Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Assassin Imperial Stout - Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Assassin Imperial StoutAssassin Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

75 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 75
Hads: 927
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 9.67%
Wants: 1,721
Gots: 153 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next → last
Reviews: 75 | Hads: 927
Photo of gueuzedreg
4.44/5  rDev -2.4%
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 mjpolzin
4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
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)

Photo of Rutager
4.23/5  rDev -7%
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 Scotchboy
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Yellow-waxed 2013 version, sent to me from laymansbeerfan (mucho thanks buddy!). Poured into my New Belgium Globe.

A: Pours like thick brownie batter/used motor oil/insert imperial stout appearance cliche here. Thick dark head cascades up with carbonation and then recedes to a thin ring, coating the whole glass with a solid brown film. Pretty awesome.

S: Epic nose, full of plenty of whiskey barrel notes and some alcohol fumes; big-time brown sugar and bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate brownie, some molasses and marshmallow. Bourbon and burnt sugars really dominate.

T: Really similar to the aroma, thick brownie batter with dark chocolate, burnt caramel, vanilla extract and oak whiskey barrel. The burn is still moderate after several months in the bottle, but it adds a lot to the palate of this one and cuts the dark sweetness a bit. Brown sugar and molasses really dominate.

MF: Viscous and sticky and THICK; well done. Feels semi-sugary, with lower carbonation. Alcohol cuts the body just a touch.

O: I'm only knocking a few points off because it was still a touch hot to my liking, which I know is normal for a big stout like this - I just think it could have been a touch better with a bit more age. It seemed to me like this brew has a ton in common with BCBS; thick and viscous, dominant bourbon barrel character, burnt caramel and brown sugar. Pretty awesome stuff, and understandably sought-after; I am officially ISO EVERYTHING from Toppling Goliath!

Thanks again! (1,487 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
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 HuskyinPDX
4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
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 Treebs
4.26/5  rDev -6.4%
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 thebigredone
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

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 kevanb
4.02/5  rDev -11.6%
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 Alieniloquium
4.39/5  rDev -3.5%
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 zeledonia
4.64/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage, yellow wax. Thanks to Cyclone8 for the bottle. Tasted 24 April 2013, reviewed from notes.

Pours deep deep brown, almost black, but clearly brown at the edges. One finger of dark-tan to medium-brown head, cocoa-colored. Good retention, decent lacing.

Smell is really well integrated, with relatively sweet chocolate-heavy malts overlain by a smooth, rich, dark fruit whiskey-barrel pop. Some roasty notes to the malts, but mostly they're molasses-sweet. The barrel-aging on top makes it bright and full.

Taste is fantastic. Heavy on the chocolate, quite rich, and fairly sweet. The barrel is a bit in the background, but present enough and smooth enough that I just want to keep drinking it. Reminds me of Bell's Black Note in how well the base beer and the whiskey characteristics harmonize.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, and heavy, but with a little bit of marshmallowy carbonation. Even with the carb, it's still thick, but the bubbles add needed texture and volume to it.

A really top-notch barrel-aged imperial stout. There's a certain character, a grainy sweet pop, that some bourbon-barrel-aged beers have, that I've mostly encountered in -bal barleywines like Arctic Devil and MoAS. This beer has that like no other stout I've encountered. I put it in the top tier of barrel-aged stouts I've had, just a tiny step below the very best. (1,357 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.26/5  rDev -6.4%
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 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
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 JoEBoBpr
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Toppling Goliath Assassin Imperial Stout

Vintage 2013 (Yellow Wax)

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22 oz bottle.

Pours a thick and oily dark liquid. There is a nice 1 inch tan head that forms with a vigorous pour. The retention is amazing. The head sticks around for a while and is quite dense and frothy like some nice espresso foam. (4.75)

Aroma starts off with some amazing chocolaty fudge notes drizzled with some bourbon caramel notes. Amazing brew. There is some nice molasses and some slight vanilla notes in there as well. There are some slight dark fruit notes of raisin and prunes mixed in with the coca fudge. Definitely some nice Bourbon notes in there with sweetness but no heat. Very very fudgy. Yum. (4.5)

Wow!! Sooo intense. It is a bit overwhelming of the bat but in a good way. Strong and rich, sweet chocolate notes start things off mixed in with some molasses and whiskey. The middle is also ripe with nice dark ripened fruit. There are some slight raisins and prunes present. There is some mild heat but not really intense or detracting. There is some roast in the middle of the brew past the sweetness that really adds a nice dimension to a brew that is pretty intense. After some warming the slight roast malt notes can be perceived a bit sooner in the palette as well as some nice grainy oat-type notes but it’s very much dominated by the sweet aspects of the brew. The mouthfeel is great, very nice, rich and oily. (4.5)(5.0)

Overall TG is getting some nice props. Well deserved I will say. This brew is sweet and chocolaty with nice whiskey notes but none of the heat. There is a nice underlain roast but it only serves to frame the in-your-face molasses and chocolate fudge notes. (4.75) (1,723 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
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 striker2160
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 Yellow wax

This beer pours as thick as motor oil and is as black as midnight. Aromas of bourbon and chocolate dominate and this beer has a nice thick mouthfeel. A wonderful bourbon flavor and a nice alcohol burn finish. I must say that this beer is one of the best I have ever had. (288 characters)

Photo of jegross2
3.93/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Score: 88

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cost: $20 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle. (1,424 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
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 tvv375ia
4.67/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I saved this one for review #200, I even slowed down one some reviews so I could do the review fo rmy birthday, but I missed ou because I had to work and didnt get the time to review. So here it goes, this is for the gold dipped bottle

Poured from 22oz botlle bottled in Feb 2012 into imperial pint glass.

A-very dark brown with no light getting through and less than a finger of coffee colored head that fades rather quickly to a small ring.

S-sweet molasses type smell with some dark fruit and a little carmel vanilla with a bit of the rye whiskey that seems to have mellowed nicely after almost a year in the bottle

T-molasses and dark fruit come through again, and what seemed a little hot the first time I tried it no has a nice mellow rye on the finish and no hint of the almost 13% alcohol

M-an almost thick and chewy feel to it just like an imperial should be

O-excellent beer that seems to only get better with a little age on it too bad I didn't get more of this, I hope I can get my hands on more. If this was brewed anywhere other than Decorah Iowa there would be a lot of hype for this one. (1,109 characters)

Photo of Jrhorner77
4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me begin by saying the review below is for the red dipped bottle. I've had both red and gold and this is for the red, which in my view is an amazing beer.

A. Opaque, Dark, looks like an Imperial Stout should look

S. Smells sweet, alcohol notes, a little chocolate and warms the nostrils.

T. Bourbon definitely come through. It's sweet but alcohol really balances this out. I get chocolate and roasty malt tones. Sipping this slow and taking your time with the beer in your mouth really brings out the complexity of the beer brought on by the templeton rye barrels with a bit of that warm boozy flavor at the end.

M. Medium to heavy mouthfeel, just as I think it should be.

O. I am a fanatic about stouts. I try every stout that I think warrants a tasting and I hold this beer in high regard. It's on par with some of the better stouts I've had out there. I'll look forward to more stout offerings from TG...a great little Iowa brewery. (946 characters)

Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.65/5  rDev -19.8%
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 bashiba
3.65/5  rDev -19.8%
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 beagle75
3.6/5  rDev -20.9%
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 qthompso
3.55/5  rDev -22%
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 Pintofbrown
4.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was put out of my misery while drinking from a tulip glass. This was from the first barrel batch sealed with red wax, bottled January 2012.

Appearance- This imperial stout pours with no sound, so incredibly heavy and sticky. A slight width of dense, brown sugar foam dissipates to a ring and leaves behind no lace. The beer itself is darker than black.

Smell- Sweet and a little punch of heat from the whiskey barrel. I mean, brown sugar, figs, a little chocolate; they make the nose incredibly enticing.

What is great is how the booze envelops all of these qualities to remind you this is still an imperial stout ready to finish you off. It gives the nose a woody and leathery note.

Taste- What a monster of a stout: it begins sweet once again and then takes you on a roasty and boozy ride. Assassin brings on the dates and brown sugar. Right after, there is a bit of roasted coffee and smokey whiskey.

The finish has that distinct leather and smokey booze, with a touch of coffee roast, figs, and dark chocolate. The next sip cannot come fast enough.

Mouth feel- Toppling Goliath knows how to make a big stout punishing to the palate, and the feel is no exception. The thick and chewy feel is outstanding. It is almost a syrup, leaving the lips feeling sticky.

The sticky quality makes the smokey and sweet finish lasts until you take yet another sip of this slightly dry stout.

Overall- I am trying really hard to find much fault with this beer: I suppose the biggest "complaint" you can have is that coffee is almost non-existent, and had it not been mentioned as being brewed with coffee on the bottle I might not have noticed.

Othewise, the whiskey is just big enough to to be noticed, but not so big it the only thing on the palate. The flavors range from sweet, to smokey, to roasty. And the mouth feel is fantastic. I have no problem saying this is one of the best imperial stouts I have had.

Edit: I had the gold wax version in a glass mug. It was bottled in February 2012.

Appearance- Main difference is almost no foam produced, still incredibly black. Same score.

Smell- Not nearly as much heat or woodiness here, still present but very buried under the sweet notes. Same score.

Taste- The whiskey and woodiness is much more pronounced in the finish with some vanilla. The dark fruits are a lot more subdued in this one. Brown sugar is still big and the roast is almost non-existent. 4.5

Mouth feel- I am still super impressed by this feel. No change.

Overall- I would bump the overall score down to a 4.5 for the gold wax just because it tastes a little more boozy and less sweet and complex than in the red wax offering. Still a great imperial stout that I look forward to putting some age on. 4.5 (2,729 characters)

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next → last
Assassin Imperial Stout from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.