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Retribution - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
RetributionRetribution

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

355 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 355
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 77
Gots: 95 | FT: 9
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:
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 added by: Kegatron on 10-14-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 355 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zero_signal
1.8/5  rDev -56.3%

Photo of AshleyMiller
2.25/5  rDev -45.4%

Photo of taylor714914
2.81/5  rDev -31.8%
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 John_M
2.83/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at max's today

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and considerable sticky lacing all around. The nose is all chocolate; dark chocolate, milk chocolate, etc. There is some vanilla and a hint of coffee as well, but the chocolate really dominates in this beer. On the palate, this beer is really over the top. It's quite sweet, with considerable chocolate and noticeable bourbon. Really, the sweetness is excessives in this beer, and really hurts this beer's drinkability. Even the sample size glass is more than I can handle, and in combination with the high alcohol, this beer is flat out cloying. Mouthfeel is full, with a long, very sweet, boozy finish.

I want to give DuClaw an E for effort with this beer, but the level of sweetness in this beer is just more than I can handle. Maybe a chocoholic would enjoy this beer, but it's just not working at all for me.

Photo of russwbeck
2.85/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours out like motor oil, but only yields about a finger of fizzy brown head. The head doesn't lace at all, nor does it stick around for all that long. 2

S: The aroma is pretty boozy, but chocolate and vanilla also play large roles. The bourbon is there, but isn't as prominent as I would like. It smell like the taste is going to be very sweet if it wasn't for the booze. 3

T: The taste is very boozy, but the sweetness that I thought would take over, doesn't. The booze is cut by a nice amount of chocolate and vanilla. The bourbon and some oak come out at the end. Overall, the taste is good, but doesn't stand out in the style. 3

MF: The body is a bit too thin and undercarbonated for my tastes. The balance is good, but it's missing an aspect to make it stand out. 2

O: I wanted this to be great, but the flavors just aren't robust enough. The beer hints at being great, but isn't there yet. I enjoyed it, but not for a style that boasts some of the best beers I've ever had. 3

Photo of Satchboogie
2.98/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber, bottled in 2011 (bottle states 9% ABV)

A: Pours pitch black with 2-3 fingers of mocha brown head. Good head retention.

S: Balance of barrel character (sweet bourbon, charred oak) and sweet stout notes: lots of coffee and chocolate, a little dark fruits. Very sweet nose.

T: Extremely sweet, cloyingly. As with the nose, there is a lot of flavor going on and the barrel treatment was done fairly well (contributes to the base beer without overpowering it). Sweet milky chocolate, coffee, bourbon, oak, and slight dark fruits. A little bit of alcohol is present, but nothing offensive. The sweetness, however, is. It's sweeter sweet. Kahlua is what one friend called it.

M: Full, sticky sweet body. Light carbonation. Sweet finish. More carbonation would likely help cutting through the sweetness.

O: While I did like the flavors in this one and thought it was an example of good barrel aging, the overwhelming sweetness was a huge turnoff that led me to a drain-pour of most of my glass and others mixing with Vodka to make it more drinkable. A lot of potential for this one, but unfortunately it's just not drinkable.

Photo of aleckpa
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of GORUM
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of cjac
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of Liberatiscioli
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of drummermattie02
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of b3shine
3.03/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle to oversized tulip (thanks to ksurkin for this one). Looks decent; black with nice lacing. Smells okay; VERY boozy (but cheap booze). Taste and mouthfeel are very pedestrian - it's hot and boozy, and I'm curious to know what bottomfeeder in the bourbon market they got their barrels from. Overall, an okay beer, but it's a good thing it's a limited release...because it would collect dust on shelves if it weren't.

Photo of tclipse
3.04/5  rDev -26.2%

Photo of Daniellobo
3.1/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Fair barrel aged Imperial Stout, a bit too sugary and mono-chord though.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle. Aged looking cream label with ale notes. Side paragraph offers a note about characteristics, intent, and quality. Front shows date in barrel 03/11/2011 and date out of barrel 09/19/2011, and barrel No 20 of 20. Notes 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Black pour with dark brown edges, short creamy head with good surface memory and lacing.

S - Sweet malty nose… Chocolate but one can sense plenty of sugar already… Hint of vanilla, maybe whiff of bourbonesque oak...

T - Sweetness over the malty touch, sure enough there is a hint of coffee, dash of vanilla, but sugary sweetness takes front stage… Really faint bourbon strangled under the sweet character.

M - Medium/full body with medium carbonation, slightly sticky and with that sweetness pretty cloying.

O - All in all it is a bit short as a sipper, given the expectations and hype not too exciting really...

Notes: Too sugary for me, one of the least memorable barrel aged stouts I've tried in a long while. Not that it is something terrible but certainly quite forgettable for me.

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.28/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Split a bomber of this with some friends. Had an interesting timeline on the bottle with date into the barrel and date out of the barrel. Very strong alcohol smell on this one, oh boy. Taste is thick, lots of vanilla and bourbon notes, with the burning alcohol taste. Finishes somewhat smooth, decent mouthfeel. Some decent chocolate notes as well. Definitely not one for the weak, a very strong in your face beer.. but has a pretty good flavor profile. Glad I tried it... but the booziness brings it down a notch.

Photo of corby112
3.29/5  rDev -20.1%
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 Rhettroactive
3.33/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 12/9/11
*From notes

-- Barrel 20 of 20 --

A: Rich leather brown to fair black. A standard pour yields a 1.5 finger head with nice retention and lacing.

S: Creamy vanilla and coconut flesh. Not nearly the char bomb I'd thought it may be.

T: It's got a bit of burnt char up front, though it doesn't stick around long. Within seconds, the residual sugars overwhelm the palate. Massive quantites at that. At only 9% ABV (per the label), there's a bunch of unfermented sugar here that, with additional time in the fermentor, would dry this up. Sure there's some toasted coconut, bourbon and such, but as it is, this is like drinking spiked chocolate milk. It's just too sweet for me to handle, though letting it warm does help.

M: Well they've nailed the feel, which is a godsend. The velvety, creamy body keeps this drinkable.

O: While not a bad beer, DuClaw's Retribution was certainly a personal dissapointment. I was really looking forward to getting into this one, and in the end, it's cloyingly sweet and hard to drink. Ferment those damn sugars, up the ABV and make everyone happy.

My reccomendation? Skip this and grab another DuClaw offering: the less expensive and far, far superior Oak Aged Black Jack Stout.

Photo of yourefragile
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, barrel 12, shared by Jeff, served in a snifter.

Appearance is syrupy and viscous, dark chocolate body with a quickly fading tan head. Cover the glass in legs and settles in a thin collar. Massive boozy and bourbon aroma with roast malt, brown sugar and milk chocolate. Despite having had this on tap and taking a good whiff of the aroma, I gagged on the sweetness the first time I took a sip from this bottle. It's intense. Bourbon and vanilla dominate the chocolate presence (which was stronger on draft) than the barrel in this bottle. Medium thick body, fairly robust and creamy, but unfortunately this beer crosses the line of being too cloying for my taste in the finish. I feel like there is more too appreciate here than just the initial barrel blast, but as this warms and becomes even sweeter I'm not the one capable of enjoying it. I'd like to try some different barrels of this and get some age on these; certainly impressed with DuClaw's recent offerings.

Photo of tehawful
3.46/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

DuClaw's Retribution is an imperial stout aged in Kentucky white oak barrels. My particular bomber was taken out of the barrel (after the standard 6 month stay) on 9/21/12.

Retribution pours pitch black, with a fizzy, dark mocha head that leaves significant lacing. The smell is very sweet, with high notes of dark berries, chocolate and espresso, and a low note of alcohol. The smell is pleasant, though a little scattered.

As the smell suggests, the sweet notes of espresso, chocolate, dark berries, vanilla and caramel create an (overly) sweetened chaos upfront...though the charred barrels carry the bourbon taste to even out the back end. What I really appreciate here is the fact that the bourbon is infused into the beer...as opposed to an artificial taste on either end. Mouthfeel is extremely rich and smooth.

While Retribution is incredibly more sweet than I would prefer in an imperial stout, I appreciate the craftsmanship that was evident, as it is usually lacking in DuClaw bottle offerings. I'm not sure I would by it off the shelf again, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless.

Photo of chodinheaven
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very deep brown or black in color, no light shines through. Not much of a tan head, but a little bit of froth that dissapates quickly down to patches. Stringy lacing down the glass. The smell is in the sweet range with lots of bourbon barrel aging very evident. Almost smells like a good bourbon in its booziness, but really nice notes of coffee and chocolate shine through for the distinction. You can really smell the grains in this, as the dark roasted malts give that roasty aroma out amidst the sweetness. A touch of sourness rounds it all out. Very aromatic beer.

Creamy mouthfeel that is almost milky. This is where the sourness seems to come from, but it doesn't taste bad. Its a woody and boozy kind of sour that does fit in with the loads of chocolate. A touch of coffee brings about a welcome bitterness that attempts to reel in the sweetness, but falls a little short. This beer is very sweet in its chocolate milk like taste, combined with some dark fruits like raisins. That sweetness does tend to become cloying after a bit, making it a little tough to handle at times. The alcohol seems to be the culprit here as everything, despite the sweetness, is going fine until the boozy finish when that cloying pucker is felt. This is a shame for me, because I'm really enjoying the malt flavors and the the milkiness even, but the cloying mouthfeel is just too much. At 9%, I figured it would be about average for an Imperial stout, but the combination of the alcohol and the chocolate malts and milk used don't seem to work very well together.

So all said, this beer didn't quite work out for me. I didn't hate it by any stretch of the imagination, but the cloying feel was too much to overcome, even though there were some very well put together ingredients. I will probably not seek this one out again.

Photo of Runofthemiller
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of leschkie
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of Bierleichen
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -15%

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Retribution from DuClaw Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 355 ratings.