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Hercule Stout - Brasserie Ellezelloise

Not Rated.
Hercule StoutHercule Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

260 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 260
Hads: 423
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 15.27%
Wants: 32
Gots: 34 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie Ellezelloise visit their website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: zerk on 10-12-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hercule Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 260 | Hads: 423
Photo of dictatorial
4.73/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is (as far as I have ever had) as good as it gets. I had it in Belgium, from a bottle to a weiss glass and it was truly memorable. The color is very dark (almost opaque) and the smell and taste were exceptional - smooth and not bitter, with a nutty aroma. The mouthfeel was smooth and enjoyable. Overall - its amazing and highly recommended!

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Photo of MsNitch
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Hazy coca cola/coffee with a bubbly tan head that fades into a heavy lacing

S: heaps of esters hitting the nose, toasted malts and ripe fruits, figs covered in sugar

T: Chocolate, herbaceous with a coffee, malted after taste. Pure choco- tart and dry. Little citrus at the finish

M: Dry, not a cream stout

O: All around mild, not a stand out beer, very drinkable. A total go to for a dark love affair.

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Photo of Radome
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 330 ml Grolsch-type bottle into a goblet.

A - Super-dark brown, some red highlights, although almost no light gets through when held up to light. Appears clear. Head is tan, almost gray and persists as a thin oily-looking layer with lots of lacing.

S - Aromas are jumbled but pleasant. There is smoky, roasted grains, slightly sharp hops that mingles with an Islay peat note. A bit of Belgian yeast also. Is that a tiny amount of horse blanket as well?

T - Tastes are typical stout--roasted grains, toast, coffee, malt. There is a bit of peat smoke. Alcohol is not noticeable.

M - Medium to heavy body. Carbonation is smooth. Some low hops bitterness. No alcohol burn. A cloying, powdery-feeling mouth-coating sensation at the end.

O - This is an interesting beer. It is not as big and bold as a typical Imperial Stout, but it has the added complexity of Belgian yeast. Also, it seems to have a smoky, peaty side that I enjoy but not everyone will.

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Photo of sweetLew
3.41/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hercule is a subtly provocative Belgian-style stout that is deceptively drinkable, and illustrative of the conflict between deeply roasted, burnt grains and Belgian yeast.

With an aggressive pour, the head is dense but thin, and fades quickly. A bottomless, inky blackness highlights hues of dark brown when held to the light. The aroma is mild and of low intensity, perhaps the beer's prominent disappointement, but there are some nice tones of roasted grain, dark fruits, and an earthy mustiness that are pleasant enough.

The taste is where the interplay of roasted grains and the fruity Belgian yeast give Hercule its personality; restrained and complex, a well balanced melange of flavors tease the palate, but none are overbearing. Plum, raisin, woody tannins, lemon, and brown sugars all beckon to be discovered. The slick mouthfeel and an upfront pinch of carbonation help the beer linger on the palate. As to be expected with a beer of formidable alcohol, there are some medicinal phenols to be found with the finish.

Overall, Hercule is an enjoyable and thoughtful drinking experience. The beer doesn't necessarily beg you to return for more, or cry out for a challenge, but it does follow the path of conflict that can be the Belgian Stout.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is damn near impossible to see through despite that its colour is most definitely not black. About halfway between cola and drinking chocolate, I think at least some of its dark, turbid appearance can be chalked up to the presence of Nutella-like sediment. Although relatively flat, milky inlays of eggshell coloured foam do form.

Befitting to the Poirot name, the aroma is brilliant but not boastful, abiding by a "quiet is loud" disposition where the components of its bouquet are concentrated but composed, distinct without being overpowering. Plum, nectarine, and lightly roasted malts alike are doused in anise spice and dusted with cocoa powder. Mysterious...

In keeping with the Poirot theme, the flavour has a character that combines both English and Belgian influences. With a base of dry, sooty, mild-roasted maltiness, it also showcases plenty of dark fruit (prune, plum) and yeasty spice (primarily anise, but a lot of clove too), using both features, in typical Belgian fashion, to mask a considerably high alcohol content.

The brewery uses neither spice nor sugar, although the mouthfeel tells a different story. The yeast lends a rash of spice and a strong savoriness, while the malts have a fruity sweetness that is almost reminiscent of port. At times I'd swear a pinch of brown sugar were added. The whole thing, however, is exceptionally drinkable.

I question the purpose behind aging a beer in oak barrels for only 10 days, but that may be why I'm not a professional brewer. The German oak casks have certainly contributed a more mellow and dry character to the beer (and the odd hint of spruce or something woodsy). Despite being relatively thin-bodied, that alcohol is never made obvious.

Hercule Stout has as much character as the Agatha Christie detective himself (and given how easy it is to drink for a calorie-rich, 9% stout it'll likely lead to a belly the size of his, too!) A beer that more or less transcends borders and neglects style guidelines, it is a fantastically engaging stout. Every sip, like turning the page in a book, thickens the plot and draws you in more. A unique beer to really get those 'little grey cells' going.

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Photo of atr2605
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours black with a sudsy tan head with decent retention
S-chocolate, raisins, coffee
T-More of the same with emphasis on the raisins up front and finished with the chocolate flavor on the palate
M-medium bodied
O-interesting take on the style. Definitely not like other russian imperial stouts. Enjoyed it but wouldn't have it again due to the price

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours black with a hint of red at the edges. Minimal head and little lacing. Unusual aroma, some ester I that seems familiar, but I can't identify. Sweet malt and fruit. Thin body, but interesting fruity, sweet malt taste. Licorice and malt middle, dry, chocolate and raisin finish. Very unusual. I wouldn't call this a RIS at all, more like a Belgian English stout. Interesting, but maybe a bit pricey for the experience.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's where the line is drawn between fruitier and spicier imperial stouts and the toastier and more chocolaty Belgian strong dark ales is where this beer straddles. Fear not fans of both, this beer does it all.

With an opaque, yet obviously hazed, dark bark brown color, the beer's stout-like intent is apparent. Releasing a lightly tanned head of billowing and rocky properties. It's this head character that yields a long-lasting persistence and clumps of lace left behind on the glass. A muscular beer for sure!... at least to the eye.

Bold and succulent aromas of coffee roast is met with chocolate, smoke, malted milk, and burnt caramel. Extra complexities of burnt fruit: grapes, plumbs, currants start to give impressions of yeasty esters while the counterpart phenols of licorice and fennel seed provide the balance to the fruity sweet scents. With very low hop presence, there's only a woody note that suggest a nod toward the earthy bitterness.

Malty-sweet taste of candi sugar, plumbs, beets, grapes, and cotton candy start the malt-forward flavor. The fruity vs. spicy interplay continues with the taste of robust red wines, anise, prune, peppercorn, plumb, creamy smoke, chocolate covered cherries, and wormwood all govern an earthy-floral taste with power and complexity that keep the descriptions comming. And with very low hop bitterness or flavor, it's the balance of phenolic spice to fruity esters and malt sweetness that makes or breaks the beer.

Full bodied for sure but the early carbonated creaminess turns heavy and cola-like well before the middle palate. This causes the sweetness of malt and fruit to play a large role going into the now only semi-dry, semi-kept finish where a residually sweet coat is left on the mouth for far too long. Even the alcohol strength of nine percent and light minty hop character isn't enough to close the beer properly.

The dichotomy that's created from both Belgian flavor and English structure is eloquent and robust from the initial sip and until the last sip. The beer takes the palate on a tried adventure in taste but leaving its conclusion a bit unsettled.

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Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, best by December 2013, poured into a chalice at Poechenellekelder in Brussels.

A – Pours a very deep brown, though clear as some light does come through. One and a half fingers of light tan head has pretty good retention before fading completely, leaving no lacing behind.

S – Chocolate malts, dark fruits and a faint amount of alcohol.

T – Roasty and chocolaty with a very light initial sweetness that quickly fades. Very nice lingering roast bitterness.

M – Medium full mouthfeel with a roasted malt finish that is dry and slightly bitter.

O – Definitely one of the better Belgian stouts I’ve had. Hides the alcohol pretty well, without resorting to big sweetness to do so.

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Photo of Dope
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark brown with a huge and fluffy light brown head adorning it. Fades slowly, very slowly leaving puffs of lacing all over the glass.

S: Roasted malt with lots of estery alcohol stinging the nose. Lots of fruit like banana, raisins and fig. Hints of chocolate.

T: Roasted malt with semisweet chocolate up front. Dark fruits come in afterwards with banana, raisins, fig and maybe cherry? Cocoa powder and coffee beans with perhaps a little brown sugar towards the finish. Tingly alcohol throughout. Very drying on the back end with lots of oak.

M: Somewhat medium bodied but shockingly thin for a 9% RIS.

O: A very interesting RIS. It's more of a BSDA mixed with a stout. Quite thin which really hurts, but otherwise a complex and balanced flavor. I enjoyed it, I bet it would be way better with a heavier body.

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1.77/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Served in a chalice for $5 for a happy hour discount. Sampled 2/29/12.

A: Dispensed with 1 1/2 fingers of airy foam head, light brown in color, and creamy on top. Great retention. The purely black body deposits small slings of lace on the glass.

S: Wet earth, burnt toast and traditional skoal. That's right, snuff - the dipping tobacco. Perhaps it was winterfresh and not traditional flavor. Either way, the nose is very awkward - and nothing like an RIS should be.

T: The flavor matches. Adding something reminiscent of watered down scotch. A light fruity element tries to come through but is overtaken by the earth and tobacco. Not a good showing.

M: Unexplainably thin. Light and watery. It's hard to believe the ABV is 9%. Highly disappointing.

O: I've been meaning to pick up a bottle of this beer for quite some time but was always put off by the price tag. Glad to have the opportunity for an inexpensive pour since paying the bottle price ($10 I think) would have been like throwing money down the drain. Literally. I had no interest in finishing the glass.

It's interesting to note that almost all of the highest ratings for this beer were logged between 2002-2004. Maybe this beer has fallen off considerably, or maybe this keg was bad.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark chocolate and is black in the glass with a dense, creamy, half inch head. The lacing is equally dense as it coats the glass with each sip. Ultimately, the head never diminishes completely, but leaves a thin sheet.

The aroma is up front with rich chocolate fudge or syrup. Figs and rum reside in the background only to come forward with warmth. Roasted malt is also discernible, though rather subdued.

Flavors include licorice and well brewed black coffee. Bitterness is up front and subtly returns in a long, sublime finish. Warmth is most welcome as it brings out tangy, dark fruits and mellow rum.

This is a dense, sticky beer with infinite, tiny pricks of carbonation. Alcohol is about as expected for a 9% beer, though not quite warming. The alcohol does elevate with warmth.

This is a comfortable beer that reminds me of long conversations with my Grandfather as he enjoyed his Dutch Masters. Sip and enjoy while relaxing, or pour over ice cream.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Served in a stem glass (maybe a snifter?), surprisingly light in color for a stout, appearing an almost translucent cola brown, with a small cap of off-white head; moderate retention and just a bit of lacing. By the time I was about 3/4 done, the liquid was definitely see-through. Didn't really get a big aroma from this, but I picked up notes of dark malts, dark sugars...that's about it. Taste was better, with flavors of dark malts, brown sugar, figs, tobacco, bready yeast, and a bit of leafiness. Not bad. Medium mouthfeel, quite thin for the style I guess, but not really bad; slight alcohol bite. Pretty drinkable overall.

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Photo of meatyard
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottling.

Pours out black with a 1/2 inch tan head that fall quickly to a thin cover without lacing.

The smell is licorice, dark fruit with lots of malt aroma and no hint of alcohol.

The taste is lots of licorice, prune and the same malt as in the aroma without any hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium/thin with moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is a very different RIS from most others while still being a tasty one that is definitely worth a try. I will pick up another if I see one.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Black throughout with a light brown cap that eventually leaves small, irregular lines down the glass.

Roasted malt, a touch of coffee, and a lot of dark fruits aroma, especially red grapes.

An interesting and unusual imperial stout, with the red grape flavors dominant, along with lots of roasted and black malt flavors, a bit of Belgian yeast tang, as well some mild coffee presence. Strange.

Medium to full mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

A strange, unique, grape-forward stout. I wouldn't have this again, especially for the price.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this epic stout in a pedestrian shaker pint.

Appearance- The chocolate milk colored head is very thick and smooth. It was only a finger-width at its best point, and retention is nothing special. The body was all right, a dark brown with some ruby highlights.

Smell- Whoa, some really sweet dark fruit and toffee malts punish the nose. I was thinking I was going to detect some alcohol here, but not really any at all. A sweet stout is certainly going to follow these notes.

Taste- Yep! Sweet flavors really take over on the palate. What is most surprising is how "Belgian" it tastes. Sure there are interesting profiles: mainly anise, brown sugar, and some chocolate.

However, the musty yeast, and slight banana - pear taste permeates all the way through. As far as the alcohol, there is maybe some brandy flavor.

Mouth feel- I think this is a fair bit too light for a stout. The coating is non-existent as well, disappointing.

Overall- It is certainly interesting, and it is easy to want to take another drink to get lost in the complexities. What is lacking is the mouth feel and the nose.

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Photo of Bryson
2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bought a bottle of this while I was out in Colorado. Has been in the cellar for a few months now so I figured I would give it a shot

A- Very thin appearance, Dark brown with a thin cream colored ring around the glass.

S- Slight Caramel up front followed by a huge dose of plum, raisin, and booze.

T- Mocha, vanilla, Raisin, Chocolate, slight coffee taste followed by alcohol...bleh

M- Too thin for my liking...feels watered down with a little too much carbonation

O- Well I can say I tried it...I am really not a fan of this at all. I feel like it was lacking a lot for a stout and the balance was way off

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Photo of skiofpinsk
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought this a couple years ago; the bottle is from ’08.

Poured into a tulip. Seems almost black; but it lightens considerably to a dark brown around the edges. A very thin, light tan head forms but quickly makes its way to the edges of the glass.

Dark fruit (prunes, raisins). Pumpernickel bread. Toffee. Slight booze.

Raisin flavor up front, with some vanilla, wood, and bourbon flavors not too far behind. Slight roastiness, but it quickly settles into a nice chocolate finish.

Although the head was thin, the carbonation is just right, maybe a touch on the heavier side. But this is a Belgian RIS, so it seems appropriate. Beer is thick enough to adequately coat the tongue, but it doesn’t linger too long.

I have been fortunate enough to have this on draft before, which is the reason why I picked up the bottle. I haven’t seen bottles around since then, but would definitely buy it if I happen to see it around. My first Belgian style RIS, and it’s still one of the best.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.57/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Cola, small tan head, not much lace.

S - Soy sauce is the predominant smell. Sweet and toasted malt is secondary.

T - Earthy, dry, soy flavor also present.

M - Lesser carbonation than I like, med body, ok balance.

D - Didn't really do it for me. Especially for the price.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice black body with a big (2-inch or so) sandy coloured head that settles down to a thin line and leaves a thick film on the glass.

Initially there is a big boozy blast in the scent that hides some nice roasted malts. Not much more than that. The alcohol presence eases off as this warms.

Smooth, roast malt flavour with strong suggestions of cocoa, and lighter notes of whisky and coffee. Definite alcohol presence here, but it eases as it warms.

Smooth, carbonation is spot on. A great dessert beer.

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Photo of pixieskid
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Decided to finally try this thing and to make things a bit more interesting, it's a side by side of a 5 year old bottle and a fresh bottle. For the review, fresh will be indicated by an F and aged will be indicated with an A...fancy!

Pours: A- deep coffee black with a thin off-white head.
F- Same color but with a two inch off-white head.

Aroma: A- Dark fruits, mild chocolate, and a bit of whiskey.
F- Cocoa, milk chocolate, and a bit of spice.


A- Medium bodied, slightly frothy mouthfeel, mild carbonation. Milk chocolate, cocoa, and a lingering oaked/whiskey note. Finishes with a bit of sourness, just a touch though that adds to the complexity. Another year on it though, might get a little too funky.

F-Medium bodied, frothy mouthfeel, nice carbonation. Milk chocolate, nice roastiness, and a lingering grassy bitterness. Finishes with a lingering mild earthiness, touch of belgian yeast, and a distinct cocoa note.

Overall; both were awesome. Glad to have done the side by side and I can confidently say that I will be happy to age a bottle or two and pick up a fresh one on occasion. A great Belgian brewed Imperial Stout!

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at ChurchKey. Pours dark brown with a finger and a half of creamy head. Bright aroma of sweet fruit, nuts, light chocolate, anise, spruce and spice jumps out. Flavor has some mild roastiness, chocolatey, along with notes of dry leather, brown sugar, and dry tangy spice. The 9% is well concealed, though the mouthfeel comes across as surprisingly light. Overall, a great rare stout.

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Photo of illidurit
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

33 cL bottle from K&L poured into an Ommegang snifter. Pours a dark unclear russet, kinda like brown bottle glass, with a puffy tan head. Atoms is vibrant, full of chocolate, marzipan, coffee, toast, and mint. Flavor is a bit more restrained, with burnt caramel, wheat bread, and black coffee. Almost schwarzbier-like in taste and palate. Short mineral water finish. Great aroma but it doesn't follow through in flavor.

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Photo of DIM
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a dark chestnut brown, pretty far from opaque. It was served to me with a smallish light tan head.

s: Unique and not all what I expected. Lots of deeply dark vinous fruit with hints of molasses. There was something different about the rich malty chocolate that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I also found a surprising amount of hops and a vague something "Belgian" that was very subdued.

t: The smell was interesting but the taste was amazing. I've never had anything like it. The was an astounding amount of complexity in each sip. Wave after wave of incredibly dark, vinous molasses and incredibly rich chocolate. It wasn't very sweet and it wasn't quite tart either. The finish was shockingly bitter. I tasted coffee and a hint of mint.

m: Not as big feeling as I hoped for from a big Belgian beer. It was kind of oily actually.

o: Not at all what I expected, but much better than I hoped. There was a ton of vinous fruit, but not much that I associate with Belgian yeast. Awesome beer that I hope to come across again. I haven't as excited or intrigued by a beer for quite some time.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Churchkey in DC.

Garnet body, one finger creamy tan head with sticky lace.

Some vague Belgian yeast and some tart grape on the nose.

Mellow, like mulled wine. Vinous, slightly tempered by hop bitterness. Some plum and some malt. Some background cranberry. Cinnamon?

Smooth, fluffy mouthfeel.

Unique-- bitter for a Belgian, but unlike other stouts.

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Hercule Stout from Brasserie Ellezelloise
91 out of 100 based on 260 ratings.