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

109 Ratings
THE BROS
64
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 109
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.24
pDev: 26.23%
Wants: 0
Gots: 12 | 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: 109 | Reviews: 54
Photo of Kevlee722
3.45/5  rDev +6.5%
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 Zorro
3.43/5  rDev +5.9%
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 SanFranceIsco
3.4/5  rDev +4.9%
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 Slatetank
3.26/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I poured this slightly colder than chilled into a nonic, the bomber was shared with Kasey.

The color is dark walnut brown with light tan cap with fine bead and spotty lace pattern is left on the glass. The smell is mildly vanilla with some light cocoa and subtle toasted accent in the nose. The feel is not especially great, but it does have a light nuttiness with subtle tannin from the nibs and mild yeast element which adds to the tanginess and moderate carbonation with some dry aspects in the finish with low alcohol presence.

The flavor is lacking in the respect that the yeast tanginess is out of place, perhaps it is a tannin from the cacao nib but the vanilla and malt suffers in the taste as a result and it is not a flavor that you want to linger since it has a vegetal element that doesn't meld well with the mild toasted malt flavors. overall it is a good beer but not great considering what what into it. I won't say I wouldn't get it again because overall this wasn't terrible, but it is not the first vanilla bean and cacao nib beer I would reach for if you know what I mean.

Photo of Burlyn
3.25/5  rDev +0.3%
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 lacqueredmouse
3.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jeez, guys, I get it. You can put wax on your caps. But seriously, it's unnecessary for a crown capped bottle, and whatever you're using is ridiculously difficult to remove.

When I finally do extricate the beer from the shattering plastic of the cap, it fizzes violently, leaving an obscenely large, overcarbonated head a good 4 inches high, above a dark reddish black coloured body. Head is quite a deep beige colour, but is far too big - even a gentle pour gives me something I need to wade through to get to the actual beer.

Decent dark characters on the nose, with a sweet vanilla note that is almost unfortunately wiped out with a faintly vinous acidic presence. I think there's something funky going on here, because underlying everything are these very pleasant choc-vanilla notes that scream as though they want to come through as soft and sweet. But the acidity ruins it.

The acidity is less pronounced on the palate, but it does feel like there's something skewed a little weirdly here too. Fortunately, the pleasant nutty and vanilla characters stream through more robustly here, especially on the back, leaving a round and sweet afterpalate. Through the centre, there is a rather pleasant dollop of roasted, charred grain bitterness which adds some depth to the palate. Feel is a little thin for such a strong flavoured beer, but it's not too bad.

There's something a little off about this beer overall, and even if it got everything right, it wouldn't be a stellar example of a flavoured American Porter. But it's drinkable enough. More like credible homebrew than credible commercial craft though.

Photo of seand
3.1/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a very dark opaque brown, with a huge amount of tan head. Head retains pretty well (actually too well, given how much of it results from even a gentle pour), leaving some lacing.

S: Roasted malts, some vanilla, just a touch of funky sourness.

T: Thick roasted malt again, with a slightly chemically vanilla note. The rating here is a bit difficult because there's some interesting flavors and they may have achieved what they wanted, but the mix doesn't really work for me.

M: Medium body, with a thick finish, medium carbonation.

D: So-so drinkability due to the odd flavor mix.

Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
2.98/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark brown with 3 fingers of head off a light pour and stays at 1 mm till finished.

S - Smell of Alcohol, Sweet Chocolate, Brown Sugar, very slight Vanilla, and Black Cherry.

T - Tastes of Roasted Coffee, Chocolate, and not much more because of the carbonation.

M - Heavy carbonation which overpowers and it seems a little watery.

D - Drinkability is Ok but should be better once they start to hone their recipe for distribution.

Considering the amount of carbonation I would say this bottle is infected but has not gone sour yet. I will not be buying another bottle for awhile because of this.

Photo of kojevergas
2.85/5  rDev -12%
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 drabmuh
2.83/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer tastes like a wet dog. Seriously disgusting, on draft at the Meridian pint, serve in a pint glass.

Beer is black / brown, hazy with a thin tan head, moderate to low carbonation, low retention, minimal lacing, looks fine.

Aroma is a little sweet, a little vanilla, a little malt, minimal roast.

Beer is light in body, watery and thin, the midpalate opens up to this wet wool / dog bathwater sort of flavor that makes me want to stop drinking immediately. So I do.

Photo of Philousa
2.8/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Deep brown, almost black in appearance with little tan head. Dark, chocolatey malt in the nose with vanilla wafting over and some cocoa lingering underneath. Taste starts thick with caramel then dark chocolate kicks in and vanilla does what it can to lighten up the flavor profile and balance the heavier flavors. No hops to speak of. This is thicker than most porters, doesn't make my mouth water like usual.

I was expecting more of an alcohol kick in the nose or flavor, which I think could have gone a long way to balance the flavor a bit. While Flying Dog's imperial porter burns your throat with alcohol taste, Peak XV becomes too sweet to handle over a full glass, let alone a bomber. The interesting start fizzled into sweetness after half of a pint.

Photo of snaotheus
2.77/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle poured into a large stein. Can't find a best by or bottled on date.

Pours black with a bug luxurious head, which fades very slowly, and is supported by a healthy amount of carbonation. Smell is chocolatey, a little vanilla, yeast.

Taste is chocolatey, vanilla, sweet. Some cherry. Too sweet. I expect a lot more roastiness from a porter. Something about this makes me think of a chocolate soda. It is not bad, but not what I want from a porter.

Mouthfeel is thick but has an oily slickness. Overall, this is not a well conceived beer.

Photo of mactrail
2.76/5  rDev -14.8%
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 BeerAdvocate
2.73/5  rDev -15.7%
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 BottleConditioned
2.7/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Look: nothing special. Weak head.
Nose: hints of over ripe plums. Malty.
Taste: hits up front with a Burnt start. And the after taste evaporates and it feels like water in you moth. Your still left with a burnt taste in your mouth.

Could be great as a cooking beer, less so on the palet.

Photo of Fatehunter
2.66/5  rDev -17.9%
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 Beer4Baltimore
2.5/5  rDev -22.8%
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 gregmoscetti
2.15/5  rDev -33.6%
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 codsmith
2.12/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Ordered from www.LetsPour.com

A: Pours jet black with a slight off white cream head

Smell and taste reeks of acetaldehyde. Its really great if you love green apples, but it's a major flaw in this beer and had to end up dumping it.

Mouthfeel and taste seems like it has traces of trans-2-nonenal as well.

I was really looking forward to this beer, but was sadly disappointed.

Photo of GabrielM
1.88/5  rDev -42%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Poured into a tulip.

A - foam came up right after opening, which isn't a good sign. Massive amount of head on a very delicate pour. Once it settled, the beer looked decent.

S - very faint chocolate, then some raspberry sourness. Things are not looking/smelling good...

T - a ton of carbonation and sweet and bitter fruit taste terrible My palate is tingling, but not in a good way. Definitely infected, which is a shame because an imperial porter brewed with vanilla and cocoa was exactly what I needed tonight. This is far, far from that.

M - way too much carbonation, acidic and sour.

D - I forced down two sips and that's all I can handle.

Photo of SpdKilz
1.61/5  rDev -50.3%
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 Ynot2
1.6/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Spent several minutes chipping, cutting, hacking away the plastic waxy coating. Finally found the cap, opened the cap and the suds started pouring out. Poured into a large snifter, had to slow the pour to a trickle due to overflowing head. The head is a light brown or dark beige.

The smell is a coffee and yeast mixed with sour chocolate.

This beer tastes like a cheap imitation vanilla was mixed with 3 day old coffee poured through charcoal. Can't say what the 4th sip tasted like as it was a drain pour.

The mouth was way too light and caronated for a porter.

This was not drinkable.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
1.59/5  rDev -50.9%
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 LaneMeyer
1.47/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Was looking forward to a nice dark dessert type beer. Man was I disappointed. Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A- Pours a deep brown with a one finger, very light tan head

S- Smells of alcohol, vanilla, and chocolate

T- Sickeningly sweet taste, weird blend of vanilla, milk chocolate and medicine. Really nasty after taste of beef jerky mixed with battery acid.

M- well carbonated, watery, thin, not impressed

O- Drainpour.

Gonna have to bust out the Stone RIS I guess...

Photo of dvb
1.34/5  rDev -58.6%
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.

Peak XV Imperial Porter from Black Diamond Brewing Co.
75 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.