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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.
very good

845 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 845
Reviews: 386
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 84
Gots: 120 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 845 | Reviews: 386 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sinstaineddemon


4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks to stopbarking for this bottle

A - inky darkness that wells up a chocolate milk colored head about a finger thick

S - rich in roasted malts and a lactic mily sweetness all supported by a surprisingly strong hop profile, rather interesting

T - wow, a great mocha/malty sweetness, that is quickly balanced by that strong hop profile, a true juxtaposition in a bottle, and damn tasty

M&D - smooth and easy drinkable especially for a highish ABV, not a sessionable beer (perhaps) but still a darn fine brew, wish i lived closer to this brewery

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2008 00:35:34 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of Avryle

New York

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm afraid this review may suffer. Its following the consumption of a bottle of Bell's Expedition Stout.

A- Pours uber-dark brown. Thin mocha-colored head with a vigorous pour that quickly disapated.

S- Roasted malts. Maybe some caramel lingering in the back...

T- Primarily roasted malts with a caramel and toffee sweetness. Finishes with a slight, cocoa powdery bitterness.

M- Medium bodied. Pleasant sweetness lingers a bit.

D- Extroidinarily drinkable. Maybe its becauase I had a tootsie-roll bodied RIS immediately before. Who knows.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2008 23:42:24 | More by Avryle
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

3.13/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to goryshkewych for this beer.

When I was down in Georgia a few years back I drank a ton of sweetwater but never had this.

A: Mostly black with some brown around the edges. Minimal spoty lacing.

S: Tons of roast but none of the other things I love about the style.

T: Roast. No real complexity to it. Finishes with a slight hint of sweetness. I expect much more complexity for the style as well as ABV.

M: Thin for the style. Doesn't feel like a stout.

D: Very drinkable but I am glad I split the 12oz bottle. Geting through this solo would have been a chore.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2008 23:35:14 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of tayner


3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with best before 12-31-08.

Poured very dark, black with dark brown edges to light. milk chocolate head that lasted awhile but dissipated as it warmed leaving a ring. the lacing was sticky while it was cold but as it warmed it pretty much stopped lacing the glass.

Smell was pretty dominant alcohol up front. past that you could smell slight licorice and then some sweet and well roasted malt notes. not much hops in the nose for being a "dry hopped stiffy" as the bottle describes.

Taste surprised me based on the smell. the alcohol is much less of a factor than i thought it would be, and so is the licorice (which is good because i dont care for loads of either in the taste). I get a roasted, bittersweet chocolate flavor up front with a midpalate burst of floral/citrus hops. There is an alcohol warming on the back end after swallowing, but nothing outrageous.

The midpalate hops dried out my mouth making this one clean and crisp which is not what i usually expect from a RIS, but i liked it alot for that very reason.

It was pretty easy to drink, especially as it warmed up a bit.. but at 9% not too sessionable and more of a nightcap.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2008 19:13:07 | More by tayner
Photo of younger35


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

Received this brew from Brent56k in a recent trade. This will be my first Sweet Water brew but you gotta love the names!! Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale tulip.

Appearance- Pours a super dark brown/black with a nice foamy half inch dark tan head. Leaves a nice creamy cap the duration of the beer along with some webby lacing.
Smell- Lots of really light coffee and semi sweet chocolate. Roasted but not to the degree to which most Imp Stouts that I'm used to are. The hops add a bit of light citrus that is quite zesty and bright. Light whiffs of alcohol are present but not much.
Taste- Starts with a slightly bitter black licorice taste that is fairly unique. Not as big as a punch as I was expecting but still very good. As in the nose there is light coffee present and bits of dark bitter chocolate along with hints of smoke. Hoppy with a citrus finish. A bit warm but not bad considering its 9%. Lingering dark roasted aftertaste that has hints of cotton candy (?, just what it reminded me of), seems a bit off.
Mouthfeel- Light body with zesty carbonation and slight warming, fairly dry finish.
Drinkability- Overall a pretty tasty Imperial Stout that I rather enjoyed. It's a bit different than most I've had (reminded me most of Siberian Night) but a good different. Big thanks again to Brent for the opportunity!

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2008 02:41:49 | More by younger35
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2008 23:01:49 | More by oberon
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another winner from Sweetwater!

Pours a rich chocolate brown with a thick, brown, persistent head. Aroma has strong burnt coffee component and also a curious "rubbery" hint, like a car tire. Flavor is like a good mocha - coffee dominates the taste, and there are ribbons of smoke and chocolate. Aftertaste has just a hint of unsweetened chocolate, and there is a little hoppy bitterness as well. It feels just a tad thinner than most stouts, but still does not disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2008 04:08:34 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of joepais


4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to ncvbc for this great extra
Best by 12/31/08 Bottle poured into my sniffer produced a good fingers worth of tan head that turns into a ring of lace around the glass on top of a jet black body

Aromas of toasted malts, coffee and chocolate with a slight funk (I'm glad I am not the only one to pick it up I though my nose was going)

Earthiness, sweat malts, light chocolate, molasses good balance of flavors

The only real complaint is it is a little thin for a stout

Good drinkability I could drink a few of these a night easy. A good brew and I will seek this one out again

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2008 03:00:50 | More by joepais
Photo of shirfan

New York

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

Pitch black with a thin but sticky layer of brown foam.

Smell is evenly split between roasty black malt and juicy, orangey hops -- amarillo maybe?

Flavor: Yup, a hoppier-than-average RIS. Smooth, slightly oily at the outset with a good deal of charred flavor coming through. Moves on to a slightly thin but creamy middle with malt sweetness hanging around, and then finishes big on orange/tangerine hops.

I like the idea here, but it seems like it could use a slightly fuller body and less burnt flavor upfront to really shine. Not bad as it is, though.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2008 23:49:00 | More by shirfan
Photo of turbine2475


4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Georgiabeer for this nice little addition to our trade:
A - Pours a purely opaque black with a decent mocha head that had good retention with a light lace.
S - Dark chocolate and coffee with a little roasted oat and earthy spices...Very plesant.
T - Dark roasted coffee and some bittersweet chocolate that finishes suprisingly smooth given the ABV.
M - Creamy and smooth with good carbonation with a coating that contributes even more to the toasted nature.
D - Very good brew that I would enjoy again any time I get the chance.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2008 00:09:30 | More by turbine2475
Photo of drseamus

New York

4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Labeled as best by 6/12/07. Served in a DFH snifter.

A: Nice and jet black with a thin quickly disappearing mocha head. And that was with an aggressive pour.

S: Tons of coffee and chocolate and yummy goodness. This is a great smelling beer. In the background there is a touch of roasted malt and some evidence of the ABV.

T: Slightly bitter roastiness up front and some coffee in the aftertaste. Not too much in the way of chocolate.

M: A bit thin feeling for an RIS, but not so much so to make it completely out of style.

D: A good beer for sure, but there are better RIS out there.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2008 00:47:56 | More by drseamus
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2008 17:50:15 | More by Kegatron
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
Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 845 ratings.