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Retribution - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

78 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 78
Hads: 432
Avg: 3.96
pDev: 12.12%
Wants: 82
Gots: 120 | 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:
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 78 | Hads: 432
Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to IrishColonial for this bottle...

A: Pours a deep syrupy black with brown hues around the edges. There is minimal head as it pours and absolutely no lacing as it drinks. Tons of legs to this beer though. It stain the glass with every sip.

S: The nose is dark chocolate, sweet plums, raisins, brown sugar and booze. The boozy heat isn't huge, but this beer is definitely sweet.

T: Right away I'm hit with massive sweetness. Caramel, raisins, plums, chocolate, a touch of burnt toast. It gets a little funk in the middle, and the finish is a mix of sweet and bitter with some alcohol burn.

M: Full bodied beer. It's sweet and bold right away and the flavors linger on the palate for quite some time.

O: I'm not a huge fan of this beer. It's too sweet for my liking, too fruit forward, and the alcohol is noticeable. I'm happy to have tried this, but won't seek it out in the future.

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Photo of ckollias
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thick dark brown 2-finger head that quickly dissipates and leaves a wispy lace.

S: Strong malty aroma with a big bourbon scent with hints of chocolate and coffee in the background.

T: Dark sweet flavor with a roasted malt bitter bourbon backbone. Strong chocolate and coffee overtones and finishes a little on the dry side.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent imperial stout. Enjoyed this with some of my home-brewing friends and we all agreed it was something we would grab again.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.24/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of b3shine
3.03/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

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Photo of ao125
4.59/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barrel 2 of 20.

The beer is opaque and near black with a towering beige head that lingers for several minutes, plastering the glass with sticky lacing as it recedes.

The aroma brings big scents of bourbon, detectable from a few feet away. Secondary smells include chocolate, oak, roast.

A bit of vanilla emerges in the flavor, and perhaps a touch of coconut. However, this beer is all about the chocolate and bourbon. Nicely done, and on the verge of attaining the next flavor score. A bit sweet, but I had no problem finishing the bottle solo.

Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Lingering flavors of sweet, roasted malt and a bit of booze.

Overall, a nice offering from a local brewery. There seems to be some deviation in the various batches. I look forward to revisiting this beer, and perhaps sampling a different batch.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of billab914
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured black in color with a thin tan head scattered across the top of the beer. Nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a sweeter, milk chocolaty flavor mixing with some woody oak, vanilla, brown sugar and light bourbon. It's very sweet, but the bourbon is pretty nice in it.

The taste has a very sweet, almost sugary flavor to it right up front. I get some chocolate and brown sugar to it as well as a little caramel. The finish shows some good bourbon barrel flavors to it, but it's not enough to completely overcome the cloying sweetness.

The mouthfeel is a little thin for the style with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a pretty good beer of the style, but not a great one. The underlying beer was a little overly sweet and sugary to me, while the barrel aged character in it was pretty good. A little more balance in it and it could be a very good beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/15/12 notes. Thanks to BigSexy410 for sharing this one, been wanting to try it.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate, burnt malts, and light vanilla.

t - Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, caramel malts, toffee, sugar, oak, light alcohol. More vanilla in the taste than the nose; a step up for me.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and creamy and not too hot.

o - Overall I thought this was a really good beer from DuClaw; i think after the Oak Aged Black Jack this is their second best beer that I've had. I thought the taste was really nice and balanced. Would definitely like to have it again.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BigSexy410 for sharing this bottle last weekend. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

Pours near-black with a thin mocha head and not much in the way of lacing. The nose carries some good notes of chocolate and malt, though the bourbon is a bit heavy. Everything melds together much better in the flavor. Full body with good carbonation and a nice chewiness. Another impressive brew from DuClaw.

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Photo of larryi86
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, bottled 9/19/11 from barrel 8, poured into a tulip
9% ABV according to the bottle

A- Black with a small tan head that fade quickly.

S- Sweet chocolate, caramel malts, vanilla, touch of bourbon, really not get much barrel, but it still smells great.

T- A sweet mess. Chocolate, sugar, roasted malts, oak, vanilla, hot bourbon finish, would like more oak, bourbon, or just something bitter to balance the sweetness. I feel that this is lacking balance and way too sweet. As I am trying this more the flavor is seeming more balanced, but still too sweet.

M- Smooth, full body.

O- I feel this was worth the money to try and I will pick up another bottle, but I will be aging it for at least 1 year, probably more like 2 or 3, just to see if balance will come with age. There are parts that remind me of other great barrel aged stout I have had, but the balance is really not there right now.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.13/5  rDev -21%
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.

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Photo of Pencible
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of chilly460
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The body is pitch black as expected, no head detected, just a thin tan ring of bubbles in the glass.

S - Pretty full aroma, get tons of vanilla, dark roast, leather, maybe a touch of oak. Surprised that the bourbon wasn't really there.

T - Sweetness of this beer is immediately apparent, first is the deep caramel and vanilla flavor. Some alcohol warmth, but can't say I really detected the bourbon. A bit of dark roast coffee, with chocolate as well.

M - Full, thick, chewy...right on point.

O - Nice "monster" of a stout that I'd want from this bottle. Reminded me of BCBS, not as good, but same types of flavors.

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Photo of Chaney
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barrel no. 3 of 20; Barrel date - 3/11/2011; Date out of barrel - 9/19/2011. Thanks for this cool piece of info DuClaw!

BA says that this is 10.5%, but the bottle says 9%.

I poured this into my Cigar City snifter.

A: Whoa.... I was talken aback by how fast that head died down. Now, there is nothing there. The extremely black brew was extremely black in its extreme blackliness.

S: I got some buttery bourbon upfront, along with a bit of artificially-flavored grape melted popsicle.

T: Many have complained about the sweetness of this one, but I personally dig sweet barrel-aged brews. It help cut through the bourbon IMO. I got a good bit of heat also. There was absolutely NO dark chocolate, coffee, or soy sauce component to this at all. I have a feeling that if it weren't for the barrel-aging, this might taste like an overly sweet "Storm King."

M: Like most BA brews, this one wasn't creamy, nor was it meant to be. It lays on the palate like a fine port wine with a bourbon backbone. No lacing, of course.

O: I dug this, and I have a feeling that this is the model of a brew that would benefit from extended cellaring.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.37/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
4.39/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of hdofu
4.8/5  rDev +21.2%
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.

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Photo of Khazadum
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

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Photo of chodinheaven
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.43/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Max's Fells Point.

A - Jet black, one finger khaki head, minimal lacing.

S - Sweet milk chocolate and tons of booze.

T Super sweet, 50% milk chocolate, 50% bourbon!

M - Full bodied, heavy, medium carbonation.

O - Glad I got to try it, a sipper for sure!

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Photo of thain709
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In talking with a representative, he mentioned that each keg/batch will be different in aroma and flavor.

A - The body is pitch black, almost motor oil-esque...there was no head, but only a small, solid, tan ring...a few patches of lacing could be found though

S - There is a huge sweetness to the nose that blends together bourbon and vanilla...it's hard to find anything else, but the aroma is rather intoxicating

T - Again, a huge sweet presence...for me the sweetness never becomes cloying...rather it helps in the flavor profile and lets the bourbon escape ever so slightly...the bourbon is present throughout but again, never overpowering...the vanilla cuts down its intensity and also adds flavor...towards the finish roasted chocolate comes out along with some sweet, dark caramel...as this has a chance to warm a char finish becomes noticeable

M - Full bodied...this one is thick, smooth, and chewy...it becomes thicker as it has a chance to warm...a warming bourbon sensation follows with a hint of chocolate and a slight char

O - I was very happy with this big beer from DuClaw...it sounds like each batch will be different and they will be blending this with other big beers down the road...given the intensity and alcohol level, this one is a sipper...but you will be rewarded as it has a chance to warm

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