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Colossus - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

145 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 145
Reviews: 46
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 19.73%
Wants: 65
Gots: 36 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  21.92% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: Kegatron on 04-01-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 145 | Reviews: 46 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by cdmillard:
Photo of cdmillard
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
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.

cdmillard, Jun 05, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jjfoodie for sharing this bottle. I believe this was the second release because it came in a 22 ounce bottle.

The beer pours a reddish-orange color with an off-white head. The aroma is very sweet with a lot of dark fruit, light tartness, caramel and brandy notes.

The flavor is similar. There is a ton of sweetness in this beer. There are also some dark cherries and brown sugar in the flavor, as well as a lot of alcohol. Even though the alcohol is extremely noticeable, I still think it is somewhat well hidden for a beer of this strength.

Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. Glad I got to try this one.

Mora2000, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of briandaube
4/5  rDev +8.1%

briandaube, Oct 04, 2014
Photo of Bizoneill
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Bizoneill, Feb 21, 2013
Photo of sandanders
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

sandanders, Oct 07, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -18.9%

acurtis, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of quirkzoo
4.95/5  rDev +33.8%
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.

quirkzoo, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of willPS21
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I was ill-prepared for this beast. I had no idea I was coming face to face with such grotesque (twisted) fruit and floral flavors. Difficult to pick a fruit exactly, it seemed like some chaotic combination of prunes, rosepetals, allspice/ginger/instant cider, peach/mango, some red and green jolly ranchers, robitussin, and cotton candy.. Yeah, I'm not standing by that as scientific but it's somewhere in that arena in terms of sugary-floral-sickly-sweetness. This was an issue at first because prior to opening I was thinking bitterness, brandy, no. It should be noted that my sweettooth is pretty weak... yeah, keep your rumplemints, gran marnier, and jaegar. The sweetness was so unexpected that at first my crutch to deal with it was some homemade jalapeno salsa which I'd have intermittently through the first couple oz's. That leveled it out quite well, and at the point I had waded in past my balls, I was able to drink it like a normal human. By the end, I had finally come to enjoy the bizarre and extreme concoction, both for its uniqueness and for the wallop it was giving my tongue, and its medicinal warming. I have a feeling that like many things, a beer of this stature is an acquired taste. It was remarkable how well-disguised the alcohol is, considering. Now that I know what I'm up against, I think I'm ready for another bout with this one to get a better reading, and for nuking it, which I didn't know was possible. And yes that will then be a shot, which might even need a chaser. Obviously drinkability is low for the average brute, unless you drink gran marnier shots with breakfast. Everyone should buy this if they see it to reckon with it's unique presentation when normal human beer seems boring, or to make drinking a 22 with a pal more akin to a sporting event of straight-face keeping.

willPS21, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of beermantimmie
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a liter bottle into a tulip glass.

Smell: hints of Apples, pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, oranges.

Taste: Sugary sweet! Apple pie tasting!

Appearence: Rose colored to a dark red.

Be careful when drinking as you wouldn't know by tasting that it is 22%.

I had this at a temp. of abour 50 degrees. This became very overpowering to drink after a while and I choose to cut it with a hoppier beer to take out the sugar taste. I wasn't impressed with the price! $35/bottle! I could by 4 120 minute IPA from Dogfish head for that price and still have the same ABV content. It's worth having once though. I didn't get a chance to warm it to 105 degrees like the bottle recommends to taste the warm apple pie effect. This bottle if sipped will accomodate two people without a problem, so get someone to split the cost with you. This is also available at Wine World beer and spirits in the fridge to the left of the walk in door on the top shelf. Enjoy!

beermantimmie, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of Skabiski
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Skabiski, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of Aeromaximus
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Aeromaximus, Jan 15, 2013
Photo of zaphodchak
4.58/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Gradient of red through amber, no head, no lace, some legs.

Nose is lovely fruit punch-type fruit, not in a bad way.

Beer is dangerously sweet, tropical. Notes of pineapple, apricots. Tastes a bit like a mixed drink, but not too boozy. Kinda like the Samichlaus Helles. Some apple and cinnamon as well,a s promised on the bottle.

Thinnish mouthfeel but it sticks with you, almost syrupy glycerin.

Impressive, and not what I was expecting, but I don't know what I was expecting... Sweet, but not malty. Almost like mead.

zaphodchak, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of Photekut
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photekut, May 18, 2013
Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Gonzoillini, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of trafordboy
1.65/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Yikes! Not what I expected at all. Tastes like corn syrup with maple flavor added. If Aunt Jemima brewed a beer I imagine this is what I think it would taste like. The beer has good carbonation and a nice look to it but there is way too much unfermented sugar left in this beast. The reason the alcohol is hidden so well is because of the sugar. I don't have a problem with sweet beers either...this one just missed the mark for me.

trafordboy, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of hdofu
4.7/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A whopper of a beer this is. The biggest I've had from duclaws and undeniably huge. Pours an attractive marmalade brown color with a thin orange tan head. Smell is like marmalade as well. Taste starts out like marmalade but breaks down into cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves finally goin to a thin trace of malts. Considering the strength it has this beer is a rather gentle giant not revealing its huge abv in its taste (I barely noticed any burn). The drinkability of this beer is almost scary but luckily it's huge price and low availability inhibits drinking alot of it

hdofu, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of mozim
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

mozim, Sep 13, 2014
Photo of maynard713
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

maynard713, Oct 16, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +8.1%

GRG1313, May 22, 2013
Photo of alleykatking
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle. Thanks Luke (Lukafer) for busting this bottle out!

A- Pours a amber copper color. Tiny white head comes and goes right away. No real lacing on the glass which is understandable with the high ABV.

S- Although the alcohol is very apparent in the beer it wasn't the only thing you could smell in the beer. Nice cinnamon aroma from the get go. Green apple notes come and go with a light bready backbone. Sweetness is a big quality to the nose with some honey notes as well.

T- This beer I figured would be a boozy mess..and to my surprise it wasn't. A nice sweet bready malt to start off this beer. Slight spicing notes with the cinnamon in the front end. Maple syrup sweetness in the middle and a little caramel malt as well. Backing is alcohol which is to be expected but it is very sugary sweet overall. This beer tastes like liquid french toast (which was said by Lukafer as we drank this).

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation was low but expected with this beer. Sweetness was all that was left on the palate. Sweet alcohol in the aftertaste. Flavor was very good for the ABV. Sticky feeling in the mouth and stays around for such a long time after the sip. Heavy drying on the palate.

D- This beer despite being such a huge ABV is very drinkable. I think this beer is flying under the radar so you should seek out pronto before it blows up. I know I'll be looking out for some more soon.

alleykatking, Jun 18, 2010
Photo of SpdKilz
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

SpdKilz, May 21, 2013
Photo of GapingMcNulty
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

GapingMcNulty, Jul 29, 2014
Photo of kbuzz
2.25/5  rDev -39.2%

kbuzz, Oct 14, 2014
Photo of waddellc2
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%

waddellc2, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from the Wine Source. Shared at the Brass Rail with Ffejherb, Pumpkin1 and others.

A: The ale is a darker amber color that, I swear, has a bit of cinnamon red to it. No head, although the 21% price tag probably has something to do with that.

S: The nose is cinnamon and apple and, oh yeah, booze. The spices are strong, sweet with the apple. Frankly, I am floored by the nose, sweet and sticky without betraying too much alcohol.

T: Green and yellow apples, equal parts tart and sweet, drive the flavor, a down-to-earth cider flavor that is complemented by an abundance of cinnamon and honey. Surprisingly, there isn't much heat here, not nearly the alcoholic boost that you'd expect for a 21% beer. The spiciness lingers long after each sip, a nice digestif.

M: The mouthfeel is overwhelmed by the apples and spices, but in a good way. The flavor is big and bold, concentrated enough that one could easily call this a licquer.

D: At 21% this is a sharing beer. We had 6+ people and it was still a struggle. Not one to try on your own.

akorsak, Mar 26, 2010
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Colossus from DuClaw Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 145 ratings.