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Nihilist | Sly Fox Brewing Company

20 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by yourefragile on 12-22-2012

User Reviews
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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 65
Photo of crisis1290
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spent a few hours down at the brewery. Decided to try this from the brewery tap lines. Needless to say the Sly Fox Brewing Companies Nihilist was amazing. I am a big fan of the Russian Imperial Stouts and this one did not disappoint. Super dark color , almost black with a very large tan head . The taste was outstanding. Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and caramel and spices. A fantastic mixture for sure.
Nothing too over powering. These guys at Sly Fox are really putting out some fantastic product ? They are winning awards and starting to compete with some larger craft breweries. Great taste for a 10.0 ABV. Well hidden for sure.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this during our recent annual stout gathering poured chilled in a stout glass courtesy of tenderbranson69 from the corked and caged bottle.

The color is very dark almost black with opaque clarity and thick medium tan head. The smell is roasted barley in the aroma with light yeast scent and spice ester from hops with light alcohol and toasted/coffee-like nutty odor. The feel is very good with roasted body and light woody dry texture with slight sweet middle and medium bitterness level with slight alcohol with moderate carbonation and mild spice texture as it finishes.

The taste has a roasted barley quality with mild hop backing with light roasted and creamy fruity yeast mid palate with nutty dry flavor as alcohol cooperates with malt toward the dry finish. This has a good solid malt flavor throughout with some hops in the mix although more of a traditional take - I consider this a solid example of the style

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Photo of tigg924
2.99/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This to me is an average to slightly below average RIS. Taste is dry cocoa, char, baker's chocolate, light coffee and oaking. The oaking adds a bit of dryness. This one tends to be on the bitter side of the style, but is never hop forward. Worth a try, but a pass for me in the future.

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Photo of stonewall2
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised how much i am liking this style, and this example of it. I like the malty toasty smoothness. I like the almost wine-like alcohol heat in the mouth feel. I like how the carbonation rounds the mouth feel. And i like how the flavor elements last a while.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Getting a fruity sweetness. Decently bitter. On the higher end of carbonation. Drinks lighter than a standard Russian. It's interesting. Almost for Quad than Stout.

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Photo of Jimmys
2.96/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

750ml into tulip. 1/20/2018 on the front label. choosing to drink now.

A: pours super dark. not quite black, but close. head is very frothy. great retention and lacing.

S: roast and char. smells like carb. but really, a lot of gas on this one. never thought I would be able to smell that. there is an obvious roasted malt aroma.

T: tastes metallic or something. nail polish remover on the second sip. a little scared to continue but I have about 730 mL left so the show must go on. vanilla. more booze. the massive carb actually gets in the way of the flavor. hop bitterness is in there but I cant detect any hop flavor. kind of raisin-y.

M: vivacious carb. full bodied. carb is too big for this beer/style/blah blah blah, but seriously turn it down a notch guys.

D: besides all the other negative comments listed above, this just really isn't that good. one note and too fizzy. big time pass from me.

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Photo of Stevedore
1.71/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

Poured into a brandy snifter today, 5/2/2014. Low expectations for this but then again it was an extra.

A- Dark black body with a massive 3-4 finger white head that stuck around way too long. Bits of lacing. I'm already getting worried about this beer.

S- Almost flavourless but I pick out some dark chocolate, coffee, and oxidized sherry. Very thin nose and really not promising at all.

F- Terrible. Very little actual flavour, very watery and the flavour that does come across is incredibly oxidized.

M- Thin bodied, watery, overcarbonated and just terrible in every way.

O- Not sure what went wrong with this beer. It's certainly overcarbonated, which suggests possible contamination.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.43/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.75

A bomber corked and caged. Batch #40701. Drink by 1/20/2018. Poured into a chalice.

The thin porter/black ale qualities of this beer throw me and thus the low score even with the good review below. A fine beer but not a RIS. Not luscious like a RIS. Ultimately a drain pour. I could not finish the bomber over almost four hours. 2.75

A – Pours a black with reddish tint with a three-finger head, good head retention and lacing. Good carbonation. 4.75

S – Roasted malts, a bit of chocolate, some tea, spice, good bit of dark fruit/prunes. 3.5

T – Malt! Average roasty bitterness, but still with the big RIS qualities one would expect. A bit of sweetness and alcohol helps create a balanced beer. 3.25

MF – Thin, warming, some alcohol heat in the throat. Medium bodied, semi-dry finish. Velvety. 4.5

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Photo of Badger6
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter. Bottle stamped with #40701 (no idea), 1/20/2018 best by date? Should have saved this one....

A: Dark brown/black body, completely blocks all light passage. HUGE dark tan head, receded a bit, with a heavy layer of foamy head retained on the surface of the beer. Decent lacing on the glass.

S: Charred wood, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and caramel. Strong and bold.

T: Bitter and sweet in the front. Leather and tobacco, with a distinct caramel note to carry through to the end. Slightly smoky. There is hop character as it finishes, herbal and citrusy, but not pronounced or oddly juxtaposed to the common RIS flavors up front, it is a nice complement to the end.

M: Light-medium body, odd for this much alcohol. The carbonation is prickly and in the initial sips is unexpected. There is a dryness to the beer that keeps is clean and enjoyable.

O: RIS is just my favorite style, not even in the top 5, but this is not bad. All of the things about a RIS I don't like, this beer has cleverly avoided, and in my opinion let the real character of the beer shine- the roasted malts and the flavors of the roasting process. This is easily drinkable. Oh, and unlike a typical RIS...this is not boozy.

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Photo of crag
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Nice pour, severed in a brandy sifter at the brewery in Phoenixville. Very dark in color with decent head and lasting lace. Smell was not over whelming - roasted was the biggest note that I noticed and that carried through to the aftertaste. Somewhat dry but not overly bitter. Classic Imperial.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
2.91/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

A-Nihilist pours with an awkwardly expanding, brown head. Huge, round, individual bubbles keep growing. The body is very dark brown.

S-Aroma is interesting. It's got some dark, dried fruit. Lighter roast. Molasses and darker maltiness but it isn't too aggressive in chocolate or coffee specifics.

T-Nothing really pops out here. Soft roast and chocolate. Dark fruits and maybe some nuttiness. More brown sugar and molasses.

M-Extremely over carbonated. The foam expands in your mouth and stings the palate. It's hard to even decipher the flavors because it all turns into foam and is rather unpleasant to hold on to in my mouth. Also lacks body and texture.

O/D-Didn't love the flavors; and the carbonation is seriously screwy. I was not a fan of this beer by any means.

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Photo of ZBR101
3.64/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A - pours opaque black with substantial tan head

S - heavy roasted malts

T - highly quaffable for a Russian Imperial with bitter dark chocolate throughout tasting

M - creamy goodness, more medium bodied than expected. High carbonation.

O - very solid offering here. I could have had a 2nd bomber but that's probably more of a "me" problem. Pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of pknyc
3.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: There was a substantial tan head with an aggressive pour which dissipates to a film or cap while leaving some spotty lacing. This beer is quite carbonated. The body is black.

S: The smell is muddled. Alcohol, esters, roast malts, and little chocolate is there, however the alcohol and esters seem at the forefront. I have a second bottle and I'm curious if some time will help this out.

T: The dark chocolate is more noticeable in the taste than nose. Bitter roast is the primary taste with quite a bit of alcohol and some mild esters evident. The taste is much better than the smell.

M: Nice. Medium with some nice carbonation which works better than I'd have thought.

O: It doesn't light the world on fire, but its an enjoyable beer and I'm happy I tried it. Depending on what else is available, I may purchase again.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter. Bottle stamped with 701 (bottle #?) 1/20/2015 (I'm assuming best by date...the last digit was blurry could have been an 8 instead of a 5).
A: Pours a dark, dark brown/black (no light comes through with backlighting) with a gorgeous 3-4 inch dark mocha head of small silky bubbles. Excellent retention and decent sticky lacing.
S: Dark roasted caramel malt, medium roast coffee, some charred wood, and dark dry chocolate.
T: Bittersweet chocolate, herbaceous hops (almost minty), leather and light tobacco, and a strong caramel malt backbone. With warming, notes of cherry, wood smoke, ripe berries, and citrus hops (which is interesting since usually these aspects--cherry, berry, and citrus hops--of a beer are most prominent first off and the darker notes become more prominent with warming).
M: Medium body (lighter than one would expect from the ABV). Fruity sweetness followed quickly by a dry bitterness that blossoms in the finish.
D: A very approachable RIS...this one really grew on me. Not as heavy and dark/bitter as most...which I don't mind, but I do like Sly Fox's take here. One of the most drinkable RIS's I've ever had. The alcohol is very well hidden...so beware!

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Photo of weeare138
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is an opaque onyx, with a dark tan head that never fades away. Lots of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of over ripened fruit, roasted grain, toasted graham crackers, and burnt marshmallows.
Taste is of the aromas with standout roastiness, cocoa, fresh tar asphalt, ashtray bitterness, and mild raisins in the finish.
Mouthfeel is overly spritzy, tar like, with a burnt bitterness lingering in the mildly boozy finish.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.01/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a light brown head. In the aroma, sweet malts and a small roast. In the taste, roasty, a sweet malt, and a dry coffee presence. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry roasty malt in the aftertaste. Hides the alcohol well, and a big roast with notes of coffee, I can dig it!

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours jet black, tan head is thin and retains as a lacing.

Smells of cocoa and coffee beans with some nutty bitterness.

Chocolate, burnt toast and coffee bitterness flavors.

Full body with tingles of carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

A solid and decent quality imperial stout that loses a few points for lack of originality. It's good, it's just not any different from many other good imperial stouts I've had. In particular, the flavor could have stood a little more variation. That aside, worth having and I would probably have it again, but not ahead of certain other stouts is all.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jet black. Slight head. Didn't stay. Just a ring.

Burnt maltiness, dark chocolate, heavy roast, and light espresso. Some booze.

Rich and robust maltiness with big roasty notes. Dark chocolate, rye/fennel, and spicy booze. Very tasty, in fact.

Feels medium-full with low-burbling carbonation. A little boozy, a little sticky.

A decent impy, after all is said and done. Nose was playing hookie on me, but the flavor made up the rest.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sly Fox : Nihilist

LOOK: Pours an opaque black without sediment. Tan head forms but does not leave much lace.

SMELL: Dry, woodsy aroma with some floral hops and spiced coffee. A bit fruity smelling too, possibly from the yeast or lofty alcohol.

TASTE: Big earthy hops and strong bitterness. Roasted flavors are big, with astringent notes of burnt toast. Some citrus and oily hop character is noted. There is a slight acidity due to massive hopping.

FEEL: Full bodied, well carbonated. Lingering roasted flavor.

OVERALL: A strong offering from Sly Fox that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. Big stout with big hops.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Anniversary RIS on tap at Pottstown Tastin' Room.

Pours a sludgy dark mocha black with a dark tan, retentive head, light streaks of lace. Licorice and molasses nose, light roast and ash. Creamy, thick and chewy body. Flavor has a strong dose of molasses, brown sugar, caramel and raisin with roasty and bitter hop citrus finish. Nicely balanced sweetness and roast. Throw this in a can!

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Nihilist from Sly Fox Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 20 ratings.