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Assassin Imperial Stout - Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Assassin Imperial StoutAssassin Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

823 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 823
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 9.03%
Wants: 1,512
Gots: 152 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company visit their website
Iowa, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Pintofbrown on 02-20-2012

After endless hours of scorching in heat, brewing in turmoil, fermenting in angst, the Assassin’s journey has just begun. In the shadow of the temple, he lies in wait, maturing his plot to perfection. He emerges merciless, dominated by darkness, his bite laced with the charred remnants of his victims. No man dares to cross his path. They will forever sleep with one eye open, in fear of the Assassin’s hot kiss of death.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 823 | Reviews: 80
Photo of TylerTremelling
1/5  rDev -78.5%

Photo of Dolfan907
1/5  rDev -78.5%

Photo of Gatortaylor15
1.12/5  rDev -75.9%

Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
1.5/5  rDev -67.7%

You people are kidding me , right?

This beer tastes like fresh cardboard.

Photo of Desp59
1.98/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

This was a bit rough for me. Huge bourbon smell and flavor and not much else going on. Actually thought it was higher than 12% based on the taste.

Photo of obiwan
2.5/5  rDev -46.2%

Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -35.5%

2013 - 3.25
2014 - 3.75

Photo of brystmar
3/5  rDev -35.5%

Photo of Dag48
3/5  rDev -35.5%

Photo of cpetrone84
3.06/5  rDev -34.2%
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.

Photo of Jeffo
3.24/5  rDev -30.3%
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.

Photo of kingsuecac
3.5/5  rDev -24.7%

Photo of michaeljstraub
3.5/5  rDev -24.7%

Photo of CityofBals
3.5/5  rDev -24.7%

Photo of ducknrunfoo
3.5/5  rDev -24.7%

Photo of qthompso
3.55/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

Photo of beagle75
3.6/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

Photo of Rifugium
3.62/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

Photo of bashiba
3.65/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured thick and dark brown with a thin tan head.

The smell is powerful, very big molasses, vanilla, and dark fruits all mixing here.

The flavor is a bit messy to me, very sweet with lots of dark fruit and I get a lot of vanilla, but just a hint of oak or bourbon. The roasted barley and dark grain flavors are surprisingly mild as well and are out competed by the sweetness.

The mouthfeel has a nice thickness to it with a bit of oilyness.

A pretty average beer for this style, the alcohol is well hidden and its easy to drink, but a bit messy and feels to me like it needed more time in the barrel.

Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.65/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz gold dipped wax bottle into Tulip.

A. Pours slick out of the bottle. No head at all. No lacing. Color is pitch black.

S. Dominant smell is molasses. Then some roasted malt, a little chocolate, and then alcohol. Actually has a pretty hot smell to it. A little bit of vanilla comes out as it warms up.

T. First flavor is molasses, then roasted malt, a tiny bit of coffee. The off putting part of this beer is that every drink finishes with a soy sauce flavor. Imperial Stouts are not suppossed to be salty. The aroma and taste of this beer is really more along the lines of an American Strong Ale than an Imperial Stout. The alcohol is well hidden in the flavor. The taste improves as it warms, but you can not get away from the Soy Sauce flavor. My wife tasted to confirm that I was not crazy. Not a lot of flavor to begin with, and then you get that off flavor on the back of the tongue with every drink. Not sure where that flavor would come from, oxidation maybe. Really the firt time I have ever tasted that flavor in a beer.

M. Medium bodied. Should be thicker for a 13% Imperial Stout. Very low carbonation. Finishes with the weird soy sauce flavor.

O. Waited a long time to get my hands on this beer, with the Red Wax overfilled or seeping issue. This beer reminds me more of a strong ale with its flavor. Actually kind of reminds me of Hebrew Jewbilation series, just wish it tasted as good as those beers. I can not get past the soy sauce flavor in this beer. My biggest disappointment probably comes from having tried Kentucky Brunch before this. Kentucky Brunch is a damn good beer. One of the better barrel aged beers I have had actually. Assassin unfortunately is not on that level. Assassin lacks depth in aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel. For $20/bottle this should be a lot better. My hope is that the other 2 bottles that are actually able to be stored at room temperatur improve with time.

Photo of phishphorce
3.75/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of drummermattie02
3.75/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of kscaldef
3.75/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of jegross2
3.93/5  rDev -15.5%
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.

Photo of BillKuhnel
4/5  rDev -14%

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Assassin Imperial Stout from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 823 ratings.