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Retribution - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
RetributionRetribution

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

411 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 411
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 83
Gots: 120 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Kegatron on 10-14-2011

A full-bodied, Single Barrel Bourbon-aged Imperial Stout with rich aromas of espresso and dark chocolate, and smooth roasted malt flavor. Aged for 6 months inside charred Kentucky white oak bourbon barrels to add the natural vanilla and caramelized sugar flavors of the bourbon soaked wood to the beer. Each bottle run is drawn from a single barrel, making each batch a unique drinking experience. ABV from 10.5% to 11.5%.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 411 | Reviews: 75
Photo of KJ2013
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

great beer. really loved it

Photo of SlothB77
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Little too hot and bourbony and chemically compared to other BA stouts. and this was after 6 months aging.

Photo of StoryOfTheGhost
1.83/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

I rarely feel the need to leave a negative review on a beer. I rarely write reviews at all, but when I do, its usually because I really enjoyed a beer and want to share about it. But this beer was so bad that the story must be told.

It was promising looking. Very dark, great lacing and nice copper head.

The smell was enough to let me know I was in trouble. It smelled like a hot mess. A mixture of Raisonettes and Booze.

Taste- goodness gracious. It was so awful that I am really just spitballing to come up with anything that reflects the pungent taste of sweet and bitter malts, boozy with no character, cloying chocolate syrup and raison puree.

Feel- hard to rate. I hated the first couple of sip so much and they lingered so bad that I just threw my head back and went down the hatch.

I think I just do not get Du Claw. Every beer I have had from them tends to be my least favorite beer I have purchased in a long time. Some people love them. I have some friends that think they're the bees knees, but I just don't feel it

Photo of GJ40
3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Too sweet for me. And the bourbon overwhelms. Why not just have a bourbon at that point?

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is a thick, oily, jet black coloring with a low profile, foamy, tan head that quickly settles out into a halo. Aromas of bittersweet baker's chocolate, bitter and roasted espresso, hints of wood and char, vanilla highlights from the booze, and earthy undertones. Flavors are extremely rich and heavy, with a blast of bittersweet dark chocolate forward, followed by a heavy hand of dark roasted coffee/espresso. Very well balanced. The highlights provide a significant layering and a ton of nuances, including rich vanilla, boozy warmth, char notes, and molasses. Extremely robust and full bodied. The aftertaste is all the rich and sweet blending together perfectly, including some caramel, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and booze. There's a pretty solid booze warmth building as I go, too. The finish is smooth, layered, and velvety. Fantastic beer!

Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.
A - Black, looks like coffee, small head that dies off quickly.
S - Smell of vanilla, alcohol and raisins.
T - Flavor is alcohol forward with dark fruit, almost licorice. The vanilla comes out as the beers warms.
M - Thick and chewy.
O - A good solid bourbon barrel aged Stout. Definitely improves when warmer.

Photo of cmq103
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A well done bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. This reminds me of the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout with a bourbon twist. A thick, slow sipping powerful stout meant to enjoy over time. Duclaw did well with this one. I'd definitely buy again, perfect for a cold winter night.

Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Put in barrel 3/28/14 taken out of barrel 10/01/2014.Pours ink black with a creamy deep beige head that leaves an almost full ring of lace as it settles into a frothy mass.Vanilla/bourbon in the nose along with alcohol soaked dark fruit,and mild roast.Bourbon is big in the nose along with brown sugar and dark fruit,a hint of lactic-like sourness is there as well.Odd in the fact I don't get alot of roast or coffee but I like the fruit and the bourbon components.

Photo of cjgiant
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle in barrel 3/28/14, bottled 10/1/14:
Pours an opaque black with a modicum of deep tan head that layers the beer but fairly quickly dissipates. Strings of carbonation cover the surface throughout the pour, but the foamy edge lacing is the sustaining remnants from the initial pour. Lacing is good, and a quick swirl bring forth a froth from the edges. Nose has a bourbon note to it but is on the tart side of BA stouts, a familiar nose that I always have trouble describing. I am going to use cherry wood, knowing that it exists, but not knowing if it exhibits the tart, somewhat cherry-like scent I get.

The taste starts somewhat dark side of bitter - maybe bittersweet - chocolate. The bourbon taste comes in with a stronger tartness. Again this taste is familiar, but seems almost as if old milk was used to produce the chocolate (given that lacto- bacteria is used in good sours, this should not necessary be considered bad). The feel is medium at best, carbonation adding some feel. The beer does coat the mouth, but the core flavors don't linger, leaving a root beer like after-taste.

This is a decent beer. There are no obvious flaws other than I have found (currently) two styles of imperial/BA stouts, a more tart style (this, Black Butte XXVI; and a more sweet style, Evil Twin Doughnut Break got one). I prefer the sweeter style (Doughnut Break being a towards the extreme side), but I have run into this style enough to say its a decent version of the style, and if you can understand my likely made up substyles, use it as you wish. I think it's at least a beer worth trying to form your own opinion.

Photo of uvachief
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber. Bottled on less than a month ago after barrel aging for 6 months. Pours dark deep chocolate brown almost black. 2 full fingers off lingering head. Aromas of espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon and roasted malts. Tastes just like it smells. Delicious thick and heavy. Very boozy with burn going down. More vanilla and bourbon in the after taste. Incredibly high ABV but goes down without fighting back too much. Could probably mellow more if I let it age around 6 months or longer. Strong espresso, chocolate and bourbon favors. Full bodied. Not for the casual craft beer drinker. Hard core imperial stout. Love it.

Photo of Antoine
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

As a fan of black coffee and chocolate, this beer was very satisfying. You can taste the notes of both.

Getting a pint of it is rather expensive as far as beers go. I'd rather use the money on 300mL of hard liquor. BUT if you don't mind forking over the extra dough, go ahead and enjoy this imperial stout

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Vanilla, oak, a hint of chocolate. Slightly sour? On the thinner side. It's pretty good.

Photo of _RL_
4/5  rDev -2.9%

On nitro at pizza boy. Pours black with little head. Not as flavorful as a typical bb stout but still good, although not great. Hints of bourbon that are quite nice but not much from the underlying stout - I would take Ten Fidy or regular Pt5th over this. A decent beer, but below what I would expect from a quality bb stout.

Photo of argock
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a clear glass snifter. Bottled on 9/23/2013 on label. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Very dark brown with 1-finger of quickly receding light brown head with minimal lacing.

S: Beautiful aroma of vanilla, light coconut, dark chocolate, black coffee, and roasted malt with a nice dose of burnt and medium caramel. The barrel notes really complement the base stout well.

T: The flavor is not quite up to the high bar of the aroma, but it is no big lagger as the sweetish caramel and chocolate notes really mesh well with the vanilla, coconut, and light oak tannin notes. The dark chocolate and espresso in the nose are there and add complexity. It is a pretty sweet BA imperial stout, but it has enough bitterness from the roasted malt, coffee, and dark chocolate components to pull it off. It does have a touch of tobacco character bordering on ashiness with warming. The alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M: The body is too light for the style and doesn't work too well with the sweet nature of this beer. THe carbonation is low as it should be for the style.

O: If this beer had more body, it would be a killer BA imperial stout, but it is for those who enjoy the sweeter version of the style.

Photo of teromous
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(From the label)
Date in barrel: 03/19/2013
Date out of barrel: 09/25/2013

A: Dark black body with a pretty dark brown cocoa looking head. The head stands for a good amount of time but it took some aggressive pouring to get started. Some lacing.

S: Very strong bourbon scent. If I were blindfolded I would think this was just a glass of bourbon. I get the oak as well. It smells good. It's nothing but bourbon but that one element is strong.

T: Very strong bourbon, oak, and rich coffee. There are two elements that make this beer perfect. The first is the richness of flavor. It is right there, full of flavor. It's not watered down or muddy, it is bold. The second is that the flavors work well together without stepping on each others toes. The bourbon flavor is big, but the coffee stands up to it, without being too bitter or harsh. No "standard" alcohol flavors (11.5% ABV) so the only alcohol I pick up is from the bourbon. Very well at hiding the bourbon.

M: Perfect mouthfeel. Full, smooth, thick but not syrupy, very alive on the palate, and just rich feeling.

O: Overall I loved this beer. It's a freaking amazing beer. I will be looking forward to buying this one again. I highly recommend it.

Photo of gr0g
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 release that spent six months in the barrel, bottled on 9/23/2013. Pitch black in color with a creamy, khaki-colored head. The sticky foam leaves sparse, tattered lacing. Cherry-vanilla infused cocoa dominates the aroma. There's little else going on, including fusel alcohol. It's a one-note aroma but it's very nice.

Flavor is plenty sweet initially, but then hop bitterness and/or roast astringency arrives and provides balance. Oaky cherry and vanilla flavors. Tinge of alcohol on the finish. Some harshness from the carbonation persists, but the mouthfeel softens over time.

Got this bottle as a birthday gift and was pleasantly surprised. This is a very well-done barrel-aged stout.

Photo of Ego
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

in barrel 3.19.13
out barrel 9.23.13
barrel 12 of 15

acquired in Maryland in October although now it is available here in nj

eyes...
writhing and sizzling head, it seemingly can't wait to evaporate at first but then magically it stalls into about a half finger of head, nice dark cocoa head of tiny bubbles that are being replaced as they disappear into the ether of this bitter cold night, sporting both lacing and legs this is right on for the style, nearly pitch black hue here with a few travelers of light kind of bending around the edges of the bottom of the glass, the devil himself (insert lawyer name here) could probably hide within the realm of this beast

nose...
bourbon and cherries, slight oak and some smoke, cocoa notes are sunk into the next layer being mired in the very strong booze/bourbon smash, really reminiscent of whiskey for obvious reasons, the bottle mentions espresso notes but I do not detect those here in this
particular offering (and hell I love me some espresso and hookers, but that review would be for eros.com...), as this sits a while longer the burnt notes really come out as do the subtle points of soaked wood, really complex offering here thanks to da' barrels

taste etc...
the carbonation is pretty low, too low imo, this drinks relatively heavy but not as thick as one might expect, pretty boozy but not overly so (I would say spot on in that department), after a few sips there is a real nice subtle char flavor sitting in your mouth which I have to report is like totally awesome (hey, I grew up in the 80s, definite warming in the gut from the ABV here, not a burning hole through your stomach... just a nice hobo on the street drinking wild turkey warming, letting this sit more than a few minutes you lose all the carbonation, I recommend pouring an sipping it quicker, it is much better with the added boost of carbonation, the coffee notes seem more apparent along with subtle chocolate notes, deeper into the bottle now this is drinking boozier

verdict?
worth checking out. I have some mixed feelings about this brew. Certain aspects are just fantastic but somehow as an overall package it does not blow me away. It has quite a nice kick that overdone that speaks to the craft here, but it just doesn't totally do it for me like say Jessica Alba

Photo of philbe311
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Date in Barrel - 03/21/2012
Date out of Barrel - 09/21/2012
Barrel # 4 of 15

I've been sitting on this one for a little wile...

A - A razor thin head of dark khaki slightly creamy frothiness rises to about a half fingers worth before quickly dissipating... It leaves a splotchy lacing and thin collar... The color is a completely opaque sleek dark mahogany brown... Completely still with no discernible carbonation...

S - The aroma is both rich and robust... The initial volley is equal parts Kentucky white oak bourbon barrels and vanilla... Buried a bit further beneath the surface is a rich layer of caramel, toffee and brown sugar... A bit of lactose sweetness as well... Perhaps a faint whiff of chocolate... Last is a faint layer of roasted malts... Nice balance and good complexity...

T - Very nice mix of stout components to start... Lightly roasted malt... Chocolate notes... Vanilla... Some faint brown sugar notes... The booziness is present, but not overwhelming... It's a very nice complimentary component of the overall flavor profile... Each sip starts slightly sweet and then the barrel aging emerges and intensifies slightly on the finish... Each sip is rather pleasant and shows subtle new nuances...

M - Teeters between the fuller side of medium bodied and the thinner side of full bodied... Sleek and silky smooth... A bit chewy... Little or no carbonation, but that is likely my fault from letting it sit for so long... Even and consistent... Rather pleasant... A very slight bit of boozy warmth emerges on the deep finish...

D - An outstanding barrel-aged Stout... It hides the 11.5% ABV rather well... DuClaw is a very under the radar brewery that deserves some more accolades... If they keep making beers like this, they'll get what they deserve... Excellent all the way around... No complaints... Very nice beer... Try it if you can find it...

Photo of corby112
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black, completely opaque, viscous and oil like with a one finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Good retention for the style and ABV with streaks of spotty lacing left behind.

The aroma of this beer has a prominent bourbon barrel presence that is very nicely integrated into the elements of the base beer. Complex barrel character with some slightly charred oak, spicy, sweet bourbon, vanilla bean, marshmallow and toasted coconut without completely overwhelming everything else. Underneath, there is a nice mix of sweet, dessert-like malt and subtle roast. Slightly smokey/toasted with hints of burnt toast, dark chocolate, coffee bean and toast countered by caramel, toffee, flourless chocolate cake and fudge-y sweetness. Very inviting.

Lighter body than expected and slightly watered down which is surprising considering how it poured. Unfortunately, it's also not as complex or flavorful as the aroma suggests. The complex barrel presence found in the nose is lacking and what is there isn't integrated very well into the base beer. Very strong oak presence with dry, charred oak and toothpick flavor that lingers throughout, dominating the palate. Very faint vanilla character along with a weak spicy bourbon flavor that just isn't very appealing. There's also some lingering boozy heat but the 11.5% is decently masked. The barrel presence is much stronger than I prefer overpowering the complex malt bill that I was hoping for. Much more roast than sweetness which compliments the oak and spicy spirit but it hides all of the dessert-like that is needed for balance. Overall, this beer looks and smells pretty good but the body is too thin for my liking, the barrel flavors aren't very good and it's a bit one dimensional.

Photo of Jwale73
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

New Year's Eve 2013. Thanks to cdmillard for the opportunity to try this one. 22oz. bottle served in a tulip. Date in barrel: 03/21/2012; Date out of barrel: 09/21/2012. Barrel no. 09 of 15. Pours an opaque black with a loose, quarter-inch, khaki-colored head the quickly recedes into a bubbly band around the shoulders and an oily slick across the center. No lacing on this one. Nose expresses booze, molasses, vanilla notes, chocolate and ethanol towards the back. Taste consistent with nose, but much bolder. Flavors are very distinct and ethanol is much more apparent at the finish and lingers between quaffs. I also get a dark fruit quality that wasn't as clearly suggested by the nose. Mouthfeel is medium in body, perhaps a little thin for the style with an assertive carbonation, a slightly oily texture and some residual heat between quaffs. Wow - I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and can't believe some of the negative reviews. Definitely intend on trading for some more in the future.

Photo of MikeMilanoDesign
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

aged this bottle for 2.5 years. and well honestly i wish i let it age for another 3 or so years. its still super sweet. like molasses.

overall its ok. if you do buy a bottle id but a second that you can age for about 5 years.

other then being super sweet overall flavors of molasses, cocoa, and figs.

mouthfeel is syrupy with a light carbonation on the back end.

Photo of jlindros
3.57/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Another split from rudzud as a trade helper. Still havne't really had anything I really like from this brewery, so hopefully this will break the spell.

Mild creamy dark head no lacing, very dark beer little legs.

Nose starts with dark malts, little roast, and bakers choc, candy syrupy, mild earthy herbal component, mild molasses candy.

Taste super sweet, candy syrup, mild super sweet choc, caramel molasses, little chewy caramel candy, little vanilla barrel and whiskey but barely. Finish is sticky and sweet, syrupy, chewy, little choc. Very sweet and syrupy, if not for that at least it would have been more drinkable.

Mouth is thick and syrupy, light carb, little booze.

Overall meh. Super sweet and almost undrinkable. Not a very good imperial stout.

Photo of rudzud
3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Split with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown with a thin mocha head that fades to leave spotty lacing.

S - Aromas of some light vegetative, gentle chocolate, light bourbon, something isn't quite right here.

T - Taste is incredibly sweet, cloyingly so, light chocolate, sweet malts, light bourbon. Just way too sweet.

M - Mouthfeel is way too sweet, but drinkable.

O - Overall this was a bit disappointing, alcohol is hidden nicely though awfully sweet.

Photo of taylor714914
2.85/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

After a train wreck of a beer in the pumpkin version, I was curious to see what the standard retribution was like.  Well that was certainly a mistake.  This stuff is horrible.  As a huge BA stout fan, I was left scratching my head, wondering what went wrong.  Booze and burnt malts followed with some rather sharp oak flavors dominated this beer.  Nothing about it seemed rounded out or complimentary.  Seemed more like a mediocre imperial stout that was barrel aged, hoping to improve it, only to disjoint it further and provide for some expensive drain pours.  Thinking about the divine retribution, cacao and vanilla retribution?  I’d think twice.

Photo of HattedClassic
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer is an obscure tar black. The beer also has a slick appearance. The head is off tan but quickly dissipates and does not gather much strength even with a hard pour. However, the beer does leave a ring around the inside of the glass. The beer smells strongly of vanilla and oak with a roasted malt smell that supplements the dominant smells. The taste is very similar to the smells. Vanilla and oak dominate the taste with roasted malts complementing the dominant flavors. However, the hops make an appearance in the aftertaste as well as a bit of malts. The mouthfeel is heavy bodied and thick.However, the thickness feels somewhat velvety and not like syrup. Overall ,this is a pretty good beer and worth getting.

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Retribution from DuClaw Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 411 ratings.