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Assassin Imperial Stout - Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Assassin Imperial StoutAssassin Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

81 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 81
Hads: 958
Avg: 4.53
pDev: 32.45%
Wants: 1,788
Gots: 153 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 81 | Hads: 958
Photo of HOPSareKey
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Unbelievably enormous without any one area being over the top. Deep roast, sweet, toasted coconut, perfect barrel character. Every quality you would want in a stout. The best beer I have had to date.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.56/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours viscous thick jet black with a thin tan head that retains nicely. Smell has incredibly rich decadent aromas of chocolate whiskey vanilla oak And some dark fruit aromas. Taste follows nose with super rich semisweet chocolate malt with notes of cocoa coffee, fudge, and caramel. Whiskey, oak barrel vanilla tannins and roasted marshmallow follow before a sweet jam like berry flavor finishes with notes of red current, boysenberry, and black cherry. Mild smokey malt on the exhale. Inceribly complex beer. Mouthfeel is thick velvety and smooth.

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Photo of RelentlessLefty
5/5  rDev +10.4%

I had this a while ago, just wanting to log what I have had from the 250 list. Of all the beers I have had thus far, this might be my favorite. Tons of bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate in this. Mouthfeel was thick and luscious. Everything about this beer was top of the chart.

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Photo of Berg77
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Split a 2014 vintage with a buddy last weekend. Probably the thickest beer I've ever had, like close to milkshake. Great bourbon flavor but just the right amount, not overpowering the rich chocolate truffle-like flavor. Just an excellent BA stout, and one of the best beers I've had yet.

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Photo of jbwimer
4.78/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Huge thanks to Chin for sending this beer to me. Hell. Yes. Stupid fudgey. Woody, sticky, and amazing barrel influence. Bourbon shows up, for sure. To me, though, it's the wood character that makes this beer remarkable. Marshmallow, vanilla, yum. A touch of roast to provide some balance. Smell is a little more complex than the flavor, which is my only "knock" on this beer. Mouthfeel is viscous and rich as I've ever had. A beautiful beer in every regard.

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Photo of mlhyatt
4.79/5  rDev +5.7%

Poured from bomber into tulip glass. Let it warm up for a good 45 minutes before drinking.

A- black with an dark brown head, looks like chocolate cake with a mousse topping. Delicious. Head dissipates rather quickly into nothing which is pretty normal for a beer with this high ABV.

S- Tons of alcohol, sweet molasses, vanilla and oak. Then coffee seeps in and smooths out the scent. It was kind of a roller coaster ride with the smell. After the coffee, dark fruit and chocolate come in on the end.

T - Follows the nose almost exactly. Tons of bourbon but the coffee is a lot smoother in the taste than the smell. It coats the mouth like ice coffee does but it tastes like hot coffee (if that makes sense). Dark chocolate comes through on the end and finished real nice.

M- a little hot, but overall extremely smooth. Very thick as well.

O- A fantastic beer, I was expecting a little more coffee, but the smoothness of the coffee rivals BCBCS. I think with a year on this beer the alcohol will tone down and it will get even better.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black motor oil body. Almost no head, but who cares. Woo that smells good. Chestnut aroma with an awesome whiskey smell. Good amount of alcohol aroma. Really sweet. Almost a prune raisin taste. Lots of woody barrel tastes. Similar to a fine brandy. Too much going on to explain. Just an absolutely excellent beer.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.87/5  rDev +7.5%

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.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.45/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

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Photo of drmcleod10
4.29/5  rDev -5.3%

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

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Photo of timc100
5/5  rDev +10.4%

2014, with some weller 12yr on the side

Pours our thick, dark, and oily black. Closely reminiscent of a CCB stout with BC Prop oiliness. Very impressive.

Brilliant aroma of sweet pappy bourbon (graham cracker, pipe smoke, tobacco, vanilla, oak) molasses, chocolate, caramel and slight umami. Really pleasant booziness and completely in balance. Tastes in great balance as well with a nice booziness.

Outrageously thick - very viscous, full, almost sticky. Carries the vibrant flavors well - great boozy sweet and bitter chocolate finish.

This is an astonishing beer.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.55/5  rDev +0.4%

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%)

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Photo of stouts4me
4.79/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Served in my 2015 GTMW glass at the last day of New Glarus Wild Peach release.

Generously shared by The " Woodchopper"

This beauty pours out just the way you love: black as night, and a nice viscosity.nice tan head rimming the glass.

Ooh, nice heavy booze aroma, setting you up for your first taste of awesomeness.taste is great, a little sweetness, chocolately, not overly chewy, just right on the mouthfeel.

This would be great in a year, but so hard to resist drinking them now!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%
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!

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Photo of HawkeyePA
4.98/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of durlta
4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 Gold Wax. Had this for the fifth time last night in a sours and stouts tasting. Love it! Super dark, viscous, and absolutely delicious. Fantastic bourbon and maple notes that leave your lips sticky and you craving more. The tasting also featured Peche Mortel, Vanilla Shake, BBA Speedway, KBS, and SR-71. The SR-71 was my favorite, but I'm not sure I could've picked it over this had it been blind.

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Photo of IrishColonial
4.43/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.24/5  rDev -28.5%
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.

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Photo of dar482
4.78/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

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.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.71/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Picked this up from a great trade with Evan! Pitch black motor oil pour with a thin, quickly fading caramel-colored head with decent lacing. The nose is rich and decadent! Chocolate fudge brownies, espresso, vanilla, whiskey, oak, and dark fruit. The taste is just as rich and very complex with huge chocolate fudge and whiskey notes along with hints of vanilla, oak, cocoa, dark fruits, espresso, subtle coconut, molasses, tobacco, and leather. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy and beautifully balanced with a velvety smooth finish. There is a dessert-like sweetness, but it isn't overpowering and doesn't hurt the drinkability at all. Same with the alcohol. It's there throughout, but it's never boozey. Overall, this was well worth what I gave up in trade. Definitely top 3 for BA stouts! Highly recommended!!!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.84/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of Ri0
4.94/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured about 6oz into a chalice.

A - Very thick dark brown almost black in color. Thin dark brown head, no retention or lacing.

S - Aromas of rich caramel, mellow bourbon, milk chocolate, marshmallow, and dark fruits. It smells perfect and I can't wait to take a sip.

T - So much sweet rich caramel, molasses, chocolate, mellow bourbon, marshmallow and dark fruit notes. It is so good and as good, if not better compared to BCBS. I am blown away.

M - The mouthfeel is rich, thick, and silky smooth. Just enough carbonation for the style.

O - I loved this beer and feel very grateful to try it. This is one to seek out!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.06/5  rDev -32.5%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.62/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

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Assassin Imperial Stout from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.