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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

917 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 917
Reviews: 399
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.28%
Wants: 97
Gots: 151 | 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: 917 | Reviews: 399 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Buebie
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to gford217 for this very thoughtful extra.

2009 Bottle

Poured from a gynormous swing top bottle into an oversized snifter. The kneck is wrapped in a thick golden tin. Adds to the calssy appeal of the bottle.
The lable art is pretty nifty, as is all the sexual innuendoes, very funny one liners on here. My personal favorite being, "A huge dry hopped stiffy".
The pour produces a brown 2 inch head, slowly receeding. Leaving behind sticky foam lace trails. Retention is stellar, a good cap with plenty of globby bubbles.
Color is black, no light penetration.

Aroma of earthy spicie hops and plenty of pine with a citrus kick. Huge hop aroma here, very exceptional for an ris to allow the hops to come through all that malt.
Also quite a bit of malty bready aroma, chocolate, sweetness, and a touch of roasty grain aromas.
Delicious smelling.

Mouthfeel is a little overcarbonated, but still creamy with a thick full bodied feel. Creamyness isnt overly heavy, but definatly there and noticeable. Carbonation presence from beginning to end, sip to finish.
I'm wondering if this is bottle conditiond? Might explain the carbonation presence. I dont want to shy annyone away from buying it, its not terrible with carbonation.

The taste is very malty and bready. Good chocolate flavors throught, lending a bit of sweetness to the bitter roasted chocoalte grain flavors.
Starting out semi-sweet and becomming increasingly bitter. Plenty of hops into and through the swallow. Paring well with chocoalte roasty bitters and hop bitters lingering and strong arming the tastebuds into the finish.

This is a pretty awsome example of an american double. I cant really agree with the lableing of an ris. Definatly a classy brew. Great botlle and lable work with some funny one liners.
I have several glasses to go if I'm going to finish this, the size of the bottle is nice too. Great dinner party bottle.

Thanks again Grant for this awsome extra, really enjoyed drinking it.

Photo of atsprings
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found this one on-tap at Mellow Mushroom in Asheville. Served in a standard pint-glass a not-quite opaque black with a very thin layer head that diminishes to a ring. Aroma is baker's cocoa right from the start with nice roasted malts and a hint of espresso right behind. The taste is a nice blend of roasted malts with slight chocolate and coffee presence as well. The beer is on the heavy side of medium with slight booziness. This one certainly seems to be better on draft than it was from the bottle, I'd like to see in in Raleigh next winter.

Photo of stoutfiend27
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

vintage 2008 33.8 fluid oz swing top bottle

a-brownish black when held up to light shows off some ruby highlights..very little head and lacing

s-very malty, smells like raisins or prune, very very subtle hops in the nose..smells very much like gd hibernation ale

t-very much like the nose..big malts up front followed by some fig and maybe plum or prune...slight hop sting before it goes down..warms a little as it drops to the stomach which surprised me..reminds me of a old ale kind of

m-kind of thin for my tastes when it comes to ris...i like mine thick and sludgy....but not bad just a minor flaw imo

d-i think with the malty character i would only like to have one bottle in one night...and it is a 1 qt bottle and 9% abv so i think it will suffice..

overall a nice offering from sweetwater my favorite to date by them...maybe fresh this is a different beer but it reminds of an old ale at this point in its life which im not complaining about seeing as how i like old ales...but there are better ris out there...i have another bottle i will let sit for a while longer just to see what happens....who knows

Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to - damn, not sure - Photekut, maybe? This is what happens after too many trades. Anyways, served in my brand new Pisgah pint glass, which definitely was from Photekut! Best before 12/31/09.

A - Dark, dark, slightly translucent brown, with a one finger dark mocha foam that lives some solid lacing after slowly dissipating. It's pretty solid, but nothing spectacular.

S - Surprising amount of citrus, floral, and dank earthy hop notes. There's also some chocolate, Whopper's malt balls, and a hint of umami and soy that I don't totally enjoy. The smell is quite potent, and while busy it actually works surprisingly well.

T - Starts with the sweet citrus hoppiness then quickly morphs into bittersweet chocolate and burnt malt/espresso bitterness at the back end. Again, it's pretty good and I do like the dry-hopping, but it's not mind-blowing.

M - Medium bodied, almost porter viscosity. Very creamy, but with moderate carbonation that has just the right amount of tingle to it. Lots of residual stickiness. It should probably be a little denser.

D - It didn't take me long to down 12oz of this one. The aftertaste has only mild bitterness, moderate carbonation, and the texture lends itself to bigger sips. There's something intangible that just made this brew easy to drink.

Definitely recommended to fans of hoppier stouts.

Photo of goatgoat
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by: 12/31/09.

Pours a thick opaque black. A thick foamy coffee head falls to a thin cap after a nice length of time. Moderate sticky lace.

Aroma is surprisingly piney, citrus. More hop presence than I've had in a RIS before, very enticing for this BA. Dark fruity sweetness is underneath, with a hint of chocolate.

Flavor is more typical, but compared to other RISs this has a huge hop character relative to dark malts. But unlike the aroma, malt is forward, with roasted, chocolate, and dark fruit notes. Same citrusy hop character joins in, leading to a nicely balanced finish. Alcohol is well hidden, with a little warmth down in the belly near the end of the bottle.

A little light in the body and the carbonation is a tends towards biting.

Much more hop forward than many other RISs. I'm loving it, but it's not usual for the style.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of dkachur - thanks! Always good to try a brew from my home state. Poured into a 14 oz. tulip.

Appearance: Pours a thick, viscous, black-bodied beer, capped by a surprisingly fast-fading cocoa-colored head, about a finger-and-change tall. The lacing is erratic around the tip top but sheet-like and solid elsewhere, though I doubt that will remain so long. The sheen atop the surface of this one is also pretty persistent, thin but fairly uniform, interrupted only by a few stray bubbles.

Aroma: Very, very well hopped is my first impression. A potent, pungent grassy, leafy note is the first thing that hit me upon opening the bottle, much less when I stuck my nose into the glass. Not far behind is a heavily toasted batch of malt, perhaps even some peat (though it could be in my head), slightly earthy and dirty, which melds decently well with the hop presence.

Taste: Very, very well hopped is my first impression, again. This one presents a very interesting meld of flavors. The hop notes are very light, green, slightly fruity - orange zest, perhaps grapefruit, mint, grass, very Centennial/Columbus-esque - but are balanced on the other end of the scale by a surprisingly heavily toasted malt backbone, toasty, slightly smoky, hints of char, espresso roast coffee. As it warms, a few more lightly roasted notes emerge, faint chocolate, dark toffee. It's an interesting combination, even though I'm not quite sure that I'm crazy about it.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly well carbonated and much thinner than I would imagine from how this one looked, making for a creamy, reasonably light bodied beer, for an imperial stout. Truth be told, that's probably a good thing, given the huge hop presence in this one - it's tough to have a huge, heavily toasted, and dry hopped beer just chillin' there on your tongue.

Drinkability: A very unique beer, and an interesting attempt from a brewery not really known for its hop usage (or even for doing it particularly well when they do do it). I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first, but I'm going to call it a success now that I've finished the glass off. The hop presence somehow works, almost lending a hint of peppermint patties and/or chocolate oranges to the flavor profile, a combination which works well given the mouthfeel and other notes. It's also only 9%, which - while heady - is not particularly so for the style. I'm afraid I'm gonna have to recommend it, though with a note of caution that it might not be your thang.

I'm also interested to see how the hops in this one do after some aging. I have a 1L foiled swingtop courtesy of gford217 chillaxin' in my cellar, so I might whip that one out in a year or so and see how the backing beer here stands up without the dry hop notes as prominent.

Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Liter Bottle

2008 Vintage
Bottle #1824/3000

Thanks to RustyDiamond for this monster of a bottle, thank you Russ! Happy Ending pours like a black hole of a beer that actually sucks the light from the room. A dense milk chocolate head of two fingers grows easily on the pour and shows some decent staying power. It eventually falls to a thick cap and leaves some sticky, spotty lacing behind.

The nose has a lot of toasty grains bordering on the roasty variety along with a dense smattering of caramel. Some dark chocolate and mild coffee grounds make themselves known in the background with an interesting walnut quality. A spicy booziness adds a solid kick that I thoroughly enjoy deep in the trenches. This is a fairly straightforward RIS that seems to be a little big in the booze department.

This is an RIS on the sweeter side of things. There's a lot of caramel with a toastiness that adds a toasted walnut quality, it's strange but fits well. A touch of vanilla brings up the rear with a hint of clean and mild smokiness. The mild roastiness tends to stick and build on the tongue after each drink and finally ends up bringing a smooth bitterness.

The body has a dense feel with a surprising slickness that tends to gather on the tongue. The swallow is actually fairly dry which brings out the slight roastiness enough to add some bitterness.

Happy Ending is an easy RIS to put away, if that makes sense. The dryness keeps me coming back for drink after drink. The body is so smooth it flows easily over the tongue.

I'm glad I finally pulled this from the cellar. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would like to have another bottle lying around. This one did well over the year + in the cellar. Thanks for the bottle Russ!

Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black olive that is unreasonably stubborn in refusing to give off even the slightest of highlights. Honestly, even holding it right up to the light proves futile, this is one adamantly opaque beer. The head is considerably well represented given the unsuitably high gravity. A good dousing of chocolate milk is bounded to the top where it lay fixed, bubbles and all, determined to stay and intent on defacing all parts of the glass too.

My only complaint (and it was a big one) about the beer when having it before was that it was too hoppy for the style. So, in letting it age a full two months past the 'best if enjoyed by' date, I've tried to correct that by letting the hop profile fade out a little. By the smell of things, I haven't succeeded in the least! This combination of Centennial, Willamette and Cascade is every bit as pungent and green as I remember.

My notes from then describe the beer as "sticky sweet, almost like a non-ready beer" with "semi-boiled hops still in the kettle". The spice, fruit and tang are still ever-present, but they've certainly toned down. I'm happy to report that element has matured and the hops have taken their rightful place behind the tiramisu, mocha-like flavour combination of chocolate and coffee. Granted, it's nowhere near as rich or dessert-like as most RIS.

Unfortunately, in the process of taming the hops I've also sacrificed much of the mouthfeel. My first impressions of "bitter tea-like hops" and "sticky sweet malts that stick to your lips" aren't quite observed now. There's still a great deal of crunchy toffee and sugar cookie, but it doesn't have the appeal of bitter cocoa or bittersweet chocolate as others in this style.

That said, it drinks exceptionally easy. The alcohol plays no spoiler in the downing of this hop fondue. Still, unlike other styles, RIS' aren't held to the same criteria of drinkability - they are expected to be rich, decadent, and heavy. This is quaffable, quenching, and drinks something like a hoppy Ovaltine. It has a creamy, lactose type texture and the hops are better suited to a hot Georgia summer rather than a cold Russian winter.

I'm not at all happy my bottle is coming to its ending; part of that is because I'm not anticipating the 'explosive finish' the brewers promise me on the label. This beer would be a welcome stay in my cellar if I had regular access to it. Since I don't, I have no problem putting any number of better RIS in its place on the shelf. For anyone debating whether to search one out, you can expect a happy ending - but don't anticipate wanting a sequel.

Photo of bbothen
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big ass 1.5L bottle shared at BA gathering at Rose & Crown.

Picth blask with a bubbly 2 finger deep tan colored head.

The aroma is of awesome citruc hops, some toasted malts, and a dark fruitiness. Love the unique hoppy aroma.

taste is hoppy up front before giving way to a roasted maltiness, some fruitiness, coffee, chocolate, charred flavors, and a bitter finish. Happy ending indeed.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, creamy, smooth, dry finish.

I really enjoyed the hoppiness of this imperial stout. Will be seeking out again.

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

Thanks to Bhalter8 for hooking me up with this excellent brew. Poured nice and dark into my glass with a two finger tan head made of tight, tiny bubbles that left their mark all the way down the glass. The dry hop mixes well the the imperial stout and creates a pretty interesting aroma. It reminds me of mixing Oskar Blues Gordon and Ten Fidy, only better then I was able to. Very smooth, drinkable beer with lots of roasty, chocolaty malt flavor. Well balanced, well blended beer that hides its 9% alcohol well behind a smooth hop finish. Very interesting beer that I would love to try fresh on tap.

Photo of Proteus93
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wasn't really sure what the style of this was upon first glance of the bottle. It's a kind of interesting look, with the fish and all. Thanks to Dan for bringing it back from his 'Epic Beer Adventure'

A: Jet black, with a lighter head than most. It doesn't form incredibly high. It rolls away with reasonably good retention.

S: Chocolate and malt roast, along with a nice, floral hop aroma. As it warms, the aroma grows more intense, and a plum-like fruity sweetness starts to show.

T: Hops back off on the palate a little, offering more to the aromatics. Their presence is still undeniable, though, with some citrus notes. Chocolate is moderate, and a sweetened coffee flavour takes it through finish along with a little alcohol

M + D: Body is not as thick and chewy as some, but it has done it well in this case. Smooth, creamy, and a pleasant carbonation. Alcohol is hidden just enough to avoid being hot, but add an ample note of flavour and character as it warms gently on the way down. Enjoyable... I'd be interested in this again.

Photo of DrewOSU
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

08 Vintage. Consumed at BA Cincinnati RIS tasting on 3/5/2009, hosted by Yetiman420

A: Pours a pitch-dark color, 1/8 inch dark head. Light viscous lacing.

S: I get cherry and sweet malts with a bitter hop backing.

M/T: Slightly watery to medium body. I get a slight bitterness on tongue, followed by coffee, then toasted malts. Malty finish.

D: A lighter body then expected, but a big smoky and bitter hop aftertaste that can backup in the mouth. Not the best RIS I have ever tasted.

Photo of beachbum1975
3.08/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

08 Vintage - Poured from hand numbered 1 liter.

Looks like a RIS should... Dark brown to black with a medium tan and nice creamy head.

Smells of cherry, vanilla, smoke and some saltiness. Maybe some light cocoa in the mix, as well.

Unusually light bodied, lots of smoke, lots of coffee, slight saltiness. Tastes aged, kinda musty, almost like an earthy, peat style. Very little hops presence in my opinion.

Nice, but too earthy for me.

Photo of bhalter8
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brewery, and after numerous tastings, found this time to be unique. Pours black as night with a thin, tan head. I assume this was as fresh as the Happy Ending gets, because the hop aroma was front and center. In the background was a chocolate malt smell, as well. The hops hit you up front in the taste too, but it is quickly, and nicely, balanced by the chocolate malt backbone, and some dark fruit hints. Sip after sip, I was surprised by my great enjoyment of the greater than usual hop character for an Imperial Stout. The Happy Ending is a bit heavy, not in density, but in all the alcohol and flavors it holds, especially this fresh tasting. Enjoyable, but maybe only as your last beer, too many would be tough to handle.

Photo of RustyDiamond
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by 12/31/09 on label. Poured into my SA BA glass. Onyx black in appearance with a solid two fingers of gray-brown head. Frothy sand dunes with nice weaving of different sized bubbles.
Bright aroma of sweet chocolate pudding and citrusy hops. Hoppy up front, paving the way for the roasted malty chocolate middle, ending hoppy. Or is it, ending happy? A little heat also felt in the finish. Mouthfeel is a tad cloying, but manageable. Cool webbed lacing in the glass.

Photo of dhd1491
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not so smoky like some Imperial Stouts that taste like someone put their cigarette out in your glass. Nice balance between hoppy sour and roasted malty sweetness.

I loved this brew as soon as it left the bottle. Beautiful. It's as inky black and impenetrable as any beer I've ever seen. Medium brown head sits up low and thick. Floral aroma. Excellent complexity of flavors, but very drinkable. Especially for a 9%. Not as full bodied as I expected from the appearance.

Some may desire a more aggressively robust taste from an Imperial Stout. I'm a big fan of IPA's, so I love the pronounced hoppiness of this stout which doesn't have to fight through too much smoke to reach you.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got 4 bottles of this brew in a trade with oconman, Thanks John!

L - poured in a pint glass, it's black in color with a rich, rising light brown head that had plenty of legs and left plenty of lacing behind.

S - grassy/citrus hop aroma hits the nose at first with a roasted smell hiding in the background.

T - as in the smell the hops hit first with very subtle roasted flavors mixing in finishing with a dry citrusy taste.

F - medium bodied with a creamy feel.

D - heck yeah, this is totally effin' drinkable!

Photo of mikereaser
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a very dark brown with a few particles floating in the glass

S - roasted malts and chocolate dominate with some hops present

T - roasted malt, cocoa & coffee flavors are most present

M/D - medium bodied with nice carbonation and decent flavor

Photo of paco1029384756
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany color with a short tan head leaving a thick ring of lacing.

Scent of hops, sweet dark fruits, sugars, chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. A great example of a hoppy Imperial Stout.

Taste of grassy hops, chocolate, roasted malts, smoke, and coffee. Finishes with earthy and grassy flavors with some roasted malts, tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied and thin for the style.

Very drinkable and not harsh on the palate, this is one quality Imperial Stout.

Photo of daythree16
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Chocolate brown/black in color with a very small head.

Wow! This thing smells totally unlike any other RIS I've ever encountered. Super grassy hop aromas with just a touch of roasted malt. However,...the taste has much more of a roasted malt and chocolatey finish than the smell would suggest. Still a lot of hop flavor though. This one definitely doesn't adhere to one particular style. It's almost like the love child of an IPA and a RIS.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Drinkability is pretty good considering the flavor combinations that make this the unique beer that it is. The label doesn't lie. It's definitely one hopped-up stout.

Photo of whiplash3825
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hard pour yielded a completely opaque black brew with a two-finger brown head that reduces to a lingering small cap and moderate lacing.

Pretty nice in the nose although kinda weak. Chocolate and dark fruit (especially raisin)along with an ample grapefruit-y hops smell.

Tastes good, but the hops seems to slightly overpower the other flavors... alcohol is noticable but maybe not as much as you'd expect. Very bitter aftertaste of grapefruit rind.

Mouthfeel seems way to thin for the robustness.

Drinkability is good for what it is IMO, but this one put the whammy on me. Four put me out for 10 hours! Maybe a better name would be "Sweet Dreams."

Photo of khiasmus
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

He has the distinct feeling of being followed. Though there is nothing to be heard save the wind rustling the leaves, some sort of sense causes the hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end. He quickens his pace and glances around.
The road is far too dark to be out alone, and oak trees lining the road cast sinister shadows by the light of the moon. A street lamp glows dimly through the fog up ahead, casting dim tan glow that seems to settle atop the blackness. A couple of minutes, and it is behind him, leaving only the dense black and a faint brown when he turns around, anxious to spot something, anything, that could give him a reason for his growing sense of dread.
The road widens a bit, and the oak trees move away from the road. The wind quickens, and he no longer feels as enclosed. Fir trees dapple the side of the road now, and the aroma wafts over him. There's just a bit of sweetness, some sort of dark roasted grain aroma, but the main event is the resiny, hoppy aroma. "strange." He thinks to himself. "far more hoppy and resiny than I expected. Like a typical RIS hiding behind loads of hops."
"What am I thinking? Is my mind going, this soon?"
"Oh, but the flavor... the resin-hops of a well balanced double IPA, with the strong roast character and immense malty-sweetness of a well-balanced RIS.... I wonder how this would taste in a couple of years?"
"Creamy and smooth, though not quite as thick as would be expected for the immense flavor. A dry, hop-bitter finish with a hint of coffee. Very well done."
Suddenly he is wrested out of the dreamlike memory by the realization that his footsteps have an echo. He stops, and a step-trip-stop can be heard, not twenty feet behind.
His shaking hands reach inside his coat pocket, feeling for the scroll. "still there." He snaps his jacket securely, and turns toward the field on his right.
Taking a deep breath and glancing back towards the now far-off street lamp, he sees a dark silhouette against the sky.
He begins to run.

Photo of prsguitarsr4me
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jophish17 for sending this as an extra in a trade. Pours real dark with a decent chocolatey head. Smell is sweet and fruity - not very outgoing. Taste is good - also not very outgoing, but nice flavors. Some chocolate and smooth roasted malts. Feel is nice and creamy, and the general blend is good. Glad I got to try this one.

Photo of glid02
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 version out of a 1L bottle tried in Jan. of 2009.

Pours black with dark brown highlights. Head is one-finger of light brown foam that recedes into a wispy layer on top. Not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells of roasted malts and chocolate. There's a massive difference in the fresh version as there's almost no hop aroma, however the smells that I'm getting aren't very clean.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malts and light chocolate flavors are built of a backbone of sweet malt and molasses. Again, as with the smell it just doesn't taste very clean - all of the flavors seem to run into each other instead of working with each other.

Mouthfeel is good. The carbonation is a bit on the low side, but it's got a good thickness and goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good - I had some help finishing off the 1L bottle and I needed it as I wouldn't have enjoyed finishing it myself.

Overall it seems like the stopper may have let a bit too much air in over the last year, I'd be interested to see how the 12 oz bottles compare. I will say that I blended half a bottle of this years with the 2008 version and it gave me the best of both worlds - a mildly hoppy nose with a better maltiness and likewise in the flavor.

Photo of jimsimply
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Had this at Taco Mac last eve, newly arrived on draught.

A: Dark--like winter-night-in-Siberia dark. Head is full, a finger or so, and the lacing is prominent but short-lived.

S: More hoppy than I expected, and unbalanced by the expected maltiness of an RIS, that's disturbing. There's a strong citrus note, some spice too (clove, maybe?).

MF/T: It's light in the mouth, much too light for an RIS. Next to none of the thick chewiness that Some coffee or caramel there, and I taste black licorice too. The hops are here, too, with more bitterness than I normally want in a stout. It gives you plenty of flavor, but none of the warmth.

D: Very drinkable. The high alcohol, not offset by the heavy feel and flavor, might make for a long night without the attending drinking enjoyment.

Overall, I liked the beer, and would drink it again. It just wasn't what I expected from an Imperial Stout.

Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 917 ratings.