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Berserker Imperial Stout - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

262 Reviews
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Reviews: 262
Hads: 1,039
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 8.8%
Wants: 835
Gots: 281 | FT: 39
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: 262 | Hads: 1,039
Photo of jmarsh123
2.81/5  rDev -35%
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.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.88/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of nataku00
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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

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

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Photo of harrymel
3.72/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of Gmann
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of CascadeBrews
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of mattsander
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of Duff27
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
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!

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
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!

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Photo of Siggy125
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Midnight Sun Berserker poured from 22oz bottle to a Bruery tulip. Pours very thick and almost jet black with a small amount of caramel colored carbonation. Settles into the glass with a thin layer of foam. Very inviting appearance.

Very powerful and satisfying to the nose. Sweet molasses and burnt sugar aromas fill the glass. I can't wait to take the first sip. I don't detect big hints of bourbon yet.

Damn, there's a lot of complex flavors going on here. I get molasses, syrupy sweet toffee and wonderful roasted malts. The bourbon is noticeable but not overpowering. Nicely blended. A bit of tart dried fruits . As the temp comes up the tartness seems to subside to an even larger smack of molasses and sweet dark chocolaty espresso flavors. Very bold.

Mouthfeel is wonderful. Sweet and creamy, edging on cloying. The brew clings to the sides of the glass in sugary droplets which is something I have not experienced much of.

I wound up drinking the whole bomber myself and felt bad not sharing this experience with a friend. It was definitely a wow and I recommend you try it. If you like big "in your face" stouts, this one is for you!

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle opened on 9.10.12.
Thanks Wingshooter.

A - Pours a motor oil black with a one inch dark brown head with fine bubbles, good retention.

S - Sweet molasses, wood, bourbon.

T - Sweet, lots of bourbon, chocolate and oak.

D - Super thick, heavy body. Decent carbonation.

O - Sweet and boozy, thick and visious and lots of oak.

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Photo of vkv822
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz : tulip
2012 vintage.

Black, with a thick, foamy brown head.

Nose and palate are quite similar, boozy bourbon oak, fudge, cocoa, faint molasses, faint dark fruit.

Medium+ body, slightly viscous, light boozy heat. Low carbonation.

A very enjoyable Imperial Stout, the maple syrup/molasses adds just a faint touch, though the main focus is bourbon barrel and cocoa.

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Photo of mfavoino
4.11/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: this beer came out of the bottle like liquid black - I mean, it was so dark and heavy-looking - like a Goose Island BCBS; and the head was a deep brown finger-thick cream; left doplets of lace all down the sides

S: espresso and cocoa; some vanilla and bourbon

T: a well-made stout, emphasizing the chocolatey-ness and creaminess; hints of vanilla, bourbon, and oak creep throughout; this starts with a solid roasted chocolate malt base and finishes with a bittersweet chocolate espresso flavor... there is some merlot-ish wininess to it...

M: chewy, yet slick, dense, creamy; smooth and mellow bitter; a fairly clean-finishing stout - very nice; tobacco after the fact

O: impulse buy, love stouts; can't say the molasses or maple syrup stood out too much for me, but maybe that's a good thing - maybe they were responsible for the smooth complexity of the beer overall; I would rebuy this beer... great pour and it delivered.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage bomber shared by my brother, poured into a New Belgium Globe...

A: Viscous pour, dark dense and opaque body with a very dark mocha colored head and quite a bit of lacing.

S: Molasses and bourbon qualities right off the bat, oak is pretty prominent as well, dark chocolate and rich milk chocolate, some sweet boozy alcohol but hardly any for a young 2012 bottle thats this big. Roast character is buried, sweetness is upfront.

T: You're hit with nice rich bourbon qualities and molasses sweetness right away, with notes of light vanilla and oak, and the darkest caramel you can imagine, rich chocolate notes, and the maple sweetness mixes well with the sweet boozy notes and caramel and molasses. Faint hint of licorice, and again there are really only light roasted coffee notes.

MF: Creamy and viscous mouthfeel, not quite as full bodied as I'd hoped it would be, there is a dryness on the back end that may be the alcohol.

O: Pretty awesome. Not sure how it ages (I'm sure it would mellow out just fine) but right now its drinking exactly the way I think a BA stout should.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter, 2012 vintage

A: Pours pitch black with a finger of light brown foam on top. The beer appears quite viscous. The head recedes to a film.

S: Strong bourbon upfront with lots of molasses, dark chocolate, and licorice. I also get some roast, but it's behind a lot of sweetness.

T: Roast and dark chocolate are now upfront with quite a bit of bourbon. Dark chocolate is particularly strong. I get some sweet toffee and maple syrup in the background to balance. With a good amount of sweet flavors, the beer stays oddly on the dry side.

M: Quite thick with creamy carbonation.

O: This beer is delicious. Very complex and balanced. Intense, but drinkable.

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Photo of claaark13
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

A: Poured a deep, deep brown, good carbonation and a nice brown head.

S: Nose is deep roasted malts, coffee, cocoa and alcohol.

T: Taste is alcohol and roasted malt upfront, midway through to the end is coffee, cocoa.
M: Mouthfeel is coating and pretty thick and hefty.

O: good and really glad I got to finally try this.

2012 vintage

A: Poured extremely deep brown near black with a big brown cap, light lacing and a little brown ring after a few sips

S: A big roastiness, milk chocolate, maple and molasses, sweetness, booze sting and some moderate bourbon

T: Initial creaminess, Dark Lord like soy sauce with a big sweetness, milk chocolate transition into a lingering maple, light bourbon and molasses, faint wood and vanilla. Finish is a burning like spepperness, sweet sugar, bourbon, chocolate and maple

M: Big body, boozey, creamy and decadent

O: Very good. More like a bbn, chocolate covered maple bar!

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

9/08/2012 '12 vintage
Pours thick motor oil, dank brown head that is demure and falls to leave a lingering cap. Smell is cocoa, berries, espresso, merlot. Taste is similar- sweet and dark chocolate, merlot red wine grapes, espresso in the back. Carbonation is medium and the mouthfeel is silky smooth, medium-heavy. A total improvemt from last year and the year before. Bravo MS, bravo.

3/20/2011. '11 vintage
Pours black, tan whisp of a head. Smells of chocolate and coffee. Taste is charred malt, coffee and chocolate, kind of like ST Choklat or a deviant Abyss with charcoal. I pick up licorice and dates, dark breads. Mouthfeel is thick, carbonation is heavy to high. Drink ability suffers from the thickness and char combo, but it is satisfying!

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.58/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage. Poured from 22 oz bottle into 12 oz glass.

A- Pours thick, black with a 1 finger dark brown head. Minimal lacing on the glass.

S- Huge molasses aroma with some roast. Not much else on the nose.

T- Roasted malts, chocolate, heavy molasses bitterness (faint soy sauce-like)

M- Medium body and carbonation. Thinner feel than expected.

O- Just ok for me. Had high expectations for this beer and it didn't do much for me. To molasses forward.

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Photo of birchstick
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.83/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 12/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours pitch black with a dark brown head; light lacing. Aroma of dark malts and molasses. Dark and roasted malts, molasses, chocolate. A rather stark flavor profile. Finishes with hops and bitter roasted malts. Medium bodied. Not as integrated as other RIS. I'll cellar a few to see if it improves.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MaxStout for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.

Pours an opaque, thick black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, raisins/dark fruit, cocoa, wood, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some great aromas and flavors.

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 262 ratings.