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Peak XV Imperial Porter - Black Diamond Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Peak XV Imperial PorterPeak XV Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
75
okay

106 Ratings
THE BROS
64
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 106
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.23
pDev: 26.32%
Wants: 0
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Black Diamond Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: 1759Girl on 08-01-2010

A smooth drinking, dark porter brewed with raw cacao nibs and hand-cut Madagascar vanilla beans. Balanced between a coffee-like bitterness and a rich malt character, this ale is deceptively drinkable for an Imperial.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 52
Reviews by PavementBlues:
More User Reviews:
Photo of dvb
1.34/5  rDev -58.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.25

Serving Type: 22-ounce bomber purchased at the Olympia, WA Cost Plus World Market.

Appearance: Nice looking beer. Near-black opacity with a tan head that dissipates quickly, but not *too* quickly. This is where the fun ends.

Smell/taste: A few years ago, I made a doppelbock from an extract kit. It was extremely rich, under-attenuated and had a funky aftertaste that I just can't put into words. That's this beer. It smells and tastes just like it. But why does an imperial porter taste like a bad extract kit doppelbock? I don't know; you tell me. This is just bad. Drain pour.

Mouthfeel: It's about what you would expect: thick and sticky. In this case, that is not a good thing.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.73/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #50 (March 2011):

Faint crackle from the head; dark mahogany color. Aromas are a bit faint—vanilla and cacao nibs are there with yeast, even more faint acrid roasted grain and currants. Vanilla drops some sweetness, and roasty flavors pull on the palate a bit but don’t really flesh out. Yeast tone clashes with the roasted character. Beef broth? The finish becomes a little less desirable with the yeast coming to the forefront as well as a bitter tone from the lingering roasted flavor. A cleanup job is needed here.

Photo of gregmoscetti
2.15/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

grabbed a bottle of this mess today at wholefoods in El Segundo. Opened up the wax dipped bottle to the sound of a LOT of carbonation. Knowing the style pretty well, I found that surprising.

Poured dark brown, with about 4 fingers of head on it. Once the head subsided I took a sip of the beer which was now hovering just under cellar temp to find... a terrible beer.

The taste was all too familiar, especially nowadays-- an infected bottle. I dont believe that any brewer these days would knowingly sell a soured beer and not mention it somewhere on the label. This baby was terrible. Tasted dry and chemically. Unnatural flavors beat down the vanilla and chocolate the bottle's label promised me and ended with the flavor of tartness and thin, bubbly mouthfeel that I couldnt stand more than a few sips of. If you're selling this beer, take it off the shelves and send it back to your distributor.

Black Diamond... just one more brewery to fail their quality control and therefore, the consumer. Maybe you dont dip it in wax next time, and instead, taste it first?

Dead to me.

Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from Augustgarage, thanks for another good one. Fresh yet lactic. Big head on black body. Some roast, malt, sourish. Not bang on the imperial porter style, as it advertises,and consistent with the high abv, though works better as a regular porter.Sourness and lactic affects drinkability, better at room temperature.

Photo of Fatehunter
2.66/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Nice finger and half of tan head on a black body.
The aroma is chocolate with a touch of vanilla. It's nice but tough to distinguish any other smells.
Well, this combination of porter, vanilla beans and cacao nibs is a bad idea. There's a bitter/sour/chocolate taste throughout that ruins the whole thing.
The texture is thicker with low carbonation.
Not recommended unless you'd like a sour chocolate porter.

Photo of SanFranceIsco
3.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was a little disappointed in this beer because I had asked for a chocolate stout, and all I got from this one was coffee, coffee, coffee. I was really hoping for something along the lines of Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, which this is definitely not. It has some sweetness to it, but is mostly dominated by the bitter coffee flavors.

PS: Anyone know how the hell you open one of those 22oz bottles without risking bodily injury or getting little bits of crap in your beer? That seal over the cap is definitely not wax.

Photo of SpdKilz
1.61/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance - After chipping at the damn bottle for a good few minutes trying to open it (note to Black Diamond Brewing Co. - never ever use this material again) the bottle was ready to pour. After reading about infections I was crossing my fingers and hoping for the best but alas, with an extremely mild pour there was five fingers of head with two fingers of beer. Great. Head slowly dissipates and leaves good looking lacing at least. Beer pours a chocolate color with hints of light showing through the edges of the glass.

Smell - Metal, disgusting vanilla extract (again Black Diamond...splurge a bit and use legit vanilla extract not this obvious fake junk), slight coffee, and chocolate, and of course, a distinct infected tartness aroma. I'm in for a treat here aren't I?

Taste - Ug. As the reviewer below me noted, the infection is not horrible in the sense it is the only thing you can taste. Oh no...there is still plenty of gross five day old coffee ground flavor, along with the overbearing artificial vanilla. The infection comes in about midway and continues on to meld ever so nicely with a metallic aftertaste. I've had two sips of this and am about to drain pour it.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, though on the lighter side, insane amount of carbonation, dry, metallic finish.

Drinkability - There is none. I am in the process of drain pouring this. I would say avoid until the next batch to make sure there is no infection, but the artificial vanilla flavor is enough to never make me want to try this again anyways. Yuck.

Photo of Kevlee722
3.45/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into tulip glass. Big black body, nice one finger of tan head. Small amount of lace. Nose is light bourbon, caramel, vanilla and chocolate.
Taste is much the same with a large toasty character, big bold flavors but nothing too amazing. The roasted flavor takes over from the faint notes of oak and vanilla.
The mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style, but the carbonation plays nicely on the palate. Not thick and chewy like an IRS, but definitely appropriate for the style. The boldness of the flavor doesn't really match the thin mouthfeel.
A pretty decent offering from Black Diamond. Pretty drinkable and tasty but nothing worth searching too hard for. One of those brews where if you see it, grab it, but not worth hunting down.

Photo of Topher78
3.73/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured black as night, with 1/2 a fingers worth of a mocha head that left little to no lacing. The aroma is of sweet vanilla, chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor is of heavy vanilla, bitter-sweet chocolate, toasted malt and espresso. The mouth feel has very little in the way of carbonation, so it's heavy and coats your tongue as it runs over your palate, leaving a slight alcohol warming sensation in the back of your throat. Too sweet and too much Vanilla for my taste.

Photo of SHODriver
3.77/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a deep brown that is near black with a small tan head
S: smelled kinda like bourbon at first whiff. notes of vanilla and chocolate, slightly boozy which is shocking for the low alcohol, slight molasses note as well.
T: chocolate and vanilla mostly and kinda reminds me of a candy bar. kinda nutty too. aftertaste is more vanilla and chocolate
M: slightly prickly carbonation and a bit heavy in the mouth for a porter but not too much so
O: tastes pretty solid, kinda one sided as the malts are hidden by the vanilla and chocolate additions. a bit on the sweet side though. I strongly recommend sharing this beer with somebody as it's a bit much to drink by yourself.

Photo of Zorro
3.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Clear dark brown colored beer with a tall light brown colored head. Extremely strong head formation took 15 minutes to feel the glass.

Smells sweet with a strong aroma of patent malt. Detectable ethanol and a faint carrot stick hop scent along with a fair amount of coffee scent.

Starts out neutral sweet and strong on the patent malt. This is a beer very big on the patent malt and it pretty much is the only flavor here. Slight chocolate but this beer is all roasted malt.

Mouthfeel is good.

This is pretty much a one-flavor beer; patent malt isn't enough to interest me for that long.

Photo of DaveHS
3.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep, dark brown with ruby highlights. The inch or so of dark tan head has plenty of sticky retention, and will leave a ring on the glass with each sip. Rich aromas of chocolate mousse, dry drinking chocolate mix, vanilla bean, earthy malts, coffee and molasses. The nose really opens up after it's been sitting for a few minutes. Alternating flavors of sweet and roasted malts are up front, followed by the vanilla and chocolate. All well balanced flavors held together by bold carbonation. The mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth, with a lingering finish. A little heavy for everyday drinking, but something nice to have with some dry roasted nuts or a slice of German chocolate cake.

Photo of WAbeerfiend
1/5  rDev -69%

Poured into a tulip on 05.30.14.

A: 3 1/2 finger tan head. Midnight black with a lot of red at the bottom.

S: Vanilla bean, but not sweet. It has some funk too.

T: Pickles, vinegar, and funk dominate. Chemical vanilla, cough syrup, and battery acid are more subtle.

O: This was undrinkable on the first sip. It was very sour. Maybe it was infected? Drain pour.

Photo of Burlyn
3.25/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: licorice black with a light brown lacey head that sticks to the sides of the glass

Sm: sweet hay and dark chocolate

T: smooth vanilla and coffee with a hint of smoky wood

M: very bubbly and crisp on the tongue

O: very different than other porters ive had before, not near as heavy, but its nice to occasionally have something different.

Photo of tjfinkle
3.65/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into tulip

Appearance- Very deep dark brown with light brown head, about one finger, two, three... oh crud I apparently forgot how to pour and did I mention that this is going into a new glass that I forgot to clean... whoops (the second pour I managed to remember how to pour a beer and still had a finger of fluffy head)

Smell - Roasted Coffee malts with some vanilla and leather

Taste - Again, coffee malts and vanilla initially with some dark fruits on the finish. The finish is a little harsher than I would have hoped.

Mouth- Adequate mouth feel, but you do notice the alcohol, also would say there is a bit too much carbonation for a beer of this style

Drink-Adequate beer, but again the finish is kind of harsh and not as balanced as I would hope. I assume from the waxish substance on the cap that this beer is intended to be cellared and I would not be surprised if over time it mellowed out a bit.

Photo of womencantsail
1.34/5  rDev -58.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A: The wax was nearly impenetrable, but after finally getting through it, I popped the cap only to have tan foam come climbing out of the bottle. The pour is a dark brown color with an enormous tan/brown head. Infection?

S: My fears are confirmed on the nose. Slightly acidic roasted malts along with coffee and...peaches. Some other sour fruit notes like lemon and green apple, but the amount of peach aroma is quite startling.

T: It's even worse on the palate. The flavor opens up with broccoli stalks before moving on to the peach flavor. The tartness is subtle, but this is a friggin imperial porter, not an oud bruin. Roasted malts and coffee are still there.

M: The body is light to medium with a high level of carbonation for this style of beer. Most likely a byproduct of the infection.

D: This was just all kinds of bad. I don't have any desire to try this again.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.95/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, the beer is a very dark brown with auburn highlights on the fringes. A slight, thin filmy tan head sits upon the viscous pour. Aromas of coffee and milk chocolate, with barrel/vanilla scents, also. The beer initially tastes smokey, with underlying dark chocolate and heavy roasted
coffee. Sweet caramel and vanilla essence sneaks in at the end, especially after the beer has had a chance to warm and settle. Very smooth and creamy body helps to carry the bitterness that the chocolate and coffee
flavors leave. Leaves a slight lacing on the glass as you drink, but not overly thick; usually expect a little bit more body from a Porter. The aftertaste is slightly bittersweet, and a littly boozy. Crisp, bittering finish that begs for more. Tasty brew, and would be amazing on a cold day. I would be willing to bet this would age well, also.

Photo of flexabull
3.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a pretty good white head.

Aromas are of cocoa, light vanilla, some coffee and cream. Smells good, but a little bit unnatural.

Taste is not as strong as I thought it might be. Soft and creamy up front, cocoa, and hints of vanilla. Finish is crisp, with some warmth and a really roasted malt character.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, smooth, and actually a touch light.

Drinkability is not bad. It's a pretty good porter, doesn't seem like an "imperial" beer though.

I wonder if this is a reworked batch, no wax, and isn't nearly as bad as prior reviews suggest.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
1.59/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Note: When I got this bottle my assumption was that the gold coating was wax, however I came to learn that it's in fact some kind of resin-based peanut brittle. WTF?

Appearance -- Pours a deep dark brown with ruby highlights and an abundance of foamy, saison-like head. Not bad but...weird. Infected? Big bucks, no whammies...

Smell -- Ruh-Roh. Plastic, coffee, artificial vanilla extract, dark chocolate, tart cherry. Signs point to infected.

Taste -- Fortunately the infection isn't as terribly present as I had initially feared. The principal flavors are ground coffee, well-roasted malt, dark chocolate, and artificial vanilla. Still, the infection is clearly building up with notable industrial plastic flavor and tart cherry. Lasting flavor of coffee grounds, sour cherries, and burnt plastic.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light in body with high carbonation. Dry and tannic in the finish. Also waxy.

Drinkability -- Not great. It seems that, had I drank this when I first got it two months ago, it might have tasted fine, although something tells me I would've have necessarily been bowled over with all of that fake vanilla flavor.

If you have this in your possession, by all means open it now. If not, definitely pass on this one.

Photo of Beer4Baltimore
2.5/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

standard 22 ounce bomber
A - a thin looking dark but not black with no head.
S - I don't smell much of the advertised vanilla or chocolate but do detect just a hint of smokiness.
T - malty weakness with no real backbone aside from some sweet smoky flavor.
M - thin, very thin.
D - definitely a one time purchase.
extremely sweet diluted soy sauce anyone?

update:(10-15-2011) I've read from various places that some of these bottles may have been infected.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. cool label, but no date.

appears not quite black, dark brown in the corners. cream colored head. big milk chocolate aroma, very nice.

slightly sweet chocolate flavor in the taste, a touch of caramel. balanced by a bittersweet dry finish. smooth velvety mouthfeel, medium thickness, lower carbonation.

overall - very good, maybe could just be a bit thicker.

Photo of duluoz
3.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer appears to have taken a beating on reviews of an earlier batch of infected bottles. I just had one that was fine, so I'll chime in.

A - Very nice black to dark brown and a light head with minimal lacing after a vigorous pour. Looks like a Porter.

S - Sweet vanilla over roasted malt, some chocolate and coffee.

T - Starts out great, with the same flavors from the aroma blending very nicely, but gets a tad sweet towards the end. As it warmed up and the vanilla shone through even more, it verged on cloying.

M - Kind of thin, but not bad. Carbonation was there, but appropriately in check.

All in all a good Porter, and it could be really good if they rounded out the body a bit and downplayed the vanilla a touch.

Photo of kojevergas
2.85/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Acquired at a local beer store for $6.49. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Expectations are above average; I really liked this brewery's IPA and I'm a big fan of vanilla porters. Although current ratings are quite low.

Served after a warming period after being taken out of the refrigerator. I was looking over the current reviews and noted a tendency toward infection, so I braced myself for beer surging...

...and luckily there was none. I guess other reviewers had waxed caps? Mine is standard, no wax, and there are no surging issues.

A: Pours a half finger khaki-tan colour head of lackluster cream, decent thickness, and bad retention (<30 seconds). Colour is a solid dark black (not quite jet black). Nontransparent / opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Looks okay for the style.

Sm: Cocoa, booze, artificial vanilla, overdone malt sweetness, and roast. Not real well balanced. Victory At Sea this is not. I'd even go so far as to say there's a hint of whiskey. An average strength aroma.

T: Artificial vanilla up front carries into the second act and then dies at the midpoint. The bitter roast keeps going, though, even overstaying its welcome through the finish. Quite imbalanced. Dark malts form the unobtrusive foundation. Strangely sweet on the open. A bit of alcohol is evident on the climax. I get oak more than chocolate; in fact chocolate is eerily missing. Frankly, this is just a simple two note beer: first half - vanilla; second half - untamed roast. To be constructive, the vanilla isn't bad up front; in fact, this wouldn't be too bad if the whole profile was just that surging vanilla cream.

Mf: Creamy up front, but it hits the brakes when it delves into the third act's dryness and coarseness. Doesn't really suit the flavours, though it mirrors their imbalance. Carbonation is slightly high. Thickness is good.

Dr: There are good elements here, but the balance is just off. I have faith this brewery could fix make this into a great beer with some work; the vanilla does work well here. All things considered, though, it's quite a disappointment. Might be better on-draught. I'll be sticking to Victory At Sea for my imperial porter fix, but this wasn't an awful effort from Black Diamond, and the price could be worse.

C

Photo of mactrail
2.76/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chocolate smell and more chocolate in the taste. So sweet and flavorful, it's like a chilled mug of cocoa. Rather sweet. An odd aftertaste of some bitterish stuff. Looks nice enough, with coarse bubbles and a copper-tinged brown.

I guess this is one of those love of hate beers. I hate it. The chocolate is so strong, and there just seems to be no actual flavors of malt or hops. The bubbles are pleasant enough. It is well made, and the mouthful of sweet cocoa is a nice enough flavor. But it starts with a smell of potting soil and ends with a harsh bitterness. Good chocolate, though. It needs food to take your mind off the flavor.

From the 22 oz bottle.

Photo of Aenema
3.93/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Deep brown, dark ruby highlights. Tan, foamy head that leaves splotchy lacing.
Smell - Vanilla, some roasted coffee malts, cocoa nibs, and a slight pine note.
Taste - Lots of vanilla and sweetness followed by some bitter malts.
Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied, though a bit watery - fine carbonation that was a bit too vigorous.
Drinkability - Quite easy drinking; the biggest weakness is the mouthfeel is off a bit.
Overall - An enjoyable beer that I'd like to try again; hopefully with a smoother, creamier mouthfeel.

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Peak XV Imperial Porter from Black Diamond Brewing Co.
75 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.