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La Muerta (pre-2015) - Freetail Brewing Company

Not Rated.
La Muerta (pre-2015)La Muerta (pre-2015)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

90 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 90
Hads: 311
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 22.11%
Wants: 197
Gots: 85 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Freetail Brewing Company visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: wagenvolks on 02-17-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 90 | Hads: 311
Photo of flagmantho
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from waxed 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: totally black with lots of haze and a thin layer of rich brown foam. Quite good.

Smell: sweet and quite fruity with plenty of raisin character, some dates, and a little bit of chocolate. Not bad at all.

Taste: very much like the aroma, with an emphasis on sweetness and fruitiness. There is a hint of roast here, but it's not strong. There is also a little ashy aftertaste, along with a little caramel and toffee. Nicely complex.

Mouthfeel: big body with a good, well-integrated carbonation and a big creaminess with a silky smooth texture. Very, very good indeed!

Overall: tasty and with a great texture, this is a nice stout. It's a bit on the sweet side, though, so be prepared for that.

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Photo of Wayne17
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Flying Saucer. Smells like chocolate, coffee, and a hint of smoke. I thought I might be slightly turned off by the smokiness but everything really worked together. Just enough roasty, smoked, sweetness and alcohol to all meld together well. Nice and creamy on the mouthfeel and a nice medium thick body. My preconception of this beer is that it would be one that would need time to really develop and it may age with the best (I wouldn't know) but fresh out of the tap was fantastic. Reminds me a bit Dark Lord but tamer and more well rounded right off the bat.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

With its current #99 position on the Top 100 Southwest list, La Muerta came with high expectations. I picked up this 2014 vintage 22 fl oz bottle in Austin, TX; it boasts great label art and a grey wax-ed over pry-off cap for ostensibly increased aging potential. Bottled on: 10.27.2014. 8.9% ABV. 55 IBUs.

Reviewed live. Served cold into a snifter.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Khaki-tan, with wonderful creaminess and softness lending it a gorgeous complexion. Has an even consistency and a full presentation. Retention is excellent for the high ABV - easily 6-7+ minutes. Leaves a light even coating of lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque black. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, the head could be richer and darker. It's a nice looking imperial stout - definitely above average without boasting any stand-out characteristics.

AROMA: A classic imperial stout aroma comprised of chocolate malts, schwarz/dark malts, cream, fudge, and a kiss of faint hazelnut. The label mentions roast and smoke; I find neither. Indeed, a roasted barley presence would help counter the malty sweetness, but this doesn't suggest a cloying beer by any means. The rauch malt isn't evidenced at all except by a hint of burnt characteristics on the back end.

This mellow aroma never betrays the ABV of the beer; I'd guess this was 6%. Aromatic intensity is average at most.

To style, no yeasty notes are detectable, nor are any off-notes. Hop presence is minimal.

TASTE: The smoke promised by the label never quite comes through, though there is a bit of burnt character in the third act which helps it finish a bit drier and coarser. Actually smoking their own malts would likely help develop the smoke profile; I'm assuming they're just buying rauch malt from Weyermann or something as-is.

The second act is dominated by the classic chocolate malt and schwarz/dark malt backbone, with whispers of plum-like dark fruit lurking deep beneath the surface, barely perceptible. I like that it doesn't trifle with caramel, malted milk balls/Whoppers, or any of the other tired notes common in imperial stouts. The sweetness is appropriate; this isn't the cloying dessert beer it could be.

What's missing is a robust roasted barley presence, which would really help the balance of this beer, which errs on the sweeter side. Additionally, some coffee and/or more of the promised smoke character would lend desirable intricacy while also rounding out the balance. I think I find a hint of faint cayenne pepper on the climax, but I can't be sure. It's a bit fudgey there too, which is nice initially but may become too much for drinkers taking on the whole bottle. A hint of vanilla bean would be lovely here.

This drinks like a base stout for a better beer, lacking the developed flavour profile, intricacy, and subtlety of execution observed in the best imperial stouts. It's satisfying as-is, but there's ample room for improvement. Certainly gestalt, with a cohesive build and an intentionality behind it. These brewers clearly know what they're doing.

Average flavour duration and intensity. Above average depth of flavour.

TEXTURE: A strength of this beer is its creamy, soft mouthfeel - which fits into the schema of its dessert beer vibe. But it's strangely light on the palate, lacking the heft and weight this beer should have to support its robust flavours. A heavier body would be ideal, but the thickness/viscosity is about right and the carbonation is near perfect. It's smooth and wet, with an almost silky porter-like feel. The addition of roasted barley (and/or more rauch malt) would likely help give this a more appropriately coarser and drier feel on the palate.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or rough.

The ABV is quite well disguised here.

While this mouthfeel doesn't elevate the beer as a whole, it does complement the taste nicely. There's room for honing.

OVERALL: I can see why this is on the Top 100 list for the Southwest region. I'm pretty certain it's the best beer I've ever had out of San Antonio, and may well be one of the best imperial stouts I've tried from Texas while living here. Still, in this market it will struggle to compete with superior offerings from Prairie, and I don't know that I'd reach for this over widely distributed classics like Victory's Storm King, Great Divide's Espresso Yeti, or even North Coast's Old Rasputin (if we're allowing comparisons to Russian Imperial Stouts). This is highly drinkable and I'll enjoy finishing the bottle, but I'd like to see them further hone their recipe by playing up the rauch characteristics, bringing in some roasted barley, maybe adding some coffee or vanilla bean for intricacy, and adding more body to the brew. A spirited effort from a brewery that now has my attention, La Muerta is well worth trying and I'd recommend it to friends and trade partners.

Low B (3.55)

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle. Nice creamy tan head. Pleasant roasty, smoky aroma, with malt, cocoa, and coffee. On the palate it's creamy and rich, roasty, well balanced, not at all overly sweet. Some discernible spicy/earthy hops work well with the other flavors. Dry finish, pleasantly bitter, with good length. Quite drinkable. Tasty batch; I enjoyed this.

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Photo of caffeineTX
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very interesting flavor profile to get those rauchbier smoked malts mixed in with darker grains that builds a stout profile.

I can't wait to revisit this with some age on it and to get my hands on some barrel aged variants.

If you don't like smoked beers this isn't as overpowering as true rauchbiers and is very easy to drink, if you hate smoke flavored anything stay away.

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Photo of Tommo
1.55/5  rDev -61.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I was SHOCKED how awful this is. A thin brown ale with nothing to offer. Its translucent!! so terrible, i will never get those carbs back!!

As my friend put it, they should be ashamed to wax this bottle

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle opened on 4.17.14

A - Pours a very dark brown with a dark tan head that fades fairly quickly.

S - SMokey, chocolate, roast.

T - Chocolate, then a teriyaki smoke middle, then some roasted malts followed by more smoke.

D - A haavier body with good carbonation.

O - Smoke dominates, nice chocolate and roasted malts as well.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Bottle is an incredible gusher with two-third of the bottle ending in the sink. Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of chocolate malt with light dry roasted malt is intriguing. Taste is an interesting mix of black chocolate malt with some light dry roasted malt with light residual sugar notes. Some small traces of smoke can also be detected. Body is lighter than expected and carbonation was exceptionally strong when I opened the bottle but died quite quickly. Interesting beers but texture and level of carbonation was definitely off in this bottle.

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Photo of Radome
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 Vintage poured from a bomber bottle into a goblet.

A - Color is pitch black and no light gets through. The head is tan colored. Not super thick, but maintains a thin solid layer and thick lacing throughout the drinking experience.

S - Aroma of bitter dark chocolate and some wood smoke. A little coffee. Some sweet alcohol. No overt hops aroma. Not overly complex.

T - Flavors of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, mesquite smoke. No hops flavor. Alcohol is subtle. Clean; not very complex for an Imperial Stout.

M - Body is thinner than expected. Subtle carbonation. Moderate hops bitterness. Low alcohol presence.

O - This is a clean and enjoyable imperial stout. The characteristics that stand out are the interesting smokiness (on the good side) and it's lack of complexity compared to other examples (on the bad side).

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Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

32 oz growler poured into oversized tulip glass.

A - Pitch black with barely any head.

S - Not a strong aroma, but I get a bit of roasted malt and sweet chocolate.

T - Sweet notes of chocolate and a little bit of vanilla. This has a good amount of roasted malt and coffee. Very well balanced.

M - Moderate-to-thick body with low-to-moderate carbonation. The alcohol is surprisingly hidden in this. It drinks very smooth.

O - A good roasty and sweet stout that is deceptively strong. I love what Freetail is doing and can't wait to see more like this.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's been the first day of the year (since summer's end at least) that it's gotten into the thirties, good time for an imperial stout.

Pretty good looking beer, black with a nice foamy diesel head and sticky lacing.

Aroma and flavor: very different from your typical American double. A pretty good nose and great taste, roasty, chocolate, coffee, burnt, dark and mid fruits, specifically perhaps a little Brach's chocolate covered cherries notes. Roasty and burnt flavors come through more as it warms.

Hard to believe the ABV is so high. Drinks like it's 7%. Sweetish finish, but not overly so, with just a touch of chocolatey dry cocoa. Would like to try the barrel aged version, this one would be well suited for the barrel. Since I think I can still get some more of these, I'll grab a few bottles and age some. I suspect it will be quite tasty aged, although it's quite tasty in this fresh bottle too.

Freetail has been just wonderful since I discovered them. They're friendly to homebrewers and students too. Their beers are delicious, tho if they had a signature, I'd probably say it was their witbiers. Either way, Freetail rocks. And you'll likely never hear the ENTIRE ALBUM of Mars Volta, "De-loused in the Comatorium" in any other bar, ever! Cheers for that, and for the tasty beer!

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Photo of elNopalero
4.83/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Updated notes:

2011 vintage, with two years on it. Tasted on La Muerta Day, 2013.

As dark as ever with this amazing cocoa-tan colored foam. The beer smells of dark cherries and dark chocolate, with the faintest whisper of smoke and vanilla.

The flavor runs on for days, with more dark cherries, dark chocolate, worn leather and vanilla-spiked sugar. There’s a long lingering mouthfeel. Two years makes this beer mellow and subtle and oh so divine. Seek it out.

2011 vintage.

Split this bad boy the first week of June after cellaring it since November. Time has definitely taken what was already an excellent imperial stout and made it … transcendent. Just incredible all around.

This poured an inky black with thick, creamy cocoa-colored foam. It has that wonderfully glorious roasty aroma with cocoa nibs and dark coffee, and just a wisp of smoke. No noticeable booze.

The flavor is incredible, with dark chocolate and a roasty smoothness to it. There’s a hint of smoked malts on the finish, and a wonderful body that holds up as it warms and opens further, revealing layers of dark, worn leather and dried tobacco.

Smooth and slick, like Barry White’s voice, with a lingering finish like a sustained note held through the finish. Or something like that.

An all around exceptional brew. Bring it back, I want another glass for an encore.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage

A - Pours near black with a finger of chocolate head; OK retention and decent lacing

S - Tons of smokey aromas, cherry, wood, sweet chocolate malts

T - Smokey, dark fruit with an alcohol burn. Smokey/sweet chocolate medicine type flavors

M - Heavier bodied, smooth with little carbonation, quite sticky

O - tasty... very thick and smooth.

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Photo of Etan
2.38/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

22oz, 2012 vintage. This was a gusher and infected.

A: Pours out an unremarkable black with some brown hues and a large light chocolate head.

S: Unmistakable infection here. Vinegar and barnyard aromas, some light roast and chocolate malt behind.

T: The infection is less apparent in the taste, with just a hint of bacterial character, along with chocolate and coffee roast.

M: Medium-bodied, high carbonation.

O: Infected. Too bad, I was looking forward to trying this beer.

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Photo of crewfan16
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

poured from a 22 oz bomber into a central waters snifter. thanks again to Channels321 for the beer via trade. 2012 vintage

a- fairly aggressive pour gave me about 2 fingers of thick chocolate milk colored head which took a minute or two to mellow out. beer is black with nice tan lacing on the edges of the glass.

s- smells rich. chocolate, some smoke, roasted malt

t- follows the nose. bittersweet chocolate, just a tad of smokiness, but a tiny bit of hop bite toward the finish. maybe just a tad of dark cherry. chocolate lingers more in the finish. a tad on the sweet side, not terribly complex but a very robust stout

m- really enjoy the feel of this beer. solid carbonation but the richness of it provides some thick chunky quality that i love in my imperial stouts. even though the abv is 10.2%, it is not noticeable. a very nice lingering finish hangs out in my mouth for what seems like forever. might be my favorite part of this beer.

overall, i really enjoyed this beer. a bit on the sweet side, but with just enough smokey quality to balance it out. not as complex as some other imperial stouts, but has a nice thick mouthfeel and long finish that I cant get enough of. Plus, it paired great with some roasted venison steaks that I made for dinner. happy I got the opportunity to try it, sad I dont have the opportunity to have it more often.

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Photo of suspect
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Founders Brewing Snifter.

A: Deep brown/almost black beer. Aggressive center pour leads to a thin 1 finger mocha head. Lacing is thin but consistant.

S: Toasted chocolate malts, charred coffee, cooked cocoa and a little smoke.

T: Cocoa and coffee come out first and foremost in the flavor with the malts and smokey notes coming on the back end. Bitterness is present but the ABV is not.

M: A touch thin and a touch low on the carbonation. Finishes smooth.

O: A solid stout. Not in my top tier but most definitely a *good* beer. Would like to drink again but I wouldn't kill myself trying to find it.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by leftyhyzer as part of NWI tasting group bottle share

A - Dark brown with lighter accents and no head 3.75

S - Milk chocolate, light caramel, slight cream and roasted malt 3.5

T - Light chocolate and caramel with light toffee. Roasted espresso in the finish. Brown sugar. Light flavor profile overall

M - Light carbonation and body with roasted, slight oak finish

O - Decent overall stout with a good amount of coffee and roasted flavor. Nothing amazing bit solid enough

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Photo of jlindros
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to ApostleBrewing for another interesting one from Freetail.

Pours a darker creamy 1/2 finger head that fades at med pace little lacing, pitch black beer, no light coming through.

Nose starts with roast, roasted malt, roasted coffee beans, a bit of dark chocolate and cocoa, hint of char and bitter dark malt, a light smoked malt with hint of smoked cheese like and light oats I think. Just a touch of earthy hops.

Taste brings creamy dark malts, light caramel, a bit of powdered cocoa, hint vanilla even, some creamy milk chocolate as well. Light roast in the background, just a bit of fresh roasted coffee beans. The dark malts bring a hint of bitter char but not acrid. Melting choc really comes through the more it goes and warms. Slight chewy malt center with hint if oats, and faint hint of smoked malt again. Light earthy bitter hops in there somewhere, as well as a bit of warning booze. Finish is long creamy chocolate, hint if coffee, more bitter roast and earthy malts, fairly dry but slightly sticky mouth coating.

Mouth is fuller bodied, rich and a bit creamy, nice carb, just a bit of warning booze.

Overall quite a nice beer, nice malt profile with good roast and coffee, nice bitterness with roast and hops although a bit more hops would have been nicer, and a bit more coffee too. The light smoke is a nice addition, and acrid niceness kept in check well. Also nice balance and booze levels, a nice tasty beer that I'm glad I didn't age.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Thanks to both wagenvolks and twiggamortis420 for the hookups!

I feel this works as the digestif following a nice plate of tacos. It pours a straight onyx topped by a half-finger of sandy khaki foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, dark chocolate, light coffee, and molasses. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a hint of hickory-smoked ham. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a very nice stout, one I'm glad to be able to try (and share) more of in the coming months. Good times.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz, 2012
The Bruery snifter

A: Pours a deep dark brown. Almost black. No light gets through. Initially some light tan head that faded into a ring. Not a lot of lacing. Some alcohol feet.

S: Smelling lots of dark fruit. Some of that dark chocolate covered blueberries that you sometimes get in RIS. Lots of dark chocolate. Some roast coffee hidden underneath.

T: Deep dark chocolate. Some fruity notes. Some roast. Some alcohol is certainly there and you feel it going down the throat.

M: Full bodied.

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Photo of genitempo
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a shade less than black, head is tinted with a heavy lace that retreats quickly.

S - Brightened chocolate and boozy leads the way, with a hint of smokiness in the background, mild toast lingers. The smoke becomes more apparent, eventually taking the lead, as the beer warms.

T - A very well-rounded taste. Sugars make an early appearance, smokiness finishes off the tail-end. Heirs more on the side of a porter than an IS. If there were points awarded for hiding the amount of alcohol in a beer, this would take the gold.

MF - Medium bodied. Again, very impressed with how silky and lightweight the beer is for such a high ABV.

O - She's dangerous. What a well-suited name for a dark beer that cloaks it's booze so well.

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Photo of sendsilk
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this beer about 2 years ago in a trade. I believe it is a 2010, if not earlier.

Poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. It seems to have a fair amount of carbonation. No legs to speak of. Smell is malt and some cocoa.

This beer is a little light on the body. It tastes solid and is not bad at all. As the beer warms to about 60 degrees it really takes Ina nice sweetness that was not readily discernible wen it was 50 degrees or so. The chocolate and vanilla really come through and it is a totally different beer as it warms. At first I was disappointed but when it gets up there temperature wise it really shines.

Not to self, try to get some moo of the 2010 to drink with the 2012 that wash just released.

Reading reviews after I gave mine would have made me nervous for a smoke aspect of this beer. Not th case in the one that iPad, perfectly integrated?...and I don't like smoke in my beers.

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Photo of corby112
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Dajtai007 for sending this beer my way. Red wax, 2009(?) vintage

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a half finger mocha colored head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Slightly smokey, roasted aroma with dark and sweet malt notes, dark fruit and alcohol. Some charred wood along with dark chocolate, coffee bean, oatmeal, toffee and caramel. Some fudge/chocolate cake sweetness underneath, balancing out the smoked meat/burnt malts.

Slightly viscous medium body with a nice balance of smokey, roasted malt, dark chocolate and sweet booze. Dry and toasty with lots of dark chocolate, coffee bean and oatmeal flavor but it never becomes acrid or overly burnt tasting. There is some chocolate cake, toffee and caramel sweetness balancing things out along with some strong booze in the finish. Plenty of alcohol flavor but never hot or harsh. Not overly complex but has a nice balance of roast, sweetness and alcohol. Tasty but definitely a sipper.

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Photo of brentk56
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been in the cellar for several years - perhaps an '08 or '09

Appearance: Pours a charcoal color with chocolate highlights; very little head and no lacing action

Smell: Fudge and smoke, but not particularly vivid

Taste: Fudge, with a growing smoked meat character that builds into the middle and lingers, after the swallow, along with the chocolate elements; gets somewhat fruity in the finish, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation

Overall: Perhaps I sat on this one too long, but I notice that others have not cared for the way the smoke presents itself in this beer

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Photo of billab914
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes, opened as part of a haul from a great group of Texas BA's. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tasting glass. Pitch black in color with a thin tan head barely covering the top.

I'm getting a lot of smoke to it in the aroma, which I love. It's got some really good notes of dark chocolate and roasty coffee. I'm getting a a bit of a chili pepper like flavor out of it as well. I loved the smoky, roasted malt flavors in it.

The smoke and dark chocolate flavors continue into the taste and again are really good. I get a little more roasted malts and coffee in the finish. The smoke is definitely the highlight for me, but it's not overdone either.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style and moderately slick and oily. Carbonation is on the lower side. Overall, I thought this was one of if not the best beer of the day. I really loved the smokiness in it. Everything really came together nicely in it. Great beer overall.

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La Muerta (pre-2015) from Freetail Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.