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Colossus - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
ColossusColossus

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

197 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 197
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 19.62%
Wants: 72
Gots: 52 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  17.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Kegatron on 04-01-2009

Brewed in 2006, 2011, and again in 2014 to push the limits of our own skills and imagination, Colossus is dark amber in color and full-bodied with a perceptively sweet flavor profile accented by notes of apple, and a surprisingly tame alcohol presence on the palate in light of its staggering 17.3% abv. This astounding alcohol content is achieved through fermentation alone; no alcohol is introduced at packaging nor it distilled. Multiple grains are used in conjunction with three different yeast strains to produce a beer that simply defies classification… and most laws of nature. One sip of this behemoth brew and you’ll agree: Sometimes size does matter!

2011 Batch - 21.92% ABV
2014 Batch - 17.3% ABV
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 197 | Reviews: 64
Photo of MDandPA
4.29/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Surprisingly smooth for 17.3%!
Warms like a shot of good bourbon.

Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear yellowish amber in color and has a light moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down but consistently left a short head covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of caramel, apples, cinnamon and booze are present in the nose. It kind of smells a little like an alcoholic version of apple cinnamon oatmeal.
T: The taste follows the smell and has a little sweetness. Notes of alcohol become noticeable in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite drinkable for something that is 17.3%. There is some alcohol in the finish, but most is well masked from the taste. The mouthfeel isn't that heavy, sticky, or syrupy.

Serving type: bottle

Note: 2014 vintage

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

Surprisingly light sweet boozy nice

Photo of jeffdillon
5/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Loved it, had several large pours from the tap at the local "my favorite" beer store, then took a 4 pack home. Sweet, fruits, caramel, great feel. i may have given it a little less than 5 but reading the reviews by reviewers that obviously thought they were buying a different style of beer pissed me off! I bought this beer because I WANTED a sweet, sticky, strong drink, just like this! I was a treat. Cheers Du Claw, thank you.

Photo of Martyrob
4.62/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very good with a nice boozy taste.

Photo of embass
3.27/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Tasted like apple pie moonshine for me. Not bad...love the ABV and was happy to try it.

Photo of AngusOg
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was an aged 2011 vintage. One dimensional - too sweet.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.17/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle of the 2014 vintage pours a mostly clear copper color with a small cap of white head. Not much fore retention or lace.

Nose is JP 8 rocket fuel and vinous fruitiness with a caramely malt base. Smells scary.

Taste is grimace-inducingly strong with the malts not enough to cover for the massive wave of alcohol. Not enough hops to provide a bitter, clean finish either. There are better huge beers out there, but most of those tend to fall in the stout category where the alcohol can be balanced by a heavy malt load. Its an interesting beer to try, I can finish my bottle and would like to see what a 3 or 4 year old vintage would taste like, but I wont go searching for this. Too boozy.

Photo of SomethingClever
2.37/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle poured into Chimay Chalice

A: hazy dark copper color almost the color of rust hard pour no head

S: cloves spices

T: Apple cinnamon sweet disgustingly so and booze lots of it

M: cloying as shit

O: this is like drinking gasoline with a ton of sugar added, it's absolutely awful

Photo of bvdubn
2.5/5  rDev -31.9%

This beers pours a golden color with a foamy white head. I was surprised how light this beer was in color as I would expecting a thick dark colored ale with low carbonation.

The beers is thick and syrupy. It is sweet, boozy, medicinal, and solvent like. It can best be described as cough syrup or syrupy running alcohol.

Overall it is a very poorly done beer and not one that I will be trying again.

Photo of smakawhat
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Bottled August 27th 2014.

Very clear, with a little bit of fine carbonation that litteraly looks stuck in the glass, with a big bright tangerine orange color. Non existent head and a filmy oily to watery top. Big spotty bubbled collar, with little retention. Some sticky legs and barely a little spotted dot lacing.

Fruity white wine aroma, more in a sense of a faint white port. Hints of apricot and nectarine ripe fruit, with a thick skin. Big amounts of sweet honey coming off and a hint of booze but not very large surprisingly. Pretty good so far.

Palate is real intersting. Big huge honey coating on this in feel but not too syrupy. Good amounts of citrusy to tropical hops that feel like mushy fruit. Huge amounts of honey sweetness. Big long lasting bitterness and large alcohol heat, with a big stomach pit warmth on the finish. Liquid honey sugar tasting and feel quite a bit. Manages to stay away from liquor angle enough to give some barleywine/strong stock ale and hop roots to stick to the ground.

It's a lot like drinking a very flavorful malt tree sap, but in a way kind of fun. Doesn't really have much wow appeal, more of a go for broke sense. Regardless it is still enjoyable.

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage poured from bottle into a snifter glass

Appearance – The beer pours nice golden color with a two finger head of a white thick foam. The head fades fast at first, but then settles at one finger height where it has a good level of persistence. The beer has a rather thick look upon pouring as the carbonation bubbles seem to struggle to stream up through the body of the beer. Eventually the head does fade leaving a lighter level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is very bready overall with other aromas of caramel and toffee and some aromas of fruits with white grape, pear, and apricot all there. Along with these aromas comes a decent showing of spice, with cinnamon and nutmeg being the foremost. As may be expected for a beer of 17.3 % that was only aged for a bit of time, a decently boozy and warming rum aroma is there as well, producing a rather nice and warming and actually rather palatable aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a doughty and very sweet taste with notes of toffee, caramel, and fruit flavors of an apricot, pear, and peach flavor. While not too boozy or spiced upfront, both do quickly come to the tongue with the spice gaining a moderate level of intensity to the end, while the boozy get moderatly hot and potent. The spice flavors are largest of a nutmeg and allspice upfront, but move heavier in cinnamon toward the end. All the white some other fruit flavors of grape and plum join the flavor profile brining even more sweetness to the brew. As stated prior, the alcohol gains intensity toward the end with it bringing a nice warming rum flavor to the tongue. With a little bit of a more herbal and earthy hop taste coming at the very end of the taste profile, one is left with a warming sweet and boozy (but not as boozy as may be expected for a 17.3 % abv. brew) taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side, as may have been expected for a brew of its potency. For the sweet and warming tastes of the brew it was rather appropriate, keeping this one a slow sipper as it should be.

Overall – I was actually quite surprised. I was expecting something a bit boozier in nature, but the sweetness and doughtiness of the beer really nicely balanced the rummy booziness of the beer and made it very palatable. For such a big beer this one was rather well done.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.8/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a clearish amber color - honestly, I expected something darker here. The head is a finger high, with a white shade. Since the texture is bubbly like soda (and since the gravity is so massive, natch), retention just plain sucks. No lacing either, but there are some impressive alcohol legs. (3)

Smell: Whoa, this is spiced? I'm definitely picking up some notes of cinnamon here. And booze. Wow, I can't believe it, a 17.3% beer smells boozy! Aside from the booze, there are also huge amounts of sugar, alongside some fruit punch, apple, white grape, brown sugar, and a little diacetyl. While it doesn't smell particularly appealing per se, it earns brownie points just for being so damn unique. (3)

Taste: This is intensely sweet. And intensely spicy. And intensely hot. It starts off with massive notes of apple cider before gaining a cinnamon-laden middle and a boozy finish. After many sips, caramel flavors start appearing in earnest. Normally, cinnamon in a beer bothers me if it's not ballasted by a load of sweetness - well, that's not a problem wit this beer, that's for damn sure. It's starting to dawn on me...the initial flavor is apple cider, and the finishing flavor is cinnamon whiskey...HOLY CRAP THIS IS LIKE A 12 OZ BOTTLE OF ANGRY BALLS. Though the alcohol presence is strong, it's well restrained - unlike the sweetness, that is. This is one of those brews where I need a drink in between sipping this to cleanse my palate. I never like doing that while drinking beer, but it genuinely works in making this beer seem (slightly) less cloying. (2.75)

Mouthfeel: Since it's so sweet, it leaves behind huge amounts of residual sweetness on the palate, while the back of the throat and esophagus are heated by the alcohol presence. On the tongue directly, booziness is suppressed (more like smothered) by the huge sweetness. There's a small prickle of carbonation to help will it down more easily. (2.5)

Overall: I like to think that I get this beer. I don't necessarily like it, but I get what DuClaw was shooting for here. The main problem here is that it's way too sweet without showing much in the way of nuance or depth. I fear my subjectivity against monster beers like this is hurting my score, but even still, I wouldn't buy it again. (2.75)

2.79/5: Rather unsophisticated, but if you enjoy mixing apple cider with Fireball, you'll probably love this

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.36/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer comes forth from the bottle with little froth, nor bubble, until at last a thin ring of tiny bubbles forms and wraps the snifter. The ring of head stays there the duration, beckoning.

Aroma of cinnamon, masking 17.3% ABV commanded by the 2014 batch. Alcohol is not in the aroma so much as malty sweetness and spice. And a spiced ale this ale is.

The flavor has cinnamon, brown sugar, molasses and just a hint of heat. Others have likened the taste to a spiced (cinnamon) liquor and I second that notion. Smooth, vanilla like elements cinnamon sugar and slight fruitiness. Quite nice, unbelievably smooth.

Full, velvety smooth body, drinks like a scotch on the rocks. Slight tempered burn. This is extreme beer, gone extremely right.

Photo of JMS1512
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into my Lucifer snifter

Sight: After poured into my glass, I see a golden, honey like brew with a stark white head. It settles down to a thin cap in top. The lacing present on the sides of the glass resembles that dot game where you try to connect them to make more boxes than your opponent, and put an initial in it. I mean it has lots of small dots, not the boxes.

Smell: Booze, booze, and a little more booze. I also detect faint hints of yeasty esters and a touch of malt.

Taste: I’m so confused. Zippy spices, apricot (I later looked at the bottle and saw peach as a perceived flavor so I was in the ballpark), malt, and well… more booze. When it warms up I might get the apples and honey.

Mouthfeel: Slick and oily, teeth-coating. Not much carbonation, but I do see tiny bubbles regularly make their way to the top, in a relaxed, Sunday-driver sort of fashion.

Overall: Well, I’ve had few as big as this one. It drinks almost like a barleywine. Aside from DFH’s 18% nonsense, I’ve not experienced anything quite like this. I bet this would age well, and the alcohol end up less pronounced. It felt lucky to try it, but you won’t see my buying another unless the jack it back up to 20+ abv.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review from notes- Had this on-tap at DuClaw Arundel Mills on 10/11/14.

A- Body is nearly transparent dark amber/topaz hue. Served with a thin white collar which maintains well down the glass but leaves no lacing.

S- Nose is astringent and boozy which does not come to a surprise considering the ABV. The astringency is the most prominent- but the nose is quite complex with a lot of apple, cinnamon, and grain in the background.

T- Upfront is apple-cinnamon with a thick malty backbone-caramel seems to come through the most-but it could be the mix of apple/spices that makes me want to taste caramel. The finish is quite hot, but not overbearing. A big boozy alcohol heat and remnants of the initial flavor are left over.

M- Feel is low carbonation, relatively medium to heavy in weight, and slightly sticky overall-but the boozy astringency is there in the feel.

O- Overall this is a nice big beer,and probably the nicest extreme beer I have had. The alcohol is there-but its not overpowering or annoying-it is also much more present in the nose and mouthfeel than it is in the actual flavor.

Photo of ColdWaffles
4/5  rDev +9%

This is the 2014 version.

Poured into a goblet from a regular 12 oz pry off bottle, immediately catching a load of booze on the nose. Surprised to see a beer in this style and ABV not corked.

Looks like an amber cider. Almost no head or lacing.

Flavor is a mix of dried dark fruits, seemingly real citrus, Belgian yeast, apple and citrusy hops. Kinda tastes like sugar, spice and everything not nice.

Sticky moderately carbonated heavily alcoholic ale.

Interesting beer. Score is for how much the flavor seems to develop over the course of the drink.

Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

APPEARANCE - Mostly opaque orange amber with a 1-finger head that dissipates. A bit of lacing.

AROMA/SCENT - Slightly sweet, very herbaceous. Not hoppy

TASTE - They brew this with various herbs not identified. I don't like them. I think they might use tarragon, or something sweet like that. I don't like it. ABV not well-hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Very gooey. Almost no carbonation.

VALUE - Cheaper than Dogfish 120, but not worth it

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - A sipping beer at best. Beer advocate has the wrong ABV. The bottle I drank says 17.23. not 21.92.

Photo of kbuzz
2.25/5  rDev -38.7%

This is really just a mess of a beer. Too many high fermentable sugars results in a thin bubbly boozy brew with little identity. Lots of cider notes, astringency and fusels. For the price, it should be avoided...certainly are better versions of an American strong ale out there. I have another bottle, so might revisit it and revise this if I have even a slightly better experience, but as of now, this was a drain pour for me...

Photo of teromous
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

17.3% ABV, 2014

Appearance: Very nice copper and orange colored transparent body with a thin but well-standing white head. Very little lacing, but that could be expected in a beer this high in alcohol content. Good visible carbonation.

Aroma: Massive alcohol scent. It smells like rubbing alcohol. Honestly with this burning my nose it's hard to pick up anything else. I'm sure there's more too it...I keep getting a couple of other scents that poke in but not long enough to really put a finger on what it is. It doesn't smell horrible or anything, it is just very potent.

Taste: It certainly does have more going for it in the flavor than it did in the aroma. There is a kind-of grape like flavor to it, followed by dates, some cinnamon, and a bit of cedar. The alcohol is definitely present. I wouldn't call it a wealth of complex flavors but it has enough to keep things interesting. I feel that the cinnamon flavor masks a lot of the beer, making it hard to really pick out any nuance.

Mouthfeel: It burns. It's pretty hard to drink this alcohol bomb so be prepared to sip on it for a while.

Overall: It's well worth trying. I would obviously recommend it to those who enjoy high alcohol beers, but namely Belgian ones with a bit of fruity and spicy character to them. You will get enough flavor out of the beer that it won't end up tasting like pure alcohol. I definitely recommend having some food nearby, especially crackers or pretzels to refresh the palate after taking a sip or two.

Photo of Ryan011235
2.14/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter on 6/1/12

A second contribution from Buggy. Keep 'em coming old bean.

A) Burnt, rusty brown. Not much head, of course.

S) Super sugary. Mostly burnt molasses with some maple syrup. Booze heat. Some caramel and, for some reason, vanilla.

T) This tastes truly sugary. What the hell? I've never had a beer this sugary. Molasses, caramel, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup. Sugar candy s**t.

M) Thick, sweet, sugary feel. Carbonation is low and simply cannot hold up to the weight of the beer.

D) Even a little bit is too much.

Photo of cdmillard
4.41/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep caramel color. Head? None to be found, but not unexpected. Thick and syrupy looking.

S- Incredibly sweet, with some booziness. Maybe dark fruits and honey. Hard to nail down, but very sweet.

T- Sweet. Much like the nose, dark fruits and honey. Someone mentioned candy apples with cinnamon. Might not be too far off. Not nearly as hot as one would expect at 21% ABV. Don't misunderstand me...the alcohol is definitely there, but I have had beers with much lower ABV that were much hotter. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so the sweetness doesn't bother me, but I don;t know that I could drink it routinely.

M- Syrupy with no carbonation. This is my least favorite aspect of this beer. A little too thick for me.

O- Overall, I like it. It's tasty and just a pleasant beer to drink. I'm sharing the bottle with my sons, because I think it would be a mistake to try to kill it alone. Enjoyable, but not for you if you don;t like sweetness.

Photo of quirkzoo
4.94/5  rDev +34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed blind with several other BA's as part of Blind BIF 7

4 - Appearance is bright orange with almost no head (as is to be expected[wrapping gave warning that it was 15%+) pours really thick despite the clarity.

5 - Smell is amazing. Tons of sweet fruits, lots of fig at first and as it warms a little it gets even sweeter, honeyed apricots, honeysuckle just a lovely smell, really reminds me of a very good dessert wine. Almost no alcohol on the nose which is surprising.

5 - Taste is equally amazing. More sweet fruits, nice light caramel/honey sweetness, not much bitterness, very sweet but not cloying. Alcohol is very well hidden, most of us agree that it tastes like 11%. Perhaps the longest finish of a beer I have ever had it just sticks to the inside of your mouth.

5 - Mouthfeel is perfect for a big beer like this. Big and bold flavors but it doesn't overwhelm your palate, just enough carbonation to give a good cleanse and leave you wanting more.

5 - Overall this is an amazing beer, I have never had anything like it. The consensus is barleywine but it is much fruitier than any barleywine I have ever had. Another BA at the tasting, ucsbmullet commented that he thought it had some age, he guessed about two years. My first guess was a vintage big bottle of DFH Olde School Barleywine but the bottle isn't the right shape and it had an un-branded cap so I am going with my first instinct which is the only 15%+ beer from MD (where Oline73 is from) and that is DuClaw Colossus.

Photo of inlimbo77
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz, not sure on the date.
Hill Farmstead wine glass

A: Pours a light amber color. No head on this guy, but it's to be expected at that ABV. No lacing as well. Alcohol feet when you swirl, but that is about it.

S: Very sweet smelling. Lots of sweet malt. Bready chewy notes. No hops at all. Some caramel and toffee.

T: Taste follows nose. Amazing how the alcohol is fairly well hidden under that sweetness. But the sweetness is extremely cloying. Tough for me to stomach much more than my 4oz pour. Don't even taste a burn of the alcohol with that sweetness.

M: It's full but a thinner full bodied brew.

Photo of nrbw23
1.36/5  rDev -62.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A- Pours a odd murky reddish brown color with a very thin head. Pretty much no head just a few bubbles and no lacing.

S- A bit of darker fruits, incredibly sweet smelling and alcohol.

T- BAM! Smashed in the face with sweetness. A totally stupid amount of sweetness. That's all there is to this beer.

M- Medium in body with a syrup like feel to it. Carbonation was pretty low.

O- I'm struggling to drink this glass. Way too sweet.

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Colossus from DuClaw Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.