Very Angry Beast - Clown Shoes

Not Rated.
Very Angry BeastVery Angry Beast

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

374 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 374
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 8.64%
Wants: 80
Gots: 83 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Clown Shoes visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Neorebel on 08-05-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 374 | Reviews: 49
Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is my first clown shoes beer and I have passed them up for a couple months but I've been a sucker for barrel-aged stouts lately. I think this was $14 which I normally wouldn't pay sight unseen but I had read good reviews here. Appearance is standard for the style and while the head is short it lingers. First whiff off the bottle is chocolate. Subsequent sniffs at the glass are mostly subtle smoke. Flavor is a bit of candy and booze, easily stands out as barrel-aged. This is pretty decent but it is no BCBS or Parabola. I don;t think I would buy this again.

Photo of Damian
3.67/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Cambridge Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, MA
Bottled on 07/18/13
Served in a snifter

Thick and oily, near pitch black appearance. The liquid was topped by a tight, creamy, bubbly, one-finger crown of tan colored foam. Spotty, drippy lacing coated the glass and lasted long after the beer was finished. The head eventually faded to a lasting cap of froth.

The aroma was rich and robust. Quite sweet with chocolate fudge notes coming through strong. Lots of bourbon and brown sugar. Oaky. Intense dark fruit notes appeared as well. Raisins and plums were most noticeable.

The flavor profile was tasty but rather harsh. Roasted malts came through strong on the front end. Hefty dose of char. Good amount of brown sugar-like sweetness. Fruity with notes of raisins and prunes. Hints of espresso and smoke appeared in the center. The finish was really hot and bitter. Between the boozy, whiskey-like notes and the copious amounts of piney hops, finishing my glass was a bit of a chore.

The mouthfeel was much thinner than I anticipated for a beer of this magnitude, but nevertheless creamy and smooth. Frothy and supple on the palate.

I love supporting local breweries, but I am consistently disappointed by Clown Shoes's "big beer" releases. Most are overly boozy, astringently roasty and far too thin in body. Why they continue to get such solid reviews is baffling.

Photo of SawDog505
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a 16 oz snifter, not sure when it was bottled. Pours a beautiful near black with a one inch mocha head, that settles fairly quickly into a thin layer of foam, with a collar of lace. Smell is bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, smoke, leather, and dark fruits. Taste is lots of bourbon and smoke from beginning to end, with the other flavors blended in and it is still very tasty, but if a bourbon smokyness isn't your thing you may not be ready for this. Body is medium, the amount of life is as expected for its heft, a touch dry, and a sipper for sure. This is very good, really a bourbon lovers stout.

Photo of maximum12
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have been picking up new Clown Shoes beers on a pretty regular basis. Despite the hefty price tags on some, they always seem just a titch away from hitting one into the Bay. I'm a kayaker, I suppose. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

We have the beer on the big screen: black. Lowly carbonated. Nose isn't as frontal as the name suggests: subdued bourbon, roast, chocolate, even a wisp of smoke. Subtle isn't a characteristic I associate with this brewery.

Very Angry Beast surprises with a smokey halo; reading the label & dipping my nose, I arrived unprepared. Good swath of burnt forest hits the tongue immediately. Beyond the pall is a classic barrel-aged stout: sweet malts, vanilla, boozy bourbon, with a tactile, drying woodiness on the end. The smokiness really adds a nice dimension: not overwhelming, but nicely balanced (I hate that word). Heavy & viscous, but seems to be sliding home just fine.

A beer that doesn't shatter the sound barrier, but arrives with a nice kabang. Bourbon is a bit understated; a little ampage might have lifted this into the troposphere. As is, a very good beer.

Photo of Mikeluzzjr
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I feel like I should like this more; maybe I'm getting sick. Don't get me wrong I like it quite a but, I just feel weird about my rating. Anyway. Smells like dark fruit, roasty, alcohol, wood, little smoke, maybe anise. Definitely has some dark fruit flavors going on, just can't figure out exactly which ones. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, but I do get that sort of fumes through the nose feel on swallowing, and it kind of numbs my tongue temporarily. Dark chocolate, vanilla, definitely wood mostly towards the end.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 8 held at The Hermosillo in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, slight smoke, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, smoke, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty and woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but quite strong.

Photo of tectactoe
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kevin for splitting his bottle with us. Pitch black body, pretty staunch and evil looking with a light tan colored head that rises up slowly but fades away much faster. Not much lacing is expected from a 11.5% ABV imperial stout, and not much is presented. After a few moments, the foam is all gone, leaving behind only the dark and oily brew.

Quite the aroma on this one; unabashed with lots of stuff going on... Bourbon, sweet dark fruits (think prunes and dates, borderline anise-like), big-time vanilla and coconut barrel induced aromas with a solid amount of roasted malt and a nice, wet oak finish. Not quite as "well put together" as some of the other big dogs out there, but extremely solid nonetheless.

Oak staves soaked in bourbon is the first thing that comes to mind with each sip, followed and lightened up by a sweeter inclusion of vanilla and semi-sweet baker's chocolate (and even some very lightly bitter dark cocoa). Dark prunes are prevalent throughout, without pushing the boundary of anise and black licorice too hard (thankfully... I'm not too fond of those flavors).

There's a touch of astringent cola on the very back on the tongue that I'm not really keen on, but it isn't robust enough to ruin the brew for me. A mild, back-end residual brown sugar finish sweetens things up, almost a la Dark Lord, only scaled down about 100:1. Bourbon-oak in the front, cocoa-vanilla in the middle, prune-sugar in the end... I can dig that.

One of my biggest gripes with Clown Shoes' stouts is the lack of a substantial mouth feel for the style they supposedly represent. Unfortunately, Very Angry Beast suffers the same way, feeling a little thin for being the boisterous stout that it really is. There's a nice creamy and slick feel to it, but it could use some beefing up. Ample carbonation helps the feel from being completely lost.

I'll be honest, I wasn't really expecting much, if anything, going into this one... Not sure why, really, as I have no problem with Clown Shoes. I guess I just haven't been overly impressed with the offerings I've tried thus far. I quite enjoyed this one though, and while it doesn't become a regular pick-up due to the price (15$/bomber), it's definitely worth a try once.

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours pitch black with two fingers of dense tan foam. Good retention and lacing.

S: Malted milk balls, milk chocolate, and butterscotch are quite strong in this beer with a bit of roasted malts in the background.

T: Strong dark chocolate and sweet caramel dominate this beer with a nice amount of bourbon. Roasted malts and bitter hoppiness help balance this beer. Quite boozy.

M: On the thick side with moderate carbonation.

O: A very good beer. The aroma is decent, but the flavor is intense, complex, and quite tasty. Very enjoyable. I'd like to see what some age does with this beer. It's quite boozy.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Very dark brown. Nearly opaque, some ruby highlights when held to light. Nice mocha head and lacing. Looks like an imp stout ought too.
smell: Roasty chocolate. Hint of bourbon and dark fruity sweetness to match the roasty character.
taste: Much like the nose. The charred roastiness is more prominent than in the nose. Nicely balanced with bourbon sweetness.
overall: Quite mellow. A nice sipper.

Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a good sized tan head that persists for a while. Smells of fudge and chocolate with some caramel vanilla and a bit of woody oak. The flavor follows the aroma but the woody oak and a hint of alcohol are in the foreground while the chocolate caramel confections are an underlying base. Thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet silky mouthfeel. This is quite a nice stout I enjoyed sipping it for most of the night.

Photo of Scotchboy
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, split with my brother into Deschutes tulips. Man I have good trading partners...

A: A very dark brown pour yields an opaque black body with a small tan head and some lacing left on the glass.

S: Chocolate and bourbon upfront, sweeter caramel and vanilla, brown sugar, dark barley, and some ghostly coconut.

T: More of the same, pretty mellow with a slight bit of burn on the finish. Bourbon and spirit are prominent, as expected, with plenty of chocolate notes and vanilla extract, caramel and brown sugar.

MF: Full bodied, with a sticky, viscous mouthfeel.

O: Good, really good. But I think I was expecting more. A really tasty, balanced, not-too-hot BA stout, and a really good beer. I'm just not sure its a great one. Well worth seeking out, I've LOVED all of Clown Shoe's stouts and this one is really no exception.

Photo of snaotheus
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split between three pint glasses. If there's a bottle code, I can't see it.

Pours black and smooth with a tiny ring of pale head. Slightly translucent around the edges, so not entirely opaque. Smell is chocolatey, pruney, licoricey, a little bit of alcohol.

Taste is smooth and well integrated, Starts out sweet and fruity and goes through some smokey chocolatey bittersweetness, roasty bitterness, and then maybe a hint of hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thick but dry. Overall, this is pretty good.

Photo of IKR
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a modest dark beioe head that slowly faded to a ring.

Smell: Mild Bourbon, coffee/roasted malt aromas, brown sugar and some vanilla notes. Nice nose but it doesn't "pop out" like some beers do.

Taste: Bourbon, coffee/roast malts, caramel/brown sugar, mild vanilla, and some oak notes. The finish is fairly dry with Bourbon, roast malts notes and mild oak and hop notes. Some sweetness from the Bourbon and possibly the malts, but the roast/coffee notes, oak, and hop notes provide a solid counter. *As the beer warmed up closer to room temperature, the flavors came across more vibrant and I upped the initial taste score.

Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall: Good beer. Let's hope it's re-brewed.

Photo of TXBulldog
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Aggressive pour yields a huge foamy head that leaves a good half a finger's worth once it settles down. Color is a deep pitch black.

Nose is really heavy on the bourbon, and all the sweet vanilla notes that suggests.

Bourbon carries through onto the palette. Rich toasted malt under the bourbon is the most dominant flavor. Dangerously drinkable given the ABV.

This one has a rich full mouthfeel. With the sweet notes this comes close to tasting like a milk stout.

Overall this is a great bourbon-barrel aged stout. The only thing that was a little bit of a disappointment was that none of the smokiness from the Vampire Slayer carried over.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Seeing all things aggression- its roast, its booze, its intensity. Everything suggests that this is one angry beer!

As the beer settles into the glass, it does so with an inky-black body and a slight creme of froth that settles on top. Tawny brown about the edges, the beer's foam cap is light tan and dissipates soon into the session. A swirl of the glass specks the walls with spotty lace as the ale more and more prefers brandy-like appearances over that of beer.

Booze, roast and supporting malt kick off the aromas with bold roast espresso, bitter chocolate, burnt toast, toffee and walnuts- all woven together with a thread of unmistakable bourbon. Surprising whiffs of vanilla, cherry, licorice, campfire and coconut all weave into the mix, offering complex scents more and more as it warms.

Its taste is a seamless bridge from its scent as the roasted flavors dark-roast coffee grounds, smoky chocolate, heavy toast and roasted nuts rise to the foreground. Its burnt toffee taste supports its roast easily but without over-sweetening the taste. Somewhat brownie-like, the middle palate introduces caramelly bourbon, vanilla and charred fruit. The stout's dry-malt taste finishes off with extensions of burnt embers.

Its full body is assisted with its low-lying carbonation that allows the beer to sit weightily on the tongue and saturates the taste buds completely. Its light syrupy texture glides over the palate en route to a surprisingly semi-dry finish with echoes of smoke and char.

The tendencies are to detest beers from breweries who have gimmicky, mocking, or adolescent marketing and branding. But I soon forgot about all that "clown shoes" stuff and really opened up to this Imperial Stout, as it is complex, challenging and greatly rewarding.

Photo of aquazr1
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Imbibe. Pours a jet black with a really short head and minimal lacing. The nose is that of chocolates and oak. I get some coffee notes in the taste on top of the chocolate notes. A really well done IS. I would order this all the time if it was available.

Photo of Resuin
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. This was bottled on 07/18/13 which is a little over a month ago.

Appearance: Pours a nice, thick, very dark brown/black and leaves a finger of medium brown/coffee colored head, which fizzles out quickly to just a very thin layer, primarily around the rim of the glass.

Smell: Lots of cocoa, light coffee, light bourbon, figs, plums with a hint of caramel and vanilla. The cocoa and coffee are most prominent but the others give it a nice complex aroma.

Taste: Bitter coffee beans, lots and lots of oak, semi-sweet chocolate, malts, a hint of bourbon.

Mouth-feel: Nice creamy, thick body with a medium carbonation.

Overall: Definitely a quality imperial stout. Complex aroma and a nice flavor, but just a tad too much oak in this, and for me, not quite enough bourbon. Nice mouth-feel though.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours very dark. Hints of brown around the edge of he beer's body when held up to the light. Slim, tan head. Head isn't very thick but it. Leaves consistent speckled lacing all over the glass.

S-The aroma is like a deep, impending fog rolling into my nostrils. A mushroom cloud of boozy fudge. Roasty and Irish Coffee-like. You do get some bourbon but it's not as aggressive as some bourbon aged brews. It's more of a complement to the roast and fudgy chocolate.

T-The flavor is a liquified chocolate, fudgy, dark roast coffee medley with light bourbon accentuations. I get some tobacco which is cool. I'd like some more whiskey flavor here but VAB is a nice blend between the two base beers.

M-Plenty of body. Boozy and viscous. Just how it should be.

O/D-Clown Shoes makes some great beers. This one is very tasty and quite a giant beer. As for criticisms: 1) I'd like to see more bourbon in both the aroma and flavor. 2) the aroma was more impressive than the flavor. 3) Never happy when I spend over $12 for a bomber and am not blown away.

Photo of PicoPapa
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. Pours a pitch black color with a 1/4 inch of brown head. Minimal lacing. The aroma is booze, dark chocolate, brownie batter, and hints of roasted malts. The taste is bourbon upfront followed nicely by chocolate syrup and fugdey brownies. Earthy notes. Finishes nicely with more bourbon and more sweet chocolate syrup and brownies. Tastes rich, but not cloyingly sweet. Pretty big alcohol presence as expected. Heavy mouthfeel. Clown Shoes is great at making big beers and this is no exception. Overall, a bit pricey but worth grabbing.

Photo of Thads324
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dorky art
Pours a jet black brew with thin dark tan head. The head doesn't hold long but there is decent lacing.
Aroma is intense. You can smell it across the room. It's mostly all wood, vanilla, oak and straight bourbon aromas.
Flavor starts heavy. Big bold sweetness, oaky bark. Slightly tannic, hints of roasted and caramel flavor behind a finish of bourbon. Really tasty finish like a fine whiskey on the rocks. Lingering flavor on the edges of the tongue of mildly tart smokey wood. Bits of tobacco and very little chocolate. Deep, bold, delicious brew. The only hop bitterness seems to dance between the middle and end. Earthy and subdued.
Mouthfeel is heavy and there's a bit of dryness that breaks up a bit of sweetness. Finish is sharp, dry, and not oily like many.

While the aroma is heavy on the barrel, the beer and barrel meld well in the flavor. A very very nice beer. As it warms the alcohol becomes more apparent and the barrel tartness stronger. Damn fine!

Photo of cbutova
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Poured to four pint glasses from the 22oz bottle with an oily thick, pitch black body. Dark tan head forms atop the brew with a frothy, foamy consistency. Decent head retention leads to a thick, foamy ring. Lacing at the top has some nice webs and spotty below that.

S- Fudgey cocoa really jumps out to me here atop a beastly roast malt base and some good barrel feel. Authentic oaky, bourbon whiskey feel with some vanilla hints. Caramel sweets, burnt grains, smoke and slight alcohol.

T- Similar to the nose but the barrel feel really seems to jump out as well as some Scotchy, smoky seaweed whiskey feel. Bourbon barrels are probably second to only the roast base but it is close as they lay down a large portion of vanilla, oak and whiskey notes. Roast grains provide a base of dark fudge chocolate truffles, burnt grains, caramel sweetness and the sugar to make a slight alcohol flavor appear. Dark fruits appear from the yeast.

MF- Thick body with a creamy, somewhat oily overall texture. Carbonation is moderate and maybe even closer to lower end but this allows those decadent stout and whiskey flavors to sit on the palate. Alcohol warming lingers for quite a while but not hot.

Definitely a fan of the nice Bourbon feel combined with some Peat Scotch malt feel and smoke. It brings some huge flavors but not over the top at all for me. Fudgey, cocoa truffle sweetness works very well with the other things present.

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 7/18/13

A - Pours a very dark brown with a thin tan head. Lots of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is sweet chocolate and bourbon.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Upfront there is a strong mix of dark chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. The finish has more bourbon notes and a lingering booziness.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth a sticky finish.

O - This is a very nice bourbon barrel stout. The flavors are very full and rich. Even with 18 months on it the finish was still on the hot side.

Photo of Samuel906
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My second beer from Clown Shoes and both have been killer! This is a heavy duty brew and there is a lot going on. Smell I got chocolate, peanut butter, fudge, salt, tobacco, and hay. Taste is similar, with tons of coffee but is not overly sweet. I really love the faint tobacco notes, like the molasses and rasins of Red Man. Really good beer!

Photo of davey101
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber into a tulip glass. Pours a pitch black body with a fingers worth of light mocha foam. Faint lacing with light retention. Seems a bit thin with some noticeable alcohol legs. I found that this one really needs a bit of time to open up to get the full effect.

S - Fudge brownie against a backdrop of rich bourbon notes of oak, char and vanilla. Lightly roasted but predominantly on the sweeter side of things. Large booze presence. Just excellent with a massive and inviting bourbon presence.

T - Dry cocoa powder, sweet vanilla, oak, sweet and decadent fudge brownie, and a lingering bourbon burn. Not as great as the nose but highly effective in capturing the stereotypical BA stout notes. The mouth feel is a bit too thin leaving all of the flavors to just sort of fall flat towards the end.

O - The first Clown Shoes beer to really impress me, which makes me happy considering this beer has zero hype and is somewhat reasonable at $12 for a bomber. The taste and mouth feel aren't perfect here, but damn is that aroma sexy.

Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Binny's - Lakeview. Served in a Fantôme snifter at Kan's place.

A - A thick collar and near-complete cap of tan foam tops a near-black body, with specks of lace dotting the sides of the glass.

S - Dark grains, dark chocolate, earthy bourbon, light oak, caramel, roasted malts, and perhaps a hint of tobacco to round things out. Not the most spirit-forward barrel-aged stout, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as I like the base beers.

T - The taste is quite similar to the aroma, with perhaps a bit more sugar cookie and caramel sweetness amid the darker and roastier flavors. Some nice elements of milk chocolate and vanilla, with less present barrel and bourbon notes. I'm guessing this brew didn't spend a ton of time in the barrels, but that's actually kind of refreshing with all the over-oaked and booze-heavy barrel-aged stouts out there.

M - Smooth medium-full body, pleasant lower carbonation, perhaps a bit thin for 11.5% but not offensively so. Booze is reasonably well-concealed. Quite nice on the whole.

D - I have to say that when Clown Shoes opened I was put off by the labels and the 'contract-brewing' stigma, but I'm becoming increasingly convinced that they have a successful model going here. Not quite as good as Porcine Unidragon, but nearly so. Love being able to buy a great beer without waiting in a line or chasing a truck.

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Very Angry Beast from Clown Shoes
95 out of 100 based on 374 ratings.