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

Not Rated.
Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial StoutTerrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

139 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 139
Hads: 182
Avg: 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 139 | Hads: 182
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.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head and creamy dark froth.

smell: definitly smell the chocolate. some coffee.

taste: solid belgian yeat and chocolate flavor. perfect not overpwering. rich and slight chocolate roasted flavors but had a smooth rich taste

mouthfeel: thick, creamy, good carbonation and very tasty

drinkability: very solod of course from the terrapin side projects

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two finger dark tan head with good retention and nice lacing on a near jet black body. Very nice dark fruit and molasses aroma with a burnt toast. Very flavorful with about as strong of a fig and apricot flavor as I have had with an additional mild chocolate and coffee note in tr middle. Otherwise it is dark fruit from start to finish. Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Overall very flavorful and more drinkable than I thought.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into DFH snifter.

A- Pours a nice heavy black that frays into a rich mahogany on the edges. Mostly opaque, but a glimmer of light manages to shine through.

S- Heavy percentage of roasted malt, with a fairly strong hint of coffee pushing its way forward.

T- Similar to the smell, with the coffee imposing more of its will than before. Hints of sarker fruits, primarily plum and fig. Not as complex as other imperial stouts, but its simplicity is handled well, leaving an overall positive taste experience.

M- Body is not too heavy, not too light; works well with its relative lack of complexity. Very smooth, with just the right amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, the simplistic taste, smoothness, and nice body make for a rather drinkable and enjoyable stout.

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Photo of deereless
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Medium ring of espresso like foam, dark brown to black in color, visible viscosity, what little head there is has some serious staying power, no significant lacing - 4.25, S: Some spicy zest to the nose, noticeable alcohol but not overpowering, slight burnt molasses and ash, some dried cherries - 4.50, D: Sturdy sweetness and dark molasses, dates and figs, alcohol, medium hop bite with a fair share of earthiness and citrus, also a touch fruity, quite a bit of roasted grains and some chocolate - 4.50, M: Nice and creamy - 4.50, D: A nice combination using a Belgian yeast in a Russian Imperial Stout - it works well, very drinkable and one I'd gladly drink again - 4.25

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out an oily dark brown, nearly black, with a thick and fairy persistent beige head. Aroma is strong and smoky with definite tones of roast coffee, unsweetened chocolate and molasses. Lip-smacking, mouth-filling flavor has the typical coffee and unsweet chocolate tones of a good Imperial Stout plus hints of molasses and caramel and even just a shade of hops and a touch of sweetness. Texture is silky smooth and just a little tingly, not quite as thick as most stouts.

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Photo of ugaterrapin
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured almost a completely solid black with very low carbonation. There was maybe a half finger of tan head. Has a strong coffee ground smell with hints of chocolate. The taste grows as the sip progresses. Toward the end the coffee notes are very apparent. Not much of a chocolate flavor as I was expected. Definitely the roasted malt character that accompany the coffee flavor. I was expecting a more intense flavor profile because of the smell but it is surprisingly more drinkable than I expected. I am not saying that in a bad way. It is nice to have a very drinkable imperial stout. Overall a great offering from the Terrapin Side Project line up.

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Photo of chefmikeanderson
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Color is nice and dark like expected and pours with a small caramely head that dissipates quickly leaving no lacing.

S: lovely roastiness with a little bit of chocolate and coffee. Nothing to unexpected

T: I love the roasted taste with this. Just like the smell I get the hints of chocolate and coffee taste and has a very slight background of some sort of fruit sweetness. After every sip i breathe through my nose and get tones of the roasted flavors. lovely

M: At first sip my mouth dries out and I can taste every level of the beer then halfway through the sweetness shows itself and gives it a real nice balance. Its not a syrupy stout like an imperial but has the big flavors.

D: This is one of my favorite side projects. Every time I take a sip i want another and another. Really well made in my eyes. Seems like its the way a belgium stout should be like. Lovely balance good flavor and not to powerful. way to go Terrapin

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Photo of beer2day
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with 1-finger dark cream head. Some retention and laces well enough. Very nice coloration.

Nose is all about dark, dark chocolate. The 85% kind. Deep roast coffee with cream and a tiny bit of anise round things out.

Bitter right from the get-go. Lots of strong, bitter chocolate malt. Expresso rich with a nice sharp bite in the finish. Very, very nice for the dark beer lover.

Body is the only downgrade here. Wish there was a little more, but is probably right for the style.

Surprisingly easy to drink, though one 22oz bottle is plenty. And I'm not sharing.

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Photo of Buebie
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of gford217.

Poured from a gold tin wrapped brown bomber into a pub glass. A building 2 inch head forms up, starting slowly and growing like an add water sponge toy to the full 2 inches. Dark brown head, like Dark Lord dark brown. As it poured it seemed consistent of an inky thick syrup like brew. Almost 10 minutes have passed now and retention is great. A thick collar with a frothy cap.
Black as a moonless night with no light penetration.

Aroma of toasted oak and charred grain mostly, as well as semi sweet malt, molasses, bakers chocolate, mild alcohol and also mild grains. But mostly thick chocolate and molasses with an almost barrel aged like boozy toasted wood smell. This thing smells great, really a treat to continuously pull air from through the nostrils. I haven't had a sip yet I'm enjoying the aroma so much.

Mouthfeel is badass! Thick and creamy, a slick feel across the pallet. This thing screams RIS, but its not an ale, REmarkable!

Taste starts out fairly sweet, with a mild malted milk ball/ chocolate nugent flavor. A bit of dark fruit and a touch of cane sugar flavor present. Mild molasses, as well as a spicy flavor. A faint touch of alcohol. At the swallow a toasty oak flavor detected in aroma becomes present in taste as well as bittering chocolate grains. Now Belgian yeast flavors are a little more noticeable providing me with the relief in knowing this is not an ris, but follows some Belgian style characteristics. The snap crackle pop crispness is now present. Along with a a faint cry of something I cant quite lay my finger on, but I know I've tasted before in other Belgian beers.
This finishes with a roasty bittering dark chocolate flavor, mild candy sweetness and a touch of hop bitters. More earthy and spicy then pungent floral citrussy flavors.

A terrific beer that I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you so much Grant for this awesome beer!

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Photo of firkinhophead
4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am nursing a head cold and probably shouldn't be reviewing this, but even through the phlegm and sudafed drymouth I can perceive that this is a whopper of a beer.

Completely black with some caramel brown around the very edges of my tulip glass. Nose is full of fresh roasted coffee, malts, and sugar (molasses). Head is a bit anemic and not much lace to speak of. This seems to be a problem with a number of Side Projects.

Rich, full mouthfeel is evident right off the bat, but not overly sweet. Deep malt flavors, dark chocolate, coffee. Some tangy dark fruit (prunes, raisin) from the yeast. Solid, bracing bitterness, but not astringent. A bit of herbal hops. Very little alcohol in the nose, but a bit evident on the tongue. Beautifully balanced, excellent body. Lacking only a bit more of the luxurious carbonation of the best Belgians.

Probably the best Side Project yet. Right up there with Monk's Revenge. Look for an edit when my head clears.

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Photo of raverjames
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black and thick. Nice white head with great retention.
S: Roasted malts and caramel. There is a bit of fig smell that comes from the Belgian yeast. There is also some clove that comes out as the beer warms up.
T: Roasty and chocolaty. It is like a tasty version of chocolate covered raisins. Very nice and smooth.
M: Not too thick, but still a bit sweet. Quite smooth as it warms up.
D: As easy as it is to drink this brew, it is still a strong imperial stout. The Belgian yeast gives some refreshing fruity qualities which help the drinkability.
This was an excellent Belgian Imperial Stout and one of my favorite Terrapin side projects.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Terrapin The Dark Side is sweet, smooth, and remarkably drinkable.

It poured black with a massive creamy dark-tan head. It left a wall of thin lace on the glass. The smell and flavor were sweet and tart with hints of dried dark fruit. The flavor had a very nice tang. The feel was smooth and clean. It was extremely easy to drink and could be as easily enjoyed while chugged on a hot day as it was sipped on a winter day.

As much as I enjoyed The Dark Side, I wasn't sure how to review it because it's labeled as a stout and it lacks the thickness a stout should have. Here, it's listed as a Strong Dark Ale and when judged as that style, it's near-dead on. I loved it.

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Photo of dtivp
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown with a slight tan head ans some lacing.

Aroma of burnt grain, oak and strong coffee.

Taste starts sweet dark fruits then the dark chocolate,coffee and the burnt malt kicks in.

Smooth medium body with light carbonation.

This is a very nice beer, that is as close to a stout as you can get and still be classified a dark ale. This was very enjoyable and I hope Terrapin would consider brewing again.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. I think Chris brought this for me. Its 2 or so years old I think.

Appearance: Black, but not thick and dark. Slightly red around the edges. Light brown head with poor retention. Spotty lacing.

Smell: This beer has a great combination of chocolatey malt and dark fruit. Belgian yeast notes are very understated. If I didn't know it was a Belgian stout, I'd probably just think it was a nicely dark fruity stout. Anyway, more stout than BSDA, but good.

Taste: I really like this. The two styles combine so well that its hard to separate the parts. Again, like a rich, malty, chocolatey, and slightly roasty stout with underlying dark fruit. The finish does have some spicy and yeasty flavors that clearly make this "Belgian" tasting. Just really, really delicious.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation for a BSDA, but very well done for a Belgian style stout-- soft and creamy. Feels pretty big for 8.5%.

Overall: An excellent Belgian stout. It avoids the "too roasty" problem these beers often have. A hybrid that quietly combines two styles without being too obvious about it. Well done.

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Photo of sholland119
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours an opaque dark brown with a black cherry mocha head. A bit of lacing sticks to the glass.

S-Belgian yeast, black cherry, dark chocolate, very nice.

T-Sweet chocolate and cherries in the front, some nice yeasty notes in the middle, returning to the sweet Belgian finish of a fine Belgian Strong Dark. Delicious.

M-Medium to heavy bodied and a bit rich.

D-Very drinkable, a great example of the style. Another great Terrapin beer. This brewery is among the best in the country at brewing Belgian styles, second only perhaps to Stone.


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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.

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

Terrapin's The Dark Side is exactly that in the glass, a deep dark opaque brownish black with the barest hint of ruby highlights around the edge. A a creamy head of chocolate brown foam falls within a few moments leaving nice sheets of slippery lacing which slides back down the glass.

The aroma has a strong scent of somewhat spicy darkly roasted grains, dark chocolate and coffee.

The flavor follows the nose closely with a mouth watering blend of the dark roasted chocolatey malt and slightly bitter dark roasted grains, coffee, caramel and a background spiciness from the Belgian yeast strain. Bitterness is low but the finish is nicely dry after an initial chocolate malt sweetness. Alcohol is invisible as a flavor but is felt as a mild warmth/burn on the tongue and back of the mouth.

I'm liking the mouthfeel, it seems nicely centered between medium and heavy, nicely creamy and smooth as buttered silk.

I find most big dark roasted ales very drinkable, I tend to drink them like smaller beers rather than sipping them and The Dark Side is no exception. If I hadn't split this bomber with my wife I could easily drink the whole bottle myself!

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Photo of cavedave
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another absolute stunner from mrandypandy, thanks!

Pours black as satan's heart, opaque, with a thin foam of brown that rests to a bubbly skim, finally to almost nothing. Nice.

Real nice coffee and chocolate in the nose here, surrounded by some roasty malt, dark caramel, hints of very mildly tart yeast, a bit of neutral sweet. Not a lot going on, light/medium strength, but sweet aroma.

Luckily, lots going on in the taste. It has a very lively flavor for a big stout, the yeasty notes give it a slight fruitiness that really perks up the flavors around it. Coffee is first in the sip, some really tasty roast malt, lighter neutral grain sweet, cocoa, and a deeper caramel sweet and that light fruit. The glide on the palate welcomes some citrus, and floral, hard to tell if its hop or malt or yeast flavors, but it ends with a gentle earthy bitter that cradles a beautiful finish upon the mouth. The taste of this is clean, bright, delicious, the yeast gives it a nice complexity.

Mouthfeel is medium/full body, very low carb., not as viscous as optimal, drinks so smooth it is hard to believe, with a juicy finish that could benefit from just a tad more earthy bitter, or darker roast coffee notes.

Drinkability is off the charts. Were I to have access to unlimited bottles it continually would be detrimental to sobriety.

Impression: Terrapin needs to start sending beer to NY immediately!

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Bhalter8 for providing this beer. Great trading partner, great guy.

One finger of tan foamy head. No light gets through this dark beer. Deep brown and almost black.
No lacing to speak of.

Aroma is of licorice, dark roast malt.

Flavor certainly has the licorice flavor, light smoke and plenty of dark roast malt. Behind this is plenty of light fruit. Interesting getting some peach. There is also a Swiss milk chocolate flavor that is very smooth. I really enjoy this.

Smooth mouth feel, slight carbonation. Really nice.

I really enjoyed this more than I thought. Not as much Belgian influence as I suspected. I assume the licorice is part of this.

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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.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a light brown head. In the aroma, sweet coffee and a Belgian like yeast. In the taste, dry coffee, sweet Belgian sugar and yeast, and almost licorice like. A smooth and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a dry licorice and alcohol aftertaste. Nice flavor and smooth, however a bit boozy in the aftertaste.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this from my buddy JohnQVegas-- but that one will be saved for another day... EMott09 brought this one over to share...
Reviewed from dictated notes during my "Clean out my cellar weekend."

Looks great. Deep dark brown, nice rocky tan/beige head with good retention and sticky lacing. There are reddish hints to this beer.

Putting my nose deep in the glass I pick up peaches? apricots? some light fruit that seems wildly out-of-place, yet it fits right in! There are some dark fruits notes hiding behind the roasty chocolatey malts... like chocolate covered fruits. It isn't deep dark cocoa, but a cocoa mixed with fruit. The slightest hint of coffee seems to be a part of the bitterness.

The body is nice and thick. Excellent carbonation. Just a slight hint of alcohol warmth on the finish is amazing. Taste would get a 4.25 if possible-- but I'll round up here.

I'm glad I have a bomber of this for myself. I can easily drink the entire thing on my own!

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from brentk56, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid black with a huge tan head that Slowly subsides and leaves lots of stickies. The aroma is not what I expected, lots of caramel, chocolate, earth, and dark fruits, not much roast or Belgian yeast inspired esters. The flavor compensates with a bit of roast coffee and chocolate up front. Some caramel and dark cherries and raisins round out the flavor nicely but still not much in the way of Belgian inspiration. Medium to thick body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet creamy tart fruity type mouthfeel. This is a nice stout, it has a foreign extra meets quad kind of feel to it. The Belgian influence is subtle, but it works. This was probably a little better when fresh, I wish I hadn't lost this one in the back of the stack.

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Photo of atsprings
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Raleigh Times and reviewed from notes. Served in a gold brimmed tulip a nice opaque black with a decent light tan head. Aroma is roasted malts and just a hint of spice. The taste is a very intriguing blend of roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate and dried fruits with a decent touch of spice. The beer is slightly heavy, but a very smooth sipper. This is a very enjoyable beer, one I would love to have more of.

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Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout from Terrapin Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.