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Berserker Imperial Stout - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

273 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 273
Hads: 1,068
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 837
Gots: 287 | FT: 41
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 273 | Hads: 1,068
Photo of hooliganlife
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Blake!

Not sure on the vintage, I believe this is the latest so 2012? Maybe 2011.

Pour was black, little head. Pretty thick looking

Dark chocolate and roasted charred malt. Some sweet bitterness.

Lots of char and roast. Light sweetness, but well blended with the bitterness. Hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

A bit lighter than it looks, mild carbonation.

Pretty decent, nothing really mind blowing.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Almost inky. Good sized mocha head. Collar of dark khaki foam as it settles.

Smell - Bourbon is nice but faint. Slight vinous characteristic. Oak and some dark fruits combining, probably, but it's a little more acidic than that. Lots of chocolate.

Taste - Nice chocolate. Bitter dark chocolate. Molasses. Bourbon is even fainter here. Bitter finish, seemingly from roasted malts.

Mouthfeel - Extremely bitter, not what I expected. Masks a lot of flavor. Well carbonated.

Overall - The barrel seems weak to me, but the other flavors are good.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black, nearly opaque, oily with a good amount of medium brown head. Huge boozy aroma, with roasted malt, red wine, bourbon, maple and wood. Very interesting flavor, alcoholic and somewhat sour, with the competing red wine/bourbon flavors, along with the roasted malt and some brown sugar. A big complex, somewhat disjointed, beer. Good, but not one I would seek out often.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bomber into a glass. 2009 vintage, 12.7%. Received in a trade from inflatablechair. Thanks, Sam!

A: Pours a pitch black body with poorly-retaining dark mocha head. The collar is series of big bubbles that climb up the sides of the glass a little bit, with faint trails of dark brown bubbles on the surface of the beer.

S: Soy! Molasses, chocolate, caramelly bourbon. Oak, some vanilla. As the beer warms, the soy fades and is replaced by a toasted marshmallow note. It's quite pungent.

T: Molasses or brown sugar, maple, chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla. Toasted marshmallow on the exhalation. Despite the list of sweet flavors, the beer doesn't feel syrupy or cloying. It has a mild bitterness of barrel and roasted grain / chocolate that even suggests [relative] dryness, at least for the style.

M: Chewy, fairly viscous. There's a mild heat to it that warms the palate and throat. Not overly sweet. Good carbonation level.

D: It's a solid barrel-aged imperial stout, but it's not one of the better ones. I feel like I get much more complexity and satisfaction out of something like BA Speedway, Black Tuesday, etc...

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Photo of xICooRsYIx
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 Vintage (I believe) Poured into a 16oz narrow pint glass.

Poured almost black with about a 1 finger roasted brown head. The smell of oak and bourbon immediately hit the nostrils. Included are vanilla, tobacco, and a very vague maple syrup. Taste is very strong with bourbon and molasses. A little smokey and stale coffee as well. I would recommend aging this a little longer.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado SF

A - Black as night or oil. Blackest pour I may have ever seen from a Bal-Aged imperial stout. Beautiful head on the pour that stuck around longer than expected, great lacing.

S - Port like characteristics come out in the nose, smells sweeter than most of this style. Bourbon, sweet dark fruits, and oaky vanilla come out as well as dark chocolate. Smells like a after dinner sipper. Desert beer.

T - Follows nose. A bit sweeter than I expected and less roasty than I would have liked.

M - Good, not great. Standard for the style. Oily, and somewhat chewy.

D - 6 oz pour was just enough. I wouldn't want to consume a 22oz of this all to myself like I would a Parabola, BCS or Abyss. Would start to get too sweet 1/2 way into a bomber I'd imagine.

Good beer. But nothing memorable.

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Photo of Ohiovania
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

For the high ranking this one tastes a lot like a new brewery decided to start a barrel program. The description sounds amazing on paper but the execution is far from on point.

It looks phenomenal. The smell immediately warrants an investigation into something being a little off. A tannin like sharpness comes through in both the nose and taste. The beer being a hot 12.7, the astringency, and a little soy saucy from the stout make this one a little difficult to consume.

Hope this is a bad bottle or batch and can try again someday closer to what the brewer intended.

The closer it is to room temp the better. Finally getting a nice leathery chocolate flavor out of it.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tasting glass. This review is for the 2010 version, with notes from the 08 below.

Appearance: Berserker does not mess around; this is black all the way though. A tiny coffee colored head fades away and leaves no lace.

Smell: The aroma is burnt brown sugar, molasses, anise, and a bit of smoke.

Taste: This stout is full of character, with tons of chocolate and roast coffee coming through. Some molasses and brown sugar give a little extra sweetness push. The cabernet barrels impart a vinous and woody flavor, also giving it a slight acidic kick toward the end.

Mouthfeel: There is a little harsh booze that scalds my throat a bit and warms my throat and stomach. Definitely full bodied, but also unfortunately a little syrupy and sticky, somewhat due to carbonation that is on the low end.

Drinkability: This enjoyable, but still a bit harsh. Some age will definitely improve upon this, as evidenced below.

I was fortunate enough to have the 2008 and 2010 versions side by side. The 2008 was significantly better, almost to the point of being another beer. The 2008 was incredibly drinkable, the 2010 is not quite there yet. The 08 version is much more polished and the flavors blend so well together.
08: 4/4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5
10: 4/4/4/4/3.5

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Photo of kkipple
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Khaismus for breaking this rarity out in the middle of a tasting. '08 vintage.

A. At some point, you stop being impressed by how these huge stouts present themselves... even though Berserker nails the looks cold, there ain't much to say that hasn't been said. Real dark brown, rich looking, a generous 3cm head leaves some spotty lacing. Good retention. Yep, another pretty RIS.

S. Big and rich, some hot booze still after a year, but more coffee / cocoa and more than a little earthy at that. Tons of roasted malt, dense sugars, char. Not earth shattering, but quite solid.

T. A hefty and flavorful choco-mocha, Berserker is pretty smooth right now, some vanilla and hops, hint of metal, a bit of tannic grain flavor, but ultimately sweet and lush. Great example of a beer that belies its ABV. This is supposedly 12.7% but drinks like a 10 something. A fine tasting brew in any event.

M. Real smooth. Thick, chewy. Low-ish carbonation, mildly sour and roasty finish. Dessert-like.

D. Not bad, a smooth sipper.

I hate to say it, but Berserker is just above average. Maybe I've been spoiled by all the world class stouts I've had lately. There is really nothing wrong with Berserker, except that it is brewed in Alaska and tough to get. If you cross paths with one, enjoy it, but I wouldn't put a ton of effort into tracking it down.

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Photo of mikeyv35
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Date: 02/06/2011
Type: 22oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2009
Glassware: Lucifer Snifter

Finally got the chance to knock this off my wants list and sample this elusive brew. My expectations are high.

Poured dark as night w/ a 1 finger dark chocolate head that left pretty heavy lacing on the glass. The look of this brew is awesome! Nose was of dark chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, and a touch of booze astringency. Taste was much the same, chocolate sweetness up front, followed by roasted nuttiness, and a finish of slight hop bite and molasses. Mouthfeel is thick and lush. The ABV is somewhat well hidden, but you definately know it is there. Drinkability is hindered by the high ABV. I drank the entire bomber myself over the course of about 2 hours and it was a struggle.

Overall, this brew was a disappointment! The flavors, aroma, and appearance were excellent, but the ABV is way too high. If MS would tone down the ABV this would be alot more drinkable like the non-BA greats like KTG or Southampton RIS. Would like to sample a bottle or two of the earlier years where the ABV was toned down.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: A thick opaque brown, medium bubbles on the body...pours like straight motor oil thick and the head...dark tan, rising tojust about a finger's length.

Smell: Heavy brown sugar maybe the molasses, very sticky...all you need to do is smell it once and it's with you forever

Taste: A straight blend of molasses and brown sugar, it is a little too sweet for my part. I for one am for bitterness with my stouts period. This brew lacks it and just reading the label I noticed it's just at 30 IBU's...nothing wrong with that but seriously where is the rest of the taste.

Mouth: Sticky sugar with medium carbonation. What it lacks in taste makes up for it in stickiness but depends how much if it you want. Best served with dessert.

Overall: This brew improves within time of the consumption of the glass, the proiblem is the sweetness might overwhelm some including myself. If you like imperial stouts which I absolutely love this is definitely something a little different and not for everyone. Try a glass just to try it...Salud!

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Photo of kayalla
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the 2009 vintage. Opened this with some friends next to some other great MS bottles. This was a thick black with a coffee head in the snifter. Aroma was really heavy with dark fudge, really sweet, vanilla, maple. Flavor was more of the same with that heavy fudge, roasted malts, cherry, raspberry, quite sweet, and a bit of a hop finish. Maybe too much going on here, with the roasted coffee kind of flavors and all the heavy malts and fudge, and the fruit also. Kind of enjoyed this less than all the other big MS stouts. Not really close to Bar Fly and Sloth right now. Still have like 4 bottles of this, hopefully time will mellow it out a bit?

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Photo of ralree
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black, brown head. No lacing.

S: Sweet, chocolate, a little coffee, some dark fruit.

T: Dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol. Aftertaste of alcohol and chocolate. Lots of apple/cherry/raisin flavor.

M: Dry, good carbonation, non-astringent, non-metallic. Thick, heavy body.

D: Drinks nicely, but very heavy. Hard to drink a lot.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007 and 2005 bottles opened and shared with fellow BAs.

Both beers poured a darker than dark coal black with very little head. There was no pop when this beer was opened and it appeared flat.

The aroma of the two vintages was very similar and full of rich coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some faint vanilla. The high alcohol helped carry the aroma brilliantly.

The flavor of both vintages was full of intense flavors that seamlessly transitioned from one to another. Coffee - Chocolate - Rich roasted malts. There were also flavors of some rum soaked fruits, like plums, raisins, and figs. The hops were very subdued and in the background. The 2007 seemed slightly dryer and a touch less malty than the 2005 version, which for me, made it a better beer. The 2007 also had some slight smoky notes in the finish.

The mouthfeel was thick and heavy. It coated your mouth with a ton of flavor. The beer had a great creaminess to it that helped all the flavors blend together very smoothly.

Both vintages were solid examples of Russian imperial stouts. The 2007 version seems to have been slightly tweaked and the flavors are more evenly dialed in.

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Photo of shleepy
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Black and thick. Small head. Smell is intense and boozy. Taste is actually fairly mellow. Quite a nice sipper. Bitter and intense. Roasty, bitter, barrely.

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Photo of MCain04
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 2012 vintage, from trade with beergod1 - thanks man. Poured into a Half Acre snifter at cellar temp.

A: Almost motor-oil black with a very dark tan head of an impressive 2 fingers with great retention and lacing.

S: Maple is the predominant smell, a little bourbon, a little sweetness, perhaps from molasses, not much roasty character or chocolate.

T: A little bland at first, not a lot of maple or molasses. Barrel characters of oak and vanilla come in late, and a bourbon finish on the back of the tongue. Not as much malt character as I'd like from a stout of this magnitude. Aside from the bourbon taste, not too much heat. Pretty drinkable.

M: A little over-carbonated, and not as thick as I'd like. Doesn't really coat the tongue at all.

O: Definitely disappointing, maybe its just the 2012 vintage that everyone has been complaining about, but this doesn't really impress at all, tastes like a standard stout with some bourbon. Might give 2013 a try next year but won't have the 2012 again.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle with speedwayjim, capra12, billyshears. Thanks to portable for the trade!!!

a-Gorgeous thick black with a thin tan head that can easily be brought back to life with a glass swirl.
s-Hoppy stout...licorice sweetness, i can smell the heat on this one.
t-Tastes thick and filling and pretty much follows the nose. Fantastic, but a bit overly rich and hot.
m/d-Really thick and Really rich. Glad that this was shared since it would be a bit much to take on alone.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 version.

A - Pours pretty darned black. Very dark mocha head, lots of clinging lace.

S - Light coffee and mocha.

T - Nice mix of coffee, toasted malt and cocoa powder. Not really extreme in either direction. Some molasses and soy in the finish.

M - Somewhat creamy, not a full bodied as hoped, good carb and fair balance.

D - Yep, like it. Not my favorite, but I like it.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this at dld. Appearance is black, not much to note. The aroma is a little light some coffee, vanilla a little wood. Tasting it its very hard to tell it was barrel aged, there is a little wood to it but I think its muted by using of red wine barrels too. This is a good stout, not great, probably not worth searching out.

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Photo of juzy
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This limited brew from Midnight Sun has promise.

It pours opaque, you cannot see a thing through this. A tight, dark tan (bordering on brown) head piles up about an inch or two at the top of my glass. It settles down rather quickly and doesn't leave much in the way of lace.

At first whiff there is spicy alcohol, some whiskey and oak notes. I find molasses, a bit of homemade fudge in the middle. It reminds me of the scent of those liquor-filled Belgian chocolates.

I taste and discover molasses up front, vanilla too. Not sure of the brand of whiskey that the oak casks originally housed, but I'm picking up a bit of it's flavor. Again with the alcohol spice, a touch of smoke on the finish.

At 10.4 ABV, you wouldn't want too many in a row, but it makes for a nice finish to dinner on a cold night. I would suggest some lay-down time on this one, as I believe it will smooth out and mellow some of the alcohol notes.

Overall another great offering from Midnight Sun.

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Photo of nickd717
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber from deliriumfest on BA. Shared at my 2nd annual birthday celebration beer fest.

Black with a small fading dark brown head. The head is damned dark on this one. Leaves a murky black liquid after it's gone. This one is thick and has some legs on it.

Aroma is molasses, roast, anise, and chocolate. Some oak barrel and bourbon poke through. This one lets you know from the get-go that it's not going to mess around.

Flavor is just crazy. Bourbon and oak, dark chocolate, red wine, lots of molasses, maple syrup, dark fruit, tobacco, and anise all noticeable. So much going on here. A little sweet with a very mild tart note that I'm assuming came from the wine barrels. This is intense and very complex.

Full body with low carbonation. A little boozy and syrupy.

Overall, this is great, but it's hard to drink a lot of it. This one will really kill you. Make sure you open this with enough people to share it.

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Photo of Suds_With_Buds
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was an interesting experience that's for sure, the nose made me think this was going to be an elogant mix of molasses, tobacco and chocolaty caramel flavors, but the taste was just a bombardment of flavor that is just plain overwhelming.

I love me some diabetes causing stouts like Black Tuesday, but this just doesn't hold its own, it is a very good attempt at a heavy hitting stout with tons of flavor, but it's just not for me.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is awesome. Bottle, 2012 vintage. Black, inky black. Tan head with a bit of lacing, but not much. Some retention, but nothing impressive. Does not quite have legs. Aroma is subtle and complex. Bourbon, barrel, toasted marshmellow, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor brings toffee, vanilla, more toasted marshmellow, and fainter chocolate. The mouthfeel is nice, full, chewy, and actually dry on the finish thanks to the maple syrup. Not even that hot for the alcohol content. This is a superb brew.

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Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the November Baltimore Area BA tasting. Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours a very dark brown color with some red at the edges when the light hits it. There is a half finger of tan head that leaves a ring around the pour.

Smell: Sweet and roasty up front. I'm getting some bourbon and maple syrup. The roasted malt also adds some dark chocolate to the mix. Very smooth.

Taste: This is a very smooth imperial stout. I'm getting roasted malt and dark chocolate. The sweetness from the malt also contains some dark fruit and a maple syrup notes. The finish is a but burnt and reminds me of coffee.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and syrupy with tingly carbonation and a finish that is a bit slick.

Overall: I thought this was a very nice combination of flavors. Very smooth and well blended. I liked the maple syrup note.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Great looking black brew with a nice brown head. Very thick.

S - Coffee, some roasted malts, a bit of sweetness and vanilla. Someone said something about maple in here, but if it's there then I'm just barely getting it (or imagining it).

T - Interesting barrel influence. On the sweeter side of big stouts, roasted malts, bit of coffee, little chocolate, and molasses. Some interesting lighter fruits, maybe a deep cherry? This is good and interesting.

M - Thick and viscous, suits the style just fine.

D - Pretty good and easy to drink, would have this again.

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.