Secret Stache Stout - Finch's Beer Co.

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Secret Stache StoutSecret Stache Stout

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very good

122 Reviews
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Reviews: 122
Hads: 630
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 22.68%
Wants: 14
Gots: 87 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Finch's Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: aasher on 02-26-2012

Vanilla Bean Stout
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Reviews: 122 | Hads: 630
Photo of Michaelsthlrnd
5/5  rDev +28.9%

This is one of the smoothest stouts I have ever tried. The coffee hits you in the mouth, the chocolates warms the nose, and the vanilla bean makes it all flow smooth. This is a sweeter stout, but one I can finish any day with. Pour over vanilla ice cream, and there is nothing better.

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Photo of hockeyfighter19
4.72/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this beer on tap.
Very dark color, perfect for the stout.
Smell is of vanilla and hints of coffee.
Taste is a spectacular blend of stout heaviness with vanilla finish.
Overall one of the best stouts I have had in a long time.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.63/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours black as night and almost gushes out of the can. Big, deep chocolate colored head that retains and laces very well. Big head may be from a rough pour but it still hangs around. Seriously the darkest head I've seen on a beer.

S- Huge sweet chocolate notes. Underlying hints of coffee and more bitter chocolate. Slight hints of vanilla sweetness. Roasted malts are prominent also. Smells like a delicious hot chocolate with a hint of coffee, except cold.

T- Just like the smell. Big sweet chocolate with hints of vanilla and coffee right up front. Not real complex, because it keeps this flavor throughout, but damn delicious. Sweet chocolate transitions into slightly more bitter chocolate, but still remains quite sweet. Ends with a slight metallic flavor that is the only drawback to this beer.

M- Thick and creamy. Much thicker than most stout of similar ABV and style. Low carbonation adds to the creamy texture. Despite being thick, it is easily drinkable.

Overall, this beer is delicious. I love sweet stouts, and this doesn't disappoint. Thick and creamy without being too filling. Flavor is simple, but pleasing and reminds me of a chocolate-coffee milkshake. Simply put, this is a great dessert beer.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Secret Stache pours a deep brown, with an extremely frothy, rather tall khaki head. The aroma contains sweet notes of caramel, toffee, and lots of roasted malt. After sampling the flavor, I find it to be very full for only a 5.3% ABV beer... It's big with coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla bean flavor. It's got a creamy finish and a pleasantly soft mouth feel. Overall, a fine balance of toasty, bitter, and sweet! I'm glad I tried it, as I hadn't heard of the brewery before - would definitely buy again.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

16oz Can, pretty fresh. Served at around 55F.

Pours black with a two finger rich brown head, leaves beautiful drippy rings and sheets of lacing and holds a good cap. Purty.

Aroma is vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts...that’s pretty much it, but that’s all there needs to be. Good to very good strength.

Flavor is more of the same, vanilla, rich creamy chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, fairly sweet, minimal bitterness, minimal alcohol. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very creamy, gotta figure there’s some oatmeal at work here, soft to moderate carbonation. Smooth and easy drinking.

Man this stuff is good. A real nice rich dessert, but not too big, so it’s soooo easy to drink. Tons of body and flavor for a 5.3% ABV Stout. Nailed it!

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Photo of pat61
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%

Nose: chocolate, caramel, vanilla.
Pours dark deep brown under a robust finely bubbled 2” tan head.
Palate: creamy very light espresso bitterness forms a foundation supporting an overall structure of chocolate and vanilla seasoned with caramel with traces of grainy malt in the finish.
The Brewer manages to achieve Guinness level nitro carbonation and creaminess that provides a perfect vehicle for the rich palate.

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Photo of MakeMineAPBR
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours black, leaving a thick tan head that lingers after the pour. Lattice-like lacing coats the inside of the glass and stays long after the beer is gone.

Smell: A cornucopia of aromas jump out of the glass; chocolate, vanilla, coffee... not as much vanilla as the label would have you think but still very noticeable.

Taste: Much like the nose, the flavors are dominated by chocolate and hints of vanilla. Very flavorful and creamy. What a delicious stout!

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and smooth in the mouth. Not sure if the beer is brewed with oats, but it is silky smooth on the palate.

Overall a delightful stout that is highly recommended for the price.

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Photo of Landar
4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Aroma 12/12
Strong roasted chocolate malts and a rich roasted grainy dark malt immediately hit the nose. No hops or diacetyl. A sweet heavy almost syrupy caramel flavor comes through as it warms with just a hint of maple. Vanilla comes through to intermingle in the background and add a good balance of the other aromas. It smells like a quality chocolate malted.

Appearance 3/3
Opaque deep dark brown. Frothy and creamy brown tan head that has excellent retention. Sticks with a thick brown creamy layer of foam to the sides that stay there.

Taste 16/20
Roasted bitter chocolate and roasted dark malts. A dark roasted chocolate and malt aftertaste that lingers with a light pleasant bitterness. As it warms the vanilla comes through and balances out the bitterness to make it less like a quality grainy chocolate malted and more like a semi-sweet chocolate stout. The bitterness is not quite balanced with the vanilla and lactic sweetness.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Thick, full bodied, creamy, and smooth. Leaves a nice stache of foam on the lips. Medium-light carbonation. Very slight astringency as expected from the dominant roasted malt profile.

Overall Impression 8/10
An solid example of an American Stout. It could be more carbonated. It finds a bit of difficulty finding just the right balance between the bitterness and the vanilla as it warms. It seems to be in between the really sweet cream stouts and the more bitter roasted chocolate stouts. Choosing one of these directions would make for a richer experience.


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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a light brown head. In the aroma, caramel and roasty coffee. In the taste, sweet coffee, notes of caramel and a sweeter vanilla note. A small bite, but mainly smooth with a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dryer vanilla coffee like aftertaste. A really nice vanilla presence, a bit sweet, but quite sessionable.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.34/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

LOOK: Ontap, pours a very dark brown with a tan head. Leaves plenty of lace down the pint glass.

SMELL: A sweet smelling stout with copious amounts of raw vanilla and hints of both dark and milk chocolate. Mostly vanilla and a bit of charred malt.

TASTE/FEEL: Full bodied and very, very smooth. Delicious vanilla cream coffee like brew. There is a small woody, earthy hop presence. Big time vanilla, always a good compliment to a firm, roasted malt base. Well carbonated, easy to drink.

OVERALL: This vanilla laced stout is the bomb. BOOM!

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Photo of rangerred
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16oz can into a pint glass.

Pours pitch plack with a thin quarter inch dark tan head that fades away within a minute to some swirling on top of the beer. A few splotches of lacing on the sides of the glass but not much else. A little bit of a let-down.

The aroma, however, more than makes up for the unimpressive aroma as it really blows me away. Tons of milk chocolate leaping out as well as coffee and a healthy dose of vanilla. There is a moderate roast tying it all together but a really mouthwatering and delicious aroma throughout.

The flavor is even better. The vanilla really stands out married nicely with milk chocolate. Almost reminds me of chocolate milk or a Hershey's bar. Coffee is there but remains in the background lending just enough roastiness to keep things from getting too sweet. Some swirls of caramel also come through with a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel finish with just a little stickyness and lingering roast.

Overall, this is possibly one of the best lower strength American Stouts I have had. The vanilla is perfectly done as it is all too often overwhelming in beers. All flavors balance perfectly and the body is awesome. Definitely a beer you should pick up if you get the chance.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into shaker pint no can date

A: black in color with no light passing through pretty rough poor allows for a very small but creamy looking head that settles to a film

S: vanilla, roasted coffee dark malts with hints of chocolate

T: quite delicious roasty coffee and deep dark maltiness with a nice smooth balance of vanilla nice bit of sweetness I'm getting a slight bit of berries too

M: thin but it clings on to the palate long after you finish the drink.

O: pretty good stout I was hoping it be a bit less thin on the tongue but the flavors are great roasted coffee, malty chocolate the vanilla gives it support and give it a fruity taste. Just a well put together stout.

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Photo of RickS95
4.29/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 ounce can

Quite attractive from the pour. You can see the thickness as it leaves the can. It's extremely dark, pitch black. The head has a slight cascading effect and is slow forming with light brown bubbles. Somewhat creamy head that retains fairly well, leaving a nice lace.

Roasted barley in the nose mixed with caramel and other dark malts. I get none of the vanilla mentioned on the can, but lots of char.

Taste matches the nose. Roasted grains and dark malts, charred goodies, but still no vanilla. Possibly some ground coffee hiding in there.

It's the creamiest beer I've ever had. It can't get any smoother. You can feel the thickness of the beer. Touch of sweet ultimately chased by the bitter char. Smoky feel follows deep into the finish.

I enjoyed this. Very easy to drink. More ABV would be welcomed. Overall, one of my favorite stouts.

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Photo of Laxadaisical
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This massively black stout is capped with a gorgeous, thick brown head, wafting roast barley, char, smoke, and roast coffee towards the nostrils. To balance this, there are deep caramelized sugars, crispy toffee, peanut brittle, dark chocolate, cacao nibs, a hint of chocolate syrup, and plenty of vanilla throughout. The flavor starts out dry, with the roast, char, and smoke moving into crispy toffee and peanut brittle, dark caramel, dark fruits, and a touch of roasty coffee. The vanilla bean addition just blends throughout the entire flavor in a rich, but not overwhelming way. For a 5.3% beer, the mouthfeel is full and creamy, characteristic of a much bigger beer.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bomber into tulip glass.

Appearance: dark oily black bodied beer with a 2 fingers medium brown head. Head drops down to a thick cap with some large bubbles. Thick lacing on the side of the bottle.

Smell: Boatloads of vanilla and some milk chocolate! Little roast and smoke. The beer smells really sweet; just like dessert.

Taste: Big vanilla upfront and a little bit of dark chocolate; just like the nose. Midpalate you get a deep roasty note that continues through to the finish. Its roasty without much bitterness; I like that. As the beer warms you get more of what you were promised...vanilla! The vanilla does not become overbearing or cloyingly sweet at anytime while drinking the entire bomber.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied stout with low end of moderate carbonation. Creamy and smoooth beer that is really drinkable.

Overall: This is without a doubt the best non-barrel aged vanilla beer I have ever drank. The ironic thing is... Up to this point Finch's beer offers have not been impressive, but this beer is seriously the real deal! I hope that Finch's will consider making this beer a year around offering and put it in canned format instead of bomber format. Must try if you like vanilla in stouts. 3 final words: Flavorful Session Stout!

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Photo of puboflyons
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the can. Sampled on December 18, 2013.

The color is dark brown to oily black. The lack of head makes it look more like oil.

The aromas are both subtle and distinctive with characters of dark roasted and burnt malts, vanilla beans, and a touch of smoke.

The body is about medium but it is also smooth and creamy like the way I enjoy stouts.

The taste evolves as it warms with the same distinctive smoked, roasted malts and vanilla flavors merging ever so slightly with a low dry hop bitterness. It evolves in favor of the vanilla.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Finch’s Secret Stache Stout has a rather thin, beige head, a very, very dark brown (black) appearance, and a lacing sheen left on the glass. The aroma is of chocolate malt, dark coffee, and cream. Taste is of creamy, black malts, some char (but, not much), astringent bitterness, and no vanilla, that I could detect. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Finch’s Secret Stache Stout finishes powdery dry and highly drinkable.


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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours very dark brown. Toasted chocolate froth head. Head dies off leaving dark shadows of lacing. Minimal light penetration.

S-Chocolate and cold coffee all over the place. Vanilla and chocolate milkshake. The coffee is very nice. MIlk chocolate and bitter dark chocolate. Excellent nose with great flavors and much intricacy.

T-A shade lower than the nose, but this is still an awesome Stout. Cocoa powder, cold coffee, chocolate fudge brownie sundae. Also a little tickle of smokiness. Hershey's Syrup. Vanilla bean coffee Coolata from Dunkin Donuts. Very nice.

M-The feel is superb. Rich and creamy. Very drinkable. Low ABV yields zero booze. Feels more like a 7-8% brew. Body is well-developed and creamy but still very easy drinking. Low carbonation.

O/D-Really nice.I wouldn't mind seeing a few more Stouts like this. Non-Imperial, but still flavorful. This one was really cool and really tasty. Great feel and great aroma. A big-time success.

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Photo of joebeerdude
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Saw this about a year ago and picked up the last four pack at my local beverage store. I really liked it. I was hoping to get some more later on but the store said it didn't sell that well and they didn't plan on ordering anymore. Bummer. Well today was a good day as it just happened to show up again on the shelf! Apparently the distributor made a deal the store could not refuse. For such a low alcohol content this beer is a really really big beer. I disagree that with another reviewer who thought it was 'thin'. It truly is motor oil. I'm thinking this stuff is darker than any of the imperial stouts I've tried (and I've tried more than a few). It's characteristics are pretty simple -- chocolate and vanilla -- and I'm OK with that. Tastes yummy. Not allot of crazy things going on like a high alcohol imperial stout but no mini-hangover the next day either from having two of these. Nothing else like this out there (as far as I know). A truly unique beer but more of a niche taste not for everyone.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce can into pint glass, no canning date. Pours dense pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, light char, coffee, toast, vanilla, toffee, cream, light floral, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roasted malt notes with moderate creamy vanilla; with good strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, light char, toast, vanilla, toffee, cream, and roasted earthiness. Slight coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, light char, toast, vanilla, cream, and toffee on the finish for a while. Really great balance and complexity of roasted malt flavors with moderate creamy vanilla; with huge robustness and no cloying flavors present after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy and slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent vanilla cream stout! Great flavor complexity and balance with big robustness; and very smooth to drink. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of chinchill
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pint can poured like motor oil, but with a durable brown head.

Aroma: coffee, milk and dark chocolate. Less roasted malt than expected.

T: dark roasted malts; no burnt quality; lots of dark chocolate, light vanilla and a trace of coffee, Rather sweet but not cloying.

M: Full-bodied; appropriately low carbonation; Very creamy.

O: A rich and satisfying sweet stout with a wallop of chocolate malts.

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Photo of Bluegrass49
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This one was really good if you like stout! 1 pint can poured into a tall glass. Very dark and creamy with a 3 1/2 finger head that lasted "forever". Definitely a keeper!

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Photo of Buschyfor3
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz tallboy can served in a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass

A: Thick, sluggish pour from the can, much thicker than expected for a 5.3% ABV stout; inky black; opaque; no light seems to come through on the edges of the glass; thin dollop of mocha head quickly recedes to a wisp of fine bubble on the surface that looks like an oil slick; slight lacing; looks more like a big imperial stout - a nice surprise.

S: Milk chocolate blending with a smooth vanilla note and maybe some caramel/toffee to lend an initial dose of sweetness; malts then come into play with smooth roasted coffee notes rising through the sweetness; also picking up notes of dark fruit (prunes or raisins); as the beer warms, more of the malty side comes out, with greater presence of molasses, soy sauce, dark fruit and brown bread loaf; vanilla presence rises late on, especially after agitating the glass, and it also stirs up some pleasant dark chocolate, fudge-like aromas.

T: Upfront milk chocolate sweetness mixing with a noticeable vanilla note that is pleasant without being cloying; it is reminiscent of a liquid Hershey's kiss; mid sip, the roasted flavors push through with a slightly bitter medium roast coffee flavor taking charge; it is followed by a second hint of sweetness in the form of dark fruit and molasses; finish starts to dry with a powdered cocoa note quickly followed by a roasted nutty flavor (think chocolate covered espresso beans) before leaving a lingering, vanilla kiss that beckons for the next sip; nearing the end of the pint, the last few sips see the malts really wash out the palate, with a prominent roasted note backed with bittersweet baker's chocolate and a dash of soy sauce; the vanilla presence is an afterthought, like cold coffee with just a splash of french vanilla half-and-half.

M: Medium-to-full bodied - carbonation is low to moderate; I was not expecting an overly thick stout at 5.3% ABV; in fact, I was expecting this would have a thinner bodied mouthfeel coming out of the can, so I was slightly and pleasantly surprised when this beer presented a bit more creaminess than expected.

O: Well done with the addition of vanilla - it introduces itself early, adding a depth of sweetness to the aroma and taste without becoming cloying, and then steps aside to remind you that this is a stout after all. Smooth drinking with a low ABV, this stout punches well above its weight given its price point and relative obscurity compared to similar stouts with more name recognition. I'd rate this beer a couple of points higher on the basis of those two factors alone. But focusing on what this stout brings to the table, it is highly affordable, highly delicious, and all from a tallboy can. Recommended.

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Photo of ChadQuest
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty great opaque looking 5.3% beer if you ask me, looks creamy with a dark tan cap.
The nose is milk chocolate with a bit of roasty notes sort of like a mild coffee, little sweetness.
The vanilla comes out much more in the flavors then the aroma, makes a vanilla creamy coffee sort of deal, but the sweetness is strong and lasting.
mouthfeel is low carb and creamy in an almost nitro way, great.

This is the best beer Finch has made yet, or maybe i should say the only noteworthy beer they've made yet, i really dig it. one of the better 5% stouts i've had at all.

c/3 = average


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Photo of rangerman21
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark black, brown head with good retention
S- Roasted malts
T-Smooth and roasty. Delicious bitter finish, hint of vanilla.
F- Smooth
O- Smooth and pleasant to drink. Good balance and taste

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Secret Stache Stout from Finch's Beer Co.
87 out of 100 based on 122 ratings.