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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.
very good

914 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 914
Reviews: 399
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.28%
Wants: 97
Gots: 150 | 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:
Beer added by: rajendra82 on 08-26-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 914 | Reviews: 399 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a black color with a 1" head that lingers around a while. Moderate lace paints the glass.

Smell:roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of bitterness comes through to the nose.

Taste: big malty backbone. Dark bitter chocolates, moderate roasted / smokey flavors, a splash of espresso, prunes, and a moderate bitterness. Alcohol is mildly noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Light crispness at the start but a smooth and velvety finish.

Overall: a very drinkable imperial stout that is very satisfying. Flavorwise it is not over the top, but it hits the spot.

Photo of rrski198
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Jet balck and totally opaque. Decent sized brown colored head that sticks around forever. Great lacing.

S: Big time sweetness. Raisins, smokey, malted milk balls, a grassy floral hops.

T: Sweet rush of burnt smokey grain, raisins again, and burnt sugar. A mild anise flavor also helps hide the 9% ABV extremely well.

M: Full, chewy, alcohol heat, hop spice, perfect carbonation. This is a magnificent example of what this style of beer can do for mouthfeel.

O: Very nice offering from Sweetwater. I haven't had alot of from this brewery but what I have had has been quite nice. I would purchase again.

Photo of jsanford
3.21/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

Photo of ExtraStout
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of titosupertramp
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Mostly black with some brown present. Finger or so of tan head with really big bubbles. Sparse film with the same big bubbles as head. Very little lacing.

S: Has a prominent musty smell which is a bit odd. Beyond the must lies sweet, roasted malts and a hint of hops.

T: Not as musty in the taste. The hoppiness is more present in the taste..seems citrusy or fruity. Malt sweetness rounds it out.

M: Not as thick as you'd hope for a large stout, but not bad.

O: The alcohol is very well hidden on this so drinkability is high. Besides the musty smell, this is a pretty good beer, but to be honest, it's not worth the hefty price tag to me.

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black as night, with a tiny tan head and similary small lace retention. Creamy looking. I can't wait to take a whiff of this bad boy...

S - Hoppy! With both pine and citrus hops present. Kind of smells like a black IPA. Sweet malts are prevalent too.

T - Like the aroma, the hops are very forward. Delicous! Sweet malt grains come in 2nd and round out the beer. It has a nice stout finish on the sweet side.

M - Medium bodied, average carbonation.

O - Excellent beer. I love hoppy beers, and stouts and this is a nice mix. Well done Sweetwater!

Photo of corby112
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz, best by 02/22/12. Received as an extra in a recent trade with McNuts. Thanks again Keith!

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger frothy mocha head. Great retention, slowly fading into a lasting cap that leaves streaks of soapy lacing behind.

Sweet roasted malt aroma with a prominent spicy hop character. I'm surprised at how hop forward the nose is with hints of pine and citrus countering the roasted notes. Hints of chocolate, oatmeal and coffee but the hops really stand out.

Medium bodied with a flavor profile that's similar to the aroma. Very hop forward with some dry earthy bitterness and sweet citrus notes. Hints of pine, grapefruit and citrus rind which is odd for an imperial stout, slightly overpowering the roasted notes. Underneath there is a nice roasted malt backbone with hints of oatmeal, dark chocolate, toast and coffee bean but again it is outshined by the prominent hops. Dry finish. The ABV is well masked with practically no heat at all resulting in a pretty quaffable beer.

Overall this beer was interesting but to hoppy for an imperial stout in my opinion. I wish it was balanced a bit more with a more prominent malt presence.

Photo of billab914
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tasting glass. It poured dark brown in color with a modest tan head to it. It wasn't thin, but didn't appear to be as thick as a lot of great beers of the style. A little lacing was evident as I drank it.

The aroma shows a good amount of chocolate to it with a moderate amount of bitter, roasty flavors coming through. I get a pretty big hoppy, citrus flavor to it as well, but it's not overpowering. overall pretty smooth and appealing.

The taste comes off as very hoppy and citrusy for an Imperial stout, even for an American version. I get some pineapple and grapefruit like flavors mixing with chocolate and slight roastiness. Moderate bitter finish with both the hops and roasted grains adding to that. Pretty good stout overall, the hoppiness worked better then other very hoppy stout's I've had.

The mouthfeel is on the thinner side for the style and carbonation is moderate. Overall it was a pretty decent beer. It reminded me of fresh Night stalker and some other black IPA's. The hoppiness worked fairly well for it though and things came together pretty nicely.

Photo of Bendurgin
2.91/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Cool extra from Grant. Twelve ounce bottle says it's best before 12/31/11. Poured into a tulip. This one pours very dark brown; almost black with about an inch of tan head that settles to sticky lacing.

Dry dark fruit in the aroma. Lots of pine aroma to this one. Sappy aroma with a lot of hot alcohol. Char, leather, tobacco and a bit of a smokey aroma round this out. Not bad, but if I don't reach for other aromas it's tough to smell much past pine. Really hoppy stout here. Lots of piney hops with a little bit of coffee. This really has an earthy flavor profile to this one. Must, char and leather flavors. A lot of pine in the aroma. A lot of alcohol on this one. Almost like grain alcohol was dropped into this.

Heavy dry body on this with decent carbonation. Nothing special or offensive. Overall, I wonder what a bit of age would do for this one. I'd love to see the alcohol mellowed out on this. I've had a lot of beers around this abv that didn't seem this harsh.

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 bomber with waxed cap.

Pours a pitch black with a faint rose on the edge. Nice tan head that fades and leaves decent lacing.

The smell is very sweet of tropical fruits with a hint of roasty backbone.

The first sip hits you with a tonnn of hops! But the sips after bring chocolate and burnt coffee but most importantly tobacco notes. This Stout has the most tobacco taste I've ever had in a beer and after each sip you get left with a smoky taste.

The mouth feel is fairly thick but not in a way where its not easy to finish a whole 22oz.

Photo of sidetracked
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010.

Pours black with light brown highlights. Good initial light/medium brown head that lingers as a thin film. Some lacing.

Surprising hoppy bitterness in the nose. Grapefruit citrus, pine, grass, and tangerine mix with some roasted malts. Kind of dank smell.

Taste follows the smell with a melding of roasted malts with bitter citrus and grapefruit. Hop presence builds in the middle, but cuts out towards the finish to highlight sweet chocolate and roasted malts. Finish reminds me of chocolate cake doughnuts. At times a hoppy bitterness comes through at the finish too.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Not has full bodied as expected, but compliments the high hoppiness.

Not at all what I expected, but very good. More like an Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale than a stout. Really nice mix of roasted malts and citrusy hops.


Photo of cetherid
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip


your run of the mill Imperial Stout. Pitch black body with a thick mocha colored head. A little similar to the head of rootbeer, but more dense and frothy. Great lacing on the glass as well.


roasted malts with hints of caramel, chocolate and a slight touch of molasses. A touch of hops are in there which is pleasant.


A one/two punch of bitterness and sweetness, all at the same time. Bittersweet chocolate with a small bit of caramel along with some slight piney hops. There is a little booze in the finish as well. This beer kind of reminds me of expedition stout, however not as flavorful. Not sure how this one would age with only 9% ABV as well as the hops.


definitely full bodied with great carbonation. A nice creamy mouthfeel with a slightly dry finish.


A pretty solid American Imperial Stout. Great flavor/aroma, not to mention it was free as an extra! Unfortunately you can't really find Sweetwater here in NW indiana. Doubt I'd seek this out as it's very similar to Expedition Stout which I can find at practically any beer store near me. If I lived down south this might be a go to stout for me however.

Photo of Bennettrox
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really appreciate the wax finish for the fairly inexpensive price.

A - Pours a midnight black body with a larger head than expected. Too much carbonation or just a wonderful head? Going with the latter.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, and that's about it. Was hoping to pull more from the nose.

T - A good Imp Stout but lacks the 'bang' I was hoping. Taste similar to your run of the mill Imp Stout, not that it's a bad thing but I guess I was hoping for more. A touch of caramel and sweetness.

M - Thinner than you would think. Carbonation is there but it's almost silky

O - A good offering from Sweetwater but I think I over hyped the beer in my mind due to the wax tip. I'm not sure why but I always associate the wax with top caliber beers; damn you DL and the like! All in all though, for the price you can't go wrong with this. Good stuff from Sweetwater.

Photo of Neffbeer
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mavajo for this extra.
Poured into an De Dolle Tulip.

A: Pours midnight black with a slow to rise two finger head, nice gradual carbonation. It hangs around for about a minute and then fades leaving a small amount of lacing.

S: Some piney, citrusy hops jump out first followed by the dark side of the nose; chocolate, caramel, raisins, figs, and coffee. As it continues to warm the chocolate, and dark malt becomes the focus, with the hops fading into the background. There are hints of the ABV, but overall the strength is well hidden.

T: Pine and citrus hops upfront followed by a heavy dose of roasted malt and chocolate. It shifts to coffee and dark fruit mid palate and finishes hoppy and bitter.

M: A bit thin for the style with good carbonation.

O: This was an interesting take on an imperial stout, but in the end it came off too hoppy and thin in the mouthfeel. That said I will finish the rest imagining it is a CDA...

Photo of chilly460
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours very dark brown, as close to black as possible, with a medium mocha-cream one-finger head. The lacing is quite nice, with intricate patterns forming on the sides of the glass.

S - Wow, plenty of citrus hops hit first I get sweet orange and some lighter lemon/lime. As it warms, getting darker fruit as well, plums. Sweetness in there like honey and a lot of toasted malts. Unique imperial stout.

T - Roasted malt flavors are first and foremost, roastier then the smell indicated. The citrus and tropical fruit flavors find their way in as well. Sweeter milk chocolate blends with the roasted malts and citrus.

M - Medium with a good amount of coating, not as thick as some RIS.

O - Drinkable and very different from other Imperial Stouts that I have had. It was quite a bit hoppier, complex, and sessionable. Nice surprise.

Photo of nkersten
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris for leaving this one behind after beer and hockey night. Poured into new belgium globe, pours black with a tan head, pretty good retention. Smells mostly like artificial sweetners, some licorice, black patent and roasted malt, spicy hops. Taste is thankfully much better then the smell, especially as it warms. Spicy hops, chocolate, bitter malts. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with a light carbonation. A decent stout, very easy to drink.

Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Better than expected! Served in a shaker pint. Beer is black with a thin tan head, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is like molasses. Sweet, mildly alcoholic, lots of syrup.

Beer is thick on the palate, sweet up front, not much alcohol in the mouth, tastes really nice. Really heavy beer, great sweet mildly roasty finish. Really nice overall. If you like really sweet stouts that are super heavy this is a beer for you!

Photo of bklyn1rr
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great color, smell, and no strong after taste. I really enjoy drinking this beer; especially when compared to other popular stouts. The name alone helps with the enjoyment of the brew. Please advise if you have one that compares to this and within the same price range.

On to the next one!

Photo of Teleweizen2
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a completely opaque inky black. It settles with two fingers worth of tan head. Good retention. Lots of spotty lacing on the glass.

S - much hoppier than expected. Huge amounts of citrus and pine aromas. As it warms the hop scent melds with the rich malts. Lots of chocolate. Some mild roasty scent. Some dark fruit esters at the tail end.

T - there is huge amount of chocolate flavor along with some mild coffee roast. As the beer warms in the mouth the hop bitterness swells to a nice piney citrus flavor that mixes unbelievably well with the chocolatey malts. The finish is long and hoppy.

M - the body is on the lighter side of medium. Very slick, yet still has that creamy stout texture. Medium carbonation.

D - this is not only one of the hoppiest stouts I've ever had, it is one of the most delicious. It paired amazingly well along side brownies with cinnamon cream cheese fronting and I could see it pairing equally well with some barbecue. There is barely a trace of alcohol and dangerously easy to drink. All around excellent beer.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this single up at the Gateway Grill.

A - Pours a bountiful deep black with a nice inch of tan head.

S - Smells of slight hops, roasted malts, chocolate and coffee.

T - A very balanced stout. Taste of bittersweet chocolate first then the roasted malts play along side of the hops which are mild and it finishes with a touch of coffee. Creamy and smooth.

M - Wow it drinks with a great medium body. Alcohol well hidden.

Overall I really enjoyed this one especially after so many hop forward Imperial Stouts I have had lately. I believe they have a couple more left and at 3.00 a bottle it is a bit steep but definitely worth it.

Photo of sweetwaterman
4.46/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served on-tap(!) at Jocks N' Jills, Vinings, GA ~March 2011

Appearance: Dark Mahogany. Head reminiscent of crema on a good cappuccino. very persistent.

Smell: Hoppy, roasted malt undertones. "Bright" for a stout.

Taste: Initial rush of fresh hops followed by dark roasted malt. Fruity toffee. Toasted figs? Sweet candied (caramel/toffee) fruit finish. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, High carbonation for a Stout IMO.

Overall: One of my favorite Imperial Stouts. Could be mistaken for a Black DIPA though.

Highly recommended.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I couldn't resist the urge to start this before my review, so here's an abriged version:

Thanks to Briann44556 for this nice extra.

The basics: 9% ABV and no idea on price (part of a trade)

Dark, viscous, nice lacing.

Roasty, muted, not as robust as I would like.

Creamy, velvety smooth texture. Wonderful roasted chocolate malt flavors abound. Not as in your face as other Imperial Stouts, but also not as flavorful, overall...Nice malt Tang in the middle.

What I like most: The price (heh heh) and creamy texture.

What I like least: The lack of nuance and uniqueness.

Verdict: Average but good. Probably not as good value as many others.

Photo of Chaney
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got one of these as an extra from both GatorBeerNerd and BulbMan. Thanks Donnie and Jon. I really wanted some Sweetwater IS beer love!

A: Poured almost a pitch black color, with absolutely no light showing through.... even around the edges. The head was a VERY frothy and pepper mocha colored one that stuck around and then some.

S: Dark fruit, dark chocolate, and a good presence of teriyaki sauce. Very bright and hoppy.... for an IS anyway.

T: The first thing I noticed after first sip was the very smooth finish on this thing. I mean.... wow! This is definitely on the bright, hoppy, and fruity side as opposed to the deep, roasty, coffee one. Craft beer lovers candy!

M: Velvety and creamy +! Low carbonation, and this was definitely a thick, sludgy beer.... that happens to also be extremely fruity.

O: I could actually taste the Sweetwater IPA imbedded in this mother! I loved that beer... and I loved this one!

Photo of mrnobody
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours pitch black with a finger and a half of thick coffee coloured head; not great retention but leaves some lacing.

S: The first thing you notice is the smell of hops which is odd for an imperial stout. Buried beneath this are some booze and coffee/chocolate aromas.

T: The hops present a blast of fruit flavour upfront but then we sink into familiar stout territory: sweetness and roasted flavours.

M: The mouthfeel is fairly creamy with medium-full body and suitably low carbonation.

D: A very tasty stout with well hidden alcohol.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 914 ratings.