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Black Xantus - Humboldt Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black XantusBlack Xantus

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

933 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 933
Reviews: 359
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 110
Gots: 259 | FT: 19
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: 933 | Reviews: 359 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chaney
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've sent a couple of these out in trades, but this was my first time actually tasting this brew.

A: Thick, very black, and gooey, with a very wimpy 1/2 finger or so head died down to nothing within seconds.

S: Nice. The bourbon hit the nose very subtly and had the sublime quality of a freshly grated coconut. The usual cast of RIS characters were also well represented: chocolate, molasses, dark fruit, and maybe even a dash of cinnamon.

T: Very fruity, but with very disciplined sweetness. On the aftertaste, I still got a good smattering of bourbon. Also, I got a tinge of gourmet dessert-like saltiness. Molasses and raisons were also present, but surprisingly, not so much as a trace of coffee.

M: Thick, thick, THICK!... slimy, yet decadent actually, with quite a bit of booze, but not the bad, jarring kind... more like the kind of alcohol one might taste in the middle of a delicious tiramisu. The carbonation was on the low side, but it was still slightly prickly nonetheless.

D: This was a high-end dessert beer through and through, and as such, was rich and not meant to be consumed in large quantities. I had high expectations going into the session and this brew met them!

Chaney, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of bonkers
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a bomber and it was poured into 2 nonics. The pour is jet black with a moderate tan head. Lots of sweet roasted coffee with oak, vanilla and some chocolate. The flavor has a ton of roasted malts, with coffee and vanilla being dominiant. It finishes with oak, booze and some chocolate. The beer was full bodied and it went down really easy for such a big beer. A very good RIS, IMO an underrated brew.

bonkers, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of brotherloco
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 09/21/10

Appearance is fair. Head is a bit anemic and just becomes a ring around the glass.

Aroma is strong on the barrel side. Dry and dusty notes at first, then coffee, sweetens up with molasses, vanilla, and roasted malts.

Flavor reveals the woody vanilla oak up front, thin sweetness on the tongue, roasted coffee too, although it is pretty well buried in the malt. Finish gets a touch acidic, reveals some bourbon, and then leaves a woody lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side. It feels thick for a moment in the middle of the flavor, but dissipates quickly. The high ABV is very well hidden.

I think overall this beer has a good flavor, but the supporting elements let it down.

brotherloco, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black beer with a brown head that stuck around for a little bit and actually left some stick on the side. Nice looking.

S - Roasted malts, oak, coffee bourbon, burnt chocolate. Really good smelling and solid RIS. Wasn't quite expecting the quality and depth on the aroma that this one has.

T - I am surprised at how good this is, and would be curious to drink it against a "world class" RIS in a blind test, as I feel it would hold its own. Oak, vanilla, coffee, bourbon, and a great roasted malt backbone.

M - A little on the thin side here, but otherwise it is fine.

D - Highly drinkable due to the great tast at 11%. This was a fantastic surprise of a beer, and one I'd love to get some more of.

AgentZero, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of Bouleboubier
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the more drinkable examples of the style, even at 11%. A bit boring to look at with nary a head, but the blackness is voidalicious and the sturdy, dark roasty coffee aromas draw you in.

Exceptionally well-balanced in flavor, bold yet controlled. Light roasted and carbonized barley, bitter chocolate, light espresso, and mellow licorice make up the core of its taste. Some medium-mild piney hop flavor/bitterness comes forward in the finish. Yes, altogether very nicely balanced and, with the alcohol speaking at damn near whisper and body light-medium with clean flow, stupid easy to drink.

Thanks to my b.i.l. for sharing this one! I'd gladly share again.

Bouleboubier, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 09 Bottled 10/6/2009 stored in a Temp controlled Cellar until today.

A - Very Dark Brown with a Reddish tinge. This beer pours with finger and a half of large bubbled Tan Head.

S - Smells mostly of Bourbon. Secondary smells of Black Cherry, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Alcohol and Molasses.

T - Tastes of Bourbon, Vanilla, Roasted Coffee, Chocolate, and hint of Salt.

M - This is not as heavy as it was fresh; Carbonation is good, Moderate Sweetness, some Bitterness, and Chalky Tannins.

D - I think is very drinkable for what it is and will try some with Vanilla Ice Cream. I think I'll go out and buy some the recent batch to age for the future.

SanDiegoBeerLove, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of LtCracker20
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Split a bomber with the wife last night. Purchased a couple months ago in NYC. Poured into a Newport Storm tulip.

A- Pours a pitch black body with a thin 1/2 finger head that actually just fizzed away to an extremely thin cap. I know it's 11% but I've had bigger bears with better head retention. Not to impressed with that or the fact that no lace at all was visible.

S- Wow. Makes up for the look here. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, and chocolate. Absolutly awesome. When you open the bottle and smell, it seems like the bourbon will over-power everything else, but once poured, all these aromas meld very well.

T- Just like the smell, but with more a burnt chocolate flavor and the additions of plums, cherries, and molasses. Alchohol warmth shows up in the finish and when you exhale after a sip.

MF- Wow. Way too thin. Almost no body what so ever. All the carbonation that it looked liked it had from the pour just disappeared. Was expecting more.

D- A good beer, but I would never seek it out again, but I am glad I got to try it. The 11% abv is there and you know it, but doesn't hurt the beer at all.

LtCracker20, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of warnerry
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
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 nkersten
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Surly Darkness glass. Thick black body with some brown hues at the edges and a thin mocha cap that settles to a ring. Smell is very malt driven, lots of dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, some coffee beans, slight lactose sweetness. Taste is sweet and milky at first, bitter roasted malts, lots of chocolate and coffee bitterness in the finish. A great combination of flavors and but once it begins to warm the 11% abv show up. Heavy and syrupy body with a medium active carbonation. A very tasty RIS, albeit a bit boozy.

nkersten, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Aquired through my first completed trade with Tieman. Thanks Dan.

Jeffo predicted that Black Xantus would bring plague upon my house. Sure enough, in the days after my box came in over the Atlantic my kids got diarea, my wife got flu like symptoms and I got the coughs. A beer that causes that has to be good!

Beer pours nicely with a little head that doesn't stick around very long. Dark brown to black. I've seen darker imperial stouts.

The nose is huge! In your face booze and bourbon for sure. Hint of chocolate and coffee.

Taste is sweet chocolate, hints of coffee and a ton of barrel. Alcohol and bourbon taste linger for a while

I think the mouthfeelis where this one let's me down the most. Thin, ok carbonation... not to spectacular.

It's actually a beer that paired amazingly well with our traditional Dutch meal (Stampot Andijvie). Glad to have tried it and enjoyed it while I expected the worse after Jeffo's warnings and the reviews. Enjoyable and would get it again if it were cheap and easy to get on our end of the globe which is not very likely to happen...

doopiedoopiedoo, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter - 9/21/10 bottling date

Pours a mocha brown, almost black with a tanned coffee brown head. Fades pretty quickly into some swirling film with some streaky lacing and a collar around the glass.

Vanilla forward bourbon in the nose with some lighter notes of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and oaky smoothness.

Slightly sweet up front with milky chocolate and roasted malt flavor. Notes of mocha coffee and espresso with some syrupy molasses. Bourbon and vanilla are prevalent throughout and in the forefront. Finishes with plenty of booziness and lingering sweetness.

Lighter body for the style, a little thin, decent carbonation, sticky and lingering on the tongue. Drinks decent, although the heat might be a little much for some people, even though I enjoy it (I didn't have much trouble finishing off the majority of a bomber). This reminds me of KBS, but definitely not as great.

xnicknj, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of Jeffo
2.3/5  rDev -45%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

After having trades fall through on several occasions, SETG finally steped up to the plate and delivered the goods. Thanks heaps for the hook-up mate!

From a bomber into a snifter.
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: Dark brown and relatively transparent pour for the style. Produces a one finger, medium looking, off-white or light tan head with poorer retention. Lots of noise on this head too. Dark brown body and, again, quite transparent, with medium carbonation evident. Head quickly fades to a faint wisp and ring. Only a ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass. Too light, transparent, and the head is lacking as well.

SMELL: Some roasted malts and dark chocolate notes, as well as bourbon and vanilla from the barrel. Notes of caramel and toffee as well. Bold enough, and the barrel takes the leading role for sure.

TASTE: Roasted malts and a heavy barrel presence. Bourbon, vanilla, as well as oak notes. Some dark chocolate tries to make an appearance, but is mostly swept aside by the booze and barrel on this one. Bold and lingering aftertaste is boozy with plenty of bourbon, vanilla, and only a touch of roasted malts. Very barrel heavy and boozy, making it difficult for any of the base beer to really play a role. The heavy barrel and bourbon flavors make it more difficult as the session continues.

PALATE: Medium-thin body and kind of lifeless. Not really creamy or smooth, though not quite prickly either. Medium carbonation and slightly light on the palate, goes down fine and ends a little sticky. A touch of heat at the finish. Not robust or creamy enough.

OVERALL: Though not as bad as Arbitrator makes it out to be, this is certainly bottom of the barrel for the barrel aged RIS category. Confirms my theory that any BA beer with carbonation will get an A- on this site. It wasn't a horrible beer, but the appearance was certainly sub-par and the feel lacking. Moreover, the barrel aging was just too upfront, leaving it overly hot and one-dimensional while completely drowning out the base beer. If you like in-you-face bourbon beer, this might be your thing, but if you're into more nuanced and measured barrel aging, this probably won't do it. Didn't actually finish the bomber. That said, I'd been itching to give this one a try for a long time, so a big thanks to STEG for the awesome trade. Cheers!

Jeffo, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of kbutler1
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a dark brown/black color with a collared tan head. Aroma of very sweet dark chocolate, dark roast, and toffee. The taste is much more sweet than I expected but I also get roast coffee, bourbon, toffee, vanilla, and slight leather. Ends pretty sweetly with some lingering bitterness. Overall, not a bad beer and probably doesn't deserve the bad wrap it gets. The only knock I have on it really is the sweetness that is a tad too much.

kbutler1, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Boo ya!! Found a VIDEO for this beer. Hah! Not sure what to make of this. Nectar Ales used to be Humboldt Brewing if I recall correctly. Now it's owned by Firestone-Walker I 'spose. The info at the Nectar Ales website says this is barrel aged and 13%...However, the BOTTLE says 11% and says nothing about barrel aging. It is, however, priced as though it was at $10.99/bomber...OUCH!!! Now we know why it has a black hummingbird on the label - to suck your life savings away!!

Pitch black in color. A creamy two to three finger head billows up and then settles into a creamy, delicious kings crown of yummy delight. Sheets of thick lacing. Elite so far. The aroma is such that it is DEFINITELY barrel aged. The bourbon is very evident. It smells INCREDIBLE. Tons of dark and semisweet chocolate. Lots of that bourbon, and a beautiful roasty smokiness way in the back. You can smell some alcohol, but the rest is so perfectly melded and robust that you don't think about it for more than a fleeting instant. Incredible so far. OMFG, this is heaven in a glass. Or more like hell...It's a malty personification of the sins of the flesh. It's like meeting Scarlett Johansson in a bar, having her tell you she needs you now because she's on the rebound, and getting back to her place to find that her friends Olivia Munn and Megan Fox want to join in. You think it can't get any better and it does! Right away it's a huge blast of sweet, roasted malt and bourbon flavors all perfectly meshed. And they are HUGE!! And beautiful, and perfect flavors. These leave you dumbfounded by how they bounce around, and your tongue is simply salivating over every next taste you get. The middle sees a little less power and more finesse, like expending your energy in a huge, orgasmic effort then toning down to enjoy the afterglow, without stopping the game at all. A lot of roasted bitterness is rounded out with a LOT of alcohol and then wraps up with some comforting and cuddly hoppiness. This is ecstasy in a glass. Unbelieveably expensive and painful to procure, but worth every penny and you'll tell all your frienbds about it as soon as possible. By the way, if you think this is the devastator like a Parabola - it's way better balanced than that. This might be the best beer I've ever had.

What I like most: Absolutly everything except...

What I like least: The blue-balling price.

Verdict: Beg, borrow, steal every penny you can find. Then con your friend into watching you while you do it and videotaping it.

SolomonGrundy, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of infi
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, shared with BAs brun, emonte and r0nyn.

Poured into a brandy snifter.

A translucent dark brown pour with vibrant ruby red embellishments, along with a very thin off-white head of no retention and no lacing. Smell is my favorite aspect of this beer. The moderation of the roastiness of the coffee is PERFECT. I immediately thought of Speedway as to how well-done this is. But this one edges it out in terms of completeness. The coffee is vibrant but not as overpowering as other stouts. Fun amount of milk chocolate sweetness and cocoa add to the aromatic profile. Blindly, I'd probably think this was iced coffee. So damn good.

Taste is nicely roasted as well with a great malt foundation and an immediate iced coffee flavor. The milk chocolate, caramel and thin amount of vanilla flavors are readily identifiable too. Flavors end on a nice faint astringency and sweetness. Great balance of roast, sweet and savory. Not as complete as the Speedway, but a definite viable alternative - minus the price.

Mouthfeel teeters on the thin side, but just about medium-bodied overall. Gladly no 11% burn effects. Coats the mouth shortly and in a thin manner. Drinkability is definitely great and easy. Finished the bomber while watching Black Swan (hehe) easily. Overall, very reminiscent to the Speedway but just a tad short of its presence. So now, BX is my favorite coffee smelling beer, while Speedway remains my favorite coffee tasting beer.

infi, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of r0nyn
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into my DFH snifter. Courtesy of and split with fellow BA infi.

Pours a dark, oily black with minimal head. Spots of sticky lacing coat the inside of the glass. This beer's got legs too, with the 11% ABV coming out and waving at you from the top layer. Smell is nicely complex, with some sweet vanilla wafting through along with dark chocolate nuances and some roasted malts and coffee. Lots of dark fruit on the back end.

Mmm... dark fruit is there right off the bat in the taste and it lingers throughout the entire flavor experience. Roasted coffee and bittersweet dark cocoa follow through leading into a mildly astringent finish. Alcohol is just slightly detectable at the end as a boozy warmth at the back of the palate. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, with just a little bit of carbonation fizzing around to tickle the tongue. Drying finish, leaving you wanting more sips.

Drinkability is pretty damn good. It's a weighty beer so you'll feel it, but if you pace yourself, it's a great sipping experience. Big, scrumptious taste and a nice coating mouthfeel make Black Xantus an imperial stout to be reckoned with.

r0nyn, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of rwf08
3/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sent to me by womencantsail as a gift, not trade related.

A: Dark brown with murcky highlights in the light. Weak mocha head and no lacing.

S: Char, dark fruit, some vanilla.

T: Char, and chocolate. Some alcohol.

M: Thin, astringent, and tannin rich.

D: It is okay. This isn't a horrible beer by any means but just isn't worth seeking out. I am glad I got to try it though. I have had other stouts with less effort put into them that were better.

rwf08, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of bmwats
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Very dark brown. Very slight head. A little beer ring around the rim. Some very sparse lacing remains as you drink it down.

S: A little roasted malt and licorice.

T: Roasted malt, unsweetened dark chocolate, licorice, raising, and a subtle sweet tone.

M: Robust with a certain crisp, light feel.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Appearance is pretty solid. Deep, dark appearance. Nose is not complex, but heady and full. Flavor has a nice combination of grains and sweet notes. Overall, this is a great quaff.

bmwats, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of Pencible
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like lots of fresh coffee, with some vanilla and oak and sweet bourbon and dark chocolate and licorice.
T: It tasted like fresh roasted coffee with some vanilla and oak and bourbon, and a bit of licorice and brown sugar. It had a bittersweet (mostly sweet) aftertaste with noticeable alcohol.
M: It was fairly thick with some carbonation. Fully body but not too huge.
D: This was a fantastic beer, with scent and taste that are what Cafe Royale wishes it was. Perfect blend of coffee and bourbon and oak. This had nice body too, but it was a bit hot, so it was better to sip. Could age well, but very nice fresh. (Side by side with FW14, this was hands down better.)

Pencible, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of RiverheadBev
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Immediately noted the thinness of the light tan head that dissipated but layered the edges of the glass, the body was about as black as I've ever seen. I smelled a bit of sweetness with chocolates and a hint of bourbon. For a beer of this style I'd agree with some of the other reviews that the body seemed a bit light, but certainly not unenjoyable. I tasted hints of chocolates, brown sugar, and a possible touch of coffee. At room temperature, heat from the 11% ABV is definitely noted in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thin, yet creamy; hard to describe. Almost too carbonated for my taste. Overall, I had a pleasant experience, though I don't know if I'd be able to justify splurging on it again (~$15 a bottle). I'll stick with my Old Rasputin

RiverheadBev, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of jnn4v
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark. Pretty much opaque. Walnut / espresso colored beer.

S: Coffee, bourbon, espresso, caramel, molasses. Excellent scent.

T: Bourbon, coffee, raw sugar, brown sugar - although not as sweet as I'm making it sound. Tastes 3% similar to Firestone Walker 14. Some oak as well.

M: Good mouthfeel. Very nice density and viscosity. OK carbonation.

D: Much better than the FW14 that we tried next to it. Good at both refrigerator and room temperature. Slightly hot as it warmed, though.

jnn4v, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Ommegang tall snifter glass. Pours a pretty dark brown, almost black...yet filling the glass pitch black with just a tinge of red coming through on the edges. Provides a very small, very late forming dark tan head with little retention, dissipating to a layer of cream. Leaves a surprisingly decent layer of lacing.

Aroma is mild, but good. Sweet chocolates, toasted malts and roasted coffee beans. Not much booze is present in the nose, which is strange for 11% ABV. Very faint hops come through.

Flavor is very good. Not incredible, but a very good drinker! Chocolates and sugars come through immediately, but quickly make way to a slightly bitter chocolate, hops, and coffee bitterness. Very creamy finish, and not that boozy! Pretty good RIS. Carbonation is low, mouthfeel is medium body. Heat from the booze is very faint.

ShadesOfGray, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
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 caskstrength
3.13/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

22oz. 2010 bottling. From City Beer Store, bought it after sampling some in the store on tap which was pretty good. Hoping the bottle is pretty good too.

Pours nice and dark, some brown in the light on the edge. Brown head as expected with a somewhat careful pour. Carbonation looks about right and it pours pretty thick. Looks good.

Smells remind me some of GI BCS. Fig, leather/tobacco/molasses. Some roasted coffee, but not really deep or rich on that part. Bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla too. Overall, smell is pretty good, but nothing exceptional.

Taste follows the nothing exceptional path blazed by the smell. A sticky molasses coffee bitterness interferes with the flavors and mucks up the aftertaste. Bourbon and coffee there, but not drawing me in. The coffee is more of the stale coffee ground type than the rich roasted type.

Mouthfeel is quite good, however. Velvet and silky. Too bad the flavors didn't quite match.

An average bourbon stout. Nothing to bring me back. (especially at this price point)

caskstrength, Nov 23, 2010
Photo of HURTemHIZZY
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a near black, almost completely opaque, with slight ruby hints towards the edge of the glass when held up to the light. One and a half finger deep tan head. Decent retention, decent lacing. Smell is coffee, vanilla, a hint of bourbon, and nice chocolate. Lovely aroma.

The bourbon is certainly more noticeable in the taste. I don't think this is -bal aged, but it tastes like it has been aged in whiskey barrels. If it hasn't, they did a nice job of mimicking that flavor profile. Light smokiness, vanilla, coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a bit of milk chocolate as well, and bourbon. Slight alcohol. Nice flavor, not quite as solid as the aroma, though. Mouthfeel is slightly thinner than I would like, but still not too shabby. I think I might like one of these with some age on it.

HURTemHIZZY, Nov 23, 2010
Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 933 ratings.