Assassin Imperial Stout - Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

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Assassin Imperial StoutAssassin Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

69 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 69
Hads: 903
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 2.64%
Wants: 1,683
Gots: 155 | FT: 11
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.
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Reviews: 69 | Hads: 903
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 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 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 mothman
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Van Winkle Yellow Wax

Thick and black. Dark tan head. Very rich. Smooth and creamy. Thick. Chocolate and bourbon at it's finest. Vanilla, oak, and caramel. A touch of booze, but very nice.

This beer drinks very nice and having an earlier batch, I believe the PWV barrels make this better. The first batch I had was shared with me by Clark at Darkness day and although I thought it was good, I think this is better. More smooth, rich, and complex. Better barrel flavors with less harshness. (491 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
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! (319 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 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 HuskyinPDX
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle opened on 8.19.13
2013 Yellow Wax

A - Pours a dark brown with a thick foamy mocha brown head with great retention.

S - Milk chocolate, a hint of booze, very warm and welcoming.

T - Sweet milk chocolate, whiskey, a hint of vanilla and barrel. Amazing!

D - Good carbonation with a heavy body.

O - A wonderful mix of sweet, boozy chocolate with wood and vanilla hints mixed in. Worthy of the hype. (406 characters)

Photo of SadMachine
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes from 11/8/13 (international stout day)
2013 vintage (yellow wax)

A- Pours thick and used motor oil black, with a thin mocha head, leaving decent lacing.

S- Smells of dark roasted malt, dark fruits, black licorice, coffee, and a fair dose of booze. A lot of figs coming through here.

T- The flavor is incredibly complex. A lot of sweet caramel, molasses, plums, figs, and licorice. Also some mil chocolate and sugar cane. This borders on cloying, but somehow stays quite drinkable!

M- The mouthfeel is super thick, and silky smooth. Just enough carbonation to keep it feeling beer-like.

O- This is a great beer, but a little on the sweet side for my liking. I tend to prefer roastier, more coffee forward stouts. Still a world-class imperial stout! (772 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.66/5  rDev +2.6%

Thanks to Ronald for this little slice of heaven. After many consecutive attempts to grab
hold of this one had fallen through, good ol' Ron shows up to my house, grinning ear to
ear with a bottle to share. What a guy!

Black-hole blackness in a glass; very near vacuum capacity with a slow-forming, deep and
rich leather head that perches on top. Deep tan in color, taking it's time receding. The
opening whiff is a thing of beauty - warming wafts of bourbon slapped atop a base of
semisweet fudge, nutty oak, faint char, dried & roasted coffee, & tepid vanillin.

Let me start off by saying that my expectations for this were already quite high... Not
only due to the crazy hype that is has sparked since its original release last year, or the
various amounts of consistently high reviews across all beer rating mediums from nearly
everyone who has tasted it - but thanks to own inability to safely lock down a bottle.

Cacao nib richness nibbles at the tongue up front with a battle between the bitter &
overly roasted bean aspect with the slightly creamy & sweet underotnes. Decisively
charred malts & toasty barrel notes add an inherent touch of spiciness in the back. A
knockout of there ever was one. Simply a masterpiece on all levels.

Soft hints of whiskey & bourbon booziness trounce there way in, adding not only an
openness of warmth, but another layer of complexity in this magnificent beast.

Hardly is there a flaw to be found; perhaps just a touch more sweetness could play
a better balancing game in the final moments, but I'm clearing nitpicking. It's definitely
rare to find beers crafted this well nowadays, at least from a percentage standpoint.
Don't pass this one up if you get a chance - you will not regret it. (1,735 characters)

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 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 maximum12
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (1,245 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
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! (1,495 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(2014)
Having this new vintage, I was decently disappointed compared to what it trades for. It drinks like a whiskey/bourbon barrel Ten Fidy. Chocolate, fudge, umami, dark fruit, but very subtle and restrained barrel character.

(2013)
The beer pours in a dark black color.

The aroma has roasted malt, whiskey, coffee, chocolate.

The flavor follows with a bright kick of whiskey in the front onto roasted malt and longing flavor of chocolate. The beer transitions into a bitter coffee, a hint of apple. On the finish is beautifully onto oak, coconut, and almonds.

This beer certainly had comparisons to KBBS. Arguably just as incredible and one of the best barrel aged stouts out there. (689 characters)

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very tasty, very smooth beer. This is a premier BA stout with such an amazing finish. Not much on the nose compared to other world class BA stout, but it definitely deserve to hang out with Rare, Prop, and the Bruery Big Boys. (228 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 BMMillsy
4.87/5  rDev +7.3%

2014 gold wax bottle from trade. Humungo thanks for this one. Pours thick viscous pitch black looking thicker than any beer I have poured, including dark lord and Hunahpu. Not really anything but a ring of dark brown head. Beautiful aroma of vanilla, toasted coconut, caramel, chocolate, oak, bourbon, dark fruit, hint of roast but mostly sweet. Flavor is bourbon up front with toasted coconut and vanilla galore, a hint of chocolate, oak, more bourbon. Finishes with a blast of vanilla bourbon and wood that is just amazing. Thick bodied with low carbonation but not as sickly syrup thick as expected from the look of this thing. TG is just stupid good when it comes to making beer. Jeez. (689 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%

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%) (3,543 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
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. (850 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.84/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Yellow wax bottle poured into snifter. Pours a pitch black with heavy viscosity, minimal dark brown head. The aroma is ridiculously rich. Huge dark chocolate, bold roasted coffee, heavy oak and whiskey notes, highlight of vanilla throughout. Quite a bit more decadent than other BA coffee stouts, reminds me of bcbcs a bit. Taste starts with coffee and dark chocolate followed by heavy vanilla and richness throughout. A bit of heat towards the end. Mouthfeel is heavy, velvety, and smooth with low carbonation. Overall, fantastic beer. This is my first TG stout and I now know what the fuss is all about. (605 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 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 CuriousMonk
4.86/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Sure glad I didn't have to travel out to the middle of nowhere in Iowa to land this highly sought-after beauty! It's good to have generous friends in beer nerdery circles. Pours brown-black with a thin but quickly dissipating mocha head. Probably the only disappointing feature of this beer. I could smell the Pappy goodness from a mile away once I poured the beer in my glass. Sweet chocolate, molasses, hints of vanilla and marshmallows, and oak in the nose. The flavors were surprisingly softer than expected! The Pappy flavors came through very nicely, cocoa, coffee subtleties, marshmallows, roasted oak and toffee. Thin to medium bodied along with a velvety and a slight burn in the finish. This beer was indeed a level above a coked up Parabola or BCBS! (760 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)

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Assassin Imperial Stout from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.