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Black Xantus - Humboldt Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black XantusBlack Xantus

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

915 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 915
Reviews: 357
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 110
Gots: 252 | FT: 17
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: 915 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DefenCorps


2.58/5  rDev -38.3%

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.

12-14-2009 03:57:51 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of flexabull


4.15/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

12-12-2009 05:24:50 | More by flexabull
Photo of seaoflament


3.2/5  rDev -23.4%

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.

12-12-2009 04:55:38 | More by seaoflament
Photo of Beerenauslese


4.38/5  rDev +4.8%

Pours black as coal with a tan head that dissipates rapidly, leaving a little lacing on the glass.

Smells sweet and sour. Oatmeal maltiness, brown sugar, dried prunes, raisins, dried cherries, even some fig. Earthy hay.

Tastes of coffee, chocolate, dried prunes/raisins, dried cherries, vanilla and toffee, with a nice bitter hoppiness in the finish. Liking the hops, with hemplike delivery in the finish.

Definitely a good winter warmer, the 11 percent makes your cheeks glow. A very nice imperial stout all around.

12-06-2009 03:10:02 | More by Beerenauslese
Photo of corby112


3.63/5  rDev -13.2%

Pours a deep dark black that is opaque with only the slightest of mahogany edges and a frothy light beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring that leaves subtle sporadic lacing.

Roasted coffee aroma with chocolate malt, caramel, oatmeal, slightly nut and subtle bourbon notes that are accompanied by oak and vanilla.

Heavily carbonated up front with a strong blast of bourbon heat that lingers throughout, overpowering the other flavors a bit. Caramel and chocolate malts with a bit of coffee flavor that is not overly roasty. ABV is not very well masked making this beer really hot and the bourbon flavor doesn't help in this regard. The alcohol warmth is very prominent up front and it slowly mellows toward the end but it's a bit much. Otherwise the subtle coffee intertwined with the smooth malty body was pretty nice.

12-06-2009 01:00:32 | More by corby112
Photo of msubulldog25


3.95/5  rDev -5.5%

5 oz. pour to a snifter at Bailey's Taproom. 4 bills.

A: Dark brown, fails to reach full 'blackness' by showing amber hues at the edges. Short head of light tan cream, scarcely covering. Lace in specks and bits.

S: Interesting aroma, husky and smoky on top of chocolate and oatmeal grain. A raisin-y fruitiness and woody vanilla, sweet bourbon and maple syrup.

T: Heavy roast, the richest chocolate. Sweetness meld with acrid coffee and a heavier-than-expected bourbon/vanilla char.

M: Smooth and creamy, with an ending roil of fine carbonation and a rosy bourbon/booze warmth. Medium body, not too thick nor sticky.

D: For 11%, easy enough to drink. The 5 oz. taste was just about the right size. Not an overwhelming 'must-try', but definitely a nice, warming stout worth the effort.

12-02-2009 00:44:43 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of juhl31


4.05/5  rDev -3.1%

-can faintly see some carb bubbles through the blackness. cappuccino colored head gone quickly

-coffee, little sweetness to it, and bourbon which is faintly sour smelling

-coffee 1st, then chocolate, then the bourbon really opens up and takes over. ends caramelly. the more i drink of it, the less the front flavors are involved

-the bourbon is really warming and the beer is very thick

-definitely good, but for a bourbon aged it is not a go to. i had to mark down a couple categories a half point as the beer warmed a bit

12-01-2009 20:25:11 | More by juhl31
Photo of rye726


4.3/5  rDev +2.9%

Pours near black with a creamy tan head. Light lace and nice retention.

Nose has roasty malts, floral hops, vanilla, wood, dark fruits, cocoa, molasses, coffee and a subtle whiskey presence.

Taste has burnt chocolate, dark malts, espresso, bitter hops, plum and figs. Also some light oak, bourbon and vanilla flavors from the barrels.

Full body is well carbonated. Nice silky feel.

A bit hot right now, but should age well. Would have liked to see more from teh barrel aging.

11-30-2009 02:14:59 | More by rye726
Photo of NYCWheatFanSC

New York

4/5  rDev -4.3%

A - A hesitant black, not nearly dark enough for the style as it fades to a dark amber around the edges when held to even a modest light. Pours a 1 inch dark tan head that receded quickly and left hearty lacing.

S - Alcohol in general, and bourbon in particular rule. In the background lies a sweetness composed of coffee and chocolate.

T - For me, this was overwhelmingly sweet, as it tasted more like a chocolate brownie with dark chocolate chips than a beer. The bourbon surprisingly complemented this decadence well, but these two flavors were about all this beer had to offer.

M - Nice and creamy, imbues the tongue with a light coat of cocoa. Much lighter than I expected, and than this style demands. Nevertheless, I immensely enjoyed it!

D - I would pair this best with some German chocolate cake, but I would probably need a nap afterwards - especially at 11% ABV.

Overall, I think this beer has alot of potential and I'm glad that I picked up a few bottles (even at $15 a piece) so I can see how it ages. Look for future edits.

11-28-2009 06:25:58 | More by NYCWheatFanSC
Photo of BarrelO


4/5  rDev -4.3%

22oz bomber poured into a goblet.

A: Black body with a two-finger tan head.

S: Roasted malts, vanilla, bourbon, and alcohol.

T: The coffee is drowned out by the bourbon. Intense chocolate and vanilla flavors. Alcoholic but not boozy.

M: Rich and dessert-y.

D: I've determined that bourbon stouts don't do much for me relative to other stouts. This is still a pretty decent example of the style, though.

11-26-2009 22:42:24 | More by BarrelO
Photo of stoutfiend27

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%

bomber poured into tulip..served slightly chilled..review # 100 big huge thanks to james ghengis22 for making this happen

a-black viscous pour...large three finger coffee head...sticks around forever...lacing and legs for day..

s-vanilla..oak and sweet bourbon and maybe some wine or brandy..has a vinous nose...followed by some roast and chocolate..coffee..

t-roasty and sweet...coffee...brandy..and bourbon..oakiness and vanilla tannins..some tobacco....leather...alcohol there...finishes a bit bitter...

m-a tad thin but viscous..creamy and fluffy ....holds together well...carb is their and excellent....oily and sticks to the mouth well....

d-wish i had more of this as it is delightful...abv is there but hidden in every way except for the warming going down...

overall a top notch brew... in which it is my pleasure of sampling....nose and mouthfeel could be improved a tad bit..but this is a hell of a brew.everything is so delicate and held together so well..a true treat and well worth my 100th review...

11-26-2009 04:36:09 | More by stoutfiend27
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


3.98/5  rDev -4.8%

Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Looked pretty thin on the pour, and the head yield was extremely low: about a millimeter worth of tan foam that fizzled away in just seconds. The body is close to opaque, but for the style that's just not good enough. Lots of light penetration around the edges. This bottled version of Xantus is not off to a good start. EDIT: Second pour produced a luscious half inch of brown foam that retained well and led to some spotty lacing. Score bumped up from a 2.5 to a 3.5.

Smell: Vanilla, bourbon, coffee, and chocolate creme. This smells a lot like the draft version I remember, but with a nice coffee kick. Charred notes, wood chip mulch, and dry piney hops peak through from the background. Nicely done.

Taste: Bourbon, big bourbon. While the Joebella coffee was essentially nonexistant in the draft version of Black Xantus, it plays a pretty large role here. Conversely, the vanilla aspect is much milder, though it does get stronger in the aftertaste. Dark chocolate and piney hops are also pretty loud in the aftertaste. There's a lot going on here, and to call it complex would be an understatement. However, complexity isn't always a good thing, and I personally find the taste to be messy/muddled (as well as boozy). It was much better from the tap, that's for sure.

Mouthfeel: Very thin for an RIS, but not surprising given it's bourbon barrel-aged. The high ABV and low carbonation give Xantus a warm, dry and prickly feel. Certainly classy.

Drinkability: I thought this beer was phenomenal on-tap, but out of the bottle it's just not that great. Why? I don't know. I've got several more bottles in the cellar. Maybe it'll be better in a year or two. EDIT: Got much better toward the end of the bottle... or maybe I was just getting drunk.

11-26-2009 00:34:11 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of popery


4.13/5  rDev -1.2%

Tap at City Beer Store (also previously at Bistro BA Fest). Good to very good imperial stout with a lot of flavor but a bit too sweet. The beer pours black with a thin mocha head. The aroma is a pleasant jumble of licorice, bourbon, coffee, chocolate and roast. The taste is similar but the sweetness of the malt and bourbon overshadows some of the underlying complexity, a fairly common problem with these big barrel-aged stouts. However, Black Xantus has a lot of excellent flavor and the sweetness is a minor annoyance rather than a fatal flaw. The feel is a hair too thin, in my opinion, but the beer manages to keep from being cloying or syrupy with a decent bite in the finish. Despite some minor issues, it's an excellent beer and wouldn't be entirely out of place in a lineup of the vaunted heights of the style.

11-21-2009 05:08:06 | More by popery
Photo of mikey711

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -21.1%

Ahhh, the mythical black xantus

A: Pours a deep black with only the slightest bit of light able to get through at the bottom of the glass. The head was mocha colored but only a half inch thick and did not retain at all. No lacing to speak of as well.

S: Sweet milk chocolate and a heavy vanilla note. Not much roasts at all. A bit of bourbon is also present in the nose as well.

T: Again it is much more on the sweet side as almost no roastiness is present. At the very least the sweetness is not overwhelming. The bourbon and vanilla notes are rather prominent and nice but still a bit too syrupy sweet. My main problem is the lack of balance between sweet and bitter.

M: Slightly chalky and no booziness. A good amount of body present as well.

D: A nice one to sip on, but it was a bit disappointing especially for the price tag. Plenty of other good BA RISes out there. really just way too much unbalance sweetness. I almost seems like they are trying to hide the flavors with an over the top sweetness and barrel

11-17-2009 01:11:30 | More by mikey711
Photo of barleywinefiend


4.22/5  rDev +1%

Poured a deep brown with good carbonation and small tannish head. Nose is vanilla, bourbon, oak, chcolate tobacco nothing different from the ottle I suppose. Taste is vanilla, oak, cocoa, tobacoo, earthy tones and very litle coffee and a big bite on the end. ABV is well hidden on this as well.Mouthfeel I thought was ceamier than bottle and the coffee was tamer. Drinakbility is good but you will not want another bottle of this, well you would but good luck.

11-15-2009 19:42:54 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of JWD


4.15/5  rDev -0.7%

picked up the 2nd to the last bottle @ bevmo (should have bought both!!!!)

A- DEEP DARK red almost completly black, poured creamy with a moderate head and lacing. reminds me of the FW ann brews.

S- HOT, mild bourbon, oak, vanilla, and chocolate, overall very interesting with a lot to take in an assualt of complexity.

T- not as impressive as the smell, still very fresh and fairly detectable ABV, little hot for me at this point.

M- I was expecting more body to it, once again very close to the FW ann beers as far as mouth goes, now i love the ann beers but this is an imperial stout not a blend of different beers so i was expecting more on the body/texture

D- OK, still hot but i think in time this will be very good, wish i had bought the second bottle!!

11-14-2009 21:19:52 | More by JWD
Photo of Proteus93


4.18/5  rDev 0%

Spotted this at Beer Run in Charlottesville... I was immediately intrigued, and that's about all it takes for me to be sold. :P

A: Jet black, but as the head formed, it rose in cascades, almost like it was poured from a nitrous draft line. Not something I usually pick up on when pouring, and no complaints. It was great to watch!

S: Rich malts, notes of espresso, and bakers chocolate. Not as intensely woody as some oak aged brews I have come across... it seems to be a little more modest and well rounded with the other scents. The previous contents of the barrels offer some interesting aromas that really do well for the beer.

T: Bakers chocolate and espresso again, along with a soft fruitiness towards the finish... black currant? It's a nice touch. Hints of vanilla and charred oak in addition to whatever was in the barrels prior add a unique delicacy.

M + D: Smooth, creamy, sipping brew. It offers a little warming as it goes down, a nice touch to top off the feel which seems to get better as it goes. Carbonation is fine to begin with, but I find a couple of swirls to release some of the aromas and knock out a little bit of carbonation actually does well for it. This is a quality brew, and I hope to get the opportunity to enjoy another bottle before it's gone!

11-14-2009 03:40:55 | More by Proteus93
Photo of brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%

22oz bottle from Southbay drugs to the cellar to the glass.

Pours opaque black with a thin, tan head. A few minor whisps remain on the surface for the duration along with stray dotting of lacework.

Aromatics lead off with a lucious blend of vanilla, bourbon, bitter chocolate, dark roast coffee, and char. Booze-spiked fudge bits dusted with espresso grounds.

Full bodied with an oily, velvety mouthfeel. Quite creamy and smooth.

Burnt malts, rich coffee, bakers chocolate, and bourbon start the palate. Shades of Oreo shells, Kahlua, cocoa, charred oak, and vanilla follow through.

Finishes with chewy bourbon, burnt brownie edges, espresso, and warming alcohol.

Very balanced, complex, and drinkable. A bit light on the bourbon for my tastes and not the biggest, baddest RIS in the sandbox for that matter. At $16 per bottle I was a bit dissapointed, and there are certainly other great BA RIS's out there for less money.

11-14-2009 00:38:00 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +9.6%

Another new gem I was lucky enough to get a hold of. I was really looking forward to trying this one as I have heard excellent things about it. Served chilled at cellar temp and poured into a large pint glass, this one was consumed on 11/11/2009.

The pour was perfect. Huge and dark, evil looking jet black in color with a huge tan head that reached a height of nearly three inches before it even thought about trying to settle down, and even then simply dropped tons of spider like lacing up and down the sides of the glass. Really just huge looking and absolutely perfect. Rich aroma of roasted malts, nice touches of rich chocolate notes and huge notes of vanilla and molasses. Warming brings out light touches of coffee, hints of woody notes and a light bourbon touch that really pulls it all together really quite nicely. Rich flavor, huge notes of molasses and chocolate, loads of coffee infused goodness and a just a nasty, wicked dark licorice like flavor to it. This thing was a beast and a half to say the least. Warming brings out more touches of woody notes, more hints of vanilla, and a nice back splash of roasted malts. Really again very well done and a very solid example of the style. Perfect feel and although it clocked in at over 11% there was no way I could possibly tell.

Overall a very solid RIS. I would stack this one up in a tasting with the big boys any day of the week, it was really just that good. Another very solid option here.

11-13-2009 23:53:21 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of rayjay


4.08/5  rDev -2.4%

Just got a bottle from the secret beer store!!!

BX pours great. It's got it all; big sticky lace, near-black appearance, mocha colored foam, great retention, enough carbonation to look alive without too much spritz, looks stellar in my Delirium Noel goblet.

Bourbon is first on the nose, and there is some light coffee in the too. It melts with barrel char, charred malts, and higher alcohols (definitely there big time, but mellow enough to smell pretty good). Bourbon makes it smell like a Jim Beam and Coke. A bit of butterscotch and some prune juice really hammers the old school imperial stout vibe home.

The warmer it gets, the more those sweet woody bourbon flavors come out to the front. Slight tartness and a whaft of roasted barley speak for the beer, along with a large dosage of bitter hops (by the way as much as they fight the weet bourbon and malts still win). These bourbon barrel beers always come across like Canadian whiskey to me, and this is along those lines. Not much alcohol warmth, but definitely lots of alcohol strength and presence.

Wonderful mouthfeel. Just enough carbonation to carry the wonderful aromas and lift the stickiness from your tongue.

Good times! This beer is very drinkable at 50F, and that drinkability will come back to haunt you if you're not careful. Respect this highly drinkable and delicious beer!

11-13-2009 01:29:19 | More by rayjay
Photo of Pehlman


3.8/5  rDev -9.1%

A: Poured into a Dogsh*t....excuse me... dogFISH Head snifter. Deep black color with a light bronze head that retains nicely for such a high abv beer. Practically no lacing at all.

S: A bit of barrel with a little roasty bite. but as it warms its getting a bit too boozey for my taste.

T: the taste screams FIRESTONE! A nice bourbony, barrelly start. then a somewhat bitter (maybe even hoppy?), roasty, coffee flavor (Char-bucks). It leaves a harsh residual dark sugar bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M: Pretty good to me. Some Might Say(Oasis) a bit thin but I really dont mind. I think it works well with the flavors.

D: Splitting this bottle with my buddy TDizzle. Glad I did. I couldn't have finished this alone. I am glad I tried this beer. Not quite worth the 15 bucks but overall its not too shabby. I wanna see what this does with a couple years on it.

11-08-2009 00:07:40 | More by Pehlman
Photo of GRG1313


4.47/5  rDev +6.9%

Pours dark brown/black, creamy, viscous texture with a big, thick and firm light brown head. Nose is assertive and layered sweet cherry, coffee, dark chocolate nose with an abundance of cherry alcohol in the nose.

Mouthfeel is creamy, rich, thick and appealing. Perfect carbonation and very "richly elegant" and well integrated.

Flavors are big, rich, assertive and bold. Flavors of thick semi-sweet black chocolate and sweet creamed coffee. There is a whiskey, creamy sweet bourbon character. Layers of dark, coffee, black chocolate, espresso and whiskey flavors.

This has wonderful sweet espresso finish.

For this big, creamy, sweet black chocolate/coffee type stout this is very drinkable. Would go well with smoked meats, charcuterie, BBQ, and game. Would also go well with lots of different desserts or simply very nice to drink by itself.

Very friendly all around; very approachable. A very creamy, rich drink with a big black espresso finish. Hard to put this one down.

This tastes like a wonderfully made stout that already has some age on it because of it's integration and "bold" elegance. Likely will get even better with a bit of age.

11-07-2009 23:38:06 | More by GRG1313
Photo of OlieIPA


2.88/5  rDev -31.1%

I would like to thank Aimstatus for purchasing and sharing this most sought after Imperial Stout. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber (like water) into a Bruery tulip.

A: Poured just like Coca-Cola; dark brown, fizzy, with a head that lasted momentarily. Oh yeah, no lacing either. Doesn't exhibit any qualities, other than the color black, that I usually associated with a stout.

S: Smells like grandma's funky fruit cake...with extra pepper. Seriously! This is most likely due to overly done coffee punch added to this beer. If this wasn't enough, there was a strong alcohol smell at the tail end as well.

T: After taking a few minutes to mull over the flavor profile, I was surprised to find several aspects of this beer not to be appalling...especially after getting over the aroma characteristics I found earlier. These aspects included a more subtle coffee than expected, some more dark fruits, and mild chocolate malt notes.

M: Thin and overly dry.

D: I don't know what to say...could barely finish my 11 oz. pour. The flavor isn't bad, not great, but is basically the only thing going for it.

Overall: Extremely overpriced and wish I had purchased that bomber of Bourbon County when I had the chance. Hell...I should have picked up a four-pack of Old Rasputin and saved close to $10 bucks. I wouldn't say avoid this beer, but if it were priced at $7 dollars (instead of $15)....I'd still probably recommend another Imperial Stout to try. A below average beer for this particluar style. Cheers!

11-07-2009 06:38:57 | More by OlieIPA
Photo of Jmoore50


4.35/5  rDev +4.1%

I started drinking this thinking, "This is interesting, I do not know what I think about it." I kept drinking it and it quickly grew on me. By the end of the bottle I was eyeing my second bottle, getting ready to open it.

The appearance is very very dark. I could call it black with cocoa brown edges. Everything about this beer screams 11% ABV. Great looking alcoholic residue on sides of the glass.

The smell is really weird. A fruity hop smell with bourbon? Bourbon is a characteristic that is present in all aspects of this brew. The smell has a train wreck of different weird smells that don't mix, but once they are picked out they are good. It is hard to explain, fruity hops, Bourbon, chocolate malts, alcohol.

The taste is pretty damn tasty. Bourbon, again, is a strong characteristic that goes with everything way better than it does in the smell. Has a nice chocolate flavor as well that accompanies the Bourbon beautifully. On first tastes I thought it was a bit hot, but more and more I drink I believe that it is perfect. There is a very small bit of coffee in the taste that is on the back end of the bourbon. Good good tastes.

The mouthfeel is really good but a little ABV hot. Perfect carbonation though, really pleased with that aspect of this brew. It is not overly carbonated and not flat. Not all of your tongue is effected, sweetness and bitterness mostly.

The drinkability is high for me because I enjoy hot Bourbon RIS. This beer gets way way better the more you drink, which is good because a bomber is a perfect amount for one sitting.

The beer is good, no doubt. There are no medicinal or off flavors that I can tell. I think it is a very good effort. The only reason it has not gotten a lot of hype is because this category of beer keeps getting more competitive. Good beer and worth the money I paid.


11-07-2009 05:05:28 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of BevMoAndrew


4.38/5  rDev +4.8%

Served into a Bruery Tulip glass at about 50 degrees.

Pours an extremely dark brown to black in the glass with a thick, creamy, viscous tan froth and good lacing. (Not as thick as I expected) On the nose is Boubon, oak, roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, light vanilla, raisins, citrus/orange hops, & slightly spicy hops. Thick, full, & slightly sweet on the palate with Boubon, subtle Brandy, roasted malts, caramel, vanilla, molasses/brown sugar lead to a citrus hop bitterness and alcohol tingle on the finish. Overall this is a very good brew with a great mouthfeel, but could have been better in terms of drinkability it the ABV wasn't so high on the mid-palate to finish. In terms of cellar potential, I find myself thinking that this beer is more like Goose Island Bourbon County than Abyss in it's body and balance, but I'll be happy to drink this beer while I wait on my Abyss, Old Rasputin XII, and Older Viscosity to cellar!

11-06-2009 20:40:33 | More by BevMoAndrew
Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 915 ratings.