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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

792 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 792
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 792 | Reviews: 383 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ruckzuck


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

#1948. Sat on this for a while before cracking into it.

A - really dark, lovely thick light chocolate colored head

S - roasted malt, really pleasant hop aroma

T - really enjoyable roasted malt, hints of chocolate, hops come through just right, really enjoyable!

M - medium body, bit of carbonation, goes down quite well

D - wow, I quite like this! I'm surprised as I've never been a huge Sweetwater fan and bought this on a whim a while ago. Really enjoyable. I got the ginromous bottle and am sharing it with my gf. She's a fan as well. Would drink again. Good work, Sweetwater!

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2008 03:59:58 | More by ruckzuck
Photo of tiger88


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

Got a six pack over the weekend. Pours just like an Impy stout should; dark and opaque. Head was dark tan and hung around a decent amount of time. Smell was nothing like an Impy stout; hoppy and not nearly as sweet to the nose. Taste was wonderful. Maybe because it was the third in a series of Impy stouts we had or maybe because it was a totally new Impy stout experience. I will drink this beer again, without a doubt. Very enjoyable! Only thing that bothers me: I wish Sweetwater would have not changed the label. It now looks like every one of their other labels but is Black.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2008 16:06:05 | More by tiger88
Photo of pwoods


4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mikesgroove for adding this in the great Black Booty package he sent me.

A: Pour motor oil black. 1/2 finger head, tight, and dark mocha. Good retention and some patchy lacing.

S: Very strong. Burnt malts that are very sweet. chocolaty and nicely hopped. No alcohol even after warming.

T/M: Hops are very present but are right in place. Adds a nice flora earthiness as well as citrus and bitterness to balance out the burnt malts. The burnt malts, added with a nice chocolate sweetness are the forefront with pulpy fig in the back. body is a bit light but nothing to complain about.

D: Easy to drink for a RIS and very tasty. I'm sure I'll find people that will trade this to me :)

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2008 03:23:52 | More by pwoods
Photo of beavers

North Carolina

3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Sam Adams Boston Lager glass

A: Super sticky thick black (opaque) goodness leaving a good finger of tan head that descends into a thin spotty covering. Not bad lacing, but not great my any means.
S: Roasted malt, burnt coffee, faint chocolate notes, sweet pumpernickel (?), with a quite dominating hop presence. Grainy. Alcohol at 9% is very well hidden behind the hoppy coffee aromatics.
T: Taste follows closely to the aroma profile. Strong roasty, coffee with powerful burn/bitterness combination from the ethanol heat and high IBUs. The hops are almost over-powering for the style. They hide the alcohol well but at a cost of covering up some of the subtlety of the rest of the profile...becoming the forefront of the beer.
M: Surprisingly thin-to-medium bodied leaving a dry, bittering finish.
D: I've had three of these on separate occasions and only wanted/could get through a single one. I'm all about some hop monsters and could take a quadruple IPA but the bitterness from the hops really feels out of place and I'd have to say I'm not down. I leave this beer thinking that its not bad by any means but that its missing something. I'd be really interested to see what this tastes like in 6 months to a year.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2008 03:05:30 | More by beavers
Photo of rsyberg01


4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S - 12 oz bottle courtesy of Georgiabeer. thanks for the delish sample! Best by 12-31-08

A - Pours black with a burnt caramel color breaking through at the edges, head is a nice shade of brown sugar. very nice.

S - floral notes, deep sugary fruits, slight citrus note, molasses, roasted malts, damn fine.

T - definite hop right up front, citrus runs through, then some fine molasses and slight caramel, bitter...but not too, sweet roasted malts. awesome.

M - smooth, slightly viscous, creamy, finishes somewhat dry but again not too much. very nice

D - Considering the 9% abv tag, I could still quaff 3 or 4 of these bad boys....or girls? Much appreciated robert.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2008 04:20:15 | More by rsyberg01
Photo of MSchae1017


3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For this tasting, we have a bottle of Happy Ending aged one year and then a fresh one from this year's release. Tasting these beers provided some very interesting results. These two beers barely resembled each other. The 2008 is unlike most Imperial Stouts. Powering through the dark and roasty characteristics is the very strong taste of American Hops. Meanwhile, the 2007 has lost almost all of its hop flavor and it seems as if the hops were holding the beer together. The beer just really has not held up well over the past year. The hops are gone and the remaining beer lacks any significant stout characteristics. One saving quality of the beer is that it does reach a much more appropriate level of sweetness. Additionally, the 2008 has a much fuller body than the 2007. As expected, the 2008 produces a better head than the 2007. Perhaps the 2008 will age better than the 2007 or maybe the 2007 will improve with further aging. We will have to wait until next year to see.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2008 17:18:36 | More by MSchae1017
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

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

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2008 03:47:58 | More by brentk56
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-10-2008 20:36:19 | More by Sammy
Photo of SaCkErZ9


3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Pitch black, of course, with a rather small tan head. Sporadic lacing. Head leaves rather quickly and is almost nonexistent within three minutes.

Fruity aroma with some chocolate and coffee backing. Slight yeast aroma as well. Kind of a baked chocolate brownie aroma going on. Not bad overall. All of the aromas definitely open up after the warms a bit.

Nice flavor profile. Plenty of coffee, followed by a slight dark fruitiness, possibly raisins, and finished with some chocolate and chalkiness. Werid sort of salty/alkaline taste in the finish.

Medium bodied, finishes quite dry. Not a bad brew from Sweetwater. They are beginning to make some decent beers. Nice work.

PS I like the label indicated on this site better than the one on my bottle. NC has laws against such lude advertisement! :)

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2008 00:29:42 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of MMAJYK


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

A- Very dark brown; almost black. Head is one to two fingers and is orange/brown. Lacing is thick and sticky; hangs around for the duration of the drink.

S- Mocha, cocoa, and chocolate. The hop smell from the dry hopping is very much present. I am unsure of what hops they use, but to me it smells alot like weed.

T- Very rich cocoa and chocolate flavors. The mocha is there in the roasty and toasty malt backbone. The hops are present, but smoothed out well by the malt.

M- Thick in the mouth, and carb is mid to low.

D- For what it is, definitely not a session beer, I appreciate its qualities. I could only drink a couple of pints in a day.

Overall- Very nice brew. The guys at Sweetwater do a nice job in representing this style. It is rich, thick and high on ABV, but that is what a RIS is supposed to be, right? Nice job guys!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2008 18:24:21 | More by MMAJYK
Photo of jdubjacket


3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a couple six packs of these from Sherlock's in Marietta. First time I've had this in a while, and it didn't disappoint.

Pours a very dark brown. It's not black and is a little more watered down looking than most imperial stouts.

Smell is very sweet - a little bit of brown sugar.

Taste is definitely sweeter than most stouts. Not sure what the difference is, but it's definitely not a bad thing. A nice change of pace. The hops provide a good backing to the malts.

Typically I think that Sweetwater is too hoppy, but this beer covers all the bases. Good job by Sweetwater.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2008 02:25:32 | More by jdubjacket
Photo of meechum


3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the All Star Game tonight at Phillips arena. Poured into a plastic cup and still had a decent head that fell slowly leaving a decent lace for plastic.

The smell was mostly roasted coffee beans and a little bit of caramel and toffee along with a hint of floral hops

The taste was pretty sweet and malty with a strong coffee flavor and then moving on to a bit of hops that were a little underpowered but still doing ok. The mouthfeel was thick, but could have used just a bit more carbonation.

Overall it was pretty good for a RIS and it's certainly better than most of the fare offered at this venue. I think I'm going to try it out again in a real glass and see what differences it makes

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2008 05:07:33 | More by meechum
Photo of DrJay


3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of JBIF from mikesgroove. Thanks!
This one was very dark brown with ruby highlights and brownish edges topped by a thin skim of fine, tan bubbles. It had good head retention, left some spotty lace on the glass, and looked quite viscous during the pour. The aroma had lots of toffee with a bit of roast, caramel, chocolate and licorice. Bitterness was solid, but balanced on the low side compared to the malt sweetness. The qualities in the aroma carried over to the flavour, plus there was a bit of citrusy hop. The finish was mostly toffee and chocolate. Medium/full bodied with low carbonation made up of very fine bubbles. Light warmth and a little bit of astringent dryness. Quite drinkable with well hidden alcohol. Roast was a little on the low side though.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 23:32:26 | More by DrJay
Photo of shivtim


3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Brewery. Nice name, Sweetwater. I suppose they're rebelling against Georgia liquor laws as best as they know how.
It's a dark brown/black brew with a dense brown head that lasts. Nose is chocolate malts and plums. Taste is mostly dark chocolate, but you can actually get a strong hint of some of the hops. Alcohol is well hidden. Good mouthfeel and drinkability. A bit light for an RIS, but a good beer nonetheless.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2008 06:27:43 | More by shivtim
Photo of MuenchenerKindl


4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass, the liquid is dark brown with great carbonation. The head is a nice 2 fingers, dark tan and leaves all kinds of crazy lace.

The smell is big and hoppy with a malty twang, like a Double Bastard.

The taste is very good really a very hopy RIS if that. Avery cool beer to be sure. Some nice roasty toasty malt, kinda reminds be of an ultra fresh DFH Indian Brown, a bit more hopy and a bit less roasty.

The mouthfeel is not quite up to RIS standard but better then medium body and great carbonation.

The drinkability is excellent, really a very good brew, even if it does step out of bounds just a bit.

Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2008 05:05:29 | More by MuenchenerKindl


3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A very attractive look to thes brew, usually found with Imperial stouts. An inch and a half of rocky milk chocolate colored head sits atop a oily black body that lets no light through.

Nose has hints of cola, light zest smokey malt and coco.

Enters the mouth slightly thin for an Imperail stout. Bitter chocolate bites at the edges of the tongue with a malty richness developing on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is a bitter thickness. Easy to drink though.

Overall I think this is the cleanest drinking Imperial stout I've had. Not that that is what I am looking for in the style though.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 16:37:20 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of BeerTruth


3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to unclejedi for this one.

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Happy Ending, let's hope. Pours a complete black with a one finger dark tan head that quickly dies down to a thin layer. Stickiness is pretty minimal but there is some there. First whiff I get some grapefruit hops, hmm, interesting. Dark fruits and roasted barley follows with a big caramel malt presence. A tiny hint of alcohol is in the nose as well, overall, nice aroma. Smokey caramel flavors up front with a rich french roast coffee flavor, black and straight up. Molasses and fig flavors arise throughout. Aftertaste is mostly roasted flavors, almost like burnt toast. Mouthfeel is much smoother than I had anticipated, I love it. Carbonation is low, but fits the style. God I wish I could order this one at a bar some day. "Hey bartedner...finish me off with a Happy Ending please!"...someday.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 02:30:24 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of ArrogantB


3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really enjoyed the Sweetwater IPA so I got this in a trade. It pours black (is it even worth mentioning anymore?) with a light brown smattering of bubbles. The smells are many chocolates, milkshakes, some hops. The taste reminded me of Yeti at first, hoppy stout. The flavor is not as strong as I had expected and this goes down easy. I am surprised at how well hidden the 9% ABV. Good beer but it may not be enough for the Imperial Stout connoisseurs.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2007 03:54:47 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of mntlover


3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Enola for this bottle, first off says best by 06/12/07 but I say have had many RIS years old that were tasty so here we go.

Pours a dark black body no light getting thru just a touch of red at the bottom. Sporting a one finger coca head that falls to a ring but leaves some decent lace behind.

Aroma is nice rich chocolate malts, hints of cherries and whiffs of coffee, good hop aromas some underlying malty sweetness.

Taste is chocolate malts from the nose show up first on a sweeter malt base. Some coffee shows up hints of fruit mostly cherries along with some light citrus hops. Flavors are ok but malt backbone seems little lacking over all nice though.

Mouthfeel is only thing hurting this brew seems lighter then it should for an IRS. Carbonation is good just enough to bring out the hops.

Drinkability is good easy drinking just not big enough for an real IRS but flavor is tasty so defiantly worth throwing a few back.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2007 18:21:00 | More by mntlover
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2007 15:32:34 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Wasatch


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

Thanks goes out to unclejedi for this brew.

Best by 06/12/07

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tannish head, some small island/oil slicks remain. The nose is malty, chocolate, toffee, oak, and caramel. The taste is malty, nice touch of oak/roast, toffee/chocolate. The finish is slightly dry and bitter. Full body. Very drinkable, this is an easy drinking RIS for sure, alcohol content is hidden very well. Really enjoying this one tonight, very tasty, recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2007 01:59:42 | More by Wasatch
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2007 00:31:27 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of froggyfrog


4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle with the fish-version label. All wrapped up in my favorite snifter.

A: Thick and black. Big ol’ dark mocha head. Killer lacing.

S: First thing that hits me is the hops. Earthy, dank and spicy. Then it's milky toffee and powdered chocolate.

T: The flavors develop as dark and bitter chocolate with a huge dose of the dank hops noted in the aroma. Coffee comes in to play in the finish. I like the way the flavors play off the bouquet.

M: Way too thin for the thick syrupy pour I got. Meek carbonation and a skinny body.

D: Excellent. No sign of the 9% ABV. This beer is downright quaffable.

Overall: Sweetwater entices me with this my first glimpse at their offerings. The amazing hop flavor on this beer is by far its best feature. Pleasantly strong in the nose, the hops bring a subdued bitterness and pack a huge punch in the flavor department. Apparently some people are turned off by this in their RIS's, but I'd call it pretty friggin' awesome in this one!

Thanks to the responsible party for supplying this via Birthday Club BIF. I thoroughly enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2007 04:34:37 | More by froggyfrog
Photo of kirok1999


3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mild black with a slight off white head. Smell is first of chocolate and charcoal. Taste is a bit thin, the notes are all there but they are a bit muted. The chocolate and coffee begin with some slight bitter hop notes in the middle and a slight roasty bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is like the taste....a little thin.
Easy enough to drink, just not very rewarding.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2007 02:26:30 | More by kirok1999
Photo of Big78CJ


2.8/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes on March 12, 2007:

A: This is a very black beer with a 2” tan head which dissipated to a foamy surface by the time I started writing. There is no light at all passing through this abyss.

S: Something bitter and reminiscent of dark chocolate (baker’s chocolate?) is the first to hit my nostrils. A slight citrus hop is carrying the chocolate in but I detect little else.

T: The hops are very present in this brew, even for an Imperial Stout. Unfortunately, other than a slight taste of baker’s chocolate, hops are the only flavor I taste. Perhaps they are masking a complex beer with extra hops but I think they may just be compensating for a more simple one.

M: The hops are really giving this beer a different feel than most Imperial Stouts. It does remain creamy and chewy though, I will give it that.

D: Although I was not impressed by the beer, it did not put me off buying another sixer for a second go at it. I like Imperial Stouts and I like to support local breweries, hence the repurchase. I applaud the brewery for experimentation but suggest they tone back the hops or increase the complexity for the next vintage.

Serving Type: 12oz bottle poured into Hoegaarden Grand Cru Tulip glass.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2007 20:36:29 | More by Big78CJ
Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 792 ratings.