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

4,160 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,160
Reviews: 1,426
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 17.65%
Wants: 353
Gots: 847 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  9.60% 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,160 | Reviews: 1,426
Photo of dino213aa
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours almost black. Totally opaque in the glass with slight deep ruby tinges when held against the light. Lacing is sparse and uneven. Right after a hearty pour, a 2mm mocha brown head forms which quickly dissipates.

S: Sweet, with strong vanilla and caramel notes and a whisper of bourbon.

T&M: Surprisingly crisp at first, first flavors are vanilla with a nose of bourbon. After a decent stretch it quickly flips to an artfully hoppy finish. The aftertaste is hoppy on the back of my palette and my lips tasting sweet. The mouthfeel is crisp yet hearty.. satisfying and while not overly muddy.

O: I'm honestly surprised at how much I like this. Although admittedly I'm not a connoisseur of stouts, this one has so much to offer. Not only is the novelty flavor apparent in such a rewarding way, but it still can give hopheads something to appreciate too. This brew is so skillfully balanced it's no surprise Southern Tier is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries.

Photo of mwill7287
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looked for Pumking at my local packie but they were out, so I went with this one instead. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a snifter.

Appearance - Very dark, almost opaque, with just a bit of light breaking through when held up to a lamp. What little head there was even from a fairly vigorous pour evaporates quickly, leaving only thin tan lacing around the head. Carbonation pops through on the surface instead. This thin lacing also dissipates through the course of the drink to leave only an black oily substance behind. Virtually no lacing left behind on the glass. 4.25/5

Smell - Wow! Carmel and butterscotch pound the olfactory nerves. This is exciting. Smells like a very rich candy. Bits of chocolate in there but the carmel, butterscotch and vanilla totally dominate the nose. Sweet! 5/5

Taste - Sweet, sweet, sweet... dare I say, too sweet? I'm getting tons of carmel and butterscotch right off the bat. The latter half of the taste is more balanced, letting in the chocolates and coffees of the dark roast, as well as the added vanilla beans. Mi amigo Michael labeled it right: "vanilla latte." (Though I can't remember the last time I had a vanilla latte...) By the way, is there alcohol in this? The 9.6% of this brew is invisible. A carmel leading aftertaste lingers on the tongue. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel - Sticky and syrupy. The extreme sweetness of the carmel and butterscotch leaves an intense sensation on the tongue. Pure sugar. Midway through, my lips almost stick together, there's so much sweet residue left on them. 4/5

Overall - This is a beer you want to try for fun. And fun it is. Would I pick it up to enjoy on a regular basis? No; in fact, I can't see myself having it again for some time. But when I'm looking for something outside the box, this is the way to go. One will be more than enough, and indeed might be too much. Try splitting this with someone. 4.24/5

N.B., my ratings went down as the beer warmed; surprising, as the opposite usually happens. Keep it at that 42 degrees Southern Tier recommends as long as possible.

Photo of Dennoman
1.62/5  rDev -58.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

22 oz bomber, poured into a snifter.

Before reading this review, please understand this is an extreme beer that *will* divide the crowd. I decided to write down notes and review it later, as I might have been too emotional on the night itself. I wanted to give it a more honest chance than just a 1.0 in every category and say it's the worst beer I've ever had. It's not, but boy is it close.

A: Okay, I suppose. Quite thin-looking with obvious reddish notes. Foamy, bubbly, soapy head.

S: WHOA-HOA-HOA! Absolutely horrendous. I think the best way to describe it, is the vanilla-scented candle from Hell. Huge waft of artificial vanilla essence with a vague hint of hops are all I get from this. For being so artificial, it's also surprisingly stale. It smells like the butterscotch and vanilla sweets your grandparents used to keep in the TV cabinet where temperatures would reach the upper eighties, together with their collection of rubber bands and potpourri. Sickening.

T: I suppose you could live with the smell if the taste was up to scratch, but sadly I was equally disappointed. The stench of rotten and chemical vanilla in your nose contradicts with the mostly hoppy flavors you get in your mouth at first, which is then washed away by booze to lead to a sandy dry finish. I don't know what this is supposed to be, but I sure as heck don't like it. Absolutely lip-curlingly vile.

M: I suppose this isn't over-carbonated and therefore has an okay mouthfeel, but this is sadly one of these numbers I have to fiddle around with to give it the low score I feel it deserves.

O: Knowing that a lot of people aren't big fans of Southern Tier's emulation style of brewing, I did rather like their Oat, Choklat and Mokah when I tried them. This however is just a swing and a miss for me. A big swing, I'll grant them that, and this is one of those beers that probably go well with people that have either an immense sweet tooth, or just... well... sorry, I can't begin to imagine how anyone could like this. That is - however - just my opinion, and I like the fact that Southern Tier either goes big or goes home. Big kudos on that!

Photo of bernardus1212
2.63/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at HOB "Thanks Jessica." Poured into a 6oz snifter. Black as night with a white head. the head stuck around for awhile. You can smell this beer from the other room. The most intese vanilla have ever seen in a beer. THe flavor was the same. It tasted like vanilla extract with a little dry hops. I like the idea but Southern Tier needs to consult CCB before trying this. Way too intense. Switched over to a Loose Cannon immediately. As a suggestion, I wouldnt try this in a glass bigger than a flight sipper.

Photo of NedShakeshaft
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I served it cool, poured from the bottle into a pint glass. The beer was dark brown, almost black, with a half-inch-thick soft toast-brown head. The head had terrific retention, still crowning the beer on the last slug.

The vanilla bean aroma was overpowering but there were notes of toffee underneath and chocolate as well as a faint grapefruit way underneath.

The alcohol stings the front of the tongue, but that fire is put out immediately by the milky, vanilla froth. It's milkshake sweet, and then some. And it's thick. Slightly burnt.

The sweetness if followed by ...more sweetness as the toffee malts roll in. Finishes with a tad of dark chocolate bitterness which is a welcome relief.

Very good overall. It's an unapologetic dessert beer with some complexity. I'd have it again without hesitation.

Photo of fearthebeerd
4.97/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap year round at a bar back home. Not overly sweet on taste in my opinion and the smell always makes me feel good. That's when I know I'm home. First beer I ever had at a bar, so maybe I'm a bit biased, but it will always be my favorite. Very thick and very dark, but doesn't have much of a head which is why I docked a bit on look. Alcohol doesn't overpower the variety of flavors which is impressive for a beer that is almost 10%. Maybe not for everyone, but definitely worth a try if you ever find it.

Photo of dalion037
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This is a unique beer. I'm not sure if it is a dessert or a beer but here goes. It looks good for a stout and smells and taste like butterscotch. The mouthfeel is that of a silky smooth stout. I rate it low on the drinkability scale only because it was too sweet for a more than a rare occasion drink.

Photo of JJBlanche
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I was pumped to try this, as Creme Brulee is my favorite desert item.

A - One finger head, sticks around for a bit. Lacing is present. Opaque.

S - Smells exactly like Creme Brulee, with the added influence of roasted grain. Indeed, the aroma blew me out of the water. For what it is, perfect.

T - Hmmm....after smelling it, I thought this was going to be a desert in a glass. But after having gone through a 22, I'm getting the distinct impression that taste is being placed on the back burner, in favor of aroma. It's really muddied, with caramel malts present, lactose, roasted grain. Cloying, and to be frank it was almost difficult to finish the 22. Not terrible, don't get me wrong, but I won't be having any more. Again, this coming from someone who enjoys both sweet stouts and creme brulee.

To its benefit, I wasn't detecting any significant amount of alcohol, which is a fairly decently feat for a 10% brew.

M - Mouthfeel was good. Silky. Carbonation was about right.

D - For a 10% ABV brew, the drinkability is quite good, in the sense that the strong alcohol content is not detectable. That said, the taste and muddiness kills the drinkability factor. I was having a hard time finishing a 22.

At the end of the day, creme brulee (the desert item) is as much a tactile experience as it is a taste experience. When you sit down and think about it, creme brulee in drinkable form is an unappealing thought...which is kind of what I'm left with when I look at this brew overall.

Photo of tkepx182
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this beer up since it looked interesting.

A: It is a dark beer, almost black with a brown head.

S: The first thing i noticed when pouring it out was the smell of sugar and vanilla, it filled the air and was quite pleasant

M: It has a smooth feel in the mouth, finished, if you will

T: The primary flavors are that of vanilla, coffee bean, and sugar the only way that i can tell that it is a beer is the fact that the hops leaves a dry taste in the mouth.

O: This is a very good dessert beer, it hits all the right notes for an after dinner finisher, beyond that it is limited

Photo of Vpr5002
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

excellent if you like the sweet taste, no trace of alcohol at all. Overall, it is a very good "desert" beer.

Photo of JimmyK77
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was served this in a snifter without being told what it was. My first reaction was confusion - it looks like beer: dark like stout with a nice, slightly off-white head. But the aroma caused me to think it was a godiva-liqueur like cocktail. Truely, this smells like creme brulee! And since that's what they were going for, kudos to them. My nose was owned by the vanilla, caramel, and burnt sugar aromas. Flavorwise - right on track. Vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar - suitable sweetness for a beer named after a luscious dessert.

It got of track though on the back of my tongue with a residual bitterness, combination of burnt sugar and hop bitterness, that I didn't like in combination with the sweetness. It really has the bitterness of an American stout and I think that creates conflict with the 'creme brulee' aspect. I think a richer, smoother European stout with the vanilla and caramel notes (maybe even subdued a little) would be completely sublime.

Photo of keytown
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours jet black with a very thin tan head

S - Smells of a pint of Haagen Dazs Creme Brulee: vanilla,
chocolate & caramel.

T - Tastes very much on the same note as the smell: very
sweet, with tastes of vanilla, chocolate & caramel. There
is some hoppy bitterness on the finish, more then I
expected from such a sweet beer.

M - Full bodied and very sweet. Very smooth with some good

O - Overall this is a good beer. I'm not big on overly sweet beers
but this one is very good. It would be an excellent desert
beer. Would pair well with Thanksgiving/Christmas desert.

Photo of Mhpendleton
3.49/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer would be good with dessert. Very strong vanilla smell and taste. I would not drink on a regular basis.

Photo of TonyT
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Split a 22oz with a few friends

This beer is all over the place:

A - Poured black in color with brownish white head. No apparent lacing. Head dissipated quickly.

S- Incredible...The vanilla comes through and lets you know that it is not going away. Nice alcohol smells pierces through at first, and then mellows out.

T- At first the alcohol burns you pretty good. The vanilla taste and roasted malt flavoring permeates through. As you drink it further, the alcohol burn alleviates itself. Very sweet.

M- Minor hops hit you right in the front. The alcohol warms from beginning to end, but only hits you at the back the more you drink. The vanilla hits in the front, malts take over in the middle. The more you drink; there is a nice dryness in the beginning.

D- This is not a beer that should be pounded or drank in haste (especially with the ABV). This is a nice, mellow warmer show off to friends or as a desert beer. But this is a nice "occasion beer".

I will definitely have this again. I would like to see how this beer ages.

Photo of aewinte1
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a very dark brown, but not quite black. Aggressive pour yields 1.5" head that dissipates quickly
S- smell is absolutely incredible. Smells very strongly of butterscotch. Almost smells like a liquid Werthers candy. A little bit of caramel sweetness comes through, but that butterscotch smell really overpowers everything else. Smells super sweet, but this one is pleasantly different than the smell of most sweet beers.
T- Taste is like the smell. Very sweet. Tastes like creme brulee honestly. Butterscotch flavors comes through strongly as well as that caramel sweetness. Very very sweet beer, but a very unique flavor. Not sure whether this beer tastes more like creme brulee or a werthers candy, but either way i'm diggin it. After a while, the sweetness really starts to stack up and make the beer unenjoyable. At first, I was impressed by the flavor, but after a while, it really become noticeably less enjoyable.
M- Mouthfeel is pretty thin for a stout, but it didn't bother me too much
D- Drinkability is decent considering how well the alcohol is hidden by the sweetness of the beer. Couldn't really detect any alcohol presence through the sweet backbone of the beer. Like mentioned above, the drinkability is hindered by the cloying sweetness, not the alcohol.

Photo of sdmvd6
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip

A - Jet black with a very short tan head that disappears quickly. Remnants of whispy tan bubbles hang around and little lacing is left.

S - This is definitely a first for me. Rum soaked dark fruit up front which is immediately overwhelmed with butterscotch, burnt caramel, and toffee (a touch too sweet). Roasted coffee and some booziness takes a backseat to all of this.

T - Immediate sweet burnt caramel and vanilla along with some alcohol warmth. This transitions to dark fruits and then roasted coffee and sweet chocolate in a lingering finish.

M - Nicely carbonated with a full mouthfeel. This is a very thick, creamy imperial stout.

O - I have to say I was a bit concerned when I smelled this one that it would be cloyingly sweet and full of artificial flavors. I was pleasantly surprised by how balanced the flavor profile is, with all of the flavors complimenting one another very well. It's amazing how much it tastes like creme brulee in stout form.

Photo of ABHatter
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter. Gorgeous jet black color with a brown/purpleish color on the edges. Very tiny head goes away very quickly.
S--Smell is absolutely outstanding butterscotch, tons of Vanilla and a faint tootsie roll smell. T&M--Taste is fantastic. Loads of sweet vanilla, burnt sugars, chocolate and a tad of butterscotch round this out with a nice alcohol creaminess on the finish. As far as drinkability goes I gave it a 4 , This beer is a little rich and very sweet but it is also quite drinkable considering it's hefty 10% ABV. All in All, another fantastic beer from Southern Tier's black water Series. I would recommend anyone to buy this one as soon as they can, because I'm sure there will be a ton of Beer trekys stockpiling it in the next few weeks.

Photo of Spcoly
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter...

A: Dark and chocolately with almost zero head.

S: Vanilla, almost like kahlua with whipped cream, butterscotch...

T: SWEET...milky chocolate with cream, alcohol is hidden...

M: thick...but in a good way....good amount of carbonation....

O: I bought this for an after dinner drink (without dessert) and that it exactly what it is....its dessert!

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

A- Dark black, with very little head

S- Amazing. It smells like a cake. Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, alcohol. Smells similar to a caramel macchiato or something like that.

T- Sweet. This is the sweetest beer I have ever had by far. I do feel like the roasted malts and coffee are at the forefront, but quickly give way to a caramel, butterscotch taste. Leaves a chocolate and alcohol taste in the mouth.

M- Thick, chewy, full body, very little carbonation. Flavor goes through several transitions in the mouth, and leaves a coffee, alcohol taste in the mouth after swallowed.

O- This was a fascinating beer. I enjoyed it and thought that it worked for what they were trying to do with it. I think that the people who have given this a crazy low rating have not taken into account the style or what they were trying to accomplish with the beer. It is supposed to be sweet. If someone gave me some, i would gladly drink it again, but I just would not pay 9 bucks for something that is more of a novelty than a regular sipper

Photo of vikingmike
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought for nearly 10 dollars at the local LCBO. Based on all the hype I've seen on BA I just had to try it.

I give this beer a relatively high mark, simply because it provides what it claims to. This beer smells and tastes like creme brulee. I've tried vanilla-this, pumpkin-that, apricot-the-other-thing...only to be disappointed by the lack of advertised flavour. This beer actually tastes like dessert.

I actually don't find this cloyingly sweet like other reviewers, but it definitely is something to be shared or enjoyed in extreme moderation. Never thought 650ml of anything would be too much for me, but this might be the exception.

I doubt I'll buy another of these, but I'm glad I got to try it. It definitely has a place...right after dinner.

Photo of mkabull
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer had the usual appearance of a stout nice tan/light brown head . The first smell caught me off guard with a big wiff of dessert like sweetness . The taste backed up the smell "wholely dessert batman" this is the ultimate after dinner beer . Mouthfeel was very heavy close to syrup like but great for a dessert type sipping beer . The drinkability was good but with the alcohol level and heavyness it brought down the drinkability

Photo of akronzipfan
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had one of these at Clark's Ale House on a recent trip to Syracuse.

a - is highly viscous, dark brown and impervious to all light; short beige head with mild lacing

s - there is the slightest hint of an underlying hops scent that is almost completely overwhelmed by a maple-sweet, creamy essence

t - it opens with a rush of malty sweetness that is nearly too much to handle; but somehow this quickly becomes more than palatible, perhaps due to the balance effect of the ultra-high ABV

m - at once syrup-like, yet pleasant; not much carbonization

d - it's weirdly enchanting in short doses, but if there is such a thing as the "opposite of a session beer" then this might be a good candidate

Photo of case4816
4.89/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Very dark brown in colour, like dark coffee. Head foamed up to about half an inch, but then shrunk down to a light lacing.

S- Very heavy on the vanilla bean smell, first thing that comes through. Can also smell some of the lactose, very creamy. Also nice roasted malts come through, and a slight bit of hops at the end.

T- Tastes just like a French vanilla, or even a Creme Brulee! it's wonderful. The roasted malts come together with the vanilla to blend into the French vanilla flavour that is very strong but not overpowering. The lactose sugars come through as well with a nice creamy feel. Also the alcohol comes through fairly strong, but it not too strong or bad in any way. Hops are detectable at the end with a wonderful bitter finish that lingers for a short time.

D- I believe I have just found my new favourite stout. So tasty and easy to drink or sip.

Photo of treehouse
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

nose - very sweet and buttery...butterscotchery...

mouthed...malted milk balls...bitterness from the chocolate and i would guess the hops...there may b vanilla beans up in this beer but the butterscotch hides it....a great beer but not one to be drinking multiple bottles of....

Photo of anjah
5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an all around GREAT beer! If you like milk stouts, try this sucker out! It has a rich and creamy color and tastes great too. Even at nearly 10% abv, it goes down smooth. The only thing about this beer is at one sip it will leave you with some dank coffee breath for the rest of the night. Consider yourself warned.

Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 4,160 ratings.