Splinter Black - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Splinter BlackSplinter Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

165 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 165
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 18.78%
Wants: 90
Gots: 73 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: fiver29 on 10-21-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 165 | Reviews: 98
Reviews by RandomBattle:
Photo of RandomBattle
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

They should release this in the summer time so I don't have to freeze my nuts off to get it. Anyway...

Appearance - Whoa head! This was one seriously carbonated beer. I thought perhaps it was my pour, but not so much. It looks awesome though, off white rocky head that dissipates REALLY slow, which is not always a good thing.

Smell - When reviewing stouts a lot of people tend to use the word oak in their general listing of smells. I never really get a sense of that with most stouts, maybe if its aged in bourbon barrels and the bourbon isn't polluting the aroma of the beer. This beer is almost all oak, and for obvious reasons. Great oaky smell as well as some fainter vanilla, chocolate, roasted malt odors.

Taste - Yep, more oak. Yay, I guess. If you like your beers aged in oak this one will not disappoint. Great oak flavors, along with sweet vanilla, caramel, coffee, and some chocolate, with faint raisin notes in the finish. Enjoyable.

Mouthfeel - As I said before this beer is a bit of an overcarbonated mess. It has a pretty average mouthfeel for a stout, not too thick and not too thin.

Overall - I wouldn't really travel far and wide to get a hold of this one (even though I already did). However, it is a very solid offering from Troegs though. I am looking forward to the next beer in their Splinter series, whatever it may be.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle. Never thought I would get to try it.

The beer pours a black color with a brown head. A nice looking stout. The aroma is great. I get some roasted malt and chocolate up front, but I also get a lot of barrel aging notes - bourbon, oak and brown sugar.

The flavor is even better than the aroma. I get a lot of roasted malt, chocolate and oak notes, as well as some bourbon, vanilla, maple, brown sugar and molasses. There is also a slight bit of smoke, but is more of an ashy smoke than a meaty smoke. It compliments the other flavors very well.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Way to go koufax21 for braving the cold and snowstorm to get this and bring it out to Nevada. Too bad it didn't help your ping pong game.

Another big imperial stout with a cherry cola head. Must be that time of year. Deep, dark black, good head and lacing. Seemingly had a deep amount of vanilla in the nose along with a big portion of oak.

A lesser amount of vanilla on the tongue. Good amount of chocolate, almost what seemed like a tinge of chamapagne yeast to this one, the carbonation was a lifting presence to the beer to keep it from seeming too heavy. The large oaked presence probably does some work in that department too. Velvety seems to be on point. Really, can't think of too many stouts that have this much of a full bodied wood flavor going along with it.

Photo of glid02
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks! This is my second time having this beer, both experiences were similar.

Pours black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust roasted malts with hints of char and larger amounts of oak. Also present are mild amounts of vanilla aromas that are sweeter and distinct from the oak.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Large amounts of roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by semi-sweet chocolate. Midway through the sip earthy oak and light vanilla flavors work their way into things, carrying through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's got nice carbonation however the thickness is on the thin side.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have another.

Overall, as I mentioned previously, this is my second time having this beer and both times were disappointingly underwhelming. I feel as though the base beer needs some tweaking to make this a great beer. Worth a shot if you stumble across it but not worth seeking out.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to schen9303 for sharing this one. Corked and caged 750ml bottle poured into a Portsmouth snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A: Standard pour yields a 2 finger dark mocha head with amazing retention. A thick frothy layer stuck around the top of the beer through the entire glass. Beer is an opaque black. Lacing is rather poor. Stays close to the head and with very little cling.

S: Nose is subtle but complex. Chocolate, slight hoppiness, sweet soy sauce, liquorice, roasted malt, tobacco, and smoke. Really had to put my nose all the way into the glass to get all the flavors, but pretty delicious overall.

T: Opens with a creamy whole milk and hops. Rasted malt, backbone lends a bit of smoke and sweetness. Liquorice, chocolate, and sweet soy sauce in the middle. Liquified prune. Chocolate and vanilla clas towards the end, creating both a sweet and roasty complexity. Boozy tingle at the end with a slight soy saucy aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, low carbonation, and slightly tingly in the mouth. A bit light on the tongue. Prickly an overly bubbly at times. Slightly prickly. Oily and filmy going down. Slight accent on the finish with an aftertaste that lingers.

D: An amazingly complex beer both in the nose and taste, where this one falls a bit short is on the mouthfeel. A tad too thin and a bit overcarbonated even as I let it sit and warm to room temperature. Prevents integration of all the flavors. I'd definitely have this again but don't know if its worth aging. Not sure how it could develop into a better beer in the future.

Photo of miketd
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle at Lakewood Winking Lizard. Pours black with a nice beige head. Aroma is chocolate, roast, vanilla and has a lot of woody tannins. Has a faint fruit thing as well. Flavor is roast chocolate, vanilla and wood with almost zero alcohol. Fairly bitter from the chocolate and hops. Palate is full and it is quite smooth. Great beer from Troegs... I expected it to be an average beer at best.

Photo of nickd717
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

Pours jet black and rather thick with a large tan head that soon settles to a finger or two. Good lacing.

The aroma is amazing, even for this great style. Big rich sweet malt notes, chocolate and caramel, along with vanilla, oak, toasted coconut, and maybe even some smoke.

The flavor is big and bold. Rather sweet flavor, big toffee, roast, sweet dark chocolate, coconut, vanilla, spice, and oak.

Very smooth and slick mouthfeel with full body. Carbonation just a little too high.

Other than that though, a damn good beer. Really liked this, but maybe I'm just a homer.

Photo of Kegatron
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked & caged bottle into a couple of tulip glasses.

The initial pour on this was very foamy. Not quite a gusher but it did take a bit to get all of it into both glasses. After things settle down, this is pitch black in the glass with about a finger or so of frothy chocolate milk colored head. This stays VERY rich and robust looking and just drenches the sides of the glass with thick foamy lacing. The aroma has a bold sweet stickiness in the nose of cocoa, vanilla, burnt sugars, milky cream, and some light leafy hops. Spicy fusels, roast, and some green woody character from the barrel round the edges of this out nicely.

The taste has a big base to it of chocolate roast, husky cocoa notes, and sweet vanilla that adds some creamy character to the profile. Probably one of the most interesting aspects of this beer is how the vanilla, the turbinado sugar that was used, and the tannic flavors from the oak, combine to give off an almost lightly astringent (borderline souring) milky character in this. Leftover sugars spills into the back-end, along with lingering roast, citrus flavors, and some extra dry woodiness that hangs on the edges of the profile and then pulls together into a spicy finish. The mouthfeel is fuller overall in the mouth, but this does feel surprisingly thin for the general thickness of the flavors here. What this does achieve though is a smooth creaminess that glides along easily in the mouth with barely any alcohol warmth giving itself away. Very impressive drinkibility to this for an 11%, despite the lightness of the body in spots.

If anything, I think that this maybe suffers a bit at times from the heavy oakiness here, as all of those tannins from the barrel contribute to that interesting lactic flavor (which while I could see this as being off-putting to some, I personally didn't mind at all) and the general overly sleek feel of the body. All in all though, I really enjoyed this, as it was still sweet and decadent tasting, had an extremely well hid ABV, and brought something different to the table that you normally don't find in a barrel-aged Imperial Stout. I'd like to maybe see some tweaking done to this for the next batch but I really think that they are on the right track with this so far.

Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks to nickd717 (I think at least...) for this tick while at Beechwood BBQ after the Bruery Reserve Society Party. Served from bottle into a goblet. Poured pitch black with a minimal light tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor was of chocolate, sweet malt, and alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. It had a pretty nicely balanced flavor going on that was quite enjoyable. The aroma was also very nice and invited you in to drink more. This is a definite must try given the chance.

Photo of alleykatking
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml. Thanks to jdefont for busting this bottle out.

A- Pours a as close to black as you can get without being black color. One and a half finger tan head shows medium retention. Lacing on the sides of the glass come in streaks.

S- Oak and more oak in the front. Roasted malts come in the front wiith light hints of vanilla. Charr from the barrels come through next in the aroma with hints of darker fruit. Caramel malts shine in the ending along with a underlying chocolate malt. Simple overall for a beer that was so hyped at first.

T- Light roasted malts start off this beer which inturn gives off a light oak impression. Coffee comes through next with light roast in the ending. Middle of the beer shows a caramel like base body with a light charr hint to it. More roasted malts with a hint of chocolate comes through in the ending. Very ending has a hint of vanilla with a strong oak finish. Alcohol is apparent in the ending and gives off a little bit of a hot presence.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little high for the style giving it a light fizzy feel on the palate. Roasted malts, light chocoalte, and lots of oak are left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly alcohol, oak, chocolate, and hints of vanilla. Flavors were a little off blended with the oak at times coming through very highly. No real off flavors were present this beer overall was a little young I thought. High alcohol drying on the palate overall from the oak overtones and alcohol.

O- This was a good beer. Was it worth the hype? I wouldn't say that. The ABV was really not much of a issue and never really came up while drinking this. A little immature I thought and could have sat around a little more. This beer wasn't as bad as others have stated although I see why it isn't the most sought after in the Splinter Series.

Photo of akorsak
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the brewery. In line at 5AM with wristband #25.

A: The stout is black, pitch black. No coffee brownness to deceive you. This puppy absorbs every color on the spectrum. A cafe au lait-colored head, over two fingers on each pour, quickly receded.

S: The nose is interesting, with vanilla and oak standing out. Dark sugars stand out as well, an unusual sweetness that takes some time to get used to. Cacao, semi-sweet, and roasted malts also take a turn. The nose verges on Belgian stout territory. That's generally problematic but not here.

M: The oak is more pronounced in the taste, adding a wooden vanilla flavor with the normal bourbon. I think that the virgin oak is a better idea, as it allows the other flavors to come through. The stout, overall, is very smooth, with dark chocolate malts and burnt toast driving the taste. The cacao and turbinado sugar follow, increasing the complexity of the stout. While admittedly a little hot, the ale doesn't have much burn behind it. Plenty of vanilla, thanks to those Ugandan beans, a sweet flavor that rivals the built-up stout flavors. Black pepper runs around, filling a void mid-sip. The oak barrel and vanilla, along with the sugars, are the stars of the show, leaving a sweet lingering finish.

M: The mouthfeel, with the excessive vanilla and sugars, is top-notch. The roasted flavors, sweet vanilla and oak, and dark sugars rock out.

D: At 11%, a good beer to share. A rich flavor, best expressed at room temperature, that lingers long on the palate. Worth a few hours in the mid-December cold.

Photo of gregshead
1.43/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A: Pours a nice jet black with a good finger of dark tan head.

S: Some roasted grains smell but there is some weird sawdust/rotten funk on the nose that seems to take over.

T: Man, what a disappointment. This beer had that rotten/saw dust taste that takes over. Not quite a sour taste like most infections, which would have been better in my mind. Had to pour it down the drain despite multiple attempts to get past the initial taste aversion.

M: The feel seemed to be affected as well. Over carbonated for a Stout like this. So strange.

D: It got poured down the drain. Need I say more? It sucks but it just wasn't drinkable. At all.

4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

$24 for the 750mL, served in a mini snifter
ABV not indicated, damn surprised at the 11% listing
Sampled 31DEC12

[A] An absolutely beautiful head froths up after a slow pour, 3 fingers high, medium brown in color, and ridiculously long lasting. The head is easily the fluffiest head on a dark beer that I've ever seen. Pitch black body with dark amber edges when the glass gets low.

[S] Virgin oak barrels impart their unforgettably pungent scent. Heavily charred and roasted aromas waft next. Dark chocolate or fudge plus a hint of vanilla and, to no surprise, mild oxidation.

[T] Barrel, roasted malts, mild char, and rich cocoa. The vanilla bean flavor has more than less faded at this point but is noticeable in trace amounts. A little hint of raisin/dark fruit flavor comes through at the very end. Nice subtle touch.

[M] Whatever the over carbonation concerns once were can now be completely forgotten. (Well, for this bottle anyway.) The mouthfeel is stunning. So soft, so full. Hell, as pronounced on the bottle tag, Chris and John may very well have "captured silk in a bottle."

[O] The less than stellar opinions following the release of Splinter Black prompted me put my bottles away and forget about them, figuring that: If its average now, why bother? And if its going to improve, then all the better. Well, this beer is drinking fantastically right now - particularly in the mouthfeel. If you haven't opened a bottle recently, I suggest that now is as good a time as any.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep, dark, brown. Little reddish hues coming through this one throughout the session. Not nearly opaque, but yet very dark indeed. A nice head, maybe two inches high came up over the top and settled down slowly leaving behind a very nice billow if tan across the top and really just a great amount of side glass lace to it. The only thing I could think of that detracted from this one was the lack of the pitch black darkness you would normally find.

Deep rich notes of roasted malts, dark cherries, currant and a touch of fig. Very complex and interesting take on the style. vanilla bombed, molasses infused chocolate stouts we have all come to love, tons of oak here but i am getting lots of dark fruit too.. The flavor was just as amazing and in fact went through several transformations as it approached its room temperature peak. lots of cherry and dark fruit like flavors mixed in with a roasted, almost smoky malt that served to let you know this was indeed a stout. As it warmed though it started to peak through with a bit of cocoa, just the slightest touch of sweetness coming through now but still, that dark, cherry and currant like flavor that was all over this. The slightest bit of tartness working its way though as well, really just plowing over the flavor at the end leaving me with a long drawn out flavor, somewhat dry, and a nice touch of sweetness on the tongue.

Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by nickd717. Thanks.

Appropriately black. The beer is fizzy and effervescent, the tan head impressively persistent.

The nose is heavy on the green, earthy oak. Behind that there's a touch of vanilla and chocolate, though the spiciness of the oak is dominant.

Oak is also dominant on the tongue, spicy and tannic, earthy, drying. Vanilla and cocoa are prevalent, along with a backbone of ashy, acidic roasted malt. The body is too thin, carbonation too high; the beer doesn't have enough sweetness or body to withstand the fresh oak barrel. Finishes with intense tannins and roast, lingering vanilla. This beer gave me cottonmouth.

It's tough to use fresh oak barrels with beer, and this one certainly missed the mark.

Photo of DrBier
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber, opaque brown in the glass, efervesscent with tight tan head, nice lacing. Halfway thru a Duvel goblet and still has a 1/8" head across entire beer.

Aromas seem subdued even with agitation, subtle oak and vanilla. Some chocolate and roasty aromas from the malt. Not much for any hop aroma but a nice subtle barrel aroma, worthy of long deep inhales. With warming a nice earthy aroma fills the spaces between the other aromas.

Tastes of vanilla and oak up front quickly chased by the roasty bitterness of the malt and hops. Mild chocolate and vanilla return with a lingering bitterness. As the beer warms chocolate becomes much more pronounced towards the end very nicely balancing the bitternes

Mouthfeel is wonderful. For a beer of this abv and style it is very smooth, light on the tongue and slides right down. Carbonation is pretty lively, dosen't detract but could be even smoother, possibly with aging.

A great original american barrel aged imperial stout. No booze flavors but so much going on that one sip requires another just to keep up. Good stuff.

This is a great interpretation of an American oak aged Imperial Stout. No whiskey or other booze influence just wood, vanilla and chocolate layered on top of thick layers of malts and hops. Kinda like yer favorite birthday cake without the wood.

Photo of BZero007
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a BA Tasting this past weekend.

Pours a very black color void of light. The head forms easily and the lace hangs around. The lace was very exciting on this brew as it hung around longer than i usually expect on a RIS. The aroma was of medium power and was a smooth roasty/oaky smell. The taste was very interesting as it was a very well balanced RIS. Latley the popular thing is to make overly hoppy or roasty brews, leaving the well balanced in the background. The flavors were easily picked out as not one or the other was over powering. The balance was very appreciated and was a brew that could be enjoyed threw out the night. Would love to pick this up again and share with friends.

Photo of vacax
1.72/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a pure black with a nicely thick head of light brown foam, good lacing and retention. Aroma of vanilla, umami, cacao bean oaky, ashy, chalky, acidic. Sharp oak flavor, very green, astringent tannins, acidic, unripe currants. Finish is ashy, green, astringent. Moderate thickness of body and matching carbonation, but little enjoyment due to the astringent quality of the beer. Even a tiny sample is difficult to drink. One of the worst barrel aged stouts I have had that wasn't obviously infected.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pulled this one out of my cellar to try after the Splinter Gold. Beer number 2 of the tasting.

The appearance is perhaps this beer's strongest component. Pitch black body that yields rich garnet around the edges where the light can make its way through. Capped by a creamy and frothy (too much?) thick milk chocolate colored head, which astoundingly leaves not a bit of lace to be found.

Aromas of woody tannins, vanilla from the oak rather than the vanilla beans, dark chocolate, anise, and some warm alcohol. The palate brings on more of the same, with a ton of oak, licorice and anise. Unfortunately, I can't really make out enough of the cocoa nibs and vanilla bean that was added to this while it was in the barrels. Resinous and roasty in the finish, with warm alcohol coming in and then giving way to more toasty oak tannins. There are also hints of piney hops that are beginning to fade.

Highly carbonated for any style, though the carbonation gives Splinter Black a silky feel, not a prickly one. I do question the strategy of virgin oak barrel aging, as I felt the tannins from the wood out-muscled the other flavorings added to the barrels. I would say that this would be a great off-the-shelf beer, but falls short of the loft expectations that surrounded it after the limited brewery-only release and the hype that surrounds the series.

Photo of StormKing47
4.6/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Decided to open another one with a couple of unsuspecting co-workers for a nice surprise before the holiday. Have had a bunch of pours from other bottles and this review is well overdue so here goes...

A- This one is indeed deep and dark with a sex appeal like none other. I really like the way this one looks it's seductive, a great black color and simply gorgeous in my glass. Has an odd amount of carb that leads to a decent size head that is dark brown and full of bubbles. This one was bottle conditioning in the bottles for some time before the release and it's evident in the amount of carb.

S- An unbelievable amount of vanilla and oak greets me upon first investigation. As it continues to warm the deep and roasted malts come out and meld with the sweetness of the dark chocolates, very pleasant, but even better is how the malts add a nice touch of caramel in the nose. Honestly an unbelievable sweet smell with a nice earthy, woody oak undertone that has a good amount of vanilla to complement. I know the abv is high, but the smell would not tell you that at all.

T- After being drawn in by the smell I couldn't help it, I needed a nice and big sip! An unbelievably smooth stout especially for how big it is. There is an immediate rush of vanilla and sharp oaky notes along with a very nice sweet malty taste. It continues to assault my taste buds with a sweet caramel and dark chocolate finish. It's honestly like sipping a finely crafted extra thick milk shake. I want to drink more and more and more. The melding of the oak, vanilla, sweet and dark chocolates and amazing caramel undertone is astonishing!

M- Just like the notes say it's smooth as silk. Actually a very good descriptor, but even better is that it's chewy and viscous and coats your entire mouth. It is very smooth, but it lingers on your tongue allowing you taste every little aspect and nuance of the masterpiece. Their is no bitterness and it's simply divine. My only gripe would be there is a bit too much carb at this point. Hopefully it subsides and let's it smooth out even more. A must try!

D- Beyond dangerous! The alcohol is masterfully hidden and there is almost no bitterness from any aspect of the brew. It's smooth, complex and absolutely delicious. I wish it was a seasonal and not a limited release.

Another home run for John, Chris and theTroegs staff with their Splinter series. Keep them coming Troegs you can do know wrong and hopefully you master the art of barrel aging and can bring it into the seasonal platform or at the very least the scratch series!

Photo of ShanePB
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle, my second one from the few I picked up from the brewery. Both bottles were the same, no variation as others have reported. Poured into multiple mini snifter glasses at a tasting.

A: Pitch black, slow forming tan head that dissipates into a small cap of foam and leaves some good lacing. A beautiful looking beer.

S: Sun dried wood chips, powdery ash, roasted malt base with touches of some bitter dark cocoa.

T: Bitter dark chocolate, some more oak wood. This is lot less sweet than I thought it was going to be. Roasted malt, vanilla beans and some toffee with a caramel spin round out the palate, finishing dry and not sticky.

M: Velvety smooth, almost a full body but the carbonation keeps it feeling quite medium bodied. Dryness sticks around long after the sip.

This is definitely a good, but I'm interested to see how this develops over time. I'd like to see the carbonation mellow out a bit... I'll be sure to revisit in a year or so.

Photo of oline73
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a finger of tan head and good retention. Smells slightly sweet with a nice roasted malt note. The taste is sweet and roasty. Mild vanilla and chocolate. The body is too thin but the carb level is a bit high.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, well, well...Here we are with a Splinter Black review. The controversy, the accusations, the retaliation. Anyway, the culprit appears to be bottle variation, but the underlying causes remain a mystery. At a recent release, I managed to try Black and I thought it was overly carbonated and otherwise thoroughly average. However, that was after quite a few ounces of Jackie O's finest, so who knows how it really tastes. Now, I will get to experience the famous, the infamous, the legendary Splinter Black.

Poured into a snifter. Full bottle just for me.

4.5 A: The reports of overcarbonation had me worried enough to open this over the sink. I appeared to be lucky and so far so good. Black color. First pour yielded about four fingers of head, but nowhere near gusher level. Second pour got me to my desired level with about two and a half fingers of super creamy mocha cappucino head. Very good retention and a thick ring of lacing. Would be a 5.0 without the overcarbonation issue.

4.5 S: Impressive! The raw oakiness is strong, though not overly done. Though the oak flavor itself is nice, the accompanying vanillins and spiciness are well received. Cacao nibs add a secondary layer of depth along with a subtle roastiness. A bit of sweet molasses to overcome what would be a dry aroma.

4.0 T: Again, the oak has some strength to it, but isn't overly done. (Believe me, I know what overly done tastes like.) Oak, vanilla, hot spiciness, a touch of booze. Cacao and semi-sweet chocolate and a molasses sweetness. Just a touch of roastiness. Big flavors are for the most part very welcoming. This is reasonably sweet and I think this would benefit a lot from a stronger roastiness. Still, very good.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. The carbonation is a bit aggressive, but not so much that it distracts. Reasonably creamy and fairly smooth. If this was a bit thicker, it would have been given a better score.

4.5 D: It would appear that I got a good bottle. The oak is aggressive, but well within the range of what is acceptable. The carbonation is indeed a bit high, but again within acceptable limits. The taste was borderline 4.5 and I wasn't displeased with drinking the whole bottle, so drinkibility is a 4.5. Good brew and as long as I keep getting good bottles, I hope the bottle variation continues. Driving out to Harrisburg is no picnic.

Photo of smokeypeat
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Decided to open this for New Year's Eve. Pours a jet black with a nice frothy espresso colored head. Leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass, really nicely surprise there. Wow, smell is much more blended than I expected. Chocolate is there of course along with roast coffee, but neither are dominant. Letting it open up in the glass longer definitely picking up some light vanilla accents as well as molasses. Tasting finally and immediately struck by the texture. On opening and being surprised by the head I thought the carbonation might be too much but in fact it's sheer perfection. Really nice and creamy. Taste is remarkable. I'm struck primarily by the balance in the beer. Don't go into this beer thinking it's primarily about the oak, or the vanilla, coffee, whatever. This beer is all about balance. Yes, you will pick up on all of those flavors, but to me it's all about the nuance and blended perfection. The ABV is nicely hidden too, not the warm booziness I thought might be present. Troegs really has a winner here that can stand up to other quality stouts I've tried like Abyss, KBS, etc. I had considered trading my other bottle, but it's good enough that I'm holding onto it to try out with a year of age on it.

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged bottle into a pint glass

A- pours jet black with a two finger frothy, brown head. Incredible lacing. Looks awesome

S- getting some oak, along with a little bit of vanilla and slight hints of chocolate

T- age was kind to this. Getting a nice bit of oak character in the beginning, with minor hints of chocolate and vanilla. No heat at all. May have let this one mature a little too much, but it's still good

M- the body is actually pretty thin, which is a bit of a disappointment, all things considered

O- not bad at all, but I think people had their bars set a little high with this one. It's getting a bit past its prime right now after 2 years, but it's still very drinkable and solid. Don't expect to be blown away

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Splinter Black from Tröegs Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.