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Berserker Imperial Stout - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

273 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 273
Hads: 1,068
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 836
Gots: 285 | FT: 40
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 273 | Hads: 1,068
Photo of Jmoore50
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rudylaw, truly a gentleman. Also thanks to James, another gentleman.

The appearance is dark black, whats new right? It has dark cherry edges and a head that is inspiring. The head on this think was almost black, it was the darkest brown I have ever seen foam on a beer. It did not stick around for a while and just ended up leaving completely, but I was awe stuck by the color of it. Incredible.

The smell was of earthy grains and sweet wines, not very strong overall though.

The taste was very unique and entirely enjoyable. Dark roasted grain that produces a earthy flavor that reminds me of chewing on black patent malt. There are very sweet cherries in the mid palate that pair with a sweet wine that is unique. I also got more than a few tastes of maple syrup, delicious. Towards the end of the bottle more of the ABV and wine characteristics take shape and present something very sweet. I like this a lot.

The mouthfeel was perfectly carbonated and sat on the palate very well. It was not too thick, and for the flavors that were involved was perfect.

The drinkability was good, but a dessert or after dinner beer is best used to describe this one. There was a bit of an astringency that was brought up from the cherry and wine notes that was interesting, but distracted from other things going on. Very glad I got to try this one.


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

No vintage marking on bottle, but it's marked as being bottled N-2 (November, week 2). 12.7% abv, 22 oz. bottle, shared by Dankbeers619. Thanks Kyle!

A - Dark brown colored with a small, short lived tannish head. Lingering whispy bubbles and a small ring around the glass. Little lacing.

S - Sweet dark malts, ripe fruits, and a bit of roast. A little bit of caramel and vanilla. Slight alcohol is perfumy and pleasant.

F/M - Rich chocolate, caramel and vanilla. Dark fruit-like esters with a nice alcoholic bitterness. A little warm on the palate, but it isn't too detracting. Sweet bourbon notes. Medium full bodied, a little oily up front, but doesn't finish too sweet. Lingering caramelly chocolate flavors.

O - What a great beer. Nice stout body with very pleasant bourbon barrel characteristics. I wish this beer was easier to find as I'd be drinking a lot more of it.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured into tulip. from notes

I have been waiting to get this for a long time and was finally able to land one. Thought this would be suiting for my 100th.

This pitch black beer pours with a medium, tan to straight brown head, lacing was minimal. The nose is mostly molasses with some dark fruits. Taste is incredible, molasses, maple, vanilla, oak. If taste could represent inanimate objects, this would be a log cabin. Mouthfeel is very heavy, creamy and balanced. This is a sipper but a sipper I would love to drink everyday. Amazing beer from an amazing brewery.

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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 Beerzebub
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2009 bottle, labeled 12.7% abv. Poured in a big wine glass at 54F.

Pours black, and thick looking. Very dark red-brown at the very edge. No head, but an intricately swirled tan film, and a ring of tan froth around the edge of the glass.

Aromas like molasses, burnt green herbs, red wine barrel, and coffee. Some caramel sweetness, but the other elements combine to make the aroma pretty dry overall. Deep and complex, I can't stop exploring this aroma, but it seems a little disjointed. I do like it, and I look forward to seeing if the parts integrate more as this ages.

The flavor is much sweeter than the aroma lets on. The big caramel and prune sweetness is well balanced by coffeelike roastiness, molasses, cola; and dry red wine barrel, but milder and better integrated in the flavor than it is in the aroma. There's some sweet bourbon barrel that I didn't detect in the aroma until I tasted it. Only a little explicit alcohol. The maple syrup that I know is in there emerges after several seconds, near the finish. Interesting to drink, and damn tasty. Long sweet maple-caramel-oak finish, reminding me of tawny port, until finally there is only a dry trace of oak left.

Full bodied and sticky, with fine cushy carbonation. Very highly drinkable.

Great beer, the aroma had me a little worried that it could be dry and disjointed but it wasn't that way at all.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to alaskajoe for finally ending my long search for this! 2009 vintage, poured into my North Coast snifter. Sampled first in a 10 stout tasting and finished first.

A nearly black pour with a solid 1-2 inch tan head.

Tons of maple, molasses, vanilla and roasted malts in the nose.

All that and then some in the taste. Chocolate and coffee mingle with all of the sweet smells. This is so amazingly smooth and creamy. Reminds me of Kate in terms of mouthfeel and an overwhelming desire to drink this way too fast.

This is easily among my favorite RIS and will be saving my other bottles for special occasions.

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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 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 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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Photo of ralree
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black, brown head. No lacing.

S: Sweet, chocolate, a little coffee, some dark fruit.

T: Dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol. Aftertaste of alcohol and chocolate. Lots of apple/cherry/raisin flavor.

M: Dry, good carbonation, non-astringent, non-metallic. Thick, heavy body.

D: Drinks nicely, but very heavy. Hard to drink a lot.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

August 2009 Vintage, 12.7 ABV

Jet black pour into a Darkness snifter. Smallish espresso brown head slowly arose, then descended into the blackness leaving a nice ring.

Aroma of plums, molasses, Twix bars, vanilla

Touch of sweet on the nose, which I am guessing is the molasses, with some notes of plum & brown sugar. Dark organic chocolate comes through next. I get the oak in the middle, which dried this one out.

Medium to high carbonation...somewhat fizzy on the tongue. Roasted coffee bitterness. Thick & viscous with a bitter dry cocoa finish. Really gets in the way of the flavor spectrum.

I wish I would have liked this more...the dryness & med-high carbonation were downers for me.

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Photo of glazeman
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to BrewsB4Shrews hooking me up with this beer. Poured from a bomber into a snifter and split with airohead2001. It's not too often I get to open up a beer with wants to gots ratio of 10+...really excited for this one! This is the 2009 bottle coming in at 12.7% ABV.

A: The first thing that struck me about this beer was how dark the head was. The beer is pitch black with a 1 finger dark brown head. The only beer with anywhere close to as dark of a head is Hunahpu's.

S: The nose on this one is not overly intense, but is very pleasant. I get nice notes of chocolate, cinnamon, molasses, and raisins. This beer is on the sweeter side as far as smell goes but is very complex and deep.

T: This is how barrel aging should be done. I feel that the bourbon is subtle and beautiful, not up front and aggressive like a BCS or Angel's Share. The barrel aging for Berserker enhances the beer, instead of defining the beer. The flavors of this beer come in many layers. The dark fruits in this beer (figs, raisins, plums) come out on the top layer, then in the middle there is some maple syrup and bourbon. Deeper down I get a little bit of alcohol hit and tobacco.

M: I feel that this had an excellent viscosity, but a tad bit too much carbonation. The aftertaste was great and it sits on the tongue very well.

D: For about 13% this beer is super smooth and the alcohol is barely noticeable. This is an example of truly superb drinkability. The only thing that hinders it slightly is the amount of sweetness. Not that it's over sweet, but after more than a glass or two, I feel the residual sugars may catch up with me.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From tasting notes

A Pours a black color topped off with a decent brown head.

S Lots going on with molasses, some wood, and chocolate. Pretty sweet smelling.

T Follows the nose with molasses and chocolate,followed by some wine like fruit and some tobacco.

M Very smooth.

Overall this is an amazing stout that is one of my all time favorites.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The initial smell with this brew was kinda' strange...metallic-like, if you will. Maybe that's the molasses used in brewing.

Oh yes...the molasses...and maple syrup. You can taste those notes as you sip away. I can clearly distinguish the two. As this delicious beverage warms, the flavors become even more amazing.

The head on this beauty was small to medium. It lays a nice thin head even roughly 10+ minutes in my tulip.

The mouthfeel reminds me of Ten Fidy. I love Ten Fidy! This brew has it's own personality and struts it with true charm and delight. That metallic smell I mentioned at the beginning is nothing. Truly a work of art I wish I could share with others. I wish I had more of these to age.

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Photo of CoolJosh
4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. Pours a really sexy, velvety, motor oil black. Vicious and thick per the appearance. Really gorgeous 1 finger head, dark khaki in color, that sits pleasantly on top of the luscious black body of this beer. Lacing drapes the sides of the glass rather nicely.

This beer smells nice, tons of cream and a pronounced Kentucky mash or reminiscent of Jameson Irish whiskey. There is also a nice slight oak scent, and some subtle sweetness that lies in the form of darker fruits.

The taste is near perfect. Tons of roasted bitter malts, predominately chocolate. some chewy raisins, cherry, very well done Kentucky mash, nice oak dryness that bites the tongue rather aggressively. A little bit of a molasses flavor creeps through all of the other flavors and adds to a nice touch of vanilla and some light toffee. Very rich and delectable, and the complexity is there. Awesome beer with a relatively light and creamy mouthfeel.

Rereview 3-28-09
The 'Most Epic F'in Tasting Ever'

Wow, this had to be rereviewed after trying the 09 vintage. Th taste and mouthfeel on this are superb. So silky smooth, without the slightest trace of alcohol. The wine barrel shows a little bit more in this vintage. The smell is remarkable, with the maple syrup adding very nicely. The roastiness in the taste is awesome. I. NEED. MORE.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber shared by MADhombrewer at a tasting last night hosted by ramnuts. ChaseT, WitchsBrew, TulipSnifter, and black13. 2009 vintage/12.7%ABV. Thanks Ben!

A: Very dark brown bordering on black with a translucent plum border. Nutmeg brown head recedes to nothing. Oily with legs, but no lacing. 4/5

S: Tobacco, smoked meat, soy sauce and a touch of oxidation. This is what a slightly aged bottle of stout is supposed to smell like! Complex and interesting. 4/5

T: Very savory. More of an entrée than a dessert. The meat comes back along with some saw dust. Smoke returns with a very clean stale coffee finish. ABV is nowhere to be found. 4.5/5

M: Moderately thin with no carbonation. Very clean and palate drying. Outstanding. 5/5

O: The best savory stout I’ve had to date. This was my personal standout beer of the night amongst a lineup that showed tons of promise, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. We don’t have these kinds of Midnight Sun beers sitting on store shelves at the moment in Portland and I’m really wishing we did. 5/5

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

Pours thick & black like old motor oil. Little head that is dark brown & slightly purple.

Smells like dry red wine, oak, bourbon and black cherries.

This beer is oily smooth. The initial taste is red wine, bourbon & oak. Dark chocolate & molasses lingers on the pallet. The alcohol is well hidden by the complexity of the taste, but it still warms you up. As expected, the alcohol becomes more prominent as you taste & as the beer warms.

Satisfying beer. Well worth the $18 price tag if you like this style. Highly recommended.

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Photo of boralyl
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - This is the 2009 version. One thick beer. Looks like motor oil when pouring it into my tulip glass. Produces a small amount of dark brown head that fades quickly. Beer is completely opaque black.

S - Dark roasted malts, maple syrup, chocolate and molasses. A very malt heavy aroma.

M - Full in body, smooth and creamy in the mouth. Thick in texture with subtle carbonation.

T - Nice and roasted malts up front with a little smokiness. A little bit of wood mixed with cherries followed by some coffee and chocolate. Finishes with some earthy hops and a warming feeling from the alcohol. Speaking of which at damn near 13% it's not really noticeable at all.

A nice complex Russian imperial stout with a ton of flavors to tantalize the tongue. Be careful with this one, it's a beast!

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Photo of veinless
4.97/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage: Fall 2010, 12.7% abv

Pours a ridiculously dark black with a deeply shaded oak-brown one-finger head that lingers for a bit before becoming a cool looking coffee gum swirl. The beer is just so thick and viscous that the head is just icing on the cake.

The smell is saturated with vanilla and molasses with a touch of sugary sweet character. Roasted malt and slight bitter chocolate adds to the already intoxicating aroma, and perfectly balanced booze adds spice and warmth. A touch of licorice and a little bit of nuttiness just adds to the phenomenal smell. Flawless aroma.

The taste - wow. The words following are not enough to adequately put the scope of this beer together. A blend of the most delicious and delectable roasted malts offer a charred, toasted flavor that is unmatched in any beer I've had. Bitter chocolate and slight booze spice offers a tiny bit of cinnamon. Vanilla and molasses give it a sweetness that is not too strong, but just the right strength. Nuttiness and tobacco is very prevalent and rich - added to the already ridiculous malts, this beer has no match in terms of flavor. Coffee adds even more at the finish with a slightly bitter taste that is just what was needed at that point. The sweetness in this beer is so well done, perhaps due to the maple syrup the label says it was brewed with. I can't say enough about this beer - it's everything one could want in an RIS. Unreal.

Mouthfeel is a velvety smooth, thick viscous syrup that fits the style as perfectly as possible. Booze is hidden outside of a faint warmth it provides which happens to be balanced so that the alcohol never negatively affects anything. Creamy rich flavor just doesn't stop, and the slightly bitter coffee finish keeps it on an otherworldly level in this category. Drinkability = flawless. This is a 12.7% abv beer and I can't stop drinking it at all. I've been "working" on a full glass of this and it's going too fast for my liking.

Midnight Sun you are probably my favorite brewery. Alaskans I am envious of your proximity to them (although I feel bad for you guys being outside the continental 48). GETTHIS BEER AT ALL COSTS.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Berserker at cellar temperature in a snifter.

Blackness. Total, opaque darkness. That's what Berserker looks like. It has a fleeting, but beautiful, one-finger brown head of a darker color than most stouts have. It's kind of like the shade of brown sugar, and dissipates to a thick, deliciously creamy-looking ring of froth that is kept alive indefinitely by rising bubbles of carbonation.

It smells of molasses, maple, earthy, leathery bourbon, raisins, milk chocolate, and a little bit of a darker chocolate or coffee. Sooo good.

When I sip, first the maple syrup and molasses do a sugary little dance on my palate. The flavor then moves to raisins, more maple, vanilla, varieties of chocolate, and a bit of the earthy AFTERtaste of molasses (what, hasn't anyone else tried plain molasses?). Then comes the glorious finish. It is a gradual explosion of woody, bourbon-infused earthiness that sustains for a GOOD long while, allowing a single sip to be savored for a few minutes. The gargantuan 12.7% ABV is remarkably masked. The smell and taste of bourbon are definite, but but the boozy burn is almost totally absent.

It's as thick and sticky as the molasses it was brewed with, and it slips across my tongue more like a stealthy ninja than a brash berserker. This qualifies as dangerously drinkable.

A rich and rambunctious imperial stout which runs rampant with molasses and bourbon.

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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 SacoDeToro
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007 and 2005 bottles opened and shared with fellow BAs.

Both beers poured a darker than dark coal black with very little head. There was no pop when this beer was opened and it appeared flat.

The aroma of the two vintages was very similar and full of rich coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some faint vanilla. The high alcohol helped carry the aroma brilliantly.

The flavor of both vintages was full of intense flavors that seamlessly transitioned from one to another. Coffee - Chocolate - Rich roasted malts. There were also flavors of some rum soaked fruits, like plums, raisins, and figs. The hops were very subdued and in the background. The 2007 seemed slightly dryer and a touch less malty than the 2005 version, which for me, made it a better beer. The 2007 also had some slight smoky notes in the finish.

The mouthfeel was thick and heavy. It coated your mouth with a ton of flavor. The beer had a great creaminess to it that helped all the flavors blend together very smoothly.

Both vintages were solid examples of Russian imperial stouts. The 2007 version seems to have been slightly tweaked and the flavors are more evenly dialed in.

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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 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 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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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.