Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout - Terrapin Beer Company

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Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial StoutTerrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout

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very good

182 Ratings
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Ratings: 182
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 9.51%
Wants: 17
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company visit their website
Georgia, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerSox on 12-14-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Side project #9
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 182 | Reviews: 139
Reviews by bamadog:
Photo of bamadog
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade some time ago, no idea when as I never kept track of that kind of thing, but I kind of wish I did so I could thank whomever it was. I cracked this bad boy and snuck a whiff from the bottle and was very pleased and impressed. Review is from notes taken on 5/9/2012 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour looks nice and viscous as it hits the glass and the body is deepest, darkest brown like freshly brewed coffee stirred with motor oil; starts with a 1/2 finger dark tan head that fades pretty quickly to nothing but a thin and incomplete skim; body is, of course, entirely opaque; a few random spots and swaths of lacing left behind.

Smell: Tons of chocolate, and it ranges from syrupy sweet to some bittersweet baker's chocolate; lots of roast coffee scents and a strong hint of some dark and very ripe fruits. I can't wait.

Taste: Hmmm... not quite as good as the nose led me to believe, but it's still very good; lots of chocolate as the nose shows, but it's a very creamy, almost milky, chocolate; the earthy and bitter roastiness takes a backseat to the creaminess, but it's present; the fruitiness is also present -- raisin and/or fig-like flavors; touch of alcohol, but to be expected in something that is approaching the 9% mark.

Mouthfeel: About what I expected based upon the pour -- fairly viscous, but as mentioned in the taste, it's a smooth and creamy thick, and reminiscent of a milkshake; grit is left all over the teeth, and there is a thick coating covering the palate; belly is left a little warm.

Overall: A very solid beer, with the smell being the best part about it. Terrapin has never let me down; and I know that Founders won the bracket a couple of years ago, but Terrapin would be in my final four.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is very interesting concept putting a Belgian yeast strain in a imperial stout,it works well.Poured into a goblet black as night,no light showing thru this one,the name fits it well,a thinner mocha colored head atop.Aromas have just a slight yeasty spice to it,mainly dark roast and dark fruit,a hint of vanilla shows thru as well.Smooth and creamy feel just makes this beer go down so easy.Flavors are of dark fruit and dark roast coffee at the onset,there is a light spice imparted from the yeast but it doesnt get in the way.As the beer warms a little bit of a raw earthiness in the finsh.More imy stout than Belgian dark but either way I really liked it.

Photo of marvin213
2.78/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Rarely does a well made beer take a hit for looks, but the thin head on this thin pour actually seems to struggle to form before it quickly vanishes. It's black, but the carbonation seems weird. The bubbling suggests mor Dr. Pepper or A&W Root Beer than Belgian Strong Dark.

I'll admit I grabbed this from the back of the fridge--typically the coldest part--but I smell very little dark fruit. I mean I smell and sniff REALLY hard and I get maybe a LITTLE dark fruit. A fig or a plum. No Belgian yeast.

I'm not so sure about this "Belgian stout" style, but I didn't really expect something so plain with what appears as a one-off "dark sider." It's so plain. In a way, it actually tastes like the root beer it so resembled! Just a bit of alcohol zing and warmth proves otherwise. A bit of raisin and dark fruit travel a fermentation whose sole "Belgian" influence seems nothing more than carbonation--it imparts basically nothing to smell or to taste. Though the beer feels all right, this overriding non-Belgianness is disappointing.

Photo of mondegreen
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz into a Founders Tulip. #9 in the Side Project Series. Aged 14 months in my cellar.

Pours pitch black with a nice tan foam cap. No light comes through this one. Plenty of lacing.

Aromas of belgian yeast live in the background on this one. Sweet roasted malts upfront, with a lovely wood element.

This beer is definitely more on the stout side of things. The Belgian yeast provides a touch of dark fruit, but mostly it's a slightly sweet imperial stout. Wood comes through in the flavor, too - which is odd because this isn't wood aged.

Mouth is medium full. Usually, Belgian style stouts come out way too watery, but not here. Mouthfeel is a stron point of the brew.

Drinks very well. Overall, this beer comes out a nice blend of BSDA and Stout, and is one of the best Belgian Style Stouts I've had. It's also the 2nd best Terrapin side project to this point, IMO - behind #12.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the Mad Mex pours a pitch balck hue with a creamy tan head, thin even speckled layes of lacing. Aroma has a black patent malt dark chocolate mild booziness, even a touch of anise hidden in their with some dark fruits. Flavor more dark fruit hints of cocoa more soothing alcohol burn, defiinitely not overpowering. A molasses and brown sugar collision that remains balanced with some herbal hops and spicy yeast combo. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied efferevescent well choreographed carbonation level, nothing cloying did I mention this was a 12 ounce pour. Drinkability some rough spots but overall an enjoyable experience, will definitely age well if you have any big bottles hanging around.

Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours black with a half-finger tan head. The head slowly recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with hints of unsweetened chocolate. As it warms good amounts of light fruits - dried bananas - waft out but remain second "banana" to the roasted malt and chocolate aromas.

Tastes good. Roasted malt flavors up front are joined shortly by dark chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip mild dark fruit flavors - raisins mostly with hints of prunes - enter into things. As with the smell as it warms very small amounts of banana flavors are present. The ending is mildly bitter and leaves fruit flavors - either dark or light - lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and didn't think it drank like an 8.5% ABV beer.

Overall this was another very good SP however it still hasn't eclipsed my favorite in the series SP5. That being said it's not far behind and is worth a shot.

Photo of rmolledo
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Motor Oil Black with a thin tan head

S: Malty. Dark Chocolate, Prunes, Black Cherries/Dark fruits. slight smoke.

T: Tastes alot like chocolate covered cherries at first but that leads into roasted malt notes. hints of Dark Candy Sugar and Smoke. More on the sweet side of things.

MF: slick and creamy with a slight carbonation tingle followed by a alcohol warmth.

D: Not my favorite Imperial Stout and not my favorite Belgian Ale, But still very enjoyable and pleasant. If you like hard hitting stouts with unique attributes then you will enjoy this beer.

Photo of cjgator3
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

Hard to believe this is already the 9th beer of the side project series. I'm excited to try this one.

A- Pours a dark black with just a hint of brown when held up to the light with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is very nice. The nose consists of a nice mixture of dark roasted malts and mocha. Not as roasty and hopppy as in the aroma as your typical Imperial Stout with maybe a little more cocoa notes. I'm liking it so far.

T- The taste like the aroma starts off with a sweet and slightly roasted malt backbone with some bittersweet chocolate and a hint of coffee. It is very sweet throughout the taste, almost to the point where you say enough with the sweetness. Then a good amount of roastiness in the finish to balance the sweetness. I like it, not overly complex but it is a very well crafted beer. Good stuff!

M- The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I really enjoyed the Dark Side. It's another solid beer in the Side Project Series. I can't wait for number 10!

Photo of ImusBeer
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really liked this one, only problem is I've been drinking a lot of stouts lately.

Came a very dark sharp black with a substancial tan head that was sticking to sides.

Smelled of coffee and dark chocolate, tasted the same mostly heavy on the coffee.

The mouth was light at the begining then more silky at finish with some bitter chocolate at the end. A very nice sipping beer, not something I'd like to have more that one of at a sitting.

Photo of Mavajo
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewer categorizes this as a Belgian Style Imperial Stout.

Pours a dark brown color - near black, but still noticeably brown. Off-white (almost grayish) thin head that fades fairly quickly and leaves minimal lacing. What head you do briefly get has an interesting spotty, frothy, bubbly look - but it's gone before you blink.

Aroma is mostly cocoa with that subtle Belgian yeast undertone and slight coffee notes. Taste brings much of the same. I think another reviewer summed it up very well - this brew straddles the line between subtle and bland. I found the mouthfeel to be a bit too thin, but maybe that's the style? Despite the thin mouthfeel, this brew manages to be pretty heavy in your gut. Drinkability is pretty typical for a stout.

I really wanted to like this brew - I love stouts, I love Belgians and I love Terrapin. Seemed like a match made in heaven. I'm glad I tried it since it is quite unique, but to be honest, I felt like it came up short.

Photo of nickd717
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber from Chip's in Kill Devil Hills.

Nice appearance: black in color with a large tan head.

Aroma is excellent with roast, chocolate, and coffee.

Flavor is very intense and enjoyable. Rich dark and milk chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and slight Belgian yeast.

Palate is slightly above average, smooth and fairly full with a good carbonation level.

This is really an excellent beer. As far as Belgian-style imperial stouts go, I like Midnight Sun Sloth better, but this is a very good one.

Photo of jmhart
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22 oz from Hop City, poured into a 7 oz pilsner glass.

A - Pours thick and black with an insignificant head. Appears nearly flat.

S - Strong coffee, with hints of malt and toasted nuts.

T - Coffee first, followed by dark fruits. If you let it linger on your tongue it leaves a very bitter aftertaste, but this bitterness isn't noticeable if you don't let it linger. .

M - Much lighter than it appears with a medium body and lacks creaminess that would be expected from it's appearance.

D - Appearance, smell, and initial taste were impressive, but personally I'm disappointed by the bitterness in the finish.

Overall: I enjoyed this one time, but will not purchase it again.

Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Very dark brown pour with a small amount of tan bubbles that form the ring.
Aroma has light cocoa and roast with malted milk ball.
Taste has the same with a little more. Pretty sweet like a chocolate malt with raisin, fig and just the faintest hint of the banana from the Belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is smooth with not a lot of carbonation going down. Pretty unique.
The sweetness is the only chink that could hurt the drinkability, otherwise very little alcohol and easy drinking.
I thought this was excellent compared to other Belgian stouts, which means I don't like them or this is not quite to style.
Most of the side projects have been at least descent and this meets the standard if not more.

Photo of Neffbeer
3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle that I picked up at TJ's last fall. Poured into my Portsmouth brewery tulip.

A: Big frothy tan head that hangs around for awhile. Some nice peaks and lacing.

S: Chocolate and coffee, a hint of caramel apple. Surprisingly not much of a belgian yeast presence in the nose.

T: Dark chocolate, coffee, some apple/fruit, and toasted bread. Finishes dry.

M: Medium body with high carbonation.

D: Not a bad brew, but not something I would bother picking up again.

Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to gford217 for this foil-wrapped bomber.

A: The stout (and I'll stick with stout over BSDA) is a dark black color that shows off red highlights at the narrowest part of the base. A finger and a half of head has left a few spare legs of lace.

S: The nose is yeasty sweet. You know how Belgian yeast strains impart a dark fruity zing that doesn't skimp on candi sugars to the point that it crowds out everything else including the stout component? That's what this one does. Oh yeah, and it's a little roasty.

T: I'm sold on stout until the first sip. The yeast has kicked the stout side's ass. In place of roasted flavors, candi sugars and dark figgy/raisiny fruits pop up. Behind the intense sweetness, roasted malts hang around, chocolatey and burnt. More sweetness returns on the backside, a juicy finish.

M: The stout works both angles admirably, showcasing roasted malts and an abundance of yeast. One of the better, more coalesced Belgian-style stouts.

D: The ale doesn't feel like 8.5% until you are half way through the bomber. From that point on, it seems very heavy. One of the first stouts to really nail the Belgo crossover.

Photo of goldbot
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with no head other than a tiny bit of lacing around the sides.

Plenty of roasted malt aromas with notes of chocolate, coffee, and raisin. A hint of spice but not too much in the way of Belgian yeast. A bit of sweetness and some alcohol present towards the end.

Lots of coffee and chocolate malt flavors, again with a bit of raisin. A slight bitterness, but it is fairly sweet as well. Again the Belgian yeast doesn't play a huge role here. The alcohol is just about completely hidden.

A medium, rather delicate body with a very smooth feel.

Overall: fair complexity, but nothing special compared to other imperial stouts of Belgian darks. As noted, the Belgian aspects from the yeast didn't come through for me, other than providing the smooth and delicate body. Still, with the hidden alcohol content and great flavor, this is certainly a drinkable beer.

Photo of BeerSox
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber into 25 oz snifter.

The overall appearance is like any other Imperial Stout, pitch black with a steady brown head. The aroma is very roasty, with hints of molasses, raisin, coffee and chocolate. The flavor is bitter, mostly from the malts, with a little bit of bitter chocolate to compliment. In both the aroma and flavor the Belgian yeast gives off its characteristics, adding dark fruit and some light spiciness. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation, adding some fizz to the tongue.

Terrapin has created another gem with this one. Exactly what a Belgian Stout should be. Highly recommended.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. No date or info.

I got a bottle of this from Rochefort10NH (thanks Keith!) then another from Onenote81 (thanks Jon!) before I removed it from my wants. Glad it's good!

A - Clear on the pour, it's totally black in the glass, worthy of the awesome name. A low tan head has little retention and a little lace.

S - Milk chocolate and oak are present right away. Belgian yeast adds a slight funk to the smooth roasted malts. A very light coffee infusion on the finish.

T - Belgian yeast comes through a lot more full in the flavor and adds slight fruity nuances to the rich milk chocolate and coffee taste. Very nice.

M - Medium-full bodied and smooth with a low carbonation feel and silky swallow. It goes down nicely.

D - A sipping beer with a great flavor and nice feel, it's splendid. A good bottle from one of my favorite southern Breweries! This would be great in the dead of winter.

Photo of abar22
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From short bar notes. I didn't review this as a BSDA considering the obvious RIS influence.

The Dark Side definitely looks like an RIS. Black, opaque with a thin tan head. Little lacing but a solid ring around the glass.
BSDA and RIS are there in the nose. Dark sugary fruits and hint of pepper were followed by deeper roasted coffee malts. Neither overbearing nor complex but definitely present and pleasant. The flavor profile essentially mirrors the smell. Plums, dates, raisins, pepper backed up by a coffee malt backbone. Once again there isn't complex BSDA or RIS flavors here but the mix of the two in the same beer strikes a great chord with me.
A great overall body that accentuates qualities of both styles on display here. High carbonation in the BSDA vein and a thick,creamy mouthfeel to complete the RIS side of the pair.

I have to say the name for this beer is perfect. Belgian style Imperial Stout is exactly what this beer shows at every turn. Belgian qualities lead off each smell/taste/feel leaving the RIS qualities to close each out. Excellent beer and one I would have loved to have more of.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wrapping up some beer... so I figured I better have a beer. Got this in a great trade with GeezLynn... Thanks Geoff!!

3/4" dark brown head dies pretty quickly... no real lacing.

Smells dark with plenty of fruity esters... dark malts with no real char, just some lite coffee and slightly bigger cocoa notes... spicy phenols show on the finish.

A tad phenolic on the palate.. a bit boozy with dark fruits.... some mild clove mixes in with the black malts... the body is about what I expected, like a thicker BSDA or a fairly light bodied RIS.... Carbonation is more like a BSDA.... nice beer... good drinkability...

I would like to try this again, but I don't know that I will go out of my way to too much. Thanks again Geoff for a fantastic trade.


Photo of wedge
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one for xmas '09...

Pitch black with a creamy tan ring on top. Dark, rich aroma - purple fruit, chocolate, caramel, and a touch of licorice. Sweet roasted malt flavors...chocolate, coffee, prune, plum. Less upfront dark fruitiness than the smell. The sweet mocha-like aftertaste pretty much covers up any alcohol. Medium-plus body and creamy. Tasty!

Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had the pleasure of being able to try this one on tap the other day at Barleys. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/27/2010.

The pour was black, dark as night with a two finger head of tan foam that crept up the side of the glass. Great staying power led to a really nice and well shaped rocky crown that itself hung around for several minutes. Rich chocolate laden aroma fills the air. Coffee, some dark fruits, touches of molasses and leather. Very thick and well done. Warming brings out more molasses and rich caramel aromas now. As I reach in and take a sip, warming, soothing cocoa then runs across the palate. Really just wonderfully done I have to admit. Silky smooth with a great elegance to it. Rich chocolate, hints of vanilla and coffee running wild throughout the profile. As it warms it tends to turn sweeter and more chocolaty as the rich, and powerful flavor settles back any abv issues.

Overall this is easily one of my favorite of the side projects to date. Really just a stunning example of the style. I would have no issue at all with trying this one again any day

Photo of generalnotsew
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pretty black. Not as black as say Ten Fidy but getting there. Cocoa colored head with very sticky lacing. Head is gone pretty quick though.

S: Sweet roasted malts with a woody finish. Some coffee notes and hops but not as prominent as the former.

T: Really malty up front with a hint of coffee following up and not overly bitter. Very creamy and the aftertaste finishes quite clean. Especially for the style. Really not picking up the hops here which is actually fine for this brew.

M: This stuff will stick to every crack, crevice and hole in your mouth. Very thick and chewy. Very warming alcohol on the back of the tongue as well.

D: Despite everything I don't see being able to drink a lot of these. Then again I have never been able to drink too many of any Imperial Stout.

This is the first of this style I have had. I am not even sure what the hell it is. Sorry for my ignorance as it is hard to tell with Terrapins side project as they like to blend styles. Very close to it's American RIS brother. Main thing that seems left out is the hop bite. I love hops as much as I can get but I do actually prefer it be left out of my Imperial Stout. Job well done Terrapin!

Photo of CBlack85
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter

Pours nearly jet black, and very heavy looking. A fairly vigorous pour produced a small, dense, creamy, dark tan colored head. Poor head retention, I guess due to the high alcohol; and moderate lacing.

The nose is rich and chocolatey with fair amounts of coffee, roasted malts, raisins, and a slightly yeasty character. For the most part this smells like a very nice big stout with only the slightest hint that belgian yeast was used.

The taste follows closely with the nose. Lots of chocolate and roasty characteristics. Some sweet fruits are present, but not as noticable as in the nose. The alcohol is well masked, but seems to become more noticable, pleasantly so, as the beer warms. There is also a slight bitterness in the finish that is interesting. I can detect only the slightest amount of belgian character in this beer, if I was not aware of its presence before I started drinking, I may have never noticed it at all. Medium bodied with just a little more carbination than I like to see in a stout. Despite the overall "bigness" of the beer, it is quite drinkable.

Overall this seems to be a very well done Imperial Stout with a just a hint of Belgian yeast character. Quite enjoyable

Photo of wescj
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark Side
Super black color, nice chocolate colored head with not so good retention.

Smells of molasses, dark chocolate, and coffee. A bit spicy.

Tastes great, with nice roasted maltiness. A hint of pepper.

Maybe a bit on the lighter side for an imperial stout, but it's good to kill a 22 without the ABV making itself too noticable.

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Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout from Terrapin Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.