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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout - Grand Teton Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Black Cauldron Imperial StoutBlack Cauldron Imperial Stout

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very good

554 Ratings

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Ratings: 554
Reviews: 314
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: 554 | Reviews: 314
Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.68/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance -- Pours an inky black with a slim sudsy tan head that soon dissipates into a thin haze and dirty halo.

Smell -- Woodsmoke, char, chocolate, dark fruit, and what seems to be a hint of vanilla.

Taste -- Woodsmoke and char are dominant, along with subtle notes of dark chocolate, dark fruit, and vanilla. Earthy hop flavor toward the finish. Lingering flavors of smoke and acrid char.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full with moderate prickly carbonation. Slightly better than average.

Drinkability -- This tastes tastes like it could be a suitable Liquid Smoke substitute: burnt and unbalanced. Too much of a heavy hand with the beechwood-smoked malt; it really drowns out what the rest of the grist is bringing to the table. If you love smokey stouts, this is for your consideration.

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

Ruby-tinged black color, minimal head (barely any to speak of). The nose is much more impressive: candied raisins, dark chocolate, some faint citrus zest, spicy and multi-layered. Taste opens with a mildly sweet fruit and milk chocolate complex of notes, followed by a really surprising and interesting soft hop kick at the end. Mouthfeel is perhaps a little too thin for the style. Definitely worth a try, even several tries.

Photo of CliffBrake
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is nearly opaque with a minimal head and no lacing.

The aroma is dominated by roasted malts. It is fairly simple but very pleasant. The flavor balances roasted malts, with a touch of coffee and leather, with bitterness and sweetness competing for the finish.

The mouthfeel is very smooth; the bitterness cleans up the sweetness and invites another sip. Overall, a very drinkable beer, if not too complex.

Photo of Hibernator
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black Cauldron Imperial Stout
12 oz brown bottle
Bottled 01/21/10
Served in a Smuttynose tulip glass

Pours a jet black and opaque. Looks like pen ink. Very minimal head on top with little spots of lace.

"Roasty" aroma with whiffs of coffee beans and malts.

The Black Cauldron Imperial Stout is a robust and complex brew. Espresso, brown sugar and dark chocolate flavors. Dark roasted malt flavors with a sugary sweetness. I also detect some dark fruit flavors like prunes.

The ABV % is very well hidden with a baby hop snap on the finish. Very smooth and flavorful. Held up quite well for the past 10 months. Worth checking out.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage.

Deep dark blackness on the pour, thick, with a dark tan 2 finger of head. Laces beautifully.

Smells is sweet, slight molasses, and chocolate. Fair amount of roastyness.

Lots of malts, some coffee, bitter chocolate and loads of roastedness.

Nice and thick, full bodied, creamy, and no carbonation.

Lower abv, and this thing is tasty!!

Photo of thetomG
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oily black color and viscosity - silky smooth with a nice dense layer of tan head - very little lacing.

Nice coffee aspect to the aroma in addition to the other typical stout smells.

Flavor is more complex with some cocoa and a bit of warmth from the alcohol coming through.

Overall - a solid beer, but not necessarily good enough to oust my standard everyday stout (Old Rasputin), that being said its a nice option to have for variety and I'm glad they're distributed here in Chicago now.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

(Insert seemingly necessary MacBeth quote here.) This brew pours a deep pitch topped by a minor bit o' light tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, light peat smoke, chocolate, and molasses. The taste follows closely, with the roast really dominating something fierce. A hint of oaky whiskey weaves its way in as well. The body is a firmly hefty medium, with a slightly biting light moderate carbonation and a lightly chewy feel. Overall, were it not for the unexpected carbonation bite, which sends a small shockwave of bitter roastedness across the tongue, this would be a damn fine stout.

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

From a 10/29/09 vintage bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Jet black with no light penetrating through. A dense tan head starts strong, but falls too quickly to a patchwork film. Leaves bits of lace.

S: The aroma of Cocoa dominates. Hot chocolate is the first thought that came to mind. Letting the nose linger reveals espresso and vanilla.

T: The hot cocoa theme from the nose carries straight into the flavor. Bittersweet baking chocolate is at the forefront. Balance is created with a nice coffee bite. Hop flavors are minimal and a bit earthy. A vanilla sweetness comes in late. Chocolate and a light acidity linger into the finish. The flavor of alcohol is completely masked, but there is a nice warmth as the beer hits the system.

M: The medium-heavy body has fine carbonation and is a little syrupy.

D: For me, this is a very nice Imperial Stout. It doesn't have the over-the-top bitterness that so many of these beers can have. Instead, it comes across as a Sweet Stout with the volume turned way up. I'm really glad I picked this one up.

Photo of jdense
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Red Feather/Bittercreek 11.10.10, $5 12 oz. poured into big ass wine glass.

1/2 finger brown head, slow dissipation with minimal lacing. Dark brown almost black body, no visible carbonation. Significant chocolate nose, some roast, cocoa, vanilla, coffee, pretty complex aroma, though it faded significantly as the beer warmed. Taste mirrors nose, chocolate is the dominant taste, leading to a slightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel was actually a bit on the light side for the style, a bit thin and watery, this is no meal replacement. ABV pretty noticeable, a bit hot. This isn't Old Rasputin, but other than mouthfeel and fainting aroma, certainly worth a try for fans of the style.

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

This beer pours an opaque black color. The head is a quarter inch of tan foam that recedes within seconds into a mere ring of lacing around the edges of the glass. The aroma is of roasted malt, chocolate, hints of burnt malt, and faint toffee. The taste is similar to the aroma. It is very malt driven with tons of roasted and chocolate malt. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a smooth texture and low carbonation. Overall, this is a good imperial stout, but it is far from being great. I would happily drink it again though when in the mood for a maltier big stout.

Photo of ninetofive
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from wades wines in westlake, CA.
poured into a lengthwise pint glass.

a- black with a big brown head. good lacing through out.

s- bitter and roasty malt, bitter chocolate.

t- boozy, and roasty. chocolate and bitter hoppyness. coffee on the finish.

m- full bodied, with big carbonation. slight silky feel.

d- pretty big stout. nice to sip, my glass got better as it warmed up a bit. nice cold weather brew.

Photo of dragonWhale
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

looks like it was bottled 10/29/09 sounds about right. black with a bit of tawny edge, tan head. smells like raisins, chocolate, alcohol, and coffee. something sweet too, syrupy.
rich and sweet, chocolate is very heavy with the sweet malt flavor blending brilliantly, thick bodied, finishing creamy but with a slight coffee astringency. little bit of alcohol sting.
very nice with a year on it. thick mouthfeel even though the body isn't overly thick itself. Coats your throat with delights.

Tried this again and found it very similar but with more smokiness. I believe this was from the same batch, a bit surprised I was unable to pick this out the first time. The smokiness really adds to the rest of the beer. Enjoyed it even more this time.

Photo of drabmuh
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An old extra found at the back of the beer fridge, poured into a tulip. Beer is black with nearly no head, low carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma is mildly sweet and a little ashy.

Beer is medium in body and light in flavor. There is some late bitterness and a little forward sweetness. No alcohol, no midpalate presence, its an average stout. Nothing special here.

Photo of nickd717
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from Whole Foods Los Altos.

The appearance of this beer is black and thick with a small but thick tan head.

The aroma of this one is intense. Lots of molasses, roast, coffee, dark chocolate, and dark fruits. Really a punch in the face.

The flavor is also very intense. Feels bigger than its 8% with roasted malt, molasses, chocolate, prunes and raisins, oak, and whiskey.

The body on this one is very full and the carbonation is on the lower side. Pretty syrupy stuff.

This is a big beer, and a pretty nice imperial stout overall. Sort of a sledgehammer, but your friend tickd717 is a guy who enjoys beers like that quite a bit.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

This beer pours a deep dark black that shows no light through it, the head by the way is tan in nature. The smell is of smoked malts, some nice cocoa, orange and the smell that exists on a cold fall night (I don't know what that is, but honestly that's what I can describe it as). The flavor is mainly of the smoke, some nice oak, cherry, and bourbon. The mouthfeel is a bit too bitter and thin, but the flavors are not bad in the slightest and it's not that bad going down the gullet. I'm pretty happy with this bad boy.

Photo of Greggy
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a pitch black color.. very black. Head is tan in color, thick and 1.5 fingers in height. Decent lacing rings the glass

S- Chocolate, gram cracker, black olives, dark fruits. Nice solid nose on this one.

T- Starts off with a massive chocolate and hopiness. Ample dark fruits, raisins, a bit of sweetened black olive brine. The finish is ample chocolate and bit of dry roastiness. As I sit, a get a very late finish (2 mins past) that is dead on for me, the taste you get in your mouth after having an apple jolly rancher.

M- Low carbonation. Could use just a slight bit more. Overally, a good body.

D- This is a very tasty impy. The very late finish is a little odd but I could see having this again in the future.

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

A: A large two finger, which is a deep tan in color, settles into a small layer, leaving a good bit of sticky lace. The body is deep black, which shows no light through. Great overall appearance.
S: Deep notes of dried fruit on the front, with a mellow chocolate presence, while at the very end it smelled like autumn spice.
T/M: The first thing that hits you is the rich, full and creamy body. Not syrupy, but full and a nice milky creaminess. The roast notes of the body, blend well with I would say tastes like cocoa pepper chocolate. No really lingering spice, but in the body for just a second.
D: I would say this is a very well balanced stout. Not overly powering in ABV, but very nice little kick. Great body and a nice creamy sipper. Great way to start Halloween!

Photo of kaseydad
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cellared for seven months. Had to get my drink on....

Black as motor oil pour with a huge hot cocoa head with major lacing. Nice chocolate aroma with some hot cocoa whiffs minus the marshmallows. Some caramel also in the mix and roasted malts. Roasted, malty flavor with some dark chocolates in the swallow followed by a roasty black coffee bitterness on the swallow and aftertaste. Lingering bitterness. Full bodied and leaves the mouth working as to what is just partook of. Drinkability is somewhat low based on the number I could take down in one sitting. Not a bad beer at all and once I saw that it comes in a bomber, I had to partake of it and look to add the bomber to my cellar and go beyond seven months. Worth the effort.

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 NEhophead
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown bottle, wrapped in foil.
Bottled on 1/21/10; served in a snifter.

Pours an inky opaque black in color beneath a delicate, hazlenut-colored head that moves to the snifter's sides almost upon impact. Stippling lace around half of the snifter.

Warming, acidic alcohol nose that pushes past the espresso and bitter dark chocolate notes. Notes of semi-sweet toffee and vanilla.

Bitter dark chocolate and chewy, roasted malt flavors attack the palate. A dry alomond and peanut flavor cut the bitter chocolate; however, the lack of any sweetness makes this stout rather one-dimensional.

Full bodied; chewy, dry, and rough on the palate. This offering misses the syrupy smoothness that I love in an Imperial Stout.

Not one of my favorites stylistically, but not an unflattering ale. I wouldn't mind having another, but I wouldn't seek it out.

Photo of Pellinore1
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle pours almost black into an imperial pint glass, leaving a finger of brown head, and some lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, with a bit of alcohol and fruity sweetness.

The flavor is all dark, roasted malts at first. This initial impression is followed by coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Not a huge alcohol flavor, but it's definitely there at the end.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, creamy with noticeable carbonation.

Drinkability is fine for the style, which is to say, one is enough for me.

Overall, an enjoyable imperial stout, but nothing to write home about.

Photo of taez555
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a pitch black body with a small tan head.

Nose has a fruity choclate and dark malt sort of smell.

Taste is full bodied with an immediate big dark roasted bitter espresso flavor. Dark unsweetened chocolate and an everpresent sour fruit sort of bitter roasted flavor. There's some earth and even licorise sort of hop touches and a good subtle balance of overall bitterness to balance the malt.

Overall a pretty good beer, nothing crazy or in your face, just a good solid IS.

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

This pours a solid black-brown color into the pint glass at room temperature. It has a solid coffee colored head that settles to a thin film and leaves sturdy lacing. The aroma says fruity licorice, with prune and coffee laying the groundwork. Very solid and alluring. The flavor comes on with a touch of chocolate that didn't come out in the aroma. This melds smoothly with raisin/prune sweetness, sharp coffee bitterness and the licorice theme once again. There's a unique floral/herbal quality with a vague nuttiness that swims through the dominant woodsy licorice dominance. It's medium bodied and supremely smooth feeling, a little resinous and silky but not too thick or strong. Quite drinkable for the style and ABV. This is surely a solid choice for an Imperial Stout and Grand Teton again shows me their reliable skill in this variety of beer grandeur. Very much recommended.

Photo of drewba
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - opaque black (as a black cauldron). A thin khaki ring of head remains for a few minutes, then is gone forever.

S - Raisin, fig, brown sugar and a touch of maple syrup.

T - Dark fruits, maple syrup and cocoa are all here for the party. A touch of coffee grounds comes out in the finish. I am generally not a fan of dark fruit forward stouts, but this one is isn't overpowered or trying to showcase the dark fruits. Just enough raisin, fig and plum to let me enjoy it instead of ramming it down my throat.

M - thick and satisfying mouthfeel, but does not overwhelm the palate or stick around very long. A little oily, with very little carbonation.

D - incredibly balanced beer here, i could easily drink this all night. The alcohol is hidden wonderfully - impressive at 8% abv.

Photo of cbutova
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled January 21, 2010.

A- Pours out like oil, pitch black. A small mocha head builds and has decent retention. A ring leaves very spotty lace.

S- Two big things going on. A bit roasty malt profile mixes with cocoa notes and raisins. The other thing is the hops, I get a surprisingly large hop aroma here. When it comes down to it, this actually smells a lot like a Haggen-Dazs bar, lol. Overall strength isn't amazing for the style.

T- Certainly a big dose of nice roast and caramel malt (a bit stale from age). Cocoa notes are heavy but are also pretty damn sweet(Haggen thing going on still). Definitely more hops than other Imperial Stouts I have had. The roast notes seem burnt/smokey, or even like charcoal. The dark fruit rounds out nice flavor.

MF- Somewhat oily and creamy thick body. Carbonation is on par for a big stout, low-moderate level and easy on the palate. Some bitterness in the finish as well as alcohol warming.

DB- An easy going Imperial Stout, I accredit that to the sweetness. I prefer my big stouts on the harsh side but won't bash this, it is just a bit sweet at points.

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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 554 ratings.