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Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout)Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,390 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,390
Hads: 4,332
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 30.53%
Wants: 389
Gots: 950 | FT: 32
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States | website

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout | 10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ph2001 on 07-12-2008

The brewer suggests a serving temperature of 42 °F for this beer.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,390 | Hads: 4,332
Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a large tulip.
Pours dark molasses with minimal caramel head.
Smell is insane. Sweet vanilla, caramelized sugar, roasty malts. Perfection for what ST was going for with this beer. This smells more like a creme brulee than the real thing.
Taste is amazing as well. Maybe a touch muted from the nose, but totally delicious.
Mouthfeel was a touch thin for a stout. I would have enjoyed a touch more body.
Overall, this beer is amazing. A real eye opener.

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Photo of slym
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was an impulse buy for me, as I really wanted more of ST's 2X Rye, but my local bottle shop (LBS) was out. At $9 for a 22-oz. bottle, the Creme Brulee isn't cheap, but sometimes you have to live a little, right?

After cracking the top and pouring out a glass, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to like this. The vanilla is NOT a background taste, you can smell it while pouring. But, I figured there is enough "coffee" and "chocolate" in stouts, so how bad can vanilla be?

Turns out, pretty dang good. You won't be pounding this brew, as both the heavy creamyness as well as the high ABV content make that a bad idea, but as an evening sipper, I found it quite enjoyable.

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Photo of JPowell712
4.96/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is a desert in a glass! This is almost too sweet, but glorious at the same time. Definitely a desert or after dinner drink, not something you will drink fast or plenty of. The pour is nice and dark, plenty of sweet aromas coming out of the glass. The taste is phenomenal! The sweetness and warmth of the alcohol go really well together. Not much more I can say about this beer other than the fact that they nailed it! Perfect for what it is.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I purchased 2 bottles of this 2 years ago... the first I had immediately, and could not even finish half the bomber... it was insanely sweet, overly so, and I had to force myself to finish it. Don't get me wrong, the first 2 sips were unbelievable, but the sweetness builds - and as it warms the syrup-like sweetness goes up exponentially... This beer has been the subject of many posts in the past, and falls in one of 2 camps. Well, now over 2 years later, let's see what some age does - I'm also drinking this at 42 degrees, as is recommended on the label.
Which camp will I choose, here goes...

Appearance - Pours 2 solid fingers of light mocha tan foam, holding this to a light reveals a translucent body that is an ultra deep garnet, without the light the body appears a dark brown, with deep red maroon edges. Sporadic webbed lacing is left behind as you work your way through the glass.

Smell - Intensely rich sweet vanilla custard, butterscotch, thick gooey vanilla carmels, sticky toffee, carmel macchiato, and warm moist rum cake.

Taste - Truly, you get the creme brulee flavor - the flavors of cooked vanilla custard with the burnt sugar coating... so if I break this down a bit, the flavors are vanilla custard, charred sugar, roasted carmel, vanilla extract, and well done rum cake that had been soaked in too much rum - a good amount of alcohol in the finish, and long into the finish I get some charred malts, burnt toffee, dried vanilla bean and a little alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel - Extremely smooth and silky, nearly creamy, carb is on the lower side, but not enough to provide any scrub, allowing the flavors to really assert themselves. There is some alcohol heat with this one. Like eating a creme brulee that is still hot...

Overall - Okay, so which camp do I fall into? Well, I do find the flavors interesting, and I definitely pick up the creme brulee flavors, but I will not be purchasing this one again. This gets a 3.71 from me, as I understand and appreciate the brewers intentions, but this is something to have as a desert beer during the holidays, with 3-4 guests getting about a 6oz pour. I will finish this bomber myself, but I will also return my glass to the freezer a few times to keep the temp down. It is still a fiercely sweet stout, there are some nice roasted and charred sugar flavors here, but the sweetness seems to intensify with each sip, and becomes a bit of a chore after half the bomber - and the alcohol becomes hot, making the roast and char flavors become almost astringent. I love a subtle sweetness that just balances, but this is the opposite - I find my palate desperately searching out and clinging to the roasted flavors, and the dried vanilla bean, but the next sip just coats everything with another layer of sweet vanilla custard. So while my grade is generous and understanding of the flavors, I will now officially join the camp that will never purchase this beer again - but I will not bash it as some members of "this camp" are apt to do. Try this if you must, but I strongly recommend Oat and Choklat, they are excellent.

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Photo of bens0n
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Was really looking forward to this beer, had a bottle I've been sitting on for about 8-9 months.

Beer pours jet black with a small amount of foamy tan head, not getting much lacing, looks decent though.

On the nose it smells sweet and syrupy. Almost like maple syrup and vanilla, but much more on the vanilla side. Its definitely a rich smelling one, little bit of caramel, toffee notes too. Not boozy at all.

Flavor wise, alot more of the same but its got a little bit of a bitter finish, not hoppy or anything though, no boozy bite either. Milk stout backbone is there just like you would expect, sweet with a nice syrupy texture that leaves it kind of on the thin side for a milk stout, not exceptionally thick as you would expect, but still stout. Definitely better when its on the warmer side, carb bite is harsh when its cold.

Vanilla bean character dominates this beer both in smell and taste. Its got more on the nose than it does on the flavor pallet though.

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Photo of BeerLovinBuckwildUnicorn
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first time I had this deliciousness was out of the tap back in 2010. The fragrant aroma poured from the glass as three of us just stood over the pint drooling in disbelief. Over the years the Creme Brulee has some times shown to be a bit artifical and chalky tasting. The mouthfeel has also varied from delightfully medium to syrupy heavy. I dont think nothing will ever compare to that first meeting.. but all in all its a delighful beer.

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Photo of don1481
4.39/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a super-dark brown, almost pitch-black. Very slight head disappears rapidly. No bubbles to speak of.

Smell: The smell alone is its namesake in a bottle. This smells just like I was sniffing creme brulee. The burnt sugar? Check. The vanilla sweetness? Check. That delicate hint of cream? Oh yes. This is a 5 on the smell factor.

Taste: Definitely has the stout base of note, but man does the creme brulee taste come through here as well. The coffee, chocolate notes of the base blend so well with the burnt sugar and the vanilla. While not quite the perfection that the nose brings to the table, this is really good. I would definitely consider this a dessert stout, but it's not so sweet that it makes you sick. Very nice. A slight bit of booziness kicks in as you drink through this.

Mouthfeel: Kind of a boozy aftertaste with a little bit of stickiness. Pretty much standard fare for this genre of beer at this ABV.

Overall: Definitely a nice once-in-awhile dessert treat. Not something to be had every day, but like with a delicious, rich, sweet dessert, something to savor every now and then.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't know what to make of this beer.
At first it's a bit like an iced carmel coffee with cream-- then after a while it's a bit like a cross between the heavily creamed coffee and a stout-- then the vanilla powers through with hops bitterness. I'm trying to come to a conclusion.

It looks nice and pale dark brown black. A small tightly knit head but short lived.
A diminutive nose radiating hints of vanilla, caramel and hops.

The flavor is where the question marks bubble up.
Bitter hops, then the vanilla commingled with caramel all wrapped up in a sweet toasted malt wrapper.

The mouthfeel is curious-- if I was blindfolded-- yes, I'd identify it as some sort of alcoholic beverage but I might not claim it's a beer. It feels like a thin syrup not a beer.

At first I declared too much effervescence-- but now as the bottle's about to be drained the bubbles have gone down and the beer has settled some. So the "light syrup" is the more obvious.

An interesting brew. Now the question is: would I come back for another bottle (of it)?

Worth trying but don't walk a mile for it.

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Photo of halo3one
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - dark dark brown, caramel head

S - rich with caramel and vanilla, sweet

T - sweet, vanilla, coffee

M - too much carbonation

O - too fizzy to start, I actually let it open up in the refrigerator for a couple hours and it was much better but definitely on the sweet side.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a black body with dark chocolate highlights. Head is very thin, eighth of an inch. Lacing and head retention were average.

Smell is of sweet vanilla tootsie rolls. Little bit of burnt caramel also comes through. Some alcohol is present but this beer is pretty much a sugar bomb.

Taste is full of creme brûlée, especially vanilla. Bits of burnt malt and alcohol compliment the sweetness, could swear theres some run or bourbon in here. Hops are non existent.

Mouthfeel is full of carbonation, body is a bit on the lighter side. Head faded unfortunately, wish beer was fuller.

Overall this was a pretty good dessert beer. It was pretty sweet but not anywhere near as bad as people on this site make it seem. This stout drinks well for being almost 10 percent but it needs more malts or alcohol to cut the sweetness. Not my favorite of the Southern Tier Stouts

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured the stout into a snifter glass and an off-white tan colored head did form but quickly retreated to a slight layer along the top. First aroma and most pronounced is the vanilla. If there is any others I'm not getting them. Well, I guess the milk/cream aspect is quite prevalent too. Tastes like a very sweet, vanilla, creme brulee; as it should. The carbonation is quite decent for a stout and the smooth, creamy texture is pleasant as it finishes. Warming from the alcohol is a yes and the alcohol content is hidden considering all you taste is sugar sweetness. In the end, this was a delight to drink though I only could do half the 22oz cause it was so rich. I really enjoyed this stout but the high-level sweetness is probably not for everyone.

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Photo of utfiero
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- near black with mahogany hint. Medium head tinted mocha foam.

Aroma- coffee cup with splash of coffee topped off with vanilla liqueur.

Taste- Wow! Starts sweet dominated by vanilla like the first vanilla float, then gets a bit roasty, finishing with a dry lingering hint of hop. This would be a perfect brew to add vanilla ice cream to for desert or make a beer float!

Poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted on 7/20/2013.

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Photo of kuroame
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours as a very dark brown but sits in a pint glass as oily black in color. It created a rather large, light tan, foamy head that disappates fairly quickly, leaving very gentle lacing around the glass.

S: The smell is strong; just bringing it closer to my face to observe the appearance yielded a whiff of its scent, mostly of the alcohol. The smell is incredibly sweet: vanilla flavoring and vanilla bean with also the essense of cream following. Any malts that may exist are completely overpowered by the vanilla and cream scents.

T: The flavor is exactly the same as the scent: very sweet vanilla and vanilla bean with cream. There is more bitterness in the flavor than the smell that comes in slowly as the vanilla fades. However, the bitterness pairs insanely well with the vanilla flavors; its executed very well.

M: The initial feel is like drinking ice cream; its very creamy and thick. It is lightly carbonated and coats your tongue in a creamy feeling.

O: When Southern Tier labels this as a sweet stout, they truly took this to heart. This brew is very sweet but I think the intent was executed perfectly. The fact that the smell truly eludes to the taste is wonderful. The mouthfeel being as creamy as it is is also wonderful. I think the only thing this could benefit from is being a tad less sweet. But honestly, it works well. I've had creme brulee once and this is most certainly it in liquid form.

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep dark brown black with a very thick head. Great lacing. Smells like creme brulee and tastes like creme brulee. Nice and sweet, thick and creamy. Most beers that advertise as being sweet are not but this one definitely delivers. Alcohol is not noticeable but gives you a nice kick. A very good desert beer.

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4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark, creamy, vanilla, smooth, heavy body, however still refreshing. caramel malts, vanilla bean, similar to some cream ales tasted recently (i.e. Cali Cream-in Mother Earth), only its a stout, very friendly. Desert thank you, probably the best beer to have with vanilla ice-cream. Gonna go buy another 22 oz just for that. Probably a good candidate for the cellar program. CHEERS Y'ALL

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Photo of Carb-Overlord
2.79/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

I'm usually a big fan of Southern Tier... and I know this clearly is suppose to taste like vanilla creme brûlée.... but wow... this was so cloyingly sweet. Imperials are typically a nice sipping beer and they are truly my favorite style ... I just couldn't take this one. This was beyond dessert beer. I let it warm to room temperature and still couldn't handle it.

A: The appearance was great; a deep dark rich pour with a nice finger of head.

S: I really liked the aroma, it really did remind me of a freshly torched Creme Brûlée with that wonderful crust to crack... and then...

T: Taste. So very very sweet. It literally tastes like an actual dessert and a cupful of sugar was mashed into a stout and puréed. Sorry, made it through about 4-6 oz thinking maybe it would change in depth or character as it warmed. Nope, just a yeasty sweet creme brûlée stuffed into a bottle.

M: Felt viscous and smooth, though again, was distracted by the taste.

O: I'm sorry, but I just would not recommend this to anyone. Southern Tier has some other excellent brews, but this they really out thought themselves.

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Photo of Omnium
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Beermuda, 28x Tap Take-Over for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week
This version is the 2012 vintage.

A - Total black with a big two finger thick frothy tan head medium lacing
S - Caramel, chocolate, vanilla, whipped cream, smells liked an awesome dessert
T - Super sweet overall, but not that sickening diabetes inducing kinda sweet, just like a rich piece of cheesecake. Caramel, toffee, whipped cream, milk chocolate, vanilla beans.
M - Creamy rich, a little alcohol burn.
O - Out of all of ST's Blackwater stuff, this is by far the richest, and all of them are equally good dessert beers, but this one is just really awesome.

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Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I gave this beer a try because I'm such a fan of the dessert, but I didn't have very high hopes for it. I figured it would be too sweet, or like melted ice cream with a bit of a malt taste to it. The balance of the beer really struck me. It was beer-first, though by no means was the creme-brulee a minor flavor. It didn't taste fake like some chocolate stouts or gimmicky like Voodoo Doughnut. It just tasted like a better than average stout with some very natural-tasting flavors added in. It would make the perfect dessert beer, but really it's not so sweet that it couldn't be enjoyed at any time. I'll likely buy again!

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Photo of IronLover
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black in color. Poured with a healthy, dark beige foam that slowly dissipated. Intensely sweet vanilla aroma with mocha, butterscotch, dark caramel and cream in tow. Boozy notes also begin to peek through as this warmed. This honestly smelled like a pastry, maybe tiaramasu. Incredibly smooth, slightly thick feel, with rich, tight carbonation up front and a milky stickiness at the end. Creamy, sweet vanilla flavor up front that slowly tapers as a tangy bitter hop bite rides overtop. Charred malt flavor beneath that slowly intensifies to the finish accompanied by smooth vanilla. The feel and candy-like sweetness is reminiscent of Pumking. 

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Photo of Flounder57
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle was poured into a large snifter.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is s pitch black color with no vision of anything. Spotty lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Sweet sweet vanilla and cream, butterscotch candy, lactose, caramel, and a little char.

Taste: Tastes like a flan pudding. A little booze, burnt caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, sweetness, and a little chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Creamy silky smooth, full bodied, a little sweet, low to medium carbonation, and like drinking a desert.

Overall: Smells sweet, tastes sweet, and is still sweet. I like it, but the sweetness could be a bit overbearing for most. Still an enjoyable beer though.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- pours nearly pitch black with a small light tan head that retains shortly, leaving a thin layer floating on top

S- pure butterscotch, I've never smelled such authentic butterscotch in a beer before. Also notes of coffee, milky lactose, toasted cream, caramel, pure sweetness

T- sweet and malty with notes of lactose, a hint of coffee, brown sugar, charred cream, licorice, the caramel/butterscotch actually comes though on the finish and lingers on the palate long after finishing

M - medium body and carbonation, foamy mouthfeel with a sweet finish

O- it's sweet, but I didn't have any trouble drinking 12oz, loved the aroma, unlike anything I've experienced. Base stout was mostly sweet, the butterscotch aftertaste was what made this one a winner, great beer

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Photo of Strix
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with tan head.

Vanilla bomb with caramel, and butterscotch.

Vanilla and butterscotch, cream, roasted burned malt note. Amazingly dessertlike.

Rich creamy mouthfeel.

This was unique and kind of amazing. That said, the sweetness limits the overall drinkability. Worth a try if it appeals to you.

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Photo of shacawgo24
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A-Black as cow spots body with brown edging. Creamy, chunky khaki tan head that is one finger thick. Great lace. Head could be more mountainous. If so appearance would get a perfect score.

S-Vanilla. Maple syrup. Buttery. Burnt sugar. Roasted malts. Cheesy. Plums & raisins. Hint of astringency. Smell is lovely. But a tad behind taste in terms of strength. This factor and the astringency which gets stronger with time puts a 4.75 ceiling on smell, almost perfect.

T-True to name. Tastes like liquid crème brulee. Butterscotch even. Resin swirls throughout the body. Dank pine. Great bitters blanketed by even greater sweetness. Grass & hay are unexpected. Subtle coffee.

M-Medium body goes down slick. Low high carbonation, a small sizzle. The sip is a sweet start, a sour dark fruit medium finishing off to a medium bitter finale. So sticky your lips stick to the glass. Body does water down and the already low carbonation doesn't help much. But the sour twang combined with the sweet desert flavors give the mouthfeel memorable depth.

O-What a digestif! Top shelf milk stout. Southern Tier makes the literal "sweetest" brews around. Enough hops as well to cut against the super sugar blasts make Crème Brulee a "bitter-sweet" treat.

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Photo of rawfish
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cola brown, flat and small vanilla cream head builds and vanishes equally as quickly. Barely any lace on the glass.

As far as sheer power goes, this beer takes the cake. Vanilla, sweet creme, cake batter, Starbucks Frappuccino rising from the glass like a decadent and calorie filled perfume. There is no way to pick out any nuances from the malt, it's dessert in a glass.

The roasted malt and sweet lactose is quickly overwhelmed by the vanilla flavors in this beer. I get a bit of coffee, milk chocolate and nuttiness then it's all vanilla syrup. A decadent beer, like latte or a sweeter tiramisu. Finishes sticky with obscene amounts of sweetness, some cocoa and more vanilla. Sweet tooth eat your heart out.

Less body than expected, easy to put down if you aren't sensitive to how cloying this could get. Mild carbonation and very sticky and syrupy malt. Alcohol is easily ignored.

Anyone who doesn't like sweet desserts won't like this beer. That being said I thought it was delicious, the vanilla character is so powerful it's mind blowing. I'd have it again in a heartbeat but It's also necessary to share.

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Photo of Swettenham_Shire
2.35/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Bomber poured into pilsner glass. Drank with dessert (banana cream pudding)

Appearance: dark brown color with tan foaming head; minimal lacing
Smell: caramel, milk, vanilla, maybe maple syrup? very sweet... too sweet for my liking
Taste: better than it smells; sweet, but not overbearing. The aftertaste is slightly bitter
Mouthfeel: thick; kind of like coffee with too much cream
Overall: goes together well with desserts like pudding and ice cream, but still too sweet for my taste. It's nice to try unusual brews every once and awhile, but I probably won't seek this one out anymore

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Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,390 ratings.