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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

885 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 885
Reviews: 354
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 108
Gots: 249 | FT: 15
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)
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Ratings: 885 | Reviews: 354 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of farrago
farrago

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aggressive pour yields virtually no head at all, swirl all you want, you're not getting any form or lacing. While jet black, clear enough to see a solid burnt orange tinge at the rims and glass bottom, nice of it to allow for some color. Smooth coffee, chocolate fudge, almost German chocolate cake, in the nose, not quite doughy nor bready, biscuity, if anything, the roast noticeably subdued, pleasing wafts of citrus zest, more anise than licorice, good mixture of sweet apricot, plum, cherry, black grape scents, the hops remain in the background. Medium to full-bodied, extremely well-polished and fluid, deftly utilizes its weight to carry the flavors. Hoppy with a pleasing biscuity, piney touch to the attack before cocoa, mocha, dark chocolate, caramel and coconut take the stage, comes close to evoking bourbon barrels. Shows Brazil nut, cashew aspect, stays toasty versus roasty. The carbonation has a slow churn, turns over at a slow rate. The flavor intensity remains complete through the finish. Dee-licious.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2010 18:12:39 | More by farrago
Photo of thetomG
thetomG

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #100! WooHoo!

Pours a nice deep brown with minimal head and basically no lacing. Aroma is enticing - some sweet molasses, a bit of coffee, and malts really shine through. Flavor is very similar but the sweetness comes through a bit more with some vanilla notes as an added bonus. Carbonation seems spot on for the style. Very nice beer. Split this bottle with my buddy mishuggah and we both agree that this beer very much reminds us of Dark Lord with regard to the flavor profile. We're both calling this one Dark Lord Lite, and I like it.

Will definitely drink this again. YUM!

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2010 19:41:15 | More by thetomG
Photo of spoons
spoons

California

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a stark black color with small foamy coffee colored head.

Smells a lot like bourbon and oak. Some chocolate and vanilla flavors come through as well when this warms up a little.

Has a lot of sweetness with vanilla and smoke notes. You definately get a little oak coming though. Mouthfeel is creamy and syrupy with a gentle carbonation.

This is tasty but perhaps a little on the sweet side. Id drink it again but not more than a glass.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2010 19:22:37 | More by spoons
Photo of fastsrt
fastsrt

New York

4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured form 22 ounce bottle in snifter

A: black, thin head that lasts

S: oak, vanilla, burbon

T: oak not overpowering though, the malts still come through and there is some bourbon there as well, there is also a touch of espresso.

M: smooth, full body with a spicy finish.

D: this one was a surprise i just picked it up randomly and it is quite good i didn't even know it was barrel aged till i took my first whiff, i was pleasantly surprised what a perfect way to end my day.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2010 01:59:27 | More by fastsrt
Photo of shivtim
shivtim

Georgia

3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hummingbird themed stout? Why not!

Tilted it into a pint.
Deep brown/black with just the slightest hints of red.
Nice dense tan head.

Nose is alcoholic sweet roasted malt. Slightly spicy/sweet smelling, contrasted with dark charcoal barley roast.

Taste is a bit overly sweet, with cloying alcohol on the end. Slight harshness to it, but with a solid malt background.

Mouthfeel is average. Not thick enough for an RIS, and with a bit too much ethanol.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2010 00:53:15 | More by shivtim
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Duck Rabbit snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Color pours a copper brown, but settles a dark brown. No head retention. Leaves some splattered lace.

Aroma: Whiskey notes and oak, light vanilla, cocoa, a little boozy,. It gets betters as it warms.

Taste: Strong whiskey and oak. Sweet vanilla and caramel with cocoa hitting next. A lot like the aroma. Maybe some dark dried fruits here.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, but light. This is a very light bodied BA stout. Medium to a lower amount of carbonation. Ends dry and bitter with whiskey. It is was too light for a 11%$ imp stout.

Overall, not bad, but not good. The whiskey flavors are nice but this beer is so light. Not thick and chewy like the beer should be. Very let down with this one.

EDIT: Having the 2nd bottling of this, I would probably rate it higher. It has notes of coffee and bourbon reminding me a bit of bourbon county. A lot better than the first bottling.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2010 04:05:55 | More by mothman
Photo of realmpel
realmpel

California

4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer when it first came out in bottles and then with a year or so of age on it. When I first tried it the beer was a bit hot. Now, the bourbon heat has muted quite a bit and chocolate, vanilla and oak flavors have emerged. I think it's perfectly blended now. Had it side to side with Parabola and I prefer the BX (though to be fair, the Parabola will probably develop more).

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2010 00:42:20 | More by realmpel
Photo of TheJollyHop
TheJollyHop

California

3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

After holding on to this brew for a while (mainly due to Arbitrator's positive comments) I finally decided to crack this bad boy open and see what I was dealing with.

Bottle cracks with a loud PFFT, indicating a high level of carbonation.Toffee colored thick head. Deep and dark, nearly ominous, body with average retention yet sticky lace.

Scents of coffee, black currants, some vanilla, definite roasted barley, and maybe dark cherries; faint alcohol as well. Very malt forward brew with very little hop presence.

Tastes of sweet grain, robust alcohol body that adds some depth and underscores the malts; ends with a caramel flavored coffee finish (a drier finish would have been preferable). Bitterness is more mild than it should be. I believe aging this brew reduced the hops bitterness too much. Roasted malt is too subtle, almost no astringency. Hop bitterness hits early but never overtakes malt. Sugar water middle.

Low to medium carbonation. Full bodied and creamy; coats the tongue, envelopes the mouth, and forces you to savor. Mouthfeel really shines with this brew.

Overall the malt character is too prominent and it hinders drinkability. Now I wish I would have tried this beer when it was younger.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2010 01:18:29 | More by TheJollyHop
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Overrated but still pretty good. Finally brought one out.

A - Near black, nice tan head that stays for some time. Leaves to ring and some spotty lace.

S - Choc chip cookies, anise, coffee.

T - More anise here, along with the choc chip cookie thing and hot booze.

M - Medium body, good carb, pretty well balanced for the mix.

D - Too big. Really not a bad beer. NOT what it was supposed to be by all accounts.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2010 02:01:49 | More by srandycarter
Photo of beerwolf77
beerwolf77

Wisconsin

3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes to garbercury for sending this extra during one of our trades.

Bottle split with the SE sconnie crew. Poured into my pint glass the beer is pitch black with about a fingers worth of dark khaki head. A small amount of soapy lace struggles to hold onto the edges of my glass.

The aroma is quite the olfactory smorgasbord. Black licorice, chocolate, bourbon, carmel, cookie dough and coffee. I picked out everyone of those at different levels of intensity. It's like a candy/coffee shop in the aroma.

The flavor is a bit of a let down after that wonderful nose. The hops come on strong at first. Then a small dose of coffee and chocolate help to sweeten things up. Burnt malt that fades into a chalkiness finishes things on a bit of a down note.

Medium to full body with light carbonation. Typical RIS.

Overall a bark that simply can't follow with bite. The aroma was intense and complex yet the flavor was less then stallar. Drinkable just not all that powerful.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2010 14:45:02 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of kels
kels

Virginia

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared one of these with bamadog at our annual tasting.

Pours a darkest, blackest brown with a 1-finger, fizzy tan head that fizzles out immediately to nothingness and leaves behind bits of spotty lace along the walls of the glass. Complete darkness within, but it's hard to tell if it's just dark or completely opaque; certainly not clear.

Smell turns me off a bit - there's a huge pocketful-of-dirty-change metallic overlay masking the dark chocolate, cherry, coffee essence that hides below. The other smells alone would have been mouthwatering.

The cocoa flavors are quite delicious in this beer - they are dry and somewhat bitter while still providing a nice sweetness that keeps things from being too overwhelmingly dry. The flavors of whole cream, vanilla, toasted marshmallow and roasted malts all play together really nicely in a body that's slightly sticky and moderately mouthfilling. Nice drying effect on the palate in the aftertaste, and not even a hint of the alcohol.

Drinkability is definitely good in this one. Once I get past the nose, the flavors are very robust and pleasing, and the well-masked alcohol lets it go down easy.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2010 03:42:24 | More by kels
Photo of pennywhistle
pennywhistle

California

4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A fantastic stout - it's a bit sweeter and less bitter than some other local stouts. It has a nice bourbon flavor, but it's not too strong (which I prefer). A delicious beer, one of my favourite stouts. Very dark in the glass, thick around the edges.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 21:28:15 | More by pennywhistle
Photo of DaveHS
DaveHS

California

4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a near solid black with a coffee colored head
and lots of sticky lacing. The nose is heavy on malt, with
notes of sweet bourbon, dark fruit, milk chocolate,
coffee, smoke and cherry. Rich flavors of bourbon,
coffee, anise, vanilla, roasted malts and toffee meld
perfectly. It's as if you can taste every element of the
beer individually, in order. The sign of a truly great
imperial stout. Mouthfeel is heavy, with light carbonation
and a warming, slightly boozy finish. At 11% it drinks
nice and smooth.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2010 20:47:43 | More by DaveHS
Photo of capra12
capra12

New York

3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed solo, served out of a pint glass,

Appearance: jet black with a small cascade and 1 finger of fine and coarse head that dissipates rather fast, leaving a sparce and spotty head.

Smell: I get a ton of dark roasted malts, dark fruit and dark chocolate.

Taste: Opens with a dark fruit and malt profile as the carbonation intensifies the dark fruit in this. There are dark chocolate and coffee profiles in the background of this but is quickly squashed by the dark fruit and malt. As this warms up the chocolate and coffee become more pronounced but still subdued leaving a roasted malty and candied fruity aftertaste. There is a slight booziness right before the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly warming but only briefly.

Drinkability: I would have this again in cooler weather, but only once more. I recommend this to those imperial stout drinkers who seek a dark fruit and roast malt profile with subtle coffee and dark chocolate profiles.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2010 16:39:26 | More by capra12
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

You can see crimson hues from the clear dark color of the pour that creates a nice deep foamy light tan head that fades fairly quickly leaving spotty patterns of Belgian lacing over an opaque darkness beneath. The smell isn't overly aggressive; big on the bourbon, supported nicely by chocolate and coffee notes. Full flavored, the bourbon taste runs away with the show, but the espresso steps in much more significantly than it does from the nose. Lightly carbonated yet tangy from the booze, the mouth feel is predominately light, on the dry side, but not watery. The bourbon manages to linger appropriately. The bottle is labeled 11% but the web page indicates 13% ABV either way I'm finding it quite drinkable...not planning on straying too far afterward either. Really had fun considering this one. You'll enjoy this one if you're into bourbon. I'm having trouble again with RIS vs Double Stout. Glad to see that Finger Lakes Beverage Center in Ithaca was able to snag some of these beauties. I'll grab a couple more if I see them again. I remember seeing this one on the Top 100 when it first came out. Can't say that I'd go there...but I'm a big fan of the big bourbon take on it.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2010 22:10:28 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of htomsirveaux
htomsirveaux

Texas

4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle tried 10 Feb 2010.

Served in a 512 One snifter. Small dark brown head. Medium carbonation. Black and thick. Chocolate aroma, cocoa, some ethanol. A lot of vanilla upfront. Cocoa bttersweet chocolate and licorice throughout. Oaky finish. Chocolatey aftertaste. Ethanol is warming in the finish and aftertaste.

My score diverged from A's on this one...

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2010 06:48:06 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle split, poured into an imperial pint. No bottled date. Thanks to Beerwolf77 for yet another shared beer!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color that produced a good tan head that dissipated down to a light layer of bubbles.

(S)- A vanilla-like bourbon licorice smell with a good roasted profile behind that. The licorice is predominate but good.

(T)- A good roastedness with a big licorice profile in front of some bitter cocoa & molasses.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. A potent bitterness, but fits well with the roastedness & licorice profile. Becomes almost spicy/smoky with all the licorice in this from what I can tell.

(D)- A solid RIS. I am enjoying the licorice profile to this. A fitting character for the style. Rich, but not overly sweet like some of this style can be. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2010 17:49:32 | More by sweemzander
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 11% ABV, no date.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for bringing this over last night for our increasingly epic tasting!

A - A dark but clear pour settles to a mainly black beer with a sliver of ruby-dark brown around the bottom of the glass. The beautiful tan head cascaded for moments which looked great but then it deflated to a thin foamy layer with some lace in moments as well.

S - This is the first beer I've ever smelled that honest-to-god smelled instantly like black licorice. So awesome! A touch of bourbon comes across the nose but settles behind a roasted malt and chocolate aroma. Good nose with a small touch of vanilla in there too as it warms.

T - Massively roasted malts with lots of molasses and black licorice. A nice kiss of bourbon comes across the flavor with as small touch of grassy hops on the finish. The beer isn't labeled as barrel aged but it has a little bit to it in flavor and aroma that seem like it is, at least in part.

M - Full-bodied and rich but still some how a bit thin in the mouthfeel. Bold, smooth finish with a warm alcohol finish but it's still got a great mouthfeel. It could use a little bit of work in this area to fix that thin feel to it.

D - Still, despite the alcohol, it's a great beer with fair drinkability for what it is. Not overwhelming in the least though. It's a solid imperial stout I'd be interested in seeing age further.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2010 19:09:51 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of david18
david18

New York

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was sure this was a Russian Imperial Stout and not an American Imperial Stout. The label only said Imperial Stout. It had an excellent dark roasty aroma and flavor while being a little lighter on hops than a typical American Imperial. Very dark color, great roast aroma and flavor. Light carbonation (color and intensity). Mouthfeel was good.

I also enjoyed blending this beer with pale ales and ipas. I would have again.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2010 21:46:37 | More by david18
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big beer weekend beer #4!

A gift from Mr. Kevin. He'll buy any beer with an animal on the label. It's true.

Pours brown, looks black. Had to force a thin, muddy head which soon left on its own accord. One fat lacey web.

Dark fruity esters greet my first whiff. Sweet caramel and cola--but the good, niche market small production kind of cola. Dark and brooding malt mixed with dark chocolate bar.

Taste immediately hits upon dopplebock-esque hearty caramel malt and dark vinous fruit before settling into soothing roast malts. Llicorice. Fairly viscous. Flavors are carried by lil' alcoholic wings despite being aged for a bit.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2010 22:29:48 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a two-finger, light brown head of thick, bubbly foam. It left thin soapy rings of lace.

S - It had a strong black licorice aroma with a good dose of roasted chocolate malt. There are some mild toffee and floral notes, too.

T - It tasted black licorice, bourbon, chocolate, rich roasted malt and touches of toffee. A nice blend of bitter and sweet flavors for a really great taste.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a dry finish. A medium-bodied ale with a well-hidden alcohol warmth.

D - This is a nice RIS. I hope they brew it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2010 00:25:09 | More by zeff80
Photo of emmasdad
emmasdad

Colorado

3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was initially really looking forward to trying this one, but eventually my interest waned and the opportunity presented itself. Pours a nice, shiny black color, with a good amount of mocha colored foam on top. Aromas of freshly brewed coffee, chocolate, vanilla and a little bourbon. On the palate, I get a lot of roasted malts, along with the flavors mentioned above. A pretty nice effort to be sure, but nothing spectacular.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2010 05:37:08 | More by emmasdad
Photo of hoplover82
hoplover82

Texas

4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a small tan head that has great retention and ok lacing, but for the style, I'm impressed with the head retention.

The aroma was kinda bland at first, but as it warmed up a bit, it began to become very interesting and complex and wonderful. It began to be full of dark chocolate with light notes of earthy mint toffee. As it warms there also is a coffee note to compliment to dark chocolate. So nice and complex.

My favorite thing about this beer is the roundedness and smoothness of this beer. There is the flavor of the best dark chocolate and fresh roasted bright coffee. There also is a very pronounced toffee note in the flavor as apposed to the aroma. SO smooth.

HUGE silky mouthfeel with a sweet silky finish.

Very smooth and drinkable. I'm so glad that I had the oppertunity to try this. Thanks Jason! This was epic indeed.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2010 02:22:22 | More by hoplover82
Photo of jasonjlewis
jasonjlewis

Texas

4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a nice initial head with good retention. dark brown in color.

smell is of wet tobacco with licorice and undertones of mint.

taste is of huge dark chocolate. wet tobacco comes through as well. undertones of mint come through as well. bitterness is moderately low. undertones of licorice come through as well. as the beer warms a toffee flavor comes throguh and the roastiness is exaggerated as a coffee flavor comes through

mouthfeel is silky and adds to the beer. the alcohol is rounded out. excellent beer

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2010 01:55:21 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of Patrick999
Patrick999

Florida

4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The infamous Black Xantus, purchased sometime in 2009, really don't remember when, though. Poured into a snifter. Lazy head, probably too lazy to warrant a high score. Not quite black either.

Aroma is of whiskey, caramel, chocolate.

Tasty. A lot of coconut and vanilla. Straight down the middle bourbon barrel stout flavors. Not hot at all. I don't know the exact age here, but the ABV is a non-factor. Has to be an aged bottle, because the alcoholic heat other earlier BAs have described in their reviews just isn't here. Also, I find no trace of coffee whatsoever - it seems like the coconut-vanilla flavors are the biggest players at this time.

Thin near-flat feel that I always like. I wouldn't really want an 11% barrel stout to be so thick, full-bodied and burpy.

Masked ABV, thin-ish feel and good flavor makes for a very easy drinker per style, enough to earn it a 5, IMO. It's surprisingly easy to put down the bomber alone. I can't understand why this brew was so polarizing - it's just a solid, very-drinkable bourbon-barrel stout, IMO. Nothing more, nothing less. I'd think the vast majority of BAs would come to the conclusion that this is pretty good, at the very least. It's got really nice flavor. A damned good beer. Price would be my only complaint....but for a barreled RIS this tasty and accessible, I can't say I wouldn't buy it again as an indulgence.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2010 17:21:01 | More by Patrick999
Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 885 ratings.