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Gingerbread Stout - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Gingerbread StoutGingerbread Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

137 Reviews

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Reviews: 137
Hads: 1,094
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 32.01%
Wants: 626
Gots: 329 | FT: 39
Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TechTriumph on 12-08-2011

Brewed with baby ginger from Casselmonte Farm and wildflower honey from Bearer Farms, Hardywood Gingerbread Stout captures the terroir of central Virginia in a rich, creamy libation with a velvety mouthfeel and an intriguing evolution of flavors from milk chocolate and vanilla to honeycomb and cinnamon to a snap of ginger in the finish.

Deep, dark chocolate in color with a mahogany tint and a frothy, caramel colored head, Hardywood Gingerbread Stout offers aromatics of holiday spice originating from the ginger, and balanced with a generous dose of whole Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and Vietnamese cinnamon. Milk sugar (lactose) contributes to the full body of this stout and tames its roasty character, while oats lend a silky quality. Enjoy fresh, or cellar for a special occasion. We hope Hardywood Gingerbread Stout contributes to your merriment this season.

55 IBU
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Reviews: 137 | Hads: 1,094
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour for New Brew Thursday's 3rd Anniversary event held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, cocoa, and lots of gingerbread spice aromas. Taste is much the same with a gingerbread cookie flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but smells slightly better in my opinion.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to DaveHack for this one!!

This poured out as a deep black color with a thin cream colored head that leaves a thin ring of retention. This had a very thing lacing. The smell is spicy, with sweet vanilla and wood on the nose. The taste is excellent! The spice is perfect is subtly roasted and had a fantastic sweetness to balance out everything. The mouthfeel is creamy, nice carbonation and smooth. Overall this beer is outstanding. Very good stuff!!

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours fudge brown with an inch or so of foam; a few strands of lace are left behind

Smell: Chocolate and gingerbread, chocolate and gingerbread etc., honeyed tones underneath

Taste: Black bread and milk chocolate with a developing gingerbread and honey character; in the middle, the gingery-gingerbread character really dominates, though the milk chocolate tones linger underneath through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; a bit less carbonated on tap, which is better for this brew

Overall: I heard good things about this beer from hoppedup (for those who remember him from this site) and decided to drive to Richmond for the release; glad I did as this is a great beer and is nicely differentiated from a lot of the other big stouts that get released around these parts

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Coming off of the heels of the recent holiday season where a few of these "gingerbread" stouts emerged, I found myself discrediting the combination of taste as being underwhelming at best or even messy. But Hardywood has taught me something else- maybe these varying flavors can marry up pretty well.

But like many a stout, the beer pours with a very dark black, seeming darker than I expected somehow. Its mocha froth caps the beer with a sturdy foam stance that outlasts the beer in the session and laces evenly 'til the last sip.

Though the stout flavors are certainly strong enough to qualify, it is edged out by the desert scent of gingerbread snaps. Molasses, ginger, clove, nutmeg, and graham cracker all align on the nasal cavity just the same way as baking the snaps themselves. But underneath all that are the stout-like aromas of strong roast coffee, baker's chocolate, candy shops, and burnt bread.

Flavors are more balanced than the nose let on so that the melange of taste starts sweet and ends spicy. Molasses, confectioner's sugar, and heavy whipping cream allows for a creamy sweet taste of pulled candy and marzipan to start the show. Roasted elements of French-press coffee, sweetened cocoa, roasted almonds, and burnt grain all rise closely behind and give a robust flavor to balance the initial sweetness. And then all of those Christmas spices settle in as the roast trails for a strong and seductive medley.

Firm support for all that roast and spice has got to come from more than just the caramelized grain sweetness and starch. The "milk" portion of the beer wraps around the carbonation and gives the beer its milkshake-like consistency. The beer's support holds strong until very deep in the session where coffee-like bitterness, spicy warmth, and an echo of molasses brings the beer to closure.

The beer works because it is a stout first. Knowing that the dryness will expose flaws in taste and throw off the balance, it is propped up with an enormously creamy texture and taste- proving to this skeptic that stout and gingerbread can indeed play nicely with one another.

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Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours an opaque dark brown with over a finger of creamy off white head. The head sticks around pretty well.

Smell: Rather sweet with some roast. Mild spices, perhaps some clove, ginger, and nutmeg.

Taste: There isn't as much spice as I would have expected, but that's not a bad thing. It's got a creamy sweetness to it along with a nice level of roast. There is some gingerbread spice, but it more compliments the beer flavor.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thicker side and the carbonation is very smooth and creamy. The finish is on the dry side.

Overall: This is a nice desert beer. It's not as spice forward as I expected, but I enjoyed it.

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Photo of jlindros
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks again to rudzud, who seems like my beer sharing partner now, for sharing this.

Pours a big fluffy head that fades at a med pace, lots of soapy lacing, pretty much pitch black beer.

Nose brings pumpkin gourd like... weird. Then lots of gingerbread, plenty of the cookie as well, ginger spice, cinnamon and other spices, dark chewy malts, ginger snap like aromas, hint of chocolate, a light toasty. It's pretty much like a gingerbread cookie, so nice.

Taste is again pure ginger! Ginger snap and gingerbread cookie again. Light candy, bready, sweet syrupy malts, chewy, maple candy even. Fresh ginger is there even, but a lot of gingerbread cookie, sweet sugar candy, cinnamon and brown sugar as well, and just a bit of bitterness. Finish is sweet candy, gingerbread cookie, and straight sugar cookie, candy sugar, and just a bit of earthy bitter hops.

Mouth is fuller bodied, decent carb, no real booze warmth surprisingly hidden well.

Overall a great beer, so much gingerbread cookie it's ridiculous, a great amazing beer that I wish I had a couple cases in the cellar and I might try to find some, except that i don't think this will hold up. Thanks again Matt!

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Photo of Rifugium
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Sam for the trade at the BBGBS release!

Refrigerated for about 5-10 minutes before serving. Poured into a Hardywood goblet, a dark brown color, lighter around the edges, with about two fingers of beige head that dwindled to a thick ringlet. This was very strange. At first, the aroma was very acrid and it seemed oxidized to me, with a bit of ginger, cinnamon, and caramel coming through. After letting it sit for a while, this changed quite dramatically, becoming more full of gingerbread cookie, vanilla icing and all, the harshness almost completely removed. The taste was extremely bitter up front. Extremely bitter. There was a definite gingerbread cookie sensation in there, but the bitterness overwhelmed it completely, and again, there seemed to be off-flavors indicative of oxidation. So I let it sit some more. The cookie-ness came out a bit more, but it was still quite bitter and stale, woody and kind of unpleasant, all the way into the aftertaste. It's almost as if a good, yummy cookie flavor wants to come to the forefront, but it just never gets there. Body was about medium, a bit thin for a stout...more like an English stout, or even a brown ale; fairly smooth, but just too harsh in flavor to be enjoyable. I can't imagine these bottles being bad already. The alternative theory is....this is just another over-hyped beer. Not impressed.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Tom. Served in a snifter of some sort.

A - Dark tan foam settles to a wispy, partial cap, thick collar, and spotty lacework. Very dark brown body.

S - Smells as you'd expect - like a gingerbread cookie. Nice accents of vanilla, roast, biscuit, toasted grains, chocolate, but predominantly cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. Alcohol is quite well hidden too.

T - The taste is a bit more stout-influenced, with a bigger emphasis on roasted malts, molasses, and chocolate of a darker variety. Still some vanilla and a touch of ginger, but not as spiced as the aroma. Alcohol is still quite well-hidden - never would have guessed this was 9.2%.

M - A bit overcarbonated for my tastes, but not offensively so. Medium body, dry in the finish, with no trace of the listed 9.2%

D - Not a beer I could drink in mass quantities, but achieves exactly what it sets out to do. Enjoyable for a few ounces, albeit a tad undersized for the listed ABV. Curious how the bourbon barrel version compares, although I'd be concerned the body didn't stand up.

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Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Hardywood gingerbread stout shared at RBWG-2014

Slight harshness/burn from the ginger.

Aroma is balanced, with a moderate dose of ginger.

The ginger is way more pronounced in the mouth. I did adjust as I drank but it still seemed a bit overdone even at the end.

Full body.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by radagast83. Thanks a lot Chris! This beer was not on my radar, but it sure is now.

The beer sports a black body with a half inch of beige cap. The aroma is awesome - gingerbread cookies, roast, cookie dough, brown sugar, cinnamon. The taste follows suit, with additional notes of chocolate and chocolate milk. No lactic sourness whatsoever. Super smooth and creamy, with everything coming together beautifully. A work of art. Sweet, but never cloying. An ideal beer to enjoy over the holidays. I highly recommend this!

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Photo of billab914
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my Devil's Backbone snifter. Black in color with a thick tan foam filling the top inch of the glass. Nice head retention and very good lacing.

Aroma has a very appealing mix of spices with notes of cinnamon, ginger and brown sugar. I get some chocolate to it which really compliments well. It really comes together well, it smells pretty much like a delicious Christmas cookie.

The taste shows a little more dark chocolate and molasses presence to it. The spices come out more in the finish leaving a very nice ginger bread flavor lingering. Again, it comes together very well and the flavors are all complimenting of each other.

The mouthfeel is a little thin feeling for the style and carbonation is above average. The carbonation seems to work with the spices though.

Overall, I thought t was a great beer and I especially loved the uniqueness of it. I thought everything came together almost perfectly in it. They managed to completely capture a gingerbread cookie in a glass without overdoing it on the sweetness or spices. I'm not usually big on spiced beers but this one is easily the best holiday spiced beer I've had. Would love to drink more of this around the holidays.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Portsmouth tulip/globe glass. Good solid pop off the cork.

Real nice appearance. Dark walnut brown body, opaque for a milk stout which is quite surprising. Head is a cream tan coffee brown, with a whipped character. Head grows easily three fingers with nice soft retention and fluffy appearance. Settles to a big beveled collar with a thin puck and good curved angles. No lacing, but a good cling to the collar.

Just an absolutely insane aroma that delivers as advertised. Milk chocolate. Huge amounts of ripped ginger, with bready spice notes of nutmeg and sweetness. Pure gingerbread on the nose. Mild sense of classic cream lactose giving to soft sugars. Just nailed on the brew.

Palate comes nicely and to be expected, but with far more tolerable qualities. Peppery ginger like notness with a quick bursting malt chew. Light classic bodied roast even almost getting into porter charring. Drip coffee like feel, with a pipping roast that is accentuate by ginger hotness nice and controllably. Good easy drinking feel with limit hints of booze at such a high abv.

This is a real dangerous and addictive brew. I can see why people can easily get into it, it's also wonderfully conceived and brilliantly executed that really hits on the food character so perfectly. No wonder it's rated it so highly. Great stuff, what more needs to be said.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.82/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Almost black. Minuscule khaki head that settles to swirls on the surface.

Smell - Tons of gingerbread. Cinnamon and other Christmas spices. Some chocolate.

Taste - Wow. Lots of ginger. Closer to gingersnaps than gingerbread. Strong cinnamon again. Some chocolate in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, maybe too thin for such a big stout with big flavors. Well carbonated.

Overall - The spices elevate this beyond the what the base stout seems to deliver.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle served in a Hardywood goblet. Thanks Thorpe.

Pours a ruby tinged cola brown with a light camel colored head that fades to a thin collar with no lace and minimal retention. Smells like a container of McCormick's cinnamon and light vanilla. Powdery, indeterminate spice, mild vanilla, nutmeg, mild and balanced but artificial. Medium light, soft carbonation and a powdery finish, thin throughout. Flavor is a little sweeter up front, honey and chocolate with an all spice, nutmeg and cinnamon in the finish. Balanced and not cloying, but I don't get it. If I want a stout ill drink one, this tastes nothing like one. Watery gingerbread and cinnamon in a glass. Not for me.

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Photo of corby112
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to sideshowe for sharing.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger light beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring.  Spotty lacing left behind.

Roasted malt aroma with a very prominent zesty ginger presence.  Peppery and very gingery with a chocolate cookie presence.  Kind of reminds me of ginger snaps.   Some bready yeast, cocoa and coffee bean but the spice/ginger really overpowers things.

Surprising how much this tastes like a ginger bread cookie.  Sweet but not cloyingly so with strong ginger and English biscuit flavor.  Tastes just like the cookie with cinnamon, brown sugar and ginger snap followed by hints of baker's chocolate, oatmeal and subtle roast.  Nicely balanced with a well masked ABV making it easy to drink.  Sweet but not boozy or cloying.  Great gingerbread cookie flavor but still tastes like a stout.  Very good.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 10.24.13

A - Pours a medium to dark brown with a large light tan head that never fades.

S - Ginger, sweet and lots of chocolate.

T - Gingerbread cookie, Done!

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Gingerbread in full force. Nicely done, very good!

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Photo of rudzud
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Shared this at the End of the World party. Poured into a Kate the Great tulip.

A - Poured a deep, dark brownish black with a two finger mocha head that leaves thin clouds and nice lacing. Definitely has lots of potential....

S - KAPOW! Bright, fresh ginger, chocolate, light bready cookie like yeasts. Sweet candy malts, gingersnaps, cinnamon. This is crazy.

T - Taste is a punch to the face of a gingerbread cookie! Ginger, chocolate, gingersnaps, sweet malts. Fresh ginger, candied ginger, gingerbread cookie. Shut up and take my money!

M - Mouthfeel is spot on. Smooth, creamy, light carbonation. The booze was hidden quite expertly.

O - Unreal Just super delicious. I have a few more bottles I will probably cellar down as, contrary to what JLindros said, allegedly the inaugural batch is drinking outstanding (even better than fresh) a year later.

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Photo of claspada
3.81/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very dark brown color with a medium size tan head slowly recedes to leave some decent lacing.

Aromas begin with bakers cocoa and ample gingerbread, toasted brown bread and some sweeter honey notes. There is some lesser vanilla and cinnamon but the ginger and a slightly sourish notes.

The tastes begin with some brown bread and milk chocolate with a solid growing gingerbread and honey/molasses sweetness. The ginger is pretty predominant here as well with lesser baker's cocoa. The vanilla and cinnamon are also there but ginger overpowers once again. There are some serious fruity esters which emerge more and more as it warms.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium with moderate carbonation. The finish is fairly estery and spicy from the added spice.

Overall while this was a nice beer it is not a 100. It's a solid example of a spiced stout but it lacks a little balance and this comes from someone that loves spice, pumpkin and holiday beers. I think the hype train may have gotten a little off the tracks on this one which is why I ignore those review numbers on the top of the page and so should you.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours basically a black body with two finger khaki head that quickly fades but leaves a smattering of lace patches here and there.
The aroma is dominated by the sweeter aspects of the beer as I mostly get ginger, cinnamon, hint of milk chocolate or maybe just milk/lactic qualities that can be found in sweeter stouts, and then I get minor bready and roasted malts.
While I have a sweet tooth and enjoy sweet stouts, thankfully this beer is more balanced in body and taste than the aroma or it may been too sweet to drink.
For a higher ABV stout and with everything going on in this beer it is actually smooth, creamy, real easy to drink. There are roasted malts in there for balance and a bread (or cookie) like dryness that adds a chewiness to the beer at times as well as also maintains balance.
The beer's sweetness is definitely there as you can detect ginger, vanilla (maybe from the booze) milk/milk chocolate (there is a very light chocolate sweetness in here), and at times it felt like I was having a liquefied ginger snap (that comparison might turn some people off but I have always enjoyed a good ginger snap).
Definitely a dessert beer in the sense that it's worth having alone or only paired with dessert, but that doesn't mean it's some sweet beer knockoff that isn't a great beer on its merits.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 bomb, Thanks @blackie

This bottle of Gingerbread Stout is forever memorialized in my couch cushion. Dark chocolate body, off-putting thick brown foam which typically is the first sign of an unsettling mouthfeel. Perhaps thats just the "terroir of Central Virginia". Jeez, what a joke.

I'm surprised the additions of ginger and honey didn't do it for me, but this just seemed too gimmicky and really disappointing. Worst Christmas ever :(

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

EBF sample. Poured black or something close to it. Small, dark brown head, I remember that. The smell does have a legit gingerbread tone to it. It also smells chocolatey. Holiday spices. Flavor has the conventional roast and chocolate. These flavors are accompanied by gingerbread, cinnamon and actual ginger. None of these are overbearing. Flavors play well together and it actually isn't as sweet as I was initially expecting. Relatively full bodied. I thought this beer was pretty interesting and I surely doesn't fall into the category of being hokey. The flavors are natural. It doesn't come off as artificial. I'm thankful for that.

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Photo of barczar
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Huge ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla in aroma.

A bit more ginger and cinnamon than I'd like, and there's an acrid character that accompanies. I don't get much stout.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to smokeypeat for this one - I love me some gingerbread. GBS pours an intensely dark brown that appears basically black once it groups up in the glass. The cap is nicely foamy and thick, khaki-colored, and has nice retention. Some chunky lacing is left near the top of the glass as well - very nice looking stout.

Hardywood certainly nailed what they were going for in the aroma - lots of warm, sprucy ginger that is met in equal parts by heaps of doughy, cookie-like malts. The combination forms a nice gingerbread cookie aroma that sends you back to making the festive treats during Christmastime. Some other spices lie a little deeper in the aroma, the most notable being cinnamon. Very lively and certainly unique.

Just like the aroma, the first sip explodes with a mirage of flavors that is so delicately reminiscent of the little men-shaped cookies. Gingerbread spice, shortbread, cinnamon, brown sugar... Very sweet and delicate, but balance quite nicely with a slight bit of warmth from the alcohol. The finish has some faint cocoa powder that's easily recognizable, but this beer is all the the gingerbread.

Some light ashiness in the middle-end that seems like it might be from the hops, though the hops themselves induce no extra flavors (no leaves, florals, or anything like that). In all honesty, I'm quite surprised by how much this beer actually resembles a gingerbread cookie. Pretty thick body, lightly creamy and just shy of chewy. Would have like to see just a bit more carbonation, but the mouth feel was still pretty nice.

The people I was with didn't love gingerbread cookies like I did, so they weren't as crazy about this beer as I was. I love gingerbread cookies and I thought this was damn good. A little more complexity or development wouldn't hurt, but they were going for a gingerbread cookie beer and that's pretty much what they got. Sweet without being cloyingly so. Very solid stout for those that love the little cookie-men.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Umberto tonight.

Pours a fairly dark black, with a small creamy looking head, and a small amount of lacing.

Smells incredibly ginger-forward, really spiced, with some vanilla, cinnamon, and chocolate.

This is a lot less sweet than thought it would be. It's pretty "spicy," with nutmeg, cinnamon, lactose and vanilla, with a little bit of chocolate. The spices are done well, but a small amount seems sufficient with how intense the ginger is.

This is medium bodied- I wish it was slightly thicker, but it does have a pretty dry and creamy mouthfeel. It has a lower level of carbonation.

This wasn't quite as good as I was expecting, but it's still quite tasty.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to sincereNc for sharing this one at a past Random Sunday Tasting! 2011 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured pitch black with a one finger tan head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, ginger, cookie, sugar, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, gingerbread, ginger, sugar, and spice. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The brewery really nailed the gingerbread cookie aspect here if I am honest. It almost tasted like you were drinking a gingerbread man in all his glory. Very well balanced and complex. This made it quite inviting and would make it a perfect candidate for a dessert beer. Very well done and I hope I get to try more of it in the future.

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Gingerbread Stout from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 137 ratings.