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Hunahpu's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Hunahpu's Imperial StoutHunahpu's Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

707 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 707
Hads: 3,552
Avg: 4.51
pDev: 20.18%
Wants: 3,595
Gots: 991 | FT: 68
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

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

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tpd975 on 01-03-2009

In Mayan myth, Hunahpu gave cocoa to the Mayans. An Imperial Stout Aged On Cacao Nibs, Madagascar Vanilla Beans, Ancho Chilis, Pasilla Chilis and Cinnamon.

80 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 707 | Hads: 3,552
Photo of Sammy
4.3/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cigar City takes NYC event at Rumble 'N' Hum, on tap. Had this the next day. Big peppers, great dinkability and edge. Very dark brown with brown lace. Cigar wood and chocolate, but the pepper is paramount.
Extraordinary beer, that I would seek out again, and I do not say that too often.
Had this again in bottle about 2 years later and it is very tasty stuff. Sour edge .

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.74/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to BastionShaw for sharing this one at the post Bruery Reserve Society party bottle share!

2012 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, chili, and cinnamon. Taste is of dark roasted malt, cocoa nibs, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, and a slight chili flavor that warms the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a nice thick mouthfeel. Overall, this is an amazing beer with a very nice balance of the ingredients especially in the taste.

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Photo of Texasfan549
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma: So much going on here... dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, a little bitter dark fruit. Easily a beer that I could sit there and smell for hours and remain content

Appearance: Pours like motor oil, the darkest of dark liquids... even while the beer is being poured the beer does not relenquish its hold on any light that may pass through it... opaque

Taste: As complex as the nose... every sip lends a different element of the beer, all of which are exceptional and are a pleasure in themselves... one sip is more vanilla forward, the next cinnamon and the next you finally get the heat from the chillies... I even get some milk chocolate, must be the vanilla and chocolate malt/cocoa nibs shinning together, you don't know whats coming but whatever it is will be delicious

Mouthfeel: The thickest beer I have consumed, coats every inch of your mouth... definitely a sipper but each sip is bliss, the alcohol may slow you down somewhat but thats not a bad thing

Overall: The best stout I have had... ever. I love barrel aged stouts but this beer gives me the vanilla I love from barrel aging, the roasted malt and dark chocolate from imperial stouts, as well as a little kick from the chillies for a little something different and is almost like a new experience with every sip... Awesome!

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: very dark brown single finger head on a jet black very oily body with excellent lacing.

S: not all that crazy about the aroma. Has more of a burnt rubber aroma to me than chili pepper with cinnoman, hints of cocoa, vanilla and oak and some roasted malts.

T: opens with chili peppers, dark chocolate and roasted malts moving to bitterness which is fairly severe and carries to the finish but brown sugar cocoa and vanilla come in late to balance the finish. The bitterness is a little tough to move past and get used to but it evens out eventually.

M: full thick body, oily coating the palate with light to moderate carbonation.

Overall: i opened this the day after the 2012 release. one of the more unique stouts I have had. A little tough to drink but improves as you go with the drinker able to appreciate the complexity further into enjoying it. I think it would be perfect if it had a little more sweetness to it. Otherwise I can't really complain or imagine it getting much better.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this mythical beast finally found its way into my life. one of those whales you only read about, at least in my world, so to actually get to drink one was highly anticipated and a real special treat for me. im immediately surprised by how heady this is. lots of tiny bubbles accumulating on the surface of the dense but bright brown liquid. coffee stained head color, nice retention. the nose is incredibly layered, with the bitter roast of the grains coming first and foremost, followed next by a wave of smoky earthy moderately spicy chili pepper and cinnamon. i dont smell much chocolate in this, but it can certainly be tasted. the vanilla is subtle, but present throughout the aroma. booze, while high in content, is absent aromatically. the flavor is real well integrated with all of these additives. chili and cinnamon are both mild, but unmistakable. i like that they dont just flash in at the finish, but are constants throughout. the cocoa is both bitter and earthy, not sweet at all, and adds a richness to the beer. the grain itself seems bigger and darker than most other huge stouts, the base beer is undeniably awesome. vanilla gives moderate sweetness and a mature richness to the whole thing, while high carbonation keeps the prickle of the peppers coming back around and around. long flavorful finish, no heat at all on the swallow. im left feeling like i had something enormous and unexplained. seismic beer here, unlike any other. i though this was the pinnacle of the style, then i had the double barrel edition...

edit: had the wonderful experience of tasting a 2012, 2013, and 2014 side by side. it was amazing to me how quickly the cinnamon fades away over time, its almost absent from the 2013, and gone totally in the 2012. as a result, i thought the freshest year was the most dynamic. maybe one of those beers not meant to be cellared...

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Photo of Knapp85
4.23/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a rich deep black color with a creamy looking brown head on top. The retention fades over time with a light lacing. The smell of the beer is a little boozy, there is molasses on the nose, deep roasted malts and some sweet cocoa. The taste of the beer is pretty complex, the spices come through pretty strong, the vanilla is very subtle in the finish. The flavors are very rich. The mouthfeel is thick, oily and heavy. The carbonation is minimal. Overall I was hyping this up in my mind to be much better than what I felt it turned out to be. You win some, you lose some. I enjoye trying it but I don't feel the need to get it again.

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Photo of brentk56
4.57/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives with an espresso color and a dark head that drops to a ringlet but leaves quite a few dots and dashes of lace

Smell: Dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, tobacco, black cherry, and cinnamon red hots

Taste: Dark fruit and chocolate, up front, with a growing red hot cinnamon flavor that brings in a smoked chili aspect by mid-palate; after the swallow, the tobacco enters the profile and the heat builds; the chocolate and dark fruit flavors underneath refuse to fold and stand up into the finish with an underlying cherry sweetness; the hops also make an appearance, late, and add a bitter element

Mouthfeel: Full body with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Incredibly complex, with layers of flavor that seem to change with each sip; the heat limits the drinkability but adds a very interesting dimension

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How to make a Russian Imperial Stout better? Just add complexity: Chocolate, sure! Vanilla, why not? Chili peppers, yea that too. Just make sure it's 12% or so. Sounds easy doesn't it. By the way, make it a top 10 beer to boot.

Hunahpu pours with a thick and viscous colapse into the chalice. As dark brown as possible and without emitting any light. The dark brown froath looks stained by roasted malts, cocoa, and espresso and is as creamy and rich looking as any beer imaginable- with the visual texture of a rocky milkshake. The head lasts 'til the beer's all gone. Extremely handsome and masculine to the eye.

Very strong roast early on with emphasis on espresso, charred cocoa, and nail-polish remover alcohols. No sign of esters or hops to the nose. Malty/milky with bold brownie and unadulturated freshly ground espresso beans. As the beer warms, the chili peppers release their capsaisen aromas giving yet another layer of joy.

Even stronger flavors deeply favor espresso and bitter cocoa. The cocoa and vanilla weave seamlessly with the deep and dark roasted malt flavors, making the burnt grains mellow and creamy flavored. Alcohols and grains form a strong licorice, cherry, and currant flavor that wasn't present in the nose. All the while, the chili pepper flavor sits in the wing, giving a slight sharp and spicy layer to the already amazing beer. Bitter from both the hops and from the strong roasted grounds; again espresso-like.

Crazy thick and creamy, yet quite easy to drink; lightening up just as the beer passes the tongue and making the beer very easy to drink for its strength. Thinned only by the alcoholic strength and peppery warmth, the beer never gets hot or fusal.

With every sip, I keep thinking that this beer's flavor profile (in a nutshell) can be summed up as a deeply rich cocoa brownie with freshly ground espresso added to the mix. But there's a part of me that thinks this beer is trying just a bit too hard. But I'm sure the Myan god will appreciate Cigar City's efforts.

Much thanks to RomaniIteDomum and BlueOkie!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.77/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Cigar City early in the afternoon right after I got my ticket to buy the bottles.

A: Pours a very viscous dark, dark brown with a very nice tan head with plenty of lacing.

S: Whoa, lots going on here. Everything is almost overpowering, yet fits so well together. Lots of chocolate up front, followed by more subtle hints of roasted malt, vanilla, roasted chilis, and cinnamon.

T: Even better than the nose. Right up there with the absolute best imperial stouts I'd had; definitely top three. All that's there in the nose is there with the first sip, and the complexity of this beer only improves with each sip as it gets a bit warmer. The chocolate is definitely the base, and the light touches of cinnamon, vanilla, and chili peppers are fantastic and make this such a well-rounded beer.

M: Very thick and huge. Nice and chewy, yet incredibly smooth. Fairly low carbonation, but entirely appropriate. No alcohol heat.

D: Insane. Each sip brings forth new nuances. I spent less than 16 hours in Tampa, waking up a 3:00am on consecutive days for early flights (one of which didn't pan out), and if I hadn't gotten bottles, I'd still be supremely happy and thought the whole trip worth it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a medium size deep brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of deep velvet chocolate notes with light spicy notes and some light vanilla and cinnamon can also be detected. Taste is a mix between some deep chocolate notes with light cinnamon and vanilla a with some residual sugar notes with dry bitter notes subtle finish. Body is full with limited filtration and with a smooth texture with almost motor oil-like consistency. Extremely complex while retaining a good level of drinkability. I found it very hard to do justice to this beer as I am missing work to explain how good it is.

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Photo of largadeer
4.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Mini-growler shared by nickd717 at a recent Cigar City tasting. Thanks for sharing this rarity, Nick.

The pour was black, tar-like and completely opaque, topped by a head that was a shade or two lighter than black. The color made me dread that this was going to be another burnt, acrid Cigar City imperial stout.

The aroma alleviated my fears somewhat as a huge bouquet of chocolate and cinnamon wafted up from the glass. Hot pepper and alcohol stung my nostrils, while vanilla brought a balancing sweetness. Beneath it all was the signature of Cigar City - burnt things, tar pit and fresh asphalt.

The taste, sweet and chocolatey up-front, spicy both from cinnamon and hot peppers - truly like drinking a blend of stout and xocolatl. Despite the almost excessive use of adjuncts, the base beer shines through with its heavily roasted, nearly burnt malt character. Sweetness from the chocolate and vanilla balance the bitterness with surprising finesse, never quite becoming cloying despite its richness. The finish reveals flavors of French roast coffee and burnt toast, and just when you think it's done the heat from the peppers coat the palate, leading into an aftertaste of cinnamon and chiles.

Well, they finally did it. That's right; Cigar City made a good beer. I know, I'm surprised too. This is good stuff, I might even track down a bottle when they come out next year.

Edit: Had this from a bottle, not as good, though still solid.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.55/5  rDev +0.9%

Reviewed from notes. 750ml bottle shared by Richard - thanks. 2014 Vintage.

A: Pours blacker than a moonless night with a half-inch thick mocha head which sits like a king and leaves streaks of lace.

N: Luscious dark chocolate, roasty malts, vanilla, peppery spices, cinnamon, faint coffee.

T: Follows nose with big roast, chocolate mole, vanilla, cinnamon. Very well balanced.

M: Full body and medium carbonation. Rich, full, decadent complex mix, finishes with peppery spice, vanilla, and roasted chocolate.

O: Whoa, a fresh bottle reminds me how good this is. Always a treat.

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Photo of zeff80
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger, reddish brown head of foam. It had great retention and left soapy rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of tobacco, coffee and chocolate. Interesting and nice.

T - Simply amazing. Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon and tobacco. One of the most complex and unique flavored stouts that I've ever had.

M - It was crisp, sharp and very smooth. A medium bodied stout with a dry finish.

D - This is a really great imperial stout. I'd love to get my hands on some more.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Obliterative onyx with a rapidly expanding crown of coffee milkshake-like cream that overflowed onto the desktop before it could be contained. No carbonation issues here. The lid looks lovely, lasts, and should lay down some pretty impressive lace when it melts. Note: it doesn't, but this is still great looking ale.

Cigar City used an outstanding base beer as the starting point for this inventive offering. Even though my bottle is an estimated one year of age, most of the added ingredients are noted in the nose. Peruvian cacao nibs and the earthy spiciness of the Ancho and Pasilla chiles for sure. Cinnamon and vanilla bean slightly less so.

It looks like Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout plays the same role as Old Rasputin for North Coast and Yeti for Great Divide. In other words, it's a granite-solid Double/Imperial stout that tastes great, almost no matter what's added to it. This stuff is de-freakin-licous right out of the gate and should only improve with warming.

Hunahpu's Imperial is impressive quasi-aged beer that is probably even more impressive when fresh. The always generous ktrillionaire offered me a bottle of the latest vintage just yesterday. Hmmm... may have to take him up on that. Where would we be without the occasional trade for outstanding regional-only beer?

Flavors include an intense dark chocolate fudginess, sticky molasses, coconut oil, vanilla beans, a soft blip of earthy-spicy chiles, and sprinklings of warm cinnamon. The inspired additions have turned an already deep and complex beer into an even deeper and more complex beer. This is a palate pleaser par excellence.

My 750 ml of Marshal Zhukov's (thanks again Casey) had some carbonation issues. This bottle is an indication of what that bottle should've been like. The mouthfeel is the very definition of smoothly creamy lusciousness. Laid-back bubbles add just the right amount of volume, then cut out and allow beer to ooze over tongue.

Hunahpu is the Mayan god of creation. Cigar City Brewing has every reason to be proud that they have created the masterpiece that is Hunahpu's Imperial Stout. A fresh bottle might have challenged for the best of 2011.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.68/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got a bottle of Huna. Its been a long time coming and a beer I have searched for over and over again. Well the time came. I have been drinking less and less lately, but decided to go for a big one tonight. Ate dinner, enjoyed a fine sour, cleansed the palate and opened the bottle. Letting it breathe for a good while I proceeded to repeatedly pour it into a six ounce snifter over the course of the evening. Consumed on 03/30/2010.

The pour was gold, Jerry, Gold. Dark as night, with nothing, not a drop of anything coming through the other side of this beast. The delicate and evil reverse cascade of the deep chocolate colored head just sealed the deal as it rose up to nearly an inch it stays, never settling more then a couple of inches and leaving you just wondering how dark and rich can this possibly be? How downright dark and evil can it look? Just rediculous.

The aroma was heavenly. Rich cocoa layered upon warm roasted coffee with just a hint of spice are what comes across at first. Warming though brings out all the subtleties and richness that I would have come to expect. Cinnamon and vanilla and fighting it out to provide a hint of sweetness and character. Each sip seemingly more complex then the one before. It is literally just a bath in warm, malty flavors. Chocolate and vanilla, a light punch of cinnamon all combine to form a complex richness that is at the same time as subtle as could be. Truly a remarkable thing they have created. One of the fullest stouts I have run across as each sip is like chocolate mousse and even at 11.5% everything stays very well hidden.

Overall sublime, everything I wanted it to be and more. I would have no problem drinking one every night and could be a happy man. One of the best stouts I have had.

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Photo of oline73
4.68/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to cheezdawg for trading me this one. 2010 poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours black as night with a dark brown head. The head goes away almost immediately and leaves some lacing. The beer is super viscous and clings to the side of the glass.

Smell: Initially I smell very sweet roast with hints of dark chocolate and dark fruit. After that I pick up the peppers as well as some alcohol.

Taste: Very sweet roast hits the tongue first. This is followed by dark chocolate, some chili pepper spice, cinnamon, and some dark fruit notes. The finish is roasty and sweet, the flavors blend together well.

Mouthfeel: This one just coats your mouth. Very thick and viscous with just the right amount of carbonation (mild). The finish is mildly dry.

Drinkability: I would have this one again and again. I'm super excited that I got to try this! I thought it was very well balanced. The only negative in my mind is that I didn't pick up much vanilla. That's just nitpicking and this is a phenomenal beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.45/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thank you to Kevin for cracking this one open at the Bruery 2nd Anniversary party.

A: Quite an ominous pour from the bottle. Viscous and black, creating a sturdy mocha head in the glass.

S: I was worried that the chili peppers would overwhelm the beer, but they provide only a subtle spice to the beer which works nicely with the sweet components. Chocolate and vanilla, along with caramel and roasted malts complete the nose.

T: A much more balanced flavor than the BA version offers. An inviting sweetness up-front of chocolate and vanilla, followed by a touch of bitterness and spice (chili and cinnamon) on the back end.

M: A very thick and chewy feel on the tongue. The carbonation is minimal, as it should be and just helps to enhance the creaminess.

D: The alcohol is nowhere to be found, but this one does pack quite the punch. A fantastic stout and one of the first CCB beers I've been really impressed by.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, turbid body with a thin, bubbly, dark tan head.

Smell: Highly roasty nose with full notes of dark chocolate, black coffee, spices, a big pinch of Captain Black tobacco (white blend, natch), and a sharp, vegetal note from the chilies contained within.

Taste: A heady mixture of roasted maltiness, chocolate, and vanilla give you a sip of Kahlua garnished with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Before long the heat and spice from the peppers kick in, but it's very well-integrated and complimentary to the overall flavor. A few careful drops of prune juice. More tobacco, which really is all too appropriate coming from a joint called Cigar city. Earthy hops with a modest amount of bitterness. Packed with flavor to the very end, there's even a bit of persistent heat beyond the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Very nice. Beers with peppers have come a long, long way since the infamous Cave Creek Chili Beer, haven't they? Without a doubt, I'm sure Crazy Ed is smiling down from heaven at Hunahpu's Imperial Stout.

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Photo of jlindros
4.66/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had as part of the mini Whale Stout tasting back in mid December. Thanks a ton to Chris aka FluffyMcTingle for sharing this.

A super dark black creamy head fades slowly with a thick syrupy heavy beer that coats the glass and has nice legs.

Nose is loaded with dark malts, roasty, dark chocolate, strong vanilla beans with a bit of a chili pepper under, some coffee, lots of dark chocolate, caramel, oatmeal, dark bitter scortched malts, just a ton of dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla.

Taste brings lots of vanilla at first, light spices like a cinnamon, chili pepper, lots of chocolate, baker's choc, dark choc, creamy milk choc, vanilla again, dark malts, chewy oats, a nice mouth coating that sticks everywhere, with some nice bitter tastes, a slight fluffy and earthy hop character. All the flavors are blended well despite so many peaks of various flavors.

Mouth is super thick and luscious, creamy, with decent carbonation and touch of warming booze.

Drink is good, not much of a booze feel for being 11.5% and how heavy it is, it still drinks decent, a big mouth coating that never fades takes away slightly, but for the style of beer that's what it should be.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml capped bottle into a tulip glass. Thanks go to Jw347 for this in a recent trade.

Pours as black as an oil slick out of the bottle, topped with a rigid finger of rich chocolate colored head that also has some burnt reddish hues going on with it as well. This retains with a creamy ¼ finger, with each sip of this leaving back rich lacing and brown gooey oils that slowly ooze back down the sides of the glass. The aroma is just LUSH in the nose, with notes of chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, burnt roast, dark fruit, and a spicy mix of cinnamon and chilies, which add an extra zesty layer of complexity in the nose. Underlying alcohol warmth gives this a nice full thickness in the nostrils. Not much more I can say about this guy. This is complex as hell. Lots going on...

The taste equally full and complex, with chocolate roast, toffee, and vanilla flavors all spreading out and drenching the mouth with a tangy and dark sweetness. The spiciness of the cinnamon hangs on the edges and pulls together in the back, where it lingers with just the slightest sense of those spicy chilies. The finish is just drenched with a mix of sweetness, earthy dark fruit, roast, bitterness, and those aforementioned leftover spices. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a creamy thickness and rich viscosity to the carbonation, which keeps this silky across the palate. Beyond the beefiness of the body, the only sense of the ABV that I'm getting is some light warmth in the finish. The alcohol is just beautifully hidden here.

Wow. To say that there is a lot going on here would be an understatement but none of the flavors ran over each and other and all seemed to wait their turn to shine as you work your way through the profile. That's mostly probably a compliment to the well balanced base of the Marshall Zhukov being able to broadcast itself while still supporting all of the extra flavors that were added here. Just impeccable drinkibility for a Stout this size as well, as despite the onslaught of different characters being at work and the high ABV, I never felt palate fatigue in the slightest as I worked through the bottle. This one lived up the hype. Just a tremendously complex, interesting, and drinkable Imperial Stout.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a glass mug.

Huge thanks to Gtreid for this whale carcass!

'Twas indeed a tragic prelude to the brewing, when this bottle flung itself from the table, shattering its world, leaving an expanding sea of dark, roasty blood. We salvaged what we could from the wreckage, and the impression gotten therefrom is below. Full disclosure, home slices.

It pours a straight deathly dark brown topped by what seems to be a finger of brown foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, blackened pretzels, molasses, maple syrup, oak, vanilla, cocoa, and whiskey. The taste holds notes of heavy roasted malts, molasses, chocolate, sweet peppers, soy sauce, vanilla, and brown sugar. The body is a hefty medium, with a light carbonation and a kinda syrupy feel. Overall, this seemed a bit of a disappointment. A lot of dark, sweet, and spicy tones, but they don't really seem to truly mesh together properly. Honestly, though, because of the circumstances, this guy held up fairly well. I plan on trying to acquire a new bottle, though, so that we can determine how this ought to be. Until then, though, these were my impressions: take them as you wish.

Update (2/26/11):
Thanks to the generosity of florida9, I've been able to give this giant another chance. The taste comes up much cleaner, tastier, with the soy sauce now thankfully gone and the peppers coming in nice and subtly near the end. Everything comes through nicely this time, much more well-blended and neat. I'm glad I was able to try this as it was intended to be consumed, as it is definitely better than the literal wreck that the above bottle was. The scores have thus been appropriately adjusted.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.85/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

BOTTLE: Acquired in a trade. March 14th, 2015 vintage. 750ml (I think). Classy label design. Branded pry-off crown cap.

Expectations are sky-high given how much I loved Marshal Zhukov's. Served lightly chilled into stemware. Reviewed live as an imperial stout per the label.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: About 1-1.5 inches wide. Gorgeous tan colour. Creamy and full, with a gorgeous soft consistency and a good complexion. Retention is excellent for the high ABV - about 5 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque solid black colour. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

It's a good looking imperial stout, but it's not unique or special looking.

AROMA: Attractive genuine vanilla beans (with no artificiality at all), faint cacao nibs, very restrained chilis (to the extent that I don't know I'd pick up on them if I had this in a blind tasting), dark malts lending the perfect amount of sweetness, subtle cinnamon, and maybe some chocolate malt.

It's not as expressive or deep an aroma as I hoped, but its subtlety is impressive and I find the chilis emerging more and more as it warms. Cocoa powder also emerges.

Aromatic intensity is below average.

No overt hops, yeast, off-notes, or booze are/is detectable.

TASTE & TEXTURE: The mouthfeel is near perfect, boasting a silky softness and an almost velvety presence on the palate that allows the subtle heat of the chilis (which is maybe a 2/10 in terms of intensity) to mount. Slightly powdery and tingly, bringing out the lightly coarse cinnamon spice. Cream.

The smoothness and wetness of the beer is ideal. Dark malts bring the perfect amount of sweetness. This is neither slick on the palate nor cloying. Carbonation is perfect. Aptly medium to full-bodied. I love that it's not a dessert beer, and that it's not too ashen or charred. Caramelization isn't too high.

The build is intricate, with intriguing notes of cacao nibs, vanilla beans, chilis, and cinnamon. Very balanced. As much as I like it, the depth of flavour isn't as impressive as it could be, and I hoped for a more expressive beer.

Blakelive784 suggests an oily mouthfeel, and I concur. He also notes that the roasted barley covers the acrid bitterness a bit, which dries out the mouthfeel, but I don't notice much roasted barley myself, and I find the hints of dryness in the mouthfeel well-tailored to the style and flavour profile. The thickness and heft on the palate is right on the money, though. The texture doesn't elevate the beer as a whole, but it complements it well.

There's not quite a marriage of texture and taste, but the mouthfeel is clearly designed well - and tailored to the flavour profile. Lighty chewy and somewhat viscous without being syrupy.

Constructively, the vanilla bean - nice as it is - is a bit too reticent.

OVERALL: A great sipper, but not a beer I'd want to drink a whole bottle of (even though it isn't too dessert-like or filling). The subtlety of the chili heat is a highlight, and it's incredibly well built for an imperial stout, but in terms of this niche I might prefer a beer like Copper Kettle's Mexican Chocolate Stout. Absolutely well worth trying, and another treat from Cigar City, but in terms of their straight imperial stout offerings, I prefer Marshal Zhukov's.


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Photo of Slatetank
4.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this bottle with tenderbranson courtesy of weeare138 -thanks for the chance to taste this beauty, Mike! poured cellar temp into a tulip.

A deep fudge brown color with creamy tan cap, no light passes through. The retention is good and lace sticks well, very small bead. This is an attractive beer to say the least. The smell is multidimensional, lots of creamy malt, caramel, cocoa and spice which adds a mild vanilla bean note with hints of alcohol in the aroma. The feel is light spice, full body with moderately carbonated presence, the spice notes come forward in the middle and the finish is semi-sweet.

The taste of this is broad, lots of complex spice and malt qualities at play here. The taste of the dark malt is slightly cococa enhanced and seems nutty,but that my just be the earthy vanilla presence. The slight spice distracts from the alcohol in the flavor and gives a nice complimentary accent to the caramel malt flavor and roasted notes round out the big stout. The spicing really adds to this beer, it feels like one I would want to enjoy in the winter or the holidays, lots of festive flavors in the mix which work so well with the base stout. The pepper is mild but this adds to the drinkability for me with the nutty earthy and cinnamon quality making for a unique brew and highly drinkable stout.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.76/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

I've had this on a few occasions now. I was entirely underwhelmed by it the first time, so I had to give it multiples tries in order to understand why this beer is praised so much. And I still don't get it. This just simply is not a good beer.

The look is good enough: dark brown-black with a wispy tan head that dissipated almost completely; few legs on the glass. Aroma was pretty basic for a stout, dark malts, some roast, with distant spice notes. For all that's put into this beer, the flavor profile is extremely weak. Dark roasty malts typical of a basic stout, stale tobacco, some sugary sweetness with a hint of cinnamon, cocoa powder, anise, something vegetal that could possibly be construed as hot pepper, but comes off more like dill pickles, with no real burn or nice peppery taste going on. The mouthfeel is on the thin side, which seems to be what makes this beer suffer the most; body is medium, very light for a stout, much less an imperial stout, and the alcohol warmth, while present, isn't too intense.

Of all the over-hyped uber-beers, this one probably impressed me the least, and to think that there is an entire day devoted to this beer, kind of baffles me.

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Photo of chinchill
4.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Originally rated from a small sample in 2013; revised with 2014 bottle on March 2015.
Chili still evident.
A touch too sweet.
Amazing complexity and delicious aroma.

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Hunahpu's Imperial Stout from Cigar City Brewing
100 out of 100 based on 707 ratings.