Secret Stache Stout - Finch's Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Secret Stache StoutSecret Stache Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

117 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 117
Hads: 610
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 14
Gots: 86 | FT: 1
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
View: Beers (11) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 117 | Hads: 610
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

$ 2.99/16 oz can at Lager mill
16 oz can ar 45 degrees into imperial pint glass
Aroma of roasted malt and chocolate
Head average (4.5cm), medium brown, creamy with rocks, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm layer
Lacing poor, few small islands of small bubbles
Flavor begins with heavy chocolate presence, which slowly fades from slightly sweet to slighty bitter. No alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl.
Palate is medium to full, creamy, soft carbonation

A not too bad stout, but pretty heavy into the chocolate. Good palate and aroma, but the rapidly diminishing small head and poor lacing detract from the appearance. (606 characters)

Photo of BigBry
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a four pack of 16 oz cans.
Pours dark chocolate brown, a small tan head, not as much retention or lace as I was expecting.
Smell is roasted malts, cocoa and coffee, a little bit of vanilla present as well.
The flavor is lots of dark malt, roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, finishes with some earthy but muted hops.
Smooth, slightly creamy, finishes a bit sharp.
A good drinkable beer.
Note: have used in our Stout Cake recipe - works very well. (453 characters)

Photo of msquared36
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a thin light brown head.

Smells of vanilla milk shake and roasted malt.

Strong taste of vanilla, especially as it warms. In addition to the vanilla, red raspberry up front with a lingering aftertaste of cigar smoke.

Little carbonation but very smooth.

Just enough sweetness to balance out the smokiness, without being sticky or overpowering. Doesn't assault your taste buds. (395 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.32/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

1 PINT can
Served in a snifter

A - It pours black with over an inch of dark mocha head that hangs around awhile.

S - The smell is cocoa and dark chocolate.

T - The taste is dark chocolate followed by burnt popcorn. The bitter burnt flavor grows in intensity with each drink.

M - Seems thin for a stout.

O - The aroma was good. Then it started breaking down. The burnt flavor made it unpleasant by the end. (414 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Small, beige head. Leaves some webs and some spots on the glass. The liquid is deep, dark brown. No light passes, even on the edge.

Chalky, unsweetened cocoa aromas.

This stout leans heavily to the chocolate malt and less so to the black patent malt burnt flavors. Think rich porter. The body makes this a very smooth beer. Low carbonation. The aftertaste features just a bit of bitterness. Overall, a tasty beer that may be best described as a stout-porter hybrid. (468 characters)

Photo of horshack7
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Rather dark in fact down right black with a dark beige head about an inch thick.

Aroma: Dark roasted coffee, semi sweet and dark chocolate notes. Vanilla bean, roasted malts and hops.

Taste: Lots of dark roasted, dark roasted chocolate, vanilla bean. Hops have a light char. The mouthfeel is smooth with a light dry finish.

Notes: Quite drinkable and very good for a cool night. Cheers. (401 characters)

Photo of TheSleepyMonkey
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into a snifter. Pours jet black with very little tan colored head. Head dissipates quickly.

Smell is mild coffee, chocolate, hint of alcohol. A little smoke and leather.

Tastes like liquid chocolate. Not much booze in flavor, just chocolate, very sweet. Hints of vanilla as it warms

Nice creamy mouthfeel. Can't believe this is only 5%. Really tasty.

Nice job on a very sessionable stout. As easy a drinker as there is in the category, and it comes it cans :). We'll done. (493 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appears a pitch black hue with a tan colored head, creamy fine lacing. Aroma hints of anise, vanilla, toasted oak with dark malts roasted coffee/dark chocolate notes. Flavor has creamy dark chocolate notes with herbal hops, creamy iced coffee with candy like sugar qualities not overly sweet balanced by dark roasts nearly burnt. Mouthfeel medium bodied slightly creamy textures nice easy going carbonation. Overall it has easy drinking qualities with a solid stout base and vanilla additions light years better than their flagship IPA. (536 characters)

Photo of mrfrancis
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a jet black with a thin, creamy tan mousse that makes a point of disappearing rather quickly.

S: Aromas of vanilla bean, heavy cream, roasted grain, coffee, and dark chocolate fill the nose.

T: Notes of vanilla, cream, roasted grain, coffee, chocolate, dried black cherries, leather, and mildly earthy hops fill the mouth. The finish is toasty and smooth with pronounced vanilla, cream, leather, coffee, and dark chocolate flavors.

M: Medium-bodied, silky, and smooth. Carbonation is gentle and delicate. Though this is a bit slighter and thinner than many American stouts, it is incredibly easy to drink.

O: Overall, this is a good, basic American stout. Fans of the style should be pleased. (705 characters)

Photo of WarEagleJeep
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark chocolate color, thin tan head from aggressive pour that fades to a ring.

S: Dark roasted grains and chocolate.

T: Burnt grains, smoke, chocolate, malty sweetness, and lingering aromatic coffee.

M: Good medium feel for a stout, mild carbonation, leaves nice aromatics.

O: I didn't pick up any vanilla as mentioned on the can but overall I liked it and would buy again. (381 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 16oz can, no date evident, into a pint glass
A: Pitch black, even an aggressive pour left a thin head
S: Grain, nuts, coffee and cocoa - all nicely toasted
T: The cocoa is in the foreground of the palate, the promised vanilla comes through (I didn't smell it) then it's rounded out by the rest of the grain/coffee/nuts that are also on the nose
M: Medium-bodied, smooth
O: Tasty and a solid effort; all the right parts are there but for me they just didn't harominze (480 characters)

Photo of Axnjxn
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

draft at beer study in chapel hill.

black color with a light beige head. smell is very pronounced with malts and roastyness. taste is quite tame but has an interesting malt character and an inviting sweetness on the back end. mild body, low carbonation. good, easy drinking lower ABV stout. (291 characters)

Photo of Omnium
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pounder Can > 2X IPA Glass

A - Pours out pitch black with a thin layer of fizzy brown head, no lacing.
S - Wonderful aroma, tons of vanilla, nice roasty malt, some toffee tones to it, a little dark chocolate, roasted coffee, a touch of hazelnut.
T - Rich flavor, but not over the top, creamy smooth roasted malt, sweet vanilla bean, toffee. This almost has a brown ale quality to it, mildly nutty. It is somewhat thin at the end.
M - Super creamy and smooth without being super sweet, quaffable to the max.
O - Very good, lots of Vanilla flavor and a nice toffee touch to it. Though I appreciate the lower alcohol content of this one, because its packed with flavor, it could benefit just a little from a more thick and velvety composure in flavor. (752 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

$3.19 for a 16oz can at Siciliano's. Brewed with vanilla and lactose. 5.3% ABV.

Pours out to a clear deep black. Pretty thick and dark for a 5.3% beer. Forms a nice creamy dark tan head with excellent retention and lacing. Carbonation is mild-moderate, ~2.0 carbs or so. The aroma opens with vanilla, some carob, a little black walnut, roasted grains, and distant hops. Mouthfeel is smooth with a viscosity bigger than the 5.3% would have you believe, partly due to it's lower carbonation. The taste is a recap of the aroma. Bitterness is mild, but there is still some late addition hop flavor rounding out the roasted grain notes. Burnt marshmallows and burnt sugar in the finish, but not sweet, per say (despite the lactose). There is a weird combination of flavors going on between the hops and the roast malt. It's not bad, but a touch acidic. Otherwise, cleanly fermented.

This is an interesting beer. I think most stout lovers are going to enjoy it, and like I said, it has an impressive mouthfeel despite the 5.3%, however the acidity of the hops and the roast hurts it a bit and doesn't lend to me drinking more than one of these at any given time. (1,158 characters)

Photo of Landar
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

44/50 (1,539 characters)

Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this beer the other night. I definitely got notes of chocolate and coffee but no vanilla despite the fact that the word vanilla was on the can.

It was a tasty stout - but nothing stuck out to me about it. I've tried plenty of other chocolatey / coffee stouts before and this tasted very similar to those. (313 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a blackish body with minimal tan head that died quick. Mostly chocolate and roasted malts, a little breadiness and hint of coffee and vanilla (espresso?) in the nose. The beer is sweet, easy to drink (not heavy or sticky) and has a good balance between chocolate and vanilla sweetness and roasted/coffee malts, along with touches of dark fruit (I can only think of black cherries and something sugary like molasses/syrup/figs) and has a complimentary dry finish. I like this beer but I don't know if it was a too-chilled can or just mental on my part but there was a touch of medicinal/metallic "canniness" or something that caused some of the sips to be bitter and watery. Should've bought the bottle. Still a good beer. (728 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served a deep brown color with a one finger of brown head. The head fades almost instantly to leave a light level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a roasted malt smell mixed with a nice heavy coffee smell. Along with these aromas are some sweeter aromas of a caramel nature mixed with a little bit of a vanilla smell. A little bit of a chocolate aroma mixes with the rest producing a rather nice and sweet dark smell.

Taste – The taste begins roasty and sweet with a good level of caramel and vanilla sweetness as well a nice roasted malt base. As the flavor advances some lighter flavors of a coffee nature come to the tongue, which start out quite light, but gains intensity as the flavor moves more toward the end. Along with this, a little bit of cocoa sweetness comes to the tongue being complimented nicely by the sweeter flavors of the beer. With a lighter flavor of char also joining the tongue at the end of the taste, one is left with a nice roasty and sweet flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average side in its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. The lower carbonation level is very nice for the roasted, cocoa and coffee flavors of the brew, nicely enhancing all the more intense flavors. A little thicker of a body may have been even better for the brew, but overall, at only 5.3% abv., the body was quite appropriate.

Overall – For an only 5.3 % abv brew, this beer packs quite the flavor punch. A nice and tasty “session style” stout. (1,649 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
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. (540 characters)

Photo of Cresant
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 16 oz. can into a nonic glass. No date on can. The body was an opaque black/brown. The head was dense and tan. Solid lacing remained after a heavy pour.

The smell was ashy and grainy. Molasses and a bit metallic.

The taste was sweet with a deep fruitiness. Dark chocolate and cherry. Very drinkable and the alcohol is well hidden. Vanilla and some metallic notes too. Not off-putting but distinctly metal.

The mouthfeel was creamy with a medium body. Modest carbonation. Overall solid. (502 characters)

Photo of wedge
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After only a slight hiss when I cracked the can, I gave this one a pretty aggressive pour and ended up with paper-thin khaki layer on the surface. Impressively black though, with absolutely no light getting through. Rich chocolate and coffee bean aromas front and center, lactose creaminess, caramelized sugar, and some mellow vanilla blended into everything. Kind of pipe tobacco-y as it warms up. Roasted malty flavor...coffee with cream and sugar, vanilla bean, tobacco, plenty of bittersweet chocolate, and nuts. Light on the carbonation, creamy texture, a little dry char developing as I sip it. Would make a nice dessert beer, though many wouldn't even consider a 5.3% ABV stout to do the job. Rich, creamy...very nice. (725 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque thick and viscous jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass at the surface of the beer and a hint of very dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy dark mocha head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of sweet milk chocolate with some lighter notes of lactose.

T: Upfront there is a light flavor of dark and lightly roasted malts with moderate to strong flavors of milk chocolate. There are light to moderate flavors of vanilla towards the finish. There is definitely a presence of lactose in this brew. Very light hints of bitterness which fades quickly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O: Easy to drink and enjoyable, if a touch sweet for my tastes. Definitely one that I would grab again as it was a hit with my wife and mother-in-law who both thought it was quite tasty. Would be a really nice beer with dessert. (1,133 characters)

Photo of MCain04
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz can courtesy of the guys at Finch's, thanks! Poured into my DFH oversized snifter.

Pours an almost black body with a tan creamy head of good retention and lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee. Maybe a little tobacco. Great aroma overall.

Taste is subdued compared to the aroma. A little watery. Still getting the roast character and a little bit of chocolate, maybe vanilla, not much coffee, drinkable but too bland.

Mouthfeel is crisp with a light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. A little thin. Slightly sticky and dry finish.

Overall, very drinkable, but suffers in that it is thin and diluted in the taste. Fantastic aroma though, and a great stout for those wary of a heavy mouthfeel. (724 characters)

Photo of MaximalC
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours the darkest shade of brown with minimal molasses highlights around the periphery. The head is negligible in size but features a rich, mocha coloration that usually bodes well for stouts. No lacing to speak of. Aroma is mild, smelling of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a touch of black coffee.

The taste features bittersweet baker's chocolate and char up front with some milk chocolate coming through in the middle. The acrid character of the roast is quite assertive, but shy of overbearing. Coffee notes also peek in and out among the other burnt flavors. Dark chocolate lingers nicely into the finish, lending a touch of class. Traces of peppery hops start to sneak up on you as the beer warms, but that is balanced by the more pronounced dark chocolate character that comes with it. Do yourself a favor and give this brew ample time to warm up and reveal its full depth of flavor.

The most obvious pitfall here, and it really is quite unfortunate, is the thin body. A tasty, roasty, chocolatey stout like this should have at least a medium body, but this is just too loose to do the rest of the beer justice. Carbonation is barely there, but that's fine for the style. If there's a silver lining, it's that this stout is exceedingly easy to drink.

Secret Stache features outstanding coloration to complement its delicious chocolate backbone. The thin body is a disappointment, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a smooth, tasty stout with great drinkability. Not quite as amazing as I recall on tap, but still very good. (1,546 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Updated from a 4 'Had' score. Bought a single tall-boy can a few weeks ago.

A - Pint glass pour is just about black with very faint reddish highlights at the bottom. Tan head retains fine as a thick ring and slight cap. Tiny bits of lace left.

S - Chocolate milk with extra chocolate syrup, very slight roast, vanilla bean, some earthy hop, dark fruit. Nice and dessert-y, impressive strength for the low ABV.

T - Plenty of chocolate and vanilla to be had here as well, but with more oomph in the roast department and an ashy finish. Dark fruit and a decent earthy+piny hop kick. More balanced than the nose but also less decadent/standout.

M - Smooth with a moderate thickness to it, carbonation somewhat on the light side but fine. Despite being 5.3%, a tall-boy of this is kind of an undertaking.

O - The smell is great but doesn't quite transfer over to the taste, which is kind of a weird mix of cloying sweetness, ashy roast and hops. Still, a good low ABV stout with strong flavors. Kind of similar to a milk stout (as far as I know this isn't one). (1,062 characters)

Secret Stache Stout from Finch's Beer Co.
87 out of 100 based on 117 ratings.