Berserker Imperial Stout - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

251 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 251
Hads: 993
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 835
Gots: 266 | FT: 37
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: 251 | Hads: 993
Photo of beerhan
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-black as night, completely opaque. Half-finger dark brown head that remains.

S-lots of toffee, maple, wood, bourbon,

T-dark chocolate and oak up front. more subtle bourbon tones follow with a dry finish.

M-little to no carbonation and very rich. Thick beer

O-Really nice offering here. Although they may be different styles, I prefer arctic devil to this one. The alcohol does catch up on this one and is pretty hard to have more than a small pour. (455 characters)

Photo of spicelab
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Full-on and uncompromising with a great flavour/aroma profile. Enough said. (638 characters)

Photo of hooliganlife
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%
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. (418 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
3.4/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage

#Infectiongate

appearance: served in an oversized snifter, jet black body, creamy mocha lace

smell: bourbon, tannin notes, rich fudge

taste: charred malt, fudge, smoke, light bourbon, soy sauce. I don't know if its the "infection" or what, but at $20, this is a huge dissapointment.

mouthfeel: a bit thin, lots of soy in the finish

overall: this is a Pass in the future (388 characters)

Photo of draheim
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Overall, just an overpowering bourbon-soaked beast of a beer. Hopefully the infection rumors aren't true but if they are I'll enjoy drinking the remainder before they're too far gone. (928 characters)

Photo of JohnnyP3
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

Overall, a massive, complex, contemplative beer. Agree with comments below about letting it warm some. Really opens up further and provides additional nuances to explore. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy. (776 characters)

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

- 2012 vintage / Cellared 30-Aug-12
- 22oz. bottle poured into stemless wine glass on 1-Dec-12 (aged just couple months).

Rich aromas: plums, molasses, dark roasted chocolate, and mild alcohol presence (for such a big beer).

Immediately notice the thick, chewy texture. Getting a lot of oak barrel with hints of bourbon; not as prominent as in others of style. Some wine/grape quality as well. All this under the prominent roasty chocolate and maple body. Letting this beer sit in the glass for 30+ minutes and warming to room temperature really opened this up in an incredibly complex way and really smoothed all the edges out. Great length. This is one of the more interesting BBA RIS that I've tried, if not the most.

- 2013 vintage
- 22oz. bottle poured into stemless Lost Abbey teku on 25-Dec-13 (fresh).

Same experience as the previous year, which is all good to me. Merry Christmas. Just wish I had another to cellar longer. (939 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many, many thanks to paulys55 for this bottle!

A - Poured pitch black with about 1/4 of creamy, toffee colored head and no carbonation.

S - Charred/smoked oak tannins, tobacco peat, dark fruit, molasses, dark roasted chocolate, and mild alcohol presence (for such a big beer).

T - Smoke, oak, maple, bourbon, molasses, roasted bitter chocolate, dark cherries, and alcohol effervescence.

M - Thick, viscous, sticky, slightly syrupy, sticky.

O - Letting this beer sit in the glass for 30+ minutes and warming to room temperature really opened this up in an incredibly complex way. In fact, if I ever have the opportunity to enjoy another bottle of this I will most likely pop it at room temperature instead, far better. (724 characters)

Photo of CooperEllis
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bottle split two-way

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

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

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

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

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

(193rd) (1,103 characters)

Photo of Treebs
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle served in a Midnight Sun Chub. 2012 vintage. Huge thanks to BA mfavoino for sending this my way. Thanks Matt!

A: Jet black body with a thick and creamy dark tan head forming on the pour. It recedes slowly to a thick cap and collar. Sticky sheets of lace are left on the glass.

S: Big molasses sweetness with smooth bourbon nose. Dark chocolate, oak and some nice roasted malts compliment the sweetness. The smell is delicious. Extremely impressed so far.

T: Unfortunately the taste isn't quite as nice up front. Very sweet maple syrup with some bourbon and a big roasted malt presence. The booze is a little harsh and the oak barrel isn't as well integrated as the nose would suggest. The finish is creamy chocolate and sweet molasses. Some brown sugar and vanilla notes come out as it warms.

M: Heavy bodied with a nice chew to it. Oily and viscous, definitely a sipper here. Medium low carbonation.

O: The nose was great and at the moment the barrel is a little too disjointed from the base beer. Some time will do this beer well to subside the boozy notes and harsh oak. (1,092 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz, 2012 vintage (new bottle design)
Mini snifter

A: Pours out a pitch black color. Half finger dark tan head that faded pretty quickly. Leaves some lacing sheets. Even in the small snifter I can see some alcohol feet here.

S: Really beautiful nose here. Lots of vanilla and oak. Molasses. Good amount of sweetness, caramel and toffee. Those flavors are dominating the roasted malts and coffee RIS flavors.

T: Up front, bitter chocolate and molasses mesh well together. As the flavors move to the middle of the mouth, you get more barrel character. Sweet notes of caramel and vanilla and toffee. Long finish, but still fairly dry on the close. BIG beer. Felt the alcohol, even though it was well integrated.

M: Full bodied. Lots of mouth coating. (752 characters)

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours jet black with a thin tan head that laces. The nose is a very potent maple sweetness with a touch of bourbon caramel. There is very little bitterness, but the nose isn't cloying. The taste is potent with a huge amount of oak, maple, bourbon, vanilla, and caramel. There is no detectable booze at all. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth and highly drinkable. It's one of the best double stouts I've had with very little to complain about it. Seek this out, it's worth it. (482 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.38/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1621st Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22oz

2012 Release
Purchased from El Cerrito Liquor, Corona, CA

App- This poured out pretty much the darkest beer I have seen before. They werent lying on the bottle. It actually poured like oil and had no light penetration and only a small 1/4" head with no lace or cling. Maybe a small ring of bubbles.

Smell- This was a bit all over the place. Upfront I get most of the molasses and the sweetness from the maple. I do get tinges of smoke, malts, oak and wood. This has a bit of a rough aroma with everything competeing and not working cohesively.

Taste- This thing was solid, but not great. The molasses I think is what throws me the most. It brings a certain sweetness and chewy candy like flavor. The oak has a lot of char and licorice behind. Big thick malts and a little bit of smoke layer well, but not integrated enough to make it super smooth. Its drinkable for the 12% but thats not the biggest flaw. Just not the best tasting BA Stout.

Mouth- I dipped my finger into this to give my son a taste and my wife said WTF is that? It was the same color on my finger. No dissapation of color. No losing of the body. Very full and viscous. The carbonation was a medium low and fairly creamy. The residual flavors are of the molasses and the oak.

Drink- This was an interesting stout to say the least. A lot going on and fairly balanced. The more I took a sip the more I realized that its just above average and not for me. I was excited to try this one and well guess I can skip the next release. (1,543 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
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. (873 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
2.81/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a small dark brown head. Little retention and a little lacing. Very sludgy

Loads of molasses in the nose. Anise, baker's chocolate, espresso and soy sauce too. Smells like it's going to be sweet...

...and it is. Sweet molasses again dominates everything. Some good dark chocolate and oaked bourbon come through a bit, but sadly are hidden in the background. The same annoying soy sauce is back from the nose too. Bourbon is restrained and in this case, I wish it weren't as the base flavors are not great.

Very thick bodied beer with appropriately low carbonation style. Alcohol % is very well hidden.

Everyone who tried this was massively disappointed. Nothing seems "wrong" about this bottle, just did not like the flavors. Too much soy sauce kind of ruined everything for me, but even outside of that, not a great fan of the base flavors. (862 characters)

Photo of martyl1000
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at City Beer Store, SF. Beautiful pour into a narrow goblet. Brownish-black, with a chocolate meringue head. Massively complex aroma. Oak, bourbon, and a tangy fruit that would've been indecipherBle had I not known about the red wine barrels.

Oh man. In the mouth add milk chocolate, sweet alcohol, and a bell-ringing blood-iron metallic brightness that might be hop bitterness transformed by all the other immensities.

The only drawback is the oak seems a bit overwrought in the aroma--makes for an odd savoeiness bringing to mind fried pencil eraser. (563 characters)

Photo of nataku00
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

Full body, thick and creamy with very fine carbonation if any. Like drinking a chocolate milk shake, sweet but not cloying as it's balanced by good roasted notes. A very nice imperial stout. (783 characters)

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.07/5  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. (508 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.72/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2012, 12.7% ABV

Pours black with some mocha surface foam and rimming, this dissipates leaving an inky black surface. Smells mineralic, lots of sweet vanilla, some bits of bourbon, caramel and oak alongside hints of licorice and dark chocolate nibs. The mineral quality has some notes I really value in a -bal beer. Taste is sweet and robust. Plenty of toasted and roasted oats, some licorice, raisin, wood, coffee and nougat. Not as impressed with the taste. Full bodied with low carb and a dry finish. Nice beer, not worth the effort for me. (551 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage poured in to tulip.

A - Poured ink black. Thick and viscous. A small layer of mocha coloured head formed and immediately reduced to a thin ring around the glass.

S - Huge cocoa aroma up front that gives way to a complex nose that includes roast, bourbon, vanilla, vinous fruit and char/ash. Sweet molasses is present as well. Big and bold nose. Can't specifically pick up the maple syrup.

T - Barrel qualities noticeable immediately up front: bourbon, oak and red wine. The base beer attributes come through mid-palate: roast, char, tobacco, dark fruit and espresso. The finish has a touch of sweetness with the molasses and maple syrup coming through. Overall, this beer is quite hot and full of big, bold flavours that come together very well. Definitely a sipper.

M - Full body. Thick and viscous. Light carbonation.

O - This was quite an interesting beer. I am very interested to see what some age does to this since it was quite hot. (959 characters)

Photo of Gmann
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (1,169 characters)

Photo of CascadeBrews
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage poured to Dogfish Head tulip (thanks Don for sharing your glassware)

Will update again after second bottle ages:

A smooth finish on the mouthfeel that I didn't know could exist in an imperial stout, beer in general. Slight dark fruit sweetness. Prefer more bitterness and dryness (akin to Abyss). ABV was subtle on the tongue, perfect everywhere else.
Highly recommended. (387 characters)

Photo of mattsander
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage

A: Impressively black. Dark brown head with legs, it taints the glass brown. Beautiful stout.

S: Toffee, toasted marshmallow, vanilla-oak, bourbon, slightly nutty, brown sugar. Lots of barrel and dark fruit. A bit boozy, but this is a very young bottle that will definitely improve with age. Fruitier and less chocolaty than I generally encounter in this style.

T: Silky smooth dark caramelized fruits, licorice and burnt sugar at first, then the barrel treatment takes over. Not the 'sweet vanilla' bourbon bomb I associate with this style, the barrels make this really unique. Finishes with lots of oak, kind of nutty. Fabulous.

M: Excellent texture with lasting creaminess. A sipper for sure, but a great one. (730 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thin deep mocha head on a dark brown body. Collar and some spotty lacing left.

Sweet booziness, can tell this has been in a barrel.

Very well integrated barrel aging, bourbon is faint and not in your face. Molasses pops out and believe it or not cherries come of after some 5 year aged cheddar. Would guess this at 11%abv.

Medium mouthfeel, smooth. Lower carbonation.

Good stout. We all thought it was similar to the Abyss. Would have liked the mouthfeel to be a little thicker but a minor complaint. Enjoyed the molasses/maple syrup aspect. Thanks 4DAloveofSTOUT! (568 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an oil-can thickness with a massive mochachino thick head. Sticky lacing edge the glass and leave a creamy coating where the head once was.

S: Aroma of a thick roasted stout. Rich coffee, smoked malts and a long lingering molasses aroma with bourbon and oak really keying in once it has warmed to room temperature.

T: Just as thick as it looks, the body of this is thorough. There is not lingering over sweetened malt flavor as Ten Fidy has however the body is just as thick with much more complexity. I do not feel like I will be getting diabetes from this glass of imperial stout either, which is always a plus. Smoked campfire malts with a roasty edge. Slightly gritty with a bit of grassy Autumn leafy hops. The end is slightly ashy, possibly the only downside here on this beer. Hints of maple syrup and molasses, oak hints in the middle of my tastebuds.

M: Thick and a mild to moderate level of carbonation.

O: Overall, this is a solid stout with a lot of complexity. It may have taken three years for me to find one of these, but I highly recommend trying this one! (1,086 characters)

Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 251 ratings.