Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Death - Rivertown Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

13 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 13
Hads: 89
Avg: 3.5
pDev: 40.86%
Wants: 7
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Ohiovania on 12-15-2012

A high-gravity Russian Imperial Stout brewed from a blend of dark malts and Jolokai peppers (Ghost Chili Peppers).
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 13 | Hads: 89
Photo of KSOZE
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a beer that really benefits from some time in the cellar. The peppers are still very much there, but it's a much more subtle and enjoyable experience. Mouthfeel a little thin, but it's a very good peppered stout. And the price point is out of this world amazing.

 270 characters

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
2.17/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

32 oz. growler filled last week at the brewery poured into a NB snifter.

A - Pours a dark brown in the glass. A very loose, bubbly head of dark khaki foam disappears quickly, leaving a small sheen on the surface in the middle. Held to a full-spectrum light, the beer is almost jet black and solidly opaque.

S - Distinctive notes of cherry/almond right in the front of the nose just after the initial pour along with a fair amount of ABV. Very dark baker's chocolate in the background. Hints of burnt, charred wood and heavy-roast coffee grounds. As it warms up, hints of dark caramel emerge.

T - Whoa - that's a black and chili pepper blast to the olfactory senses that's going to take some adjusting to. The freshly ground black pepper is especially prominent and lasting on the tongue. Letting the beer warm in the glass lets anise emerge just behind rich, dark caramel malt and black, almost bitter, molasses. Dry, dark chocolate appears in the finish. As it reaches room temperature, it settles into something resembling cough syrup with a pepper chaser.

M - A bit smooth, but pretty neutral with soft carbonation. Body is not only thin, on the verge of being watery, but noticeably undersized. Structure of components seems to be missing, but it's hard to find them behind the pepper - there's just not enough substance to support the pepper bomb. Because of the pepper, the finish echoes a long, long time.

O - Do you like pepper? I mean, there's no such thing as too-much-pepper-in-the-dish like pepper? If so, you'll probably enjoy this beer. There's really nothing subtle about it. I could see pairing this beer with a thick, juicy grilled steak or a big bowl of meaty chili that, on it's own, is on the mild side. It would be interesting to see what would happen to the pepper if this beer was aged, especially in barrels matched to the spicing profile. Pepper is a spice, meant to be an accent. In this beer, it's pretty much the whole show, not only because of how dominant it is, but also because the rest of the recipe simply isn't big enough to support it and so gets overwhelmed.

 2,119 characters

Photo of CincyBrewTull
3.42/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured and felt very thin. There was brown sugar and coffee notes up front followed by roasted grains and ghost pepper heat from the middle to the end of the short lingering flavor. It was generally underwhelming

 212 characters

Photo of TequilaTom
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Vintage Estate in Boardman Ohio.
Pleasant roasty aroma, no hint of the peppers here.
Taste is rich but somewhat thin for an Imperial Stout.
A little heat towards the back of the throat, but very
mild. A well done balance and worth trying!

 248 characters

Photo of Mikus
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice base beer was a benefit. Just a bit of heat and warmth from the chilis. No need to run away from the 'ghost chili' reputation. Surprisingly well-balanced. Bit of a thin texture for an IS. We enjoyed this offering. Worth a try.

 231 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

If you're going to balance a strong beer, you've got to use strong flavor. The Rivertown brewers reach into the spice rack for those impressively hot ghost chilies. Shying away from their traditional beer making, this experimental stout isn't for the timid.

Its inky-black pour offers nothing of the peppers within, at least to the eye. Resorting to stillness quickly, initial aromas are roasted with french-press coffee, dark chocolate, toffee and cola nut. With a faint herbal undertow, piney hops and mild vegetative fruit stem from its pepper additions.

Across the middle, the body waivers slightly, revealing the taste of coffee grounds, bittersweet chocolate and simple caramelized syrups which take on proportions of pecan and cola. Its savory fade reveals mild fudge and savory toasted tastes before the heat arrives.

Remaining full, the weight of alcohol warms the palate thoroughly with rummy spice, but all that is expounded upon as something sinister smolders underneath. With each sip, the capsaicin head builds upon the last and intensifies with the irresistible allure of the ghost chili.

Death is a massive stout that's more than able to stand on its own, but the use of peppers give the taste a complex kick that's more than just a subtle nuance. You've really gotta like spicy foods in order to take on this beast!

 1,336 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.96/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 FL OZ bottle
Served in a snifter

A - I'll just call this beer black. I held it up to the light and none came through. It has a half inch of mocha head.

S - The smell is sweet. I get some chocolate and roasted malt. There is no noticeable pepper.

T - It leans more towards the chocolate side on the taste. It almost tastes like a milk stout. The ghost pepper is barely perceptible. The heat does grow a little as I drink it. It is either well hidden or faded after almost a year.

M - It is very smooth with low carbonation. It does not quite have a full mouthfeel.

O - I think it tastes pretty good. I like the subtle pepper flavor. I thought the pepper would be more significant, but it is about perfect at this point in its maturity.

 746 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a quarter inch tan head that went away quickly. There's a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice but light, it smells like roasted malt, dark fruit, chili peppers and some molasses. Luckily the taste is stronger than the aroma, it tastes like chili peppers, roasted malt, chocolate and a bit of dark fruit. There's definitely spice noticeable, but I was expecting this one to be hotter. But the spice is lingering, it is a tasty brew. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and syrupy with moderate carbonation. I think this brew is certainly worth a try, $2.99 a bottle. I wouldn't mind seeing Rivertown making this one again.

 709 characters

Photo of ColdPoncho
2.34/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

What is a Jolokia Pepper?

A - A light body for an "imperial stout." Very brown.

S - Loads of diacetyl. I guess it's spicy diacetyl. Caramelly diacetyl. Roasted diacetyl. It's fuckin buttery.

T - Tastes like hot pepper-laced butter with hints of dark fruit and caramel. Thinking of it as a beer that represents "death," I can dig it. But it's not something that is good, much like death.

O - Don't care about mouthfeel, this beer is weird. Buttery as fuck, spicy. And maybe there's an imperial brown ale behind it. This is a deathly beer for sure.

 550 characters

Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin beige head that died down a little, leaving a bit of lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of black licorice in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of black licorice but this transitions to spicy flavors from the peppers in the finish and linger through the aftertaste.
M: It feels rather full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The Jolokai peppers leave a bit of heat and dryness in the finish. The heat intensifies as the beer warms up.
O: I thought this beer was quite drinkable considering its strength and the use of Jolokai peppers, which are spicer than Habanero chili peppers. There are no traces of alcohol in the taste and there aren't too much peppers, just enough to leave a sharp pop of heat in the finish.

 890 characters

Photo of barczar
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been in the growler sealed for a week, so...

Pours an opaque deep brown with garnet highlights and a fleeting cola-like mocha head that disappears.

Chocolate malt and fruity pepper are dominant, with an undeniable hot pepper finish in the aroma.

Flavor reveals roast malt, chocolate, coffee, a bit of fruity pepper, then a back of the mouth spicy kick that accents the roasted, dry finish pretty well.

Fairly syrupy body, with minimal carbonation and substantial alcohol warmth.

For what it is, it is balanced well. Not kick you in the teeth spicy, but the sensation lingers. Good roast malt character, as well. If you're in the mood for some heat, worth a try.

 666 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
2.57/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Parkbrau Pils glass on 12/22/12

Dark brown, but not as dark as a RIS perhaps should be. This is merely a shade or two darker than Famine. 1/3rd of an inch head drops and scatters to ring retention. Very few specks of lace.

Burnt sugars and some chocolate, toffee molasses, raisins and dark fruit. Notions of peanut butter. Grainy smoothness; oatmeal? Faint soap and some off notes. Peppers are marginal at best.

Ah, the Jolokia peppers do come through for the palate with building spiciness. Roasted chocolate lies underneath; thankfully not as sugary as the aroma let on. The base beer isn't outlandishly heavy or boozy, especially if this thing is really 11%. Death has some of the usual Rivertown funny business but, coincidence or otherwise, the peppers detract from it.

The body is medium-full with fairly average carbonation. Smooth, modest viscosity. Any alcohol is masked by the peppers or well hidden. Feel-wise, this is pretty easy to drink for a RIS.

Leave it to Rivertown to make somewhat enjoyable a rather timid version of a style such as this. This may be the best of the four horsemen.

 1,120 characters

Photo of Ohiovania
4.48/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had again recently on draft and I think they have tweaked the recipe for the better. It was fantastic. Reminded me of Mexican Cake but personally I found it to be more enjoyable.

 178 characters

Death from Rivertown Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.