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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: 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:
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 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ZX6Chris for sharing this one while waiting in line for Churchill's Renaissance at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a really foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. Thick chunks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, slight cocoa, and alcohol. Taste is of dark roasted malt, char, and cocoa beans. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good stout but nothing all that special.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +5.8%

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.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -47.1%

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 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.

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 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.

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 XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

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

I arrived a little bit after 6 and was #173 in line for Splinter Black. I was looking forward to the right time to break it out so Stout Tasting Part deux was planned. Poured from the corked and caged bottle into a taster and enjoyed twice.

The appearance is very deep brown mahogany with a med light beige cap. The lace is sticking hard here with very tight bead like pin heads and micreofoam appearance is formed in the head. The smell has mild cococa and strong caramel with subtle dark brown sugar and light earthy green oak aroma which is almost floral or spicy with its natural woody aroma and mildly sweet against the deep malt nose. This is thick viscous and creamy with sweet texture and resinous with the oils of new wood and light tannic aspect with subtle spiciness from the hops under the layers of malt body w/ light alcohol on the palate.

The flavors of sweetened cocoa w/ slight oak notes up front lead into a hint of smooth caramel and light brown sugar with a gentle toffee like smootness. The middle is strong with fresh oak that seems to stand out from the malt and adds contrasting flavor which I enjoy a lot. I like the light acid and tannin which plays of the sweetness of the crystal malt. There is a mild hop flavor in the mix with subtle cocoa nib in the finish. The stout is a really, really worthy oaked stout. I think it breaks the mold and achieves everything it promises and more. I consider this totally unique and has plenty of big oak taste -a really drinkable beer. I can't wait to see what effect some age on this will have.

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 MasterSki
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Troegs cervoise, the amber glass. My biggest complaint? This is overcarbonated. Beer is black with a huge dark brown head, small and medium bubbles, some lacing, too much retention, the head is a barrier to the beer and stop me from properly enjoying it. I'm bummed out by the carbonation level.

Aroma is chocolate, roast, malt, sweet. Smells good.

Why were people bitching about this beer? Not rare enough? It is rich, full in body, sweet dark chocolate, nice oakiness, a well rounded stout with a nice finish. I'd definitely have this again. Whiners.

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/02/11 notes. Brought to a local DC tasting by tarheels86. Thanks a lot GT! Very excited for this one.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, oak, and light dark fruit. Good, but was kind of expecting more.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, oak, coconut, fruit, vanilla, and chocolate. Again, pretty good.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Pretty thick.

d - I was really excited to try this one and I have to say I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, this is a good stout, but I think my expectations were unfairly high after loving Splinter Blue. Lots of roasted malts and chocolate in this one, but the oak and vanilla seems light. Would like to have again, but wouldn't trade some of the crazy things people are trading for it.

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 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 orangesol
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been waiting for this beer to come out for month, if not years. A 750ml bottle shared with friends, poured into a few taster glasses.

A - Pours jet black with a gigantic three finger dark brown head, dissipating down to thin film, leaving sticky sheets of lacing down the glass. Very active looking in the glass.

S - I seem to be picking up way more hops than most people. The spicy, earthy, hops really jumped out at me when we opened the first bottle. Plenty of oak mixes well with a bit of sweet vanilla, chocolate, and some licorice. Dark and earthy but still pretty well balanced. Pretty good.

T - Starts off with some earthy, spicy, hops warming your pallet for the rest of the flavors. They are quickly enveloped into the darker, heavier, heart of this beer. Where did all that 11% ABV go?!? Flavors are similar to the nose with the tons of oak with a bit of chocolate and vanilla sweetness sneaking in toward the end. Finish is not as I was expecting, with a light lingering roasted sweetness. A bit too much oak for my tastes. I wish more of the chocolate and vanilla came thru. Not the best I have ever had, but nowhere near the worst.

M - Heavy body and flavor with above average carbonation. Some of the bottles I have tried have been nice and creamy in the feel, others have been quite over carbonated and prickly on the pallet. It seems to be hit or miss.

D - Pretty High. I have had samples from four different bottles now and all have been good, not great. It is not overly sweet like some of the other BA stouts I have had recently but the large oak character is a bit overwhelming.

Photo of stakem
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle secured during the release. In line at 5:30 and wrist band #33. What a stupid thing to do considering the freezing temperatures and bottles being available all day long and for more than a week after. I decided to open a bottle on New Year's Eve and have this brew be my last beer for the year and first for the new year. Shared it with 5 appreciative friends who enjoy beer but don't enjoy it enough to endure the wait in line or the $23 price tag.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears black in color with 3 fingers of dark tanned head that is composed of very large bubbles. It retains quite well leaving spotty and leggy amounts of lace clinging to the glass as it recedes. A slight swirl revives the cap back to a finger or more strength.

The aroma of this brew is primarily roasted barley which imparts a dark chocolate scent minorly reminiscent of coffee. Through the middle of the nose are herbal and citrus hop character along with dry woodsy notes. Once this brew comes up to room temperature there are faint notes of vanilla.

The taste of this brew is roasted barley quite bitter with a flavor of chocolate coupled with herbal and earthy citrus-like hops. There is a dry oaked quality which creates a sharp almost piercing flavor throughout the experience which clashes a bit for me. Instead of the typical smoothness that you get from a used barrel, the sharpness and tannic quality of the virgin barrels really is prevalent in this brew. In addition, the citrus hops are almost too bold, they linger inside the mouth with a contrast to the roasted bitterness that I look for in this style. Once warm, more of the roasted flavors come out tasting almost charred and smoky somewhat reminiscent of coffee.

This is a medium bodied brew that is highly carbonated and excessively prickly on the tongue. Once the carbonation is toned down with several swirls it is smoother in the feel. I don't know where the 11% abv listing came from, one of the brewer's quote this at being closer to 13%. Regardless, this brew's alcohol is masterfully hidden, it seems closer to 6% certainly not 11% or higher. Well done.

I had the privilege of sampling this brew a week before it's official release. Chris and John shared this brew with our home brew club. At that time this brew was insanely smooth like velvet on the tongue. Since that time, it seems to have picked up quite a bit of carbonation. I am anxious to see how this brew ages.

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