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Big Swede - Valkyrie Brewing

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Big Swede
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very good

107 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 107
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 14
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Valkyrie Brewing visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 05-13-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 107 | Reviews: 91
Photo of Greggy
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pitch black body with a tan (band-aid color) head, pretty thick at 1.5 fingers height. As it recedes, it leaves a decent coating of lacing.

S- Big Chocolate, some cream, a bit of graham cracker, some dark fruits, and some sweeter Hershey's chocolate notes. Very sweet smelling.

T- Starts out with a very sweet chocolate that is a bit cloying. I would like to have seen a much larger bitterness right off to balance the show. There is quite a bit of sweetness in there that almost has fruity (think orange) brightness. The finish is much like the start: Sweet and not overly complex.

M- Feels a little thin for a russian impy. Carbonation is low which I like.

D- This isn't a bad beer at all, but it has room for improvement. A hoppier edge would be very nice and would really help the lack of complexity.

Photo of darklordlager
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of homebrew311
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up while I was in Wisconsin. After the horrid beer from Viking that is called Hot Chocolate, I am hoping for something a little more palatable.

A: Pour dark brown/black, no light passes through, no head to speak of, decent amount of lacing

S: smell of deep roasted malts, molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, no noticeable hop presence

T: lots of sweet malts up front as the nose suggests, dark fruits, lots of licorice, this brew leads towards the sweet side and leaves a sweetness lingering on the tongue, a little too sweet for my liking as far as the style goes, the roasted malts don't come through on the palate like they do on the nose which is a slight dissapointment

MF: a tad thin for and RIS, sticky, syrupy

D: takes a hit in this category due to the heavy sweetness that lingers on the palate. This beer is much better than Hot Chocolate, but it isn't an RIS I would seek out again

Photo of Wisconsin
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a pint glass

A - A rigorous pour delivers a deep, rich, black body that has small particles of sediment floating around in it. A frothy, half finger head that is tan rises quickly and and fades slowly to a ring around the edge of the glass after a couple of minutes.

S - Strong roasted malts and barley hit the nose initially. Bitter chocolate and coffee notes are present as well. Sweet yet rich fruit notes (cherries?) combine nicely with a creamy toffee like smell. Faint smells of bourbon are also present. Thus far this one of the best Viking brews I have had. Lets hope it continues once the beer hits the lips.

T - Rich and chewy up front. Plenty of dark chocolate and coffee notes notes that provide a sweet yet slightly bitter backbone along with the roasted malts. Sweet cherries play nicely with the oak and bourbon taste. Certainly could be a little fuller of a beer but overall pretty solid.

M - Full bodied beer with a low amount of carbonation that really doesn't factor too heavily in this beer. Roasted malts, rich creamy chocolate and toffee notes enter initially. A slight bitterness follows with a nice cherry and bourbon combination. A slightly dry finish leaves you with something to be desired but with so much in play and what I would assume to be a high abv it's nothing to complain about.

D - It's hard to imagine this came from the same folks that produced Queen Victoria's Secret IPA. Probably the best offering I have had from Viking. During the cold winter months I could see this one getting called upon quite frequently.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my tulip black with dark brown edges and just a wisp of light tan head that quickly fades to a ring around the top. Aromas of somewhat sweet dark malts along with nice chocolate and molasses undertones. Caramel and some dark fruity accents as well. Mellow overall but still nice.

First sip brings smooth semi-sweet dark malts upfront with chocolate, toffee, molasses and dark fruit flavors weaving in and out. Flows down with some bitter accents and a clean finish. No alcohol to be found even though I don't know what the abv is.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and rich without being too heavy. Goes down easy. Pretty nice imperial stout here...nothing groundbreaking but tasty. Would pick this one up again next time I'm in Wisco.

Photo of blackearth
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Ray's Liquors in Wauwatosa, WI. Pours completely black with no head. Aroma of chocolate, caramel, roasted coffee and alcohol. Medium bodied, low carbonation, biscuit flavors, vanilla, oak, butterscotch, raspberries and a bit of a warming alcohol finish. Great dessert beer.

Photo of roadhouse
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip

Pours up opaque black with a one inch tan head that falls to a cap. It retains well but doesn't leave much lacing.

Aroma is extremely weak. I can barely pick up some mild coffee notes and that's about it.

Taste is at least existent. It's much more than that. Huge burst of chocolate and some sweet caramel. A dark fruit character of raisins and cherries is present in the middle before the finish brings out some light coffee notes and mild grassy hops.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, pretty creamy and easy to drink.

After a non existent smell the taste of this really blew me away as I was expecting a total shitter. Very nice local RIS, I wish I had more. Especially since it was only $1.69 for a single.

Photo of Fartknocker
2.28/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 ounce bottle from a Viking sampler pack

A- very dark brown color with little to no head

S- similar to a coffee stout

T- rather bitter with an even more bitter aftetaste.

M- average, nothing exceptional

D- one was more than enough for me. the bitter tatse and funky aftertaste of one was enough for me

Photo of Atricapilla
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of marcobrau
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter this beer is a very dark brown. What little foam that is created with the pour diminishes quickly to nothing but a few bubbles. The liquid left in my snifter has just a hint of carbonation. The nose is rather interesting with burnt sugar, cocoa and anise. Very assertive flavors of burnt grains, anise, cocoa have me thinking of a stout infused with akvavit (as Scandinavian distilled beverage.) It gets rather complex with bits of dark fruits (I'm thinking figs, raisins), cocoa and molasses followed by the return burnt grain which contributes a harsh bitterness which is in turn downplayed by a smooth anise liqueur finish. Not sure of the alcohol content, but this seems quite potent. Perhaps a little too light-bodied though, as I think some others have said? I like some of the flavors in this beer, but the perceived alcohol content, harsh bitterness and astringency drops the drinkability score -- it's quite a bit of work to get through this beer due to its strength and extremely robust flavors -- different than any other RIS I've sampled.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A big and reach beer with some mixed blessings; thin in body and very light on carbonation (even for an Imperial Stout), but with some nice flavor and drinkability. Pretty good.

Color is (of course) black. Body is a bit thin. Carbonation is virtually non-existent; it looked like a glass of wine when I poured it into a tulip. Aroma was surprisingly robust to me given the thinness of body; it smelled to me a lot like bourbon. Flavor was definitely not bourbon-y; roasty with a lot of fruit notes that reminded me of raisins. Pretty good.

I would recommend this. Very liquor/spirit like.

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

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a jet black body with a transparent thin film of yellowish-beige head that moves to a thicker ring around the edges. There are tiny bubbles stuck to the side of the glass but that is the only sign of carbonation.

S- The smell of roasted black malt has a slight fruity raspberry hint and a soft vinous note to it.

T- The big black roasted malt flavor has an inky quality about it with a tad bit of tartness to it a vinous note as it warms. The finish is a soft chalky taste with a inky bitterness and a faint mint quality about it.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a slippery texture and no alcohol heat noticed. There is a slight astringency from black roasted grain that lingers a bit after the finish.

D- This is my first Swedish style Imperial Stout and it was nice. The big inky black beer was smooth but didn't have much depth of flavor.

Photo of morimech
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very short lived small head forms on the dark black body. No lacing is left on the glass. Most unimpressive looking RIS I have seen.

I smell chocolate, licorice, and a lot of perfumey alcohol. The flavor is big on solvent alcohol character that wipes the malt flavors quickly away. The chocolate malt is delicious while it lasts. Finishes clean and warm. The body is a bit thin for the style but still relatively full bodied. Carbonation is low and lends a creamy texture. A good sipper but there are far better RIS out there. It should cellar nicely and would improve with some age.

Photo of Atron67
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle that looks nothing like the pic. also describes itself as a swedish style imperial stout, but who knows what that means.

A- tan brown head on top that quickly fell to a thin head and a dark black body. after a few minutes was really just a dark black body with no head.

S- big malty body, black and chocolaty flavor all over. actually smells really delicious.

T- smooth malty flavor, big roasted character, pretty damn delicious, slight cherry flavor, smooth malty. this will age like a charm. delicious

M- thick body, light carbonation, heavy handed all over

D- pretty damn delciious and a good sipper

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to unclejedi for this one.

Served from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pitch black with absolutely no highlights or light penetration of any kind. A very small and faint, beige colored head forms. It is wispy and rades rapidly. No lacing.

Aroma is very sweet. Chocolate malts, molasses, plums, figs, any other dark fruit out there, a touch of vanilla, licorice.

A little on the sweet side. Alcoholic as well. Sticky, fruity. This one is quite boozy. Mostly chocolate malts, minimal coffee, more dark fruit. Dried plums really seem to be he overwhleming flavor here. And did I mention the alcohol?

A bit thin. Finishes rather dry, almost bone dry. Fruity aftertaste and a burning heat from the alcohol.

I wouldnt go so far as to say this one is a solvent-like beer, but the abv really shows. I dont mind it too much. 12oz is certainly enough of this one. The heat and alcohol feel make this low on th drinkability scale. Certainly a sipper.

Photo of tedpeer
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a chalice.

A - Vigorous pour left a very thin film that quickly disappeared, leaving a ring around. Brown, not quite black.

S - Coffee and chocolate notes.

T - A mild coffee taste, as well as some dark chocolate. Slight warmth from alcohol.

M - Medium to thin mouthfeel, definately not up to an Imperial Stout.

D - Goes down easy.

Photo of Deuane
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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?

Photo of mully
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours dark/black very thin head that hangs around
smells sweet, molasses coffee and roast malts nutty a little boozy
Patent malts, coffee dark chocolate a little bit of residual sweetness
a little syrupy but not overwhelming
slides down easy for what seems to be a big beer

Photo of happygnome
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Lordsloth
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle with foil wrapping.

I served it a bit cold for a SIS(Swedish Imperial Stout as they called it), and there was practically no head at all- just a thin, tan, bubbly layer on top. A nice dark brown/black beer.

Smells good- a choclatey/coffee flavor floats up from the glass. Taste was more like a sweet Milk Stout at first, with a deeper coffee/Imperial stout flavor afterwards. A bit light in the mouth for an RIS though. Drinkability was ok. Alcohol content was hidden well. A pretty good offering. Next time I will let it warm up a bit longer.

Photo of elricorico
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black in the glass, opaque. One finger of tan head that leaves a bit of lacing as it goes.

The smell had me very excited. Sweet chocolate cake with a rum tinged chocolate icing. The notable alcohol in the aroma was pleasing to the nose.

The taste was good, but didn't quite live up to the smell. Milky coffee, caramel sweetness, bitter chocolate and an alcohol heat.

The body wasn't quite as full as I expected, but the carbonation was adequate and the overall effect was pleasant. An all around good example of the style, thanks to orrshow for sharing the bottle.

Photo of Beertracker
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Viking's Big Swede is best served at warm cellar (50-55°F) temperatures from a brandy snifter or pear shaped stemmed glass. The Big Swede pours up with a small, tightly bubbled khaki head that's barely sustanable over a rather opaque dark brown body. The initial aroma is seemingly marred by a vegetal (DMS) presence with some oxidation (papery/sherry notes), but as it warms in hand this dissipates and becomes more complex with rich, fruity esters (black currant, elderberry), but has an herbal (licorice root, vanilla bean) overtone with a dominate sweet, dark malt roastiness (coffee/mocha). Alcohol warmth is well masked. The initial characater is a bit odd, but definitely malt oriented with lots of sweet mochachino & some sugary (muscavado/treacle) notes with some of dark fruitiness and complexity from the yeast. The finish is a bit sharp and abbreviated, but remains malty nontheless. This medium-full bodied ale is lightly carbonated, creamy, and warming. The Big Swede is quintessentially more of a Baltic Porter than a Russian Imperial Stout. Viking's Big Swede is a welcomed friend on a cold winter's night.

CHEERS! Beertracker

Taster's Note: *Special thanks to hoppymeal for the bottle!

Photo of tempest
2.69/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I seemed to have a pleasant memory of the last time I tried the Big Swede. My current bottle doesn't match those expectations, however. The aroma is a mix of vegetables and Jell-o chocolate pudding. The flavor follows with a hint of roasted grains and smooth milk chocolate, but mostly ugly veggies flavors. I don't think this bottle has an excuse or anything. I picked it up as a single from a fridge at the Blue Max - same place I got the last bottle. I can at least say the alcohol is well-hidden, bravo. I can't drink the whole bottle of this, though.

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Big Swede from Valkyrie Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.