Hellwoods - Bellwoods Brewery
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Ratings: 48 | Reviews: 16 | Display Reviews Only:
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Hellwoods looks as dense as Rodin’s The Gates of Hell and, indeed, could pass as something from Dante's 'The Inferno'. The beer is solid as bronze but black as coal, without even a flicker of highlighting. Even its head is darker than some people might imagine any beer to ever be.
There's a towering amount of malt in the aroma (coffee, chocolate, roasted grain) but also, somewhat unexpectedly, a bold and distinctive amount of hoppiness too; the two vie for the nose's attention as if their lives depended on it. Ultimately, it smells smoky but "green"; there's lots of pine, grass and forest floor nuances. Some vinous red wine notes too.
Imperial Stouts like this are perfect for the cold weather - their hearty, warming characteristics give the body a sense of satisfaction, satiety, and safety. This thick, roasted malt bill is made up not only of dark chocolate and burnt toffee flavours but also sooty campfire smoke and coffee bean astringency, and is chased by earthy Darjeeling tea and woody spruce-like hop flavours.
The mouthfeel drinks like a blend of in-house roasted artisan coffee and single origin dark chocolate - there's a certain 'quality' to it that is intangible but all so appreciable. I've had bourbon barrel-aged stouts that don't achieve this level of milky vanilla sweetness, bitter espresso and charred wood spice flavour (and certainly none that mask their alcohol so effortlessly).
Hellwoods was clearly designed with horsepower in mind but, out of courtesy, never quite kicks it into high gear. The engine is certainly not off, mind you - this offers the all of the complexity expected of a 10% RIS but is simply, somehow, that much more approachable. The guys at Bellwoods known their way around a mash tun, that's for sure. This is hellishly good.
Serving type: bottle
02-25-2014 03:33:42 | More by biegaman
4.45/5 rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours total opaque black with a huge dark tan head that lasts a long while. Sheets and chunks of foam coat the glass. The aroma is of dark chocolate, roasted barley, vanilla and apple and banana hints (yeast esters?). Lots of dry black licorice explode on the palate alongside the aforementioned flavors. Fresh roasted coffee beans and resiny, piney hops also show in the taste. The mouthfeel is thick and viscous, just south of oily with a subtle, creamy carbonation. Medium bitterness and a nice roastiness in the long finish. Alcohol is impeccably well hidden throughout.
Excellent RIS. Lots of thick chewy malt and roasty flavors, great hop balance, thick body, low booze flavor. It checks off all the boxes. A must try from this fantastic Toronto brewery. The best one in town imo.
Serving type: bottle
11-01-2013 04:14:43 | More by CAMRAhardliner
4.7/5 rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Big thanks to Peensteen for this one. Happy to give this one a try.
From a bomber into a snifter
Bottled 1 March 2013
APPEARANCE: A black, syrupy pour yields a small, medium looking, light tan head with decent retention. Head quickly recedes to a light wisp and ring. Jet black body with no carbonation evident. Nice swirly wisp remains leaving dots dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking imperial stout for sure.
SMELL: Big, luscious nose of roasted grain, molasses, dark baker's chocolate and touches of leather. Lots of molasses and chocolate. Big and enticing.
TASTE: Follows the nose really nicely. Roasted notes and lots of sweet molasses and caramel sweetness up front. Plenty of sweetness after the swallow a well, with some bitter dark baker's chocolate, bitter espresso and alcohol proving a solid counterweight. Notes of leather and licorice beside the bitter chocolate and sweet molasses. Big, sweet and roasted flavors, but balanced excellently by the coffee and chocolate bitterness. Really decadent.
PALATE: Fuller body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy and velvety smooth on the palate, enough weight, goes down fine with a bit of a scratch at the swallow and finishes slightly sticky. Big feel.
OVERALL: This was excellent. Perhaps a touch more bitterness to balance the huge sweet flavors would make this perfect, but this is basically as good as it gets. Really complex with lots of aromas and flavors in almost perfect harmony, this one is absolutely outstanding. One I'd gladly drink again and will be on the lookout for in the future. Thanks again Peensteen. Really good beer.
Serving type: bottle
10-13-2013 14:49:16 | More by Jeffo
Hellwoods from Bellwoods Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.