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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

420 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 420
Hads: 1,075
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 19.33%
Wants: 119
Gots: 232 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States | website

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: 420 | Hads: 1,075
Photo of iconoklaztor
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pick this up from a BIF...thanks Brewfan

Pours a nice black with a head that quickly went away. Its decent. Its a little sweet but has a slight card board flavor! The finish is a little thin but its still a decent IMPY. I'd drink it everynow and again but wouldnt seek it out! However, its still a nice treat to mix up in there from time to time!

Overall, its decent. I wouldnt die if I never had it again but its still decent!

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Photo of Vancer
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Happy Ending? A happy start to a nice day, courtacy of brentk56 via trade - THANKS again.

Poured a coal black with almost no head - no surprise with the kick ass 9% smacking me.

Smells and tastes like a black ale on hop steroids, sharp, crisp and cutting. The malty b ackbone is there, but struggling to make itself known. The booze is nowhere to be seen, but damn, sure to be felt by bottle end.

Classy brew.

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Photo of kasper
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by 12/31/08

A: nearly black, opaque, finger and half creamy, foamy chocolate milk colored head that leaves sheets of lacing

S: chocolate covered malt balls, earthy hops, and smoked meat.

T: malty, roasty, smokey and bitter.

M: medium to full bodied, prickly carbonation, slippery

D: interesting aromas and taste, but not necessarily my bag. there's a lacking in complexity up front on the taste that kind of ruins it for me. but it's still a solid stout that masks the abv well.

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Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to grub for sharing this one, in the 1 liter foiled swingtop bottle. Bottle # 1283/3000.

Pours black, some dark red in the edges, huge brown head forms, tons of lacing, solid retention, looks like an imperial stout! Smell is nice, very hoppy, some floral and grapefruit, pine and burnt sugar, toffee, chocolate, cream, roast, pretty nice. Taste is chocolate and roast, toffee, floral hops, caramelized sugar, bitter dark chocolate, alcohol, dark fruits in the finish with a lacto sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, very smooth. Pretty nice imperial stout, very hoppy and I'd like to try this with some age on it. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of Crosling
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1.0 L swingtop. Dark brown color with a very light head (for an Imperial Stout.) The head and color should be darker, hurting its score. Nose shows some dark fruit and dark chocolate hints, but it's very light overall. Flavor is well balanced, quite hoppy with some citrus notes. Also, notes of cherry and blackberry, with some other hints of roast and chocolate. Not a complex beer, but it's fairly enjoyable.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.32/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at cellar temp from a 12 oz bottle into a Maudite snifter.

Delectable pour, extremely dark ruby/garnet and crystal clear (not inky or opaque), nice 3/4 inch dark-tan-colored head, leaves lots of sticky lacing all the way down. A beautiful looking beer.

Aroma is strong with yeast aromas, banana and Band-Aid--mmm, good. (Not.) Their house yeast, or fermenation temps? Besides phenolic, also some fusel alcoholic aroma, utterly dominating what ought to be a roasty or chocolately nose. No hints of malt that I can pick up, unfortunately.

Flavor is flat as well, with some smoke, some fruitiness, dominated by plenty of cola flavor. Not that bad, but weak in character. The nose hurts more than the flavor.

Mouthfeel is thin, insufficient sweetness, body, slickness, bitterness, everything. This poor beer just can't make it into the top tier.

At the end of the day, it's not that bad. But in my opinion, Imperial Stout is a special tier of beer, and either you have a winner or you should not bother trying. Happy Ending is a decent beer (worth drinking if it's your local beer) competing against the best beers in the world.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.31/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

thanks to atpsrings for this one!

An aggressive pour into a Duvel chalice builds a 1" tall, khaki-brown head. Retention is good and leaves an inital ring of lacing around the glass. Body is seal brown and entirely opaque. The aroma isn't particularly strong, but still good: roasted grains, a hint of chocolate and espresso, and a big hop presence due to the dry-hopped finish.

Flavor is kind of a malty mess, with roasted notes here, some coffee and cocoa there, but all in all lacking coherence. The hoppiness feels out of place, too, and is actually the most significant part of the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is dry and chalky, and leaves a weird, filmy texture on my teeth. Body is a bit thin and overcarbonated. While this isn't a great beer, the flavor is a little better than the 3.0 I gave it, but for the style, this falls flat as a RIS. I wouldn't necessarily call it an "unhappy ending", but it's close.

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Photo of drxandy
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got in trade from beavers, thanks!!
poured into mini snifter from 12oz bottle

pours an oily black/deep deep brown, a heavy pour brings out some head

smells faint bakers chocolate, bitterness, but no alchohol smell really

tastes lactosey, very much bakers chocolate, lots of bitter hopping blends nicely into and not offensive to even someone who isn't the biggest fan of hops.

mouthfeel is good, but not as rich as i'd expect based off of smell. The hops do kick in a dry finish as well.

overall for the abv and style, this is an easy drinker - bold and bitter but still easy to drink more than one.

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Photo of dnichols
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I thank shuajw for a great trade that landed this gem in my stash (at least until last night when imacoug and I polished it off). We poured the massive gold foiled and swing capped bottle into chalices.

A: It poured a drark black body with a modest tan head. There was even and layered lacing.

S: It emitted rich coffee aromas accented by floral hops and dark roasted malts. There was a milk chocolate like aroma that rose to the top, especially as the brew warmed.

T: It tasted like a milk chocolate stout laced with a wicked blend of hops. The flavors were a bit thin but milk chocolate dominated the chocolate profile and French roast coffee was evident on the back side. The hops were floral and bitter giving it a complex flavor unusually for a RIS.

M: It was medium to full bodied with a thinness that approached a porter or dry stout. However, the milk chocolate and bitter hops gave it a complex mouth fell that was entertaining. It finished warm and clean with little aftertaste.

D: It was a pleasant and well balanced beer with a moderately heavy body and bold ABV that limit its utility as a session brew. The large bottle makes it a great candidate to share with a beer buddy and if no friends are around the swing top cap makes it possible to stash it away for a second round.

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Photo of tpd975
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another GA brew from OskarsBamaBlues

A: Pours deep dark black with an average sized khaki colored head. The head dies and some vein like lacing is left behind.

S: Lots of dark roasted malt with hints of chocolate. There is a bit of a lactic ice cream type quality to the nose.

T: Lots of roasted malt and bitter cocoa flavors. There is a hint of licorice and some sweet toffee. A touch of charcoal in the finish.

M: Medium in body pretty smooth.

D: The 12 oz bottle makes it easy to drink a few.

Overall: A solid RIS, and the fact that it comes in a 12 oz bottle is a bonus. I like to see brewers put big beers in small bottles. Sweetwater has a winner with this one, and if avaliable I would have a sixer in the fridge all winter long.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
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

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Photo of Avryle
3.86/5  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.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

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Photo of tayner
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of younger35
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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!

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Photo of oberon
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.11/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of joepais
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
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

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Photo of shirfan
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of turbine2475
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of drseamus
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of ruckzuck
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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!

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Photo of tiger88
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of pwoods
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
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 :)

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Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 420 ratings.