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Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout - SweetWater Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

415 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 415
Hads: 1,051
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 11.31%
Wants: 110
Gots: 213 | FT: 6
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:
Beer added by: rajendra82 on 08-26-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 415 | Hads: 1,051
Photo of jlindros
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2014 vintage thanks to itsme_timd (Reddit), shared with rudzud.

Small creamy darker barely covering head that fades quite quickly, great legs, pitch black beer.

Nose very malty, lots of sweet brown malts, sweet biscuity toffee and candy like almost brown sugar, some dark candied raisins, mild mild cocoa and black like malt, touch of a caramel fudge, faint roast and coffee syrup.

Taste brings more sweet brown malts, more biscuity toffee, faint candied raisin and fruity slight tangy, with more fig like fruit. A slight spicy earthy hop, fair bitterness, faint pine too. Little fudgey like brownie on the back end, raisin and fig too. Finish is fair bitterness with mild earthy spicy hop, more fudgey brownie, some light raisin and fig, little brown malt.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, decent carb, booze hidden well at least.

Overall meh. (848 characters)

Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22OZ bomber into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a malt and sweet coffee aroma.
Appearance- Coffee black beer with a very small tan head
Taste- Definitely taste the malt, with a sweet fruit backdrop; very tasty
Palate- Full bodied beer with medium carbonation, has a dry finish.
Overall- My favorite Sweetwater offering. (327 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweetwater Happy Ending has a thin-to-medium, beige head, and an extremely dark brown appearance, with a thin lacing sheen left on the glass. The aroma is a mix of sweet, citrus fruity, somewhat piney, hop oils, and dark-roasted, licorice malt. Taste is of dark-roasted, almost charred barley malt, black cherry, licorice, pine, some citrus pith, black-strap molasses, and mellow bitterness. Mouthfeel is heavy and syrupy, and Sweetwater Happy Ending finishes semi-wet and surprisingly drinkable.

RJT (502 characters)

Photo of rangerred
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours pitch black with a very thick one finger dark tan head. Absolutely excellent head retention considering the strength along with a thick ring of lacing all the way around the glass.

Aroma is a little lighter on the roast compared to other RIS and has more in the way of dark fruits and some pine from the hops. Tree bark, wet earth, and moss round out the aroma.

The flavor has a mix of pine and tree bark/wet earth up front followed by just a touch of dark fruit. Hops are more prevalent here compared to some other examples of the style. Roast is present but it is in the background and remains restrained. Very light coffee notes along with pretty high bitterness. Sweetness is kept in check with almost not hint of the alcohol whatsoever.

Overall, a very drinkable imperial stout with hops that really push the boundaries for the style. Extremely drinkable and a very nice beer from Sweetwater. (936 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage, with black wax topping. Poured in a snifter, the beer is a jet black coloring, with a light tan, frothy, foamy head, around half an inch. Nose of heavy hops forward, with cannibus, grass, and piney notes, followed by roasted notes, hints of charcoal and bitter coffee, solid earthy notes, and subtle chocolate highlights. Surprisingly hop heavy for the style. Flavors are heavily roasted forward, with a strong earthy tone, highlighted by dry, spiced hops characteristics of grass, pepper, cannibus, evergreen, and cedar. There are some woody notes, as well, and a touch of heavily roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Heavy palate. The body is robust, but dry, as well. Interesting feel while you drink. The aftertaste is more of the charcoal and evergreen than anything else, with a solid smoke, earthy, and dry hopped character. The finish is slick and dry, leaving a surprisingly little amount of anything on your tongue. (944 characters)

Photo of Ya_Boy_Uneek
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is by far one of my favorite winter beers. My wife hates it, even better then. I love this beer, its rich, thick and grassy. It reminds me of the smells of fresh cut wet grass. Its smelly in all the right ways. Its dark and beautiful in a tall beer glass. The lacing is thick and sticky. I love this beer to the point, I bought every six pack of it in my town, and then drove to another town to get more. After my lovely 3 months with this beer, I can say, it is one of my favs.

If you love dark, rich, unique beers, give this a try during the season its out. Its not a typical Imperial stout, but its well worth a try. (625 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - The stout poured black into a pint glass with a 3/4inch mocha head. Lacing was left as the foam receded.

Smell - The aroma was largely composed of coffee with a hint of sweetness lingering in the background. The aroma leads me to believe this might be mildly sweet.

Taste - On the initial taste, I note burnt malts, coffee, cola, and a gentle measure of carbonation. The sweetness I expected really never comes through, leading me to label this a mild imperial stout. What is striking about the aftertaste is the burnt sugar that lingers on the back of the tongue. Though no incredibly potent, the taste has some staying power.

Mouthfeel - The tiny bubbles in the carbonation remind me of a nitro stout. It is smooth and creamy going down, but I would hardly label it as being thick.

Overall - I have been wanting to try this one for a while and was not bowled over by it. A nice stout, but nowhere near the top of my list. (942 characters)

Photo of Rbroccoli
4.46/5  rDev +14.7%
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. (1,259 characters)

Photo of Mojo
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (378 characters)

Photo of RWLawman
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
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. (663 characters)

Photo of richj1970
3.93/5  rDev +1%
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. (475 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.85/5  rDev -1%
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. (504 characters)

Photo of JamesStreet
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
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. (531 characters)

Photo of banglin
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
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. (454 characters)

Photo of guityler83
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (1,280 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (1,096 characters)

Photo of Daddyrich
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (539 characters)

Photo of tmm313
4.79/5  rDev +23.1%
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! (1,048 characters)

Photo of IcanBENCHurCAT
4.95/5  rDev +27.2%
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. (600 characters)

Photo of Zach136
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (440 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
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. (329 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
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! (1,053 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (741 characters)

Photo of Brabander
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
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! (257 characters)

Photo of Resuin
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (1,021 characters)

Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 415 ratings.