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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.

54 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 54
Hads: 113
Avg: 3.12
pDev: 39.74%
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Peak XV Imperial Porter Alström Bros
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 113
Photo of n2185
4.04/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not for sure why this beer has such relatively low scores, but I enjoy it. Nice mix of vanilla and bitter cacao. The body is a little thin, but that's about the worst that I can say about it.

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Photo of BottleConditioned
2.7/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.34/5  rDev +39.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with an eighth of a finger of caramel-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Awesome! Massive, rich, complex, earthy, inviting aromas of dark chocolate and roasted malt, bready and a touch musty, as well as strong aromas of vanilla, brown sugar, dark molasses, licorice, and candied sugar. There are also quite a lot of aromas of woody, boozy bourbon. Seductive, really.

Taste: Wow! Absolutely delicious! Strong, massive really, flavors of rich, complex, earthy, bready, roasted malt up front, imparting touches of smoke and a hint of licorice, followed by tons of dark chocolate, brown sugar-like sweetness, hits of vanilla, touches of oak and quite a bit of boozy bourbon, which imparts a slight harshness that is just a touch off-putting, but doesn’t take away from the rest of the beer’s incredibly awesome flavors!

Mouthfeel: Chewy and surprisingly, nicely effervescent, as there is much more carbonation that I’m used to with an imperial porter. With an ABV of 8.5%, there is a pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is an awesome beer! Almost World-Class, in fact. The only thing keeping it from being World-Class in my opinion is that slight bourbon/alcohol harshness that accompanies the other awesome flavors. I’m sure that I find it harsh because I’m not really a bourbon fan as I find most bourbon harsh. However, I’m sure fans of bourbon will really like this and consider it a World-Class beer. Highly, highly recommended!

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Photo of archyquaffer
4/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is just a plain old bomber with no goofy, faux-elegant wax seal. A moderate pour from a bomber into a schooner glass produces a short but sticky and creamy looking pale brown head. The beer is a very dark ruddy brown that barely admits a beam from a Mini Maglite. It is not highly carbonated and has a very subdued head.

Lots of dark fruit, chocolate and vanilla in both the aroma and flavor. The vanilla is especially noticeable in the flavor, while the chocolate is more apparent in the aroma. A very nice melding of the chocolate and vanilla with dark cherry and plum flavors and plenty of residual sweetness evokes a chocolate covered cherry. There's a bit of coffee, and some earthy hop bitterness there as well and perhaps a little smoke along with some very mellow roasted flavors. The mouth feel is creamy and fairly heavy, but appropriate for the style. The alcohol is well hidden (though the effects may not be upon reaching the bottom!).

Judging by past bad reviews, they must have improved this beer. This particular version is borderline excellent provided you like a good dessert beer. The chocolate covered cherry flavor would be very appropriate for Christmas Eve. I'm enjoying this one on New Year's Eve 2014, while the bubbly gets cold on the porch.

I purchased the 22 ounce bomber for about 7 bucks at the Hennesey Grocery in Butte, Montana.

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Photo of 22Blue
3.96/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 22 ounce bottle. Pours almost black with a decent tan head. Aroma of malt, chocolate, and vanilla. Taste is roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and some coffee. Hides the 8% very well. Nice

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
1/5  rDev -67.9%

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.

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Photo of i4ourgot
3.89/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The aroma was light coffee and chocolate with a hint of vanilla. Appearance was dark with very little head that was tan in color. The beers mouth feel was smooth with low carbonation. The flavor was chocolate with a slight almost plum flavor on the first few sips. That gave way to a dominant chocolate flavor with a sweet coffee finish. There was a definite alcohol flavor that was noticeable but not un-pleasant.

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Photo of Fatehunter
2.66/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.26/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of snaotheus
2.77/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

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Photo of dvb
1.34/5  rDev -57.1%
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.

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Photo of codsmith
2.12/5  rDev -32.1%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.85/5  rDev -8.7%
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.


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Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev +30.1%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
2.76/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.77/5  rDev +20.8%
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.

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Photo of Kevlee722
3.45/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of Burlyn
3.25/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.92/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Put this in the cellar for a few months. Here goes....

Pours a dark brown color with a beige head that dissapates rather quickly leaving a small ring around the glass. No lacing.

Nice vanilla in the aroma. Getting quite a bit of that with some good cocoa whiffs and chocolate. Dark fruit too.

The taste is rather sweet with more vanilla shining through and a tobacco/dark chocolate aftertaste. Some wood as well.

Nothing earth shattering in the mouthfeel.

Overall I liked this. I know it gets some rather low scores, but I enjoyed this session. My bottle had a very pronounced vanilla and cocoa flavor that worked well. Maybe living so close to the brewery did this. I dunno. Whatever it was....me likey.

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Photo of Topher78
3.73/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.58/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich, nearly black hue which lets ruby through when held up to the light. Head is two fingers of pillowy tan foam which leave a nice lace on the glass. Not bad!

Smell: malty, chocolatey aroma which has an edge of harshness to it. There is vanilla in there, which might contribute to the harsh edge, but overall I think it's actually an interesting and intriguing aroma.

Taste: vanilla and chocolate definitely play a part here, but at least some of the chocolate seems malt-derived. There's a bit of a vegetal edge toward the end, which is unwelcome but is part and parcel with most dark beers. Bitterness is a bit harsh, possibly do to both spicing and dark malts.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body with a good carbonation and concomitant creaminess. I like it!

Overall: this is a somewhat bizarre porter, but I kind of like it. The vanilla adds something which I appreciate.

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Photo of drabmuh
2.83/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of Siggy125
3.82/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 4oz taster glass from 22oz bottle. Dark cola color with khaki head, lots of it. Heavy carbonation, lingered for quite a while then finally faded with decent lacing.

Pleasant notes of vanilla and some burnt black coffee on the nose. Fairly typical porter aroma profile, no big surprises here.

Coffe more prominent in the taste, Vanilla very faint, but just enough to remind you it's in there. The malts remind me more of a solid brown ale rather than a porter. As it warms, I get a warm booziness which tastes a bit like it was barrel aged, hmmm.

Not a beer that I would chase after for more, but I enjoyed it enough to finish the whole bottle myself. Solid porter with an interseting profile.

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Photo of Philousa
2.8/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
3.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pretty much straight brown, translucent body. Two fingers of head that quickly recede without a trace.

S: Some lightly roasted notes along with dark chocolate. Not getting much in the way of vanilla, but perhaps a touch of dark fruit at the end of the sniff.

T: The first few sips were marvelous. Starts off with roastiness that is joined in the middle by vanilla. Vanilla, that contrary to a few other reviews, I find to be quite pleasing, and not artificial-tasting at all. Dark chocolate comes in at the end of the sip. 4.5

As I continue to drink, the beer does become a bit cloying, which surprised me, as it really didn't strike me as that sweet initially. The individual flavors fall away and are replaced with just a general sweetness, though I do start to get a little bit of smoke at the end. 3.5

M: Could be a tad thicker and less carbonated, but I don't think the mouthfeel clashes with the rest of the beer.

O: I'm not quite sure what to say. I really enjoyed the first third or so of the beer, and had I shared the bottle with a few friends, I probably would have given this beer very high scores. I guess some more roastiness to tone down the sweetness would be good. The vanilla and cocoa nibs were excellently integrated when I could taste them individually.

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Peak XV Imperial Porter from Black Diamond Brewing Co.
74 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.