Espresso Stout - Dark Star Brewing Company Limited

Not Rated.
Espresso StoutEspresso Stout

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39 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 39
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 15.86%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Dark Star Brewing Company Limited visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
American Stout |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: stcules on 03-08-2004

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 39 | Reviews: 32
Reviews by flyingpig:
Photo of flyingpig
3.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle from Peckham's, Glasgow (£2.39):
Black with a 2cm foamy head that is a medium to dark tan in colour and holds pretty well.

Coffee & roasted malts too. The espresso is very apparent and there is a dryness to the beer with some milky cocoa coming through as well. There is some barley too and a touch of bitterness.

Coffee & espresso upfront but there is more milkiness than from the nose, Medium strength chocolate & some roasted malts with some bitterness follow. Some faint background fruits make an appearance towards the end too.

A dry taste with medium bitterness and a medium body. Carbonation is light medium and there is a nice, well balanced bitterness to the finish.

Strong coffee & espresso flavours that thankfully don't overpower too much. Surprisingly well balanced and enjoyable offering. Quite a nice beer overall.

More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First pickup from the LCBO fall release. I love how the label makes it patently clear what the beer is and what it's made from.

Poured into a snifter. Dark brown, nearly black in colour - looks a great deal like black coffee. Sturdy tan head that does a ring around the glass throughout the tasting. A few spots of lacing.

Nose is unmistakably that of cold coffee, to the point whereby a blindfolded person offered a whiff would identify the object as coffee, not beer. A touch of caramel and hops in there as well.

Big blast of bold, cold coffee to start, with notes of nutmeg and fruit kicking around as well. Roasted malts provide a backbone. The finish isn't quite as good, a touch too weak - the whole thing needed a heartier flavor blast to compliment the bold coffee entry. That being said, I am enjoying it.

If this beer has one definitive fault (at least in bottled form) it is this: TOO THIN. A coffee brew such as this deserves a rich and hearty body: otherwise, it feels more like I'm drinking cold alcoholized weak coffee, which isn't what I was going for. Still, the carbonation was more than sufficient to keep things together.

This is truly a beer that did exactly what it set out to do, and did it fairly well. Could have been more robust, and could have possessed more body, but still it tasted pretty good. I'm not sure if I'll pick up more than a couple of these, however, but I'm certainly respectful of the effort here. I definitely plan on having one of these with breakfast this week, however. Just cause.

Photo of mintjellie
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark Star Espresso Stout is coffee black in colour and topped by thick pile of cappucino froth that sticks thickly to the walls of my glass. It smells intensely and deeply of coffee, and thats about it. Tastes of bitter black coffee, right down to the acidity in the finish. The only counterpoint to it - and it's a welcome one - is a a mild sweetness. A little bit of sugar in your coffee, so to speak. It feels a quite thin for a stout, and I can't help but compare this to Mill Street Coffee Porter in terms of body and mouthfeel. As weird as this might sound, I think it actually has too much flavour for the body to carry. It feels and drinks like a session porter, but has a coffee flavour as heavyhanded as an imperial stout like Peche Mortel. In the end, it just doesn't work for me as a session beer. It tastes pretty good, but tastes good in a way that stops you from wanting another.

Photo of Sammy
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from LCBO. Yes, expresso in the aroma and in the taste. However as a stout, a style I normally like, I was less than satisfied. I got tired of it quickly. At best average mouthfeel. Good black colour with thick foamy off-white head.You must be a big coffee fan for this one.

Photo of eat
3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The body looks to be on the thin side for a stout and is pretty much black in colour. A wispy, bubbly cover of beige head is maintained for the duration of the session.

The coffee scent found here is more of the drip-brewed variety than of a fine espresso. Smells like your standard cup of convenience store stuff along with some thin dark malt, muscovado, slight minerals and a hint of smoke. Not bad necessarily, just a little disappointing when you're expecting espresso (as advertised).

I don't think I would be let down at all here if they would have just called it coffee beer. I can't really make any comparisons to espresso here, though the coffee flavour isn't of too bad a quality. Quite a lot of cherry jumps out at me, a pleasant if unexpected finding. For my taste it is on the thin side flavour-wise but this stuff does only weigh in at 4.2% ABV, and adjusted to scale it's not all that bad. Decently balanced, coming off as neither too sweet nor too bitter. Soily hops take over on the finish, leaving more drying than would be expected. Minerals blend in well amongst a lightly sparkling carbonation. Malt could be beefed up a bit; but then it wouldn't seem as English, would it? A bit bland but decent nonetheless.

At 4.2% ABV I was expecting something on the thin side, so in that sense it's not too far off the mark. Medium-thin body with a strange carbonation which is somehow light and prominent at the same time. Pretty English-feeling.

If you're into it, this would be easily sessionable. I'm not sure I'd pick this one up again, mostly as a result of better, similar options which are readily available. I'd say it's worth a try, though, if this is a style you know you enjoy.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with a large, light tan head.
Nose show overwhelming chilli/capsicum character... wierd. Underneath is dark chocolate malt.
Flavours include unroasted coffee, capsicum and a little roasty character.
Rather light body and carbonation.
Pretty different.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear black color stout with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of medium dry coffee notes is well balance with some roasted malt. Taste is dominated by a nice aromatic coffee with balanced mix between dry and bitter notes. Light black chocolate notes are also noticeable. Body is about average for style with good carbonation. Well done and easily drinkable.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.26/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Dark brown with half a finger of light brown head.

S - Bitter dark roasted coffee dominates the nose. Some other roasted malt flavours come through in a subdued manner.

T - Bitter espresso flavour dominates the palate, follows the nose bery well. Soem general roasted malt flavours come through as well but the palate here is very bitter and very robust with espresso flavours. The bitterness lingers in the finish as well.

M - Light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

D - A nice beerI I enjoyed this one but also found the bitterness to be overwhelming at times.

Photo of mrnobody
2.4/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

500ml bottle poured into an oversized tulip. Standard stout appearance, pitch black. Tan head that quickly disappears. Not much in the way of lacing. The smell is coffee, that's about it. The taste? Again, cold bitter coffee. Not good coffee, just bitter. This is really a one trick pony and I'm not impressed with that trick. Low carbonation, the mouthfeel is pretty light. As to the drinkability, I think I'd rather just follow this with an actual fresh hot coffee.

Photo of ritzkiss
2.71/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500ml from the LCBO, love me a coffee stout. But not this one...

Pours a nice dark brown with a creamy head that is almost greyish but has great staying power and leaves sticky lace. Nose is cold coffee grinds with a hint of roast and some generic bland sweetness. Not too sweet, lacks any real malt presence. Light sourness, dry odd bitternes. This is a terrible beer, I don't recommend. Tastes like cold coffee that has sat in a grungy truck stop for too long.

Photo of FreshHawk
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Essentially black with brown hues. Decent sized creamy tan head, that recedes in fairly quickly and some lacing left over.

S - Lots of coffee, it's more like smelling into a coffee can than a cup of coffee. Definitely a roasty smell. Some bitter sweet and dark chocolate smell too. Along with these is a good amount of tobacco with a cigar like smell.

T - Lots of dark roasted coffee, providing a bit of coffee bitterness. This leads into slight bittersweet and dark chocolate (not a lot). Also a good amount of tobacco/cigar taste. Also a little dark fruit (mostly date and prune), but not much of this taste comes through, maybe just a slight sweetness with the coffee bitterness.

M - Medium to light body (fairly light for a stout). Alright carbonation. Pretty smooth. Not too dissimilar to Guinness.

D - Decent but the taste probably gets to be a little too much to have great drinkability. Also there is quite a lack of diversity in the taste.

Notes: Pretty good and strong coffee, tobacco, and chocolate flavors. If this is what you are looking for, definitely try this. This was interesting and nice to sip on at night. Not my favorite beer but good one that exemplifies those stout flavors.

Photo of liamt07
3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up at the LCBO, part of their Fall Beer release. Bottle has this listed at 4.2% ABV; into a pint glass.

Pours a dark chestnut brown, with a couple fingers of tan/khaki head. Body hints to some deep ruby red around the edges. Massive lacing, reasonable retention. Aroma of cold strong coffee, dark chocolate, and some notes of cream and caramel. Simple and straightforward, but effective. This is where the ball is dropped: flavour. Relatively bland and unexciting coffee and malt roastiness. Not bold in any respect, but severely restrained and uncomplex. On the lighter side of medium bodied, with some moderate carbonation. It drinks relatively smoothly with a slight sense of creaminess, but doesn't have that wow factor. Fairly pedestrian in all honesty.

Photo of ludachris
3.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black as night with a finger's worth of khaki coloured head being yeilded after an aggressive pour. Thin streams of miniscule bubbles quickly ascend to the top of the glass but fail to provide the head with a good amount of retention.

Freshly ground coffee beans, deep roasted malts, bakers chocolate, and cocoa powder make for a very inviting coffee stout.

The dry and semi-sweet chocolate character the beer gives off seems to take on a more smooth, sweet, and lactic character in the taste, nicely balancing the dry, roasted character that ensues soon after. The finish is nutty and a touch bitter. Flavourful, but lacks complexity.

Medium bodied and a bit filmy with a dry finish. If the body were a bit more assertive and full, I'd enjoy this stout a lot more, but how much more full can it get with a 4.6% ABV. With the lower ABV, this is one quaffer of a stout.

Overall, a flavourful well balanced stout that lacks complexity and a fuller body. But for the most part, I think the latter two are sacrificed with a lower ABV. With the lower ABV, the brewery aims for something else; a tasty and quaffable coffee stout, and they have successfully achieved that.

Photo of Sigmund
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask conditioned at the 32nd Cambridge Beer Festival, gravity dispense. Correct ABV is 4.2%. There is a nice coffee, old leather and cigarbox aroma, hints of prunes. There is a distinct espresso coffee flavour throughout, hints of prunes, quite dry. Good beer!

Photo of bark
3.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The colour is opaque black; the white foam is compact and smooth.

The smell is… Coffee, coffee and some more coffee!

The carbonation is very mild, it borders on the stale. But I think that this might be suitable for this very special beer style.

The somewhat mild taste is dominated by a sweet coffee-flavour. Beyond the black coffee, there are some notes of canned vegetables and coffee caramels. The aftertaste is, again, dominated by coffee with hints of whipped cream, cocoa and a minimal touch of hops.

I almost could feel the grounds in my mouth after drinking this beer. I think that the taste could have been a little stronger than this.

I have used the word “coffee” eight times in this review. That might be a sign of something…

According to the brewery, "Specially blended and ground espresso coffee beans are added to the copper". An unusual adjunct beer!

Photo of BBP
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the LCBO fall release. 4.2%, but I have to assume that the import version is different.

A- From the name Espresso Stout, you can get a good idea about the color of this one. There was a good head, but it disappeared quite quickly. The carbonation is moderate to a bit lacking. Decent lacing.

S- I'm going to be creative and say that this smells like cold coffee. Nothing all to elaborate, but simple and acceptable.

T- It is better than old coffee, but I'd rather have a fresh one. This drink got my attention as I'm a coffee lover, but I found it didn't impress me much as it tasted like some chilled coffee concoction. I quite enjoy the immediate aftertaste.

M- Thin and WATERY, but quite creamy. Very slight carbonation.

D- A good stout, and it is what the name implies. I think there are many better coffee stouts out there, but I'm not sure if any have as much of a pronounced coffee flavor. This one is easy to down though, and I suspect it's aimed at the people who love their coffee black.

Another thing that I thought was cool, was that it listed ingredients in this order: water, malt, hops, coffee beans, yeast, barley.
When specialty drinks are created I find that the specialty ingredient is almost always last. It was cool to see it near the middle.

Photo of StJamesGate
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Caramel-tinged black with lumpy beige head that's loose but holds and trails.
Nose is straight up oily espresso beans.
Burnt sugar, milky hot cocoa, a hint of blackberry and cold strong coffee followed by faint woody hops. Kola finish and tight roasty leave.
Medium, chewy, soft and round.

Coffee is prominent, but there is a solid stout underneath. Very much espresso rather than coffee, so a bit of conceptual thing that way. Far better than cask.

(3.6; 4.00 4.00 3.50 3.50 3.50)
On cask at the Belfast Beer Festival.
Viscous black with a collar of white froth. Pure oily espresso bean nose. Earth, ash and coffee up front, a tight plastic/band aid (but not phenol) hit in the middle, and roastiness to end. Chewy, medium, dry.
Are there any nice beers with coffee added directly? Not a great example of the style (coffee beers, that is. Why this is an American Stout, I have no idea.) and not up to Dark Star's usual standards. This rating is even probably generous, but gotta follow the notes. Disappointed.

Photo of OldGrowler
4.35/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

With a cheesy name like "Dark Star" Brewery, I expected the worst. Couldn't be more pleasantly surprised. Unique burnt, woody aroma Complex burnt/nutty/malty flavours are muted and balanced to make it as drinkable as any cola. Unlike others in its class, it's distinctly neither bitter nor sweet. Shortfalls are slightly thin, flattens out fast, washing out the complexity, and slight sour aftertaste--which is fleeting. But perfect balance is why I give this super-smooth coffee-style beer a high rating. Drank this one way too fast ...

Photo of hunteraw
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Cambridge Beer Festival 2008.

Appearance: coffee color, opaque brown, tan head

Smell: overwhelming, delicious coffee

Taste: iced coffee, sweet, some bitter chocolate

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, light carbonation

Drinkability: Good. Monodimensional? Maybe, but for heaven's sake it's called espresso stout, what did you expect? :)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours near black with a smallish tan head that quickly becomes a film, emitting only a bit of lace on the glass. The aroma is full of coffee, with a bit of mollasses and cocoa. The taste is also dominated by coffee flavors. Chocolate, and toffee flavors show in the back as does a subdued herbal hop character. The mouthfeel is light bodied and rather sparsely carbonated. The finish is bitter, more so from the generous dose of coffee used than from hops.

I liked this beer, its not the prettiest stout, and it may be a little anemic in the malt department, but it has a great coffee flavor, and is wonderfully dry. I recommend this for any coffee fan.

Photo of korguy123
4.45/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml into DFH Signature Glass

A- Silky inky black pour with a finger and a half khaki head that shrinks to a half finger cap that remains. Lacing is sticky and wonderful.

S- Coffee, coffee and more coffee. This thing literally smells like fresh brewed coffee. the kind of smell that wakes everyone up in those Folgers commercials. Not burnt, or too dark of a roast, just perfect. Faint brown sugar and some hints of vanilla in there as well hiding in the back.

T- Fresh medium roast coffee, hints of toasted malts, and faint vanilla. This is more like a cold coffee than a stout, it's wonderful!

M & D Medium body, more feeling like a porter than a stout but still very satisfying. Very easy drinking!

I love coffee, and I love stouts. Every coffee stout I've had so far has either had too little coffee or the coffee is there and too burnt tasting like leaving the coffee in the hot pot too long. This one is remarkable and I'm glad I got another to enjoy when the weather gets colder!

Photo of MattyV
3.28/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The label is different than the one pictured, and ABV is 4.2%.

Pours a deep jet black with a good-size pillowy beige head that lasts and lasts
The aroma is roasted malts with hints of cocoa and coffee
The taste is of coffee, followed by rich roasted malt and a touch of dark chocolate. All of the expected flavours were there, just not in the intensity that I would've liked. Finishes slightly sour and bitter, similar to coffee, with a bit of lingering smoke/tobacco.
Thin, low carbonation.

Photo of kwjd
3.36/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with nice tan head and good lacing. Smells of coffee with roasted malt. Flavour has a slight bitterness to it, with some coffee coming through, though a bit weak. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a stout, almost closer to a porter. An ok coffee beer.

Photo of biegaman
3.62/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The solemn, featureless, stark blackness of the liquid, forsaken of all colour and light, doesn't leave much for even the most vivid imagination to see anything in it (or see through it, for that matter). Its head, a mocha coloured froth, temporarily offered some kind of detail but it quickly perished and with it went the beer's only real visual feature.

The aroma might just remind you of the breakfast table, or your favourite coffee shop, or Saturday mornings at the hockey rink, or that pick-me-up you're accustomed to before starting work. For me, it reminds me of time spent in Italy, and the rich and roasty aura that drapes their cafes. One thing that it's not so likely to remind you of: a beer.

Bear in mind that this is no average coffee beer, it's an *espresso* stout, and hence the intensity and concentration of the coffee flavour. Indeed, this seems strong enough to wake even the dead; you can feel the acrid, acidic oil from the beans seep into your veins, the caffeine instantly up-shooting your posture and raising alertness.

The espresso is quite good, but what about the stout? Glad you should ask because, frankly, there is little of it. The base beer seems weakish, largely devoid of flavour and lacking substantially in roasted malt (all malt, really) and, for the most part, it's bland and, well, not so stout. Ironically, it imparts a bitter astringency that is actually very tea-like.

I don't like coffee, but I do enjoy just about anything flavoured with it. This beer is no exception. While it is very underwhelming as a stout, and terribly reliant on the espresso, judging by its title, I don't think the brewery made any claims otherwise. I bought this and drank it with pretty clear expectations and, as result, have no qualms about the purchase. Hell, I might even buy it again.

Photo of FLima
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

One of the blackest beers I have ever seen. Poured practically no head.
Predominant aroma of roasted coffee.
Flavor of fresh roasted coffee, earthy and herbal hops with a spicy kick from its Challenger hops. Hints of cocoa powder. Quite dry and bitter aftertaste with its residual taste.
Medium body with low carbonation.
Very assertive beer, go straight to the point as promised: coffee, and fortunately non sweet. You could even drink it at breakfast; it has low alcohol content and it sure can substitute your fresh iced coffee.

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Espresso Stout from Dark Star Brewing Company Limited
81 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.