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Stillwater / Mikkeller Rauchstar | Stillwater Artisanal Ales

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Stillwater / Mikkeller RauchstarStillwater / Mikkeller Rauchstar

Brewed by:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Maryland, United States | website

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A Scandinavian smoked ale brewed with applewood smoked malt and loads of resinous hops.. like a heavy metal BBQ in a pine forest.

Added by Thorpe429 on 10-09-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 58
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a dark amber color ale with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of caramelized sugar with light smoked notes is quite warming. Taste is a mix dominated more by caramelized sugar with light sweet toffee notes than by smoked malt. Hops presence is not as powerful as I would have expected. Body is full with good carbonation. This must be an older bottle as it appears quite a bit of smoked and hops notes have disappeared.

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Photo of stakem
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

500ml bottle poured into a matching Mikkeller teku glass. The brew pours a dark muddy mahogany brown color with a rich 2 fingers worth of yellowish stained froth. Rising bubbles of carbonation maintain about a finger seemingly throughout the entire duration. As the cap fades, it leaves a full wall of webby lacing effect on the glass.

The aroma is pretty intense with smoke quality however underneath is a bounty of fruity alcohol esters coupled with hops. It displays almost a raisin-like aspect mixed with burnt sugars coming across like caramel or molasses. As I smell this brew more, it gets a bit of earthiness mixed with some mineral components across the back.

The taste initially is pretty much dominated by a beefy smoked quality that is somewhat reminiscent of pete but without the phenolics. Bacon comes to mind before the onset of the previously described fruity alcohol notes mixed with hops. Just like the nose led on, there is a flavor a bit like raisin mixed with some herbal hoppy bitterness and trace mineral aspects that lingers long into the aftertaste.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It has enough character to keep it interesting and a bit different from the usual smoke beer. However, coming from the 2 most over-priced breweries I have ever encountered, this was an epically over-priced offering that I wish I never purchased. Had it not been for my friend wanting to try this and the guy who sold it to me proclaiming it's uber rare status that I would never see again, I wish I could have a take back on this one. Even if it is offered to you for a discount price, buy something else.

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Photo of rangerred
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap.

Arrived a hazy dark brown with a thick tan head that seemed to last forever.

Aroma of lots of smoke along with bacon. Really smelled like a campfire that someone had thrown bacon on. There was some fruit coming through as well adding another element to the smoke.

The flavor was not as heavy on the smoke as I was expecting. Lots of caramel along with bacon nicely complimenting the smokiness. A nice fruit element as well lending a nice balance to everything. I kind of wish the smoke would have been a little more prominent.

Overall, a nice take on a smoked beer. I like the fruit and hop elements making this beer just a little bit different.

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Photo of FLima
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color. Medium size creamy head with a low retention.
Very accentuated aroma of smoked malts and dark chocolate.
Sweet malty taste, hints of wood (similar to barley wines) and a hoppy resiny feel. Touches of alcohol but well hidden considering it is 9.4% ABV, giving some warmth to the beer.
Light carbonation with small bubbles. Pretty good beer, especially for who likes hoppy and/or smoked type of beers.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.19/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Kinda surprised I haven't reviewed this one until now--I only uploaded the pic on this site--but oh well. Obviously the bottle art drew me right in to this beer. Extra appearance points for incorporating Metallica, Slayer, and general black metal logos.

Poured a dark brown-black, opaque, with a small tan head that receded to a ringlet and left a bit of lacing on the glass. Unfortunately, I was not a big fan of this beer other than it's bottle and appearance. I like a good smoked beer once in a while, but this one just wasn't doing it for me. Aroma thick with liquid smoke, malty sweetness, charred wood. More of the same in the taste, liquid smoke, strangely sweet and jarring, soy sauce and BBQ sauce, ash and charcoal, chewy caramel malts underneath, with a resinous bitterness coming in near the finish. Medium body, seemed a bit thin in mouthfeel, but definitely huge on smokey taste. This was a tough tough beer to finish.

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Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice larger creamy tan 1.5 finger head that fades semi slowly with some spotted lacing, over a fairly clear but very dark colored beer, a mahogany ruby molasses amber colored beer.

Nose brings a nice big smoke aroma, light campfire and smoked cheese like aroma, toasted wood, but not overpowering and no real astringent like aromas. A nice dark wheat and malt aroma under that, light molasses, caramel, and light toasty malts.

Taste starts with more smoked malt, again light campfire and a bit of smoked wood. It gets slightly bitter and acrid like a burnt taste but not much. Then malts galore, light roast, crystal malts, hint of cocoa, a fair sweetness with syrupy additions, molasses, hint of caramel, toasty malts, and some dark wheat like flavors as well. Bitterness kicks in with some earthy hops and some from the charred malt and smoke. Hints of esters poke through with the light booze that also comes through. As it finishes it dries a bit, and starts to get slightly astringent from the smoke and earthy spicy hop bitterness, which lingers for a while, with a slight syrupy malt and molasses.

Mouth is med to a bit fuller bodied, decent carb, bit syrupy, and a little warming booze.

Overall not bad, interesting smoked malt flavors and even better aroma, that doesn't get too overpowering, with a nice bitterness that plays on astringent with the tannins from the smoke but doesn't get too much. Light sweetness masks the booze for the most part, but it does get a bit too syrupy feeling.

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Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 500 mL bottle, from BBW.

A: Darker caramel brown, to the point of opacity. Can't see through the thickness of this one. An off-white head blankets the ale, covering the entire inside ring of my glass. Prodigious lacing comes with each pour.

S: Sweet smoke, think the sweetest smoked bacon you can conjure up and add some maple and barbeque to it. Underneath the smoke, a sweet caramel malt base manages to amp up that factor. The remnants of hops, aged away I'm afraid, add to the thickness of the nose. A smoked imperial barleywine has a nice ring, doesn't it?

T: Sweet smoke against the backdrop of a lot of malts. Oh yeah, and plenty of hops for good measure, certainly more than the nose let on. First the smoke, a sweet meaty flavor that controls the rest of the ale with chewy cured meat richness. The malts have the rich fullness of a barleywine, concentrated caramel and roasted bitterness - at times a stout. The hops, as aspect that I wasn't expecting to be so forward, brings a strong dose of citrus bite that lingers in the palate. Intense as death metal.

M: The smoke, heavy at first, nicely transitions to the sweet malts and overpowering hops. Man, the ale is powerful good.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes.

A: Poured a dark red/brown color with a small tan had the reduced to a very thin cap on top, minimal lacing.

S: Some smoke, toffee and caramel, a little bit of molasses and brown sugar. Also a surprising amount of pine and citrus.

T: A nice combination of sweet and smokey. Lots of the same flavors from the aroma, toffee, caramel, smoke/bacon, brown sugar, and a little bit of chocolate.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Nice body to compliment the smokiness.

O: Pretty good rauchbier. Not a beer I would go to on a normal basis, but good to have once in a while.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

monstrous nod to gary on helping me tick yet another major want. i mean, really...your generosity and thoughtfulness just amazes me. if there is such as a thing as a "Beer Advocate" tis you! cheers and thanks!

bottle dated 17.07.2012

a - poured 2 glasses a mikkeller bulbous wine glass and a stillwater sniftery wine glass. brew poured a chestnut brown with ruby highlights. a nice frothy creamy belgianish head lay a top. slowly bubbled away leaving small islands of bubbly creaminess and long streaks of lacing on the glass.

s - first leads with a smooth english barleywine malt, then the burnt peat smoke takes over. [the acoustic guitar comes out, redemption song sing-a-long begins...someone must've remembered the chocolate! how can we make smores without chocolate? you gotta have hershey too...it has to be the classic milk chocolate, no other will be right. oh well...i guess we'll just toast marshmellows and eat graham crackers.] that kind of campfire happens. fun and light, but smores are missing. is this thing on?

t - a bit of a roller coaster. at first, the malt comes out with some nice cooling hop...then a slight bump of bitterness, then a quick decent into the smoke, but the char is immediately put out with a somewhat brisk cooling. leaves a coat of peat, but palatable peat. decent hop somewhere in the mix...or perhaps that's some of brian's magic pixie dust that makes his beers so wonderful (sage anyone?). as i get used to it, the english barleywine like malt seems to stick out more. yum, like a smoked barleywine.

m - very crisp and cool from the start through the middle, but the end of the mouth is where the smoke really comes through and coats my mouth. a bit thick, but it is a smoked beer.

o - overall love a collaboration between these legendary brewers. the smokiness to me is reminiscent of some other mikkeller brews (although don't know of any other stillwater attempts at the style), but not as good as rauch breakfast. that being said, this beer has a really interesting twist which is very reminiscent of several stillwater beers. an almost vanilla sage vibe that is so fantastic. this is a style that is hard to really hit out of the park, but i think that this one comes in with a unique twist giving it an english barleywine malt mixed with some stillwater dust and then smoked like a jerome baker bong. enjoyed this one.

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with enormous off-white bubbly head, in my Hogtown Brewery glass. Pleasant smoke and roast aroma. First sips while cold, a little imperial stoutish, very well roasted and tasty with decent malt backbone. As it warmed, more smoke in the taste, unique and bittersweet, spicy a tad chile. Still ridiculous retained head.Above average mouthfeel.Very decent drinkability. $19 in NYC to take out. hop concentration in the sediment.

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Photo of beesy
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Sam Adams glass. No bottled date but a NHT date of 17.07.12 printed on bottle,
which I take as a best by date.

A - pours a medium brown with some beautiful red and dark mahagony hues at the edges. A slight haze. Some
waterfalling takes place leading to a rocky, three finger medium-dark kahki head that has excellent staying power.
Nice lacing.

S - campfire smokey wood that overwhelms everything. A little sweetness and maybe a touch of chocolate in the
aroma as well.

T - surprisingly malty up front. The smoke isn't as apparent in the taste (it's still very prominent) as it is
in the aroma. Some yeast profiles show up in this one in the mid/late palate along with some hop flavor that comes
on late. A firm hop bitterness lingers with some smokey malt bitteness paired with some dark chocolate
and a touch of caramel sweetness. It has a littl bit of aged oxidized flavor as it warms.

M - Full bodied with a nice mouthfeel. Any less and it would become very acrid and extrememly smokey.

D - Low for me - the smoke is very poweful in both aroma and flavor making it more of a long drinkig beer.

Overall, an interesting beer I'm glad I tried. A little overwhelming on the smoke, but a great beer otherwise.
With a $11.99 price tag, probably won't pick it up again except for maybe a tasting or something.

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Photo of PlinytheFarter
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the mighty Bangers and Lace last week. I am a fan of smoke beers so naturally upon reading the description of it being some sort of metal BBQ I had to order one.

The smell is my favorite part of this beer. If they made Rauchstar air fresheners I would buy them often. It smells meatier than a traditional Rauchbier. You don't get as much of that bonfire aroma and more of a BBQ grill with a big ole ham slow cooking for a few hours. I seriously kept smelling it to the point where the bartender probably thought I had issues.

The taste was just what I thought after the epic smell. A great smoke beer taste with a good amount of almost bacon/ham taste on the middle. The backend finishes smokey with a nice malt backbone as well. I have had smokier beers for sure, but like IPA's.. the one distinct flavor of the style blown out doesn't mean its better. I love the balance of this beer. The balance between meaty goodnes, malty finish, and of course smokey aroma and taste to hold it all together and make sense of the name and beer itself. Cheers!

P.S. send me a bottle ;) thanks

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$13.99 for a 500ml bottle from Belmont Party Supply in Dayton, OH. Thanks, Mark!

A: very dark, deep, deep copper/red color, clear with full tan head that kept nearly to last drop
S: dark chocolate with a pronounced smoke character and piney hops, very full nose but seems a bit unbalanced
T: rich, chewy malt up front with noticeable hop bitterness finish and smoke flavor mid-taste, reminded me of a smoked barleywine in character, unfortunately, the resinous hops dominate and overpower the smoke
M: chewy, full - nothing offensive other than too many hops

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a dark brown color with a damn good looking head on top that held a good retention and a scattered lacing. The smell of the beer was pretty good, there was a nice blend of farmhouse aromas along with the smoked malts. The taste of the beer has a good mix of Saison and Rauch blended together with a mellow bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer was pretty smooth with a good amount of carbonation to it. Overall this beer was pretty good, I bought it because I love the label mostly. I also enjoy Stillwater & Mikkeller immensely. So this was a must try for me even though I'm not big on the Rauch style. Glad I tried it for sure.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle, date of 17.07.2012 printed on the bottle, I assume that's the best by date. Served in a mug, the beer pours a dark brown color with about an inch frothy tan head that stays around a while. There's a lot of lacing left behind on the glass. Aroma is pretty nice, it smells like smoked meat, charred/burnt malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate and some piney hops and band-aids. Taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like smoked meats, bittersweet chocolate, charred/burnt malt, wood, coffee, piney hops, and a bit of molasses and band-aids. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. Roasty, smoky and hoppy, this is quite a brew! I liked this when I had a sample of it about a month ago, and now that I've drank my bottle of this I can say that I still like it a lot. It's a pretty good overall brew. For $13.99 a bottle, I'd definitely buy this again the next time I see it, I think it's worth the price.

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Photo of larryi86
4.7/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter while listening to Slayer on vinyl

A- Dark brown/black with two finger light tan head.

S- Smokey bacon, piney hops, roasted malts, some bitter chocolate and a touch of coffee, smokiness really steals the show.

T- Smokiness really standout out and stays with you. Nice roasted coffee and chocolate flavors in the middle and a nice hoppy finish, mainly piney hops but is does have a hint of citrus hops. The hoppiness and smokiness work very well together and hides the 9.4% ABV very well.. After taste is like eat great smoked BBQ while drinking a nice IPA.

M- Medium to full body, chewy.

O- I really liked the first Stillwater/Mikkeller project, Our Side, and they did an even better job. Overall this is a great beer and I will get another bottle or two, but I wish the price was more like the Stillwater 750 mL bottles because $16 is a little too much. Worth seeking out and trying!

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Photo of timtim
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark, dark brown with a tan head that holds and leaves tons of proper looking lace. nose is... holy hops on fire! smells and tastes to me like a burning hop farm that had a couple of wild boars and a grandmother making caramel. fruity hop aromas and flavors blending just about perfectly with smoky bacon and just a touch of sweet malty goodness. everything seems to blend and harmonize seamlessly and effortlessly like it was meant to be (in outer space). fluffy medium-full body with some chewy to it that evaporates like cotton candy. no bad aftertastes, and a very clean finish. this one shocked me. i knew it would be good, but didn't expect it to knock my socks off. nice one!

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey:

Pours a dark brown color w/ a slight cocoa head, which sticks around for a while. Minimal lacing on my snifter glass. Smell is pretty good- wood, smoke, and malt are the main things I get. Feel is nice- full bodied and very oil-like. Excellent smoke taste and aftertaste. Overall, not my favorite for the style- but a solid example. Cheers.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

The beer is chestnut brown with a filmy, khaki colored head. The head settles and holds around 1/8" for the duration. The aroma is smoke, campfire, bacon, char. Very nice - a pleasure to inhale. As expected, a lot of smoke in the flavor. A pretty straightforward beer. The feel is thick, oily, and coats the palate. I enjoyed this and would certainly have it again.

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Photo of corby112
3.04/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Draft at Khyber Pass Pub.

Pours a very dark brown that's almost black with faint mahogany edges when held to a light source and a one finger light beige head. Decent retention only slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves steaks and spots of lace behind.

Interesting aroma that's part smokey and part hoppy. Not nearly as smokey as I had hoped for unfortunately with subtle hints of charcoal, wood and BBQ. There's some roasted dark malt notes but they aren't burnt smelling along with some grassy pine. As it warms the smoke becomes more prominent but overall the nose is a bit of a disappointment for me.

Chewy full body with a blast of earthy hops that overpower the smoked malt notes and linger over the roasted body into a dry finish. Dry and bitter with hints of grass and pine along with subtle citrus fruit character. Underneath, the malt backbone is somewhat smokey but unfortunately this flavor is outshined by the bitterness. Faint smoked/roasted malt with hints of roast, dark chocolate, BBQ and ash. The smoke is most prominent in the finish but it's kind of an afterthought. I wanted a smoke bomb but I got a hop overload. This isn't particularly negative but in this style of beer it's a let down. Still, the ABV is well masked and the beer is overall decently balanced.

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Photo of speter
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Rattle N Hum (NYC).

A: Pours a dark brown with a one-finger off-white head that persisted well. Little lacing.

S: A distant campfire, or the smell of the Midwest of my youth during fall as we all raked leaves into piles and burned them.

T: Given the brewers, I was amazed at how subtle the smokiness is on this one. It's certainly present, but it wasn't the cup of campfire I was expecting. However, it struck me as a reasonable brown ale.

M: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation. Little trace of alcohol burn (although the menu does list it at 9.4% abv).

O: A decent Rauchbier, and one I'm glad I tried.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours beautiful dark brown with red edges, almost black with a huge tan head that sticks around and leaves walls of creamy lace.

The aroma has elements of camp fire and bacon with coffee and chocolate hints.

The flavor follows with notes of chocolate and roasted malts, smoke, caramel, and piney hops. Hoppier than expected which tames the smoke. Almost like a black IPA with smoke.

Medium body, smooth

Overall, enjoyable and interesting. Nothing spectacular in my book.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Dark brown with red highlights. Nice thick tan head with thick lacing.
smell: I'm not sure I've ever sniffed peat but I'm sure i know what it smells like now. some Scotch, maybe even coffee (or i'm still buzzin from landing a few cbs and a whole bunch of fbs).
taste: More peat goodness.
overall: I don't think smoked beer is gonna make my fav styles but this one nails it.

Edit 11/8/11: correction courtesy of rwitter who insists what I'm tastin ain't peat. Guess this not an ingredient in a Scandanavian smoke brew.

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Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The nose is very roasty and smokey, with very much a smoked salmon aroma. The flavor profile replicates the nose, except this beer is a bit sweeter than expected, and the smoke quality is nearly over the top. This seems more like a smoked bock, given the malty sweetness and high alcohol in this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and the alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile. There's something of a burnt toast, hoppy bitterness component on this finish that is a bit unusual.

Interesting beer... give the smoke and high alcohol, I'm not sure how much I could drink, but this is pretty interestinng.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown body capped my a minimal tan skim of foam. Spotty lacing.

S: Healthy dose of smoked malts, roasted malts, dark fruits and earth.

T: Even palate of roasted malts and mild chocolate provides a nice palate for more than a fair bit of smoky/earthy notes to shine. Maybe even a bit of the bacon-like smoky goodness.

M: At 9.4 abv this is a big beer, but surprisingly the mouthfeel is just a hair from being robust enough to truly match up with the flavor profile.

O: A very nice smoked beer, interesting to see Stillwater pull it off. Obviously its Mikkeller bringing the experience on this venture.

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Stillwater / Mikkeller Rauchstar from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
87 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.