1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Black Xantus - Humboldt Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black XantusBlack Xantus

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,103 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,103
Reviews: 391
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 108
Gots: 303 | FT: 23
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:
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 (5) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,103 | Reviews: 391 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LaChupacabra
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

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

22 Oz Bomber poured into a snifter glass

A- Poured aheavy almost blackbody with a foamy tan head that slowly faded to nice lattice lacing.

A- Real big roasted malts. Lots of toasted barley and vanilla with bourbon. A sweeet element, Some molasses and perhaps caramel too

T- Roasted malts, Cocoa, and mild coffee. As it warms the bourbon and vanilla become more pronounced. Sweet dark fruits and dark sugars, slight bitterness from hop presence

M- Creamy body smooth with mild carbonation. The sweetness is there to counter the bittersbalances out the bitter but leaves a sticky feel.

O- A very agreeable stout, plenty of layering and complexities at work.
Took a little warming up to really get into this one but glad to have given its paces it was very rewarding.

Photo of Gmann
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick near black color with a small frothy light brown head that slowly settles into a cap.

The aroma is of a big roasted malt/barley. Notes of vanilla, caramel, and bourbon provide a sweet scent. Some molasses and burnt toast and there is a bit of a sour berry note in the finish.

The taste is of roasted malt and coffee grounds. Not overwhelming on the coffee but noticable. A bit woody and barky. This is followed by some bourbon and vanilla notes. Caramel and molasses provide some sweetness. Some light berry flavors that provide a touch of sourness. Light burnt toast in the finish.

The stout has a thick body, almost syrupy. Bitter throughout the palate and especially in the finish. Enough sweetness balances out the bitter but leaves a sticky feel.

This is an enjoyable stout, lots of flavors going on. I didn't find it too bitter from the roast

Photo of YaKnowBrady
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of AwYeh
1.68/5  rDev -59.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bomber from, I believe, 2009 poured into snifter; thanks to madvermin for splitting his bottle of this with me– had actually been one of my top wants prior to relocating to California.

A: Pours a deep, opaque black, with a faint brown/purple tinge around the edges. No head whatsoever with a fairly aggressive pour; looks viscous.

S: Plums, molasses, semisweet chocolate (smells almost exactly like chocolate chips), vanilla from the bourbon, alcohol. There's a lot going on, and most of them are stereotypical imperial stout flavors, but the balance on this one is too much in the favor of sweet with far too much alcohol present, resulting in a rather medicinal mess. Since madvermin is probably not going to review this one, I'll point out that he thought it smelled "exactly like Sharpie."

T: Roasted malts, alcohol, and a sharp, acrid, almost sour, burnt flavor. A lingering medicinal, chemical, unpleasant aftertaste amplifies this on the next sip. Perhaps coffee flavors would be around if this was fresher, but I'm surprised that even with the aging this one is giving off so much heat. The only enjoyable flavor here is that of the roasted malts, but they're minimal for an 11% beer of any style and fade quickly.

M: Thick, sticky, syrupy, flat, and hot– little else to describe. The heat makes the flavor issues worse too.

O: It's rare that I don't enjoy a beer in this style, but I couldn't finish my glass of this. Tempted to drop a 1 on it overall, but I'll give Black Xantus the benefit of the doubt and say there could be a worse offering for the style somewhere. Avoid unless you're really psyched about it and have a fresh bottle (acknowledging the possibility that it could be a better beer at that stage).

Photo of jburchett
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of MBrausen
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of SgunnarW
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured in my 12oz snifter

A: Pours a deep brown, almost black, with a 1/4 finger tan head that settles quickly. Almost no lacing.

Sm: Lots of dark chocolate and coffee come through first, followed by notes of licorice, brown sugar, and molasses.

T: Roasted malts with a huge hit of coffee and a strong boozy finish. Very warming on the way down.

Mf: Medium to full bodied. Very creamy and light on the carbonation. A bit dry, but the chocolate and alcohol lingers.

O: A really solid imperial stout. I wasn't sold on the first few sips, but after about a half of glass, I couldn't put it down. The infused coffee is amazing, and the bourbon/wine aging makes for a great comparison. Definitely an unexpected, yet worthwhile find.

Photo of FullObs
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of Rutager
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Super brown, getting close to black in the glass with a 1/4 finger creamy tan head that doesn't last very long.

Smell. Semi-sweet bakers chocolate and some roasty coffee and coconut with a bit of booze.

Taste. Big punch of sweet dark chocolate, some dark coffee that gets more pronounced in the finish. A little sweet caramel and roasty malt.

Mouthfeel. Full and thick, low carbonation. Some warm booze, but not super offensive.

Overall. Great sipper. Should also mention that I'm a big fan of Arbitrator's contribution to this beer. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/17963/53256/?ba=Arbitrator

4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

the first thing i noticed when i opened the bottle and took a whiff was the overwhelming smell of alcohol. tasted well above the 11% abv etched on the bottle, but trust me, i am not complaining. the taste was amazing. very overt bourbon taste with faint coffee and chocalate notes. quite possibly the best beer i've ever had. i really wish i had gotten more than one bottle now.

Photo of WMEugene
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of Knapp85
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very excited about trying this beer, The brew poured out as a deep black color with a brown head on top. The smell of the beer was full or bourbon and rich coffee aromas. The flavors of sweet roasted sugary malts blended with the coffee and the bourbon flavors give this brew a huge complex flavor that's unforgettable. The mouthfeel was thick and oily. Overall I was impressed with this and I'm very very happy I got to try it.

Photo of sholland119
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blind beer #8, bomber poured into my Stone pint and Vickie's Devil's Backbone snifter.

A-Opaque, dark brown almost black. Hints of ruby at the bottom of the glass. A pool of mocha head has nice retention. 4.0

S-Roasted malt, licorice, molasses, brown sugar and caramel. Classic Imperial Stout notes. 4.0

T-Quite tasty indeed. Finish stands out first, reminding me of a chocolate molasses candy from my youth. No, that's not right. Reminds me of Chocolate Riesen, a candy that I guess they still make, though I have not had it since the '80's. Very nice roastiness, sweet but not overly so, with toasted marshmallow, caramel, chocolate and a hint of warming booze. 4.5

M-Medium to full bodied, nicely coating, warmth lingers. 4.5

O-I like this a lot. Flavorful, a bit warm but well hidden alcohol for the ABV of 11%. 4.5

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of garrisonp
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of Pahn
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle, poured into Duvel tulip. Batch #2. Big thanks to BA KevSal for sending this as an extra in a recent trade!

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch tan head that dissipates steadily and leaves a short-lasting ring of lace. Pours a reddish brown with soda-like bubbles on the side of the glass. Little to no lacing, big legs.

Smell: Bourbon and toffee/banana-like malt. Wave of well-integrated coffee quickly emerges. Some graham cracker / cookie aromas.

With time, freshly ground coffee beans aroma really opens up, but also comes to dominate the aroma. Smells awesome, but could be more complex.

Taste: First sip: Creamy, delectably balanced malt and American oak, with a big coffee note through the middle, then a long oak and malt aftertaste. Mild chest warmth at the end the only indication of the 11%ABV. There's no solvent--or indeed any abrasiveness at all--in this flavor.

The second sip is more of the same, with the coffee really highlighting and bringing out the husky roasted malt flavors. Perfect balance of bitter and sweet; smooth and rich through the main body of the sip, with a mild bitterness and dryness coming through in the end. Nothing dominates; it's not too-rich, not too-roasted, not overwhelmed by coffee. It's not heavy, not confusing, but just right. Malt notes deepen to coffee liqueur sweetness with time, and the coffee also transforms from a creamier, coffee ice cream like flavor to a more bold, black coffee flavor.

Another .5 would come if this beer had more complexity, like the endless adventurous flavor that you get from the absolute top tier of American bourbon barrel aged stouts. Still, this is a great tasting beer. It has typical American oak vanilla weaving in and out with toffee-like malt and amazingly well-integrated coffee.

Mouthfeel: Light side of full bodied. Absolutely beautiful creaminess from the oats, with just a bit of dryness in the finish. Perfectly unobtrusive carbonation keeps it from being too rich or thick. The mouthfeel really couldn't be improved.

Overall: Excellent beer. Best coffee integration I've ever experienced in a beer (Bourbon County Coffee might be a bigger, deeper stout, but even that retained a bit of alien-ness to the coffee, while this beer comes together as naturally as malt and hops).

This is one of the easiest beers to review that I've had. As usual, perfect mouthfeel equates almost immediately to 5.0 for overall, and the flavor makes sense (and delivers excellence) within the first few sips.

Photo of CaliHop82
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of jhimstedt
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of Birdlegs
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of mrip
3/5  rDev -28.4%

Photo of Keyes88
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of Luchman
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%

Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,103 ratings.