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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: 836
Gots: 286 | FT: 40
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 kdahnke123
3.38/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2015 Bottling (12.7% abv) poured into a snifter.
L - Poured a very dark brown with a small amount of dark head that quickly disappeared, leaving no lacing.
S - Lots of roast coffee/tobacco smell with peculiar hop notes and a bit on the medicinal side.
T - Similar to the smell. I don't detect the maple syrup but the wine barrel I do.
F - Medium full mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.
O - Bought it for the sweet additions which didn't end in the final product. If you want an overly roasted stout with medium mouthfeel and some medicinal qualities, pick this one. Otherwise, don't.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle.
This was poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a jet black color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated evenly and nicely. Light lacing wove around the glass nicely.
The smell had some chocolate, light coffee, a little bit of wine (but not overbearing), and tobacco.
The taste was sweet with the previously mentioned flavors and subtly slides into the dry part of the wine and tobacco (not bad, but I'm guessing, once I let this age a bit, it'll be less pronounced).
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a nice sipping quality about it. Carbonation seems to fill the void where the wine dryness seems to lack, (funny how I'm not a wine guy at all, but previous years I've had this, I've noticed more wine), eh, not worried, I think I like it more with less of the wine characteristics.
Overall, this year's batch is pretty good to me. Glad I didn't review last year's as I think there was a bit too much of that wine-like quality to it.

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Photo of tempest
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting, this smells like a chocolate banana malt. The bourbon is mild and the cocoa is big. Thick but manageable, share this with a friend to warm up.

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Photo of sittinggc
4.68/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

2015 12.7% poured into pint glass.

Look: Jet black. Pours like motor oil. Beautiful!
Smell: On the nose, lots of dark fruit. Backed by notes of maple.
Taste: Like the aroma, get lots of dark fruit. Also nice tobacco roastiness. Maple lingers in the aftertaste. All the flavors are balanced so well. Really damn tasty.
Feel: Very smooth. Get some bourbon booziness.
Overall: An exceptional Imperial Stout. One of the best balanced beers I have ever had. If you are looking for a sweet as hell maple beer or boozy bourbon bomb then this is not the beer for you. However, if you are looking for a really well balanced RIS with amazing nuances then this the perfect beer. Cheers!

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Photo of DrSpaceman
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bomber into tulip, 2015 12.7% ABV. Pours jet black, thick as oil. Thin brown head which dissipates quickly. Smell is black licorice, molasses, and bourbon. Taste is black roasted malt, molasses, oak, and campfire smoke. End note of maple and vanilla with aftertaste of black coffee. Slight heat from alcohol. Body is thicker than hell and can certainly stand up to the alcohol. I have been wanting to try this for some time and was not disappointed. I would love to taste this after a year or two in the cellar.

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Photo of Scarfer_Brad
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours almost jet black with a large dense dark brown head. after the head goes down (takes a bit, left with a small halo

smell of chocolate coffee and a sweet whiskey

delicious, can taste the coffee, molasses and a bit of bourbon

nice and thick low carb. smooth

a great beer was a 2014 would def look for again

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Photo of CHickman
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12.7% ABV listed on bottle: Pours a sinister black color with a creamy 1-2 finger brown head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded with the spotty foamy lacing sliding down the glass. After a few minutes it looks like a glass full of motor oil.

The initial wave of sweetness includes molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, toffee, caramel, red wine, cocoa powder, dark fruit like raisins, then the booze which is a cross between rum and bourbon. Earthy notes and some hints of hops want to come through but get smacked out of the way by the bourbon and molasses. I let the bottle warm up for at least 30 minutes so the nose allowed for a wonderfully complex mix of all the flavors above that didn't cross over into cloyingly sweet.

Taste is very close to the aroma with the strong sweetness up front that includes molasses, maple syrup, toffee, brown sugar, caramel, red wine and or oak barrels, charred wood, s'mores, cocoa powder, dark fruit like raisins, plums and chocolate covered raisins, vanilla, coffee grinds and very rich dark chocolate. After the sweetness fades a bit the booze slides in, which like the nose is a cross between rum and bourbon with some very rich red wine mixed in. Initially I thought the molasses and syrup aspects made this too sweet, but as it continued to warm up the complexities brought out more malty sweetness, candied sugar, light peppery and leafy spices and fresh pumpernickel bread. The booze is present but the ABV is not a factor and blends in quite well with the fine mix of flavors.

Mouthfeel is creamy, slick and smooth with a velvety feel that slides across the tongue with mild carbonation, a medium to chewy body, a slight bitterness that resembles a bold coffee, and then the trailing sweetness that doesn't cross over into sugary sweet and cloyingly nasty and keeps it aggressive with a lot of char, booze, oaky notes, bourbon, molasses and syrup which whip around in a tornado of complex flavors. The fruit and hops managed to sneak in a little balance to level out this hard hitting stout, which is very tasty and incorporates the alcohol very well. A really enjoyable slow sipper, will seek this out again.

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Photo of jlindros
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to rudzud for sharing. 2011
Midnight black creamy head hits almost a finger fades slowly, super dark pitch black nice legs.

Nose is great, super dark malt, roasty, little char, super dark chocolate cocoa, fudgey, little fluffy nougat, caramel, nice candy bar, mild vanilla oak and toasty, light bourbon, hint of.

Taste more super dark malts, thick fudgey cocoa and caramel, dark char like notes but not acrid, black roast little coffee, roasty, fluffy nougat, no real maple, well the tiny but in the background gets overpowered, tons of vanilla oak and bourbon barrel, some booze, earthy bitterness. Finish is sticky mildly sweet, little booze, little earthy char, mild bitterness, dark fudgey char etc.

Mouth is thick chewy fudgey, little creamy, decent carb hint if booze.

Overall very nice,

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Photo of Bugs318
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: black with a thin reddish tinged mocha head. It recedes quickly, but a ring remains throughout, despite no lacing.
S: big bourbon vanilla nose, coupled with a coffee-fudge quality. There is some molasses, and a mild marshmallow quality, alongside a hint of dried tobacco, all with no real hint of the alcohol.
T: sweet malt base up from coupled with some maple and molasses, and vanilla coffee notes from the bourbon. It finishes a bit drier with some leathery/tobacco qualities but still remains quite sweet and a fair taste of ethanol.
M: A bit prickly for a fairly low carbonated beer. Body is decently full, and fairly chewy, though a touch sticky and more than mildly hot. This beer actually gets thicker towards the bottom half of the bottle, as if the molasses had settled there. Crazy!
O: a very fine beer, a bit reminiscent of BCBS, if oddly a bit hotter and not quite as solid.

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Photo of rudzud
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with JLindros. 2011 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a oily black hue with a super dark chocolate colored head that fades to leave a thin halo and light wisps.

S - Aromas of fudgy chocolate, sweeter molasses. Very nice bourbon notes, warm barrels, light oak and coconut. No discernable alcohol.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Loads of fudgy chocolate, great darker malts, sweet caramel and molasses. The bourbon notes are nice, super mellow and smooth. Nicely chewy and fudgy, with just a light bit of alcohol.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely chewy, light carbonation. Heavy, creamy, light alcohol.

O - Overall this beer was rather tasty. I'd had a bad bottle of this from the same year and was nervous to crack this one but I'm glad I did. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.48/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2014 Vintage 12.7%
Pours black, viscous, tar like coming out the bottle. So thick it just creeps out of the glass. Aroma of tobacco, dark fruits, and oak. Flavor is overpowering with sweetness, almost to the point of cloying. Caramelized sugar, touch of bourbon, currants. Body is nearly flawless. Little to no heat, and just the way I like my stouts: thick as hell.
Overall, this was disappointing for me due to it tasting like sugar in a glass. I get it, there is molasses and syrup, but I have to have more balance than this.

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Photo of mabermud
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Dark liquid. Viscous pouring into my brandy snifter. Fine, burned mocha head that appears creamy. Hasty retreat to a fine film on the surface. Lacing is minimal. This one looks inviting.
Smell: I had a BCBS last night and this smells eerily similar. Rich bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and dark malts. Fresh baked dark bread and biscuits. Aggressive aromas.
Taste: The taste is described by the smell, just throw in some relaxed dark fruit. The red wine barrels do their job. The dark fruit is up front, but it does a good job transitioning away from those flavors. This smells much better than the taste, but is still delicious, and a step up from 3/4 of the BA beers that are out there.
Feel: Thick and creamy in the box. Low level of carbonation. You can call it chewy.

Overall - I am impressed. This is a top notch beer. I will not pass this up when I see this on the shelves again.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My 100th beer.....and a good choice for it. Jet black as youd expect but retained some head. Great feel too, thick and chewy. Tastes great, the maple syrup gives it a nice sweetness gollowed by tastes of vanilla,chocolate and molasses at the back. This is potent stuff, but still a great beer.

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Photo of FLima
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not sure how old it this, I have been guarding this for around a year.
It poured like petro oil in color and texture with a thin very dark caramel head with short retention, but with an eternal ring of the same color. One of the most opaque black beers I have seen. By moving the glass to sip it, it produces a brown mantle to cover its walls.
Delicious aroma with tons of coconut, coffee, dark chocolate, anise, molasses, chewing tobacco, oak and some bourbon.
Roasted flavor with notes of coffee, burnt coconut, charred wood, dark fruits juice, molasses, charcoal, some bourbon, maple syrup, earth, cocoa powder, vanilla, tobacco, Port wine, cinnamon, anise and soy sauce. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness and residual roasted notes.
Quite viscous and dense body with mild carbonation of tiny bubbles giving a velvet sensation. Alcohol of 12.7% abv feels much lower and it has a delayed warming sensation.
Wonderful imperial stout, incredibly complex with a nudity of flavors. You can certainly feel the notes I mentioned above. At some point I had to stop digging flavors. The balance here is between the sweet and roasted notes, not so much the hops. The bourbon or barrel related notes are definitely not over whelming.
I guess this would be even better on Alaska’s weather.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened a bomber of this years 12.7%

Thick chocolate color hear , bit remains as lacing

Smells great , bourbon, coffee, wood bit of fruit maybe plums?

Taste , again the coffee, hint of wood and alcohol but not excessive

Chewy mouthfeel,

A friend brought this back from Alaska, glad he did !

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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 pagriley
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz into snifter. 12.7ABV, no bottle date or vintage I could find.

L - Pours oily black with an inch of dark mocha head
S - Musky oak and vanilla with dark maple syrup definitely coming though. Some roast and and sweetness, but maple is dominating with a faintly sharp twang of molasses. Not getting any bourbon or booze much
T - Again not much barrel, but big bitter extra dark chocolate flavors with moderate sweetness. Sharp astringent finish. more ash and char than I would like, almost powdery
F - Very full. Creamy with quite a bit of carb that helps lighten up a rather thick and chewy beer

Overall, a very impressive beer. the black malt / char has left a powdery ash like flavor to the beer that is a bit astringent and drying and doesn't sit well with the overall smooth and creamy feel. Barrel characteristics are very subtle - just a bit of oaky vanilla that gets drowned out in the rest of the flavors.
Improves markedly as it warms, but still not quite top tier.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into chalice

Black liquid, brown one finger foam cap

Aroma of sweet roast coffee,raisin, bourbon and a hint of maple

Taste of sweet roast coffee, maple, raisin

Thick, syrupy, oily, dense mouthfeel

Very good, not more than one glassful at a time

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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 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 Bobloblawlawblog11
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. Pours pitch black with small tan head. Smells like molasses, rich sweet smell. Taste was very rich, dark chocolate and coffee notes. Molasses comes through in after taste. Maple notes as it warms. Mouthfeel is great, no hints of the high abv. Sticky thick mouthfeel coats your whole mouth. Overall great beer really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Slightly boozy barrel aged character to this. Molasses notes particularly early on which faded as beer warmed. A definite good beer in my book, though I remember preferring Bar Fly slightly more.

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Photo of Damian
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drank on tap at Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, NY
Served in a pint glass
Thanks to my friend Matt for treating me to this.

Foreboding, pitch black appearance. The super thick and oily liquid was topped by a dense, creamy, one finger tall, mocha colored cap. Decent head retention given the high ABV. The crown dropped to a lasting film surrounded by a thick ring. Spotty lacing tricked along the glass.

The aroma was amazing. Super intense yet nuanced and balanced. Fairly sweet. Loads of powdered cocoa and freshly brewed coffee. Hint of dark chocolate as well. Very mocha-like. Dark fruits also came through strong. Raisins and plums were noticeable. Slightly boozy. Port wine came to mind.

The taste was very similar to the nose and just as fantastic. Intensely rich and robust with boatloads of roasted malts. Not bitter or astringent in the least bit. The roasted malts were matched by a nice mix of dark chocolate, French roast coffee and dark fruits. Again, super mocha-like. Notes of port came through here as well. Boozy on the back end and in the finish but not overly so. Immensely flavorful yet also remarkably well balanced.

The mouthfeel was spectacular. Massively thick, rich and vicious. Oily. Uber creamy on the palate. The liquid contained a fine, subtle, tongue blanketing effervescence.

I stumbled upon this beer being poured on draft at Spuyten Duyvil and I am super glad I did. Berserker Imperial Stout is one of the most well rounded, flavorful and surprisingly drinkable stouts I have ever tried. I would love to revisit this in bottle form one day.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ale Arsenal. From notes. Reviewed 27 June 2015.

Dark, thick, and light-absorbing.
It smells boozy and portentous. Dark malt and licorice.
It's amazing. Dark roasty dry. Very dry. Hops maybe? Molasses. Incredibly complex and rich and interesting. What a great beer.
Spicy and fun.
Reminiscent of another MS favorite, Barfly, but I think I prefer this from the keg. Highly recommended.

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Photo of ihazabucket7
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. oured super dark with a nice finger of head. You get that bourbon fire with that first sniff, rich chocolate as well. Taste is outta this world. Bourbon, wine, raisin, chocolate, tons of flavor.

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