Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout - SweetWater Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
87
very good

415 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 415
Hads: 1,043
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 11.31%
Wants: 109
Gots: 210 | 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: 1,043
Photo of facundoCNB
3.93/5  rDev +1%
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. (653 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
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%. (761 characters)

Photo of BB1313
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

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. (799 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
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. (518 characters)

Photo of uscgsc22
5/5  rDev +28.5%
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!!! (259 characters)

Photo of Lemke10
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
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! (289 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.93/5  rDev +1%
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. (837 characters)

Photo of fostah
4.16/5  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. (594 characters)

Photo of suspect
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
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. (942 characters)

Photo of pschul4
3.08/5  rDev -20.8%
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 (432 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque onyx with a frothy one inch tan head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of lacing.

Licorice, chocolate, roast malt, tar, and hints of dark fruit form the initial aroma. Seems fairly sweet. Chocolate and nutty, buttery toffee dominate in the end. Coffee grounds add complexity.

Flavor reveals deep notes of chocolate, becoming roasty and slightly charred mid palate, with a slightly acrid, coffee bitter, nutty finish. Dark cherry and berry notes surface early, but are accompanied by a slightly off, plastic flavor. Notes of grapefruit become evident in subsequent sips, along with char at the finish. Fairly sweet, overall.

Body is light, almost watery, with moderate carbonation and alcohol warmth.

The aroma is incredible, but slight off flavors hurt the overall experience. Body is also too thin. Could use more malt backbone. (854 characters)

Photo of pcguitarwzrd
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into chilled mug. I like stouts colder than is usually recommended. Happy Superbowl Sunday!

A: Black as night, thick as motor oil, monster head of coffee-colored foam that is remarkably persistent for the ABV. Off to a good start.

S: Big hop aroma, especially for a stout. They weren't kidding about the dry-hopping.

T: Hops jump right up, followed by the intense espresso/dark chocolate you'd expect, then more hops at the end and a little boozy warmth. The hops are not as overwhelming as in the aroma, but nevertheless this is probably the hoppiest stout I've ever tasted. It's interesting that pretty much all the bitterness in this beer comes from the hops, not the black malt. I think my taste buds are a little confused by this.

M: not as heavy as some IS I have had, but certainly full-bodied. Definitely a drier finish due to the hops and ABV.

O: a very interesting take on the style. It breaks a lot of rules, but not in a bad way. Not my favorite IS ever, but I certainly won't regret buying the sixpack. (1,029 characters)

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

'12 vintage, poured into a stemless wine glass

A- pours black with a one finger brown head. Par for the course

S- whoa, a huge blast of dank, piney hops smashes you from the getgo. Awesome stuff!

T- piney hops and a nice bit of chocolate. Not exactly like an Andes mint, but kinda close. Chocolate covered pine needles, I guess

M- huge body, which is what helps it stand apart from your run of the mill black IPA

O- this is a great beer. Sweetwater doesn't dip their toe into stouts too often, but this one is a definite winner (532 characters)

Photo of BeerZack
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 Review- Black with a foamy one-finger of light-brown head. Smells of sweet coffee with cream and woodsy hops at the same time, hints of chocolate. Unfortunately, I don't get much flavor here. On first taste, it seems like I'm waiting for the flavor impression, but all I get is a grip of hops before a bitter finish. As it warms I get more roasted barley flavor up front and can maybe pick up some cola-like flavors also. I get a little cola in the nose once it has warmed as well. I like the hop flavor and balance of bitterness in this beer, but it does leave me wanting a bit more in malt flavor.

2008 Review- Completely black, but looks a little thin on the pour. Dark tan and khaki head that sticks to the glass a bit.

Deep dark fruitiness with a definite salty edge to it. Bacon fat maybe; smoked meat of some sort for sure. Slightly astringent, not quite smoked though. Gets better as it warms, some vanilla comes out, kinda oaky vanilla and the smoked meat edge fades.

Earthy and meaty chocolatiness; Mexican mole. Deep fruitiness, but dry and not too sweet at all. Some vanilla in the flavor, again, coming out more as it sits awhile.

Pretty light for a RIS, but not quite watery due to the soft and creamy carbonation. This beer was initially off-putting, but became more drinkable as it sat and warmed up. (1,325 characters)

Photo of mattkoon
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured out of a 22oz bottle. this one is black and opaque. it smells a bit more hoppy than other stouts that i have had...re minds me of a black ipa. the taste however is more stout than ipa. the finish is a lot less bitter than an ipa....but taking the hoppiness out of the equation, this is a good stout and the hops is just an interesting twist. happy ending imperial stout is solid... ill put it up there with other good stouts ive had. (440 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.48/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Label says Best if Enoyed by: 12/17/13

A- Pours a completely opaque black color with a 3/4 inch light brown head that bears great retention time before slowly settling to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a large center patch of surface foam. Melty lacing clings to the glass and stays while leaving random streaks behind. Very good-looking beer we've got here.

S- Fresh piney hops combined with a sweet caramel-like malt roastiness. Very pleasant with hints of chocolate, citrus and nut.

T- Taste is also quite hoppy with plenty of dark roasted malt to compliment. There's a grassy bitter plus sweet mocha dynamic that I find to be very unique and enjoyable. The alcohol is very well-masked leaving lots of room for all the other flavors to dominate.

M- Thick, delicate and moderately creamy. Also a bit dry, with medium carbonation and a robust body.

O- A well-hopped impy stout from the Sweetwater gang. These guys prove time and time again to be one of the greatest breweries that don't overextend themselves into too many markets, experimental tangents or popularity gimmicks. They just make solid beer for their core audience and I dig it. Cheers to that. (1,202 characters)

Photo of nUgZ
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a one finger head and light lacing.

S: The hops take center stage on this one. Roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some coffee as well. Much hoppier than most Imperial Stouts.

T: Mostly roasted malts and some nice bitter hops. Nice balance. Hides the alcohol really well.

M: Medium to full bodied with decent carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this one. It's extremely easy to drink and could be quite dangerous considering the ABV. (525 characters)

Photo of el_chupacabra
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

ST: bottle

It pours silky-smooth out of the bottle, a beautiful lingering tawny brown frothy head. Very impressive looking pour from a bottle.

It is a smooth and very well-balanced beer. Not at all what I was expecting, but in a good way. Nice citrus hoppy upfront, but it mellows out into a smoky sweet dark finish. I taste espresso. It’s nice. Superior, actually.

I picked up a bomber of this stuff a couple weeks ago by happenstance, on a quest for some Ommegang Abbey Ale. I can’t believe I haven’t picked it up before. It’s a very solid brew, and I’ve gone out of my way to stock up over the course of the last two weeks. (641 characters)

Photo of BigTrubble
4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 Happy Ending poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Sweetwater pint glass.

Pours abyss black, totally opaque without any lightening at the edges. Nice thick frothy tan head that laces around the glass.

The first thing to hit your nose is the citrus and floral hops. There are some roasted/smoky malt undertones and caramel sweetness if you really search for it past the hoppyness.

The taste is not like any Russian Imperial Stout I have ever tasted, different in a good way. If given this beer blind I would never peg it for a RIS. The bittering hops really balance out the deep roasted malts making for a very enjoyable complex beer. The sweet and smokey malts paired with a slight astringency round this beer out and the flavors just keep rolling. I taste something new with each drink and temperature change.

This beer is extremely smooth drinking; it has solid carbonation and a light creaminess.

Overall I love this beer. Can’t believe this is my first time trying it, it certainly will not be the last. Sweetwater really hit a sweet spot with complexity and balance. This beer is extremely drinkable and at 9% that is dangerous. If you are looking for a standard RIS this is not it, this is a whole different beer in my eyes. I really wonder how this beer will age and if the deep malts will hold up as the hoppyness fades. (1,339 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.21/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Boxing beer and cleaning out the fridge and found this 12oz in the back on the bottom shelf.. Best by "06/19/07"... Yeah... Time to drink it.

Poured into my HotD goblet... VERY short lasting dark brown head and no lacing/no cap... the brew is the expected black. Not looking promising.

Nose is dark malts.. slight roast and more cocoa combined with what an old box of raisins smells like... light soy sauce with warmth.

"Stout qualities" are pretty light.. light roastiness and dry cocoa.. not enough sweetness to really deliver a nice rounded flavor.. soy sauce is definitely present.. flavor drops off fairly quickly and doesn't leave much besides some salty char on the finish.

Body is medium with a very light carbonation..

I obviously waited too long for this beer.

3/3.25/3.25/3/3.25 (796 characters)

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

Bottle dated 1/9/14, so a fresh batch.

A
A dark opaque body, lots of carbonation leaving a thick lace behind pounded from a bottle into a pint glass.

S
Malty, but not a strong chocolate aroma which I was expecting.

T
Sweet for stout as others have noted. The sweetness coming from more of a sweet molasses or sugar type of sweet. Not the typical chocolate or coffee taste.

M
More medium in body with above average carbonation for a stout. Not the mouthfeel I expected, but nice nonetheless.

O
Surprising stout, not what I was expecting. Maybe I was not ready for the sugary sweet initial taste. But before I finished the glass, I would try this beer again on a hot southern night a see how it tastes.

I appreciate the humor on the packaging and Sweetwater has some of the best. (786 characters)

Photo of Apostlebrews
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

The aroma is vibrant with lots of citrus--likely from the cascade hops with which the brewery dry-hopped the beer. This is a great example of why you cannot judge a beer by its color. I expected to get a lot more roast and chocolate on the nose and there is next to none of either. It smells a lot more like an IPA than it does a traditional stout.

The flavors are excellent! This is a two-faced beer that will please both hop-heads and stout-lovers. There is a nice roasted malt profile that balances the pine and grapefruit flavors of the hops. I would also point out that this stout features a nice smokiness somewhere in the middle of the palate.

This stout has a bitter and slightly boozy finish that is expected with the ABV and hop profile. And like all great stouts, this is a full-bodied beer. Great mouthfeel.

Happy Ending is quite creamy. But then again, aren't they all?

Check out my blog for more reviews: thebeerapostle.com. (943 characters)

Photo of Kromes
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Happy Ending 2013

Pitch black with a finger's width pitted brown head. A nice sheet of lacing down the sides of the glass.

Right up front is a big aroma of fresh citrus hops. It dominates the smell and only allows a little bit of the roasted malt to come through. Very clean an crisp aroma though.

More of the citrus hops in the flavor. Starts out with a sweet citrus/grapefruit flavor and a lactose-like, creamy sweetness. Finishes a tiny bit bitter with some strong peach and citrus flavors. The sweetness really cuts through the bitterness and there is almost no bitterness in the finish. The roasted malt is only apparent a few seconds after the finish. A nice lingering roasted malt bitterness and some sweet chocolate.

A bit heavy with a creamy, smooth feel to it. Oily on the palate. Goes down very easy.

Definitely exceeded my expectations. So easy to drink, which is not typical of a big stout and a 9% beer. (923 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
3.34/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black body with dark chocolate and cola highlights. Creamy light tan head has ok retention and lace.

S - Overly sweet. Big molasses nose with caramel, brown sugar, raisin, semi-sweet chocolate, touch of spearmint, warm milk, and a little coffee ice cream.

T - Molasses, caramel, cream, dark roast grains, and coffee. Pine and a booze center. Nice coffee and dark chocolate finish.

M - Creamy, medium/full body that lightens just enough on the backend to lend it great drinkability.

O - Drinks like a double milk stout; sweet and creamy with a dark coffee and chocolate backbone. (586 characters)

Photo of Rutager
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks mrbubbler!!

Appearance. Pours black with almost a finger of light tan head.

Smell. Molasses and dark chocolate with some roasty dark malts and a little astringent alcohol.

Taste. Molasses, dark malts, and a little butterscotch.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium low carbonation.

Appearance. A nice big stout but maybe not as big as many imperials. (366 characters)

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