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Colossus - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

154 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 154
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 19.46%
Wants: 65
Gots: 41 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  17.30% 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: 154 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by kkipple:
Photo of kkipple
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The hits keep coming here at Casa Rosen, and here comes a Colossus thanks to UncleJedi. Good grief, 21%? Do we need this at only 10:30 at night? Guess we do! Onwards!

A. Syrupy... no head or bubbles of any kind; not surprisingly. Leggy as a leggy beast with legs. Clear and orange with red highlights.

S. Okay... this is the most imperial Wit beer of all time. The bottle claims coriander, orange peel and cinnamon, and by gum, you can smell all that in the beer. It's quite sweet, with a a big sugary nose that is suspiciously free of alcohol heat.

T. Wow... I was skeered going into this, expecting another hot mess like 120 minute, but this is shockingly mellow. Yes, mellow. You know there is booze here, and you can taste it... but as for heat, it's virtually not. Flavor is super sweet and sticky, with a pleasing spicy orange-wit cinnamon flavor that reminds me of rum spiced apple cider. It's good... albeit a sipper. In fact, as I continue to drink this, it grows on me. This is massive, and good.

M / D. Sticky, rich, syrup. Intensely sweet. A dessert. Gently warming, slightly bitter in the finish after the waves of sweet pass over. A few ounces is all you need, but it's not tiresome as much as hefty.

Colossus has been, according to the DuClaw website, verified by the Siebel Institute to 21% abv. Hard to believe, and yet... I buy it. I would buy it, too, if I could. The cleanest, most devilishly smooth ultra-high ABV beer I've had to date. Colossus is also the tastiest 20%+ beer I've had that's not called Utopias.

kkipple, Jan 02, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of Afroman
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Afroman, Sunday at 09:35 PM
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 JMS1512
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

JMS1512, Sunday at 04:15 PM
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%

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...

kbuzz, Oct 14, 2014
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Colossus from DuClaw Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 154 ratings.