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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout - Grand Teton Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Cauldron Imperial StoutBlack Cauldron Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

558 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 558
Reviews: 315
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 29
Gots: 47 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Grand Teton Brewing Co. visit their website
Idaho, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-23-2006

There are few styles of beer more flavorful than Imperial Stout. Our thick, rich version was brewed with plenty of caramel and roasted malts and subtly spiced with Nugget and Cascade hops. We’ve accentuated the natural smokiness of the brew by adding a small amount of beechwood-smoked malt. At 22 degrees starting gravity and 8.0% alcohol by volume, this beer boasts flavors of chocolate and coffee, along with raisins and dried fruit soaked in sherry.

43 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 558 | Reviews: 315
Reviews by Oxymoron:
Photo of Oxymoron
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

What color are most cauldrons? Pours a midnight black color with a light red hue around the edges. Good viscosity and a soft tan head that does seem to dissipate pretty quick.

The nose has a lot of esters and penolics going on. There is some malt presence with a light roast and some light smoke aromas. But this is light as the plums, licorice, raisin bubblegum and slight clove aromas come out. Some noticeable butyric and a off mineral note that is a deterrent.

The taste is a bit more balanced. The malt comes out a bit more with a good roast flavor. Some chocolate and a bit of coffee as well. Some lactic notes gives it a more latte-esk flavor. A light smoke and an almost peaty flavor that doesn't blend well with a off butyric note. Some noticeable plums and licorice notes. The bubblegum backs off. Noticeable diactyl. Some minor yeasty notes but not overly off.

The body is a bit sweet. Not really under attenuated but some lingering sweet notes on the back end. Cabonation is low but that is ok. Overall there is a lot of off notes that really distract from the beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - This poured a dark, dark brown with a nice, brownish-white head that came up beautifully and showed great retention.

Smell - The aroma here was kind of flat even after the beer warmed. There's a nice, chocolaty malt base here with some light coffee notes but everything is muted and doesn't really open up like I was hoping.

Taste - The roasted malts have a nice, crisp, sugary flavor to them but again they are muted and aren't really opening up. Also, untrue to the style, I'm not finding that structured hop base.

Mouthfeel - This is bigger than medium-bodied but not quite full. There is some mild but pleasant carbonation and a reserved bitterness that kept things interesting.

Drinkability - This was a smooth drinker but underwhelmed.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #35 (Dec 2009):

Dense rocky mountain of a head, soot black color; can't get much darker than this beer. Hint of molasses taffy, higher alcohols, ripe blackberries and a kiss of smoke make for a varied and semi-complex nose. Bittersweet chocolate, blackberries, ripe figs and a mild chicory flavor show the bold side of this brew. Light smoke and hops jump to add to that. Some char and herb middle to end. Bitter roasted flavors take over the finish yet never go astringent.

Great to experience an Impy Stout that thinks outside of the mash tun. The extra smoke component without the beer being big, bad and syrupy-sweet works very well. A sipper that begs to be paired with stinky blue cheese. Try it, you'll like it.

Photo of Beaver13
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 liter waxed swing-top -bottle (a bit of a pain!) dated 2005. Pours a dark brown with a very thin light brown head (even after a vigorous pour), that quickly dissipates to a tin collar that leaves a bit of lacing.

The aroma is sweet earthy lactic chocolate, toffee, some bitterness, coffee, and a touch of astringent alcohol. Anise and smoke come out as it warms.

The flavor is sweet malty chocolate leading to a slightly burnt bitterness. Some smokiness and lots of anise comes out as it warms. The mouthfeel is medium to full and a little watery.

Overall a nice imperial stout. I was kind of surprised since I haven't been too impressed with their other beers. It starts off very sweet and chocolaty when colder. As it warms it more anise and bitterness come out.

Photo of bishopdc0
2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a red wine glass black with a fluffy tan head the dissipates to the glasses edge.

The nose is sweet and malty but the alcohol is harsh, needs some age. There is slight almost leather nose at the end

The taste is flat to much alcohol hints of choc at the end but I expected more. There are more hops then u might expect spiced seems like a home brew experiment that goes nowhere

Photo of tigg924
3.08/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: black in color, minimal head, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: chocolate and roasted malt

Taste: roasted malt, sugar, and chocolate

Mouthfeel: sweet, medium bodied, light carbonation

Drinkability: An above average imperial stout where the alcohol is well hidden. Not a bad beer, but nothing I will rush out for.

Photo of badbeer
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a tan head and decent retention. Roasty aromas, as well as licorice, tar, and also a fair amount of earthy hops. Taste was roasty, with almonds, caramel, dark chocolate, and a touch of smoke. Body was medium and so was the carbonation. I'd drink this again if it were available to me. Thanks to pepsican for the sample.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours black with a brown head. The aroma is meaty smoke with some chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor is very similar with roasted and burnt malts, chocolate and some smoke. The smoke is more present in the aroma than in the flavor. Medium-thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with thin tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and molasses is predominate with nice nuances of coffee and smoke.

Taste: Very chocolaty, with nice layers of molasses, coffee, and a general smokiness. A slight level of English hop bitterness rounds out the flavor.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth and full body, nice dry finish.

Drinkability: More than solid Russian Imperial Stout with an emphasis on chocolate and simple balance. Pleasantly surprised by this.

Photo of NilocRellim
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer came on tap in a pint glass, exhibiting a low, tan head and a black body. Smelled of sweet malts and chocolate. In addition to the chocolatey-coffee taste, there was a malty smokiness as well which lingered on the tongue, along with a slight earthiness.

Would I buy this beer again? Yes.

Photo of jondeelee
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black Cauldron opens to a dark, fruity aroma, the initial notes being almost exclusively dark fruit esters, including fig, date, raisin, prune, plum, and black cherry. These mix with touches of milk chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla, and whipping cream to form a dessert-sweet overtone, held in check by a light counter of ash, tobacco, and chocolate malt. Thick brown breads, yeasty rising whole wheat dough, and toast crust form an earthy base. As a whole, the sugars in here are very nice, and complex enough to be quite interesting. For an Imperial Stout, however, the dark, ashy notes are extremely light, and this beer could pass for a darkly-fruited Barleywine. The 8% ABV does add a bit of bourbon overtone, though this is not the barrel-aged version of this beer, which helps add hints of smoke and char. What comes across most, however, is a series of dark fruit esters that seem more likely to be found in a young port, or an extremely fruity cognac.

On the tongue, the beer turns out to have a darker, more ashy base than the nose let on, which comes as a relief. The strong dark fruit esters – fig, date, prune, plum, raisin, and black cherry – are still very large and would not be surprising in a young port, but there are pleasant bits of tobacco, ash, and coffee that bring a nice balance. Milk chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream blend well with the fruits and ashy bits, and the beer rests on a base of thick brown bread, yeasty rising whole wheat dough, and burnt toast crust. In the latter half of the mouthful the ashy, tobacco-laden notes become stronger as the sugars die off, until the aftertaste is pleasantly dominated by ash, with just enough heavy cream, vanilla, and brown sugar left to please. Mouthfeel is a smooth medium, and carbonation is medium-light.

Overall, while the nose elicited somewhat nervous responses with its emphasis on sugars, the beer turned out to be very nice on the tongue, with an excellent sugar-ash combo that nicely suits the style. There’s still perhaps a slightly-too-large sugary base here, and the beer could have used a bit more char in the first half of the mouthful, but the result as-is proves dangerously drinkable.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours nearly black with a 3” rocky tan foam collar that produces Guinness quality lace.
S: Dark malts, roast, dark dried fruit.
T: Some initial maltiness, sweet caramel and dark dried fruit gives way to bitter dark roast flavors that lead to a dry roasty astringent finish.
F: medium body, very creamy texture with fine soft carbonation.
O: Like biting into an espresso bean but in a very good way.

Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottled on 10/23/2012.

Appearance: Pours a dark oily black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of deep tan head that fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A very rich and robust dark stout aroma. Dark roasted malts with big hints of dark chocolate, coffee, dark toasted bread, biscuit, caramel, toffee, and cream. Good hints of smoked malt. Big presence of sweet molasses and some anise spicing. Good hints of dark cherry, raisin, fig, and plum. Also some solid hints of earthy and herbal hops coming out from the background. A really nice full imperial stout aroma.

Taste: As rich, roasty, and complex as the aroma hints at. Big taste of dark roasted malts with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel, toffee, burnt toast, biscuit, and a little milk cream. A nice taste of smoked malts are tasted along with a big taste of molasses sweetness and some licorice anise spice. Strong dark fruit undertones with notes of raisins, dark cherry, fig, prune, and plum. A decent backing of herbal and earthy malts round things out. A very good full on stout taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, creamy, and somewhat slick. Fairly sweet and has a drying finish. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Overall: A great imperial stout. Very rich and complex with some nice fruit and hop notes under all the dark malts.

Photo of far333
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish black and opaque with a low light brown head that rises up very minimally, and then settles out right away.

Aroma of roasty malt and floral hops, some subtle cocoa. Flavors of darkly roasted malt, assertive bitter espresso notes, dark chocolate, notes of floral hops. A bit ashy and acrid. Some winey port notes.

Mouthfeel is a bit slick and watery, would like more body. Not very full. Finishes tingly and a bit warming, a bit dry. Overall not a bad beer, fairly tasty, but could use more depth and body.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another solid effort of an imperial stout. Good and black, not super thick.

Aroma, not my favorite aspect. A little more alcohol whiff than I wanted.

Taste is quite nice, the alcohol is missing thankfully, a little bit of licorice maybe, nuance.

Good mouthfeel, appreciate it more and more throughout, quite drinkable and affordable, especially for an imperial stout.

Photo of chinchill
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz 2013 bottle.

Aroma: rich and complex with a solid base of dark malts and hints of oak, whisky, charred wood and dark fruits,

Flavor: rich and complex with plenty of dark malts and hints of oak,dark chocolate; black coffee, whisky, smoke, vanilla, raisins and other dark fruits, While very good, the flavor doesn't live up to the promise of the excellent aroma.

Feel: full, very smooth body with appropriate light carbonation.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to angelmonster for this one. Bottled 1/4/11

A: Pours a very deep black with a small khaki head on top. No retention leaving only a thin ring around the top. Spotty/thin lacing.

S: Lots of dark fruit, some cherry and plum, a little bit of molasses and chocolate.

T: Even more dark fruit than the aroma mixed with some chocolate and roasted malt. There is a little bit of molasses and licorice and a little vanilla.

M: Medium to full bodied, a little on the oily side, but carbonation helps it be rather smooth.

O: Liked how fruit forward this Imperial Stout is, a nice change compared to most. Would drink this one again.

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on date of 10/23/12

Appearance - Pours jet black with a half finger cocoa brown head. Fair retention, Leaving a fairly smooth surface, with bubbles gathering around the edge of the glass. Small, spotty lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Chocolate and char smoke. Dark, fruity sweetness.

Taste - Strongly chocolate throughout, with noticeable notes of char and peat smokiness. Touches of anise and blackened caramel. Moderate dark fruit sweetness. Coffee roast bitterness creeps in subtly in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full body with modest carbonation. Somewhat creamy before a dry finish. Goes down easy enough.

Overall - A good, approachable imperial stout. One I think I'll be revisiting time and again. This particular bottle is nearly 6 months old... I'd love to try it a bit fresher, though I doubt there'd be much of a noticeable difference.

Photo of GilGarp
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 10/29/2009. About one year ago this week.

Served cool into a globe, Black Cauldron is actually a very dark brown but looks black in the glass. The head is a nice crema tan color but it settles quickly.

Aroma is rich and roasty with milk chocolate and coffee. A little bit of black cherry comes through as well.

Flavor is very nice - there is definately a good amount of sweetness to the beer (it isn't one that will knock you over with bitterness and roast) so it has a good balance. The coffee flavors and chocolate are here too but come through stronger. A little bit of cherry coke is in there, which I like.

Mouthfeel is full in body and low in carbonation. You can tell it's thick the way it coats the mouth.

Overall a very solid imperial stout. We're heading into colder months and it's been so long since I've had a big stout like this. It serves as a reminder of the good things to come.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks goes out to JohnGalt1 for this big bad bold bottle of beer. Alliteration is Amazingly Awesome.

Gigantic 1 quart, 1.8oz bottle with a wax capped flip top pours a deep black with a nice tan head that leaves good lacing and retains pretty well.

Nose is alot of roasted malt, a significant dark fruit presence, some light smoke, and a bit of peat.

Taste follows with big roastiness, some dark fruit, but not as much as indicated in the nose. A slight "Belgian Royal stoutishness" if you will. haha. The peat does show up in the taste, but it is very subtle. Some defenite chocolate here, but coffee flavors are light. A slight wine like dryness is present towards the finish, which comes with a nice subtle display of hop character. Alcohol presence is relatively low, but that was somewhat expected by the lower abv on this one.

Mouthfeel is suprisingly viscous for the abv, bold, slick like an Impy oatmeal stout, and very easily carbonated. Very palateable.

Drinkability is quite good here, The abv has a bit to do with that, but nowhere near as much as you would expect. The mouthfeel is almost perfect here, and that combined with the balanced yet complex taste makes for a very easy drinking imperial stout.

Overall a suprising and good experience from GT. A very elaborate bottle presence represents some hard work that was done to craft this beer. A unique, balanced, and very enjoyable offering from the Cellar Reserve series. I will certainly be turning my head in the direction of Grand Teton more often due to this beer. Not to be scoffed at. I may just finish this 1L on my own. (In fact i planned on it all along) Thanks again to Toby for hookin me up with this one. Great beer.

Photo of cokes
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours absolute black. No glints around the edges. Just jet fucking ink black. A mocha rise spews upwards for a minute or two then slides down the sides of glass leaving rings of laces.
The nose is every bit as dark. Equal parts liquorice, prune, campfire smoke, barbequed meat, cigar ash, and baker's chocolate. Then add a strong winey alcohol presence and bits of vanilla.
The mouth delivers oily smokiness, both via burned leaves and pork fat. The drippings soak in espresso. Cocoa and caramel and buttery bread pop up for sweetness, then it migrates- still full of ember and ash- toward prune. It gathers a vinous bit of alcoholic temper. And a offsetting green clorophyll hoppiness. The smoke lingers long after the sip, with wavering, shimmering colors, not simply burnt black.
Clingy and dripping medium full bodied. Carbonation is minimal, but adds a bit of levity. This almost begs to drink like tar, and when it doesn't, it seems a bit thin.
I absolutely love this. A big truly rauchy stout. This is for smoked beer fans first and Imperial Stout fans second. As a fan of both (in that order), I'm in love.

Photo of Zebus0
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Average really. I was a bit worried because it poured BLACK with little to no head. Bit of a dark tan head. Leaves a bit of ring as you drink it.

S- Very roasted aroma, a lot of coffee/dark roast notes. Very pleasing.

T- Interesting. Doesn't even taste like most Imperials I've had, course it is more of an American one. Smooth start, dark roasted finish, on the bottom end you can really taste the alcohol with a bit of bite. I'm impressed.Hearty malt aftertaste.

M- Pretty smooth for an imperial stout, not the grainy feel they usually have. Interesting mix.

D- Excellent as a stand alone stout. Great for those days you just want to stay inside because of how cold it is. Very drinkable.

Photo of augustgarage
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Brian @ Blue Palms for splitting one of these with me many months ago - the sample under review was one I purchased on my own. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip.

Opaque seal brown body with a deep camel layer of foam which recedes by half. A tall bubbling collar gropes the sides of the glass and a creamy head persists. The viscous thick nature of the liquid is evident as you pour - it seems to be the consistency of champurrado at first glance.

Deep roast malt with toasty chocolate overtones in the nose. River rocks, minerals, chalk, and wheat are suggested as well (this character really distinguished this beer the last time I tried it as well - it may come from the touch of smoked malt Grand Teton adds to the kettle).

Faintly peppery/spicy palate entry with some low dark fruit notes as well. Cocoa, and a diverse malt bill are in evidence. The "stone" like flavors come through mid-palate along with a delicate hop bitterness to offset the sweetness. Finishes medium-dry and rich. The esters become more discernable as the beer warms suggesting peach pits and cherry stones.

Full velvety well carbonated mouthfeel. Warming but not hot.

A unique version of the style, with an interesting back-story (celebrating the history of women in brewing, not to mentino their persecution as witches!) - worth a try.

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10oz served in a tulip at The Monk's Kettle on new year's eve. Review from notes.

Pure black with a gorgeous dark brown fine, foamy head that's sticky too. A good looking beer.

Nose is dominated by rich espresso, some darker berry comes through but it's subordinated. Dark chocolate is requisite but also weaker than the robust espresso emanating from the glass.

Darker berry and dark caramel come to the front, espresso rides the wave of dark, bubbly liquid. Raspberry and cherry mingle with dark chocolate. A little woodiness mixed in; very concentrated on classic Imperial Stout flavors, but very well executed.

Round, soft, and pretty much the standard for Imperial Stouts.

Better than decent drinkability and not even over the top in abv. As far as the style goes, quite drinkable.

Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out pitch black with a two finger deep head resembling light milk chocolate with intricate array of head bubbles big and small a lacing of cream is painted on...

Mollasses and caramel meet the nose, coffee and roasted malts very present as well

Creamy vanilla and bitter cocoa are first to appear, hops are present and a slight alcohol burn is as well even though I let it warm to practically room temp, it is still not very flavorful... sad because I have three more left

Mouthfeel is silken with a medium to heavy body and a slight chewiness

Overall it is a better than average beer, one I'd recommend, but would not buy again personally

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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 558 ratings.