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Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout - SweetWater Brewing Company

Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial StoutSweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout

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

794 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 794
Reviews: 383
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.24%

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company visit their website
Georgia, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rajendra82 on 08-26-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 794 | Reviews: 383 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Rbroccoli


4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: Bottle poured into pint glass.

Picked up from Kendrick Spirits in Florence, Alabama

I waited for the beer to warm to room temperature before drinking.

Appearance: DARK. Like really really dark. I took my bicycle headlight (as bright as a car's high beam) to the glass and the light still didn't come remotely close to penetrating. Beautiful beer. Espresso colored. About 2 fingers of cappuccino colored head, dissipated to leave behind a sticky lacing. No lacing as the beer drinks though, only remains where the head was.

Smell- Roasted malts, syrup, subtle coffee beans, a hint of brown sugar, warm alcohol

Taste- Smokiness, oak, malted barley, espresso bean accompanied by smooth high percentage dark chocolate. Some nuttiness and even toasted marshmallow. Warm alcohol finish with some booziness. The dark chocolate sticks to your palate. The build up is reminiscent of rocky road ice cream.

Mouthfeel- Fairly viscous. Subtle carbonation while not prickly. Very satisfying. Ideal for an Imperial Stout.

Overall- Surprising result from Sweetwater Brewery. While all of their beers aren't bad, I've had a hard time finding an offering from them worth raving about. Happy Ending is it. This could easily be their flagship seasonal beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 05:46:41 | More by Rbroccoli
Photo of Mojo


3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle -> New Belgium globe

A - opaque black with a large caramel colored head, average retention, and good lacing.

S - chocolate and molasses

T - earthy with sweet chocolate, molasses, and a generous helping of hops. The finish is roasted nuts and coffee. Not much aftertaste and the alcohol is well hidden.

M - thinner than I expected.

O - good but not great.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 03:36:21 | More by Mojo
Photo of RWLawman

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Opaque black with thin head and spotted lacing left behind.

S - Hops are immediately obvious, with some roasted malts and coffee hidden in the background.

T - Pretty much follows the nose. A little bit of cocoa nibs in there as well, but this one is mostly hops, malts, and coffee. Hops stand out to me more than anything, probably because I'm not a huge fan of a heavy hop presence in my stouts.

M - Medium-bodied, with a prickly touch, but a sticky finish. Not bad.

O - For a heavily hopped stout, this wasn't all that bad. Drinkable, at least. I usually end up pouring a heavily hopped stout down the drain, but this one was enjoyable enough to finish.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2014 00:00:21 | More by RWLawman
Photo of buschbeer


3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

A - This beer pours black with less than an inch of cocoa colored head.

S - The smell has some dark chocolate and cocoa. I also get a molasses aroma and some grassy hops.

T - I taste a little of the dark chocolate. I also taste some bitter cocoa and some hops that provide a mildly bitter finish.

M - Full

O - It is good but a little bitter for my liking. I prefer chocolatey or coffee flavors to bitterness in my stouts. I like it, but it is not a favorite.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 20:12:04 | More by buschbeer
Photo of JamesStreet


3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into snifter at about 55-58 degrees
A - nice black licorice color with surprisingly thick tan head. Good-lasting lacing
S - not so bad but not what I was expecting. Lots of piney hop aroma. Pretty hop forward
T - again, the hop profile dominates with subtle notes of roasty, nutty malt.
M - very light on the tongue, almost slick. Hop bite lingers awhile on the tongue.
O - this smells, tastes and feels more like a black IPA than an ImpStout. Not a bad beer, but really not a top of the line Black IPA either.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 23:27:03 | More by JamesStreet
Photo of guityler83


3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013, vintage, 22oz, black wax

A: From the 22oz bottle to a snifter glass the beer poured a thick two finger head made of fine bubbles. Tan color with a light brown hue, as the foam fell it got chunkier and left spots on the side of the glass. Great retention. The resting layer of foam held for minutes. The black opaque liquid has no light shining through. Legs I can't determine.. the foam is getting in the way when swirled.

S: Roast and bakers chocolate upfront. Moderate pine hop aroma comes off very dark, dank. Slight noble earthy hop character also. Caramel and sweet raisins detected when it warmed up a bit.

T: Dark chocolate bitterness with the pine is an interesting combo. Some boozyness comes through in the flavor. Caramel, toffee and toasted bread crust flavors in the middle. Roasty, a hint of smoke, and more cocoa flavors. Fairly refreshing with the hop flavor as it warms up.. interesting.

M: Carbonation is moderate, higher then I'm used to in this style. Body is large and thick feeling. A tad bit of astringency and alcohol warming.

O: Boarders on a imperial black IPA with more roast and chocolate flavor. The hop flavor is nice compliments the beer well overall, however some of the harsher flavors I would have liked to drop out with a year of age.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 01:16:44 | More by guityler83
Photo of deadonhisfeet


3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. The pour is extremely dark with very little (if any) light getting through. It sports about 2 fingers of rocky tan had. Good retention. Nice lacing. The beer has a very strong hop aroma for this style. I get a nose of citrusy hops and roasted malt that make me think of espresso and lemon. I also detect a faint, sweet, toffee-like odor as well.

Medium body, firm feel, and a very dry, hoppy flavor. Just a kiss of malt up front before lemony hops rush in and scour the palate. Flavor is a little acrid at mid-palate, as some late-arriving roastiness mixes with those hops in a way I don't find terriby pleasing. Still, it's brief and the finish is pleasant, dry, and lingering.

I'm not really sure how to rate this beer. I don't dislike it, but I don't particularly like it either. My primary criticism is that it's an Imperial Stout that tastes more like an Imperial IPA. I like Imperial Stouts for the rich, sweet and roasty flavors. If I want an Imperial IPA, I'll just grab an Imperial IPA. Tasty beer, but not one I'd reach for again.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2014 22:58:34 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of Daddyrich


4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours black with small amount of brown foam. Not much foam retention.

S-Smells slightly smoky with a hint of coffee.

T-Coffee also present in the taste, with a small bit of chocolate, malt and a carbonated, hoppy finish.

M-Smooth and alcohol is masked well. Not as heavy or filling as you would think looking at it.

Overall-Flavors of the beer complement each other well. Very unique beer that I enjoy. Only available January-March and should be in your winter seasonal selections. Purchased at local Kroger for $10.99 a six pack.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2014 00:22:50 | More by Daddyrich
Photo of tmm313


4.78/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Mainly pitch black, but has a little red, too. Poured a huge, super creamy, tan, 3 finger head. Excellent lacing.

S- HUGE floral, tropical fruit and grapefruit! Took me completely by surprise! When you really dig in, you get some nuttiness and a little pine. If blindfolded, there is nothing about the smell that would suggest stout. One of the best smelling beers I've ever had.

T- Big floral/tropical fruits over coffee and roasted malts hit first. Grapefruit washes through next, followed by dark chocolate, earthy hop spices, and pine. Aftertaste is a mix of pine, rind, and spice. Awesome.

M- Medium body. Super creamy on the tongue with nice, oily residue. Medium lingering citrus and pine bitterness.

O- What in the hell just happened?! This thing says "American Double / Imperial Stout" on its BA page, but it is much more IPA than Stout! No wonder the best if enjoyed by date is only a year away; this thing is loaded with hops! Its probably best defined as a Black IPA. Huge flavors! Fantastic, no matter the category confusion!

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 21:06:07 | More by tmm313
Photo of IcanBENCHurCAT


4.95/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Jet black with a tan head that dissipates. Good lacing around the glass. Slight alcohol aroma, not overpowering.

S - Hop-Forward. Slight aromas of maltiness and coffee.

T - Aggressively hoppy, with roasty aftertaste. Mildly sweet, but mostly strong hop bitterness upfront. Warm alcohol taste is present, but not solventy.

M - Somewhat thin for a stout. Good carbonation level.

Overall, I love this Imperial Russian Stout. Not as sweet or full or malty as some other varieties I've had, but this category has a lot of room for complex, American-style hop-forward beers. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 22:55:42 | More by IcanBENCHurCAT
Photo of srandycarter


3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pretty darned black. Tan, thick bubbled head, leaves to ring pretty quickly. Not much spotty lace.

S - Light cocoa, choc chip cookies, some soy in there.

T - Robust flavor, all smell attributes and some roasty coffee type tastes.

M - Medium to full body, good carb, fair balance.

D - Big beer. Good to try. One is enough.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 04:31:49 | More by srandycarter
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

thanks to OlavZipser for sending this extra my way. shared with the mrs out of 2 hunahpu snifters. bottle is dated best by 1/3/2014 (yesterday - oops).

a - brew poured the typical deep dark as night black with a nice stouty mocha tan head that could be rebuilt with a swirl of the glass. spotty lacing and the head didn't hang out long.

s - nose is bakers chocolate roast. quite nice and appetizing. there seems to be some hopping on the finish which adds a layer of citrus to the nose.

t - as the nose advertised, a hoppy stout. good roast and nice chocolate notes with some earthy grain and big citrus on the finish. somewhat reminiscent of darkness.

m - smooth and easy drinking stout, the 9% invisible.

o - overall, hitting the spot just right for an afternoon stout on a snowy wintery day. missing the best by date by a day didn't seem to hurt this at all - would love to try it fresh, but really enjoyed it today. don't really understand some of the lackluster reviews. would definitely have this beer again (and again and again) - i'm a fan!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 19:26:24 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of ONovoMexicano

New Mexico

3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up in Atlanta in August of 2013.

Poured into a snifter.

A- The beer is pitch black in color with a tan, khaki head that forms two fingers thick over the liquid. The head dissipates quickly but leaves a beautiful, abundant lacing all over the snifter.

S- Spicy, resinous hops overpower the nose. Some roasted malts emerge beneath the hops. There's hints of booze, but mostly it's well-disguised here.

T- Very hop forward, with characteristics you'd expect from an American Strong Ale: spicy rye, resinous, and slightly bitter. Hardly reminiscent of a stout.

O- The beer is indeed tasty, but it is bitter, hoppy and has very little that suggests a stout. It's a good beer, but a bit misleading in calling itself a stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 21:28:55 | More by ONovoMexicano
Photo of Brabander


4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I got this bottle in an in person trade a week ago with Josiah...thanks buddy! Poured in my Struise glass this beer looks very nice. Pitch black fluid and a big head, a bit lightbrown. Good smell and taste. The spices are far away in this beer. Smooth beer!

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2013 21:00:49 | More by Brabander
Photo of Resuin


4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. This is a black waxed, 2013 bottle.

Appearance: Pours an opaque black and leaves a finger of tan/light brown head which lingers a bit before slowly fading to a rim around the glass.

Smell: Molasses, roasted malts, caramel, cocoa, definitely plenty of hops presence as well. Mild coffee, vanilla, and dark fruits are also in the background.

Taste: Roasted malts, cocoa, mild vanilla. Light, smooth flavor, very high drinkability. Some mild hops balance out the mild sweetness of the cocoa flavors. Alcohol is hardly present at all - impressive for a 9% ABV brew.

Mouth-feel: Medium carbonation with a surprisingly light body, especially for the style. Finish is smooth and slightly creamy.

Overall: Different than expected. Very light body and well balanced flavors make this a nice, refreshing "imperial" stout. Nice cocoa flavors and roasted malts make up the majority of the profile. This is a simple and tasty brew. Definitely well-crafted. Nothing in here to complain about.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2013 22:47:21 | More by Resuin
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 bottle:

pours a thick jet black with a finger of creamy dark brown head, slow dissipation. aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roasted grains, licorice, molasses.
the flavor is a charred bitterness up front followed by sweet chocolatey malt flavor, then finishes with a nutty/oak flavor. body is a bit thin for the style, medium in body with low carbonation.

this is a nice stout.. a lot lighter than most of the imperial stouts i've been drinking lately.. both in alcohol and bodywise. even the flavor is a lot more subtle and muted.

not a bad beer by any means, but i would put it between an imperial stout and a regular stout.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2013 01:46:11 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of Treyliff

West Virginia

3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black with a nice thick and foamy dark tan two-finger head that retains well

S- roasted graininess up front with notes of chocolate and toffee, just a hint of coffee and some earthy notes to close out the aroma

T- lots of dark fruit notes; fig, raisin, prune. Eventually gives way to sweet and malty chocolate with some coffee notes, the finish is slightly tangy with more dark prune/fig flavors, dry and earthy to close it out

M- medium-heavy body, super creamy mouthfeel leads to a silky finish, just a touch if warmth on the finish

O- a nice change of pace from a typical double stout, with what seems to be more dark fruit emphasis, rather than straight chocolate/coffee, pretty easy to drink as well given its 9%.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2013 02:22:54 | More by Treyliff
Photo of BB1313


2.91/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Best if enjoyed before 1/9/14. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with a khaki head and it leaves nice lacing and retention. The aromas are full of orange peel and citrus. I'm confused because it smells like an old IPA. Caramel malts in the mix. It doesn't seem to have any stout qualities. If I was blindfolded, I wouldn't have guessed it was an Imperial Stout at all. The confusion carries on to the flavors. Tons of orange. There's some roasty malts in the mix. Not much chocolate or cocoa. Subtle bitterness. Finishes dry. Very weird for the style. Mouthfeel is nice. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied; moderate carbonation. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

This isn't a bad beer at all, but it just doesn't remind me of a stout at all. It's a really weird interpretation of the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2013 16:58:38 | More by BB1313
Photo of jmdrpi


3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle with black wax over cap. 2013 release.

Pours straight black, off white thick head. Good head retention. Roasted aroma, with hops mixed in. Same with the taste, definitely a hoppy stout. Good balance of the strong bold flavors. Lingering bitter dry aftertaste. Could be thicker, but good smooth carbonation level.

I hate to sound old or like a tight ass, but like Clown Shoes, these guys should maybe ease up on the cheesy dick- joke puns, as their beer is good and I think would come off more seriously.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2013 02:44:48 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of uscgsc22

South Carolina

5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is my 3rd favorite beer It is great in the bottle or on tap.

You really have to try this one beer. It's a very flavorful beer which everyone loves.

Pro's= its between $11 to $12 for a 6 pack.

Con's = Once a year :(

Sweet Water Brewing Company!!!

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2013 01:23:19 | More by uscgsc22
Photo of Lemke10


4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pours a dark brown/black color with a slight brown head. The aroma is slightly robust with a bit of hops as well. The taste is smooth and has reasonably good robust flavors. There are lots of toasted, roasted malts with hints of coffee and toffee. Leaves a slight bitter happy ending!

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2013 02:48:45 | More by Lemke10
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle of the 2010 vintage pours a viscous black with a small cap of dark brown head. Comparable to TenFidy on the viscosity/darkness/head color. Bonus points for the name and the old asian lady label.

Nose is Hershey's syrup, burning caramel and perhaps some nutty yeast. Hops have pretty much all faded from the aroma at this point.

Still has a fair amount of bitterness to it though. It is a little smoother than fresh with more of the malty chocolate coming out. I prefer it with a few years on it, it is too hoppy for me when fresh. Some coffee as it warms Mouthfeel is not as rich and creamy as I initially thought when pouring it. It still has some leafy green flavors from the hops, gives it a touch of vegetal character. Pretty good, I do think I will continue putting these in the ol' cellar when I get the opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2013 23:16:27 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of fostah


4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Moat Mountain pint glass.

Midnight in the mountains black, with an inch o khaki colored head that leaves pretty solid rings as the beer disappears. Citrusy hops and dark chocolate in the nose, with some underlying alcohol.

Wow. That's good. Light roast coffee beans, milk chocolate, and bitter dark chocolate first. That coffee bitter lingers, even after the the chocolate flavor washes away. Light hops, not nearly as overpowering as I feared from the initial aroma. Alcohol creeps up slowly, and at 9%, it's hidden pretty well.

A nice little (err... big) beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2013 14:56:40 | More by fostah
Photo of suspect

New York

4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle courtesy of Bulbman into a Real Ale snifter.

A: Thick, viscous pour. Aggressive into the glass leads to a sneaky 2 finger head that fades back down fighting every inch of the way leaving sticky lacing clinging to the sides and a solid ring around the outside as well as a nifty swirly pool of wispy foam on top.

S: Smells of roasted dark malts, mild coffee, bittering hops and a nice bready yeast aroma to bring home the very well balanced and blended nose. A touch of alcohol in the smell lets you know it means business but there's also some party. It's like an aroma-mullet.

T: Beautiful blend of the aforementioned smells with the coffee coming out a bit more and the alcohol fading back.

M: Buttery mouthfeel, premium mouth coating and the abv warms the mouth and the belly nicely.

O: A superb beer. Put on par with Expedition Stout and Founders Imperial. Very well done and likely to improve with time.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2013 00:36:23 | More by suspect
Photo of pschul4


3.09/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

A- Pours a very deep brown with a 1" khaki head that leaves bunches of lacing

S- Oh god I'm getting lots of black licorice... Do not like black licorice...

T- There are 2 flavors going on here. 1) roasted malts, very good. 2) Black licorice, gag me. Hopefully some other flavors will prevail as it warms

M- Nice and smooth, so nice

O- If this didn't have the black licorice I'd love it. Don't like black licorice though so blech

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2013 19:21:18 | More by pschul4
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Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 794 ratings.