Big Swede - Valkyrie Brewing
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 88 | Display Reviews Only:
4.5/5 rDev +15.7%
A strong pour takes me by surprise as more than three fingers of carmel brown head jumps over the top of the glass and makes a bit of a mess. Scattered dots of lace and rocky foam are left behind. Body is 3000 mile used motor oil black. Nose is big and full of rich coco, a bit of anise and smokey vanilla. Super creamy chocolate goodness enters the mouth with first sip. Layers of chocolate oats, toasted malts, smokey coco and black coffee. You also get some black licorice and black vanilla. This impy stout really drinks dominantly on the sweet side. There is chocolate bready sweetness and considerable malty on the mouthfeel. The perfect after dinner desert type sipper.
02-22-2009 22:08:23 | More by SPLITGRIN
4.47/5 rDev +14.9%
Impenetrable mahogany with a glimmer of reddish gold along the bottom edge of the glass. In spite of an increasingly elevated pour, the mocha colored cap only reached a height of a slim one finger. It's hanging in there reasonably well, but doesn't look the type to leave any lace. At only 8%, the beer shouldn't be this head and lace deficient. It's still a good looking stout.
The nose is great because it's powerful and because it's multi-faceted. The primary aromas are roasted barley, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. The thing that makes it different is a bourbon-like, charred oak, vanilla esteriness. I'm pretty sure Big Swede isn't aged in bourbon barrels, but it might as well be.
I'm not sure that Russian Imperial Stout is the correct style. And I have no idea what Swedish Style Imperial Stout even means. When compared to the heavy hitters, this one comes up a bit short on brute strength and mouthfeel. Not to worry because it more than makes up for it by being stupendously delicious.
I've had a lot of big stouts, but I don't know that I've ever had one that tastes quite like Big Swede. There's more than usual happening on the taste buds, all of it good. For starters, sweet, sour and bitter are exceptionally well-balanced. All are present and all contribute something of value at differents points along the flavor arc. As is often the case, sweet dominates early, sour occupies the middle and bitter cleans up at the end.
I would have bet that Viking ages this sucker in bourbon barrels. Every one of the usual suspects are present: brown sugar, vanilla (especially), a light oaky char, even a little smoke. I'm alternating between trying to break it down during one mouthful and simply enjoying it the next. I know one thing, I wish I had the big bottle rather than this woefully inadequate twelve ouncer.
I've changed my mind about the mouthfeel. Even though it isn't as massive and as thickly chewy as I might like, it's as silky smooth as any beer in recent memory. I have no problem with the carbonation being on the low end if it results in a mouthfeel this luxurious.
Nothing that I've had from Viking prepared me for the incredible beer... that is now gone from my glass. It's easily the finest thing these guys have ever created. I'm compiling a list of what to look for the next time I venture up to Madison. Big Swede has just been added, given a few exclamation points and circled. Outstanding!
02-04-2007 16:44:18 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.45/5 rDev +14.4%
The Big Swede pours out like the color of dark syrup and settles in the glass solid blackish with a bit of a brown tone, but no light gets past this thick brute. Very nice brown head that grows slowly to about a 1/2 inch high with lots of bigger bubbles on the opposite side of this frothy heavy spongy top; crumbles and pops slowly back down and leaves lots of spotty lace.
Smell is lots of dark fruits and roasty malts of plum, raisin, and fig, good sense of molasses with a touch of chocolate or cocoa, very sweet and fruity, deep and rich nose, especially as the you get towards the the bottom of the bomber, the nose stands big on this Swedish Stout.
Tastes like it smells, "yah, vwhat a joy, eh!" Starts quite full with lots of malty action thats very big and rich with dark fruits, mostly raisins, lots of molasses take control and big tangyness and chewy roasty malts all over the place. It thins a little from just past the midway point, mellowing alot with a small hop bitterness returning into some more molasses and slight cocoa and one super cotteny coating mouth of dull, prickly pear and a unique drying thats super interesting with a nudge of warming alcohol in the finish.
Feel is full at the start, mellows out and stays lightly creamy throughout; quite thick, rich, and big boldness, finish is great.
One excellent Imperial Stout, enjoyable and drinkable.
Viking has a top notch brew with Big Swede indeed!
08-05-2003 02:25:49 | More by tavernjef
4.43/5 rDev +13.9%
This beer pours a dark black. The mag-lite reveals hidden bright reds and burgundy along with a surprising clearness to this beer. Not much head to speak of, however. But it does leave specks of foam around the edge of my glass. Smells of heavy maple syrup that is delicately blended into a burnt sour barley and oat malt. There are also hints of medicinal smells that come through. As it warmed, some chocolate and alcohol made itself present. Tastes of buttery roasted malts and a stronger than expected sourness along the sides of my tongue. Again, when this warmed a bit, some creamy milk chocolate and sour dark fruits came out. Finishes a bit sour with a smoky sweetness. The mouth feel is quite thick with little carbonation that works well with the creamy flavors. This is a tasty sipper that reminded me of Harpoons Barrel Series Imperial Stout #12, but the flavors werent but together as well. This beer was surprisingly refreshing and easy to drink for an imperial stout. Also, be sure to have this beer a bit on the warm side. Or, sip it cold and wait for it to warm so you can detect the drastic change in flavor.
From the unexpected buzz that got laid on me after one 12 oz. bottle, Id have to say the ABV is somewhere around 10%. Thats not too surprising, but I think this is clearly a little stronger than your average imperial stout.
Another side note on the style, every beer from Viking should be prefaced with, And now for something completely different. They march to the beat of their own drummer there, reinventing styles and coming up with some fantastic takes on traditional brews. This is one of their better accomplishments, in my opinion.
01-02-2006 20:21:25 | More by DarkerTheBetter
4.43/5 rDev +13.9%
This pours a dark brown/black color with very little head. The aroma is sweet with molasses, toffee, and caramel. The taste is heavy and sweet with coffee flavors. It starts thick and creamy and ends with a chalky, malt after taste. A uniquely made “Swedish Style Stout.”
12-18-2013 03:16:40 | More by Lemke10
4.4/5 rDev +13.1%
A giant thanks to jeffkrenner who sent this beer as part of BC-2. The beer was served at room temperature in a Imperial Nonic.
Appearance: The beer pours with a black hole blackness. The head of the beer is about 1 finger high. The head is a the color of lightly creamed coffee. Rings of lacing remain behind on my glass.
Smell: The beer has a very pleasing combination of chocolate, dark cocoa, light coffee, vaguely mineral and vanilla.
Taste: The beer presents the palate with a blend of dark semi sweet cafe vanilla mocha. The taste then goes slightly herbal and slightly mineral flavor. Then the beer explodes into a very deep chared roasting. If you dont like chared and deeply roasted avoid this beer.
Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer is just shy of a heavy body. The beer has a very low carbonation. The flavors are long lasting and very much chared. I found this beer hard to put down. If I come across this beer again I will definately buy it.
01-11-2007 15:47:27 | More by nlmartin
4.38/5 rDev +12.6%
The beer is as dark as they can get, and thats the way I like my beers, cus you know dark beers are stronger!
Head is modest in its stature, frothy in its texture and the color a pleasant light chocolate. The aftermath of the head disintegration is a fine veil of lace to seal off the glass. The aroma of toasted grains dominates the somewhat sweet and coffee like nose, quite a treat these Imperial stout aromas. Front is thickly malt and sweet with the top chocolate fudge rich and full in its feel to the palate. The chocolate and toasted or roasted grain sweetness carries to the very last with just moderate hop spiciness and the aftertaste bittersweet chocolate dry, a quite pleasant beer this one, you just got to love the Imperials robustness and hearty alcohol content, a real Hoot!
10-17-2003 23:38:35 | More by Gusler
4.38/5 rDev +12.6%
Absolutely pitch black, with a 1/4" creamy tan head, in a August Schell Tulip. Smells sharply of alcohol, and bitter coffee. A whole lot of alcohol runs circle around your mouth, followed by a big hit of coffee flavor. Some spiciness can also be detected, almost a cinnamon flavor. Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, but does not detract for this badass beer. Drinkability is also very good, no off flavors, or anything that would make me not want to take my next sip. Very good beer, from a brewery that I have not had much luck with yet.
01-07-2005 01:31:03 | More by TastyTaste
4.38/5 rDev +12.6%
Poured "black, like midnight on a moonless night", with a small light brown head. Smells of roasted barley and chocolate with a sweet smell like a scotch and water. Tastes how it smells with a little smokiness and some faint floral hops at the end. Has a nice mouthfeel. Not as heavy of a beer as it looks and is actually quite smooth and pleasant to drink. It also seems to be getting better as I drink it which almost reminds me of a scotch on the rocks type feel.
04-24-2007 03:53:03 | More by CFbeermaker
4.33/5 rDev +11.3%
A - Completely opaque black color. Head is a nice brown color that settles at an eighth inch. Lacing is in small patches.
S - Chocolate pudding, bananas, milk chocolate and a very light roast coffee.
T - Nice roasted malt flavor, I taste more chocolate where others might say its more like coffee. Some sweet vanilla, banana, and lighter chocolate tones. Finish is a nice light coffee.
M - Consistency is on the thin side but with a nice chalkiness. Taste sticks with you for a long time.
D - Very nice and pleasant all around. Will have again and will recommend.
02-20-2007 05:52:08 | More by umustdrink
4.3/5 rDev +10.5%
Pours a deep brown that becomes an opaque black in the snifter. Last bit is swirled and added, resulting in a couple fingers of chocolaty foam.
First whiff is of banana, a hint of smoke, and roasted malt. This later subsides, producing a boozy note. Started out big and appealing though.
Taste is really exceptional. Chocolaty, rich smoky malt, and that banana note hangs out in the background. Second time drinking this (1/2008), there's a juicy fresh plum note that is upfront. Dry finish, with mild bittersweet chocolate, char, and dry tobacco leaf. Smooth on the palate, silky mouthfeel. It has a fullness about it, but isn't heavy or cloying. My guess on the ABV is 7-8%.
01-14-2007 02:43:11 | More by emerge077
4.28/5 rDev +10%
Aroma notes strong alcohol. Fruity (dark). Molasses sweetness. Intensity fades in time.
Pours thick and syrupy. Head forms late and fades to a thin layer of tan bubbles that slowly fades away. Heavy black with reddish hues.
Alcohol dominates initial flavor too then moves to fruit and roast. MIldly bitter with dryish finish of roasty malt. Somewhat sweet, but not cloy.
Feel leaves a thick coating on the mouth and teeth. Heavy, Syrupy. Very fine bubbles. Not quite velvety, but pretty soft.
Fun way to start fall exploration of heavier beers. Recommended.
01-27-2006 14:34:24 | More by garymuchow
4.28/5 rDev +10%
A: Pours thick with a lot of viscosity to it. Deep, dark, ebony brown possesing no ability to allow light thru. Head raised momentarily then dropped to a film and dark beige ring.
S: Dried cocoa, angel food, cafe au lait, hints of orange liquer and minor hazelnut.
T: Immediate dark, dry bakers chocolate with glints of sour milk. Moments of anise hints and mild iced coffee move the adventure along. Generous amounts of bittering hops mixed with roasted grains add a nice bite to this brew. Finishes with some serious chocolate icing, alcohol highs and cafe mocha.
M: Medium body, full across the tongue.
D: This was a delicious beer. Very sweet and sugary but nothing cloying or obtrusive. Best Viking beer to date.
10-20-2006 05:10:14 | More by Westsidethreat
4.25/5 rDev +9.3%
A: As with other Viking brews, this one pops open without a sound. Poured into a pint glass with very light coating of head appears after an aggressive pour. Dark black, with a slightly brown edge when held up to the light.
S: Roasted and chocolate malt, loads of caramel malt (barleywine-ish) and a light backing of hop bitterness. For all the darker malts, this one smells very sweet rather than bitter or acidic.
T: Sweet milk chocolate right from the get-go. Slowly turns from sweet into bittersweet, with the roasted malt showing up near the finish along with a bit of hop bitterness. Well done on the roasted malt not making it overpowering. Raisin/dried fruit taste with the finish. Very nice.
M: Low carbonation, with a slick mouthfeel that coats the tongue for a long finish. Velvetty smooth, and works well with the low carbonation (unlike other Viking brews).
D: Very sweet and enjoyable. A nice beer from Dallas, Wisconsin.
01-05-2010 16:32:10 | More by darklordlager
4.25/5 rDev +9.3%
Pours out a very dark brown almost black color, with a small creamy dark brown head. Smells of bitter chocolate and molasses mainly. Taste is very much different, has some definite winey notes. Very sweet upfront with a nice alcohol kicker. Taste is molasses, brown sugar, some coffee and dark chocolate notes, rounded out by grape and plum flavors. Very smooth and creamy on the mouth. Nicely drinkable, evern thought there is the alcohol presence. Very different for the style, but well made.
05-01-2005 20:56:14 | More by bnuttz
4.22/5 rDev +8.5%
Black with distant ruby highlights, opaque, bubbly brunette head, less than a fingers worth. Spotty, unorganized lace. Dry chalky, bittersweet chocolate, fruity esters, light roasted malt, good depth but it lacks in potency. Take a big sniff it is worth it. Tasty palate, light roasted malts, a cornucopia of fruits plums, raisins, dark berries plus molasses and toffee. Soft coffee notes too. This is one sweet beer, pun intended. Id prefer more roastedness for balance. Nevertheless, Big Swede has its charm and I like it mighty fine! I would not call this an Imperial Stout however. Medium-full body, minimal carbonation slickish mouthfeel. While the abv is not listed in is noteworthy! Id quaff this sucker again I enjoyed it. Recommended.
tavernjef, thank you!
10-01-2003 20:17:16 | More by bditty187
4.22/5 rDev +8.5%
Almost black, deep coffee coloured, weird lacing punctuates the light brown head. Highly fruity nose, a different impy. Mango and orange.. a fruit salad as well as pure fudge, thick and coffeeish, toffee, coffee liqueur, now this makes one think of a good dessert. Original melon and mellow malts abound in mouth. Little to no hops taste, soft roastiness. Rather hard to describe, but feels like a nice change of pace. Moderately high carbonation, medium bodied, Belgian fruitiness. Good!
09-13-2005 15:28:45 | More by Rastacouere
4.22/5 rDev +8.5%
This beer was poured into pint glasses. The first had hardly any head from a normal pour, so the second I did a vigorous pour without yielding much additional. Head was a very thin, dirty brown; very little carbonation. Color is dark, like crude oil or tar. Aroma yields coffee, malt, and vanilla. Taste is unique; highly ethanolic with strong malt, chickory, and cocoa. Very powerful flavor.
02-25-2009 04:06:01 | More by Atricapilla
4.2/5 rDev +8%
Labeled as a "Swedish Style Imperial Stout". Using some geography, I deduced that in Viking's eyes Swedish Style Imperial Stout = Baltic Porter...which this beer most certainly is.
Beer pours black, hints of dark brown. Nearly uncarbonated, but a thin tan head forms and lasts.
Smells of dark fruit (plum) and alcohol.
More plum on the taste buds with some big grape notes. Wine-like. Some chocolate, carmel, fig and molasses. Oak flavors relatively prominent. An ephemeral vanilla flavor dances around as well. Roasted flavors are subdued (compared to most), but present. Alcohol kicks in towards the finish.
Not super thick, but decently heavy up front, thins towards the finish.
I am guessing the ABV is right up there.
The 22oz bombers are quite nice and a relative steal, price wise.
05-13-2002 20:45:53 | More by cokes
4.18/5 rDev +7.5%
a: pours a very dark black color with about a quarter inch of head that dissapears fast leaving a little ring around the edge of the glass
s: coffee cocoa with hints of bananna very inviting, no hints of alcohol
t: roasted malts cocoa and coffee no hints of the bannana that there was the slight hint of in the aroma
m: medium to to full bodied beer with average carbonation
overall, i really enjoyed this, very good will deffinatly pick up more
03-06-2008 03:45:39 | More by happygnome
4.18/5 rDev +7.5%
Much thanks to nflmvp for offering up this one and to unclejedi for given me the heads up on it during a recent visit to WI.
A-Dark brown, almost black, almost like cola. Not sure if it was my glass or maybe the age of the beer but this one had no head and left me disappointed.
S-Oak and vanilla notes blend nicely with rich coffee and chocolate. A most pleasant brew for inhaling.
T-Dark roasted coffee notes and biter dark chocolate flavor. Bourbonesque notes in the background too. All in all a bit muted compared to the aroma.
M-Medium bodied and maybe not quite as robust as I would have liked. Overall though good with a very nice smoothness.
D-A very nice brew from an unknown brewery to me. I was pleasntly surprised by the quality of this one. Totally solid...another please?
05-25-2008 10:50:37 | More by Deuane
4.15/5 rDev +6.7%
Picked up a 22 oz. bomber at Riley's here in Madison. My second Viking brew, I rather enjoyed their gender-bending Whole Stein porter.
Pours RIS black with some ruby highlights and a smallish tan head and a little spotty lacing. Smell is, whoa there....alcohol, and fruits, some roasty malts. Taste is also much fruitier than I would have guessed. Similar to the Sam Smith Taddy Porter I had the other night, taste was dominated by an apple cidery flavor, with highlights of roasted malt and bittering hops. Leaves a burnt coffee taste on the tongue that isn't really present in the taste. Mouthfeel is smooth, not to thick or thin, and carbonation is rather high, nice on a hot summer evening. The alcohol is strong on the nose, noticible on the palate, but not overpowering. Overall another solid brew from Viking.
08-05-2005 01:16:48 | More by Golden2wenty1
4.13/5 rDev +6.2%
7/27/06 Update: this was 2nd in line during the Imperial/Double Stout night with expatsteve and Golden2wenty1. My overall analysis remains pretty similar and would have resulted in approximately a 4 overall.
12oz single, Riley's, $1.99
appearance: poured into a snifter...motor oil, very dark mahogany...absolutely no head or lacing which was sort of odd...very dark and full body
smell: very rich, dark roasted malt, super creamy, big chocolate aromas, coffee grounds. appears very well balanced from the nose
taste: This is pretty darn tasty...super silky smooth, sweet dark chocolate, very creamy, roasted malt, dark roast coffee, slight bitterness in the aftertaste, alcohol presence felt, licorice, light hopping noticeable...Its not a thick RIS but its very good
mouthfeel: a little on the thin side but delightfully creamy and smooth, bitterness and booze found in the aftertaste
07-24-2006 00:45:08 | More by dirtylou
4.13/5 rDev +6.2%
12oz bottle served at 50 degrees and poured into a pint glass
A - Poured a very nice and very thick dark chocolate brown, almost black, however there was just enough light getting through to give it a rich chocolate note. A rather large tan head about two inches high then rose up over this dark liquid and crowned the top of the glass for a good few minutes. Eventually it decided to settle down and left behind a nice pillow of brown foam, which stayed until the very end of the session. Very thick lace surrounded the glass throughout this entire time and really obscured the insides for a good long while. Really quite nice actually and a very good-looking stout.
S - The aroma was very pleasing and welcomed on this rainy night. Very nice blend of rich coffee and chocolate notes that were swirled around in a good amount of sugar. Lots of interesting notes in here as well. This was one of those that needed to sit down and warm up a while for the really interesting things to start happening. Some nice notes of a bourbon like alcohol and perhaps a hint of some vanilla starting to come out now. Still real strong with the chocolate notes and nice sweetness, perhaps a touch of oak or maybe it is just a deep roasted earthy malt, but either way very nice and definitely was smelling the part so to speak.
T - The flavor followed suit almost perfectly with the rest of the presentation. The first notes to come across to me were a deep roasted coffee taste, not the kind as if you normally find in a coffee stout, but rather, more of a hint of it, laced within an imbedded biter dark chocolate flavor. Lots of earthy tastes in here too, vanilla, caramel sugar, all playing a role. Some dark and fruit, perhaps even a raisin was cloying around trying to break through. The finish definitely had a bit of a hoppy note as well, really coming through the longer you let it linger. Some nice fresh grass flavors mixed in with the sweetness really giving it some nice depth in the profile. Overall, it was defiantly very full flavored and the evolution over the course of the session was not only nice, but also very well balanced.
M - Not as full bodied as I would have liked, it came off as a very full porter, or a lighter stout, whichever you prefer, but in these days of the Imperial Stout, this did not really come through in that class. There was however still very nice qualities to this one that cannot be ignored. Rich smooth and creamy it was very full on the tongue and the carbonation was definitely not a letdown here as you could tell it was still alive all the way until the end. Nice and strong all the way through the finishes, this was definitely a very nice beer.
D - Outstanding for something called an Imperial Stout. I am not really sure what the alcohol content on this one was, but I really could not pick up any of it throughout the session. It really had a very shippable, but as the same time sessionable quality to it. Being very sweet and not soo much as filling as others, it was definitely a winner. I would have loved to have had some more of this one any day.
Overall I did not know what to expect when I was getting myself into a Swedish Imperial Stout, but I was more then pleasantly surprised to say the least. The flavors were extraordinary and the rich creamy feel was just what I needed at the time. I of course have has much bigger in the way of stouts, but this was still excellent and a real treat. I would be glad to try this one again anytime.
03-05-2008 18:31:57 | More by mikesgroove
Big Swede from Valkyrie Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.