1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Hellwoods - Bellwoods Brewery

Not Rated.
Hellwoods
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

65 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 65
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 19
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bellwoods Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This is an unapologetic beer. Dark, viscous, bitter, and rich — it's a dangerous elixir of love. Originally developed by English brewers in the 18th century for export to the court of Catherine the Great in Russia, our interpretation of the style would surely make lady C proud. We’ve waited our whole lives to brew a beer with such bravado, and it always sells out faster than we can supply the next batch. Some people claim that imperial stouts are only for the dead of winter, but we feel that this sidekick is there for you, anytime you call.

(Beer added by: cmadd on 09-09-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 65 | Reviews: 19 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hunterjames
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of 4ster
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of GoHabsGo
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of biegaman
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of fizzyted
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of yancot
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of lgmol
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of BfloBrewHound
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of bobsy
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of deonreds
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of Groulxsome
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of evil_liver
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Boozecamel
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of valianes
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of KeKeKumba
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Jeffo
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Photo of ssmack
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of SebD
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Vyronian
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of FEUO
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of mmapes
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Andrew for the trade. Served fridge-cold (probably too cold) into snifters.

It's thick and dark in the glass with a very thin carmel-brown head. Smells of toasted malt/molasses, not too smoky.

Tastes malty. Not so beer-y -- not very prominent yeast or hops. Dry up front with a dark dried fruit finish. Chocolatey. Semi-sweet. Long finish. It's very good.

I love imperial stouts, and although this might not be my favorite, it's good. Would buy again if I could find it.

Photo of oldp0rt
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of beerhunter13
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of Rutager
4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Same date as the bottle in the picture. Thanks liamt07!!

Appearance. Pours thick and black with a finger of deep brown head.

Smell. Dark chocolate, plums and a little espresso.

Taste. Drark roasted malts, plums and raisins, caramel, roasty dark malts, and some burnt sugar in the finish. Maybe just a bit of roasted nuts as well.

Mouthfeel. Full body, low+ carbonation.

Overall. Nicely done.

Hellwoods from Bellwoods Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.