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Retribution - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
RetributionRetribution

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BA SCORE
88
very good

78 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 78
Hads: 425
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.72%
Wants: 80
Gots: 119 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 78 | Hads: 425
Photo of hdofu
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had just about lost hope of ever trying this beer after it ran out on the second day of the premiere party and a subsequent visit to the pub when they just ran out. I was in the liquor store when I happened upon a bomber of it and decided to pick it up. The bottle I picked up was from barrel 10 of the 20 from 3/11/11

The thirst think I noticed with this beer was a punch in the face with molasses from the smell, the kinds you get from fresh fudge. The beer poured dark brown with a thick but small head that almost looked like a frosting. Taste was no holds barred a supper sweet taste of chocolate and molasses initially finishing in dark chocolate... however as it heated up the chocolate got darker and darker making it even more enjoyable. This was a full bodied beer that did not try to hide the heat from the alcohol.... which I respect and like in a imperial stout. I'd honestly say this was a perfect beer, though not an everyday beer so I had to take off points in the overall. (992 characters)

Photo of browniewithnuts
4.71/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My First Review!

A: A deep dark black appearance. A thin brown lacing that dissipates pretty quickly with only a thin brown circle remaining.

S: Strong bourbon notes up front followed by dark chocolate and a hit of vanilla

T: Bourbon right up front dominates the palate. The burnt malts come through strong up front as well and lingers throughout. The roast flavor stays with you well after the sip. There is a hint of dark chocolate and vanilla as well but the bourbon and malt flavors dominate the sip.

M: It is thick but not overly thick or syrupy. It has a flavor that lingers in the mouth well after the sip. Though not overly thick, the flavor coats the mouth and throat. A great after meal drink.

O: Very solid value for a Barrel Aged Stout. The chocolate notes don’t dominate and the other flavors really distinguish it from a lot of bigger stouts. (865 characters)

Photo of nickthetick
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First time reviewing on here in quite a while, very excited!

A: pours a glossy, and almost oily, opaque black into an American pint with a thin skim of brown bubbles for a head ( may have been a result of a well meaning bartender wanting to pour a full glass). As it sits it leaves no lacing and nice fingers running down the glass. Looks like a pretty heavy beer and not one to be toyed with.

S: a huge hit of bourbon and slight hints of dark chocolate mingle well and are right out in the front followed closely by a dark roasted and burnt malt note that makes me remember this is a beer.

T: as soon as it hits the tongue there is a moment of bitter burnt bread that is quickly swished away by a subtle dark chocolate which is in turn swept away by the larger bourbon notes. Things get complicated with some soft caramel and vanilla hints and an even more quiet mossy quality give the lingering flavor of a scotch on the tongue. It keeps you wanting so much more just to see what flavor you will pick up next. And through all of that, there remains a hint of that dark burnt bread.

M: I always laugh at people that say all dark beers are like 10-W30 motor oil; but if that is there true interpretation of stouts this beer is surly where it came from. Viscous and heavy, I think I'll have a light dinner now. It is warm through the whole ride and at the end almost leaves your tongue tired.

O: all the good attributes I have reviewed, time for some of the bad. The Bourbon can get a little overpowering. I like stouts and especially ones aged in/with or infused with a little bourbon or scotch, don't get me wrong. I also like this beer but wouldn't want more than one or two on a lazy cold night but drinkability isn't an issue because I would like another shot at this a couple, maybe 10, years down the road. Overpowering bourbon aside this is a good beer that I didn't expect to be drinking tonight ( the bartender suggested it) but I'm glad I came across it. A good beer but too soon to tell if its one in a million or one of a million. (2,050 characters)

Photo of Khazadum
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks to Jay and his wife Patty for grabbing this for me on their thanksgiving trip.

A- Perfect inky darkness, a finger of mocha colored head dissipating down to a thin collar. The lacing is very sticky and delightful to view. Jet black body as it should be.

S- A sharp ethanolic bourbon nature is the first thing I see. However, this is quickly overrun by the dark fruit, cherry and dates, a sweet deep and dank caramel. Molasses even. It is delightful to drink it in. The back end is the roasted body that isn't burnt but toasted.

T- You can tell this is a bourbon barreled beer right off the bat. This is all about a light spirit nature, alcoholic but very manageable and drinkable. It has the sweetness you come to love of bourbon, the malty nature, the dark fruits. It all blends into the base beer as well before you truly understand if this is a fine bourbon or a great beer. So sweet and yet roasty all at once. The finish is a glorification of all that is great roasted coffee. It embodies the taste you get when you walk into a fantastic coffee shop. When all is said and done and you give it a bit of time, a wooden flavor that must be oak smacks you in the lips.

M- Syrupy, creamy, velvety. Delicious flavors linger and drive you to want more more more! Dry finish with a bit of alcoholic bite occasionally. The heat never becomes something unbearable. Truly a point of contention for some, but for me I welcome it.

What a great beer. If this wasn't 15$ a bottle I may buy a case of this for my own enjoyment. (1,533 characters)

Photo of teromous
4.6/5  rDev +17%
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. (1,210 characters)

Photo of ao125
4.59/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Overall, this is one of my favorite beers period.

Intense chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, sugar, and roast - all at once. It tastes exactly like a bourbon barrel imperial stout should taste, with zero compromises.

This is the perfect beer to pair with cheesecake, fruit tarts, chocolate, cannolis, or dessert cheese plates.

It's fantastic - and even better is the fact that I don't have to go on wild goose chases for it, from beer stores that only get one case, if they're lucky.

Try it - you won't be able to stop drinking it. (529 characters)

Photo of sbrotschul
4.56/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Given a bottle of Retribution by a colleague, as it was recommended by the store. Living near Bel Air, MD, it is nice to know that a local brewer is putting out a good product. (A far cry from Iron City in Pittsburgh!)

Appearance (4.25). Out of the bottle pours another dark black beauty. Little to no head leaves lines on the glass like little chocolate fingers.

Smell (4.5). A mild smell -- not as strong as some, but thankfully missing any type of smell of syrup. Coffee and chocolate at first, but as it warms, the bourbon smell coates the nose which in turn warms the heart.

Taste (4.75). The first mouthful is of coffee roast & bourbon. It hits all areas of the tongue and the mouth, coating it in liquid goodness. A chocolate-vanilla taste competes with the alchohol -- a great battle.

Mouthefeel (4.25) Wonderful feel -- flat no carbonation makes the beer lack punch -- but you don't buy a beer like this for the bubbles.

Overall (4.5). I'll pick up a few more bottles to see how they cellar ... but I first picked up a bottle of Retribution (and a few Imperial Eclipse Stouts) to give to my brother. (1,113 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

321jeff coming through. poured into a southampton irs snifter.

barrel 7 of 20
date in barrel 3/11/2011
date out barrel 9/19/2011
date into my belly 3/25/2012

a - brew poured black as night with a thin milky creamy head that was gone quick leaving spotty lacing on the glass. looks rich.

s - VERY nice big chocolate with a hint of dark fruit and a glaze of woody bourbon. rich and satisfying...decadent. some nice caramel in the background. the booziness tickles my nostrils with a mentholated tingle.

t - YUM. just as decadent as the nose suggested. BIG roasty chocolate. kind of like someone squirted some hershey syrup into my beer.

m - thick and rich. the booze coats my mouth leaving my mouth tingling.

o - overall, i had heard that this was good, but i think it is great. really well done. somewhat under the radar. real pleasant surprise. well worth seeking out. (875 characters)

Photo of BirdFlu
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm surprised this beer's rating isn't higher... It comes off almost more similar to other barrel-aged strong ales, but certainly borders the line for a stout... Flavor is more similar to an Angel's Share or such.. very sweet.. good body for a stout, though, and good sweet aroma.. If nothing else, could almost see it requiring a little more ABV to bring the burn up to a BCBS level..If you have a very sweet tooth certainly seek this out. If not, look out.. (459 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a ruddy dark brown with thin lacing and just this oh so wonderfully big aroma. Lots of bourbon notes, most noticeably toffee and vanilla. Tastes sweet with a vanilla forward flavor and an obvious bit of alcohol without running hot. This is a good one. I’d love another. (279 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap at the brewpub during the release event. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with just a ring of dark tan head around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Very sweet and quite roasty with notes of bourbon, vanilla, and brown sugar.

Taste: Follows from the smell. Extremely sweet and packed full of my favorite flavors. I'm getting bourbon, vanilla, maple, chocolate, dark fruit, and some alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick with aggressive but smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This beer is very good. I guess the sweetness could have been toned down just a bit, but I really enjoyed it. (634 characters)

Photo of Viciousknishs
4.39/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a dark dark brown. A finger of medium tan head forms with an average pour. Poor retention as it recedes into a slight paper thin layer of bubbles.

S/T- gigantic layers of vanilla, sweet caramelized sugar and soft oak. The base beer gives a great balanced of milk chcolate and dark chocolate tones. Incredible balance between the sweetness, barrel and roast. Finishes with great roasted malt and vanilla that lingers for forever.

MF- rich smooth mouthfeel with a medium heavy body and soft fine carbonation.

D- really drinkable. Medium sipper of a beer. (565 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark with a light tan head. Head stays around with not a whole lot of lacing.

S- Bourbon right off the bat, I could smell it before I started pouring. Dark malts come through as well along with some light chocolate.

T- Chocolate malt and bourbon come through during the entire taste. Very good blend as neither dominates the other.

M- Syrupy with almost no carbonation coming through. Definitely a sipper, but expected for the style.

O- Very good barrell aged imperial stout. The flavors all combine to make an extremely complex beer that is very enjoyable. I have one more bottle and will probably age it for about a year to let it mellow slightly. (661 characters)

Photo of cmq103
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
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. (276 characters)

Photo of gr0g
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (694 characters)

Photo of tigg924
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Taste is bourbon, oak, molasses, vanilla, and a bit of raisin. Very tasty and smooth. One of the better bourbon imperial stouts that I have had in a while. I will get this again. (181 characters)

Photo of philbe311
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
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... (1,896 characters)

Photo of Antoine
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

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 (307 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (650 characters)

Photo of atone315
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 vintage, thrown in barrels on 3-28 and bottled on 9-1. Definitely not a sweet beer, this was still a perfect brew for an after dinner desert. The roastiness was outstanding, usually that's lost in beers that are barrel aged....speaking of which, 6 mos was perfect match for this one. Just enough boozy kick to let you know it's there, but not so much that it overpowers the base beer. I was searching for this one for awhile, glad I got to try it. (452 characters)

Photo of bum732
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

S: Bold bourbon with strong coffee notes. Sweet oak, some cherry, vanilla.

L: Thick, black as night. Tan head that dissipates quickly.

T: Sweet chocolate-like malt with lots of bourbon sweetness. Alcohol-like bitterness with some bitter coffee-notes. Finishes with some rich chocolate along with some alcohol. Some earthy cocoa as it warms.

M: Medium full bodied, somewhat chewy. Alcohol definitely present, but not too overwhelming. Medium low carbonation.

Really solid, similar profile to BCBS, but a touch sweeter and boozier. Heavy on the chocolate and bourbon sweetness. (579 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
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! (894 characters)

Photo of Pencible
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Barrel 20 of 20.

A: This poured a nearly opaque black, with some tan head.
S: It smelled like dark chocolate and coffee and licorice and brown sugar, with some oak and toasted oats and honey wheat bread.
T: It tasted like very sweet brown sugar and honey wheat bread and raisin, with some mocha and oak and toasted oats and vanilla. It had a lasting sweet aftertaste that was clean.
M: It was very thick and viscous with some carbonation. Huge body.
D: This was a nice bourbon stout, with very sweet scent and taste. It had amazing body with pretty well hidden alcohol, so it was fairly easy to drink. It could probably age well, but it was nice fresh too. Not the best example of the style, with less bourbon character and more sweetness than most. But it was still really enjoyable. (785 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With a sultry and ominous taste, DuClaw's stab at the Impeiral Stout is shrouded in a cloak of bourbon for intense warmth, wood spice and the thin caramel and vanilla tones that round out the roast and introduce a beautiful dessert-like taste.

Simply black in its appearance, the ale is completely opaque. As it settles into the glass, a slow rise of espresso-like creme floats the beer for a short time before the froth disintegrates and the ale trends brandy-like with its creep of legging.

Boozy to the nose, the unmistakable scent of bourbon springs to life with caramel, vanilla, charred oak and an almost vinous wine-like tone. But that is the wrapping for the dense espresso, bitter chocolate, walnut and heavy char that lies within.

Rich with chocolate covered espresso beans, the ale tastes sweet and roasty. Brownie batter and fresh ground coffee is the central flavor with bitter walnuts and chocolate awash on the palate. Savory and salty tastes bleed into the taste of charred fruit, spicy oak, and sweet bourbon to round out the taste.

Absolute fullness on the palate, the beer is creamy, lush and velvety up front, but as the alcohol sets in, the beer is thinned for drinkability as the carbonation is ushered aside and the sweetness dries slightly. High warmth and a numbing prickle provides lasting aftertaste and texture.

Retribution is a forcefully bourbon infused Stout that pulls no punches. Its whisky effects aren't subtle or nuanced. They make every bit as much impact on the palate as the massive Stout does. (1,538 characters)

Photo of Gosox8787
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: 22 oz. bottle chilled and poured into a Cigar City tulip glass. Bottled on date of 9/21/2012 from Barrel # 12.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color. Medium brown head that recedes into a nice thin layer of lacing. Leaves a nice sticky lacing around the glass.

Aroma: Cocoa powder, rich milk chocolate and some really strong bourbon tones. Lots of burn from the bourbon. Really nice coffee and caramel tones as well. Some nice vanilla is present as well. As this warms, the bourbon really comes through, both with the sweetness and moreso with the alcohol heat.

Taste: Roasted coffee beans, cocoa nibs, and some strong bourbon heat. As the bourbon heat fades, some really nice caramel, milk chocolate and vanilla bean tones really start to shine through. There's also a surprisingly black pepper tones that counters the sweetness with a bit of burn. The bourbon tones are still not completely integrated into the beer and sometimes the bourbon overwhelms the beer instead of completely integrating into it.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and sticky. Plenty of body. Creamy throughout.

Overall, a really tasty, sweet bourbon barrel stout. My biggest complaint is that I don't feel the bourbon completely integrates into the base beer and sometimes it comes off like a shot of bourbon in an imperial stout. I like the counter of the char of the barrel that gives almost a black pepper quality to counter the sweetness. Definitely enjoyed this and would have it again. (1,475 characters)

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Retribution from DuClaw Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.