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Singularity - Driftwood Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

54 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 54
Hads: 148
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 9.67%
Wants: 134
Gots: 49 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ericj551 on 01-18-2011

2011-11.8%(silver foil), 2012-11.6%(black wax),
2013-11.8%(black wax), 2014-14.6%(black wax),
2015-12.2%(black wax)

Our 5th annual release of Driftwood Brewery’s Singularity has been conditioned for 3 months in authentic Kentucky bourbon barrels. This aging process adds warming notes of bourbon and oak that push this Russian Imperial Stout beyond the event horizon. The result is a beer of infinite density and depth of character. At 12.2%, Singularity Russian Imperial Stout 2015 will be a prized addition to any beer cellar!
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 148
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.82/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looked brown and black, not the most impressive appearance, no lasting head/retention/lace. Aroma, strong on the bitter, tart and alcohol notes, but yet, not really given its strength.

Taste was good, the thin body made me think this had just outright liquor added to the barrel, rather than just getting its character from the barrel. Prime the pump. Heavy roast character, some bitter tart thing going on, interesting, different. Chocolate, licorice and vanilla. Really don't pick up oak or barrel as much as I do alcohol, but relative to its abv, its really not all that omniprescient.

One of the best beers I've had from Canada. Who brought this to the Solar Eclipse party? Was it Crystel and her man? Sure am glad I took a picture and notes, as relying on my own independent recollection on this one, is uh, questionable.

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Photo of tewaris
3/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another beer shared by dc55110, thanks Dan!

It says on the bottle that this is a beer of infinite density. The ABV is up there too so I was certainly intrigued. However, it was exactly opposite to the expectations... looked thin and clear dark brown, quite a few shades left of jet black. Drank like any other stout with a splash of liquor... I found it tough to discern any quality barrels in there. On top of that there was a tartness typical to some stouts that was offputting.

Good roasty character was pretty much the only redeeming side of this beer to me.

3, 3, 3, 3, 3

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Photo of urbanpioneer
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I scribbled a detailed review for this on a napkin when I sampled it.

I noted it’s earthy and bourbon scented aroma, its low alcohol profile in the mouth feel even with its relatively high percentage. I appreciated its subtle complexities melding flavours of licorice with the typically roasted and malty elements of the genre and even thought it would be great paired with wild game like Elk or Caribou.

I then thanked my wife for picking me up a bottle while in BC and ended up crossing out what I had written and putting in its place the words "Extremely Enjoyable" . That pretty much sums it up for me.

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

huge thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for this beer! Thanks Hollis!

poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: Light to medium black bodied beer with about a solid 1 and a half fingers of brown head. Spotty lace covers the glass.

Smell: This beer is really roasty and got a moderate amount of bourbon in the nose. Getting some smokiness in it too.

Taste: The beer starts of roasty and then it goes right into the barrel; something unique about this barrel flavor. You can get the oak and it almost seems like there is cedar in there too. I also get some chocolate and nuttiness from the malts. The beer finishes with a mild bitterness from the hops. A little bit grassy and I also taste cherrys in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation. The carbonation really breaks the thickness of this beer up. The carbonation is sort of pricky and surprisingly epervescent for a bourbon barrel beer. It does make the beer smooth and the beer drinks like its 9 or 10%. It got a little alcohol kick that is mostly warming and subtle. This beer would have been a 5 in mouthfeel if it was thicker.

Overall: Really nice canadian beer. Its complex, balanced, and smooth. Really nice beer from a brewery I have never heard of.

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Photo of Impfan
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Inky black pour, although just a hint of light penetrates, so there is the slightest ruby-red shading.

Nose is roasted graham cracker, a bit of chocolate, a bit more bourbon, vanilla, cedar, and allspice.Very different, but also appealing.

Body is fairly full, but could perhaps be a tad richer.

Taste is chocolate, bourbon, cedar, a surprising grapefruit/mandarin orange/tangerine/kiwi/plum middle with more chocolate, bourbon, allspice, and floral hops in the finish.

The alcohol is definitely very noticeable, and yet it is restrained for 14%, and certainly not overbearing.

I agree with the gentleman who said that this was the best Canadian beer he'd ever tasted.

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Photo of IllNate
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours and inky black almost syrup with a couple fingers of thick brown head. Looking good, although that's easy in this style. Smells of oak and nuttyness amongst the intense roast and bourbon. The taste is again oak and nuttyness and bourbon. Fantastic balance, can notice the alcohol, but well balanced with sweetness and roast. Surprisingly the roast doesn't dominate. Mouthfeel is thick and oily, but it's to be expected. Overall an amazing beer, luckily I bought a few, I'm going to cellar some for a rainy day.

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

2012 Vintage with black wax.

A: 1/8" tan/light brown coloured head over black liquid.

S: Oak, toasted malt, and toffee. An unidentified wood smell is most predominate.

T: Oak, toasted malt, vanilla and toffee with some alcohol.

M: Thick viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation. Some drying from the alcohol.

O: The best Canadian RIS I have ever had.

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

2012 black waxed bottle.

Appearance. Pours a nice thick looking black with half a finger of rich and creamy tan head.

Smell. Rich, chocolaty dark roasted malts, some vanilla, bourbon and a bit of toasted wood. Smells awesome.

Taste. Sweet chocolate and a little vanilla fade to a slightly bitter roasty coffee and some smoky wood. Some booze for sure, but not too bad considering abv.

Mouthfeel. Full body, but nothing excessive, low smooth carbonation.

Overall. Nice big bourbon stout from Canada. Fantastic.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.38/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Alex! Poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours black as night, tan-colored head, thin collar.

S - Big boozy nose, rough around the edges, some oak, char, and dark chocolate. I would say this has another two years left on it before it really smoothed out.

T - Big oak and burnt notes, char, big booze. Maybe some chocolate in there too, but it's so boozy and highly charred that it's hard to concentrate on anything else. Finish is bitter oak and char with booze...not much else.

M - Full, rich, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Well, this is one helluva big beer. This had a good amount of age on it, but I think it needs more. A bit too oaky/charred/boozy for me to really enjoy. My pour was enough until this one smoothes out some more. Maybe 2028?

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

Can't remember if I got this from peensteen or liamt07. 2010 vintage that was LCBO tested at 13.8%. Served in a Surly Darkness glass.

A - A tan foam settles to a wispy haze on top, thin ring, and tiny spots of lace. Black body with some light brown coloration at the edges of the glass.

S - Massive dark chocolate, fudge, oak, char, spicy bourbon, and a hint of vanilla. Massive barrel presence here, and relatively low sweetness. Booze is present, but I wouldn't have guessed it's nearly 14%.

T - The taste is actually a bit better, with a nice blend of licorice, dark chocolate, oak, bourbon, and vanilla. Highly attenuated, with perhaps a tad more char and roast character that I prefer, but still quite enjoyable.

M - Full body, lower carbonation, viscous, chewy, but with only light residual stickiness. Not overly tannic, particularly considering how intense the barrel flavors are. Mild alcohol warmth, but far less than I was expecting.

D - It's a serious sipper of a beer, and one of the few times I've actually been glad that I didn't get around to opening a beer fresh as I imagine the booze was pretty intense last January. It'd be pretty tough to put down a whole bomber, but 12oz would make a nice one-and-done serving. One of the first Canadian barrel-aged imperial stouts that has been competitive with American offerings, but not quite in the top tier.

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

Beer is black- totally black. Good sized tan head dissipates fairly quickly, leaves decent lacing.

It is clear by the smell that this is a barrel aged beer. Oak and bourbon are immediately noticeable, strongly so. Hard to get a lot else, other than booze, which is certainly present. While the bottle lists this at 11.8%, the LCBO puts it at 13.8%. Nice smell, but not overly complex.

Taste is very similar to the nose, but with a bit more going on. Teh bourbon and oak are the strongest, and there is noticeable alcohol heat, but a faint chocolate and coffee taste is present. Some very mild sweetness causes the alcohol to have a slight fruity taste, a bit of prune or dark cherry. I have to emphasize how slight the fruit aspect is- this is by no means a fruit flavoured beer.

Minimal carbonation, full bodied A bit oily. Feels good.

This is a heavy duty beer. Very strong. The barrel aging has an enormous impact, and is very nice. Wish the beer was more readily available here in Ontario.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber poured into tulip 27/6/11

A nearly black but has some dark cola at the edges, dark tan two finger head falls fast leaving little in the way of lace, looks pretty basic

S nose is smokey vanilla, woody booze and some coffee, all fairly strong and the effect from the barrels isn't over the top but pretty hard to miss

T thankfully the flavor mimics the smell quite well, a little more bourbon with some chocolate covered raisins but that's not a bad thing, the booze could be better concealed but that's my only complaint

M thick, slick and oily, just enough carbonation to give it some life, feels very nice just a little booze burn keeping it from perfection

O this is a great brew for sure and one of the better beers I've had from Canada, very well rounded and no flaws other then booze feel and that's to be expected at nearly 12%

could use some aging for sure but that can be done thanks to chickenm and EskimoDave because they were both nice enough to send me bottles of the stuff. this ones worth looking for and buying a few extra for aging

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Notes from 4/8/11
Thanks to korguy123 for this bottle!
Served in Founder's tulip glass @ 45F.

A - Black with one finger of espresso coloured head that left some good lacing behind in the glass.

S - Heavy bourbon scent up front with oak. Not much else comes through on the nose.

T - Bourbon and oak are the predominant flavours, but without being overwhelming. Some sweet molasses, vanilla and light roasted malt notes come through. This beer is somewhat one dimensional with the bourbon barrel flavours dominating the palate (bourbon, oak, vanilla). It would be nice if more of the roasted malt flavours were present. That said, the bourbon barrel flavours that come through are spectacular. So it is hard to be too critical of this beer.

M - Medium to full body. Light carbonation.

O - An excellent example of the style.

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Photo of korguy123
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 03/06/2011
Into DFH Snifter

A- A totally black pour, cola colored around the edges when held to light. Tight bubbles form a thin dark khaki head. Lacing is decent.

S- Dark chocolate and mild coffee notes. Slight vanilla and brown sugar. Slight smokiness to it. Bourbon and oak are both there and round everything out well.

T- Bourbon right off the bat, dark chocolate and bitter roasted coffee. Vanilla and brown sugar ass a sweetness in the back end. Slight alcohol burn on the way down with a slight bitter aftertaste.

M- Medium to full bodied. Warming alcohol and slight carbonation prickle.

O- Good representation, great overall. Needed a little time to mellow out a bit.

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Photo of peensteen
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Near black, minimal tan head that hangs around the edge of the glass, some spots of lace show up. Big bourbon presence in the nose, roast malt comes through, nice oaky notes, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, the oak is really impressive here. Taste is of bourbon, oak, vanilla bean, nice roasty notes, alcohol is present and at times a little high, coffee comes through in the finish, well balanced. Full body, nice dense weight, light to medium carbonation, syrupy at points. Solid brew, one of the tastiest bourbon barrel stouts from Canada for sure I wish I had a bottle to put away for a year or so.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blind tasting of RIS, about 20 of the highest ranked on this site - and this one won out. Thanks to EskimoDave who sent it my way.

Black pour, finger of light khaki head. Ok retention. Nose reveals this is heavy on the barrel - loads of vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar, huge roasted malt notes, chocolate.

Loads of barrel in the taste as well, almost overwhelming the base which comes off as a little thin in comparison. Vanilla, roasted malt, chocolate, loads of brown sugar, a sort of cinnamon toast crunch character, sweet and rich, smooth and silky. Could perhaps use some more balance and complexity in the base, though I love all the barrel coming through in so many ways; neat character. Great beer.

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Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled sampled at Volo, presented in a tulip. Bottle is labelled as being LCBO lab tested at 13.8% ABV. Yowzers.

Poured pitch black, not a ray of light getting through this. Thin collar of retention, and minimal head. Mild lacing, but this is a huge stout. Nose is bourbon right off the bat, some oak and vanilla as well. Digging way deeper I get a sense of some dark roasted coffee and a hint of the alcohol. Well hidden, although the barrel dominates the nostrils here. Taste is predominantly bourbon and oak, until midway through the palate some silky milk chocolate and vanilla comes through. Some sweetness and finishes with a coffee-like roastiness. Great, silky mouthfeel and real bourbon-y. Lots of the bourbon 'flavour' without burning like straight bourbon. Oak and some vanilla notes begin to almost overtake the bourbon as it reaches room temperature; two different beasts in this one. A great RIS overall, and we agreed that this would be awesome to have a bottle to sit on and see how it develops. Awesome.

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

Appearance: Completely black, with a small black tan head.

Smell: Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, coffee. An amazing smelling beer.

Taste: Coffee, Chocolate, Bourbon, with a little vanilla.

Mouth feel: Viscous, but not overly so.

Drinkability: Dangerous. This beer is full of flavour, but not overly so. You can savour each sip and pick out something different every time.

Overall: I have to agree with a previous review, this beer is like the Bourbon County Stout only a much more drinkable enjoyable version. I did really like the BCS, only I found it to be a little too strong/syrupy like. This beer has all the great characteristics of the BCS and none of the qualities I didn't like.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love the BA guys out West, love their reviews. Ok, a rare bottled West beer they didn't send out to me already that's good. Volo:$46 with tax and tip, sharing with Jason. Its black and almost no head. Way too cold, half an hour into it as it warms I get a cask head, some trace of lace condensation on the side of the glass. A little boozy and chocolate aroma, and some strange spice in the finish that seems sour.Its closer to room temperature, and its very bourbon, some oak, carbonation is there.Smooth, buttery, as warmer and there is more coffee and coconut. 14% alcohol as rated by LCBO. Bourbon takes over as the smell. Chocolate in the sediment.

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Photo of Derek
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 consumed 12Apr2015:
Only a thin ring of head, showing some oxidation... 4.2.

2012 Consumed 6Apr2015:
Cellared incedibly well... 4.7.

Original 2011 review:

A: 4- Black with a tan head, thin ring of retention, leaves a bit of lace.

S: 4.5 Alcohol & oak are readily apparent, brown sugar, molasses, great fruity esters, toffee, light spicing.

T: 4.5 Caramelized raisins, piny hops, black-strap molasses, licorice, sponge toffee, bourbon & oak, roasted nut, candy floss, burnt caramel, assertive bitterness, alcohol on the cusp of becoming harsh.

M: 4 Highly attenuated, light acidity and a strong, drying alcohol finish.

D: 4 A sensational sipper.

I was expecting more west-coast hopping, but this one's actually leaning towards a historic British brew (minus the bourbon).

It's not harsh, but it'll be interesting to see how it cellars & mellows.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer looks like the goods with its all black label and silver foil plus the way cool name. Luckily the beer is world class ( well worth the $12) in that is delivers a barrel aged RIS that is muscular and complex but becomes focused and very drinkable as it warms up. Yes, this beer needs a few years in the cellar to truly meet its full potential but already this is amazing stuff that tastes of the wood but never forgets what makes a RIS so special. One of the best beers made in BC? Yes, and expect this release to be hyped in future as the reputation of Singularity increases

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Photo of BDTyre
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Amazing. Driftwood have never disappointed, and this is one more in a series of hits.

Black with a thin, frothy head. Very clingy.

Chocolate, wine, bourbon and sweet, candied fruits fill the nose. Dark chocolate and oak-aged bourbon abound in the taste. Very rich, very well-balanced. Even at 11.8% the alcohol is just a hint.

Smooth, creamy with low carbonation. Very nice to drink. An RIS in the classical sense, but taken up a notch (or several). I've been waiting for Driftwood to do a stout and they've really come through on this.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Completely black. Chocolate-coloured head with creamy, small bubbles that linger.

Smell: Chocolate, vanilla, whiskey, coffee. This beer is quite exceptionally complex. Lots of dark flavours and the whiskey gives a slight alcohol aroma.

Taste: A punch in the face of whiskey and coffee. The malt is sweet and the whiskey lends a nice vanilla flavour. The chocolate is a lot more subdued in the flavour.

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth and creamy. Slight prickliness from the alcohol burn.

Drinkability: As high as it can be with a ridiculous 11.8% alc/vol. No more than 1 per night, otherwise this would catch up with you. Great sipping beer on a cool/wet Vancouver evening.

Overall: This beer reminds me a lot of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. This is a slightly less intense interpretation. But in my book, that is a good thing as the Goose Island was so overpowering that it was borderline undrinkable beyond <6 oz samples. The Driftwood is definitely easier to drink and an extremely enjoyable Imperial Stout. Honestly, it's hard to find a bad Driftwood beer. These guys/gals are just so damned consistent in an incredibly varied portfolio of ale styles.

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Photo of ericj551
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a brand new release from Driftwood. According to their website it is aged in bourbon barrels for 4 months prior to bottling. Oddly enough it came in a standard bomber, and not the custom Driftwood bottle.

The beer pours a thick inky black with a fairly dark brown head that lingers in a viscous layer. Chocolate coffee and dark malt dominate the aroma at first, giving way to a ton of sweet bourbon. The flavor is rich and sweet upfront with plenty of dark chocolate, as well as some nice coffee and carmel notes. Dry oaky vanilla flavor creeps into the finish, which quickly becomes dominated by tons of sweet charred bourbon flavor. Astringency lingers in the aftertaste, and although there's no hiding the alcohol in a beer like this, it's fairly subdued for the strength.

At $12 a bottle, this is way out of my normal price range, but for a beer that's spent 4 months in oak, I think the price is fairly well justified.

Update for 2013 bottle: Even better than the last few years. Less oak, really well balanced and just a bit hot.

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Singularity from Driftwood Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.