have liked. The berry flavor was slight, mostly lending sweetness.

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Photo of Jeffrey84
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Typical big imperial stout flavors. The one thing that stood out to me was a distinct cocunt flavor mid mouth. Which I loved. I didn't get any bourbon from the barrel aging.I wish it had a bigger mouth feel but overall a good solid beer.

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Photo of Mcwill51
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650 mL bomber poured into a snifter. Appearance - medium pour results in a very thin tan head that dissipates quickly atop a dark brown, almost black beer with reddish hues if held to the light. Have to think this is a result of the wine barrel aging. Nose - caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon barrel prominent here. Some hints of dark fruit like black cherries. Also some chocolate and some malt but these take a backseat. Taste - lots of chocolate, some roasted malt that interplays with the coffee, and lots of dark fruits from the wine barrel - cherries, leather, plums, tannins like a Cabernet. Some alcohol heat from the bourbon barrel but far less prominent than what is on the nose. Manifests as a bit of a bite on the finish. Overall pretty sweet for an imperial stout. I actually think a little more coffee (or maybe just a super fresh bottle) would bring out the coffee bitterness more and round out the flavor profile. Don't get me wrong, it's well balanced but a touch in the sweet side (nowhere near say, Founder's Big Luscious). Mouthfeel - low carbonation and a tiny bit on the thin side for such a big beer. Still, doesn't hurt the overall presentation too much and actually causes it to be a little bit more drinkable than it might otherwise be. Overall - an interesting and complex brew that has the bourbon barrel forward on the nose but the wine barrel the most prominent in the taste. Drinkable and sweeter than you're average imperial stout, there are a lot of flavors and aromas going on here to take it but it works well together. The dark brown/reddish tint to the brew is also different from your average Imperial stout. Definitely worth trying.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pretty aggressive pour lead to slight mocha head that retreated and no lacing amongst the mostly reddish black hue as it was consumed. Smells of bourbon, coffee, fruits, and chocolate. Tastes of bittersweet bakers chocolate, cherries, bourbon oak, molasses, and toffee. Medium bodied brew that has a little bit of peppery heat on the finish. Overall, a solidly crafted Imperial Stout.

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Photo of mobrado
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

So, so, so smooth with just a touch of heat from the bourbon barrel. Very well blended. Tastes like it's aged although the bottle is barely two months old.

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Photo of BigBry
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Yard House in LA.
Opaque black with a small tan head. Foam slowly fades, but never disappears, leaving a sheet of lace.
Smell is of dark fruits, roasted malts, and coffee. There is a bit of vanilla and bourbon barrel as well, more as it warms.
Taste has dark fruits, roasted malts, coffee, cocoa, vanilla. Lots of flavors, complex without being overpowering.
Mouthfeel is thick, but still smooth and creamy. Lower level of carbonation.
Flavorful, complex, delivers every thing I was hoping for.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at World of Beer in Jacksonville, FL.

Pours a dark, rich black, with a small head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like coffee, cherries, chocolate, and a good amount of bourbon.

The bourbon is less forward in the taste than the aroma. There's a ton of dark fruit flavor here, reminiscent of black cherries. I get a little bit of red wine too. The coffee is strong too, slightly nutty and fruity, with silky chocolate and molasses. There's not a whole lot of roasty bitterness, making this beer pretty sweet. It's good in small doses, about 8 oz or so.

This is medium bodied, a little tiny bit thin, but still really silky and full in the mouthfeel. The carbonation is pretty low.

A really nice BA stout that seems to go under the radar. It's pretty sweet, but other than that, it's really, really good.

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Photo of mabermud
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Medium brown body that appears thin and watery. The mocha head quickly retreats into a light ring around the collar. The smell definitely shines. Strong bourbon, oak, booze, roast, and vanilla aroma. The taste is not unlike the smell, plus it has a good deal of dark bakers chocolate. Chalky bakers chocolate taste. Clean finish. This has a good bourbon smell, but the bourbon taste does not take a strong stance. Sweet biscuits as the beer warms. The liquid feel is substantial, fits well, and does nicely with light, dense carbonation.

Overall - This is a nicely made imperial stout. It isn't elite, but is upper echelon, just near or at the bottom of the upper tier. I would likely have it again, but would not seek it out. That's not a problem because it sits on the shelf for a little bit around here when it is released. Try it.

P.S. This beer becomes much better as it warms...

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Photo of flagmantho
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: totally black with a slowly-subsiding finger of creamy tan foam. There's also a nice lace left on the glass; it's very attractive indeed.

Smell: very sweet malt aroma with a light roastiness; it reminds me much more of a dubbel than an imperial stout. There's some fruitiness and some yeastiness that I like, but it's a little underwhelming for a beer this size.

Taste: like the aroma, it's very sweet with a little bit of a Belgian character, but unlike the aroma there's a huge roastiness and a big chunk of bitterness as well. It's not as multidimensional as I like in a beer like this, but it's still very good.

Mouthfeel: rich body with a silky smoothness and a good carbonation yielding a very smooth creaminess. I like it a great deal.

Overall: this is a damn fine beer, although it doesn't blow me away. What surprises me most is the lack of bouquet (at least, for the style) -- though this particular shortcoming does not ruin the overall experience.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 16 oz snifter, not sure of the bottle date. Pours a very dark brown, with a three inch light brown h3ad that leaves behind some patches of lace after slowly settling.

Smell is vanilla, dark fruit, leather, pipe tobacco, dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and some cinnamon.

Taste is very aggressive strong coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, leather, pipe tobacco, cinnamon, and only a hint of bourbon and that is fine.

Body is a little bigger thatn medium, nice carbonation for the style, a bit dry as you would expect, and a very drinkable sipper.

Overall this is very good. I haven't done a review in awhile, but this one deserved my full attention. Really met my expectations!

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Photo of Vincea
3.19/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Very good but I thought it had an off flavor causing it to be a low rate and not sure how fresh or condition it was in found it in a random liquor store in Hawaii

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Photo of Foxybrau
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick and black, you know it's good when it hits the snifter. Little head that lingers only as thin swirls for just a bit. Aroma is red wine and really the weakest point of a very strong offering. Slippery in the mouth and transitions nicely from vanilla and dark caramel to malt to espresso on the way down. Aftertaste is charred and dry and begs for another sip. The alcohol is very well hidden, but leaves you with a warm hug from oak barrel. A great blend of notes, complex enough to make you wonder what you missed.

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Photo of WoostaBia
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at 50 F. Taste improved as it warmed up.

A - Pours pitch black color. I could not see any light through the beer. Less than 1/2 inch cream colored head.

S - Maple, Honey, Vanilla, malted roasted goodness, Balsamic vinegar.

T - Bittersweet smooth chocolate, bitter espresso, sweet light vinegar, roasted malt : espresso flavor.

M - Low carbonation. Medium thickness and creamy.

D - Very good. Great tasting imperial stout, would try again.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Dark clear ruby. Tan head with some messy lacing.
Smell: Didn't wait long enough to let this come closer to room temp out of the fridge but right out of the chute the nose is singing. Chocolate, vanilla, espresso, mild bourbon.
Taste: Wow, even better than the nose. all those flavors and so smooth, alcohol very well hidden, no discernible burn just loads of flavor with a nice balance of sweet and dry.
Overall: My first Xantus and hopefully not the last. Well done.

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Photo of mjwellman
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours rich dark black with a nice creamy head. Aroma slight malty aroma with a bourbon & coffee. Slight bourbon flavor with a stronger taste of coffee. Very light bitterness aftertaste but overall smooth wonderful taste. Every sip I take encourages me take another. This is an exceptional Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Stevedore
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. Served in a snifter glass 12/28/14.

A- Dark medium-brown body. Minimal offwhite head, average retention, no lacing.

S- Sweet bourbon, coffee, oak, chocolate.

F- A bit more barrel vanilla, small amount of umami, oak, roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee. More oak on the finish. Overall different, but nice flavour.

M- Thinner side of medium. A bit thin in general. Lower carbonation.

O- An interesting stout that is quite different from your run of the mill barrel-aged stouts.

Final score: 4.01

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Pours a very dark reddish black color, that one can see through when held to a bright light. Has a medium head, with thin lacing.

Smell – I notice a wine scent more than anything else, with heavy malt, sweet vanilla, light coffee and maybe just a touch of bourbon.

Taste – Very malty, with a touch of vanilla and a light alcohol burn. I can feel the bourbon more than I can taste it.

Mouthfeel – Very smooth and creamier than it looks. No strong aftertaste. It really feels good.

Drinkability – This goes down well due to the great mouthfeel. Enjoyable.

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Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 420 ratings.