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Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Imperial Black Mocha StoutHighland Imperial Black Mocha Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

111 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 111
Hads: 133
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 10.4%
Wants: 43
Gots: 12 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mikesgroove on 09-21-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 111 | Hads: 133
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours thickish black, with some white head. Thick head, roast and coffee aroma. Full mouthfeel, I am not a great fan of super coffee beers, but it is a very good job for what it is. If you are, this one is a must for you. Coffee acidicity bothered my tummy.

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Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nearly black brown color with a tan head; good retention and lacing

Smell: Smells like ground cocoa and coffee with a tinge of bitter citrus fruit

Taste: Fruity black bread up front, with the initial dark chocolate flavor supplanted by the citrus bitterness at mid-palate; after the swallow, the chocolate and coffee flavors push aside the citrus and are joined by a molasses element on the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and viscous with moderate carbonation

Thanks, turtlemoye, for the opportunity

Drinkability: Still a bit hot in its youth, this is a very nice Imperial Stout that should mellow out nicely over the next few years

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At the time that I first tried Highland's Black Mocha Stout, I swore that it was the best stout that I had up to that point. Now what our little boy has grown up, I'm chomping at the bit to dive into this beer.

The beer opens with a hearty, froathy, and viscous pour. A creamy foamstand forms on the beverage and offers a lot of lacing and retention. A very inviting look.

Strong aromas of roasted grains set the tone. The beer offers softer esters of berries, cherries, and dried fruits (think fruitcake). Hop aromas are very light along with the phenols. Coffee notes are also suppressed while the chocolatey flavors gain dominance.

The taste of the beer shows sweet malts with hints of caramel, marshmellows, and heavy toasted grains. Again, a berry-like tartness comes in at mid-palate and continues through the session. Well aged flavors of sherry, melanoidins and soy sauce offers some complexity, but also some distrations. Lightly metalic late. Otherwise, very tasty and malty.

The body is very creamy, rich, and mouth-coating at first, but once the alcohol warmth kicks in, the beer reduces to a well-drinkable viscocity. Hop bitterness compliments the bitterness of the roasted grains and cocoa very well. Caramel sweetness fades into malty richness.

The beer succeeds in its imperial versions, but not without some drawbacks. The oxidized, aged flavors hurt as much as they help. Otherwise the added malts, gravities, and proportions translate into a big beer very, very well.

Thanks Steve for sharing the bomber and for the cigar pairing. What a way to spend an early, warm Thursday afternoon.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Azurelimits for opening this up at a recent tasting.

Pours a midnight black with a thin mocha head. Nose is dominated by dark chocolate fudge along with a tiny amount of espresso and roasted malt. The taste brings the chocolate forward a bit more. Slightly sweet, but more toward dark. Espresso flavors are present underneath along with a bit of molasses. Feel is nice and heavy with good carbonation levels. Really glad to be able to try this one; I'll have to seek more out from Highland.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Limited Edition 2008. Creamless coffee black with nearly nonexistent accents of cherry and orange (despite bright backlighting). The cappuccino colored cap looks good enough and is beginning to lay down a decent amount of lace. This is a solid looking double stout.

The nose is more than solid. IBMS is redolent of roasted barley and all the good things that entails. Bittersweet chocolate leads the way, followed by coffee, dark fruit and molasses. Although the citric quality of the hops are appreciated, it doesn't smell like this will be an especially hoppy stout... just a damn good one.

Since the standard Black Mocha Stout is so delicious, is it any wonder that *Imperial* Black Mocha Stout is as well? More of a good thing is an even better thing. Or, in this case, an equally good thing. Actually, I think this beer is better, but there's no way it deserves the ultimate taste score.

The brewery makes a point of saying that 'no flavorings have been added to this product'. That's probably because the word Mocha and the intense coffee flavor of the roasted malt might have suggested otherwise. It isn't as intense as in most coffee stouts, but coffee is the dominant flavor by far. Dark chocolate is still appreciated, as are raisins and plums swimming in blackstrap molasses.

Whether from hops or from charred black malt, there's quite a bit of bitterness present. The result is a beer that starts each mouthful with a surge of sweetness, is beautifully balanced in the backstretch, and wraps things up with a tight, focused finish. If it tastes like this at 6 months of age, it must have been a hoppy humdinger when fresh.

Even though the mouthfeel firms up with warming, it still falls just short of where it should be for a 9.5% double stout. The fact that it's nice and smooth with well-calibrated bubbles makes drinking quickly a summer breeze. I need to respect the ABV and slow down, but it's proving to be difficult.

Imperial Black Mocha Stout is yet more evidence that Highland Brewing produces nothing but good-to-outstanding beer. Let's hope they decide to release Limited Edition 2009... Limited Edition 2010... ad infinitum. Thanks to cvstrickland for sending me this beauty.

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Photo of oberon
3.86/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I really like the standard black mocha stout...probably even a little more than this,but this is pretty good.Poured into my Guinness pint glass a jet black with a creamy light mocha colored head that settles into cappuchino-like froth.Aromas are not strong in my mind but are nice,dark fruit,roasted nuts,and bitter chocolate mainly.A drier impy stout flavor wise,big earthy tones with unsweetened chocolate,some dark fruit and sweetish alcohol comes thru in the finish.The alcohol creeps after it gets closer to room temp,a big dryer impy stout,something different.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the chance to try this one straight from the tap today at Brewgrass. Cannot wait to get some bottles tomorrow at a the release. Served moderatly chilled in a couple taster glassed. This one was consumed on 09/20/2008.

The pour was very nice, deep and dark, black as night with a rich tan colored head on the top of it. Some very nice retention here that thoroughly coated the entire inside of the glass with a sticky layer of lace.

The aroma was deep, lots of roasted malts and cocoa. Some light hints of alcohol mixed in throughout and a slight touch of molasses as well. The flavor was just very well done here. Almost all hints of alcohol are well hidden and delicatly subsided. Intresting mix of smoked and roasted malt flavors at first, when it warms it takes on a much more sweet profile with oodles of chocolate and sweet coffee coming though now. Rich, creamy full bodied feel was making this a very nice sipper, but again, very well hidden alcohol only served to keep it very easy,

Overall I thought this one was very solid. Nothing that was terribly overdone here at all, in fact it was just the opposite. Very nicely balanced and a very good big stout.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for this one.

A: The pour is a very dark brown color with a fairly large off-white head.

S: Plenty of roasted malts and coffee on the nose. Some mild chocolate notes underneath, with a bit of a dark fruit character underneath.

T: A good bitterness is quite noticeable right away, as is the coffee and roast. There's a mild acidity, which I normally don't find appealing in a stout, but it isn't horrible here. Some bittersweet chocolate helps to provide some sort of balance and there is a mild coffee grounds note on the finish.

M: The body is medium with a fairly lively level of carbonation.

D: Another beer that hides the alcohol quite well, probably due to all the different flavors going on. A pretty nice beer, actually.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a thick-looking, black body with a frothed, tan-hued head.

Smell: Aroma of rich, concentrated chocolate and coffee scents with lessened supporting notes of blackstrap molasses, roasted nuts, caramel ice cream topping, and dark fruits.

Taste: Roasted malts with plenty of dark chocolate sauce, dark caramel, molasses, Madagascar vanilla beans, and coffee extract tossed with a fair amount of lip-smacking residual sweetness. Slight charred plumskin fruitiness. Handful of burnt nuts. Roasty, earthy bitterness hits midway through. Bite through some rather chewy toasted malts. Very tiny peak of alcohol warmth. Finishes exceedingly smooth and with a long, lingering roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. Thick, oily mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A top-notch Imperial Stout that's somewhat underrated, if you ask me. How anyone can not find enjoyment in that is entirely beyond me. Fun to sip and savor or chug greedily, it's up to you.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 release acquired from mikesgroove courtesy of the Little Guy 2 BIF, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a thin beige head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out very sweet with the combination of coffee and dark chocolate that the name “Black Mocha” would lead you to expect. Then a hearty roasted malt character and a lot of creaminess quickly follow. The hops presence is very mild as it should be with this type of beer. However the sweetness gets to the cloying-point leading to a bitter-sweet after-taste.

M: Smooth and pretty viscous, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is dry and sticky.

O: Flavorful, goes down ok, slightly filling, strong kick, good representation of style, I have heard that coffee-flavored beers don’t age well but I have had some that refute that theory, this beer is certainly not one of them as it seems, to my regret, that after 3+ years I’ve may have let this beer sit for too long. I believe that the intense mocha sweetness needed a fresher hops presence to achieve a better balance.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Pete.

Beer is black and appears thick as its poured into the glass. Beer has a thin tiny head of brown bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Beer smells like sweet coffee and chocolate.

Beer is medium bodied and quite sweet as a lead off. Its strong in the chocolate and coffee. Its thick in the midpalate. Beer is kind of like fudge. The coffee and milk sweetness comes later in the palate, quite good overall.

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle poured into a sniffer care of KickBacksSteve, thanks man! Shared with friends on 1/22/11.

This brew appears black with a dark brown head that holds tight around the edges of the glass. A light swirl revives the cap and produces some spotty lacing.

The aroma of this brew is roasty with a hint of licorice and dark fruit. Some fresh grainy character evolves smelling somewhat chocolate-like. As strange is this sounds, there is some weird combination going on in this aroma that reminds of fruity pebbles cereal.

The taste of this brew is bitter and roasty that is a pleasant combination imparted equally from citrus hops and the level of roast to the grain. Just like in the aroma, there is this unique resemblance to fruity pebbles cereal. Why am I referring to this? I don't know, it's been years since I've even seen this cereal let alone tasted/smelled it. This brew lingers with a dark grain character leaving a roasted an somewhat musty taste in the mouth.

It is medium bodied and modestly carbonated. Quote drinkable and roasty with a pleasant bitterness I enjoy and look for in stouts. Worth a try but the cereal and fruity indications have me scratching my head in confusion.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this in trade from jtrockchalk, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid black with a stingy tan head that dissipates quickly leaving no trace that it was ever there. Smells of chocolate syrup, roasted grains, some dried fruit and a touch of alcohol. Taste is of milk and dark chocolate mixed with some alcohol and roast. Body is thick, carbonation low but ample, mouthfeel is a cross between creamy and oily. Good Imp Stout. Still a little alcohol hot, but tasty just the same. I wish I had more to lay down for a year or two because I bet this would be spectacular with some age.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a tan head. Smells of sweetened coffee and light somewhat powdery chocolate. The taste is very similar and relatively light, with some bitter chocolate notes and some leather on the end. Smooth and very easy to drink. This is not one of those big, viscous impy stouts, but for what it is it's quite nice.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to turtlemoye for this brew.

Gold Tin Foil
22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some nice coffee notes. The taste is sweet, malty, with some nice coffee notes. Medium body, the finish is smooth, slightly bitter. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty brew at 9.5% ABV.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage 22 received in trade a while back from rustydiamond.. poured into my New Belgium snifter... thanks a bunch Rusty.

1" head doesn't stick around long at all.. not much lace.. the brew is black.

Nose is expected roasty aroma with a bunch of dried fruit and some subtle spicing that reminds me of cinnamon.

Flavor has quite a bit of char.. but not out of bounds... more coffee than chocolate.. with "some" bittersweet cocoa.. IMO... it could use a little bit more sweetness.. either malty or caramel to really help tie things together, it seems like it "could" be a great beer, but is still a little disjointed. Pretty good body and carbonation.

I honestly expected this one to be considerably better.. it's by no means bad.. just could stand to be dialed in a bit.

Thanks a bunch for another great trade Rusty... we should do it again sometime.

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Photo of akorsak
3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Deuane for bringing this bomber back from a long-ago trip to Asheville.

A: The stout is dark as a moonless night, pitch black in all its glory. There are no dark brown or reddish hues, just all-engulfing darkness. A tan colored head was instantaneously reduced to a thin band.

S: The nose is heavy, complex with nuttiness, chocolate, coffee and a graham sweetness. The flavors are layered and deep; a nice sniffer.

T: The first sip goes in the opposite direction of the nose. The sweetness is replaced by a harsh, burnt landscape that is very rough. The roasted barley is sharp and hot, roughly seguing into sweeter, fuller chocolate, coffee and licorice flavors. For as sharp as the flavors are, a sweetness pervades the back end of each sip. The burnt malts, I don't like. The sweeter finish, I do.

M: The mouthfeel starts with a bitter push that improves as I dig into the ale. At times though, that bitterness returns with a vengeance.

D: This big stout isn't my cup of tea, too bitter and burnt to be a nice sip. I'd like more chocolate and coffee to smooth out the burn.

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Photo of corby112
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage.

Pours pitch black with a half finger light mocha colored head that quickly settles into a thin ring.  Minimal spots of lace left behind.  

Slightly roasted aroma with lots of dark malt notes.  Hints of chocolate, oatmeal and coffee bean.  Subtle alcohol.

Medium bodied with lots of silky chocolate maltiness that adds some sweetness to counter the deep roasted characteristic.  Roasted but not as bold as I expected.  Hints of oatmeal and dark chocolate and coffee bean.  Subtle lactic creaminess smoothes things out and makes this beer very quaffable.  Slight alcohol sweetness adds balance but there is hardly any heat at all.  Abv very well masked.  

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Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained in trade with unclejedi. Thanks for the opportunity.

Formed a 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head quickly fades to anuneven layer of bubbles, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is deeply of roasty dark malts. Taste follows the nose, with deep sweetness throughout, and ample alcohol warmth on the close. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is dangerous for the style. Excellent offering.

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Photo of DrJay
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to mikesgroove for sending this my way!
Your basic black beer with faint edges. A hard pour produced a thin cap of light brown foam, fine bubbles that made their way to the sides of the glass. Good head retention, lacing really clung to the glass. Roast and coffee hit right after the pour, then gave way to toffee and caramel, faint alcohol, a bit of dried fruit, dark chocolate and cocoa, plus molasses as it warmed. Moderate bitterness from the hops with more contributed by the dark grains. Roast and caramel up front, dark chocolate and cocoa hit mid-palate. Alcohol towards the end, along with a bit of fruit. Lingering dry roastiness and alcohol warmth. More carbonation than I expected based on the pour, but it stayed quite creamy and well-integrated into the texture. It was medium to full bodied. I liked this beer. Lots of malt and roast character, alcohol that stayed fairly mellow, and a good texture.

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Photo of glid02
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from a friend.

Pours completely and utterly black with a two-finger tan head that dissipates slowly into a patchy layer on top and a thick ring around the glass. Lacing is pretty sticky.

Smells good. A huge chocolate aroma with a somewhat bready malt backbone.

Tastes great. Lots of chocolate malt up front that's backed up by a subtle roasted malt flavor. There's also a bitter coffee flavor that grows more robust as the beer warms. Bitter ending that stays with me throughout. There's no hint of the alcohol save for the warming sensation.

Mouthfeel is phenomenal. It's absurdly thick with carbonation that fights through the viscous beer. It's creamy and goes down oh-so smoothly.

Drinkability is great. I could not get enough of this and could very easily drink another bomber.

Overall this is a great beer. It's very, very smooth and the flavors all meld together flawlessly. Definitely pick this one up if you have the chance.

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Photo of avalon07
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a blackish color and a thick texture. There was a half inch of foamy, tan-colored head and pretty good lacing.

S: Smelled of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and possibly a little dark fruit. A very aromatic beer.

T: Tasted like it smelled: cocoa, coffee, roasted malt and a little hoppiness. A well-rounded flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Full-bodied and chewy, as an Imperial Stout should be.

D: A very drinkable beer.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, lugged my way by blackness

appearance: poured into my de koninck chalice, dark mahogany body with a light chocolate cap and very little retention, garnet hints but a rather tame body for the style

smell: roasted malts, dry cocoa and roasted coffee, cinnamon and black licorice...a little deceiving

taste: pretty great tasting stout - creamy dark chocolate, robust roasted malts, licorice, warming alcohol, roasted coffee (though none actually included i dont believe), perfectly balanced and very smooth

mouthfeel: smooth but delightfully robust and creamy

drinkability: good

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Strong, smoky, oily aroma has components of good roast coffee, unsweetened chocolate and molasses and is slightly sweet. It pours a deep, opaque, dark-chocolate brown with a fairly thick and fine-bubbled though not persistent tan head. Mouth-filling flavor is like a good unsweet mocha with an undertone of molasses and a hint of sweetness as well as a touch of hoppy bitterness. Texture is thick, rich, smooth and fizzy. This is one lip-smacking stout, a must for any stout lover!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber from 2008 pours a dark crimson color with a small brown head. Decent retention and lacing.

Nose is an interesting mix of Rice Krispies, burnt cocoa, dark chocolate and a little bit of blackberry fruit.

Taste shows some heavy roast - very coffee and alcohol oriented. Light oxidation lends it some Cocoa Puff cereal flavors. Some vegetal matter is a bit off-putting, cabbage almost. Too roasty, too much burnt flavors. I might have waited too long to open this beast...or not long enough...either way, it was not nearly as good as I was hoping for.

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Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 111 ratings.