Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 273 | Hads: 1,068
Photo of kevanb
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle, assumed to be the most recent vintage, poured into a Midnight Sun snifter.

The beer pours a super slick, jet black color, extremely opaque with a fizzy, loud, crackling head, dark bark in color with no retention or lace. The aroma is powerful, lots of rich dark grain, licorice, charred oak, bourbon with some molasses character, lightly roasted with a pop of alcohol heat. The flavors are nice, very earthy, strong licorice root, molasses, chewy wood that brings out some char and bourbon character, lightly roasty with some nice stone fruit flavors and just a touch of alcohol warming at the finish. The body is a bit thin and fizzy, higher carbonation than anticipated that coats the mouth decently well with a bit of an oily finish.

Verdict: A very nice barrel aged stout from Midnight Sun, but I didn't find myself noting any maple qualities to the beer. It's definitely on the earthy side, plenty of barrel character, but the actual bourbon flavor is moderate and balanced well, just plenty of oak and char.

 1,029 characters

Photo of kaseydad
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A lucky find for me a little less than a year ago....the time is now.

Pours a beautiful thick black pour with a massive amount of brown....brown...foamy head. Not much lacing to speak of.

The aroma consists of [name your brand] syrup, fudge, nuts, Hershey chocolate, wood, caramel, marshmallows and light booze. Fantastic aromas.

The taste is nice maple syrup hints, char, wood, oak, chocolate, booze, and a touch of hops. The taste is incredible. The age may have tamed the booze cuz there is just a touch of heat on the back end of the swallow while keeping all the massive flavor up front. Very nicely done.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side which is perfect for this monster.

Overall, my experience was above and beyond what I expected. I knew of the hype on this bad boy and it did not disappoint. Sadly it's my one and only bottle, had it at a barrel age fest (shout out to Vic and Cynthia), but I will be forever on the lookout for this mad man...er...Berserker. And you should too.

 993 characters

Photo of homebrew311
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. This beer is on the top 5 of darkest imperial stouts I've had... Pitch black with dark reddish brown head that quickly dissipates. The smell is layered with tons of notes. Huge chocolate and roast character comes first and is followed up by some mild coffee notes. Then we get some earthy tobacco like notes intertwined with dark fruit and leather. Notes of bourbon and oak come to the surface next to smooth out the edges. The finish has some maple and molasses. The taste starts with dark fruit and molasses with a bit of malty sweetness. The roast comes through huge in the middle and the bourbon and oak take center stage towards the finish. Not getting as much maple on the flavor like I did on the aroma. Body is thick and chewy with a velvety texture. This is a great imperial stout. Tons of flavor and an absolutely huge body. Worth a try for the stout lovers out there.

 901 characters

Photo of jbaker67
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Label says 12/7%, 2013. Pours a sludgy black liquid with only a small rim on the sides. Nose is huge molasses, very thick liquorish, sweet, bourbon, warming, liquorish is quite dominant, coffee & roasted oak. Taste is bitter thick molasses, lots of liquorish (interesting but less my thing), thick syrupy, barrel, warming, bitter coffee grounds, lots of molasses, roasted oak, charred, warming, touch bourbon. Thick, chewy, little carb. Interesting & solid beer.

 462 characters

Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Awesome little gem I brought back from Seattle last October.

This is the 2013 Vintage, I believe. I can not find a date code on the bottle… it's 12.7% ABV, which I believe is the 2013 release. The description in the main page says it's aged in red wine and whiskey barrels, but this bottle clearly stated "oak bourbon barrels." That said, the barrel is very subtle in this beer, compared to the typical ones I have had of late. The molasses and maple syrup are also well balanced in this stout. This beer is very roasty, and has strong dark flavors of coffee, bitter chocolate, and raisin.

The bourbon is coming more forward as the beer approaches room temp, but I started the bottle at 49°F.

 697 characters

Photo of timc100
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


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.

 576 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet roasted malt notes with some light black chocolate notes. Taste is also dominated by quite a bit of residual sugars with some nice dry roasted malt notes. Notes of coffee and molasses are also very pleasant. Body is full with nice thick oily texture with good carbonation and alcohol is not overly apparent. Nice big IS which retains some good drinkability level.

 490 characters

Photo of Jjski
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Obtained in trade Vintage 2012, properly cellared

A- black with tiny cappuccino colored lacing

S-leathery dark fruits, plums, molasses bourbony.

T- a very well balanced sledgehammer of flavor. Smooth roasty malts, raisins, dark cocoa with heavy vanilla oaky bourbon. Still hot, but pleasantly so in harmony with the stated mission. Berserker = Enter Sandman & Creeping Death. Getting thrown to the floor in a front row mosh pit filled with assertive females working on lucrative post- graduate degrees while looking for companionship.

M- smooth lively carbonation with nary a single evident bubble. Black Magic, I suspect.

0- a heavy fist wrapped in dark velvet. Smell the Glove. The words " best ever.... " come to mind. The overlord of all. Lesser stouts seek the shelter of their bunkers only to be hit with this daisy cutter.

 835 characters

Photo of GJ40
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle. Started at about 60 degrees.

A - Deep, dark black with no light. A small tan head.

S - Molasses, dark chocolate, bourbon and brown sugar. Beautiful! Rich and complex.

T - A complex and smooth mix of molasses, bourbon, roastiness and dark chocolate. Light notes of maple syrup. The bourbon enhances it without dominating. A slight sweetness. The alcohol was hidden at first but increased as it warmed.

M - So think and creamy yet light and airy. A low, well balanced carbonation.

O - Big and strong yet soft and delicate. A great beer!

 567 characters

Photo of cestlavie
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was expecting this to be infected, as it was a 2012. Lucky for me, I had put it in my fridge the day I got it, and apparently any infection was not able to develop in the bottle!

A: jet black, viscous, motor oil. little to no head.

S: Dark Chocolate, fudge, Maple Syrup, bourbon, burnt sugar

T: Cacao nibs, dark fudge, bakers chocolate, Maple syrup, burnt sugar, creme brulee

M: Full bodied, very viscous, motor oil. seriously thick, but not like Bourbon County...

O: Great beer, was not expecting to get to enjoy this... went in thinking it was going to be a drain pour. Good thing I gave it a pour before dumping it! Moral? If you hear somethings infected, just put it in the fridge for 2 years.

 702 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I've had in a while. So big. Pitch black with a thin tan head. No light trickles through at all. Huuuge nose of leather, dark chocolate, robust coffee, hazelnuts, maple, vanilla, molasses cookies, and awesomeness. A silky smooth texture rounds out the whole thing into pure bliss.

Thanks Joe for breaking this out.

 340 characters

Photo of rlee1390
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, two finger deep brown head.

S-Slight bourbon, oak, roasted malt, some chocolate and maple.

T-Slight oak, bourbon, maple, roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, nice balance.

M-Semi heavy, tad creamy not much carbonation.

O-A really good beer but the beer just can't seem to compare to the many other BA stouts out there.

 340 characters

Photo of Joshpu
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'm guessing this was the 13' release: 12.7% version aged in oak bourbon barrels, with maple syrup and molasses. Poured from the bomber to a snifter.

A: Poured black, probably the darkest I have seen. Little carbonation and just a tiny dark-brown head.

S: Molasses, vanilla and a little oak from the bourbon barrels, chocolate, coffee, cherry. Possibly some citrus hops, bravo hops?

T: Not surprisingly pretty sweet, but not overwhelming. Big rich and dark chocolate/molasses. Coffee, some bourbon on the taste, but this is mostly a dark and rich chocolate/dessert bomb. Unfortunately for me, a soy sauce finish.

M: Medium to full bodied. Its actually pretty light on the tongue, and could even be described as having a light finish. A little bitter on the end and also a little sticky. None of the flavors really linger like you would expect, except for that weird soy sauce finish.

Overall a good stout, but it's surprisingly light on the tongue, which I think is one of its drawbacks. It's strength was how well the alcohol was hidden. This was actually one of the few stouts I preferred drinking colder, as it warmed I got more of that soy sauce finish, which was a pretty big drawback for me.

 1,202 characters

Photo of Kuaff
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Berserker at cellar temperature in a snifter.

Blackness. Total, opaque darkness. That's what Berserker looks like. It has a fleeting, but beautiful, one-finger brown head of a darker color than most stouts have. It's kind of like the shade of brown sugar, and dissipates to a thick, deliciously creamy-looking ring of froth that is kept alive indefinitely by rising bubbles of carbonation.

It smells of molasses, maple, earthy, leathery bourbon, raisins, milk chocolate, and a little bit of a darker chocolate or coffee. Sooo good.

When I sip, first the maple syrup and molasses do a sugary little dance on my palate. The flavor then moves to raisins, more maple, vanilla, varieties of chocolate, and a bit of the earthy AFTERtaste of molasses (what, hasn't anyone else tried plain molasses?). Then comes the glorious finish. It is a gradual explosion of woody, bourbon-infused earthiness that sustains for a GOOD long while, allowing a single sip to be savored for a few minutes. The gargantuan 12.7% ABV is remarkably masked. The smell and taste of bourbon are definite, but but the boozy burn is almost totally absent.

It's as thick and sticky as the molasses it was brewed with, and it slips across my tongue more like a stealthy ninja than a brash berserker. This qualifies as dangerously drinkable.

A rich and rambunctious imperial stout which runs rampant with molasses and bourbon.

 1,394 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a goblet, the beer pours jet black, like oil, with a slow formation of a dark tan surface coating of head that quickly recedes into a sparse coating in the shape of a Rorschach inkblot. This one looks like a hummingbird. Anyway, there is some carbonation action throughout the body, and the tan coloring makes it very visible. Aromas of molasses, maple, char, smoke, and chocolate. This smells like an early winter camping trip. Flavors are rich and sweet forward, with chocolate and maple bursting forth like candy on the tongue. Cloyingly sweet, but a heavy coffee backbone provides the bitterness needed to balance everything out. Smoke and roast highlights round the edges throughout, and hints of cream and wood character provide some levity. The body is light, but still creamy and smooth, almost whipped. The aftertaste is more to the bitter side, with coffee, chocolate, and roast blending with some of the booze and wood characteristics. Slick, coating finish that leaves a subtle bitterness blend of coffee and chocolate. This is a great beer!

 1,079 characters

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

'13 poured into a CS snifter along side with Abyss '12 for comparison.

A- This beer is jet black with coffee colored head. The head stays around. Good retention.

S- Coffee, molasses, dark fruit. I am not getting much maple syrup that is stated on the bottle.

T- Dark fruit and molasses big time. This is a chewy RIS. I am getting the faintest hint of maple syrup. Maybe I am just fooling myself into that. I am getting some tobacco at the end as well.

M- This is where the beer shines for me. This is a thick chewy RIS, which I love compared to the thin BA RIS.

O- I am happy to have tried this beer, and I have two more that I will age to see how this beer matures. Little to no maple syrup, so nothing really to lose there.

 733 characters

Photo of ThickNStout
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from BeerShip.com. No bottling date but I believe this was released in May. Served in a Three Floyds teku.

Pours oil black with a finger and a half of thick chocolate head. The dense foam lingers, leaving some nice lace.

Smells of cocoa, bourbon, oak, molasses and coffee. Very inviting.

Rich, sweet waves of flavor. Dark chocolate, creamed heavily roasted coffee, molasses, vanilla tinged bourbon, earthy oak, faint maple syrup, caramel, dark fruits and a little alcohol bite. So much good stuff going on here. Complex and delicious.

Creamy, thick, medium heavy feel with moderately light carbonation. Chocolate and sweet bourbon finish.

A well done imperial stout that hits on all levels. A pleasure to drink and it goes down incredibly easy. Berserker is definately worth seeking out.

 809 characters

Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got complexity?

Why, yes...yes, it does.

Roasted malt, maple syrup, Raisinettes™, 60% cacao, merlot/cabernet, bourbon, over-ripe black cherries, toasted coconut, figs, dates, prunes, plums, kiwis, mandarin oranges, tangerines,persimmons, kumquats, brandy, vanilla, sandalwood/cedar shavings, cinnamon, caramel, toffee, coffee, marmalade, brown sugar, strawberries, molasses, leather, tobacco, grape skins,fudge, char, wet earth, ash, honey, licorice, mocha, sweet vermouth, and smoke are all discernible in this brazen masterpiece.

My absolute favorit RIS (and overall beer of any style, for that matter).

 610 characters

Photo of dar482
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a dark oil black with lovely huge dark mocha head.

The aroma has a sweet coconut, molasses, sweet maple syrup, vanilla, tons of that sweet barrel character along with sweet chocolate, coffee, molasses, and roasty malt. It's such a lovely smelling beer.

The flavor is giving you tons of sweet chocolate, a bit of coffee, along with sweet vanilla and bourbon character. There's maple syrup sweetness that hits on the middle and then a dark deep molasses stickiness holds on the tongue. The oak finishes it on the end slight.

The alcohol is so darn well hidden on this. The mouthfeel is really luscious and creamy thing ever. It's so smooth and big on the tongue. A highlight of this beer.

This beer really one of the best bourbon barrel aged beers around.

 776 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.59/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No vintage on bottle, but purchased recently, so probably '13. 12.7 ABV. Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a solid black color, with just the very thinnest cap of light brown head that dissipated instantly, thus leaving no lacing. No carbonation in the glass, or on subsequent pours.

The scent had a fair bit going on. Light base grains, the most faint hint of wood and bourbon, and several different sweet tones. There was also, as one might expect, a noticeable alcohol aspect. The barrel was a slight bit more noticeable on the tongue, the maple showed through on its own (unlike in the nose), and what I assume was molasses made for a fairly sweet taste. There was definitely an alcohol burn at the back, and some bourbon lingered for a minute.

The body was way too thin for what I look for in a big stout, pretty much porterish. Drinkability was good for such a big brew, but taking down a 22 by self was quite enough for one day, thank you. Overall, a pretty good take on the style, not really the thrill for me that it seems to be for a lot of people, but worth trying if you see it.

 1,090 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

 716 characters

Photo of bum732
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

 775 characters

Photo of GeezLynn
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

2010 bottle.

A: Out the bottle like black crude. Dark brown head settles to the glass edges. High abv. shows.
S: Dense maltyness, licorice, tobacco, and a little fruitiness. A little earthy.
T: loads of black androasted malts. Shows more coffee than chocolate. Molasses is assertive. Easily discernible red-wine fruitiness melds nicely with the malt kind of like a dark chocolate-covered raisin. Light sweetness, with alcohol is barely discernible for 12+%.
M: Medium bodied, somewhat syrupy. Good mouth-coat, although carbonation is a bit prickly.

Fantastic beer, though not your typical American imperial stout with the assertive fruit and wine attributes. Very interesting, yet very drinkable for the abv. Only weakness for me was the carbonation/mouthfeel, but this is a beer I’d grab at any opportunity.

 812 characters

Photo of bcerv-ca
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick & black like old motor oil. Little head that is dark brown & slightly purple.

Smells like dry red wine, oak, bourbon and black cherries.

This beer is oily smooth. The initial taste is red wine, bourbon & oak. Dark chocolate & molasses lingers on the pallet. The alcohol is well hidden by the complexity of the taste, but it still warms you up. As expected, the alcohol becomes more prominent as you taste & as the beer warms.

Satisfying beer. Well worth the $18 price tag if you like this style. Highly recommended.

 532 characters

Photo of pmarlowe
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Tulip glass. Cheers to Jeremy's first day home.

A: Pours viscous black with a ring of reddish-brown-rust colored head. A few dots of lacing and decent enough retention.

S: Chocolate, cocoa-forward which is well supported by ample bourbon, also with vanilla bean, black licorice, a touch of roasted malt, and some cola. Barrel presence is spot on and enhances the base beer.

T: Dark chocolate. The roasted malt is a little more forward here, seemingly showcasing more of an RIS style. A little dark fruit, dark molasses, vanilla extract, and oak. Moderate sweetness, which I could see being a bit fatiguing after a full pour of this.

M: Medium-full body and medium-light carbonation, which impart a superb drinkability. A little alcohol is noticeable, esp. at warmer temperature.

O: Just a very well put together beer. Complex, delicious, and highly drinkable. Scores high on the quality to price ratio.

 921 characters

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