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Berserker Imperial Stout | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
96
world-class
285 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
285
Ratings:
1,134
Avg:
4.32
pDev:
17.13%
 
 
Wants:
829
Gots:
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Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2005

User Reviews
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Reviews: 285 | Ratings: 1,134
Photo of metter98
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is absolutely jet black in color. It poured with a thin ring of reddish mocha bubbles around the edge of the glass that quickly died down, leaving only a faint collar.
S: Strong aromas of dark malts and bourbon are present in the nose, along with some hints of molasses.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, but a little more complex with additional flavors of dark malts and chocolate.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and viscous on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. A little warming from the alcohol is noticeable in the finish.
O: The flavors of this beer are well integrated and balanced, particularly the bourbon, which does not overpower the beer and overshadow the other flavors.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 Edition

A: Pours an opaque and thick jet black in color with very light notes of visible carbonation and some dark reddish brown highlights. The beer has an eighth of a finger tall dark reddish mocha head which quickly reduces to a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: The beer has a moderate to strong aroma of chocolate and bourbon with some lighter hints of oak and vanilla. There are moderate notes of molasses and maple syrup sweetness. Light notes of roasted malts.

T: Upfront there are some light notes of roasted malts with some molasses and maple syrup sweetness. On top of the malts, there are some moderate to strong flavors of rich dark chocolate and bourbon with some lighter notes oak and vanilla. Light hints of cocoa with some hints of alcohol towards the finish. Light lingering bitterness.

M: Full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: This is a great beer to finish the evening and matches very well with dessert - in our case some brownies made with Sea Legs Baltic Porter. This is really rich and you can detect the alcohol but I'm going to enjoy sipping on it a while longer. The bourbon is well integrated into the beer and the flavors in the beer match really well.

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Photo of Rutager
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 Bottle at Brouwer's cafe.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with a skim of tan head.

Smell. Molasses, wood, black licorice, rum and dark malts with a little fudge.

Taste. Chocolate fudge and molasses, toasted wood and licorice root, dark and maybe lightly smokey malts.

Mouthfeel. Full body, maybe on the lower side. Boozy warmth and low+ carbonation.

Overall. Nice big stout. Didn't get much maple, but very tasty and lots of molasses.

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Photo of ant880
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Knocking out this long-time want courtesy of huskermike12, who sent it along with a box of awesomeness in the Super Bowl XLVII Squares BIF...

A: Fairly aggresive pour into a CBS snifter produces a thick, 2-finger light brown head. Head retention is excellent, especially compared to most barrel-aged stouts that pour with little to no head to begin with. Body is deep black, which makes the pour look like a slice of chocolate cake with whipped chocolate mousse on top.

S: First sniff is HUGE chocolate with a wisp of bourbon on the tail end. Reminds me of a warm chocolate lava cake. Cant wait to dive into this.

T: With chocolate still assaulting my nose, the first sip is dominated by cocoa, followed by the slightest cameo appearance of maple and finishing with a restrained dose of bourbon. Taste definitely delivers on what the nose promised. The barrel adds the perfect amount of bourbon, complementing the chocolate without ever dominating the taste. This is like a bourbon spiked hot cocoa. Touches of coffee, molasses ad fudge throughout. The one drawback, the maple never made a reappearance after the first sip.

M: Thick as a brick. Coats the tongue, tastebuds and everything in between. Not sure if this is part of what the molasses adds, but if so, it should be a requirement for every imperial stout.

O: Loved it! The one disappointment was the absence of the maple, but I have yet to find a beer that fully delivers on the maple promise (going to have to find me some Lawsons next). Other than that, I would stockpile this if it was readily available. Going to have to steal some of my son's Nestle Quick, toss it in a coffee mug, microwave it and spike it with some bourbon to hold me over til the next time I can get my hands on some of this.

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

22oz bottle poured into large snifter - thanks to brystmar - 2012 bottle

Viscous opaque blackness in the glass with a bubbled dark brownie colored head resting on top. Thick collar of tanned retention with spotty lacing left on the glass.

Smoky and sweet in the nose, driven by a combination of maple syrup, chocolate cake and bourbon. Oak, dark fruit, coffee and vanilla bean with toffee and roasted dark malts. Warm and boozy.

Slick and sweet up front with bourbon warmth, cocoa powder and dark chocolate bark. Vanilla beans with caramel and toffee, layered on a maple syrup base. Oaky and warm with a thick, robust malt backbone. Touches of tobacco and red wine with roasted coffee beans. Multiple layers of flavor and malt continue to evolve while drinking, leading into a boozy and sweet finish.

Full bodied, medium carbonation, creamy and sticky on the tongue. I've tasted this a couple times before, but this was my first time enjoying the better part of a bottle and I couldn't be happier with this. Wonderfully deep and warm with plenty of rich bourbon and chocolate, finished off with sticky maple syrup and vanilla. I'd seek this out again in a second.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bomber into a 3F wine-style glass. Big thanks to Tony.

A: Pitch black body with a thin head of fine brown foam that settles into a ring and leaves some delicate lace. Nice.

S: Sweet, roasty, oaky, spiritous, and rich. Dark chocolate, bourbon, char, raisins, and molasses. Dark and intense.

T: Follows the nose. Crazy collage of intense flavors: molasses, red wine, grape skin, bourbon, tobacco, dark chocolate, charcoal, and boozy bitterness. A little much, but really enjoyable.

M: Rich, full body with lots of carbonation. Maybe a little too frothy, but pleasant.

O: Really enjoyable, but a little rough. I'm loving a third of the bottle, but I can't imaging drinking a whole one.

Cheers!

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Much thanks to Ben for this one!

A: Pours a thick black with a dark tan head on top, decent retention forming a nice cap on tip. Moderate lacing.

S: This beer has a very nice aroma, some bourbon and roasted malt with a bit of chocolate and deep molasses. There is a little bit of smoke on the aroma as well.

T: Lots going on in the flavor profile here. Some chocolate and a bit of coffee upfront with a definite maple sweetness mixed in. There is a little bit of dark fruit, mostly raisin and cherry. Also a touch of smoke.

M: Full bodied, definitely on the thick side. Rather chewy.

O: A very solid beer from Midnight Sun. A beer I was happy to have split, not sure how much of it I could drink on my own.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fall 2015 batch in a Teku

A: Pick black with a 2 finger chocolate head, not much lacing
S: Molasses, tobacco, leather booze - let's go!
T: Dark fruit, roasted malt, nice sweetness
M: Full bodied, viscous, a sipper, a bit hot as expected
O: I have Berserker about once a month - one of my favorites. Since MS has gone to 2 batches/year this beer is available year round in AK. There is some batch to batch variation but Fall 2015 stands tall with the best of them. I prefer this beer fresh - aggressive and hot! Worth seeking out - highly recommended but it can be a coin flip if a particular batch will improve or worsen with age.

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

2012. 12.7% ABV

Pours a viscus black, dark tan head, frothy, lacy, and creamy.

Aroma of coffee, fudge, vanilla, oak, bourbon, booze, and chocolate covered raisins.

Roasted taste, with cocoa, and touches of espresso. Light bourbon, with maple-y finish, oak and sap. Alcohol is there, but svelt all things considered.

It's vicious. Thick, chewy, and syrupy. Coats, sticks and has epic substance.

Can't deny this pedigree!

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Photo of beerhan
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of spicelab
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of hooliganlife
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.4/5  rDev -21.3%
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

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Photo of draheim
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyP3
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of CooperEllis
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
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)

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Photo of Treebs
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.38/5  rDev -21.8%
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.

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Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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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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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 285 ratings.