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Assassin Imperial Stout - Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Assassin Imperial StoutAssassin Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

650 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 650
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 4.63
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 1,189
Gots: 129 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company visit their website
Iowa, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  12.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
An Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, aged in rye whiskey barrels.

(Beer added by: Pintofbrown on 02-20-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 650 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jrallen34:
Photo of jrallen34
4.75/5  rDev +2.6%

jrallen34, Jan 01, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
4.55/5  rDev -1.7%

22oz bomber with yellow wax from the 2013 release, generously shared by lunarbrew with our tasting group today, 6.18.2013. We drank this after the Hunahpu's which we opened up first.

Aroma: Sweet straight up whiskey combined with tons and tons of sweet milk chocolate, a good bit of bitter dark chocolate and coffee accompanied by a little bit of marshmallow sweetness. It smells very sweet and boozy. (4.5)

Colour: Nothing special for a big barrel-aged stout- very very dark brown, almost opaque and black, illuminating dark cola brown. The head comes out as a sexy 1cm mocha head that sticks around for a good while until it slowly dissipates into nothingness, leaving a placid abyss. When it was poured into my glass, it looked super thick coming out of the bottle, thicker than anything I've seen- including Ten Fidy. (4.5)

Flavour: Wow! This beer definitely packs tons and tons of sweet whiskey and chocolate. I swear I'm having chocolate fondue, if you could somehow put your beer on a fondue fork and dip it in chocolate. It's incredible how the subtle vanilla sweetness, ostensibly from the barrel, combines with the chocolate sweetness. It's like marshmallows dipped in chocolate fondue. Normally, this would be bad news for any beer, but no, it was also balanced out with a good bit of espresso bitterness. There is a little bit of dark fruits, but not a whole lot, and there is a small woody oak presence. But this beer is ruled by the chocolate and vanilla oak. A perfect dessert beer. (4.5)

Mouthfeel: This is definitely full bodied, viscous and chewy. Incredible, one of the thickest beers I've ever had. Well-carbonated and I cannot detect much booze at all in this beer. When it goes down, it goes down silky smooth without any heat. It was like liquid brownies.. doesn't get a whole lot better than this. (5)

Overall: This is probably a top 5 barrel-aged imperial stout (without additions like coffee or cherry or whatever) for me. It is up there with BCBS- in fact, the best way I would put it is that this beer is what Goose Island would make if they made a Bourbon County Brand Chocolate Double Cream Stout. So thick, viscous and explosively sweet with complex flavours that complement each other really well. It's worth trying at least once, don't kill yourself getting this beer- its just beer- but be happy if you get the chance to try it! (4.5)

[2013 Final Score: 4.55]

Re-review: of the 2014 gold wax vintage, poured into a Toppling Goliath gold snifter 8/22/2014. This simply isn't as good as last year's. As a whole, the bourbon character is far too strong here as there is very little of the chocolatey fudge goodness that characterized last year's yellow wax version. The nose has a paint thinner, nail polish scent going which was very surprising as last year's had essentially chocolate marshmallows on the nose, which is not to be found here. The mouthfeel is still there in spades, but I would highly recommend aging this for a while. The whiskey almost entirely covers up the normally excellent base stout and I honestly feel that the PVW+TG hype is carrying this beer further than it should be conceivably going based on how it is tasting right now. Still, don't get me wrong- this is a thick imperial stout with a strong whiskey character (think Fifteen with a thick mouthfeel and an acetone-like nose) and it may very well improve significantly with a year on it.

[2014 Final Score: 3.825]

Score breakdown:
Appearance: 4.5 (5%)
Smell: 2.5 (20%)
Flavour: 4 (45%)
Mouthfeel: 5 (10%)
Overall: 4 (20%)

Stevedore, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of Jeffo
3.2/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was lucky enough to get the three bottle stout set from cparles. We did Morning Delight, this one and KBBS, in that order. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2013
Yellow wax
Killer imperial stout aged in whisky barrels

APPEARANCE: A thick, opaque black pour yields a small, foamy, dark mocha head. Pitch black body but with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a faint wisp and ring. A slight swirly wisp and ring remain leaving falling dots of lacing down the glass. Really black body, but a foamy head and too much carbonation for the style.

SMELL: Lots of whisky, coconut, milk chocolate, vanilla and lightly roasted coffee. Caramel as well, with oak rounding it out. Nice nose, and plenty forthcoming.

TASTE: Oak, whisky, coconut and vanilla up front. More oak and whisky through the middle into the swallow. A big, lingering finish of whisky, coconut, lots of oak, milk chocolate and caramel sweetness lingers on the palate. Very sweet with lots of wood flavors, but very little roasted malt and bitterness as balance. There's a lot of good sweetness here, but not enough other components to provide balance.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation. Very creamy smooth on the palate, slick and silky, goes down smooth and finishes very sticky. A bit of heat lingers on the palate. A touch light and too much carbonation, but creamy and silky.

OVERALL: Lighter bodied than the other two and very, very sweet. Not quite cloying per se, but definitely too sweet and not enough bitterness as balance. This one definitely suffers from BA Dark Lord syndrome; good in small quantities, but tough to handle otherwise. The fact that people only ever drink this beer in small servings might explain why it gets such inflated scores as well. In the end, this is an interesting creation and I'm very glad to have gotten the chance to try it, but it falls well, well short of the magic that is Morning Delight and KBBS. I would like to try future incarnations of this beer, as an adjustment here or there might really make a world of difference. Thanks again cparles. This was one of the funnest sets we've ever done.

Jeffo, Jul 09, 2014
Photo of HawkeyePA
4.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2013 Vintage-Yellow Wax

A: Pours a midnight black and settled with a small mocha head. Nice lacing that covered the outside of the snifter

S: Dark Fruits: Figs and raisins. Coffee and roastiness

T: Fig, plum, raisin, coffee and chocolate. Barrel really brings out vanilla sweetness.

M: Chewy chocolate. Exactly how a BA Stout should feel. One of the best representations of the style

O: Almost exactly what I was expecting from this beer. Thick, dark, roasty and chocolatey. Very gracious of BeersAndBears to share.

Re-Review 2014 Vintage-Gold Wax

A: The most midnight of blacks. Using the term "motor oil" as a descriptor when it pours has never been more accurate. Absolutely coats the glass. Small, dark mocha/brown head which settles quickly to frothy wisps

S: BIG coffee and chocolate. Bourbon/ethanol as it warms.

T: Really sweet. Lots of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit, emphasis on chocolate.

M: Viscous. Thick. Ridiculously coats the mouth and lingers

O: Whether it is the pappy barrels (maybe) or just the time, thought, and care put into this beer (likely) it is truly one of the best BA stouts I have had.

HawkeyePA, Aug 05, 2014
Photo of Rifugium
3.63/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 vintage (yellow wax), consumed Jan. '14.

Impenetrable black pour, with a wispy tan head that receded rather quickly to a thin ringlet; minimal lacing. Pretty basic aroma for a stout, roasty dark malts, toasted grains, notes of bourbon-soaked oak and neutral alcohol; just about no coffee at all. Taste was similar, pretty oaky, roasty dark malts, toasted pumpernickel, slight herbal (or maybe astringent?) bitterness, thin bourbon notes, semi-sweet chocolate, molasses, maybe some dried prunes in there, and again, very little coffee, if any at all, with a stale solventy aftertaste. Body was on the fuller side of medium, but really no more than that, mouthfeel was a little chalky and unbalanced, carbonation was appropriately moderate. A pretty average stout overall. But I guess it's a whale because it's from Bumble****, Iowa.

Rifugium, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of cpetrone84
3.05/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour is black with mocha head. Nose is bourbon, light wood, some malt body, Lots of sugar and sweetness. Taste is more sweet, lots of sugar, caramel, sweet. Lighter malt complexity, barrel isn't poorly integrated. Body is thick and creamy, moderate carbonation.

cpetrone84, Feb 02, 2014
Photo of maximum12
4.78/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great debt of gratitude to the always-generous mista, who picked me up a bottle after I declined an offer to go the release with him. Yes, I'm an idiot. 22 oz. bottle from 2013, drippy yellow wax, split with my wife. Given my encounters with Kentucky Brunch & Mornin' Delight, expectations are...well. If the beer doesn't kiss me, I'll be disappointed.

Peel away the nicely hardened wax & the beer emerges black, with a good dose of carbonation. Nose warms my cockles: too-thick brownie batter where some wag subbed in a 1/2 cup of whiskey for the Minnesota tap water listed in the recipe. Love. Ly.

Assassin coats the throat somewhere between 5W30 and 20W50. The thickness is remarkable, with a mouthfeel like a heavier version of BCS. Richer than anything liquid has any right to be. Favors the barrel with strong whiskey notes up front, backed by more brownie batter, tons of vanilla, heavy-sweet malts, with roast looking a little lost in the crowd. Crazy drinkable, just because it's so damn good.

Not only a kiss; I got tongue. Anybody who trades away a bottle of this stuff needs to have their head examined, because it's one of the best. Absolutely amazing beer...& the third-best TG stout I've had. That's borderline unbelieveable.

maximum12, Sep 10, 2013
Photo of ehammond1
4.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle (2013)

Thanks for opening this with me, VaTechHopHead!

Nearly black, though very heavy and substantial looking in the glass. Shiny and oily, with a small brown head that leaves dots of stick.

Monstrous, rich, and lovely aroma of chocolate, bourbon character (without the heat or sting), a bit of vanilla, some raisin, and cake batter. Excellent, and, unsurprisingly, better and better as it warmed.

The flavor is similar to the aroma. Massive amounts of dark chocolate character, bourbon (wood, vanilla, dark fruit) without the accompanying alcohol harshness. This is smooth as silk and the flavors blend together marvelously. This is lacking a big roasted malt note, but it sweet, complex, and incredibly flavorful.

Full in body. Thick. Chewy. Substantial. Monstrous stuff.

Simply fantastic. I was definitely blown away by this beauty.

ehammond1, May 12, 2013
Photo of jegross2
3.91/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the 2012 vintage of Assassin Imperial Stout (Red Wax version) from Toppling Goliath Brewery out of Decorah, Iowa.

Score: 88

Early 2012 vintage bottle (red wax version) served in a Tyranena snifter and enjoyed on 01/25/13. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Coffee color body with minimal head off the pour in the form of mocha-colored swirls. No lacing or retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Vanilla, whiskey, brownies and milk chocolate. Dark fruit too. 4.25/5

Taste: Chocolate, whiskey, and a little soy sauce-like flavor. Burnt caramel, vanilla and a touch of booze too. A little spice. Slightly oxidized, but in a way that plays decently well with the spice quality. A little sweet. No coffee whatsoever. 3.75

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and under carbonated. Has a nice rye-like kick on tongue that makes up for the under-carbonation. Finishes very dry, almost chalky -- like a less dry The Count. 4/5

Overall: This is a really good beer that just did not deliver out of the bottle when aged. I have had this one fresher, and it was much better. The 2012 vintage bottles had some issues (e.g., the brew is filled so high up in the bottle that it leaks if not refrigerated), so I encourage folks to give Toppling Goliath the benefit of the doubt on this one and seek out the 2013 vintage that was just released. I will review the new release when I get my hands on a bottle.

Cost: $20 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

jegross2, Apr 24, 2013
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

poured into tulip glass.

vintage 2013; bomber with yellow wax.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 1 finger of medium brown head. Head quickly drops to a thin ring around the glass. A gentle swirl brings back about the original amount of head, maybe even a little more.

Smell: The nose is a little bit whiskey forward, but for the most part its well balanced with the stout. Chocolate, roasty and sweet malts, oak barrel, hint of black licorice and maybe some dark fruit notes.

Taste: Moderately sweet stout that not overly roasty balanced nicely with barrel notes. Fudge and Chocolate, whiskey, oak, coconut, molasses, light roast, hint of dark fruits and leather. Great complexity! The beer seems to meld together nicely in the finish. This beer really opens up nicely as it warms up.

Mouthfeel: high end of a medium bodied beer with moderate cabonation. This beer has very nice carbonation levels that keeps the big flavors of this beer from becoming too overwhelming. The beer feels silky and a little oily too. This beer isnt boozey at anytime. Really smooth drinking barrel aged imperial stout.

Overall: This beer reminds me of the first time I had Bourbon County Brand Stout back in 2008. This beer is clicking on all cylinders! Its got a lot of complex flavors, smell great, well balanced in both nose and taste and it has a fantastic mouthfeel. This is my second Toppling Goliath stout that I have drank and this small brewery in Decorah, Iowa knows how to brew world class beers!

4DAloveofSTOUT, May 19, 2013
Photo of beagle75
3.55/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tasting glass.

A: Opaque black color with a scattered beige residue of diminishing bubbles. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Bourbon is represented well, heavy on the vanilla but with less toasted oak, fitting nicely with deep dark fruit. The most distinctive part of the smell is the cakey roasted malt, suggesting decadence. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins sweet, with dark chocolate and muted bourbon spirit. Acidity is detectable but restrained into the middle, where syrupy dark fruit and aromatic wood are discovered in transition. The finish shows a whiff of ethyl alcohol, establishing a boundary that must be stepped over only to find an obnoxious thread of scorched popcorn waiting to linger on the palate.

M: Thick viscosity, syrupy and chewy on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: This bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout represents a fair attempt at the style, and is endearing in its missteps. Perhaps it sets the bar too high with its impressive smell, but unfortunately some of the key features in the nose do not match up with corresponding flavor qualities. Textures are also decadent and rewarding, probably helping to elevate the features of the flavor profile that would otherwise seem disjunct and very average by comparison. It serves best in the capacity of dessert beer, where the sweetness and moderate spirit influence are not found to be out of place.

beagle75, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of drmcleod10
4.29/5  rDev -7.3%

Popped and domed by myself on a Sunday night.

A - Dark and thick with very little to no carbonation. Coats the glass and stains it quite a bit. No lacing no carbonation dark as night.(4.5)

S - Smell was lots of chocolate and that classic pappy smell that you get in Remy, Rare, others. It's not as much of a marshmallowy smell as I thought it would be. VB Assassin has a definite edge in this category. Lots of chocolate with some roast and hints of vanilla and bourbon. (4.5)

T - Taste follows the nose, except for the fact of how overwhelmingly sweet this is. This is a bottle that is tough to down yourself(even though its a bomber to share). It's almost cloyingly sweet with loads of chocolate sugary, bourbon, vanilla booze. It wasn't as boozy as I have heard which leads me to believe theres quite a bit of variation. Overall, cloyingly sweet and leaves an unpleasant feeling in the mouth. It's tasty don't get me wrong, but doesn't stack up to TG's other stouts. MD, KBBS, VB Assassin all edge this out by a mile. (3.75)

M - Thick creamy, lingers forever and coats the mouth. After I got through the first half of the bottle it became easier to get through the rest. Started tasting slightly better as it got to 65ish degrees. (4.0)

O - Overall, this was a letdown. It's good, but not world class. It was too sweet. I had a much easier time downing 20+ ounces of MD then this and you would think the Pappy barrels would have mellowed out some of the sweetness. I have another bottle and will either see how it ages and revisit in a year or trade for BA Abraxas or DB Huna which are far superior in my eyes.

Still a solid effort and a solid beer.

A friend of mine said his tasted and resembled nail polish remover which further leads me to the conclusion that there is great variation between the barrels or tops and bottoms of these barrels.

Re-review from Abraxas day.


This bottle wasn't quite as sweet but definitely still didn't stand up to the ratings and the recent ratings of gold wax. This almost reminded me of a barleywine this time, not as sweet, still thick and creamy. Just not on par with their other stouts. Not even in the same stratosphere, I think hype is getting people here. I really don't see the 5's and 4.9's and where the are coming from and I am a very generous rater.


Need to nab a 2013 to compare. This bottle was more of a 4.35

drmcleod10, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of qthompso
3.55/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pair of pint glasses. Extremely dark brown, almost pitch black with a reddish hue near the edge of the glass. Essentially no head and absolutely no lacing.

Smells of chocolate and dark, tart cherries. Based on the issues they had with the seeping, I'm picking up a faint note of soy sauce that will hopefully fade in the taste.

The taste is super roasty. Dark chocolate and think molasses towards the front with a deep red fruit. Virtually no bitterness in this one. The finish of this one gets real boozy. To my knowledge, this is one of their first barrel aged beers and it's certainly over the top. I'm a fan of barrel aged stouts but this one is borderline overdone with the finish.

Quite thick and full bodied up front with the flavor complexities. The finish is pretty smooth (albeit boozy) when you get to the barrel character. Much more carbonated than the lack of head indicated.

Overall, a pretty good first attempt. Respectable complexity that keeps you drinking. However, in the end, the booze bomb is a little overwhelming. This was from the red batch that had to remain refrigerated. I can't help but wonder how much this one would smooth out if I had been able to cellar it without it leaking all over the place.

qthompso, Feb 24, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.75/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Yellow wax. Served alongside Mornin' Delight and KBBS.

The beer is near black with an oily beige head. Whiskey aroma with vanilla, oak, chocolate. Again, absolutely amazing. Big whiskey character with a lovely coffee presence. Full bodied with oak and vanilla. Palate coating. My second favorite of the trio. Fabulous!

Huhzubendah, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
4.37/5  rDev -5.6%

tectactoe, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of jono0101
5/5  rDev +8%

jono0101, Nov 11, 2014
Photo of Schlais
4.75/5  rDev +2.6%

Schlais, Mar 07, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
4.75/5  rDev +2.6%

SkiBum22, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of DaftPatrick
5/5  rDev +8%

DaftPatrick, Feb 28, 2014
Photo of 77apm
5/5  rDev +8%

77apm, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of BillKuhnel
4/5  rDev -13.6%

BillKuhnel, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of olradetbalder
4.75/5  rDev +2.6%

olradetbalder, Nov 13, 2014
Photo of BrandonDZ
5/5  rDev +8%

BrandonDZ, Nov 08, 2014
Photo of Prospero
5/5  rDev +8%

Prospero, Oct 04, 2014
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Assassin Imperial Stout from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 650 ratings.