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Splinter Black - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Splinter BlackSplinter Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

98 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 98
Hads: 166
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 18.52%
Wants: 89
Gots: 72 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 98 | Hads: 166
Photo of pastradul
1.38/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

ZX6chris popped this at a stout night at his place... only 2nd bottle of the evening.

poured into a tall fluted glass.

LOTS of head. nice light chocolate colored tight bubbles create a thick head that last a little bit of time.

the smell is dust, wood (like cork. old moldy even) some malt back bone but the dominating smell is dusty cork. not pleasent.

the mouth is more of the same. the high carb level kills and thins the beer. there is a nice malty hit at the front of the mouth. but after that the dusty cork flavor takes over.

out of the group of about 8 people we all thought it was terrible. a drain pour for almost everyone there.

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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.

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.53/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks, Arne.

A: The cork shoots off and nearly kills someone. Black body with mocha head.

S: Very, very oaky. My lord. They really hit you over the head on this one. Aromas of roast follow, finishing with some chocolate.

T: Incredibly oaky; just overdone, really. It's like they left this in the barrels and forgot about it. "Astringent" is putting it mildly; some vanilla and chocolate appeared to take the edge off, but a pronounced roastiness in the finish accentuated it once more. Also some dark fruit or licorice in the finish; hard to tell.

M: It's harsh. There's really no other way to put it.

O: I admired the hell out of Splinter Gold, but not Red, Blue, or Black. Was the first one a fluke? No one wanted to finish this.

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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.

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Photo of corby112
2.31/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Thanks a lot to shadowane for busting this out at our stout tasting.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest hint of lighter edges and a two finger frothy light mocha colored head. Decent retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Roasted malt aroma with hints of earthy oak, chocolate, oatmeal, roasted coffee bean and dry Brett. I'm not picking up a tn of chocolate and hardly any vanilla at all. The prominent characteristic in the nose is Brett and oak. It doesn't smell terribly complex. Hopefully the flavor and mouthfeel are a bit of an improvement.

Slightly oxidized with with lots of tight carbonation of front that takes away from the mouthfeel. Lots of dry tart brett dominating the flavor. Very dry with slight hints of cocoa and a lot of earthy oak. I'm not picking up much of the barrel and no vanilla at all. One dimensional and possibly on the way to infection.

I had high expectations for this beer. This was my first of the Splinter Series but it was highly disappointing. Not viscous at all, hardly any chooclate, minimal bourbon, slightly oxidized and no vanilla.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.52/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Got this bottle from GoGriz in a trade way back. Thanks for the good times man!

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Transparent brown pour yields a 3 finger, medium looking, fizzy, light mocha head with great retention. Black body and higher levels of carbonation evident for the style. Head slowly fades to a huge foam cap and coats the sides of the glass. A full cap remains and leaves some decent bubbly lacing down the glass. Too thin and carbonated for the style, but leaves some nice lacing as well.

SMELL: Big nose. Roasted notes, pure chocolate and lots of brown sugar. Light vanilla notes with milk chocolate from the oak barrel. A hint of alcohol as well.

TASTE: Some roasted notes up front and some sweet brown sugar, but a little empty at the beginning really. Some dark chocolate and hints of vanilla at the swallow before a medium strength and persistent oak, sugary and boozy aftertaste. Quite underwhelming, unfortunately, and quite sugary and boozy. The description on the tag was much better.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation. Quite light on the palate, goes down fine but with a good alcohol burn at the swallow. Finishes somewhat mouth-coating. Too carbonated, light, and boozy still.

OVERALL: So this is a B+ beer on here? Pretty awesome. This is not horrible, but it’s just not much of anything. The flavor is relatively empty for the style, and the feel is just too light and carbonated for a big imperial stout. The booze could be toned back a bit as well. I’d suggest just reading the description on the tag, enjoying that, then drinking anything else. Though this was a disappointment, I’d been looking forward to trying it for quite some time. Thanks again for the opportunity GoGriz.

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Photo of mothman
2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Splinter Black

Pours 1 finger of fizzy tan head. Color is black.

Aroma: Oak, vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts, and big coffee. All malts. New oak?? Come on.

Taste: All roast and coffee. Too much roast. Chocolate and caramel. Some vanilla and oak. Boring.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy and roasted. Medium to full bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, this was a fail of an attempt at -bal aging a beer. It was too roasted and the new oak really didn't add a lot to the beer. Pretty boring and not something I wanted to drink a lot of

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Photo of Marty30
2.56/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks Chris for this bottle really appreciated brother. 750ml c&c bottle. Served into A Jackie O's snifter at 55 degrees.

A. Bottle opens with a big pop. I tried to pour gently but the carbonation is huge. Black as night body, giant creamy khaki colored head. No lacing.

S. I'm getting some wet wood,dark fruits,vanilla. I was kind of worried for I was getting a slightly acidic smell and with the big carbonation,I was fearing infection.

T. At first I get some wet charred wood,followed by a nice bit of vanilla. Chocolate and cocoa come to me with some roasted notes.

M. Feel was to thin and light. A bit to much carbonated.

Overall This was pretty much all over the place and didn't really meld all together. I was very dissapointed. Still i'm gratefull I got to try it!

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Photo of HopHead84
2.59/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5


Bottles opened by javib458 and nickd717 at Beachwood, thanks!

A: Black with a big beige head. Scattered lacing.

S: Chocolate with some roasted malt, a dash of coffee, and a lot of oak. Aroma displays very faint notes of vanilla. There's also a detracting sour note that is not a good sign. I also detect plum.

T: Flavor is slightly better than the aroma, though the sourness is still apparent. Chocolate is evident, as is a touch of coffee and some roast. Lots of oak, astringency, and tannins.

M: Full body with upper moderate carbonation. Sticky and creamy mouthfeel with some warming and a good deal of astringency.

Overall: On its own, this was disappointing. Compared to other barrel aged stouts, this was disappointing. When I heard about Troegs making a barrel aged stout I had high expectations, but this is all around underwhelming. The worst barrel aged RIS I've had in a long time.

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Photo of jethrodium
2.76/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of totoropanda. Thanks Daniel. Pours a dark black with small tan chocolate head with good retention and some light lacing. The aroma is roasty with dark chocolate and lots of oak as well as a mineral note. A little bit of brown sugar and alcohol as well. The taste is sweet and oaky, very oaky with lots of roasty dark chocolate. The finish is oaky and astringent with bitter dark chocolate. Medium body. Medium carbonation. Not that great. Way too much oak and quite astringent.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.93/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a black liquid with dense brown head. The nose is woody, roasted malts, light notes of booze, dry and ashy with some chocolate sprinkled in. The flavor has wood and booze up front, ashy malts, notes of cherries and a bit of sweet malt in the back. Medium body and assertive, balanced carbonation. Tastes almost slightly infected with an off cherry sweetness.

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Photo of Treebs
2.95/5  rDev -22%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.04/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to starrdogg for sharing this recently at a tasting at his place. Sorry that maybe I didnt appreciate this as much as many of the other fantastic beers we had that night!

Very nice look, dark black to brown with nice healthy tan head, i mean healthy. Nice lacing!!

Smell is overall just boozy with some charred malty notes and smoke, and thats about it? Taste follows this with some additions of ripe fruit and banana, maybe a little oak but not much: Wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't looking for it. Bitter to a little tart (?) back. Sort of uncomplex and disappointing to me, also a little bizarre on the palate.

Very carbonated and thin for feel, very unflattering.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Javi, Nick, and Bobby for all opening bottles of this. Mine now sit at home.

A: The pour lives up to the name and is pretty much black in color with a sizable mocha colored head.

S: The oak blows your doors off right out of the gate. It's incredibly fresh and almost green. Very, very roasty with a bit of bitter dark chocolate and coffee. Some more oak for good measure.

T: Roasted malts start things off and the bitter dark chocolate follows quickly behind. There is maybe just a touch of vanilla, but otherwise it's back to the oak. The flavor is reminiscent of putting oak chips/cubes/staves/spirals in your mouth. Also a bit of booze is in there.

M: The body is decent enough, we'll say medium, with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: Not at all what I was expecting. This beer just is totally overwhelmed by the oak character (and not in a good way). I had this multiple times and came away with the same impression every time.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Opened this bottle at our post-Christmas tasting in Chicago. Served in my Cantillon tulip.

I'll say straight for the start--I was quite disappointed in this, especially after having read all the reviews and having really enjoyed all the other Splinter releases. Pours near black with a nice tan head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. The aroma is plenty roasty with some chocolate and vanilla. Quite a bit of roast. The taste follows along the same lines. I really got quite a bit of roasted malt and the oak, vanilla, and chocolate were sitting in the background. Mouthfeel is the same with plenty of roast and a bit of a dryness from the oak character. I really wasn't a big fan of how much roasted malt was here, as it really took away from some of the better aspects of the beer. Hoping this gets better with time and I'll find another bottle to try, but maybe it just wasn't for me.

Had a second bottle thanks to Pete and my initial thoughts are confirmed. Too roasty and not nearly as complex as I would hope. One dimensional.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.29/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Apparently this was one of the sub par bottles of this. Enormous bang when cork was lifted, which was a dismal start. Poured with a large head. Nose was bitter, roasted malt, light smoke. Really sharp carbonation. Mouth quite a bit of roasted malt, fairly smoky, not terribly malt forward. Thin, or at least the carbonation makes it seem thin. I'm not sure whether to interpret this as being infected or not...probably not, but there is something off about this bottle. It was really easy to pick out in a blind tasting later on, as drunk as I was.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing this, Dan! Beer #2.

Jet black with a dark brown head with excellent retention and nice lacing, this is a gorgeous stout. The nose is like a lumber yard. Oak dust, raw, untoasted oak, wood and woody vanillin. In fact , the vanilla from the oak overpowers the vanilla bean that was added! Some cocoa, roasted malt and a mild astringent burnt malt character. Black licorice and anise are present as well.

The palate opens with a blend of caramel, chocolate, lots of oak. Lots more oak is present, along with oaky vanilla, there's cocoa, lots of harsh tannins and a little booze too. Spicy with a black licorice and anise, these flavors accentuate the tannins and roasty flavors on the finish, making this harsher than it needs to be. The spiciness is not unlike that found in a moderately aged hoppy stout. A little more sweetness to balance the tannins would be in order, but that would make this too sweet. Medium in body, medium-high in carbonation, the mid palate has some creamy, milky flavors, but mostly, this is very roasty and tanninc.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared at a tasting tonight with a few local yokels.

Pours black with some sharp crimson highlights when backlit. Enormous billow of cumulus cloudage upon pouring. Lacing is haphazard.

Slightly soured milk chocolate and sharp cherry twang.

Big roast up front turns to a sharp, semi acrid milk chocolate bite with a puff of smoke. Lightly sour cherries dance across the proceedings and the finish yields a healthy dash of vanilla and a lingering off flavor of tannic acedic cherry.

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated and light on the tongue. A bit off for an imperial stout.

Overall, this has the making of an infection that has not destroyed this beer, but has played a number on it. To be fair, I continued to return to the bottle to give it its just desserts. I didn't find it a failure, but rather more in the vein of Hellshire II. A decent imperial stout that battled its shortcomings, but couldn't quite rise above.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Stone Levitation tulip glass.

Big thanks to hannydawg for sharing this bottle!

Let's see how this goes, considering the apparent cross-country controversy over the contents of this bottle. Here in the Midwest, it pours a straight onyx topped by a decidedly healthy stack of tan foam. The nose comprises primarily a large amount of wood: cedar, pine, and even balsa all intertwine, strangling out just about anything else. Despite their efforts, though, some toffee and cinnamon make brief appearances from time to time. Gotta say, I ain't too big a fan o' this smell. The taste also shines a spotlight on the wood (mostly cedar now), but now the supporting cast (wait, why are they supporting?) comes through further: light-ish roasted malts, light tobacco, and molasses. Things are definitely better than the smell, but it's not a giant step. The body is a hefty medium, with a very light moderate carbonation, a fluid feel, and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a decent stout, but nothing close to great. I've heard an awful lot about hype-ballooning and -suppressing, as well as the possibility of enormous bottle variation. I'm leaning toward the latter, deep in the belief that this was one of the less-than-stellar bottles.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pops with a lot of carbonation! Pours a dark brown color with a big fluffy tan head. Head leaves a sticky lace as it settles. Malt milk vanilla flavor in the nose. Lighter mouthfeel than expected. Sweet with some roast notes. The vanilla is nice and well incorporated. The body is too light for me as an impy stout but it’s passable. Overall, it’s pretty nice except the mouthfeel.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear very dark brown, almost blaque, with a big fizzy whitish head. Long lasting, but apparently a little too much carbonation. No lacing.

S - Burnt acrid roasted malts, slight coffee and chocolate, and a subtle oaky vanilla aroma. Moderate solventy aroma.

F/M - Dark roasty malts, chocolate and a little sweet caramel malts. Slight oak flavors with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla beans and cacao nibs are barely noticeable. I didnt even realize it had that stuff in there until i read the little tag on the bottle. Medium bodied with a little too much carbonation. A few more swirls as it warms allows most of the extra carbonation to mellow out. Still a little too much. Warm solventy booze flavor in the finish.

D - Okay, but not as thick and satisfying as I expected for a barrel aged stout. The cacao nibs and vanilla could be amped up some more and the carbonation is definitely too high. Still pretty tasty, but I probably wont be going out of my way to get it again.

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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.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Thorpe429 at our post-Christmas tasting, thanks Mike! 750ml bottle poured into 3F wine glass.

A - Pours black, frothy tan-colored head, lots of larger bubbles which settle down to a thin cap and features some spotty lacing.

S - Oak/barrel, roasted malts, some chocolate, hints of vanilla. A pretty sweet and rich smelling stout along with some bitterness and oak characters.

T - Not quite as good as the nose. Oak, dark chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruits. There's something I can't quite put my finger on that's a little disappointing to me. Maybe it's too much oak or not enough sweetness, I'm not exactly sure.

M - Medium body, overly carbonated and a little to prickly.

D - Not a bad -bal, but not outstanding. Truthfully, I was expecting a little more from this one. That said, it's still very solid and I would say give it a try if you can score a bottle.

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Splinter Black from Tröegs Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.