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Berserker Imperial Stout - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

834 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 834
Reviews: 230
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 835
Gots: 220 | FT: 22
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 834 | Reviews: 230 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheCuriograph
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%

TheCuriograph, Nov 15, 2014
Photo of juzy
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

juzy, Jan 18, 2006
Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

jrallen34, May 03, 2010
Photo of nickd717
4.08/5  rDev -6%
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.

nickd717, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -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.

oline73, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of AgentZero
4.08/5  rDev -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.

AgentZero, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of AleWatcher
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at a tasting... Finally getting around to typing up my notes from my iphone.

Had an 08 and a 10 side-by-side... Review is for the 08.

Immediately upon pouring, my reaction was,
It's so black! Good for you.
(editor's note: I had JUST watched the movie Hot Tub Time Machine)

It's very very dark. It's dark, it's scary, it's ominous, it's a little sexy in a "I'm not sure I'm ready for this" kind of way. It's like Elvira, mistress of the dark. This is brooding and looming. It is beyond gothic. It makes goth kids look like sparkly vampires.

Dark tan head-- like confectioner's cocoa color. Retention is ok. Lacing is minimal... But fuck is the body dark.

The smell has little hints of cinnamon hiding amongst the standard impy stout smells. Some boozy and oaky and vanilla and chocolatey notes. This thing is all about being in your face. It's impressive. The 10 is much more chocolatey, but as far as it goes, they are both delicious.

The beer is fantastic. I have nothing bad to say about it. The body is strong, if anything I could argue it is slightly undercarbed, but it doesn't hurt the overall drinkability. It sips very very nicely and I'm enjoying it.
I would love to have abottle of this to open every 6 to 8 months and see how it develops.

AleWatcher, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been wanting to try this one for quite some time. Thanks to Orangesol for busting it out at a recent tasting. Poured into a sampler glass, this brew appears black in color with a dark tan head across the top. As it fades, spots of lace stick to the glass and a light swirl revives a finger of strength back to the surface.

The smell of this brew is all over the dark brew spectrum. Notes of dark fruity quality like raisins or plums bring out the focus on alcohol while some deeper earthy noted are also evident. Licorice and tobacco come out more as the brew warms up.

The taste is dark and fruity with more indications of raisins and plums or prunes focusing on the alcohol side of things. More sips reveal more flavoring that is dark and roast grain. A bit of licorice and earthy tobacco follow through into the aftertaste.

This is a medium to full bodies brew with a light level of carbonation that really exaggerates the feel. It is well balanced and enjoyable for it's strength and something I wouldn't mind having again. While I'm not the biggest fan of dark fruity character in RIS brews, this one packed enough depth another character to not let it get distracting. Thanks again Nate for sharing.

stakem, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of Onenote81
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Awesome bottle received from alaskajoe awhile ago! Thanks!

12.70% version. Sampled on 5/9/10. Poured into a tall tulip glass.

The pour on this one is thick and viscous as I've ever seen. Glugs out of the bottle like used motor oil. Sits densely in the glass. A moderate-sized dark maduro/mocha head slowly rises. Retains decently enough. Left some light lace on the glass. This looks awesome. The first thing I notice in the nose is a tart vinous scent like wine or Port. There's hints of vanilla, booze, and a bit of ground coffee, just faintly. I can tell this has some Bourbon-quality to it for sure.

The mouth, as expected, is creamy, thick, and almost chewable. This just coats the entire palate with its creamy goodness. The first flavor I notice on this one is vanilla. The bourbon notes give this beer a creamy sweetness that is very pleasant. There's also a flavor that I'm going to call 'leather,' not that I have ever eaten leather before, but that's what came to mind. The roasted malts are wonderfully balanced with the sweetness from the bourbon. Mild coffee and dark chocolate noted as well.

This was an excellent beer! I can't thank Joe enough for sending this my way last fall. This one will take a little more work to track down, but it'll be worth your while. Highly recommend.

Onenote81, May 11, 2010
Photo of birchstick
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours black in color with a nice brown, taupe head.

S - chocolates, bourbon, maple, vanilla are all over the nose - lots going on, which is always a good thing

T - starts off with dark chocolates on the front of the tongue. These move on to spicy bourbon and vanilla notes imparted from the barrel aging. Some molasses and a touch of cinnamon are in the mix as well. Really nice complexity on the tongue!

M - medium body and light carbonation; a little dry on the finish

D - really solid RIS by MS. Lots of nice complexity and flavors in the mix here. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on it.

birchstick, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of JAXSON
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Early 2010 rate.

Bottle from Todd. Pours thick, inky black with a rich, frothy espresso head. Head and lacing are thick and heavy, and behave oddly. Fascinating to look at. Of course the nose is rich, heavy on dark fruits, dust of coffee, molasses. I don't know if I've ever had a beer that is so creamy in the mouth, almost like a like dark chocolate milkshake. Heavy dark malts, a bitter coffee-like element, vanilla. more discreet slightly woody tones, molasses. F this is good.

After comparing this later in the year directly with some other, more nuanced imperial stouts, I'm docking the score a bit.

JAXSON, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another great BIF beer with the DC group, 2009 vintage. This is my review #400.

Pours a super thick looking jet black, with a great brown head that dies down to a dark ring, looks very nice. Leaves some lacing.

S: Smells great with lots of sweet and malty notes in the nose, plenty of chocolate, caramel, and more. It's not super roasty but it has some great complex sweet notes without having any heat. I get some nice nutty like sweet almond or maybe coconut notes too. Very nice complex aroma.

T: Nice taste, has quite a bit of roast compared to the smell, and not as much complexity in the sweet notes I got in the nose but there is some chocolate. Myself and others agreed that the malt is kind of not there as we thought it would be, a molasses-ness isn't there and i dont get a ton of barrel. Still has some nice flavors, even maybe a little acidity in the front too, and overall a nice coffee roast and some cherry too.

M: Nice feel, it's smooth but the roast is a little astringent and makes it thinner than desired..

O: This beer is great, but didn't wow me like I thought it might.

Dreadnaught33, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of pmlondrigan
4.08/5  rDev -6%
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.

pmlondrigan, Oct 27, 2012
Photo of Joshpu
4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Joshpu, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Roland for this bottle. The bottle leaked a little bit during shipping so to be safe rather than sorry, I decided to put this one on ice and drink it right away.

A: The pour is a fairly viscous and black one with a mild tan head forming.

S: The nose is fairly complex with plenty of dark chocolate and molasses coming out right away. The oak and vanilla notes are a bit more subtle and the roast and coffee are not quite as in your face as in many stouts.

T: A pronounced licorice character comes through on the palate that I did not expect from the nose. Again, plenty of molasses and chocolate going on with a fair amount of oakiness. A moderate bitterness is present as well.

M: The body is medium, not quite to the full range, with a smooth carbonation that eventually ended up dying out as I went back for my subsequent pours from the bottle.

D: For a 10% imperial stout, this is quite drinkable, I will say. Not necessarily amazing, but still enjoyable and definitely different.

womencantsail, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of jrenihan
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%

jrenihan, Nov 12, 2014
Photo of mfavoino
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. 12.7% abv poured into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: Pours a thick black with a surprisingly big brown head. Recedes to a nice rim around the glass. Great looking stout.

Smell: Big whiskey, bourbon aroma and lots of dark roasted malts. Some light chocolate and booze.

Taste: Roasted malts combine with the whiskey flavor of the barrel. Some soy, then light chocolate and maple sweetness followed by a lingering roasted malt finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with a smoothness that is nice for a high abv beer.

Overall: Love the big barrel flavor and roastiness. I still like Parabola and BCBS better.

mfavoino, Sep 23, 2012
Photo of brystmar
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage. Thanks to whartontallboy for bringing this last night!

Pitch black pour, mild tan head forms a ring around the surface. There's a significant fault in the aroma that my BJCP-certified gf quickly named, though all I can remember is it smelled like drywall from a construction site. Bleh...

Fortunately, the taste was unaffected: very dark and murky, plenty of chocolate. This is a straight-up RIS along the same lines as Darkness and Zhukov, and (aroma aside) it's just as well-crafted as those.

It's unfortunate that this was opened immediately after an incredible bottle of Cognac DL. I suspect my ratings for Berserker would be higher if that weren't the case. Still enjoyed this one quite a bit though.

UPDATE: The drywall aroma apparently came from my glass, not from the beer. Others who shared the same bottle said it smelled great. My bad!

brystmar, May 13, 2012
Photo of Gmann
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours basically black in color with some dark brown around the edges. The brown head was short and dense and settled into a light ring.

The aroma is of a heavy roast with some burnt toast and anise. I pick up some boozy red grapes and light bourbon. Faint tart aroma from the oak. Molasses and vanilla help round out the aroma.

The taste is quite bold and has a strong RIS body. Big ole roasted flavor with charred wood, anise and perhaps a subtle hint of smoke. The beer has that boozy red grape flavor that is frequent in the style. The maple syrup and molasses provide a big shot of sweetness. I would say that molasses stands out more than the maple syrup. The bourbon flavor is subtle, could be a little lost amongst the other bold flavors.

The beer is thick with enough carbonation to breakup the body without affected the smoothness. It is sweet and roasty bitter on the palate. It is a bit too sweet and the ABV can pop through. Has a sticky finish.

Very good stout, stays true to its RIS roots. Probably one of the more roasty BA stouts that I have had. I would like to see the bourbon stand out a bit more with less sweetness. Definitely worth a purchase.

Gmann, Oct 04, 2012
Photo of claaark13
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the hookup, Kyle! Poured at cellar temp into a CBS glass/snifter. 2012 vintage.

A - Pours a pitch black, nearly looking like oil as it exits the bottle. Thick, creamy, dark-tan head eventually turns into some thin lacing. Sticks very well. About as good as an AIS/RIS can look.

S - Lots of sweet oak, notes of chocolate and molasses, tobacco, roast. The oak with the combined with a brown sugar aroma are really dominating.

T - Oak, roast, sugary molasses, mild milk chocolate, tobacco, slight booze and oak re-emerge, then heavy roast...almost smoke...on the finish. I don't find as much sweetness to offset the oak as I'd expected by the description. The maple seems to act as a sweetener more than anything.

M - Thick, so very thick.

O - Good, but not great. I will need to seek out more for further investigation.

claaark13, Sep 14, 2012
Photo of artoolemomo
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- The glass had no head when I received it but after swirling it around a bit, a dark beige, almost burnt umber foam is revealed. The body is an opaque dark chocolate black. No real lacing is left behind.

Nose- Not much going on at the moment but it really is too cold. After I swirl it a little, roasted notes appear but they are subtle. After some time, the bitter ends of dark chocolate start to show.

Taste- Initially, this is much like the nose. Chocolate with some sour notes starts to emerge. The sweetness is a little cloying. A considerable amount of heat but this begins to diminish. So far, it is a solid imperial stout that has failed to distinguish itself. Dark chocolate starts to dominate with a moderate coffee bitter finish balancing that. Hints of raisins and cherries. Some molasses and brown sugar. Don't really notice much maple syrup. There is underlying saccharine quality that hints at red wine. Shows at lot more complexity and balance as it warms.

Mouthfeel- Heavy bodied with a fair amount of carbonation for the style. Some chewiness and a bit of grit that suggests oatmeal though I do not believe that is an ingredient.

Drinkability- Solid imperial but if it's comparable in price to Parabola, I would just get some Parabola. Fairly easygoing and the heat complements the flavor profile and texture well.

Overall- Worth a try but I wouldn't dent your wallet or trade away your valuables for it

artoolemomo, Aug 04, 2013
Photo of ChrisISO_SJ
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%

ChrisISO_SJ, Nov 07, 2014
Photo of Phelps
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Major thanks to ejyoung, who popped this bottle at a recent Cooters tasting. Poured into a Russian River tulip.

Burnt brown, completely opaque. The head is thin and the color of cinnamon, rising and fading within seconds. A bubbly ring of lace remains.

Espresso, chocolate/raspberry syrup, molasses, honey. A rich, spicy aroma. Burnt toast in the background.

Oh, that’s good. Different, too. Maybe it’s the result of the different barrels used, but it’s hard to pick out individual barrel flavors. Begins with butter, toffee, toasted oak and red grapes. The swallow brings a bigger wine-soaked blast with vanilla. The wine-aging contributes quite a bit here. Lighter notes of molasses, dark chocolate. Fairly sweet throughout, with nary a hint of booze. A little bitterness and roast on the sides of the tongue.

Thick, a lot of residual sugar here. Creamy medium-full, light massaging carbonation. Alcohol numbs the tongue, but that’s the only hint of it. Very nice blend here. Very drinkable for its strength.

A quality stout. Interesting blend of flavors. The wine adds something, as does the molasses.

Phelps, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer shared by someone at a recent tasting. Poured into a snifter. Beer is black but brown at the edges and forms moderate and broken head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Overall the carbonation appears low.

The aroma is mostly sweet with only a hint of alcohol.

Beer is medium bodied and has a combination of chocolate and sweetness in the front half, a slight tinge of alcohol and overall a mild bitterness from chocolate and roast. Beer finishes slightly dry that accents the bitterness of the beer overall. It is very drinkable though, the bitterness does not overpower the more delicate flavors in the front, there is no real aftertaste, if it were drier I believe there would be a problem with this much bitter, but it seems well composed.

drabmuh, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%

A - Pours a wonderfully dark, rich, motor-oil black with a lacing of russet head. Really looks phenomenal.

S - Subtle, spicy, alcohol esters. Faint bourbon, moderately sweet vanilla. Mild, salty burned-ends. Caramel as it warms. I found the nose was fairly subdued; I had to work quite hard to pick out these notes.

T - I was worried I was going to find this overly sweet as I did with Barfly, however if anything I found the maple syrup and molasses influence lacking. Same with the bourbon barrel. In truth I didn't get enough of any of the elements on the label which would distinguish it from a regular imperial stout. It's also surprisingly bitter given its 30 IBUs. This would have been a great counterbalance though if we'd got more maple, or other sweet influences like vanilla or coconut. Tobacco on the finish.

M - It is decently thick, yet at the same time a little fizzy. I'd like it a little slicker and thicker.

O - I didn't pick up much in the way of chocolate although some may find coffee. Not much smoke or peat either, although there's definitely roasted-to-the-point-of-burned malt. The whole thing just tastes burned to me: the sweetness and the maltiness. I'm somewhat disappointed in this as a $20 beer from a brewery with such a good rep.

abeeronthebeach, Sep 10, 2014
Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 834 ratings.