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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 Zach136


4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into Belgian snifter-tulipy glass

A - Pitch black, semi lasting beige head, solid lacing.

S - Huge tropical hop nose with support from pine and roasted coffee.

T - Pine and roast one together to give the brew some of the typical Motor oil character but a nice citrus sweetness balances it out nicely

M - fairly dry and light bodies for an Impy stout

O- once you overlook the terrible packaging this brew is pretty tasty.

Serving type: growler

01-11-2014 03:04:32 | More by Zach136
Photo of jsanford


3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler filled at Growlers in Hilton Head, SC. Poured into a Tulip Glass.

A - Dark black with a creamy mocha head that recedes to a patchy haze and leaves sticky lacing clinging to the glass.
S - Dark roasted malt with a bit of bitter chocolate and coffee. Slightly subdued aromas, nothing too special for a "big" stout.
T - Very similar to the nose, dark roasted malt dominates with some bitter chocolate and coffee. Sweet and "roasty", but again, fairly typical for a big Imperial Stout.
M - Creamy with a medium-full mouth-feel and low carbonation. Getting just a hint of that 9% ABV in the finish.
O - Not bad, but none too memorable.

Serving type: growler

06-06-2011 23:47:12 | More by jsanford
Photo of argock


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

Poured from a growler into an oversized clear wine glass. Purchased from The Lodge (Hilton Head, SC) for $13.

A: Black body with short, 1/2 finger beige head with a short reticulated lacing pattern at the top of the glass.

S: Dark malts with bitter dark chocolate and strong black coffee dominate. Some softer earthy hoppiness also is present. Some caramel/cola aromas are present too.

T: Bitter dark chocolate is the easiest flavor to detect, but other flavors including dark malts, espresso, earthy hops, and alcohol are evident too. A malty beer all the way, but a bit of a bludgeoning type of RIS without much subtlety.

M: Surprisingly thin feel overall with no more than medium body. Carbonation is mid-range for the style and aftertaste is dry with bitter chocolate tones.

D: A fine beer but not close to the upper tier due to the aroma profile (too heavy on chocolate) and light body for the style.

Serving type: growler

06-14-2010 03:28:00 | More by argock
Photo of cdizinno

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a growler purchased at Green's in Columbia.

A: Dark black color with a nice tan head that leaves moderate lacing.

S: Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and caramel. A slight touch of alcohol.

T&M: The flavor starts out with a mild hop bitterness which is overpowered by a nice sweet, roasted malt taste. Some coffee and bittersweet chocolate with a very mild alcohol presence. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and rich.

Drinkability is really good for the style. Overall a very tasty stout.

Serving type: growler

04-11-2010 19:55:14 | More by cdizinno
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a growler to a pint glass. Had a black color and a totally thick, opaque consistency. There was an inch of tan-colored, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: A mild yet pleasant aroma of malt, hops, cocoa and coffee.

T: Tasted of cocoa, coffee, roasted malt and hops up front, but it was surprisingly thin and watery in the finish. Good, but not great.

M: A nice amount of carbonation and a somewhat slick finish. Medium-bodied, not as thick and chewy as some RIS's.

D: A drinkable beer, if a bit uneven in places.

Serving type: growler

01-14-2010 14:56:48 | More by avalon07
Photo of HeyItsChili


3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler of this at the CBX for their Rare Beer Tuesday offering today.

A - Pours murky black with no highlights and a thin, dark brown head that quickly dissipates.

S - Cocoa nubs, roast malt.

T - Sweet and slightly bitter hops up front rolling into rich stouty goodness. Cocoa, roasted malt, faint java. Really wonderful finish.

M - Medium bodied, sticky, sugary.

Serving type: growler

01-13-2010 04:31:26 | More by HeyItsChili
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 richj1970


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

A: Pours midnight black with one finger beige to tan colored head. Lots of sticky lacing.

S: A bit of bitter chocolate and roasted malts with plenty of grassy hops.

T: Up front bitterness from hops combined with the roasted malts. Maybe a bit of coffee flavors.

M: A bit thin but nicely carbonated. A little dry on the finish.

O: Interesting twist on an imperial stout. The hop bite is enjoyable. I could have used a touch more sweetness but otherwise nice job.

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2014 17:00:32 | More by richj1970
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 banglin


3.29/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: rich dark brown to black color. Very good lacing.

S: strong roasted malts aroma

T: strong dark chocolate flavors along with the roasted malts flavor. Lacks the imperial stout flavor I have come to appreciate in other imperial stouts.

M: not as thick as I would have liked from an Imperial Stout, but not too thing. Carbonation is good.

O: it is a good beer but lacks many of the characteristics of imperial stouts that I grown to love an crave.

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2014 23:01:54 | More by banglin
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
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Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 794 ratings.