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Retribution | DuClaw Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
89
very good
83 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
83
Ratings:
453
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
27.14%
 
 
Wants:
82
Gots:
118
For Trade:
9
RetributionRetribution
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

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%.

Added by Kegatron on 10-14-2011

User Reviews
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Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 453
Photo of nickthetick
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a perfect pint. Into the barrel on 3/11/2011 and out of the barrel on 9/19/2011. Barrel #19 of 20.

3.5 A: Black color. A little over one finger of light brown, frothy/creamy head. Retention is about what you'd expect from a beer this big and just a tiny ring of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Really wonderful nose on this. The barrel aging is done to perfection. Smooth leathery bourbon with mineral, apple, wood dust, and cantelope aromas. Underneath there is a supple roastiness, chocolate, molasses, toffee, caramel, and a hearty neutral malt sweetness. If you dig even deeper, you may find a note or two of coffee. Sweet overall, but with good balance.

3.5 T: The taste is an amplification of the nose. This is a sticky, sweet stout. It's a bit cloying for sure. Lots of toffee, molasses, and caramel. Roastiness, chocolate, coffee are underneath all that. Big neutral sweetness. A good bit of leathery bourbon with vanilla, oak, apple, and nondescript light fruitiness. It's a tasty beer, but it's too sweet to drink a whole bomber of (which I plan to do).

3.5 M: Heavy body. I like heavy bodies on imperials, but the problem is that it's also too chewy, which results from the sugar overload. It causes some moderate amylase clumping in the back of the mouth. Otherwise, it'd have a good creaminess.

3.5 D: Not a terrible beer, but it has the sweetness of BT without the crazy booziness, so I'd bet that many out there would like this.

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Photo of BirdFlu
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
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..

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Photo of stakem
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask offering with jalapeno and chocolate. Served in a nonic via the hand pump at Als of Hampden. The brew appears a rich black color with a creamy finger of mocha colored head. A full wall of lace sticks to the glass.

The nose is heavy on roast and chocolate. A hint of sweetness almost like vanilla pokes its way through with a mild tingle of alcohol and a bit of earthy to mineral inclusion.

The taste is super roasty and bitter. Jalapeno makes itself known with some mild spice across the back of the throat that increases with each sip. Along with the jalapeno is some earthen element almost more like black pepper. A mild alcohol bite helps to push forward the flavor of the jalapeno. Once warm a little bit more of chocolate and vanilla sweetness becomes evident.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light level of carbonation from the cask delivery. As more sips are taken, it gets more spicy but the alcohol is very well hidden. Quite a pleasant inclusion of spice, it wasnt overdone in a way that distracted from the base. I would drink this again.

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Photo of akorsak
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Al's. With chocolate and jalapenos.

A: The stout is pitch black, an eggshell white head blanketing the top. Not much in the way of lacing.

S: The bourbon barrel is present, not intense though, more of a blended stout/barrel combination. Plenty of chocolate but the jalapenos are nowhere to be found. The result is chocolate on top of light bourbon, plenty of sweetness without a balancing bite.

T: Again, the chocolate and stout elements, along with the barrel, stand out at the expense of the jalapeno. The chocolate is very sweet and milky, standing out against the roasted malt base. The bourbon barrel, a blend I'm thinking, adds a bit of wood and vanilla but not the normal blast of bourbon. I keep looking for the peppers but just can't coax them out of the chocolate morass.

M: A good drink even without the jalapenos - chocolate is liquid and sweet, at home within the sweetness of the barrel. The stout side is strong but not forboding.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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 +1.3%
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 -18.6%
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 +12.3%
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 -23.9%
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 +15.3%
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 +1.3%
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 +12.3%
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 -11.3%
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 +0.5%
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 +9.8%
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 -3.3%
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 -4%
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 -21.4%
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%
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 +0.5%
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 -15.3%
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 +10.3%
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 +20.6%
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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Retribution from DuClaw Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.