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Big Swede - Valkyrie Brewing

Not Rated.
Big SwedeBig Swede

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

101 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 101
Reviews: 88
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 14
Gots: 2 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 05-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 101 | Reviews: 88 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of walleye
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to sully (from the other site) at the kuhnhenn gathering on 6/10. from the bottle, poured dark like coke, with smal off white head that didn’t last very long. aroma, coffee, dark cherries, roasted malts, and a nice touch of apples and hints of alcohol. flavor a bit on the weak side, nothing like the aroma, coffee, malts sweet fruits.

walleye, Aug 17, 2005
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Golden2wenty1, Aug 05, 2005
Photo of fisherman34
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled sample. Very dark brown in colour... almost black. Aromas of citrus hops, soy, chocolate and coffee. Strong and sweet malty flavor, with notes of berry fruit, coffee, chocolate, prune. Minimal carbonation. It could use some more time to even out, but this is still nice to drink now.

fisherman34, Jul 04, 2005
Photo of beergeek279
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in the 22 oz. bottle into a dimple pint. The color is jet black, with a slightly lingering layer of bubbly beige head. The smell is oak-dominated with a bit of a molasses/chocolate sweetness in there. The taste is a good mix of a bourbon smoky flavor and a complimentary molasses/chocolate sweetness, along with a lingering coffee-ish bitterness and a good bit of warming alcohol. Mouthfeel seems just a touch thin. As for drinkability, this is nice and would have a couple of these on a colder day.

Thanks to the 'monk for this bottle in the Secret Bunny. A very nice imperial stout with a good mix of smokiness and sweetness, with unfortunately a thin mouthfeel for the style. A beer that's quite enjoyable and one I would have again.

beergeek279, Jul 04, 2005
Photo of bnuttz
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

bnuttz, May 01, 2005
Photo of skybluewater
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brownish-black color with ruby highlights. Smells of port and chocolate (I love the smell of Impys!) Taste is quite vinous, with a roasty edge and some chocolate as well. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, and while the taste is good, it isn't as good as the exemplars of the style. Alcohol is well-hidden.

Nevertheless, this is a nice brew, and at $3 for a 22-oz bomber, a great value. I'll definitely buy again, once in a while.

skybluewater, Mar 13, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Big Swede delivers the traditional opaque black body and very dark tan cap that's expected of an Imperial Stout; and the head retention is good, and it leaving some very nice lace about the glass. The nose offers a delicate combination of roastiness, dark fruitiness, and some higher alcohols. It's medium-full bodied and smooth across the palate, but not particularly creamy. In the flavor, the dark fruitiness is probably the most intersting part. It takes on the "burnt currant" flavor normally associated with the style, but it's a bit richer with some more berry-like flavors. The roastiness is also nicely balanced, lending splashes of black coffee here and there, but remaining overall fairly restrained. There's a delicate milk chocolate side that's also interesting, and it melds really well with the fruitiness. Still, some higher alcohols interfere and take away from its overall enjoyment. It finishes dry with some alcohol and a lingering, vinous and tannic fruitiness.

NeroFiddled, Mar 01, 2005
Photo of TastyTaste
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

TastyTaste, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of Boto
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber: This one pours a bit "thick". It is a syrupy dark brown color. There was a firm, tan head on it. It drops away leaving some nice lacing. The aroma is quite nice. Major doses of sweetness and chocolate. Maybe some fruits also. The taste is very chocolatey. A faint hit of bitterness in the aftertatse. A very silky mouthfeel. Nice.

Boto, Dec 31, 2004
Photo of BeerBuilder
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep murky brown color, almost black. Head is non-existent, just a ring of light brown. The aroma is souring, apple-like and lactic, with a nice malty backbone. I get some alcohol in the aroma as well. The flavor is malty and somewhat creamy with a coffee-like maltiness, and just lightly roasty. It is very drinkable for an imperial stout. Medium in body with just a bit of drying bitterness in the finish. Not too bad.

BeerBuilder, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of Skidz
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out dark brown and sits almost entirely black in the glass with a small fluffy/creamy tan head.

SMells of brown sugar, chocolate and coffee, primarily. Light alcoholic presence and some fruity esters, strangely to be found, apples.

Bitter up front, roasty. A mild and tangy sourness comes out. Caramel sweetness and brown sugar blended with chocolate and espresso with a coffee-like bitterness. Finish is lighter than expected and mildly bitter, but with lingering sweetness.

Smooth, rich and silky all over. Big, full body with light carbonation. An easy stout to drink, but I've got to try aging this one, as it seems a bit "young" to me.

Skidz, Nov 17, 2004
Photo of alexgash
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cola brown to black. Doesn’t look as thick as some imperial stouts I’ve had. Small sand-colored head.
Smarties candy sweet malt, cocoa, sour raisins, whiskey, alcohol, and some Viking yeast make up the interesting nose.
Tastes of sweet tangy plums with smoky peat accents. Dark chocolate and Canadian whiskey surface and lead to a medium roasty bitterness. Hops aren’t well defined, but are certainly bitter. Finish is bitter with a strong, sweet, alcoholic malt presence. My favorite Viking brew so far. A tangy interpretation of a great style. Big bodied, with a chewy mouthfeel, although not as big as some imperial stouts.

alexgash, Nov 03, 2004
Photo of Bierman9
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark brown color...nearly black. Even when held up to a light there was nothing coming through. Head was very short, almost to the point of not being there. Simply a bit of tan bubbles doing a rim job. Minimal lacing as well. Nose was roasty chocolate, with heavy notes of dark fruit, especially raisins. Big Swede had a soft feel on the tongue. Body was just about medium, though if it had been fuller and chewier I'd have rated it higher here. Flavor abounds with dark fruit...a lovely melange of raisins and currants melding in with some cappucino-like notes. A smidge of floral hops arises near the finish, which is somewhat dryish and has some bitter chocolate touches in the aftertaste. Pretty decent brew, though not as complex as some Imperials. Thnx to Tavernjef and BIF3 for sending this my way. Zum Wohl!!

overall: 3.9
appearance: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


Bierman9, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Just like the picture in the BA database, a thick golden foil completely wraps the crown cap and the entire neck of this 22ounce brown glass bottle. The top of the foil has a red round sticker with the words ‘Something Special from Wisconsin’. The main (and only) label has a nice shiny metallic gold background with black text. A Viking Longboat rides the froth atop a large Mug. Listed as ‘Big Swede’ and described as a ‘Swedish Style Imperial Stout’. No strength or freshness date listed. I noted that this is somewhat confusingly labeled as Cask-Conditioned, I assume this means prior to bottling?!? However, as the sediment (which it recommends you leave IN the bottle) this really leads me to believe that Viking mean the Big Swede is unfiltered and merely allowed to age in a wooden cask, prior to bottling. I assume that this is therefore ‘Cask Aged’ and bottled “sur lees”, hence really ‘Bottle-Conditioned’.

Appearance: Thick black pour, oooh just how I like it. Upon closure examination, and with a strong light, the body is a very dark brown color, like a deeply polished dark teak-mahogany sideboard. It oozes danger as the nicotine stained brown head easily forms from the partial pour into my half pint glass. The head is a solid ½” offering at first but it fades at a reasonable pace to leave a nice ring like caged lacing and a thin collar like neck that stays throughout, but which occasionally breaks to expose a tar like black surface. A quick swirl reinstates the head. Superb carbonation, which has a nitro look to it at times.

Nose: Broodingly Baltic. Dark malts with a slight vinous twist that warns of alcohol. Roasted malts, dark cooking chocolate, you know the really bitter stuff. Some plums, figs dates and a light caramel toffee odor as it warms. Delicate hints of Port soaked Plums that I sometimes got the chance to try at the homes of posh people at Xmas. Nice nose.

Taste: Thick roasted malts carpet the introduction and allow the dark chocolate sponge cake middle to smoothly enter. Some plums and figs with a date like sweetness in the back third linger with warming but soothing alcohols. This has a very nice Imperial Stout feel and taste profile, albeit with a vinous thread that runs through it start to finish but which never becomes over bearing.

Mouthfeel: Starts with an incredibly smooth creamy mouthfeel, which has some coffee and bitter chocolate traits. The feel is soon altered as the vinous alcohols take over in the back end leaving a somewhat warming feel in the mouth on the swallow. Lingering warmth in the gullet.

Drinkability: Rather easily imbibed, and even though I do not know the strength of this, I believe that its Drinkability belies it strength – maybe I should limit myself to the one Bomber of this tonight and leave the bottle of Berserk Barleywine for later in the week.

Overall: I am not that up on styles, but this certainly has a Baltic influence to it, the creamy bitterness, roasted malts and vinous traits are nicely placed and add power to an already Big beer. Very nice indeed!! Certainly worth seeking out.

A massive Bjorn Borg “Aye am Kumming vrom Sveedan, Thhhaaank-ahhew” to Minnesota’s finest ABBA lover, Sir Big of the Blond Hair and Blue Eyed Huge, for this Swedish-Wisconsin Imperial Stout. As the Swedes would say, “Tack Joe”.

TheLongBeachBum, Jun 03, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hmmm, a Swedish-style Imperial Stout, eh? Never heard of that before!
Dark as a starless night, ebon as the blackest sin, with an excellent, thick, creamy brown head, bubbles popping and foam softly, slowly subsiding. Leaves a mild lacing behind.
Aroma is a puzzle, nutty and creamy, but not issuing forth any typical IS characteristics, but, ah, this is that Swedish sub-style we must consider! Good cocoa, a hint of molasses, overall, mild, but pleasant enough.
Taste: Mmmmm! Yes! there we go! Big, cocoa and coffee, right at the first meeting of lips and liquid, thick, sweet, and slightly bitter, bracing, substantial, with a full texture, and a long, serious, sticky finish. Body is full, but could be fuller, the flavor however never flags, that we can freely admit. This is very tasty,wtih further flavors of dark fruits, carob, dark rum, figs, a whiff of whiskey, all speaking up as the drink goes down.
I like one. Doesn't stack up to so many other favorite ISs of mine ( and I've got a long list), but it's a nice little rendition nonetheless. I highly enjoyed this bomber-size serving, thanks to tavernjef for bringing it over the border for me, and would enjoy it more in the future.

feloniousmonk, Apr 10, 2004
Photo of aracauna
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is super-black with a nice thick head. It's oily and sweet, with a lot of chocolate, but there's not a lot of roast malt/coffee flavors. The body is a bit thin. This is a lot like my homebrewed imperial stout in that if it it'd up the roast malt in the grain bill, it'd probably be really good. Of course, as it is, it's quite enjoyable.

aracauna, Feb 23, 2004
Photo of ADR
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extremely dark brown, sub-black but opaque. Dark tnnish head, creamy with condensation on the top. Laces in multiples of numerous dots. The aroma is roasty, burnt wheat toast with a green grain sense and a slight astringency. Medium body and slick in viscosity, flavor is dominated by fruit, raisin that ranges a bit too far into an unripe grape wine-iness and overall acidity. Finishes with an oily coffee impression, perhaps re-inforced by generous hops. The set-up seems good, some alcohol power, just wanting a little more rich sweetness to balance the load.

ADR, Feb 11, 2004
Photo of marc77
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Virtually black, with deep, clear burgundy flares when held to light. Head recedes into a tight beige rim that yields sparse lace. The aroma is dominated by a minty ethanol and sweet cocoa combination-- very much mint chocolate like. Becomes more buttery as it breathes, with burnt, buttery toffee hints offsetting the pronounced alcohol presence. Slight solvent fusel wafts detract from what would otherwise be an outstanding aroma. In flavor, cocoa butter notes are perceived initially, then widen into a melange of coffeeish roasted barley and black licorice. Chocolate character augments progressively and approaches fudge like, but is tapered by sturdy hop bitterness. Subdued, but well integrated woody hop flavor. Mild esterwise, with only understated ripe plum hints. Persistent, black pepper like ethanol as well as the hop presence transiently lend dryness, but residual chocolate driven sweetness takes charge. Lightly carbonated, with ample dextrins and apparent low attenuation. Viscous in mouthfeel, with a syrupy coat. Finishes with a espresso like snap, but otherwise with a lingering impression of rum soaked brownie. Big Swede is a unique imperial with assertive dark chocolate like sweetness two notches shy of cloying. This diminishes the drinkability a touch, but it makes a fine belly warmer and dessert beer nonetheless. Big thanks to Bighuge for Big Swede.

marc77, Feb 01, 2004
Photo of Gusler
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is as dark as they can get, and that’s 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”!

Gusler, Oct 18, 2003
Photo of bditty187
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. I’d 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’! I’d quaff this sucker again… I enjoyed it. Recommended.

tavernjef, thank you!

bditty187, Oct 01, 2003
Photo of ZAP
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coal black...light reddish tint when held to the light..a nice little tan head...on the nose its java and sweet chocolate with the chocolate dominate...nice...sweet milk chocolate flavor dominates...very slight spciy alcoholic finish...big roasty maltiness...creamy, velvet like mouthfeel...Low carbonation works wonders in the mouth...thick but not heavily muscled like some...

i'm not a big fan of this brewery but this is a solid Imperial that is a notch below special...perhaps the best of the inconsistent Viking lot..

ZAP, Sep 02, 2003
Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

tavernjef, Aug 05, 2003
Photo of jeffboo
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Imperial turned out to be a handful. The alcohol is nicely hidden from view until the bottle is empty and it's time to find the bed. It is very black with dark brown head. The aroma is not as complex as the flavors following behind it, it is roasted coffee,burnt sugar and molassas. The flavors run from rum and raisin to maple and chocolate. It has an oily, full body that's very drinkable with a roasted malt and hop dry finish. I'm not sure a Swedish Imperial stout would differ much from a Russian one, but this one is smooth with some noticable alcohol showing up in the flavor half way through, smooth but rather potent.

jeffboo, Jun 26, 2003
Photo of budgood1
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a swedish style imperial stout, eh? sounds interesting....
out of the 22oz. bomber this "big swede" pours out thick and rich, deep and dark; with ruby tints...a thin but firm tan head appears and reduces down to a fine and sticky lace. very aromatic...i can smell it sitting in the glass from a distance. big time ripe fruits such as plum, prune and raisin come to mind. i was expecting a explosion of flavour upon tasting, but the strongest sensation is i get is the high ABV...which isn't bad. hints of yeasty sourness are followed by smooth chocolate covered cherries, rum soaked raisins, black malted barley, and a nice belly warming booziness. all these understated flavours meld quite nicely into a rewarding stout experience. the body is full; the mouthfeel somewhat syrupy, smooth and slick. although fairly easy drinking, i find myself content to sip on this one, as the high ABV is making my face flush. in fact, i wish there was more of a pronounced flavour profile and less of the increasingly evident alcohol smackdown. nonetheless, i find this to be a rather unique imperial stout. definitely worth a try.
thanks to the future wife for bringing this back from wisconsin a few months ago!

budgood1, May 17, 2003
Photo of Bighuge
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a dark, dark ruby. A nice creamy chocolate brown head tops it off and is well retained. Nice roasted malt, burnt tones, expresso and coffee tones on the nose. A full bodied syrupy mouthfeel. There is a heavy blend of sweet toffee and bittersweet chocolate on the tongue. Actually, it's pretty nice. Not enough burnt tones for my liking and a little too sweet also. There's some lactic sourness present. But all in all, this is pretty damn tasty.

Bighuge, Aug 27, 2002
Big Swede from Valkyrie Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.