1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Serpent's Stout - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Serpent's StoutSerpent's Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,450 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,450
Reviews: 538
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 8.49%
Wants: 290
Gots: 332 | FT: 30
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

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

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
The history of the bible and religion is indeed the struggle of good vs. evil. Our Serpent’s Stout recognizes the evil of the dark side that we all struggle with.This is a massively thick and opaque beer that begs the saints to join the sinners in their path to a black existence.

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-10-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Serpent's Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,450 | Reviews: 538 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of glid02
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this courtesy of 3frog at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ.

Pours pitch black with a one-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust roasted malts with smooth dark chocolate and hints of coffee. Everything that should be in a stout.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malts and chocolate flavors hit the palate at almost the same time, with a lightly roasted coffee bitterness that comes in at the end.

Mouthfeel is great. A great thickness mixes with soft carbonation to make this go down very smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I easily finished what I had and could finish a bomber or two myself, even at 10.5%.

Overall this was a very solid IS in which everything was done very nicely. Certainly worth a shot if you come across it.

Photo of errantnight
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

ANOTHER Double/Russian/Imperial Stout? From LA? Tired of the hype in both cases and yet.... and YET...

Picked up a couple bottles last year before I'd started to turn against either, didn't pop one until last fall and wow. That was a mistake. Both only buying two bottles and waiting that long to delve in.

So this is the second bottle, stored for the past year in imperfect (but relatively solid) conditions...

Pours a luscious deep black with a finger or so of head, a bit lighter than I'd imagine. Decent retention/lacing.

Aroma is a nice, roast coffee backed by hints of dark chocolate and a figgy sweetness.

The taste is sublime, nice oaky vanilla notes, just a hint of alcohol in the back wrapping neatly around that deep roast. Sweetness seems more toffee here with a clean bitterness.

Perfect full, smooth body. I could drink this all day. Right there with Black Butte XX and Devil Over a Barrel for beers that have managed to incorporate some barrel aging into a strong dark beer that doesn't wholly remove the roasty edge but still maintains a smooth, rich, filling, complex experience. That is to say: a favorite of the style. Whatever that is.

Photo of jmalex
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

March Madness time! That means I need to really get serious about clearing out the winter beers.

early 2008 vintage

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip pitch black. The 2-finger high espresso-brown head is creamy with some very small bubbles. Eventually it drops to a solid 1 finger's height. Lacing comes in random spotty patches.

SMELL: Huge amounts of dark chocolate are in the forefront here. It's backed by some roasty coffee, a bit of alcohol, and a decent bit of fruity esters in the background, especially as the beer warms.

TASTE: Very chocolaty and MUCH more fruity in the flavor, presumably a product of the yeast esters. It keeps going and going before dropping out and giving way to an incredible coffee flavor which dominates the finish and continues on long after the swallow.

MOUTHFEEL: Thick and the fine carbonation adds a very creamy texture. The carbonation itself is at an average level.

DRINKABILITY: The alcohol is barely there making this 10.5% beer very dangerous. Thankfully I'm staying in the rest of the night to finish off this 750.

This beer definitely delivers and, like most Lost Abbey beers, is definitely worth seeking out. I need to go buy another one soon myself.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I would have gone with the Harry Potter theme for the label, psh (j/k). Pours a midnight black color with red hues around the bottom. Not as viscous as I thought it would be. A ample light tan colored head with ok retention and lacing through the tasting. Though did take some time to come down.

The nose is limited overall. Mostly malty with a noticeable dark chocolate and heave roast aromas. A bit much on the roast with some astray like notes. Big yeast aromas, with some alcohol and fusel notes. Big esters as well with plums, cloves and bubblegum. More of American feel with hints of Belgian. Some minor metallic but does come out when it warms.

The taste comes out a bit more versus the nose. The chocolate backs off but is still noticeable. While the astringent notes are a bit more represented, giving a stronger roast/astray taste. Some minor lactic/milky notes helps to back it down a bit though so not over the top. But leaves a almost sour taste into the finish. The yeast is note as Belgian-esk. More of an American feel with figs and raisins, but hints of bubblegum and plums. Somewhat salty but could be part of the weird finish.

The body is between moderate and full. But this might be because of the slight sour finish. Carbonation is a bit high but ok for style. The astringency is a bit of a turn off. Overall decent but there are some malt and yeast issues here. For my money, Old V is better.

Photo of srandycarter
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Bottle

A - Black ooze. Oily, dark tan head, reduces to disk, lots of webbed lacing.

S - Popped in the face with cocoa, a little licorice, alcohol and coffee. Mostly cocoa.

T - Elegant. Chocolate flavor is strong, but muted with the other notes found in smell. A little earthly too, which adds well to the blend.

M - Medium to heavy body, very very coating, perfect carb. Fat in the mouth.

D - In spite of the ABV, not cloying at all and I could do a few.

2009

A - 4 Oily black, not much head. Some brown bubbles near edges. Oily film coats glass.

S - 4 Not so much anise as before, lots of cocoa and coffee.

T - 4.5 Pretty much matches last years.

M - 4 Close to last years.
D - 4 Not as good as last years, but pretty darned close.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a snifter twice over some time. 2008 version.

A- Serpents Stout pours out black without question and looks like oil within the glass. A nice creamy one inch head graced the top. Dark tan with a brownish look to it at times. The head diminished but the dark film of foam stayed throughout with moderate lacing.

S- Serpents has a pretty strong smell of the usual stout characteristics including roasted malts and a chocolate mix with not so much coffee coming through. A nice dose of licorice a well as dark fruits that are pleasant. This has mellowed quite nice in a year.

T- Good stuff. The licorice that was the main component when fresh has steped down in rank giving the chocolate from the malt time to shine. The coffee is ever so faint. A slight taste of hop bitterness nessled in the back along with some alcohol heat. a very sweet stout overall reminding me of a Belgian version.

M- The heat has faded some but is felt at times but the overall sweet and smooth nature of this is one of it's best qualities. Full bodied, thick, sweet, not to hot, a year has done this stout wonders. Not much in terms of carbonation. The licorice stays hangin on for a bit. Coats but does not smother the mouth.

D- A great "Belgian" stout in my mind from all the sweet appeal. The drinkability is great for me, but it's all in the eyes of the bedrinker so that may vary. 11% is alot and i'm not all that big so I took my time and boy am I glad, it'll get you drunk!! If you have an extra bottle save it for a year and reep the benefits.

Photo of reginaldo
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had an epic battle to get the cork off. Pours a "no light can escape" kind of black. Thin dark tan head dissipates pretty quickly leaving little to no lacing. Sweet chocolately smell lets you know that you're in for a treat. Some coffee mixed in the smell too, but mostly sweet chocolate. The chocolate dominates the front end of the flavor. The coffee comes through much more in the taste. Also some alcohol in the flavor, but not too hot; it blends nicely. You won't confuse this beer for Ten Fidy. Mouthfeel is thinner than a lot of imperial stouts, although not too thin. Carbonation is fine. Drinkability is good, I actually had to slow down a bit to give it a chance to warm up. Overall I highly recommend this brew. Another great effort by Lost Abbey.

Photo of Tolann
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I agree with what others have said; yay, a cork that doesn't keep me from my beer!

A - Pours very seriously black with a roasted coffee brown some yellowish (mostly brown) head. Head fades to a nice layer atop the beer not completely diminishing.

S - Nose is obvious. Sweet and chocolate/espresso. very nice and rich. It makes you want to dive in.

T - Roasted coffee/espresso more evident in the taste. Still a lot of good sweetness of chocolate.

M -Medium mouth feel and good carbonation for this style. Not overly thick or flat feeling.

D - certainly an enjoyable brew. I don't think that it's drinkable in a sense that you'd drink this one after another, but very drinkable and enjoyable that one is very satisfying.

Photo of GilGarp
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served cellar temperature. Finally a Lost Abbey cork that doesn't put up a fight coming out!

I pour this one into my new New Belgium glass - a tall slender goblet, almost egg shaped, with an etching on the bottle that promotes the creation of bubbles.

It's all but black with a thin tan head on top. It settles to layer that just barely covers the blackness below but continues to do so throughout the experience.

Aroma is evident as soon as I pulled the cork. It's rich in dark chocolate malts and roasty coffee. Hops are present too which is always a plus for me when enjoying a strong stout.

Flavor is excellent as well with rich malty sweetness and big roasted malts. There's the usual suspects: coffee, chocolate, and toffee with the added bonus of some dark cherries and other fruit.

Mouthfeel is good but a little bit of a let down. It's very full bodied and smooth but it doesn't have that creaminess that I crave from a big stout. Carbonation is alright but maybe a bit too much for the style.

Drinkability is very good. It's smooth, balanced, and not too overpowering in any respect. The alcohol is almost too well-hidden.

Overall one of the best I've had from Lost Abbey. All the more impressive when I consider they specialize in Belgian styles. This is a big break from their standard lineup.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle into snifter. Huge thanks to Dev (buckeyesox) for this one - I believe it's about a year old.

Pours opaque black, with a one-finger very fluffy dark brown head, settling down into a denser, but thin, brown cap that doesn't want to go away. The head is fantastic for this beer.

Nose is equally fantastic - a nice mix of espresso, rich chocolate, and vivid dark fruits, with the emphasis on the dark fruits and cocoa. The nose is just so rich but still supremely balanced and integrated.

Starts off with just a huge, delicious espresso presence right off the bat, with a secondary note of rich chocolate, and lots of licorice and dark fruit swirling around in there. There's a smoky tobacco quality as well. Superb in every respect.

Mouthfeel is just as fantastic - lighter than expected, with a more active carbonation that's still soft and light on the tongue. You just don't want to stop drinking this thing. Almost no alcohol presence, fantastic mouthfeel, delicious flavor - can't say enough about this beer. Hits on all cylinders.

As a note, the alcohol starts to warm you up about halfway through, and comes out a bit more as the beer hits room temperature, but never detracts from the flavors or body of the beer. Still an A+ effort.

Photo of Kegatron
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Port Brewing/Lost Abbey tasting room on 3/14/09. Surprisingly, this was served in a pint glass and not some sort of stemware.

Pours a midnight black with a thin creamy head of burnt mocha colored head. This doesn't have a whole lot of flareup at first but once I get the level down some and really get this whipping in the glass, it eventually throws a huge cascade of frothy lace and brown residues that just COATS the sides of the glass. The aroma is deep and complex smelling, with notes of deep roasted malts, huge chocolate character, brown sugars, some zippy espresso, and maybe a touch of anise thrown in there as well.

The taste is just as large-and-in-charge as the aroma was. Massive roast, coffee, and bitterness hit up front, giving way to a more silky layer of burnt brown sugars, baker's chocolate, and caramel. Jut a dab of maybe some dark fruits and licorice makes themselves know in the back. Roast and sugary sweetness dominate the finish, lingering with notes of tang and bitterness. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a lower feeling carbonation that gives this more of a viscous texture on the palate. There is also a good bit of alcohol beef in this but it never gets to be quite stinging. It gets close at times but never full on.

I loved this in the bottle, so it was a real treat to be able to try this on draft at the Lost Abbey. I think I remember hearing our server say to someone else that this really hadn't had time to sit in the keg much, hence the lack of a big creamy feel. Still, the flavors were powerful and complex, just the way I like em' in my Imperial Stouts. Good stuff.

Photo of rudylaw
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the 750ml bottle into a snifter, it in fact, looks like a typical RIS. Nice and dark, with a 1-1.5 tan head that diminishes to a ring.

In the nose, flavors of dark chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

I taste plum, cocoa powder and chocolate. Not too much coffee on my tongue. Very sweet, which detracts from the drinkability factor. Mouthfeel is silky smooth... very nice.

All in all, a good stout. I would definitely have again... just not for $11.

Photo of dirtylou
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle on selection sunday

appearance: poured from the wicked bottle into a snifter, very dark body, huge creamy chocolate cap with creamy lacing/retention...very nice body on this one

smell: creamy dark chocolate, big and roasty, nice char presence, licorice, booze

taste: goes well with some samoas (thanks girl scouts), a big full flavored stout...heavy on the dark chocolate, moderate bitterness, big-time roasted malts, roasted oats, char, licorice, coffee roastiness

mouthfeel: velvety smooth, moderate bitterness

drinkability: good

Photo of BZero007
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After having the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti I was very happy to have this Stout. Poured a very dark color with a very minimal head. Smell was not strong but was of Roasted Coffee and Chocolate. The taste was of a medium roasted chocolate not to over bearing. Chocolate as well as some figs came threw later on in the beer. Alc was easily detectable which wasn't a bad thing, I felt like it hit the mood very well for me. Also I was just relived to be drinking this other then the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti that I had the other night. A much needed break! Alc level made the mouth feel a bit of wear and tear, but nothing over the top.

Photo of beerhappy
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

An even pour into a goblet provided only a thin head to this dark, espresso-esque beer. Roasted malt, chocolate and some coffee in the nose, along with some detectable alchohol. Nothing overbearing in the taste. There is some char and dark chocolate and then some fruity elements... but what I should really be raving about here is the mouthfeel. Huge body with just enough carbonation to provide good drinkability and silky texture. Balance was on this brewer's agenda. Nice stout!

Photo of willjschmidt
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Monk's Kettle in SF.

A: Ink black with a nice tan head.

S: Lots of chocolate in the nose, espresso, and some licorice.

T: A very rich and slightly sweet stout. This beer has layers upon layers of complex flavors such as dark fruits, figs, raisins, espresso, chocolate, and molasses.

M: Smooth, rich, and full-bodied.

D: A very good stout. A bit on the sweet side but definitely something worth seeking out.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Solid black with 1 finger of creamy m ocha head.

S - Dark chocolate, coffee and heavily roasted malts.

T - Intensely roasted grains, almost charred to the point of being too overpowering. Charred ash, slight smoke, chocolate and coffee.

M - Thick and chewey. Sticky and syrupy.

D - Too many charred burnt flavors for my tastes.

Photo of paytoplay
3.6/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

09 750ml, wanted to enjoy this beer but it was a bit rough for me. Alc was high, didn't get the silky rich mouthfell i was expecting. Have an 08 in the cellar, I think this 09 would benefit from 1+ years in the cellar to come together more. Dark stout, nice flavors, smell. Tried cold, and at room temp to see if it would improve. Have more and hope they get better, also may have been an off nite for me. The 08 should help drive my future purchases in more or no more 09.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Guezedude for this one in a trade! 2008 release

A- Body is a thick, viscous, opaque black color. Pours with an approximately 2 finger dark brown head. Its pretty amazing because you can hear this beer like you can hear pop when you pour it...the fizzy brown head fizzes up then immediately fades completely. No lacing is left behind in the glass. When held up to the light nothing penetrates through.

S-The nose is big and a blend of thick rich characters of anise, dark chocolate, plum, raisin, and a hint of phenols.

T-Flavor is intense and rich. Upfront is a big dose of plum and raisin with a big ominous hefty backbone of rich mild chocolate. The finish shows a bit of sourness with the plum coming through and a bit of a phenolic bitterness...also if slipped slowly a slight roasted character emerges. What lingers are hints of the initial flavors and a slight alcohol heat. What makes the flavor above average and not 4.0 is the tendency for the big mix of things to give off a motor oil impression because of the ABV. The flavor is very rich and complex (bordering on overbearing) and should be sipped slowly.

M-Low to medium tingly carbonation and medium-weight to thick body. Consistency is mostly smooth but a touch of phenols can be detected underneath.

D- At 11% this is a hefty brew and it stays true to its ABV. This brew has a very rich character and its a pretty good brew overall. Its an over-the-top Belgian Stout/RIS combo that just doesn't quite have the balance needed to be a great example. That being said-this is a great effort and something that I would try again...I can see why so many people like it.

Photo of MiScusi
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased and drank at Lucky Baldwin's Delirium Cafe in Sierra Madre.

A- black body, brown dense head. Thick as hell, as expected.

S- Cocoa powder smell. I wanna say there was some sort of acidic or soy astringency, but it was very low, as opposed to other imperial stouts I've detected this in.

T- Huge roastiness, chocolate, and a fruity component that peaks out every once in a while.

M- thick, creamy, slick.

Overall a good imperial stout. Interesting with the very mild fruit component that is easy to miss I think. Must be the Belgian influence on the beer?

Photo of MaduroMike
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours black with a thick brown head that dissipates quickly. Almost no lacing.

S- Strong roasted malts, chocolate, coffee/espresso faint cherries. Alcohol is masked very well.

T- Like it smells but alcohol pulls through in the end

M- Heavy, sticky, and bitter light carbonation

D- Decent offering and taste. Could see myself drinking it again but one is enough.

Photo of HalfFull
3.35/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap, this brew pours a dark brownish black in color and offers a very rich colored half inch of head. Retention is brief however and soon gives up to a glossy surface. A nice pour that doesn't hold up.

Chocolate on the nose with a bit of coffee and sweet malts, yet not a lot variety/complexity. Touch of alcohol is present but not overwhelming.

Taste follows the nose with roasted malts, cocoa, and chocolate. Finishing with more coffee notes. A bit thin in the end, this beer is unremarkable. A decent, yet average stab at the style.

ABV is well hidden nonetheless.

Photo of roadhouse
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a snifter.

Appears pitch black in color with a three-quarter inch dark tan head. It sinks to a skim, and leaves a small amount of lacing.

Aromas of dark chocolate, espresso, dark fruits - cherries and plum, and some charred wood.

Taste has a slight sweetness up front that is joined by a wonderful rich dark chocolate as well as the cherry and plum fruit flavors that I detected in the aroma. In the finish the espresso and burnt wood flavors appear.

Mouthfeel is medium-full in body, with a very nice creamy texture from a good level of carbonation that is almost Belgian like in it's effervescence, but not quite that much.

This was even tastier than I was hoping it would be. Really good stuff and glad I was able to pick up a bottle of this.

Photo of tempest
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 750ml bottle from only $6.50 at Abe's Cold Beer. What a deal. I'm not usually a big fan of strong stouts, but I take exception to this beer. The flavors are a great mix of darkly toasted bread crust with semi-dark chocolate. The aroma has similar roasted grains, and black toast. This beer is made more drinkable by the lack of excess residual sugars and that pays off additionally with a dry, cocoa finish that balances an earlier chocolate sweetness. Yum. Give this a try.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of numbeercruncher - great trader, thanks!! Split w/ dkachur and proteus93, w/ my portion poured into a 10 oz. cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a thick, murky, inky black, evolving - initially - a good two-fingers of tan head. The head bubbles and froths at first, slowly fading though eventually settling down into a firm one-finger of bubbly, sticky goodness. I'd call the retention above average on this one. The lacing is incredibly sticky, snowy, sheet-like in places, crystalline and three-dimensional in others. Just a very attractive-looking brew.

Aroma: A little faint. Very fruity, with dark notes - raisins, figs - and lighter ones - definite peach, stone fruits, cherries. Lots of earthy, toasty, roasty notes, not quite charred or smoky, but heavy coffee, bitter chocolate. Fruit notes definitely dominate here, though, though the heavy malts do emerge somewhat as this one warms.

Taste: I can definitely see how the Moonlit Sessions Lager was made from the second runnings of this. The notes are very similar - heavy, heavy toast notes, nearly charred but just shy, espresso, bitter chocolate, and tons of fruity overtones (peaches, cherries, raisins). The big difference between this one and the MSL is the overwhelming amount of sweetness in this one, making the bitter chocolate seem almost milky, sweet, the fruits seem dried and concentrated, and everything just, generally, more intense. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: This beer's worst aspect, probably. It's thick, and though it's not quite sticky, it's big-bubbled and a little uneven. A little too big-bubbled.

Drinkability: This one's all over the place. On the one hand, the head retention and lacing are stellar, and the tastes and flavor profile truly impressive. On the other hand, the aroma is way too faint and a little strange, and to be honest, I think it's a little overcarbonated. So I'm gonna put drinkability about smack dab in the middle for this one, despite the relatively high abv%. This one's interesting, intense, rich ... I'm gonna give it a "recommended."

Serpent's Stout from The Lost Abbey
95 out of 100 based on 1,450 ratings.