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Splinter Black - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Splinter BlackSplinter Black

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

159 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 159
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 19%
Wants: 90
Gots: 73 | FT: 5
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: fiver29 on 10-21-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 97 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lpotter
4/5  rDev +5.5%

lpotter, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

zestar, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of dfhhead25
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

dfhhead25, May 23, 2014
Photo of taylor714914
3/5  rDev -20.8%

taylor714914, Apr 27, 2014
Photo of thebigredone
4/5  rDev +5.5%

thebigredone, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of BARFLYB
4/5  rDev +5.5%

BARFLYB, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of haazer
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Last of 4 bottles I got at the brewery 3 years ago. Poured in a snifter.

A- Thick black brew with a highly carbonated billowy tan head. The foam leaves lacing on the glass as it comes down. Interestingly the foam is looser at the surface and much denser at the black liquid.

S- Heavy doses of vanilla and dark fruits. There's some tobacco, molasses, and a slight whiff of booze. You also get an impression of damp oak.

T- The vanilla starts out and then becomes overtaken by an astringent oak. The malts in here are deeply charred and has a slight dark chocolate flavor. There's also some tobacco profile, and a back end flavor of molasses.

M- Full bodied stout with high carbonation. This brew is thick and coat's the mouth. A slight hint of heat from the booze, but not tasted. As the beer warms up it does smooth out a bit. Not quite the "velvet" described on the card around the neck.

O- There was a lot of different opinions by people on this beer. In my experience with 4 bottles, the first three were great. This last bottle I felt was a bit more harsh, even after 3 years and probably fell into the variation others hated. Even with the bottle variation on this beer, it was not terrible like some suggested. If you were lucky to get a "good" bottle then you had a great beer. I was thankful for those, and this one too. My rating is based on the first three.

haazer, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

XmnwildX12, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of Schreibeers
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

01/13/2011:
I just couldn't wait any longer. With one more bottle in the cellar, being snowed in seems like the perfect occasion.

Poured into two large goblets.

A: Dark black (no surprise), no light penetration, a nice three finger head that settles into a thin head that maintains throughout with some nice lacing.
S: Fresh woody notes seems to be the most apparent on the nose. Some faint alcohol, but not picking up much chocolate or dark roasted malts
T: Again, the woodiness seems to take center stage at first as it fades into a mild, smooth round flavor with some dark roasted maltiness ending in a warming alcohol
M: Slightly effervescent with some sharpness , almost like some strong dark belgian. Medium body, not your typical heavy mouthfeel for this style.
D: I like the fact this beer does not have an overpowering mouthfeel. The flavors are there, more subtle than I expected, but very well done.
Overall a great beer. Curious to see what this does with some age. Although, for any of those lucky enough to have two, I highly recommend popping one tonight. If you just have one, sit on it for a couple months.

10/25/13:
After sitting on this beer for about two years I decided to open my other bottle. Poured into Troegs Mad Elf tulip

A: Same as before. Dark and opaque. The head is a little more apparent and seems to stick around for longer than previously noted.
S: Dark maltiness, sweet with slight notes of vanilla and oak. The primary oaky smell seems to have dissipated.
T: Dark and malty as expected. This is where the oak is more apparent. The label states aged in virgin oak barrels and I can still taste that oakiness. Maybe some bitterness/licorice taste.
M: Smooth and sweet. Maybe just a little thin for the style.
O: Overall I believe it is definitely better than two years ago. A great beer. I feel very lucky to have had two of these beer spread over two years. A great example of how a beer can improve with time. I mentioned in my first review to wait a few months. Well if you still have a splinter black sitting in your cellar, I recommend opening it up soon.

Cheers!

Schreibeers, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of cbeer88
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

cbeer88, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of Greenplastic615
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Greenplastic615, Aug 31, 2013
Photo of prdstmnky
4/5  rDev +5.5%

prdstmnky, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Thorpe429, way back in the day. Served in a tulip. Decided to open this when Sean told me it had improved.

A - Dark tan foam settles to wisps, a thick collar, and spotty lacing. The body is an opaque dark brown color that verges on black.

S - Still a boatload of sharp and spicy oak, although it's not as heavy-handed as it used to be when this was fresh. There's a good dose of baker's chocolate and caramel sweetness, with some of the anticipated vanilla as well. The balance is still out of whack here - generally the oak complements the beer and not the other way around.

T - The taste is a bit more in balance, as there's more roast and dark chocolate and the oak is pushed a bit out of focus. Still, there's a good amount of charred wood, vanilla, and sweeter malt flavors mixed in.

M - Zesty carbonation, medium-full body, with an extremely dry and woody texture to it. Still a decent amount of alcohol warming after 2+ years of age.

D - This was better than I remembered, as some of the astringent oak character has mellowed and the malt sweetness has begun to peek through; the feel is still not very pleasant though. The concept wasn't a great one; perhaps this should have been blended back to dial down the oak. Still, it's not terrible like some people make it out to be, merely mediocre.

MasterSki, Jun 07, 2013
Photo of DeutschesBier
4/5  rDev +5.5%

DeutschesBier, Jun 07, 2013
Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Kelp, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of Treebs
2.94/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 ml C&C bottle served in a Southern Tier tulip.

A: Pours a very opaque black color with a khaki color head forming on the pour. It recedes quickly to a thin ring, but it has very lively body.

S: Creamy tootsie roll chocolate notes, almost bordering on artificial. Very roasty with some light barrel notes. Mostly oak at this point.

T: A ton more oak in the taste than the nose. The artificial nature of the chocolate from the nose is gone as well, but it's still a very sweet malt and chocolate combination.

M: Extremely overcarbed. Very prickly on the tongue with a medium thin body.

O: The oak barrel really overtook the base and it was extremely over carbonated. Not a fan.

Treebs, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of t0rin0
3/5  rDev -20.8%

t0rin0, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Gonzoillini, Feb 23, 2013
Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

FeDUBBELFIST, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

brandoman63, Jan 28, 2013
Photo of bigfnjoe
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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

bigfnjoe, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of kscaldef
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with a minimal head. S: Light wood, moderate menthol, and mild rubbery phenolics. Not a great smelling beer. T: Rich chocolate and roasted malts, fortunately lacking any of the off aromas, but not particularly interesting either. M: Medium high carbonation. Overall, a fairly disappointing beer.

kscaldef, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of HoopTime
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

ADDED UPDATE AFTER OPENING TWO-YEAR OLD BOTTLE AT END OF ORIGINAL REVIEW

Poured from a bottle purchased after my hands thawed out enough to get cash from my wallet at the release into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint

A - This beer pours black as coal with a rich, foamy dare I say luxurious dark caramel head that just kept growing and threatened to overrun the top of the glass. The amount of carbonation is incredible. The foam was dense enough to support a dime (no, I did not actually try). Held to a strong light, the beer's true mahogany coloring is revealed, with black cherry undertones. It is a beautiful pour.

S - Very subtle smell, perhaps because of so much foam. Really have to get your nose in it to detect the sweet caramely malt with hints of cocoa, vanilla and licorice.

T - The malt is center stage here, darkly roasted and pungent, with an wine-like woodiness from the oak barrels it was aged in. The turbinado sugar obviously is a yeast feast as the carbonation shows, but it is not overly sweet and the caco ribs this was aged on leave just the right hint of dark, baking chocolate. It doesn't turn into a chocolate beer, but adds a subtle layer of complexity to the palate of this bold Imperial Stout. This is not a hops brew -- definitely stars the malt -- but there is enough hops bitterness to keep the malt, sugar and chocolate under control and in check. Also worth noting, I tasted the head on a repour and the foam was luscious, dense, thick bobbles of flavor.

M - This is a very smooth drink, with a feel of dry red wine or maybe a port. The high carbonation makes it dance on your tongue, even though the beer is heavy enough to leave a "coat the back of a spoon" sensation as it warms your throat.

D - This does not taste like a high alcohol beer. It is very smooth and has little alcohol "burn." At 11% abv, I don't think you'd want to drink more than one bottle in a sitting and I shared this bottle with my brother, which seemed like just about the right amount for each of us.

In addition to two bottles the first day, I went back the next few days and bought more, ending up with a total of six bottles. I have one gift-wrapped, am cellaring the remaining four bottles. It will be very interesting to see how this one ages. It has almost a nouveau feeling to it right now. It is fresh and young, with complexities that likely will grow even more interesting as it matures. After this bottle, I am thinking of making a run Monday for another one or two (as of yesterday afternoon they still had some left a friend who was at the tasting room reported).

Well done brothers. This will easily make my Top 10 list for 2010, likely the top 5.

UPDATE 12/27/12: Opened my last bottle of this on Christmas Eve. This is the beer that got me started on cellaring beer. I kept four bottles of this, drank one with friends shortly after getting it, another on Christmas Day that year. Drank the third last Christmas Eve.

Really enjoyed the way this beer matured, from a sweet, chocolate dominated flavor to the matured, drier beer I enjoyed the other night.

It's still very carbonated, but the healthy 1/2 inch head in my tulip glass was a rich, caramel color atop the deep cherry tinged mahogany. The head left a moderate lacing as it receded.

Smell is deep, tawny, a hint of cocoa.

The mouth is thick and rich, with the carbonation causes a mild foam sensation as the beer rolls across the tongue.

I liked this beer when it was new. It was big, yet drinkable. At a year, it was changed, far less chocolate or sweetness, more malt coming through. At two years, the chocolate has faded to the background. It's there, but it's not the first thing you taste, or even the second. The malt has blended nicely into a strong, dry stout. There is a little caramel, some grape. The oak, too, is less pronounced, deeper in the background.

This, to me, is a very good beer. I saved it for sort of a "special occasion" and I felt it was up to the task. I would love to have a few more bottles to see how it progresses and I'd certainly hope Troeg's will be doing more in the Splinter series soon.

HoopTime, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of denimdemon
4/5  rDev +5.5%

denimdemon, Dec 02, 2012
Photo of Cardmarauder
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Cardmarauder, Nov 25, 2012
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Splinter Black from Tröegs Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.