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Black Xantus - Humboldt Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black XantusBlack Xantus

Educational use only; do not reuse.

412 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 412
Hads: 1,295
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 18.69%
Wants: 125
Gots: 369 | FT: 30
Brewed by:
Humboldt Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ThreeWiseMen on 10-09-2009

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%
View: Beers (6) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 412 | Hads: 1,295
Photo of satowns
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted blind with 13 other imperial stouts.

Pours as expecetd; dark, dark, dark. minimal head.

Oatmeal cookie dough. yup. crazy, but that was my first impression. sweet bread dough and over ripe bananas. bizarre yet wonderful aroma.

nice bourbon tone followed by carmelized sugar. herbal hop flavor, grainy roast. light alcohol burn.

warming and delicious. too bad the price was pretty exorbanant.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a soft off-brown head, fair retention, no lace.

S: Dark chocolate, notes of coffe and fruit/raspberry.

T: Dark chocolate and roasted malt predominate, classic straight RIS flavours. Definite notes of fruit, hints of raisin, fig, and oak with some ethanol in the finish.

M: Not the robust feel I would have liked, rather medium-bodied, smooth, kind of thins out near the finish.

D: A good beer, drinks much faster than most of the beers in its style. Not a huge complexity, but I enjoyed the experience of this stout.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle from Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA. Poured in to a 22 oz. Terrapin snifter.

Apeparance: Pours an oily pitch, thick looking but not nearly on par (not that that's a bad thing) with the Biggest, Baddest Boys on the Barrel-aged Block. A single finger of surprisingly lightly tanned head emerges somewhat readily and has average retention, and the lacing suggests something similar - runny, glittery, and with near zero-to-nothing in terms of stickiness. The collar is as close to non-existent as you can get, thin, faintly bubbly, and with zero surface lacing.

Aroma: Sweet, rolling waves of bittersweet cocoa mingle with hints of rum-soaked raisins and hot, spicy booze. The cocoa intermingles with the spicy, bourbon heat in a way that suggests cocoa liquor.

Taste: A little more neutrally-flavored, though not for lack of trying. You can taste, if you try to dig beneath the sea of relatively hot and spicy alcohol (particularly on the way down), a pleasantly complex array of malts and dark (and even a few lighter) fruits. From plump, well-aged raisins dipped in brown sugar to caramelized black cherries (note: I don't think you can caramelize cherries, but I imagine they could be dipped in turbinado sugar and then slowly and gently roasted on incredibly low heat to produce this sort of flavor, though drinking port may be easier), the fruits intermingle with toast, coffee, plenty of bittersweet cocoa, and a lot of bitter, almost astringently earthy malt notes. It's very earthy, toast heavy, in fact, with enough creamy, lactic, chocolately sweetness to carry this beer. The remainder of the notes - slight oaky notes, barrel sugars, and tons of huge, earthy, spicy bourbon - augment both aspects of this beer, the heat and the struggling malts. As I discuss below, the mouthfeel initially does the latter favors, but eventually falls to the former - is that the mouthfeel's fault or the flavor profile's fault? Who knows, but I'm choosing to express my displeasure here.

Mouthfeel: Perhaps this beer's weakest component, though it's still not "bad." The initial impression I get out of this one is that it's extraordinarily creamy, on the thicker side (contrary to what I expected from above), decadent almost, though this impression is cut somewhat by the abrasiveness of the malts as described above. But even the slightest amount of agitation frees all of the embedded carbonation, and though it's not as if it loses its creaminess, it does seem as if individual sensations that result from all the liberated effervescence amplifies the wrong portions of this one, bringing the malt astingencies and the spicy, heated alcohol to the surface more than you'd want them to be.

Drinkability: I guess I'm gonna knock this beer more in its drinkability than anything else. The overwhelming bourbon and spicy heat were really out there, on their own, bold and in your face, in a way that really does end up distracting - i.e., it doesn't meld, it doesn't compliment, it doesn't augment. I enjoyed it because only because I focused on this one and was able to discern and pick out the good, underlying base notes from the mess. It's a delicious mess, but it's a little harsh, a little abrasive, and it seems like the kind of thing that needs at least two years to mellow out. Will it hold up that long? I don't know if it's well-crafted enough, too. I just know it's not ready now.

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Photo of berkey
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Finally worked up the nerve to open this controversial beer. 22oz bottle.

Pours oil black with a small brown head that fades relatively quickly. Briefly sports some filmy lacing.

Aroma consists primarily of chocolate along with a healthy dose of hops. Soy sauce character is there but subtle enough as to not be overly distracting. Actually smells pretty decent.

This is much hoppier than expected on first sip. Bitter, dry, and citrus characteristics kind of jump all over the chocolate that was pleasing on the aroma. Now I love hops but something just isn't working for me here. Some coffee in the aftertaste isn't bad but the soy sauce from the aroma is back in a bigger way than I'd like.

Alcohol burn isn't obvious which is a plus but the odd hop and soy sauce finish keep this from what would otherwise be a fairly drinkable beer.

I don't have the strong reaction to this beer that some seem to but I can see how this would be a disappointment if one hadn't already heard the mixed reviews. I know some may consider this a contradiction in terms but this is just a 'meh' Imperial Stout. Not bad but definitely not worth the price.

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Photo of charlzm
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 2010/01/16 at 52 degrees F.

Pours into my handy Triple Petrus snifter/tulip one shade lighter than opaque black. A one finger dark tan head forms; it subsides quickly into a very fine, thin ring of foam around the edges.

The nose is greeted by vanilla and malted milk. Interesting.

Up front, my palate discerns some subtle wood hints. There is fleeting sour cherry. Chocolate malt is the body of the flavor. Moderately bitter at the end.

The beer is thick in the mouth, but not especially chewy More astringent than I would have expected and there is some alcohol heat on the finish.

I am fairly certain I can easily finish a bomber of this beer solo.

This is supposedly a kissing cousin to Firestone's awesome Parabola; I can taste the relationship, but (and it pains me to say this), Black Xantus is only very good.

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Photo of Deuane
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jatallah for sharing a bottle of this one. Shared with Ffejherb among others.

A-Black. A thin, wispy tan head reduced to a ring of retention and left spotty lace.

S-Wood, bourbon, deep roasted malt and a touch of vanilla. All of this fought through ever present alcohol fumes that, at times, hurt my nares!

T-Dark cherry, dry, oak wood, bitter dark roasted malt, some earthy hops and dark chocolate in a building, deeply dry finish.

M-Medium-heavy body with LONG lingering roasted malt and hop bitterness. Gets quite astringent with warming.

D-Nice and complex and VERY dry. Good flavours even with it being so young. This could surely use some aging to help smooth it out as the alcohol heat was a bit too intense for me at times. Certainly was glad to have tried it though.

BTW--love the name and the label! I am sure few beer geeks know Hungarian ornithologist John Xantus de Vesey--who had a hummingbird (refer to beer label) and a murrelet (type of small alcid/auk) named after him.

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Photo of slasher007
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer.

The beer pours black with a thin mocha head. The aroma is a pleasant mix of licorice, bourbon, coffee, chocolate and roast. Lots of vanilla and oak, but some booze as well. Medium body with moderate to high carbonation. It's rich and smooth, but not heavy. Excellent beer

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Photo of MisterClean
3.1/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to the brewer who brought this to the meeting. I've been hearing a lot of hype about this beer.

A - Pours dark brown with 1 finger of mocha head. Head dissipates fast. Relatively no carbonation or lacing.

S - Lots of oak and vanilla up front. Obviously barrel aged beer. Chocolate and light alcohol is present as well. Hops are very faint, too faint to describe.

T - Oak, vanilla, chocolate, some grapefruitish hops, and moderate to high alcohol.

M - Moderate bodied and very malt dominated. Finishes thin wth moderate alcohol. Alcohol makes this stout fairly astringent in mouthfeel.

D - Average. Needs lots of aging. Alcohol has way too much presence in an 11 percent beer. Flavor would stand out if not so much alcohol.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A fluffy light brown head looks like a mass of puffed rice...and unsurprisingly it dies to a skim then a soapy crown rather quickly. This Xantus is indeed black...there's really no other word for the liquid ebony sitting in this snifter. Just...black, and mesmerizing at that.

Fair bit of nostril-flaring heat in the aroma, but it's not overbearing and there's more worked into it. Kind of has a nutty exterior, with dark fruit suggestions tucked deep inside, even a dash of anise. Interestingly, not as much coffee and chocolate as you normally get with the style.

Flavor has a hoppy bite, balanced well with deep dark chocolate flavors, a light salty/soy-sauce character, juicy fig and prune, and an accenting glow from the alcohol. Some vanilla creeps in with warming; green wood makes itself known in the main and finish. Nice.

Bit of a plastic feel to the mouth, which could be a drying element playing tricks--and it's not a complaint, as it doesn't taste plastic-y, and the gooey, slick, creamy elements of the texture are no less than fantastic. Carbonation is very much present, yet working at a level that highlights the other feels and flavors, and doesn't distract.

Not a mindblower exactly, but a more solid, textbook-example of the style I cannot think of at the moment. Just really, really good stuff; would be an excellent gateway RIS for newbies looking to explore the style. (Can the Xantus Helper or Xantus Claus Xmas RIS be far behind?) (Urgh...)

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Photo of jminsc76
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at McGs in Chatsworth, Los Angeles.

Pours a small head atop a black impenetrable body, with some thick and impressive legs as I tilt the glass. Exhibits no lacing.

Aromas are medium strength and include bananas, tropical fruit, carob, and a little bit of cocoa. Exhibits an excellent balance between the fruitier smells and the more chocolate-y qualities. To summarize the bouquet: chocolate-covered banana.

Flavors are delicious, and include the aforementioned aromas as well as a slightly malty bitterness that finishes smoothly on the palate. It was excellent upon the first sip and remains excellent down to the last quaff.

The mouthfeel is smooth and soft, almost velvety. Similar to the taste, it goes down smooth.

Overall, this is an excellent RIS that compares well in quality (though doesn't quite match) Deschutes Abyss. That being the case, the price per bottle doesn't provide this beer an advantage, considering it's $14.99 per bottle and an Abyss will run $1 to $2 less per bottle. However, this is quite a damn good deal on tap, and perhaps one day Nectar Ales can (or will) sell it for less at retail.

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Photo of mbudner
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into a snifter.

A- Pours a brownish-black (looks a little thing for a BA RIS when poured) with a light brown 2-finger head that subsided quickly.

S- Toasted marshmellows, some chocolate. I am getting no bourbon or barrel in the aroma at all. On second thought, I am getting some intermittent whiffs of vanilla that I could stretch to associate with bourbon barrel-aging, but nothing like the typical BA RIS (not in a bad way.) Slight soy sauce/salty/oxidized aroma (very slight, but still a little early for this.) The bourbon really starts to come out at warm temperatures (I let it sit out of the fridge for about 45 minutes before opening, but it took another 30-40 minutes after that to really become obvious to me and now it's dominating the aroma.)

T- Vanilla, bourbon, booziness/heat (that seems disassociated from the bourbon and more a result of the base beer itself.) Some toasted malts. Very surprising how much more the bourbon shows up in the taste compared to in the nose. Faint astringency from the barrel which also plays nicely for the mouthfeel.

M- Nice and creamy. Drying from the barrel-aging. A bit under-carbonated for the style for my liking, but nothing detrimental. A nice warming in the throat.

D- Definitely a bit boozy, but when comparing this with other BA RISs, I would say it's quite drinkable.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter. Thanks Frank!

A- Pours a dark, jet black. Produced two fingers width of tan head, dissipated almost instantaneously. Reduced to a thin ring around the glass.

S- Bourbon, molasses, and a touch of vanilla. The part that threw me off was that I was getting a hint of licorice, which I didn't really care for. If it wasn't for that, I would have really enjoyed the aroma.

T- Upon consumption, picking up some chocolate malts. These leads the way into a nice vanilla mixture. Finishes with oak and bourbon, leather, alcohol, along with a slight bitterness. Lingering at the end of each sip is a distinctive licorice taste...luckily it wasn't as noticeable as in the aroma.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation. Good have used some more viscosity for such a big beer.

D- This one was a little hot with the bourbon, but nothing overwhelming. Went down pretty easily.

Overall, this would have been a fantastic beer if it weren't for the licorice flavors that I was noticing. I don't know if the flavor was just imparted from the barrel or if they actually put it in the beer, but it was definitely a turn off for me. Still a decent BA RIS, one that I feel lucky to be able to try.

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Photo of TKEAnimal
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am not the biggest fan of stouts, but thanks to the clerk at BevMo I decided to check this out.

A - Pours out black, black as night with a light color head.

S - It smells sweet with a good smell of alcohol.

T - A good balance between sweet and bitter tastes. The 11% ABV is hidden really well.

M - Full bodied, but not so heavy where you feel like you had a big meal.

D - I was surprised that I liked this beer. I am not of big fan of RIS beers, but after drinking this beer I will definitely buy another one to store and trade.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.13/5  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.

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Photo of dukedevil0
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade from an awesome guy, beddachedda!

A: Pours a dark black color with a nice two fingers of khaki colored head that settles down to a thin film with no lacing.

S: chocolate and roasted malts, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla

T: Tastes very similar to the smell - chocolatey including a chocolate malt and slight roasted malt flavor, some vanilla, molasses, kind of woodsy wet, a very minor alcohol flavor that doesn't detract from the flavor as it really just adds some sweetness

M: Nice and full bodied, but not super creamy or thick like some RISes. Good amount of carbonation while only being slightly thinner in mouthfeel than I'd prefer.

D: Nice flavor and not much alcohol flavor picked up makes this a good drinkable imperial stout, especially one that is 11%. Nothing really mind blowing, but good and tasty all around.

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Photo of vacax
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ a few weeks ago at the Firestone 13 party. Review from notes. I wanted to try this one on tap because I really liked the bottled version and wanted to try and get to the root of the love or hate dynamic this beer is now somewhat infamous for. The pour came out with one and a half fingers of dense mocha head on top of a purely black liquid.

The nose was java focused with an odd twist of citrus, toffee like malts, all of which came across as somewhat bitter. The flavor had a somewhat neutral dry malt sweetness mixed up with java, raisin, and a spicy metholated astringent bitterness to go with toffee and cookie. Lots of flora and esters as well. This is definitely not the same flavors I experienced inside the bottle. Somehow this tap version seems to have lost the rather delicate balance that was in the bottle I so enjoyed and got mixed up with herbal off notes.

The mouthfeel was heavy and slick with a light carbonation. The astringency I described took the bitter java the wrong way on this and overall caused the beer's drinkability to suffer. For me the tap version paled in comparison to the bottle.

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Photo of mentor
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a one-finger head over a pitch liquid with dark brown edgings when held to light. Smells bourbon, vanilla, chocolate syrup, rich coffee roast, and some caramel. When swirled, some cream. Really wonderful nose. Balanced, complex, and well blended.

Tastes bourbon with strong wood that has a waxy and a cedar character to it. Some scorch to the wood. Cocoa powder, bland roast, and some cherry. Zippy alcohol sting comes across as a bit peppery and gives rise to mild heartburn. Blackstrap molasses, tabacco, and very dry leather.

Dry finish, md-strong carbonation, and the alcohol combine to keep the thick mouthfeel from sticking too much. Aftertaste is dry wood and anise.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber, courtesy of Jason and Julie Atallah!

A - Poured a dark brown/onyx-toned liquid with half an inch of milky tan/mocha-colored head that virtually disappeared, leaving behind very minimal lace.

S - Vanilla and bourbon notes are apparent right from the get-go, followed by chocolate ganache and subtle tobacco notes. A hint of alcohol also creeps into the mix.

T - The bourbon and alcohol notes are featured a bit more prominently in the flavor, but the heat is cooled by a dominant vanilla sweetness and a more subtle chocolate presence. A crisp, rice-like malt character emerges in the middle, followed by a hint of soy sauce and tobacco notes in the backend. Finishes with a fair amount of herbal, earthy hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with a slick, oily texture and very soft carbonation. However, there is quite a bit of alcohol warmth delivering a mild sting on the palate. Finishes with a touch of hop bitterness.

D - I found Black Xantus to be a good RIS overall, but not amazing. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try this rarely seen brew, however. Thanks Jason and Julie!

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Photo of Rmassimiano
3.79/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer smells oaky kind of like a good whiskey but tastes like chocolate or coffee. It has a nice bitter bite to it. the color is black as night with a light tan head. I would drink it again but not my favorite because it kind of has a lingering alcohol taste.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The infamous Black Xantus. I have had this for quite some time, but opened it yesterday to share with a few local BAs.

A: The pour is fairly impressive. The beer is black with a small mocha colored head.

S: The smell is surprisingly lacking in coffee (considering this is supposed to be a "java" stout). There was plenty of bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla, however.

T: The taste is sort of all over the place. The bourbon is noticeable up front, but not overwhelming. That is followed by some decent chocolate and vanilla flavors, as well as some coffee.

M: The body is on the thin side for an RIS, but not terrible. The carbonation is low, but that is to be expected.

D: For an RIS, it's rather drinkable. But, it's not necessarily a great example. I am glad that I got to try it, but I am not in a hurry to drink my remaining bottle.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.56/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Stone Brewing Bistro & World Gardens on 11/13/09 during their Firestone Walker 13th on the 13th event. Served in a snifter.

Pours black, with a nice looking layer of reddish and burnt mocha colored head. Strong frothy flareup, leaves big smattering of lacing back. The aroma is very floral and green up front. Notes of chocolate, fruit, wood, vanilla, char, and acrid coffee gives this a smokey acrid tang. A stiff waft of heat seems to undermine the flavors here a bit.

The taste is sticky with chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and burnt molasses flavor from the bourbon, with coffee coming out a bit more sharp here. There is a good bit of green citric hops present, that I feel are keeping some of the bolder flavors here at bay. The finish is full of tannic woody dryness. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a big creamy feel that then thins out somewhat towards the back of the swallow. Much like the aroma, this is packing a good bit of alcohol beef, which does offer up a bit of a sting on the tongue.

Between the hop profile and alcohol presence, this was still felt pretty young and raw. I'd love to revisit this in a year or two to see how much more the other flavors strengthen and emerge, as there was definitely some good stuff under there.

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Photo of ReDave
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit pricey.
I was surprised to see this in Fresno, even if we are not too far from Paso....

I've gotta try this tho, don't even know what this is supposed to be, oh, there it does say on the label, duh...

Black Dark tan head

Pretty nice nose vanilla sweet mmm

Taste even better stout vanilla roasty [coffee?] now some earth in the nose

Full bodied

warm acohol glow

hop end nice

I'd get this again

wish it was a tad cheaper...

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.63/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Chris sent this with the best of intentions which quickly turned into bitter disappointment once he actually drank it. Since this beer is single-handedly responsible for the emasculation of Chuck Norris (or so I'm told by Arbitrator), I'm approaching with caution.

The pour is dark brown, turning to black once my glass is sufficiently full. Reddish brown highlights are noticeable, and the dark brown head rises quite beautifully before falling off to a disk, leaving some mild lace in its wake.

The nose is strange. An amalgamation of fruity hops and vanilla, this smells like some sort of a milk shake. Hop bitterness is low, and the coffee character is rather non-existent. Some chocolate is noticeable as well, but the tropical fruit hop character is what dominates. While unusual, I kind of like it, despite it being close to nothing that I'd expect from an IRS. Hop bitterness is low.

Wow, this beer darn near choked me with the initial alcohol bite on my first sip. Clearing my sinuses and getting back on my chair, as I take my second sip, I am presented with a blend of fruity hop flavor (beautiful pineapple and mango character, BTW), dark chocolate bitterness, some harsh solvents and some mild burnt malts. Vanilla and coconut appear mid-palate, and the acrid malt character grows tiring really quick, especially when coupled with a rather simple sugary sweetness that has some caramel-like character. I'm really not getting the coffee character, the fruity hop character is too dominant. Harshly alcoholic on the finish with an overtly tannic character that I really do not like. Bourbon character is limited to the tannins, vanilla and coconut, and maybe I should attribute the harsh booziness to it as well. Too thin in body for a big imperial stout, this beer is quite highly carbonated. The finish is quite disappointing too, with the tannins and the burnt malt bitterness involved in a Mexican standoff with the sweetness, taking my palate, my sobriety and $11 worth of beer down the drain. Where's the coffee?

Note: I stand by my 1.5 rating for drinkability, simply because I can't bring myself to choke it down. I love a big, boozy imperial stout, but it needs to be well done.

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Photo of flexabull
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Every now and then my local liquor store gets some special stuff in stock, this was a recent find there. However, $13.99 a bottle?! I have a feeling this will be a one and done, unless this is REALLY good.

Pours a dark brown almost black color with a really thin head.

Very coffee forward nose, but there is complexity here too. Some cola, chocolate, and dark toasty oak notes as well.

Taste is good. Some nice boozy bourbon like flavors up front, that make themselves known, but are far from overwhelming. The beer then settles into coffee, mocha, and dark creamy malt flavors. Finish is warm, with a nice alcohol bite that cuts the sweet malty flavors.

Mouthfeel is not bad, but I wish it had a little more thickness and "viscosity".

Drinkability is pretty high. This is a fine Imperial Stout, lots of nice classic flavors, and it actually goes down easier than I expected. The main drawback? The high price tag... I'll grab a 4 pack of Old Rasputin for about 1/2 the price the next time I want an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.23/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought this bomber at SouthBayDrugs about 2 weeks ago and just haven't gotten around to drinking it until tonight.

Pours a dark burnt sugar color, not completely dark but with a few hint of dark amber on the sides when held to the light. About a quarter inch of foam amassed but quickly reduced to a ring.

Almost immediately I get a blast of booze, brown sugar, dates, lots of raisins, oak, vanilla, toasted coconut, almonds, caramel, and a little more heat in the background. Not bad really, the alcohol is quite fruity and there is quite a bit of barrel presence in the aroma that is fairly well integrated with the beer. Hints of toast start to come through. There seems to be a vinous and grape-like aroma that is at the front of the nose at times. A lot of "green" barrel notes and something somewhat chalky. Multi-grain bread, soft vanilla, brown sugar coated raisins, and dark chocolate. As it warms up a bit I start to get an aroma akin to a fruity/chocolaty coffee with low acidity.

Roasted malts, dry roasted barley, brown sugar, bitter dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, sweet toast, and raisins. Then I start go taste some dried dark cherries, dates, and some caramel. The beginning is a little rough with some roasted malts and booze that don't quite blend together well, but the middle has the sweetness coming though which brings the caramel and chocolate flavors and finishes with some brown sugar, vanilla, oak, and smoother bourbon. Oak tannins and dryness in the finish with the roasted barley making a full circle from beginning to finish. The aftertaste is quite nice with some toast, oak, vanilla, brown sugar, toasted coconut, a bit of coffee, and almonds. Overall though, this one is quite rough around the edges and suffers on drinkability. The taste seems to get more acrid as the glass empties, harsh roasted flavors, harsh coffee...not that pleasant.

Moderate carbonation, could be a little smoother or creamier on the palate and the finish is a tad thin. Definitely a sipper with 11% being quite evident on the aroma and finish. The alcohol is a bit numbing at times.

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Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 412 ratings.