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Berserker Imperial Stout - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

259 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 259
Hads: 1,032
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 17.36%
Wants: 837
Gots: 280 | 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: 259 | Hads: 1,032
Photo of VashonGuy
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've had Berserker a couple of times in the past month, most recently on tap, served next to Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, and Abraxas. I'm really impressed with this stout, but when I had it next to these other two world class Impy Stouts, it became clear to me that it's not quite in the same tier as the other two. Berserker has a wonderful collage of flavors, well described by lots of other reviewers here. But the whole is a little less than the sum of the parts. The flavors don't come together quite as harmoniously as the other two ImpyStouts, so Berserker winds up being just a bit of a muddle. It's a glorious muddle to be sure, but not quite a masterpiece. I'd never turn down a glass or a bottle, however!!!

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Photo of M_chav
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12.7% ABV - not sure the vintage but probably recent (2014)
One of the most beautiful pours I have ever seen, black as the darkest night, relatively no head - just a slight red foams at the very top.
Smell is not strong, sweet whiskey notes are there but the brew is so dark and covered you know all the flavors are inside.
Taste is awesome, super viscous, just like the label says, you could pour this over pancakes
Feel is even better, similar to BCBS, the molasses is perfect
Overall this is a fantastic beer, I wish I had more than just one.

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Photo of shleepy
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Black and thick. Small head. Smell is intense and boozy. Taste is actually fairly mellow. Quite a nice sipper. Bitter and intense. Roasty, bitter, barrely.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by myself tonight, bought at Half Time in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Pours a dark oily black, with a very small quarter inch mocha head, and no lacing.

Smells great, a good amount of bourbon, dark fruit, red wine, tobacco, and chocolate. No maple or molasses.

This tastes amazing, really complex and different from the typical barrel-aged stout. This has a really large amount of tobacco, some bitter dark Belgian chocolate, nuts, bourbon, vinous red wine, plums, other dark fruits, and the slightest hint of earthy, not sweet, maple. It's got a sticky flavor that could very well be the molasses. There's a lot going on here, and I like all of it.

This is fairly thick bodied, very stick and full in the mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation. Drinkable despite the size and ABV- which appears to be almost 13%.

This is excellent. First beer from Midnight Sun, and clearly one of their best.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Very good taste: the tobacco melting in with the bourbon and vanilla notes highlight this stout. However, i was surprised at how flat the beer was. Maybe it's just how this beer is, but I didn't like that. It gave the feeling that the beer had been sitting, unopened in my fridge for a week. Contributing to this is a very low carbonation, again something I personally don't like. I guess i'm partial to more carbonated stouts such as Speedway, narwhal, and sea monster. Still a good beer though.

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Photo of Tele
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: Bottle
2014 Vintage

A: 4.75 Looks like motor oil pouring from the bottle into a snifter. Pitch black and thick. The half-inch head is a beautiful reddish-brown.

S: 4.5 Roasted malt molasses are the dominant at first with vanilla, bourbon, and raisins following closely behind. As the beer warms, there’s a lot of chocolate and a bit of coffee. Figs and more dried fruit come forward, mixing well with the more savory roasted malt and dark chocolate aromas.

T: 4.25 The flavors almost match the wonderful aroma, but not quite. At first, there’s bit of a sharp, acidic flavor. Things smooth out quickly after that, transitioning to the roasted malt, dark chocolate, dried fruits, vanilla, and bourbon. The molasses is covered up here by the bitterness from the malt, but still brings a slightly sweet element. As the beer warms, the initial sharpness starts to mellow and the beer takes on more sweet flavors, complimenting, rather than competing with the roasty, bitter flavors

M: 4.5 This is one of the thickest beers I can recall having. It’s mouth-coating viscosity is exactly what I like in an imperial stout. The carbonation level is nice, but the finish is a little too dry.

O: 4.5 The flavors and especially the aromas in this beer are excellent. Aging in bourbon barrels seems to have done wonders for the aroma and added a bit to the flavor; the bourbon flavor is pretty mild compared to other barrel aged stouts. Also, the molasses adds some interesting elements without taking over subtler flavors. The mouthfeel and aromas are almost perfect, and this beer would be one of my favorites if the flavor was a tiny step up from where it is currently.

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Photo of muchloveforhops3
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

2013 vintage

22oz bottle into chalice

This stout is mega! Huge aroma, followed by a big, bold flavor of choc, roast, and a sweet finish; bold alcohol heat; well-layered profile; a sipper indeed, but delicious; happy to have tried it!

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Photo of zeledonia
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to cavedave for the fantastic BIF beer. 2012 vintage, 12.7% ABV. Tasted 24 October 2014.

Pours black and thick, with a one-finger mocha brown head. Good retention and lacing. Stellar.

Smell is outstanding. Rich and sweet, but so many variations on those two themes that I keep coming back to sniff and sniff and sniff. I get molasses in one sniff, sweet bourbon in another, and deep dark malts in a third. Wow.

Taste is top-notch as well. So much going on in here. The main downside is a sharpness, a combination of the alcohol bite and the char of the dark roast. But overall, it's delicious, with incredible depth provided by the various sugars and the barrel. Tons of flavor, almost perfectly integrated - just a bit sharp on the edges, probably due mostly to the ABV.

Feel is perfect. Thick and rich, as any top-tier imperial stout should be. What sets it apart is the waves of carbonation. Starts out buzzing, tickling my tongue. Then drops down so that I can savor all the sweetness. In the finish, it fluffs up, lots of tiny bubbles helping the last bits (no, blasts) of flavor dance.

This is one of the best beers I've had in a long time. Not many barrel-aged stouts can match the depth, balance, and pure deliciousness of this.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%

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.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

'13 vintage @ 12.70%

Taste of molasses and slight syrup, licorice, charred oak. Earthy. Hard to discern the bourbon presence, subtle at best. The body was too thin for what I look for in a big stout like this. Would have wanted a boozier taste up front but that did not happen. A solid barrel aged stout overall.

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Photo of Mickeyp2814
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great stout (and if you can get it on nitro even better) from Midnight Sun. Full body with a silky feel. This his a dark pouring stout that has a pillow head. The smell of chocolate is slight. The taste is chocolate, maple syrup and bourbon with slight smoke and a roasted nutty feel. A very strong stout at 12.7 it is s defiantly a share if drinking from the big bottle. Best had from the tap at Midnight Sun!

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a super black and super viscous liquid. barely any foam and what forms is almost brown. leaves a thick syrupy lacing on the sides. completely opaque. a good start to a beer of this size and style

Smell: chocolate and dried plums. booze and bourbon. some maple. coffee and char.

Taste: opens with a little bit of maple and dark fruits. quickly cut by bourbon. backend comes quickly bring notes of oak, chocolate, coffee and last but not least char. lots of flavors but I'm not so sure about the balance:

Mouthfeel: super thick and sticky. small amount of warmth. lots of alcohol and acrid bitterness.

Overall: this wasn't all that I wanted it to be. I think it would have been better off without the bourbon, being a bigger thick charred stout with syrup. but overall a good and tasty big beer.

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Photo of kevanb
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awesome little gem I brought back from Seattle last October.

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

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

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


One of the best looking imperial stouts out there - completely opaque, viscous, oily - forms a dark, burnt mocha head that dissolves into a small ring. Aroma of bourbon oak, dark bakers chocolate, espresso, dark caramel, roast, ash, vinous grape, vanilla and slight graham cracker. Taste is vibrant, full, intense. Bitter, rich, dark chocolate, heavily roasted espresso beans, oaky bourbon vanilla, booze, dark roast. Full, creamy, rich mouthfeel.

Fantastic stout - does not have an overly heavy barrel character. Well rounded, intense, and perfection in look and feel.

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

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

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

Obtained in trade Vintage 2012, properly cellared

A- black with tiny cappuccino colored lacing

S-leathery dark fruits, plums, molasses bourbony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Joe for breaking this out.

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

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

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

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

M-Semi heavy, tad creamy not much carbonation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 259 ratings.