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Assassin Imperial Stout - Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Assassin Imperial StoutAssassin Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

74 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 925
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 9.69%
Wants: 1,721
Gots: 152 | FT: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 74 | Hads: 925
Photo of cpetrone84
3.06/5  rDev -32.6%
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. (261 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.24/5  rDev -28.6%
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. (2,158 characters)

Photo of qthompso
3.55/5  rDev -21.8%
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. (1,265 characters)

Photo of beagle75
3.6/5  rDev -20.7%
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. (1,421 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.62/5  rDev -20.3%
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. (837 characters)

Photo of bashiba
3.65/5  rDev -19.6%
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. (604 characters)

Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.65/5  rDev -19.6%
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. (1,927 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3.74/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First, this is a very good beer. However, this has to be one of the most over hyped and improperly rated beers on this site in my opinion.

Pours dark black oil with no head. And, most of the reviews point that fact out. Yet, they still give a score of 4.5 and such! I don't get it it! Any other beer that has no head would not get and "outstanding plus" visual score.

Moreover, the nose is good but not wonderful. Several reviews point out weaknesses and shortcomings in the nose which is, indeed, chocolate, vanilla, roasted grains and sweet coffee. It's a nice nose but perhaps not as assertive as others on the same playing field.

Mouth feel is low carb. Clearly not outstanding. Yet, the beer is given 4s, 4.5s and more, despite being somewhat of a flat sweet stout.

Taste is boozy, chocolaty, vanilla, coffee and thick sweet malt. Good - very good, and with a nice sweet bitter coffee finish.

This is a very good good beer. This is a very good stout. It is not particularly well made and certainly not an exemplary example of the style.

Thick, sweet and hard to get do not equal an outstanding beer. Good yes; outstanding or more? No. (1,167 characters)

Photo of jegross2
3.93/5  rDev -13.4%
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. (1,424 characters)

Photo of kevanb
4.02/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle, 2013 vintage with Yellow Wax, poured into a Three Floyds Mini Snifter.

The beer pours a thick, oily black color, touches of cola brown when struck by the light. A slight khaki head appears momentarily before receding back into the beer, leaving no lace behind. The aroma is of chocolate, whiskey, charred barrel and slightly roasted grain, chewy oak with a light note of astringent phenol alcohol. The flavors are nice, a distinct fruit character is a nice surprise, chocolate is prominent yet again, slight roast, barrel presence is nice, a bit of whiskey and phenol alcohol at the finish. The body is rich and smooth, very silky, coats the mouth very well and finishes with a nice warming sensation.

Verdict: A very well made Barrel Aged Stout from Toppling Goliath. It's simple, it's easy on the palate and it's very smooth, however, it does lack some pinache and at times, comes across as a bit boring. All of the typical components of a great BA stout are there, but none of them really pop. (1,012 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Huge thank you to Steasy66 for spoiling me as usual with this rarity. 2013 yellow wax spontaneously picked from the cellar and shared at the end of our tasting last weekend.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with a thin layer of light brown head.

Smell. Sweet molasses, smooth whiskey, wood, and chocolate syrup.

Taste. Chocolate and burnt sugar, light smooth whiskey and fresh wood, and some dark berries. Sweet, maybe a little too sweet for me but it's a minor complaint.

Mouthfeel. Full body, fairly sticky, low carbonation.

Overall. Sweet with big flavours but still smooth and tasty. Thanks again Ryan! (613 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.24/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to Jeff for this rarity. 2014 vintage with gold wax into a Founders snifter. Shared with schen9303.

A heavy pour yields a thick, 1 finger chocolate covered head with excellent stick. Beer is pitch black, oily and very rich. Lacing is thick, web-like and layered with outstanding stick. Top notch!

Nose is fudge, sweet soy sauce, fresh plum and grape, vanilla, chocolate and a creamy hop presence. Moderately aromatic. Pretty average.

Opens chocolate, sweet soy sauce and lactose. Notes of dark fruit. Prunes, grape, vanilla, fudge and cocoa in the middle with a bit of wood and booze at the end. Finishes sweet brownie and cocoa powder. Aftertaste of hop creaminess, mocha and molasses. Excellent.

Full bodied with low carbonation. Thick and oily in the mouth and goes down smooth and luscious. Messy finish with a filmy, sticky aftertaste. Fantasticly robust and fitting for the style.

Toppling Goliath is putting out a ton of extremely high quality offerings and Assassin is certainly worthy of leading the bunch. Near perfect look and feel for the style with an unbelievable flavor. Definitely worth the hype. (1,133 characters)

Photo of thebigredone
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

I really enjoyed the 2013 version when I had it. Rated it a 4.5.

Skip to 2014. Many thanks to Jason.

Perhaps it as due to the beers I had directly previous to this (Dark Lord, Darkness, Bramble, Cherry Rye, and Backyard), but I was underwhelmed with this year's Pappy treatment. Smooth, but lacking in depth of flavor, I thought this beer was good but not great. Very glad I didn't end up trading anything away for one.

Dropping the rating down to a 4 for 2014, for a two year average of 4.25 (501 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.26/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Short dark brown head recedes and then is awakened with each swirl. Collar throughout.

Smell gives way to a deep roast and brownies.

Subtle sweetness Appears late in each sip. Smooth ~bal notes, hint of vanilla. What ABV is this? Feels around 10-11%.

Suuuuper smooth mouthfeel. Low medium carbonation, fits.

Have to agree with 4DAloveofSTOUT with the BCBS comparison, although less biting barrel notes. "A/A-" BA stout here, thanks Brian! (442 characters)

Photo of Treebs
4.26/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to beerbob26 for the share. 22 oz. yellow waxed bottle served in a Firestone Walker mini-snifter. 2013 vintage.

A: Pours a dark black color with a dark brown head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thin ring that leaves some splotchy lace down the glass.

S: Bourbon up front with some dark fruit and sweet vanilla. Chocolate with some caramel notes and some light oak. Roasted malts give it a touch of dryness.

T: The bourbon barrel is up front. Bourbon with some oak, vanilla sweetness and a little burnt sugar. Baker's chocolate with some oak and a honey like sweetness on the finish.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with a slick and oily mouthfeel. Medium to low carbonation with a bourbon sweet finish.

O: A really nice BA stout. Not in the upper echelon, but I'd gladly have this again. Pretty tasty and balanced overall. (834 characters)

Photo of drmcleod10
4.29/5  rDev -5.5%

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 (2,378 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.39/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Yellow wax, 2013.

Appearance - Inky black. Stains the glass. Small mocha head with surface wisps.

Smell - Woo, big rye whiskey aroma. Lightly fruity. Coffee with a bit of its accompanying acidity. Dark chocolate.

Taste - Whiskey is secondary to the dark chocolate. It spices it up though. Coffee then vanilla. Oak. Lots of sweetness. Rye whiskey sustained throughout.

Mouthfeel - Very thick. Medium carbonation. A little boozy but that isn't a problem.

Overall - Excellent. The beer is great despite that I don't love rye barrels. (573 characters)

Photo of bismarksays
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle sampled out with friends

Appearance: Syrupy, thin tawny head, opaque. Beer looks like most imperial barrel aged stouts. As thick as BCBS. So, expect a chewy animal.

Smell: Chocolate, almost fudge like, some bourbon (and some heat from the booze), a touch of caramel, and maybe a little bit of coconut. Smells like a chocolate bar sitting next to a glass of whiskey. No, like freshly baked brownies and an glass of whisky. Much more chocolate present than bourbon.
T/M Mouthfeel, I am not going to beat around the bush, is thick and chewy. Leans more silky than sticky though, which is a nice surprise and makes it much more drinkable than one would have thought given the viscosity of it. Taste follows the nose. Chocolate before booze, but booze still present. The chocolate and other barrel qualities (coconut with the faintest hint at vanilla) tone down the booze mostly. Rich. Nice. Warming.
Overall: I was worried that the bourbon would win. I was worried this would be sticky. I worry too much. Enjoy. (1,026 characters)

Photo of IrishColonial
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: rich chocolate color, aggressive pour yields thick creamy two finger head, almost like a chocolate milkshake. Creamy half finger head remains.

S: vanilla, coffee, lots of barrel, wood, rye spiciness, dark chocolate, a little hot booze

T: lots of wood, oak, barrel character; some heat but pleasant for whiskey lovers, the spiciness of the rye definitely comes through and helps cut the chocolate sweetness. The sweetness is chocolatey milkshake goodness but a little syrupy and cloying. Dont taste much coffee but it may have faded.

M: thick creamy mouthfeel, a bit syrupy and cloying but the creaminess keeps it from being Bruery syrup.

O: really good beer, the barrel character really shines and is really well balanced. The sweetness is a bit too much but the barrel and mouthfeel mitigate the effect. Still a dessert beer and dont need too much of it, but very enjoyable. Bravo. (895 characters)

Photo of gueuzedreg
4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 Yellow wax. First TG stout of the trio, pumped.

A: Thicker than the rest. Calmer than you are. This beer has the look of Zhukov.

S: Whiskey soaked chocolate molasses graham cracker

T: This beer is in the few "You have to try this once" category. It can't be explained how pronounced the layers of this beer are. It reminds me a lot of Uncle Jacob's Stout. Chocolate>whiskey>graham cracker. It is a thick tasting RIS.

M: Again, reference Zhukov on consistency, maybe a little less thick. Alan Thicke, rich, smooth. Like his son Benjarvis Green Thicke

O: I am very glad to have tried this. Tastes like Chocolate graham cracker whiskey soaked RIS. Loved it. Although, next time I want this experience, I will crack an Avery Uncle Jacob's Stouts. Twerkin' time (773 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.45/5  rDev -2%

Appearance: pours a dark mahogany, not quite black but not far off. a very small amount of tan foam forms but has very little retention. completely opaque due to the darkness but lets a nice rich mahogany brightness through the edges. sticks to the glass and leaves a brown layer behind. 4.5/5

Smell: lots of whiskey, maple syrup, some chocolate and some alcohol. low amounts of espresso and roasted malts. 4/5

Taste: opens with a good kick of whiskey, and whiskey soaked dark fruits. strong dark chocolate character. large amounts of sweetness coming in waves of maple syrup and toffee. back end has some oak and wooden character. little to no alcohol. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: extremely thick and chewy. sticks to the glass and the sides of your mouth. strong alcohol warmth but overall drinks very smoothly. 4.5/5

Overall: no doubt this is an excellent beer. almost exactly what I look for in a big chewy barrel aged beer. certainly a treat that I would not pass up on at any chance. (984 characters)

Photo of dboon
4.46/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Big thanks to Hopscotch for sharing this gem. Dark brown pour with a light brown head. Incredible caramel and chocolate aromas. Great lacing. Sweet with some cola like qualities. Caramel, chocolate, and woody notes with a fair amount of heat from the rye in the finish. Very good mouthfeel and body. (307 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as the sin as well as the sinners, ninja-black, thin brown head.

Aroma screams out from the glass, spilling out deep, dark aromas, rich whiskey tones…and it's only sitting on the table, I have yet to bring it up to the nose, here we go…man, this has got it all! Thick, sick, overblown amounts of dark rum, maple, molasses, anise, notes of vanilla and cherry, and overpowering, thundering whiskey (forgot what kind, and I haven't peeked at the label yet.). Every kind of amazing whiskey barrel imperial stout flavor is seeping out of this.

Taste: Damn, this is delicious! Starts with big floods of dark fruit and vanilla, coated in thick, slick whiskey tones. Sweet-ish-like, but never too much so. Huge, vast, voluminous flavors, full-body, persistent finish. Stays sweet-like, basking in deep, dark fruit flavors, you raisins, your dates, your plums and prunes, coated in the whiskey,…it's fantastic! Mmmm…love it.

Now, I want to read the label: "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."

I make a lot of hay with the gobbledygook, but this is one of the good ones. I enjoyed that. It tells the story of the beer, cloaked in this mystic fiction, without going overboard.

I definitely wish I had more bottles, to age them and see what happens in maturation, but I also want to feel what this is like young. You can't appreciate one without the other. Maybe someday I'll taste an aged bottle of this, but for now I know it's damned awesome. (1,839 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.48/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

assassin is one unique stout. i didn't now know it was ages in rye barrels when i had it, but it makes perfect sense seeing it here, there is a distinct rye coarseness to the middle of this that i just couldn't place at the time. now i get it. yellow wax version poured into 8 oz globe, shared with drlovemd87 and claystation. jet black and viscous on the pour, not a ton of head, but some liveliness to it upon close inspection. shiny and inky, rich and dense, looks the part. huge nose of oak barrels, booze, bitter coffee, vanilla sugar, brown sugar, and a colossal malt bill that must have some heavy roast in it. the flavor is as layers as any stout I've had, from darkness to abyss, to bourbon county and its variants, i think there is more going on here, and in a more refined way than any of those beers, save maybe abyss, but the barrel treatment and the coffee push this over the edge. vanilla and sweetness give way to burnt wood and smoke, smoldering still, challenging. there is some sugar on the back end too before the alcohol comes in, but its flavorful sweet, and it adds a richness to this, especially in feel, that is unrivaled. complex spice middle shows both rye and coffee, and the bitterness of the barley is tempered by strong vanilla again on the finish. there are a lot of stouts out there right now trying to outdo each other, trying to be bigger, more flavorful, more dynamic, but this one has to take the cake. such a soft feel in such a big beer, gets a little hot with temperature. a bottle to share for sure, but one worth seeking out and acquiring, it has renewed my interest in stout whales, absolutely world class. (1,649 characters)

Photo of mjpolzin
4.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Finally found an occasion to crack open this treat from Toppling Goliath which is fast becoming one of my favorite breweries.

Very little carbonation but sticks to the sides of the glass as you swirl it around. Not as thick as BCBS but certainly not thin. The smell is mostly whiskey and also a lot of sweetness.

The taste is very whiskey-forward with a lot of sweetness following behind that. A very good beer but definitely something that needs to be sipped otherwise the sweetness might get to be too much. It reminded me a lot of Dark Lord but I thought the flavors here were better integrated and smoother than in DL. As it warmed, I could taste the black liquorice that I like so much in a good Imperial Stout. Also, the warmer it got, the more the taste and smell reminded me of World Wide Stout.

So over the course of this review, I mentioned 3 other world-class stouts that I compare to Assassin. This bodes well for this beer in becoming one of the better high end stouts available. Its just too bad that it isn't a little more readily available but that also makes it more of a treat when you get your hands on some. (1,131 characters)

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Assassin Imperial Stout from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.