Berserker Imperial Stout - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

251 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 251
Hads: 993
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 834
Gots: 266 | FT: 37
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  12.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2005

Vicious and viscous, this menacing brew pours opaque black with a creamy maduro-colored head. Its aroma offers seductive whiskey, chewy red wine, dark fruit and lavish tobacco. Berserker Imperial Stout invades your taste buds with in-your-face flavor. Weighing in at almost 13% alcohol by volume, Berserker is completely out-of-control. Give it a good fight. Berserker Imperial Stout was aged in both red wine and whiskey barrels.

Original release of Berserker was at 10.4%, subsequent vintages have gone upwards of 12.7%. When reviewing, please list beer vintage and that vintage's specific ABV.

30 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 251 | Hads: 993
Photo of veinless
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%
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. (2,154 characters)

Photo of VashonGuy
4.46/5  rDev +3%
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!!! (731 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of SacoDeToro
4/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (1,177 characters)

Photo of youradhere
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
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! (751 characters)

Photo of Odysseyalien
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
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. (716 characters)

Photo of cbros
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a snifter. Has 12.7% ABV, so I'm assuming this is a 2010(year it was bought) vintage.

Pours an oppressive deep black with a 1 finger dirty tan head. The notes I am picking up in the nose are of tobacco, whiskey, and a sweet oaky presence. The taste of this beerbrings forth the aforementioned tobacco and warmth of the whiskey. A very smooth drinking high gravity beer.

I've been sitting on this beer for over a year and I believe it was definitely worth the wait. (485 characters)

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

22oz Bottle split two-way

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

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

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

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

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

(193rd) (1,103 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Date: 02/06/2011
Type: 22oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2009
Glassware: Lucifer Snifter

Finally got the chance to knock this off my wants list and sample this elusive brew. My expectations are high.

Poured dark as night w/ a 1 finger dark chocolate head that left pretty heavy lacing on the glass. The look of this brew is awesome! Nose was of dark chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, and a touch of booze astringency. Taste was much the same, chocolate sweetness up front, followed by roasted nuttiness, and a finish of slight hop bite and molasses. Mouthfeel is thick and lush. The ABV is somewhat well hidden, but you definately know it is there. Drinkability is hindered by the high ABV. I drank the entire bomber myself over the course of about 2 hours and it was a struggle.

Overall, this brew was a disappointment! The flavors, aroma, and appearance were excellent, but the ABV is way too high. If MS would tone down the ABV this would be alot more drinkable like the non-BA greats like KTG or Southampton RIS. Would like to sample a bottle or two of the earlier years where the ABV was toned down. (1,097 characters)

Photo of shleepy
4/5  rDev -7.6%

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. (155 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013

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. (576 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
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. (1,394 characters)

Photo of jminsc76
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of alexd3191.

Pours a brownish head atop a black impenetrable body. Not much head, considering its level of ABV; looks a lot like oil.

Dude, smells like a smore. Seriously, smells like I am roasting a smore by the fireplace. And that is good. Aromas are intense; love them.

Flavors range with so much good stuff. Plenty of chocolate, tobacco, MOLASSES, graham cracker, marshmallows, and some good smooth coffee notes. As I breath it in, exhibits a little booze, but quite minuscule. Pretty much flawless.

Mouthfeel is soft and viscous, with a marshmallow consistency caressing the palate so lovely. It's hearty, and yet so silky smooth. Wow.

Overall, this is a masterpiece of an RIS. Everything checks out, with a bit of innovation on the flavor profile. Yep, I would drink this repeatedly. With smores if I had them. :-) (840 characters)

Photo of MrFootstones
2.78/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2010 12.7%ABV

Appearance: Pours thick and velvety with no head. So viscous looking!

Aroma: Smells like a fresh-out-tha-oven loaf of whole wheat bread. Molasses, dark fruit, chocolate malt, fleur de sel
caramel.

Taste: Toffee, prunes and dark fruit. Espresso, caralelized brown sugar, alcohol, bready malt. Meatiness... Yeast autolysis?

Mouthfeel: Rich and velvety. Great for this beer.

Drinkability: Not loving this. Not bad, but not sad that I only have my 1/3 of a bottle. We all thought it was possible, given Midnight Sun's/this beer's reputation that this may have been an off bottle. Who knows, you can't love every big stout. (637 characters)

Photo of Donnie2112
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into a red wine glass

Pours black and viscous with dark mocha colored head, with bits of lace on the glass. It's very pretty.

Chocolate and coffee dominate the nose, with a liquor tone in there as well that reminds me of Makers Mark... Makers Mark is one of my favorites so that bodes well for this beer. Excellent smells

Burnt sugar, huge amounts of chocolate with hints of coffee flavors roll across the tongue, just a bit of hop bitterness rounds this beer out well and makes it finish cleaner then many RIS beers.

This beer is viscous, just the right amount of carbonation, the after taste that lingers is delightful

Very drinkable, this beer does not impose itself but it isn't without pop. EXTREMELY drinkable for the style.

I've had the Darklord, I've had some other highly rated imperial stouts and this beer, with little age on it, stands up to all of them. This is just proof that folks that ignore their local brews in search of Whales are missing the point. Drink local and you'll find delicious gems like this... well you will if you live close to a brewery as good as midnight sun! (1,109 characters)

Photo of bret27
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

courtesy of timmcd64 from Alaska. Thanks Tim!

"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"

That's what the label says, and I couldn't agree more. (462 characters)

Photo of natasharai
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle that says it is 12% ABV

Appearance: Poured with a thick creamy head that dissipated quickly and is easily aroused with a little swirl of my glass. The head leaves speckles of lacing on the glass. The beer is pitch black and doesn't let any light through.

Smell: Very sweet, molasses, brown sugar, oak, raisin, some plum and cherry, and a small amount of alcohol in the end.

Taste: Really strong roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, slight smoke flavor, a little sweet cherry and plum, small alcohol burn, and ends with a roasty hoppy bitter flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very thick, a bit syrupy up front, nice carbonation, strong bitter tingle, small burn from the alcohol, then leaves mouth pretty dry.

Overall: Decent drinkability, really strong flavors and big bitterness. The smell doesn't really match the flavors very well, neither is better just different. The smell is much sweeter and the flavor is much more roasted and bitter. The alcohol is pretty well hidden but is still detectable, as is expected in a 12% beer.

Thanks AKBelgianBeast!!!! (1,064 characters)

Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got complexity?

Why, yes...yes, it does.

Roasted malt, maple syrup, Raisinettes™, 60% cacao, merlot/cabernet, bourbon, over-ripe black cherries, toasted coconut, figs, dates, prunes, plums, kiwis, mandarin oranges, tangerines,persimmons, kumquats, brandy, vanilla, sandalwood/cedar shavings, cinnamon, caramel, toffee, coffee, marmalade, brown sugar, strawberries, molasses, leather, tobacco, grape skins,fudge, char, wet earth, ash, honey, licorice, mocha, sweet vermouth, and smoke are all discernible in this brazen masterpiece.

My absolute favorit RIS (and overall beer of any style, for that matter). (610 characters)

Photo of mfavoino
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (626 characters)

Photo of Chelsea1905
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12.7% 22oz bottle poured into a snifter

Pours very black, near molasses, the head is ruby-brown, but disipates quickly and leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells a little like barndy, dark fruit, and black olives.

This had aged a little so the taste initially wasn't that overwhelming. Nice dark roast, bit of wooden barrel and booze in there too.

Very good mouthfeel and drinks well. Very nice offering overall (413 characters)

Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not very many days are like this day was. Not very many beers are this good. Not very many beers are this hard to come by. Not very meant people get to try a 2010 next to a 2005 vintage of the Beserker.

It was a good day anyways as I had just received an insane box of goodies from johnbjaeger. A couple of hours after opening Jeffo shows up bringing not one but two Beserkers. A 2010 and a 2005. How great can a day be? Great beer night Jeff!

After my heartrate slowed down to an acceptable level I poured this into a snifter.

Man, that is some thick stuff. In a beer heaven the roads are paved with this ultra dark and thick stuff. It leaves a decent size mocha head that has the appearance of tan whipped cream.

So I put my nose over it. BAM! Bourbon, vanilla, mollasses dark cherry like fruits, anise and a wee bit of booze are all crying out for attention.

The next logical thing seemed drinking it. Oh yes, drinking... Bourbon with a burn would be a summary but you'd not hear of the sweetness to biterness and back. You would miss out on the fruitlike flavors I can't identify but I do note sweet mollasses, roasted malts, chocolates and coffe flavors. It's insane.

The mouthfeel isn't as thick as I expected so I put the fork and knife back in the drawer. It's a bit airy, light even but still solid. Great neutral finish with a little alcohol burn.

The 05 version held up pretty well. The barrel seemed to be a whiskey one and there was more bitterness and no alcohol burn that I did find in the 2010.

This is one of the most memorable beers I have ever had. I'm going toleave Beserker on my wants list forever because one can never have enough of this stuff.
Jeffo, you are the man!!! Thanks again!!! This was epic!!! (1,736 characters)

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

Received this nice bottle from black13 a month or two ago, thanks Michael! Been wanting to try this one for quite sometime. 2009 vintage. Split with some La Crosse BAs yesterday:

A - Pitch black with light mocha head. Solid foam ring around the edges. Bit of lacing with some thick legs. The liquid eventually stains the glass.

S - Really smooth bourbon and nice smell of oak barrels. Sweet caramel, chocolate, roast and molasses. Tiny bit of maple syrup.

T - Just a tiny bit smokey but mostly oak, roast, sweet bourbon, cream and boozy maple syrup. You can tell by the taste that it does have some age on it since I was expecting the heat to be quite sharp.

M - Way smooth and creamy. Creamy carbonation and slight sting from the ABV which leaves the mouth slightly tingly.

O - Really solid beer. Lives up to the hype. All the people that I shared this with had never had it and we all loved it. I'd really like another bottle to age for something like 5-6 more years to get it just completely mellowed out but the age this one did have on it worked really well, too. Thanks again Michael for this delicious brew! (1,121 characters)

Photo of arvidkoval
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 release

L- An all consuming black hole. Dark tan head.

S- Roasty, boozey, bourbon, tobacco. Woody oak.

T- Roasted malts, slight oakiness, some bourbon, boozey, dark fruit. Has a sweetness to it. Some dark chocolate notes. Very tasty and balanced.

F- Very thick, velvety body.

O- Wicked stout! Much love to everyone at MSBC!

2014 release is a bit more chocolatey! Still freaking awesome. (407 characters)

Photo of Reswald
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, purchased in Anchorage on 9/5/2009. 12.7% ABV version.

This year, we've got a new label, sporting what I assume is supposed to be a viking axe. The beer pours black and slow, with a small tan head. Talk about mouthfeel! This brew is very heavy on the tongue, almost chewy. "Vicious and viscous" is the ad copy, and Berserker certainly lives up to it! You quickly pick up hints of the molasses and maple syrup that are added to it, along with notes from its aging in oak. This is a massive beer, fully capable of going toe-to-toe with Deshutes The Abyss, North Coast's Old Rasputin, or any of the other great Imperial Stouts out there. At 30 IBUs and 12.7% ABV, this is definitely one to share and sip slowly.

Bottom line: Midnight Sun has done it again. Run, don't walk, to pick up a few bottles of Berserker for your cellar. (842 characters)

Photo of Nietzsches_Horse
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The molasses and maple syrup help to give this beer a little distinction among its barrel-aged stout peers. While I didn't find it quite as complex or smooth as the very best of them, this is delicious, and truly outstanding all the same. (239 characters)

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