1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout - SweetWater Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial StoutSweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

861 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 861
Reviews: 388
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 87
Gots: 127 | FT: 3
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 861 | Reviews: 388 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Both on-tap in Atlanta brewery, and a hand bottle fresh of a second of three recipies about. I liked the bottle experiment the best as it was more chocolate than coffee in their lateral tasting. The tap was coffee, but lso a sour aroma and more dry bitterness there. The head of all was nice and soapy and suggested fresh. The bottle was creamer and would get a 3.9 rank.

Sammy, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

t0rin0, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to J2Brew2 for sending me this one!

Pours a pitch black color with a 1 inch khaki head made up of tiny bubbles. Good rings of lace on the drink down. Smells of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and herbal hops. Tastes of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, with very minor hop essence. There is a bit of an acidic/tangy flavor on the tongue after each sip. A tiny bit of alcohol burn in the throat. Mouthfeel is very carbonated with a prickly sensation in the throat after each swallow. A little too much carbonation for this beer style. Overall, this is a pretty good stout that suffers a little from the acidic/tangy taste and the over carbonation.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

djrn2, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours near black with a tan head that is a single finger and lasts for a decent time, slowly falling. Nose brings some strong notes of coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate. Some nice hops in there as well. Really interesting. The taste doesn't bring the flavors as strongly as the nose brought different scents forward, but this is a tasty beer. Light hop presence. Hops find their way again into the mouthfeel with a bit of booze and some nice dryness, yet it does not finish terribly so. Drinks quite well and is a really nice offering from them.

Thorpe429, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

zestar, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

nmann08, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

acurtis, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of brentk56
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with a prodigious head that laces that glass nicely

Smell: Citrus fruit dominates, with burnt black bread elements underneath

Taste: Opens with a molasses and char element that is quickly joined and subsumed by the citrus; after the swallow, some chocolate kicks in to add some balance; surprisingly fruity for the style

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; not nearly full enough for the style

Drinkability: I really didn't care for the combination of the hops and the charred molasses flavors in this brew; seems like it goes a bit overboard in multiple directions

brentk56, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Impervious onyx with no lightening at the edges; not even with bright sunshine behind the pint glass. The compact, whipped creamy, mochachino colored crown is a looker and doesn't buy that shit about high ABV beer failing to generate lace. You want a great looking RIS? Here you go.

The nose leads me to think that Happy Ending is going to be a beautifully roasted, bittersweet, moderately hoppy ale with almost no alcohol presence. Let's hope it's right. Do I smell a hint of caramelized sugar and oak that would suggest whiskey barrel aging?

Hmmm, things aren't so rosy on the palate. What was setting itself up to be a humdinger of a big stout isn't panning out quite like I'd hoped. For one thing (and it's a major thing), there isn't enough malt. For a 6.0% American stout? Sure. For a 9.0% Double American Stout? Not even close. One sip is all it takes to determine that Happy Ending is no RIS.

The roasted malt flavor is as much dark caramel and dark fruit (sour figs and tangy raisins) as it is dark chocolate and coffee. The beer tastes quite a bit like a Baltic porter as a result. I don't usually mind citric hops in my stouts, as long as there's enough roastiness, but the Centennial, Willamette and Cascade seem out of place here. I'm really not thrilled with the way this one comes together. Or, rather, doesn't come together.

As beer, the flavor is above average. As a big stout, it's average. I've decided to go with the former when assigning a score. The mouthfeel takes the brunt of the malt deficit. I've had porters that were more full and more luxurious. Maybe it was more substantial when fresh, but any big stout unable to last 8 months isn't worth much anyway. Too bad it isn't the 'stiffy' that the brewery claims.

Unfortunately, this Sweetwater offering doesn't have a happy beginning, a happy middle or a happy ending. I don't want to slag it too much, but it isn't the beer that I thought it would be and I'm a little bitter as a result. The bottom line is that Happy Ending left me frustrated rather than satisfied.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Texasfan549, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 edition.

A - Poured a thick, opaque black as night liquid with a very full two inch plus head of tan creamy and sticky foamy lace on top. This hung around for a couple minutes before letting go to ample side glass lace.

S - Super sweet with lots of aromas of lactose and chocolate and a bit of coffee. I almost picked up some licorice in there as well. Definatly a very full aroma and no hint of the abv yet.

T - Wow, super sweet stout is the way this one goes. First thing that hits you is the ton of lactose sugar and a wall of chocolate. Deep german dark chocolate mixed in with some bron sugar and a touch of coffee. Definatly some licorice in here too. This was a mightly big RIS and the flavors were very well pronounced.

M - Super creamy. It had ample carbonation which really hung around well throughout the sesson and helped to give it a really full feel. Lots of creamy notes made this a definite dessert beer.

D - Well this was very full and to be honest it would be hard to drink alot of them simply for that reason however, there was really no hint what so ever of the abv and it had such a full creamy feeling that I could easily see myself having one after dinner almost every night.

Overall this was really a quality RIS. I did not find the feel distracting, rather I thought it really helped pull he whole thing together. A really fantastic overall aroma and yaste made this one far above just average. I hope they bottle it again this year as this was really a favorite of mine.

mikesgroove, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

kjkinsey, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

spycow, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single finger head with nice lacing on a jet black body with little light passing through. Roasted malt and hops. Flavor is similar with a better hop profile than most imperial stouts. I disagree with the reviews though. Imperial stouts are common and many good ones are out there. This is a good beer, but there are so many others to choose from that this one doesn't compare too. Body is too thin as well.

kylehay2004, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.33/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a dark, pitch black body with a medium-sized tan head.

Smell: Well, there's some dark chocolate, cold coffee, and a little bit of soy if you can manage to sniff around the overwhelming aroma of pine.

Taste: The fact that the overpowering pine flavor squashes any chance of savoring the malty flavors is both distressing and exasperating. Is this some kind of prank? The finish is full of a black malt burnt ashiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation. Its actually bordering on watery, what gives?!

Drinkability: Normally, I have no quarrel with the hops, and have often said, "Come on hop, come all!" but it just seems a bit inappropriate in an Imperial Stout. Who knows, maybe that's how the kids like their stouts these days. If that is the case, how about a little "heads-up" next time?

ChainGangGuy, May 05, 2007
Photo of oberon
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sweetwater in my mind is a very underrated brewery maybe because its in the south and doesnt have the largest ditribution area?I dont know.This brew poured into a standard pint glass a jet black with a nice tight formed dark mocha colored head that left broken lace behind as it settled pretty quickly.Awesome aromas very fruity with notes of bitter chocolate,coffee,and some wood underneath,it seems to go downhill from there a little.Really thin for a RIS in my mind no chewey big mouthfeel here it glides down effortlessly wich is good for alot of beers but in my opinion not this style,flavors have alot of RIS qualities but are muted a little.Dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate are there with some dark fruit but its not real firm,one thing I like is a nice leafy hop profile in the finish wich was the high water mark for me.Man it started out great but just didnt have the goods to be stellar,all in all decent.

oberon, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -36.2%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of largadeer
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark brown body capped by two fingers of lasting tan head. Translucent as it thins; not exceptionally dark but still looks true to style.

Smell: Pine at the forefront - unusually hoppy for the style. Grapefruit oil and resin, a little charred malt and black licorice. Moderate sweetness. Hops really steal the show here; smells more like a black DIPA than an imperial stout.

Palate: Pine and citrus, primarily orange with a bit of grapefruit. Bitter chocolate, licorice, faint burnt malt notes. Molasses sweetness. Medium-full body, fairly bitter with sticky resinous hops from start to finish.

Overall: An interesting take on the style, but not overly palatable to me. The hop and malt flavors aren't entirely harmonious.

largadeer, Apr 27, 2012
Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

zeff80, Jan 19, 2014
Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

SocalKicks, Jun 03, 2014
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from unclejedi courtesy of the LittleGuy BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, some dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste is malty but not as thick as most in the style nor is it overly sweet, with flavors of dark chocolate, dark fruit, coffee and some smokiness. There's a significant hops presence especially given the style of beer and the fact that I've had stored for well over a year. There's no trace of the alcohol. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style, I'm regretting not drinking this beer fresh but it's still a good one to drink for a while if you're in the mood for the style and you want something strong but not over-powering.

TheManiacalOne, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours real nice, but the head could stay a little bit longer. There's a nice smoky flavor on this one with some molasses on there as well. This is hearty, but carries the characteristics that help to keep the flavor delivery fluid. I'd say the only detractor is a bit of a boozy thing that burns on the tongue just a wee bit too much. Overall, this is nice though. Nicer than I expected.

RblWthACoz, Aug 19, 2012
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +2%

nickfl, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of Kegatron
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours completely black with a finger of dark tan head. Retains nicley around the edges with some creamy wisps around the middle leaving lots of lace and oily brown residue down the sides of the glass. The aroma is chocolate, roasted malts, and a combo of dark fruits and hops that gives of a slightly funky smell.

The taste is a thick chocolate sweetness up front with some moderate roasted tones, a twang of dark fruits, and hop bitterness in the finish that lingers. The sweetness and bitterness do an OK job of balancing each other but the overall flavor profile just doesn't feel that deep to me. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a fairly thick and viscous feel. The 9% ABV is present but doesn't detract much from the taste.

I think a little more balance in the aroma and deepness in the taste could have really pushed this guy into a better category of RIS. That being said, I will say that the drinkability is still pretty good for a beer of this thickness and ABV level.

Kegatron, Mar 04, 2008
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 861 ratings.