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Babayaga - Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

190 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 190
Hads: 441
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 15.56%
Wants: 61
Gots: 48 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: m1ked on 11-10-2009

"Our winter seasonal beer, Babayaga is a 7% export-strength woodland stout. We smoked some malt with rosemary, and added a few other embellishments. This beer is inspired by Eastern European folklore, by woodland, streams, cold dark nights and woodsmoke.

This was brewed at Westport, MA by Dann and Martha with help from our friends Adam and Br. Brian. The mash contained over 4000lb of malt (the biggest beer we've done) and there were also rye, oats and wheat in the grist. Fermented with a mix of English and Belgian yeast strains."
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 190 | Hads: 441
Photo of cosmicevan
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

picked up locally. had this one on tap at a BCTC festival a while back and loved it...looks like i haven't gotten around to posting that review yet? none-the-less, just came to town and picked up bottle. enjoyed from my pretty things wine glass.

a - brew poured a pewter black with a finger plus of beige tan head that slowly fizzled away leaving a thick ring on the surface and lots of clustered bubbled islands.

s - as soon as it was opened i could smell the beer. irish stoutiness. upon closer inspection lots of roast and char with a hint of bailey's and mint. fairly charred.

t - tastes just like it smells...char and bailey's cream. very mint chocolate chip with a good amount of roast.

m - the body is a bit over charred. i know that this one is classified on this site as an american stout, but the bottle says sylvan stout and honestly this is pretty to style for an export stout (edit: checked pretty things web site and they list it as an export stout - submitting correction)

o - overall, spot on export stout. really nice irish flavorings and good amount of char. easy drinker and definitely one of the winners in the pretty things lineup.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of dry roasted malt with light residual sugar notes (maybe some lactose) and light smoked notes. Taste is a complex mix between some dry roasted malt with some light smoke notes and some light spicy malt notes. Body is quite full with light creamy texture and good carbonation. Well brewed with good level of complexity while retaining a good drinkability level.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The last Pretty Things beer sitting in my fridge; sad day. Ah well, from what I’ve had from them before, this one is sure to be a good one.

Brewed nine months before the date of this tasting (“BOTTLED OCT 2011” on the sticker over the cap; love that idea).

A: This stout pours incredibly thick for 7% ABV: pitch black with a brown head of light bubbles. The foam dissipates quickly into just a slight discoloration on top of the body, leaving only a few strings of lace. Note: a more aggressive pour toward the end of the bottle leads to a nice, creamy brown head. Gotta love that bottle-conditioning.

S: Strangely fruity-smelling, almost like a sour: hints of lactic acid, rosemary, and Belgian yeast play a significant role. Still, the main players are chocolate malt, with toffee, fig, smoke, and vanilla on a solid base of bready graininess – very biscuity with hints of rye. It all comes together in a rather British way, which is not uncommon for this brewer, I’ve found.

T: Now this in an interesting stout. It starts with mild dark fruit flavors and traces of natural sugar, building gradually to the smoky tone of the malts. From there on in, it’s basically all biscuit and barrel: wet oak, tobacco, cocoa powder, pecan, oat, and a heap of fresh-baked bread. Not a ton of vanillin seeping through from the oak-aging, but definitely enough to mix up the palate. A light sprucing of spicy, herbal hops comes through along the back end, along with Belgian notes of esters, rosemary, and prunes. By the finish, it’s almost a Belgian Strong Dark Ale; very nice. Herbal dryness mixed with a bit of funky and metallic character commands a light aftertaste.

M: Light to medium-bodied; lots of drinkability here. Comes off as foamy, almost, which is very nice for a beer this dark.

O: Nothing short of trendsetting! A stout with both Belgian and British influences: who would have guessed that it would have worked? It just goes to show what a great brewer can do with the right ingredients. I’m not sure what I paid for this, but I’ll take another bottle, please.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/2009 and somehow got lost until tonight. Pours a solid dark brown with faint garnet highlights when held to light and a fluffy tan meringue head that sticks lots of lace on the way down. Smells of roast and lots of caramel dark sugars and dark fruits. Spicy earthy aromas remind me of wood and ginger. The flavor is kind of a cross between a stout and a Belgian strong dark ale. The roasty caramel and chocolate flavors meet some spicy and earthy flavor reminiscent of some dark Belgians. Nice sugary fruity flavor. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly mouthfeel. This probably wasn't the best candidate for aging, but it worked just the same, its a very nice beer

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber into a Barrington Brewery pint glass.

A: Black as night with root beer-rounded edges beneath a dense, creamy, two-finger head of light beige foam.

S: Lots of different roasted malt aromas ranging from the chocolaty to the herbal and more smokey scents. There's a bit of fruity and grassy hops thrown in the mix as well.

T: Seemingly light and brisk malts hit the palate first with the tart pull of rye and velvety smooth sweetness of oats. Bitter, charcoal and chocolate notes take hold, imparting some coffee-like, herbal hop bitterness before washing down with a spicy, smokey and slick hop resin.

M: Medium-full bodied stout overall, but one that initially drinks lighter than the ABV or malt bill would have you believe.

O: This was a very interesting and fulfilling stout from the gypsy brewers at Pretty Things. The 7% ABV and variety of malts kept this stout drinking sturdy and the traditional hop additions kept it distinctly American. However, the British and Belgian yeast strains really made for some interesting, fruity, tart and spicy flavors that might have gone unnoticed with a house yeast. I'd certainly grab it again.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. Bottled October 2011.

A: Thick, creamy mocha-colored head. Darkest chestnut brown. Completely opaque.

S: Light and...lagery? A bit of bright fruit or Belgian yeast, with subtle milk chocolate undertones.

T: Hm. Not as good as I'd expected. It reminds me of a Scottish ale (or a less hopped Luckie Ales Export Stout). Light and fluffy, with a subtly-flavored maintaste that might be considered fleeting, but isn't quite. Raisins, apricot, and spices like nutmeg, fennel, or cinnamon that are a bit like a dubbel and sometimes trend savory. Interesting. Roasted malt adds a bit of smack, but is quite understated.

M: Smooth, mostly, with a slinky, unassuming body.

O: Points for flair, but even though it's fascinating, it always seems like it doesn't quite make it. So close to the mark, but it never quite finds its way there. Still worth trying and perhaps better fresh.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very dark black with just a touch of brown and a half finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some light lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts with some smoke, coffee, and a bit of dark fruit sweetness.

T - Starts out with some roasted dark chocolate malts with a bit of vanilla and smoke. Through the middle, some stronger smoke comes through with some coffee and light dark fruit sweetness. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate and coffee, smoke, and just a touch of dark fruit.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry and roasty finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice Stout. The balance is spot on here with a great mix of chocolate, coffee, and a touch of dark fruit sweetness.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, bottled October 2011. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent. The aroma is nice, it smells like chocolate, roasted malt, smoke, and some dark fruit and coffee. Taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit, molasses, smoke, wood, and a bit of licorice. Nice mix between the sweet and bitter flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and very smooth with moderate carbonation. I like this brew, too bad I can't get it here in Ohio. I'll probably buy this again the next time I come across it. $7.99 a bomber.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Kind of surprised to see new stuff from Pretty Things all the way out on the west coast. A nice, pleasant, hearty and rustic stout. Mildly smoky and seems a touch of spicy on there as well. It's a good winter stout. Even though there are parts of it that stand out in their own ways, it strikes me as well balanced.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black. Nice fine brown head with decent retention and good lacing. Mild aroma of toasted and dark malt with an interesting faint estery fruit component. Unusual flavor dominated by dark malt, but complex, earthy with unidentifiable fruit flavors. Finish is a touch sour, reminiscent of rye (which is listed as an ingredient) mixed with spicy toasted malt and coffee. Unusual combination of flavors, but this one works for me. Medium bodied with a touch of creaminess. These guys push the envelope but seem to pull it off. I would get this again if it was available in my state.

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Photo of Lordquackingstic
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled October 2011

A: Pours onyx black with two and a half fingers of a woody brown head. Spectacular lacing.

S: Toasted malts, dark chocolate, weak coffee. A tad on the weak side.

T: Way more appealing than the nose. Nice and toasty malt flavor, a little bit of smokiness, little bit of dark chocolate. There's a flavor here I've never tasted before and I can't put my finger on what it reminds me of, but it's a very pleasant taste. Almost like a dry woodiness. Very nice.

M: Dry and full.

O: This was a very nice stout. I definitely get the "woodland" feel while drinking it. Wish Pretty Things made six packs, I'd buy this year round. Kudos to you Pretty Things!

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Photo of jbertsch
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with a modest yet sufficient head. Smells of charcoal, peat moss, and woodsy earth. As it warms and I swirl it in my glass, I notice notes of banana along side Belgian-like yeast. The taste is a nice change of pace for a stout as it's not just the usual chocolate and coffee notes. I get notes of smoky woods, a little licorice, slight fruit notes, and a little herbiness thats a nice surprise. Tihis all swims in a pool of roasty toasty notes. Mouthfeel is a little slick but still mainly creamy.

Overall I'm surprised more people don't love this stout. It's unique with great layers of flavor that range from woods, herbs, and fruit with an underlining roastiness that runs across everything.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shared a bottle with Kojevergas.

A- Finger width mocha head. Quick evaporating retention.

S- Dark malts and subtle chocolate with definite smokiness.

T- Dark roasted malts, very toasty tastes.

M- Heavy bodied, medium carb.

O- Weird beer. Like it, don't love it.

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Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at Whole Foods in LaJolla in late February for $9.49. Bottled in October 2011.

Beer poured dark brown with a huge brown head upon the initial pour.

Nose has hints of molasses and smoke.

Taste initially was a hint of rye. Smoke, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, and maybe coriander.

Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied and not overly smooth.

Overall this is a good beer and there are some interesting tastes in this brew but it is lacking some things that would make it world class. Recommended to stout lovers to try.

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Photo of daledeee
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Never heard of this brewery so I thought I would try it. A nice 22 oz bottle with an interesting label.

Poured a very dark brown. Lots of head with lacing: a medium tan head.

Nose was great at first then subsided to hints of vanilla and roasted malt. I can also smell alcohol.

Taste is very earthy with almost a burnt taste. Loads of hops and roasted malt. It comes off as being a little on the chemical side. Not a bad beer though. Carbonation is adequate and this beer is drinkable.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a very dark brown in color with brown highlights and had a thin head which left almost no lacing sticking to the glass.

S: definitely had some roastiness from the chocolate malts I suppose with hints of coffee, a slight sign of booze and a variety of grains.

T: some sweetness from the malts with chocolate roastiness greeted my palate on the first sip with brown sugar notes, a hint of booze and grain accents.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, mild boozy, sligt roasty, and faint bitter finish.

O: gotta say it was just a decent stout and was probably at the bottom of my list from the beers tasted today from pretty things.

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

“Bottled Oct 2011”

A: Blacker than a midnight Trojan with a thick tan head.
S: Smell is sweet, a bit bready, some licorice…not all that roasted. Something else, rye?
T: Strange bitter tart combination to begin with. Notice some baker’s chocolate and coffee, along with burnt toast. Bitterness is overly aggressive. Finish is lengthy and biting.
M: Body is moderately thick but heavy carbonation gives it somewhat of an airy feel.

Enjoyed the previous Pretty Things beers I’ve tried, but this was a slight disappointment. Unique like the others, but was a bit harsh and not all that cohesive.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: half finger head which disappears quickly, little lacing.

S:light roasted malt with a subtle vanilla, hops and smokey notes.

T: Burnt and bitter coffee mostly. Some roasted malt, with chocolate, vanilla and firey.

M: full bodied, very oily. Moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: Very interesting beer. The first sip is a little overwhleming but after a few sips this mellows out into a nice complex stout. Has some strong Rauchbier characteristics.

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Photo of nickfl
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with a one finger head of light brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles rapidly and leaves almost no lace on the glass.

S - Rich, dark notes of chocolate, molasses, coriander, and a hint of smoky coffee.

T - Sweet, sugary malt up front with some brown sugar and caramel. A bit of bittersweet chocolate comes out in the middle with a lightly smoky note. Finishes as caramel, molasses, and light coffee flavors join the party with light grainy bitterness to balance the significant sweetness.

M - A thick, syrupy body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - The various components imply that this might be an over the top type of stout, but it is actually fairly drinkable and the more unusual flavoring aspects such as the smoke are well integrated. In fact, it almost goes too far into being a smooth, well balanced beer to the point that it comes across as kind of bland in the finish with an excessive level of sweetness that lingers on the palate and hurts the drinkability towards the end of the glass.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark black with a finger of medium tan head. Very good retention.

S- smells like no stout I've had before. Chocolate and soft roast malt flavor with a touch of spicy rye. Lots of Belgians dark fruit esters from the yeast and a touch of smoke. English yeast comes out as well.

T- soft semi-sweet chocolate and roast malt. Belgian yeast esters give off raisin and plum flavors. The English yeast dries it out and gives a great caramel like flavor at the finish with a touch smoke.

MF- smooth creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and soft carbonation.

D- 100% drinkability.

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Photo of litheum94
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Bottled October 2011.

Pours a charcoal black body, but does have some brown to it when held to the light. Big, brown head leaves a sticky foam as it settles.

Chocolate covered bananas, cold brewed coffee and charcoal, with some dark fruits.

Creamy chocolate, with some espresso bean bitterness. Chicory root, banana and plums. Soft smoke, with some minty freshness. Slightly dry on the finish, with some charcoal ash.

A pretty damn good stout. A little pricey, at least in my area, for a non BA stout, but this will not disappoint. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Brown near black on pour. Not much head - ring mostly. Some spotty cling lace.

S - Burnt malt and tinge of soy sauce and coffee. Sweet malt tries to make an appearance.

T - Very dry. Overcooked coffee, soy sauce, toasted malt on low levels.

M - A little watery and would have preferred more sweet malt in the mix. Good carb and fair finish.

D - I like PT. This one is not my favorite, however.

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle from bierkraft, bottled in October 2011. A very pleasant drinking smouth. Silky mouthfeel, not thick like an IS. Black with enormous retained white bubbly head. Mild roast and anise on the nose. Great stout, with a bit of smoky head in the finish. Great drinkability.

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Photo of aasher
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer just arrived in Indianapolis for the first time several weeks ago. The sticker over the cap states bottled in October of 2011.

This beer pours a smooth and medium bodied dark chocolate brown in color with a one finger creamy khaki head. It poured exceptionally smooth. The aromas are interesting. It's a little earthy. It has a certain sweet spice to it and smells like it may even use some oat. The flavors feature slight soft chocolate, some sweet spice, light earth, with a touch of toffee. Nice and mellow flavor. It drinks on the lighter end of medium bodied but it very smooth, increasing drinkability. Overall this is a nice stout. It had a certain earthiness to it that makes it a little different than most. It's an easy drinker and for $8.99, pretty cost effective.

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Photo of mactrail
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black malty beer with a taste of the campfire.

A fairly strong taste of smoke and ashes. Dark roasted malt provides a little sweetness. Herbal flavors like sage. Bitterness pervades the stuff. Burnt raisin toast and dark caramel. Bitter chocolate cupcakes. Fairly thin body. Dark, dark brown in the chalice with pleasant foam and lacing. Flavors are clean and intense with an aftertaste of malty grains. Bitterness subsides into an artichoke taste, like Cynar.

22 oz bottle from Beer Revolution in Oakland. Quite sippable, but be prepared for a different kind of smoke.

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Babayaga from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
88 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.