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Secret Stache Stout - Finch's Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Secret Stache StoutSecret Stache Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

124 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 124
Hads: 646
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 22.68%
Wants: 14
Gots: 91 | 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
View: Beers (20) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 124 | Hads: 646
Photo of vette2006c5r
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Secret Stache Stout pours a black color with a small tan lacing head. There is a big roasted aroma hints of vanilla. The taste is big and roasted, a little smokey, nice vanilla flavors. Body is just a little watery. Overall its a very good beer, if the body was fuller it could be great.

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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 nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

From a can, pours a dark chocolate brown, a little bit of head, but not much.

Nose is toasty, roasted malts, a little vanilla, cocoa and espresso and resin pine hops. The flavor is roast, dark chocolate, resin, earthy notes, a little bit of vanilla an cocoa.

This is good, but no where near the top for the type of beer it is.

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Photo of OldeSchool
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Appearance - Pours very dark brown; fairly robust light tan head.

Smell - Roast malt and dark chocolate abound; perhaps some vanilla in the mix as well. Very pleasant if you're a fan of the style.

Taste - More roast malt, with a lingering coffee flavor and a bit of bitterness in the finish. Very smooth and easy to drink - though I would have guessed that this beer had a higher ABV than it actually does.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel; goes down well.

Overall - This beer is not available in my part of the country, but I would partake fairly regularly if it was. Very drinkable chocolate / coffee stout that doesn't overwhelm the senses, but makes for an enjoyable experience.

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Photo of cmq103
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up mixed brewery hand-picked variety pack at the Lawrenceville NJ Joe Canal’s. Among the beers was this Finch’s Secret Stache Stout 16-ounce, really cool looking can, which I poured into my Duvel Belgian Tulip glass for tasting purposes.

A: A slightly thicker generous pour resulted in a really thin beige head. The color was dark motor oil brown in appearance. Real dark, like no light was getting through this glass. Respectable lacing clung tight while draping itself down the side of my glass. So far, so good…

S: Roasted dark malts during the initial inhale, followed by distinct oatmeal and barley. Sure smells like an oatmeal stout to me. Hints of dark chocolate and vanilla are also present. If the taste is anything like the aroma then this is going to be a fantastic stout.

T: Like the smell, roasted dark malts with a lightly bitter finish. Oats and vanilla precede the mild bitter finish. Although I got the dark chocolate smell, only the bitterness of dark chocolate was noticeable. After the swallow, a coffee like taste remains on the tongue. This is really flavorful for a lighter stout. I must say again, it reminds me of fine oatmeal stout, which I really do enjoy.

M: Thicker body on the tongue with a creamy smooth texture from start to finish, almost an oily feel when I take a longer sip. Carbonation is minimal, but present. As noted above, a coffee like taste remains between sips.

O: My first Finch’s Beer Company beer and won’t be my last. According to their website, lactose was used during the brewing process. I didn't get the normal sweetness and lessening of bitterness lactose tends to add to a stout. Either way, this is a great stout in my opinion. I love the fact it comes in a 16-ounce can. A well done, year-round stout. I can’t wait to find a 4-pack of this beer.

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Photo of DIM
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black body and a dark tan head; looks like a stout. Smells of lightly roast chocolate cake primarily. Maybe a trace of vanilla.

Sweet tasting for sure but obnoxiously so. Lots of chocolately malts with a well incorporated hint of vanilla. No layers of complexity, but this is a very satisfying drink.

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Photo of brureview
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a dark chocolate opaque color in a stein with a 4F head which slowly resolves.

The intial aroma is chocolate and dark roasted malt. The aroma lingers for most of the tasting- at the end of tasting the aroma is mostly dark roast.

The mouth feel is smooth- very little carbonation.

The taste is chocolate, vanilla, and a hint of sweetness.

The finish is slightly hoppy and smooth.

Overall, an excellent, easy drinking stout. I am a big fan of Finch beers- easy drinking, not overdone, and lots of flavor.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.59/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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Photo of BigBry
3.88/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of msquared36
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.32/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

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Photo of smcolw
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of horshack7
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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Photo of TheSleepyMonkey
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of WarEagleJeep
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
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

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of Omnium
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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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 iheartmyTHO
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Secret Stache Stout from Finch's Beer Co.
87 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.