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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

180 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 180
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 9.51%

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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Side project #9

(Beer added by: BeerSox on 12-14-2009)
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Ratings: 180 | Reviews: 139 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of marvin213

North Carolina

2.83/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 21:29:34 | More by marvin213
Photo of maximum12


3.13/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the finest trader in the Sunshine State, Mr. Moose3285, for sending a bottle of this north in a recent trade.

Pours a routine, dark-cape black, no light even leaking around the edges. Smells nice, Belgian, coffee, sweets.

Well, my wife is gushing about her half of the bomber & frankly, this may be one of those rare instances where we disagree. Slice of coffee, rallies of sweetness, dollops of sugar, touch of lactose. A little thin for either a big stout of a strong dark ale, whichever way you slice the language of beer.

Decent enough beer, certainly a brew I can sit & mindlessly sip as my Twins get pounded by the Sox. But I think I'll wander upstairs & see if my wife wants the rest of it...better to put these things where they are truly appreciated.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2010 02:11:43 | More by maximum12
Photo of kels


3.13/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours darkest chocolate brown, almost black, with a nice ruby highlight throughout. The initial 1/2 finger of cocoa-brown head fades quickly to a swirly skim with some lace swathing the walls of the glass.

Smell is a little metallic, almost bloody, with roasted malts and a little wood, even though I'm pretty sure it's not barrel aged.

Interesting flavors happen. There's a chocolate malt roasty creaminess meets a yeasty, chewy prune stickiness. That metallic iron presence still comes through from the nose to the taste, and the alcohol doesn't even try to hide itself. Feel is moderate to thin, and the beer leaves an overall film across the palate.

Drinkability could be higher if the flavors would play more nicely together. Maybe that bloody iron could sit one out and the alcohol could cool down a bit.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 03:10:29 | More by kels
Photo of bigfnjoe


3.16/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber into a Victory tulip

A- pours black with a one finger brown head that quickly fades away to nothingness. Well, that was underwhelming.

S- lights hints of cocoa and soy sauce in the aroma. Not a huge fan

T- very light cocoa, slight Belgian sweetness as well. Meh

M- medium bodied on the thicker side of the spectrum

O- not...great, and I can't imagine that drinking it fresh would have made much of a difference

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2013 23:33:07 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of emmasdad


3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black, with a cappuccino head which disappears rather quickly, leaving some lingering foam. Smells like smoke, dark fruit (figs, plums) and maybe chocolate. Lightly carbonated, with the alcohol well hidden. Tastes like smoke, with a bit of cocoa. Not a bad effort, but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2010 05:35:35 | More by emmasdad
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into Darkness snifter

pours 1/2 finger of tan brown head. Color is near black. Decent retention with some splattered lace.

Aroma: Roasted sharp malts. Chocolate. Very bitter. Maybe a hint of coffee. Nothing crazy.

Taste: Sharp roasted malts. Coffee and chocolate with some vanilla flavors. Earthy grassy hops. A bit better than the nose.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and bitter. Medium to full bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry and sweet.

Overall, nothing impressive. I was looking forward to this, but it was pretty bland. Some okay flavors but nothing to grab my attention.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2010 04:51:55 | More by mothman
Photo of DrinkinBoy


3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Terrapin Dark Side pour an opaque extremely dark brown. Head appears a latte color. The head only remained around the rim, a minute after pouring.

Smell is faint, I could pick up on lingering notes of roasted coffee and cocoa.

Its taste is much more forward than the smell. Begins with a chocolately sweetness. On the mid palate it goes into the roasted taste of coffee. It finishes similar to a carbonated yoohoo in flavor. The aftertaste leaves bitter roasted notes.

The mouthfeel is thick and the carbonation is balanced.

Overall, I enjoyed the complexity of this beer. As far as I can remember its my first in the style. The name on the label is different from what it is categorized on this site. This makes a huge difference, because I would give it as a dark ale an overall higher rating than as a stout. But as with all of Terrapin's Side Projects it is definitely worth trying while it last.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2010 22:07:58 | More by DrinkinBoy
Photo of alpinebryant


3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I really enjoy Belgian Strong Dark Ales, I really enjoy Imperial Stouts. Cannot go wrong with the combo here however I say take more black malt out and just make it a Belgian strong ale, why confuse the two in the name. Different? yes - great? No. I was glad at least it shows up on the site as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Due to it not actually being in the category of Imperial Stout on this site, I have to rate it a little differently.

Poured a dark black with a nice camouflage tan head. Smell of Belgian yeast strain, dough, dark roasted malts, dark fruit, sweetness.

Taste was very similar to flavor. Play between the belgian yeast and the dark roasted malts create a dark fruity cherry flavor which is definitely pleasant, mixed with caramelized sugars and some ash. There is a slightly ashy taste attributable to the black patent malt in here. As this beer warmed up, the chocolate flavors became much more prominent. I would recommend serving around 50 degrees plus.

A relatively drinkable Imperial Stout, but since this actually falls into the category of Belgian Strong Dark Ale, I pulled it down a little on the drink-ability scale as I believe Belgian Strong Dark Ales to be one of my more favored styles and more drinkable than this particular beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2010 00:35:02 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of alcstradamus


3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to craytonic for this one

Pours black in color with a nice finger of head that dies down to some thin bubbles.

The flavor starts with a burst of fingernail polish and pine hops. A sweet and messy mix of random stout aromas underneath. Blah.

The flavor is milk chocolate and floral hoppiness. Raisin sweetness. Not much booze compared to the nose. Some quad-like characteristics on top of the base stout flavor. An improvement on the nose, but not really noteworthy.

The body is medium to full and carbonation is high but soft. Nice.

Overall, this beer turned me off at first but became much more tolerable after a few ounces. I probably wouldn't want it again, but I did enjoy this bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2010 03:35:55 | More by alcstradamus
Photo of jzeilinger


3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Typical stout appearance, pitch black with a mild caramel colored head. Has anyone really had a stout that looks any different?

Smell is coffee, caramel, dark fruit, and chocolate. For a stout, there's more going on in the nose than dominant roasted malt, I like that.

Taste is Dark chocolate, roasted malt, mild amount of molasses, dark fruits, toasted caramel, a little nutty, and mildly bready. The bitter chocolate is up front with a nice hop base, and very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is very smooth with a dry finish, but I'm not digging the thin body, I like heavier Imperial Stouts and this one needs to grow some testicles.

Drinkability is decent, if the body weren't so thin, I'd score it higher. What a downer.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2010 21:18:03 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of backfat


3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks to my buddy Seth for bringing this one back from Georgia!
pours a murky black with a one finger light cinnamon head that dissipates quickly. impenetrable. way too cold to start even think about drinking. his fridge was apparently set to 4 degrees. i get bitter chocolate on the nose and subtle dark fruits. the tart Belgium yeast comes out as it warms. thick but a tad watery with an odd creaminess like ice cream. i guess i would describe it as viscously slick? i like it. slightly smokey with raisins and mostly coffee. roasted malt faintly on the tongue with a short, light bitter pinch as it ends.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2010 18:07:08 | More by backfat
Photo of pitasoup


3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: pours jet black with thin white head.

S: Belgian yeasts, slight coffee and spices. Very little hops smells.

T: Bitterness from hops still present. Soysauce like body, not much here - black malts.

M: thick to the taste but finishes clean.

D: It was difficult to finish my 1/3 of the bomber.

Sampled in July '10.

I remember a fresh version of this being much tastier and hoppier. Right now, this is a muddled mess, a token stout, too thick on the mouthfeel, with its only saving grace being the belgian yeast. I suppose it is true to the style and could possibly even out with age, but at the moment, it is not good.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2010 16:03:51 | More by pitasoup
Photo of CurtisLoew


3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown/black color. Decent sized light brown head, quickly fades into a thin film.

Smells just like what it is, kinda like a belgian strong dark and kinda like a stout.

Taste more like a belgian strong dark than a stout. Get some raisins, chocolate, dark fruits.

Mouthfeel is a little too thin for my liking. Starts out sharp but smooths out as it warms.

Overall, good beer. It was definitely interesting, and a good take on the style I thought.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2011 03:33:52 | More by CurtisLoew
Photo of BarrelO


3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a goblet.

A: Black body with a rather un-Belgian anemic head. It does leave some lacing, though.

S: Roasted malts and a bit of smoke.

T: Mostly roastiness with some dark fruits mixed in. Straddles the line between subtle and bland.

M: Creamy, but also bubbly.

D: I'll admit it. I was predisposed to dislike this beer because it reminded me of that shitty song by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. And initially, it disappointed me to the point that it was almost a drain pour. But I soldiered on, and it kind of won me over. It's nothing I'd go out of my way for, but it's a solid middle-of-the-road RIS with a dash of Belgianness.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2009 00:35:46 | More by BarrelO
Photo of elgiacomo


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber found at Beverage World in Ft. O/Chattanooga. Pours dark brown/black in the glass with a small tan head. No lacing.

Aroma is some coffee, light chocolate and roasted malts. Pretty subdued, not terribly impressive.

Flavor is chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts, nice but still not very big.

Mouthfeel is on the light side, quite carbonated, almost refreshing which is different for an imperial stout. This factor makes the beer most interesting to me. Pretty nice. Will buy another.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 05:34:20 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of RustyDiamond


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Surly pint glass, around 11pm with moony skies. Jet black pour, real dirty with a quarter inch light brown head. This one is a little darker than tan but not by much. Head quickly dissipates without even a sniff of the glass. Aroma of nestle quik

Big chocolate flavor up front, sweet and dry. Good roasty body, but still pretty sweet, Milk chocolate, hot fudge, nestle quik. Nice and roasty, with a dash of dried fruit.

Dry mouthfeel...sweet and dry. Easy drinking

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2010 05:50:35 | More by RustyDiamond
Photo of jrallen34


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

bottle into my Narke tulip...Pours a light black, the head is light tan as well, light carbonation, a head of about half a finger that is gone right away, no lacing...The aroma and taste are both very light and almost boring. Light coffee, a little sweet, just blah. Light feel on the mouth, but this is decently drinkable. I crushed a bottle my self pretty quickly.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2010 14:48:47 | More by jrallen34
Photo of babaracas


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nearly opaque very dark brown with bubbly insta-fade dark brown head, couple dots of lace. Smell: chocolate, roasted grain, dark fruits, and a lot of diacetyl which covers up some faint pear and apple. Taste: unfiltered apple juice, mild roast, dark chocolate, earthy hopping, a little anise, mild booze. It's decent but I wouldn't say it's great as either a BSDA or an IS.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 06:14:27 | More by babaracas
Photo of Knapp85


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours out nice and thick black looking. The head was pretty lively. The lacing was pretty good along the glass too. The smell of the beer has a nice aroma to it, it's a good mix of yeast and roasted malts. The taste of the beer has a pretty good chocolatey taste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite good. Overall it's was a nice stout. Probably wouldn't need to have it again but glad I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2011 00:16:30 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Neffbeer


3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2010 17:33:59 | More by Neffbeer
Photo of JayQue


3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is more of a stout than a BSDA. Roasted malts, hints of coffee and chocolate, fairly rich.

Poured into a plastic Tastes Unlimited pint glass. Really dense, dark color with a medium size light brown head. Some lacing on the glass (would have been more with a real glass).

Aroma is stout....roasted malts, chocolate and coffee...with the malts most dominant.

Taste included a little Belgian yeasts but still primarily a stout.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy...Smooth, no hint of the 8.50 abv.

Drinkability is pretty good, a smooth, rich stout with some Belgian overtones. Not great, but pretty enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2011 01:56:42 | More by JayQue
Photo of shivtim


3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another good, but not fantastic, entry in the Terrapin Side Project series.

Shared a bomber of this with two friends at New Years. Portioned out into pint glasses.
Looks really good. Deep black; basically opaque. Thick. Nice small but recalcitrant brown head.
Nose is Belgian sugars, roasty malts, slightly wild.
Taste is heavy malts, slight Belgian qualities, a bit of sweet sugary laced with smoky hints. Some gentle ethanol.
Pretty good mouthfeel and drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 02:34:08 | More by shivtim
Photo of drabmuh


3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is black with a thin brown head that leaves a little lacing on the glass.

Aroma is weak but kind of smells like coffee and sugar.

Beer is medium body, not a lot of Belgian yeast character in here and there is a strong bitterness at the back from the yeast character, I assume. Its a little sweet up front but overall its just OK.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 23:20:28 | More by drabmuh
Photo of stakem


3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 2/15/10.

Pours a dark brown nearly black in color with two fingers of darkly tanned head. Nice amount of lace along the glass. Aroma of dark kilned grains and a bit of citrus. Minor amount of Belgian yeast characteristic. Taste is a nice contrast of bitter burnt grain to malty sweetness. Little bit of coffee character an warming alcohol presence. Medium feel and a moderate to low amount of carbonation. Very drinkable. As it warms a little bit of the citrus hops is made known in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2010 19:18:17 | More by stakem
Photo of homebrew311


3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra from Sebletitje. Thanks a bunch! I've never tried a Belgian Imperial Stout, so I am quite interested in what I am about to taste.

A: pours like a typical imperial stout... black, opaque, some white head, no retention.

S: the nose is interesting, an intense roasted malt profile has a dominant presence on the front, lots of chocolate and coffee, then I pick up some of the fruity notes that I am familiar with from Belgian style beers. I'm not entirely sure of what I think about these two opposing profiles together, but it is quite intriguing.

T: Whoa... the palate throws me for a loop. It drinks more like a Belgian Dark ale with lots of grapes, candied sugar etc... but is then followed by the roasty profile that dominated the nose. This beer has two distinct and separate flavors and the finish is all imperial stout. The flavors seem to combat each other a little bit.. I like all the flavors but they fail to meld. In other words, there is no balance.

MF: thick and creamy, nice imperial stout body, chewy mouthfeel

D: I'm torn about this beer. Like I said, all the flavors are nice, but it seems to be two flavors that contradict each other. The end result is confusing to the palate. I would drink it again but I wouldn't seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2010 03:41:19 | More by homebrew311
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Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout from Terrapin Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 180 ratings.