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Berserker Imperial Stout - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

896 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 896
Reviews: 236
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 8.99%
Wants: 835
Gots: 231 | FT: 30
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  12.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2005

Vicious and viscous, this menacing brew pours opaque black with a creamy maduro-colored head. Its aroma offers seductive whiskey, chewy red wine, dark fruit and lavish tobacco. Berserker Imperial Stout invades your taste buds with in-your-face flavor. Weighing in at almost 13% alcohol by volume, Berserker is completely out-of-control. Give it a good fight. Berserker Imperial Stout was aged in both red wine and whiskey barrels.

Original release of Berserker was at 10.4%, subsequent vintages have gone upwards of 12.7%. When reviewing, please list beer vintage and that vintage's specific ABV.

30 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 896 | Reviews: 236 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spicelab
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with huge thanks to Boozecamel for sharing. Reviewed from notes.

Motor-oil consistency and hue. Modest dark tan head, average retention, recedes to a film.

Pungent and cutting earthy maple syrup, chocolate brownies, oak, beef jerky, molasses. Nice dryness and subtle nuttiness.

Simultaneously sweet and dry, which is an impressive coup. Most of theh aroma elements are there to some degree, although dominant flavours are thick choc-carmael fudge and liquorice. Amazing.

Thick and viscous, however carbonation strikes me as aggressive for the style.

Full-on and uncompromising with a great flavour/aroma profile. Enough said.

Photo of rpstevens
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage, 12.7 abv. Poured from a bottle courtesy of screamforme into a dogfish head signature glass. The beer pours a thick, viscous black, one of the blackest beers I have ever seen. There is a dark mocha head that reveals more carbonation than expected. As the head fades to a tight ring there is a slight amount of oily lacing on the glass.

The smell is rich dark chocolate, freshly roasted expresso, dark fruits (cherries and raisins), bourbon, tobacco and sharp tones of molasses. There is also a maple syrup sweetness that backs all the components nicely.

The flavor is full of dark chocolate, roasted malts, molasses and chewy dark fruits. The dark cherry qualities really shine as they pair with the maple syrup sweetness, they balance out the roasted and bitter flavors of chocolate and coffee. This is not the most complex imperial stout I have ever had, but it is one of the better tasting ones for sure.

The mouthfeel is as thick and viscous as the beer looks, but the beer is also more carbonated than most at this high an abv. The flavors are very well balanced, there is a nice dry finish and the alcohol adds a nice component to the flavors and provides a nice warmth in the belly. This is a great imperial stout.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle opened on 9.10.12.
Thanks Wingshooter.

A - Pours a motor oil black with a one inch dark brown head with fine bubbles, good retention.

S - Sweet molasses, wood, bourbon.

T - Sweet, lots of bourbon, chocolate and oak.

D - Super thick, heavy body. Decent carbonation.

O - Sweet and boozy, thick and visious and lots of oak.

Photo of draheim
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On rumors of a possible infection I cracked my first of four bottles tonight before it potentially starts going downhill.

22oz bottle (2012) into a tulip. Pours a light-sucking obsidian black with a gorgeous reddish-brown head, about 1 finger, that settles to a thin film and ring.

Aroma is rich and enticing. Heavy bourbon and oak, roasty dark malt, earthy nuts, sticky molasses. An elusive hint of the wine barrels that grows stronger as it warms.

Taste follows nose. Deep and complex. Bourbon, roasted malt, molasses, dark fruit, oak, chocolate, smoky char. Nice balance between strong bitterness and high-gravity sweetness. Alcohol is completely hidden.

Mouthfeel is heavy, sticky, slick. Just about right for a beer of this magnitude.

Overall, just an overpowering bourbon-soaked beast of a beer. Hopefully the infection rumors aren't true but if they are I'll enjoy drinking the remainder before they're too far gone.

Photo of gford217
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle courtesy of alaskajoe and NoonanDBarbarian poured into a snifter.

Pours about as beautiful as I've seen in a stout, with a pitch black body and big two-finger mocha head that hangs around as cap for ages and leaves great lacing. Gorgeous.

The aroma is a mixture of sweetness and dark roasted malts. The sweetness takes the form of chocolate, licorice, dark fruits and hints of vanilla. There is a bit of roasted coffee in the nose as well, but the sweetness is dominant.

The big dark roasted malts really come to play in the taste and underpin everything else. There is the sweetness of the dark fruits with vanilla, caramel and lots of chocolate. The finish has the roasted coffee bitterness with a very, very slight woody character.

The mouthfeel is decadent - thick and creamy like a rich chocolate dessert. Sticks all over the palate.

This is one fantastic stout and one of the best beers I've had in quite a while. For such a massive beer, it's very drinkable and the ABV was hardly noticeable. Highly recommended!

Photo of rab53
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MrDarcy
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JohnnyP3
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle pours a pitch/tar black with a thin light-brown head. Some moderate carbonation and light lacing as it moves down the glass.

Smell is smoke, booze, burnt sugar/molasses, and maple. Hint of winter fruit.

Taste is dark fruit (raison/plum), maple syrup, charred wood, burnt sugar. Some tobacco flavor emerges as it rolls around the mouth. Cherry in the finish. Some booze flavor from the bourbon oak barrel aging. Very complex.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy , and viscous. Velvety smooth with just a hint of carbonation. Not too sweet or syrupy. Just right.

Overall, a massive, complex, contemplative beer. Agree with comments below about letting it warm some. Really opens up further and provides additional nuances to explore. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy.

Photo of beerdrifter
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a great trade with Mike! Pitch black pour with a beautiful caramel-colored one finger head with decent retention and nice lacing. Big roasty nose with hints of bourbon, molasses, vanilla, oak, cocoa, and some interesting vinous notes and some subtle maple. The taste is just as bold and amazing with hints of dark chocolate, port wine, vanilla, bourbon, mocha, molasses, and some subtle black cherry and maple. The mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and mouth-coating with medium carbonation and a nice bitter dry finish. Overall, this was one surprising beer. Very complex, but not overdone. Will definitely seek it out again!

Photo of PG2G
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of bum732
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Very rich chocolate, perceived sweetness, some maple, bready, touch of roasty coffee, bourbon medium low. Just a touch of smokiness. More maple as it warms.

L: Syrupy thick, dark black, dark tan head that dissipates to a dusting and ring of foam.

T: Rich chocolate sweetness up front with a prominent backbone. Low bitterness with some soft coffee notes and molasses. Hint of maple and medium bourbon oak into the finish. Slight ash and some tobacco left on the palate. Semi-sweet finish.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation. Some heat.

Fantastic, reminding me a lot of Abyss with lots of components working together without being overly sweet like many RIS's nowadays. Maple was fairly low throughout, but not a major complaint. Would definitely drink again.

Photo of CooperEllis
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bottle split two-way

Solid brown color, deep and unfeathered. Tan head sticks with the glass and moves nicely, not cloyed.

Rich aroma, chocolate, malt, slightly booze. This was poured in a couple of ~4 oz rounds for each of us and the second pour had considerably more booze in the nose. Plum or candied plum.

Exceptional flavor. Deep with raisin base. Chocolate notes with apropriate bitterness, oak and an alcohol bite. There is also a touch or anise or another spice I can't put my finger on that rounds everything together. Missing the dark fruit/plum that is a large component of the aroma.

Viscosity is perfect. Solid body which is well carbonated. It is noteworthy that the flavor ends with a crispness often absent from RIS. Perfect or damn near it.

There is a lot going on here and it is fair to say this is in the top handful of personal favorites. Easily able to drink it over the course of a sitting and would happily enjoy it as often as I could locate another bottle. For the style it meshes an uncommon lightness in consumption with a full mouthfeel and requisite abv.

(193rd)

Photo of nataku00
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a small snifter. Beer pours pitch black with a finger of thick creamy light brown colored head. Head stuck around for a while, with a slick of lacing on the glass as it receded.

Nose is huge dark chocolate, sweet dark fruit, fruity coffee, and just a hint of roasted malt. A very light graham cracker sweetness as well.

Taste follows the nose, big dark chocolate, fruity and complex, a few coffee notes, dark roasted malt. As it sits on the tongue, lighter graham cracker, vanilla and a touch of oak peeks through. Long finish, sticky chocolate lingering for a while.

Full body, thick and creamy with very fine carbonation if any. Like drinking a chocolate milk shake, sweet but not cloying as it's balanced by good roasted notes. A very nice imperial stout.

Photo of glazeman
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to BrewsB4Shrews hooking me up with this beer. Poured from a bomber into a snifter and split with airohead2001. It's not too often I get to open up a beer with wants to gots ratio of 10+...really excited for this one! This is the 2009 bottle coming in at 12.7% ABV.

A: The first thing that struck me about this beer was how dark the head was. The beer is pitch black with a 1 finger dark brown head. The only beer with anywhere close to as dark of a head is Hunahpu's.

S: The nose on this one is not overly intense, but is very pleasant. I get nice notes of chocolate, cinnamon, molasses, and raisins. This beer is on the sweeter side as far as smell goes but is very complex and deep.

T: This is how barrel aging should be done. I feel that the bourbon is subtle and beautiful, not up front and aggressive like a BCS or Angel's Share. The barrel aging for Berserker enhances the beer, instead of defining the beer. The flavors of this beer come in many layers. The dark fruits in this beer (figs, raisins, plums) come out on the top layer, then in the middle there is some maple syrup and bourbon. Deeper down I get a little bit of alcohol hit and tobacco.

M: I feel that this had an excellent viscosity, but a tad bit too much carbonation. The aftertaste was great and it sits on the tongue very well.

D: For about 13% this beer is super smooth and the alcohol is barely noticeable. This is an example of truly superb drinkability. The only thing that hinders it slightly is the amount of sweetness. Not that it's over sweet, but after more than a glass or two, I feel the residual sugars may catch up with me.

Photo of John_M
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Was lucky enough to pick up a bottle at Belmont Station last time out west.

The beer pours a viscuous, blackish brown color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The head on this beer is a rich coffee color, which is typically the sign of an intensely flavored RIS. Likewise, the beer smells pretty good, with an aroma profile consisting of coffee, chocolate, molasses and prunes. Good as this beer smells, the flavor profile is flatout amazing. I get chocolate, coffee, molasses, maple syrup, dark fruits and some light licorise. Nothing is overdone in this moderately sweet RIS, and the restrained carbonation is perfect for the style. Mouthfeel is rich and plush in this lovely beer, and there's a mouthfilling consistency that is just wonderful. The beer has a long, drawn out finish, and drinkability is amazing. You can tell this is a big beer of course, but it's not at all boozy, and I was startled when I saw the 12.7% abv. on the label. Talk about a beer that carries its alcohol very well.

This is an exceptionally well made and delicious RIS. Yummy stuff!

Just recently had the 2012 vintage on tap during Bier Stein's anniversary celebration. I have upped my score accordingly, as the 2012 was a much better beer aromatically (incredible nose of milk duds, whiskey, chocolate, coffee and dark fruits), with a superior mouthfeel and a flvor profile at least as good as what I experienced back in 2009. IMHO, this beer is among the RIS elite (Kate, KBS, CBS, Aybss, Dark Lord, etc.), and is among the best made impy stouts on the planet. Just an incredibly fine beer...

Photo of notchucknorris
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beer #1000!

A: Pours a monstrous deep black color the consistency of motor oil. One of the darkest heads I've ever seen, the color of mud, forms and then gets sucked right back into the fluid. Looks amazing.

S: Deep and inviting notes of molasses, dark chocolate, wet earth, cola, dark chocolate covered cherry. Booze, charred oak and bourbon hang on the periphery.

T: Opens with a smooth wave of molasses, dark chocolate, fudge, charred oak and tobacco. Finish brings some wet earth, light bourbon and ash. Just a hint of booze on the finish, but otherwise incredibly smooth for the ABV. Mouthfeel is velvety, with just a hint of dryness from the alcohol. Definitely Abyss-like to me. A really incredible beer.

Photo of T-34-85
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Siggy125
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Midnight Sun Berserker poured from 22oz bottle to a Bruery tulip. Pours very thick and almost jet black with a small amount of caramel colored carbonation. Settles into the glass with a thin layer of foam. Very inviting appearance.

Very powerful and satisfying to the nose. Sweet molasses and burnt sugar aromas fill the glass. I can't wait to take the first sip. I don't detect big hints of bourbon yet.

Damn, there's a lot of complex flavors going on here. I get molasses, syrupy sweet toffee and wonderful roasted malts. The bourbon is noticeable but not overpowering. Nicely blended. A bit of tart dried fruits . As the temp comes up the tartness seems to subside to an even larger smack of molasses and sweet dark chocolaty espresso flavors. Very bold.

Mouthfeel is wonderful. Sweet and creamy, edging on cloying. The brew clings to the sides of the glass in sugary droplets which is something I have not experienced much of.

I wound up drinking the whole bomber myself and felt bad not sharing this experience with a friend. It was definitely a wow and I recommend you try it. If you like big "in your face" stouts, this one is for you!

Photo of boralyl
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - This is the 2009 version. One thick beer. Looks like motor oil when pouring it into my tulip glass. Produces a small amount of dark brown head that fades quickly. Beer is completely opaque black.

S - Dark roasted malts, maple syrup, chocolate and molasses. A very malt heavy aroma.

M - Full in body, smooth and creamy in the mouth. Thick in texture with subtle carbonation.

T - Nice and roasted malts up front with a little smokiness. A little bit of wood mixed with cherries followed by some coffee and chocolate. Finishes with some earthy hops and a warming feeling from the alcohol. Speaking of which at damn near 13% it's not really noticeable at all.

A nice complex Russian imperial stout with a ton of flavors to tantalize the tongue. Be careful with this one, it's a beast!

Photo of treyrab
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to my Alaskan friend for sending me this! Poured into two tulip glasses tonight and split with jac5084. Vintage 2008, 12.7ABV.

A: Very thick sludgy goodness pours out of the bottle into the bottom of my tulip. The gentle pour initially yielded a small head, but a more aggressive pour ended with a one finger dark mocha head that lasted quite a while.

S: Very nice bitter roasted malts meet sweet molasses. Those flavors are all topped off with a nice whiskey/bourbon that complements the scents completely. More of a burnt malt, burnt toffee smell than a fruit smell on this one.

T: Unimaginably good. The bourbon is in perfect conformity with the rest of the beer. The first flavors that hit you are of course the bourbon, and then the burnt roasted black patent and chocolate malts creep in and it finally finishes with a burnt caramel and molasses sweetness.

M/D: The mouthfeel is creamy smooth. I could drink this one every evening if that was possible. Seek out!

Photo of billab914
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured into my Stone RIS glass. pours a thick pitch black with a modest dark mocha colored head. The head clung to the sides of the glass and laced nicely on the sides.

Aroma is bold with coffee, chocolate and molasses all coming through. It has some sweetness coming through as well in the form of maple and vanilla. Slight alcohol present as well. The combination of the molasses, maple syrup and oak aging really come together well making for a very nice smelling and complex aroma.

Taste hits you at first with a coffee, chocolaty, roasty and burnt malt flavor. The burntness of the malts and the coffee definitely come through more then most of the Imperial stouts I have had. It also has hints of dark fruit, wood, vanilla and a slight alcohol bite in the finish. Like the nose it's both complex and delicious.

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy with low carbonation. I can't really say anything negative about the mouthfeel, I love the thick heavy imperial stouts. Drinkability is very good. It's pretty easy drinking for nearly 13% and the fact that it's delicious doesn't hurt either.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer, it definitely set itself apart from most imperial stouts I have had so far. I wish this was easier to get, but I'm glad I got to try it.

Photo of timc100
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013

One of the best looking imperial stouts out there - completely opaque, viscous, oily - forms a dark, burnt mocha head that dissolves into a small ring. Aroma of bourbon oak, dark bakers chocolate, espresso, dark caramel, roast, ash, vinous grape, vanilla and slight graham cracker. Taste is vibrant, full, intense. Bitter, rich, dark chocolate, heavily roasted espresso beans, oaky bourbon vanilla, booze, dark roast. Full, creamy, rich mouthfeel.

Fantastic stout - does not have an overly heavy barrel character. Well rounded, intense, and perfection in look and feel.

Photo of hopsbreath
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber shared by MADhombrewer at a tasting last night hosted by ramnuts. ChaseT, WitchsBrew, TulipSnifter, and black13. 2009 vintage/12.7%ABV. Thanks Ben!

A: Very dark brown bordering on black with a translucent plum border. Nutmeg brown head recedes to nothing. Oily with legs, but no lacing. 4/5

S: Tobacco, smoked meat, soy sauce and a touch of oxidation. This is what a slightly aged bottle of stout is supposed to smell like! Complex and interesting. 4/5

T: Very savory. More of an entrée than a dessert. The meat comes back along with some saw dust. Smoke returns with a very clean stale coffee finish. ABV is nowhere to be found. 4.5/5

M: Moderately thin with no carbonation. Very clean and palate drying. Outstanding. 5/5

O: The best savory stout I’ve had to date. This was my personal standout beer of the night amongst a lineup that showed tons of promise, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. We don’t have these kinds of Midnight Sun beers sitting on store shelves at the moment in Portland and I’m really wishing we did. 5/5

Photo of largadeer
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber shared by dyan. Thanks!

Appearance: Completely pitch black with a beautiful reverse-cascading chocolate-colored head. Remarkable.

Smell: A melange of whiskey, cacao and oak. Earthy, rich, but almost subtle in aroma. Restrained sweetness.

Taste & mouthfeel: Bittersweet chocolate icecream with whiskey drizzle. Medium-full body, I'd never guess that this is over 12% ABV. Carbonation is firm, crisp, and sweetness is fairly reigned-in for the style - a very soft beer overall. Bitterness likewise is perfectly balanced. Semi-dry in the finish, with a lingering trace of chocolate. Excellent.

Photo of claspada
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of gueuzer, 2010 edition, shared with HimerMan, simultaneously sampled with Kate the Great 2011. Eat your heart out...

Pours a big, black, inky pour with a nice brown crown. Smallish dark brown head and actually a little red hue when held up to the light. Not as pretty as Kate, but she is the best for a reason.

Aromas are awesome. First I get the typical stouts aromas of roasted malts, sweet dark fruits and dark chocolate. Then I get nice complementary vinous aromas mixed with the molasses. The oaky aromas join the party next coupled with the nice light bourbon barrel presence in the background. Nose is a little sweet and decently oaky, but I really like it. Not getting much bourbon at all, but a reaqlly nice mix of molasses, red vinous fruit and chocolate.

The tastes directly follow the nose. First you get dark chocolate, molasses and sweet dark vinous fruits, roasted malts. Then once again the oak flavors show up with some vanilla, light sweet syrup presumably from the molasses and light wood. Very very light bourbon barrel flavor in the finish. Really really nice, more roasty and oaky than Kate but amazing none-the-less.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied, hey it's 13% what do you expect. Medium-low carbonation but plenty for the style. Finish is quite tannic and oaky and dry from the Wine and Bourbon barrel aging. Flavors linger on the palate after in each sip.

Overall on any other night, this beer would be the best in show, but is second to Kate tonight. Still an amazing flavor profile from the multi-barrel aging they used here. Recommended, heck yes. Worth seeking out, darn skippy. My new second favorite beer only to my first love Kate.

Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 896 ratings.