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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.

132 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 132
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 41
Gots: 11 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 132 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jbphoto88
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What can I say, this beer is the absence of light. I mean I can't see a f-ing thing through this beer. It kind of looks brownish but even holding it directly up to a light bulb does nothing. There is a thick fluffy head that is the color of hot chocolate powder. Beer that looks like this impresses me and begs my inner demons to drink it.

The scent is heavenly. Sweet chocolaty malts dominates but the great thing is that it smells so fresh. I mean just milled grain fresh. It's such a new, sweet smell I have to question if it's even been fermented or if they just bottled the wort.

Taste is thick and along the lines of the nose. Caramelized chocolates with heavy sweet malts that show a nice level of complexity, even displaying some dark fruit flavors. Bittersweet towards the end long enough to reveal some hop love. Floral and bitter it's just enough to make this beer the complete imperial stout flavor package.

This is everything I would want in an I.S. My only nit pick is the lack of mocha or coffee flavors. I mean the label says it's a black mocha stout but I don't detect any evidence of it. The mouthfeel is smooth with a nice hint of a dried charcoal goodness, no doubt from the roasted malts. Amazing texture from the "limited edition 2008"batch that claims to have 9.5% ABV. I can't taste even a hint of the booze, the only suggestion is subtle warmth in your belly long after the gulp goes down. Exceptional brew.

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.

Photo of SirSketch
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Big, thick head the color of brown sugar. This beer is so dark, no light comes through whatsoever when held up to light! Looks evil, but I'm not scared

S - Smells of rich, dark coffee, roasted barley, and cookie dough. Alcohol is apparent and springs a certain spiciness with it.

T - Roasted barley, bitter chocolate, toffee and burnt coffee make up the majority of this very complex brew. Very sweet aftertaste.

M/D - A full bodied beer with a greasy, mouthfeel, but in a good way. I would gladly enjoy one of these after almost any meal.

If only I had another one of these, I would have aged it for at least another year so that the flavors may have 'meshed' together better.

Photo of firkinhophead
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with minimal head and lacing.

Aroma is surprisingly fruity, with prune and raisin notes and some noticeable alcohol. Caramel and sweet spice, along with some toffee.

Taste is sweet and roasty, almost meaty. Firm bitterness of mild coffee, baker's chocolate and charred malt does not overwhelm the toffee sweetness and slightly citric tartness. Warming alcohol adds some tangy sweetness. This would be killer with some barbeque ribs.

Body is medium, perhaps a bit thin for the style. More silky than creamy. This could pass for a Baltic porter, which is not a bad thing. Might come up a bit short for those looking for an in-your-face RIS, but I find it quite enjoyable. Of course I love porters. Recommended.

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

Photo of hopdog
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle acquired in trades with emacgee & SoLan (thanks!).

Poured a dark black color with reddish brown edges and an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of roast, chocolate, earthy, and some coffee. Tastes of roast (but not as roasty as the aroms), chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and some dark fruits. Alcohol content overall well hidden.

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.

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

Pours an opaque motor oil darkness will a huge loose dark brown head that decomposes like a float. Spotty patterns of Belgian lacing left behind. The nose is really unique, especially right out of a chill. I got a strong sweet molasses and a timid underlying roasted malt grain. Full bodied and lightly carbonated, the mouth is tangy and alive from a warming alcohol. A huge roasted coffee flavor quickly demands your attention...the intensity of the coffee is a real surprise based on the expectations coming from the nose. The java note is on the bitter side and the character lingers appropriately. A reasonable drinker, the warmth of the 9.5% ABV is noticeable but not distracting.

Really enjoyed the opportunity to consider this one thanks to drunkmonk!!! Cheers Brah!!

Photo of dolemite77
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with minimal brown head. Highland does great beer, and this one was a a good one off from their black mocha stout. Thick and sweet, with the flavors of their standard stout getting hidden in the high alcohol. I liked this beer, but at over $10/bomber, I think I would have been more pleased with a 6 pack of the standard mocha stout. Nonetheless, they have a great formula at Highland, and I would love to see them be even more popular in the beer world. Great folks at the brewery as well.

Photo of wcudwight
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black, opaque in color. No light comes through this baby. Nice mocha colored head with good texture and retention.
Rich chocolate aroma with mild coffee in the background. Some c-hop smell but it's the chocolate that dominates.
Flavor like the aroma is heavy on the chocolate with lot's of roasted malts. There's some smoke in the flavor and a citrus hop taste but the hops are not as strong in the flavor as the aroma.
The mouthfeel carries this beer. I just can't get over how creamy it fills. Not thick and syrupy like some other bigger stouts. This mouthfeel is just as thick as some of them but it's creamy.
Good beer, easy to drink, the alcohol is noticable but not so much that it detracts from the drinkability.
I wish I would have made the release b/c I would like some more of this.
Thanks to enola for sharing.

Photo of kkipple
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a few of these at the Highland release post Asheville Brewgrass when my head quit bumpin'. Cracked into one a while later with friends. From notes:

A. Black-brown, small tan head, lacy, fades fast. Appealing dense darkness.

S. Quite hoppy, oily and young. Sharp roast coffee and black patent malt kicks in next, followed by a nutty, sweet and burnt smell. A little too charred smelling for me, it's brash and judging by the nose could definitely use some time.

T. A sip confirms my expectations. There is a good beer here -- lots of molasses, sweet deep malts, a touch of milk sugar and a creamy density, but it's carried away by a large amount of green hop flavor and bitter blackened grain. A little metallic something or other isn't quite welcome. Needs more sweetness if the hops aren't going to settle down.

M. Thick and heavy, medium carbonation. Fine, not memorable.

This is a young brew, one that will almost certainly improve drastically in a year. I'm going to sit on mine and see. Props to Highland for not sitting still and doing something big.

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

Dark brown, almost black, with a very small creamy brown head. Dark bready alcohol hits the nose first followed by molasses, charcoal, vinous fruit, and black malts. Heavy on the fresh dark malt flavor...more brown bread and fruit, coffee and chocolate linger in the background. Solid all-around sweetness to balance out all the roastiness. Creamy medium-full body and a good bit of dryness.

Mmmm...this is pretty good. The strong dark, bready, fruity maltiness is sort of doppelbock-y in lots of ways. Style-aside, it's a solid, strong, and dark beer that's certainly worth a try.

Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in the Secret Halloween BIF from unclejedi. Thanks, Jim.

A-Pours a deep, dark, murky brown with a thin tan head and just a bit of lacing.

S-Sweet caramel and chocolate, along with a moderate amount of roasted coffee.

T-Not as sweet as expected from the nose. The coffee is assertive up front and in the finish, leaving the sweet, dark flavors of chocolate and caramel in the middle only. Nice.

M-Nicely rich and creamy.

D-Very nicely drinkable considering the 9.5% ABV but one is about right.


Photo of vtfan77
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Nearly black with about half an inch of dark coffee head that dissipates rather quickly.

S- Very sweet with dark fruits and chocolate syrup. A black coffee aroma helps balance out some of the sweetness by giving it a nice roasty edge.

T- The roasted malt comes through more in the taste with nice coffee and bitter cocoa flavors. What I originally thought might be a cloyingly sweet beer (based on the smell) turns out to be quite dry, with hardly any of the syrupy fruit character from the aroma coming through in the taste. A combination of hops, roasted malts, and alcohol creates a surprisingly strong bitterness on the finish.

M- Kind of syrupy and perhaps a little thin for the style. Carbonation is active but not overwhelming.

D- The alcohol is kind of high (9.5%) but not over-the-top. Still, I think one is definitely enough for this beer.

This was my first Highland beer and it was certainly interesting. I'll give the brewers points for creating a nice coffee character in a beer that contains no actual coffee. Almost everything about this beer was good, just not great. It's a solid stout that I would never turn down were it offered to me, but I don't think I'd buy it again at the price I paid for it. It's definitely worth trying, especially if you're a stout fan.

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

22oz bottle purchased from Bruisin' Ales, Asheville, NC

pours dark oily brown/black with thin cappuccino head

nose is coffee, malty sweetness, smoke?

taste is complex with coffee, dark chocolate, port and a somewhat bitter woody finish

mouth feel is thick, chewy with modest carbonation

drinkability... i drank this one like a dessert wine and actually sipped it for 3 consecutive nights. very impressive first pass at this style. look forward to their next batch!

Photo of JDV
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottles in trade from MSchae1017 and ROBORB. Thanks! Pours a dark brown to black color with a short lived light tan head. Smell is dark and sweet chocolate, but somewhat mild. Taste is dry, semi bland chocolate and not too much coffee, except for a bit in the aftertaste. Overally, I found this to be pretty mild in flavor and a bit unimpressive compared to expectations from the reviews. Still drinkable and smooth with no hint of the ABV, which was nice.

Photo of BeerTruth
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The man, the myth, the legend...tpd975 hooked me up with this black beauty. You da man Greg!!

22 oz. bomber poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark cola black with a thick one finger brown colored head that falls to a thin creamy layer of foam. Some stickiness clings to the sides of the glass. The aroma is acutally quite weak which is surprising for a 9.5% brew. What is there is milk chocolate, rich malts, and sweet caramel. Roasted coffee grinds and musty earthy hops underneath all those sweet malts as well. Overall though, the nose could really use more of a punch. Taste begins with smokey chocolate malts, toasted barley, and sweet espresso. Midway some dark fruits emerge such as figs, dates, and plums. In the finish, a touch of bitterness and wet cocoa powder that lingers on the tongue. Medium to full body with a rich and creamy feel. The carbonation is mild and fits in well with the big profile of this beer. The alcohol is very well hidden, but I still had to take my time drinking it. Thanks again Greg!

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

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.

Photo of gford217
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle and settles in as an impenetrable black with a one finger tan head. The head recedes to a collar quickly and leaves decent lacing.

The aroma is pretty subdued with lots of dark roasted malts and lots of sweet dark fruits and licorice. Hints of chocolate and coffee seem to be present as well.

The taste is a slightly bigger version of the aroma with semi-sweet chocolate and dark fruits up front before giving way to roasted malts.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and very smooth.

This is a good offering from Highland though nothing groundbreaking. Enjoyable.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to stopbarking for sending this gem my way in the LNBA BIF. Viva the REAL LNBA!

2008. Pours a very deep black with a not huge but strong one to two finger head into my Duchesse d' B glass. Head has decent retention and leaves ok lacing.

Nose is full of roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, some black barley, and a slight vinous quality. Honestly I was expecting alot more coffee in the nose here.

Taste follows but much stronger. Roasted malt is big. Coffee is there, but once again I expected more out of it. A very nice bitterness through the middle, roasted malts are really the star here. Some defenite chocolate notes just before the finish. A good bitterness in the finish and the aftertaste. And there is a vinous quality in here. Slight chocolate hangs on. Alcohol is moderately subdued.

Mouthfeel is quite good. Would like a touch more viscosity here, although it is quite viscous in general. A bit slick, like an impy oat, but not anywhere near as much.

Drinkability shines quite brightly here, as this one is very easy to consume. Goes down nicely, very palatable. Im guessing this one is on the lighter side Imperial stout wise, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 8%.

Overall a fine and well made stout. I expected much more coffee flavor in this one, but aside from my own schema of what this one should have been, it is quite good as its own beast. A solid and well made imperial stout, that is easy drinking and flavorful. A good one for my first from highland, looking forward to trying some of their others. Thanks again to biggity barks for shipping this one to the far north. Good beer, and one im glad to have a few more (thanks mikesgroove) to cellar. good beer.

Photo of wagenvolks
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber into a Moab Brewery pint glass.

Pours thick and dark, as if the bottle had unintentionally been filled with tar. The head builds to an attractive quarter inch of finely sorted, dark custard brown bubbles; recedes to a wisp and inwardly sloping ring of foam. The aroma reminds me of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, with its subtle notes of brown sugar, chocolate, espresso, and earthy, floral hops.

The first sip coats the tongue with heavy, saucy dark chocolate notes that lend themselves to spunky, earthen hops and an acrid, vinous, port-like chocolate and dark fruit finish. The heaviness is a bit trying, as is the alcohol, and both wear on the palate more than I'd like. The body is uber-thick and syrupy, with almost no carbonation of which to speak. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with this beer. Although it was complex, aromatic, and a beaut in the glass, Highland's Imperial Black Mocha Stout needs a bit of age to mellow out some of the hotter, rougher edges.

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

Pours a thick opaque black with a thin tan head that diminishes to a thin layer and leaves spotty lacing. Aroma is a nice roasty blend of espresso and crisp cocoa. The taste is a great roasted mocha flavor that is quite rich and flavorful. The beer is medium bodied and very smooth with some noticeable alcohol lingering in the finish. This beer is very good in its own way, but is not that much different from other Imperial Stouts that are more readily available.

Photo of Strix
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Whoever put the label on this bottle didn't do a very good job and got it all wrinkled. That sort of detracts, but I won't deduct for it.

Pours a thick black with a chocolate-colored head that leaves some lacing.

Smells deliciously of roasted malts, and dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate and coffee are forward in the taste. Lots of roasted malt blends things together well. A touch of alcoholic warmth in there, alcohol is remarkably well hidden though.

Mouthfeel is great on this, super smooth, glides around the mouth.

This is the real deal. It was a bit pricey, but very worth it. Nice to see a big stout with balance and drinkability.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to mikesgroove for tossing in this beer, I've enjoyed Highland beers before but this is so far their top beer in my book so far.

Pours a dark dark brown almost black color with no light being able to penetrate, good sized tan head, fades fast at first and slows down a bit near the end, leaves a bit of sticky lacing.

Smell is roasted chocolate with lots of dark fruit notes, slight coffee aroma but not as strong as I would have thought.

Taste has prickly carbonation at first and then mellows out to a nice smooth texture, alcohol is well hidden, mmmm chocolaty goodness with lots of dark fruit complexity.

This is certainly a treat and wouldn't mind seeing how this one ages.

Highland Imperial Black Mocha Stout from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.