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Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout | Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

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Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice StoutMegadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

Brewed by:
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
British Columbia, Canada

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BDTyre on 01-08-2011

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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 136
Photo of souvenirs
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1L bottle bought at Lennox Liquor Store for $9.65 + deposit.

Appearance: black, impenetrable to light, with a massive light brown head that's quite slow to dissipate.

Smell: licorice (from the anise), some booziness, not much else. Definitely appealing, and rather unusual.

Taste: loads of licorice flavour, some sweetness from the molasses. I think it seems less bitter because of the licorice flavour, which either makes the bitterness less pronounced or more expected.

Mouthfeel: thick. Probably about what you'd expect from a beer made with blackstrap molasses. Not overly carbonated.

Overall: with flavour so pronounced and ABV of 10%, this isn't something I'd want to drink often or very much of at once. I kind of wish it were available in a smaller bottle, but it would be fine if you had a friend (or two) to share a bottle with. I'm very glad I tried it, but I probably wouldn't have it again anytime soon. I might like it to be a bit more complex, but it is what it is.

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Photo of srhoadsy
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served slightly chilled into a snifter.

Pours black with half an inch of light brown head that slowly recedes leaving heavy surface layer and lacing.

Heavy aromas of anise.

Flavors are all bittersweet. Heavy on the anise with hints of dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sweet finish with strong but quickly fading aftertaste.

A nice, flavorful beer. I have had other licorice stouts where the licorice is too mild if not altogether unnoticeable. Not very complex, but focuses on it's flavor profile. Excellent when paired with dessert.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - pitch black with a thumb of brown head, held at a thin cover with decent random lacing
S - big licorice root aroma backed by strong espresso and some molasses
T - the licorice is in your face along with a rich black strap molasses flavour, cold pressed coffee along with more subtle roasty flavours bring up the rear, make no mistake this is a big boy beer with big boy flavours
M - chewiness in tempered by the high ABV, has a strong bitterness of both the licorice and coffee, finishes with a warm feeling in your chest
O - this beer is huge all around, and the licorice is more pronounced than any i've sampled, definitely made for beer geeks and not for the faint of heart, and finally big props for collaborating with a cool company like Megadestroyer!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

1L capped, swing-top bottle. This is one bad-ass label, the name and austere Soviet iconography setting the tone with a sledgehammer.

This beer pours a dictionary-definition black, with the slightest of slight pencil-thin basal cola 'highlights', and two beefy fingers of densely foamy, rocky beige head, which leaves perfectly consistent drop-down speckled drip patterns of painted lace around the glass as it very slowly abates.

It smells of musty, dusty, Zellers-going-out-of-business black licorice, middling dry cocoa, bittersweet cupboard-bound raw molasses, soft day-old coffee notes, and a latent black fruit infused caramel malt - good, sure, but a bit over the top, and I can't believe I'm saying that. The taste is ethereal anise, with a near cousin, more quotidian packaged black licorice essence, sweetly grainy, slightly roasted caramel malt, syrupy root beer, understated sugary molasses, a touch of espresso, and duly under-appreciated earthy, musty hops. The 20-proof booze is more than capable of keeping its hedonism well under the radar.

The bubbles are present, and mostly perfunctory, to no ill end, the body an adequate medium weight, and tacitly smooth, the hops and slightly metallic alcohol choosing this particular point to make their debut. It finishes a whole lot more dry than anything up to this point, the licorice character having a hard time differentiating itself from an ouzo cameo.

A big, big, big, (did I say big? Ok, then) beer, of the Imperial Stout bent, fo sho. The licorice and anise (the difference is real, I know) is readily noticeable, front and center, really, with the other flavours eventually just a futile exercise of pissing in the wind, it seems by this point. Not the most complex of offerings for the style, but agreeable enough in its weight, a suitable Saturday Night Special, as ever was.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 1 L brown bottle. Pours out a dense opaque black hue, impermeable to light. Tall dense spongy beige head that retains well and eventually settles to a thick cap.

Intense molasses and sweet black licorice on the nose, along with sweet dark malt and notes of chocolate and coffee.

More intense sweetness in the flavour, almost cloying. Yeah, sweet black licorice dominates (seems more like anise to me though, perhaps some sarsaparilla root as well), with dark malt, mild chocolate, and molasses, with some dry cocoa and coffee rounding out the finish. Astringent dark malt and alcohol appear in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, velvety and slick texture, also dry and astringent on finish, with moderate carbonation.

A real heavy hitter, and it delivers with everything mentioned on the label (hell, in the name alone!). 1 L is a bit much for anyone to tackle on their own, a friend or two to help out is well advised, or the remainder would make one hell of an expensive but kick ass marinade for ribs. Worth seeking out, however only if you enjoy licorice, as that most certainly is the powerhouse in this stout, hands down. That aside, certainly worth seeking out.

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Photo of leaddog
4.48/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a dark chocolate black with two fingers of dark and dense mocha head.

Smell - Molasses, roasted malts, anise seed, licorice, cocoa.

Taste - Licorice and anise seed star in the flavours, followed by the roasted malts, molasses and cocoa in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slight creaminess.

Overall - A unique flavoured stout by adding licorice and anise seed. Since those two ingredients are notoriously strong, I was concerned about their flavours being overpowering - not the case in this brew, which balanced all the flavours well. If you want to try a stout that's a little off the beaten path, give this one a taste.

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Photo of ZiggyPop
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

So this is my first real review, so sorry for any "amateur" terms or mistakes :P

Poured from a 1 liter bottle into a pint glass. My pouring hand wasn't used to pouring this amount of beer, so it definitely quivered. I should probably work out more often.

Appearance: Opaque black/brown body, with a mahogany head and some lacing, but not as much as expected.

Smell: Licorice smell is the most dominant, yet I sense another lesser smell, something along the lines of a nut of some sort. I'm assuming this could be roasted malts.

Taste: Right off the bat, a very smooth licorice flavor accompanied with a roasted flavor. Neither is over powering and are very balanced. Was pleasantly surprised by this, because I feared when buying this bottle that it'd be a liter of alcoholic licorice. Finishes with a great licorice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The standard stout feel. I don't know how to describe it in any further details to be honest, other than that classic stout feel we all know.

Overall: Very content about this one. My first from Howe Sound, and I was a little skeptical about their line because of the liter sized bottles at the very reasonable price of 10 dollars. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a brew off the beaten path, or just a fan of stouts in general.

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Photo of mattsander
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Opaque w/ chestnut edges, mocha head, decent lacing.

S: A nice complexity of roasted malts and licorice. The combo is almost minty/herbal, slighty nutty, an interesting smelling stout.

T: Well balanced roastiness that never seems acrid. Doesn't lean strongly towards sweet or dry, impressive for a 10% stout. Nothing especially exciting here, but a well made stout with strong licorice flavor.

M: Full and creamy throughout.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

1L swing top bottle...Shazam! Split with my bro in law.

Pours black, all black, with a dark tan head and lots of lace.

The aroma is sure as sh*t licorice.its not too daunting, and there's plenty of roast and chocolate coming through to even the score.

Taste also starts off with a licorice kick, then some chocolate, even a soft coffee note and some brown sugar.

Full bodied, for the most part, but a smidgen lacking in overall stoutness.

Not a big fan of licorice, but it works nicely here and isn't too godawfully overwhelming.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.48/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours an opaque pitch black with a nice two finger brown head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma is dominated by fresh black licorice with light roasted malt and a hint of cola. Flavor is fantastic, roasted malt, lots of licorice, anise seed, caraway seed, charred coffee. Finishes with light hop bitterness and lingering licorice. Medium bodied with light creaminess. High ABV well covered, making this dangerous in such a large bottle. Must resist finishing the bottle tonight... A great stout and the best use and integration of licorice in a beer that I have ever had. Outstanding.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Extreme black, tan head. Small, creamy bubbles linger on the glass.

Smell: Huge roastiness. Some chocolate and coffee but definitely a lot of licorice. Very little hop aroma, given its 75 IBUs.

Taste: Has a distinct flavour of salted black licorice, but without the saltiness. It's dark malt flavours are sweet and identifiable while the adjunct licorice is at the forefront.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy and light on the palate, given the hefty nature of this beer. Lots of malty sweetness and some decent bitterness that comes through after the sweetness subsides.

Overall: Great imperial stout by Howe Sound. Added bonus of coming in a 1L swing-top bottle...Great for sharing, or for saving to drink over a couple (few?) nights.

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Photo of peensteen
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Jason

Jet black with some dark brown spots, thick tan head, and nice lacing along the glass. Smell is full of liquorice and anise but not so much that it dominates, still a good amount of roast and chocolate here as well as coffee, black liquorice towards the end again that leaves a bit of a fruity scent. Taste is roasty with tons of liquorice but again never seems to dominate due to the fact that there are giant roast and dark chocolate flavours here and to a lesser extent coffee, finishes bitter sweet with a liquorice aftertaste. Light carbonation, sticky medium body, almost felt like cough syrup consistency at times as well. I liked this much more than I had expected since I am not the biggest fan of black liquorice or anise flavours, rather enjoyable and something I would probably pick up my own bottle of, the second best liquorice beer I have had behind Labyrinth.

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Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A litre of a story in licorice. Black with a large head, big lace. Black licorice and anise. Looks like a stout but overwhelmed by the licorice taste. ROasted malt in secondary.Significant carbonation. Jason's bottle from his BC friend. A fun beer, a novelty.

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Photo of papat444
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to chickenm for this one.

Poured from a 1L bottle and shared with my wife.

Appearance: Really dark brown body, huge thick head that really takes its time, bubbly a bit. Each sip leaves some lacing in its wake.

Smell: Some licorice, raw cocoa powder mixed with actual chocolate.

Taste: Black licorice present but doesn't overpower. Leaves equal amounts of cocoa, milk chocolate and roasted coffee get to play.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, nice smoothness mixed with a bitter feel. Chewy a bit.

Overall: Found the licorice to be a nice compliment without obstructing the other flavors. Wish it came in a smaller format though!

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Photo of korguy123
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick, opaque, black pour. Two finger tan head. Lacing is decent.

Black coffee, dark chocolate and a huge amount of licorice. It's really potent.

Dark chocolate, coffee and copious amounts of black licorice. It's fairly one dimensional in the sense that the licorice dominates everything else.

Full bodied, low carbonation and sticky on the lips.

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Photo of kjyost
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 L swing top bottle shared at a recent bottle share. Poured ~6C into a 5 oz sampling glass. From notes.

Pours as thick and opaque as oil with a tan head that drops and laces lightly. Tons of liquorice on the nose though not much else as it blocks everything else out. The body is much the same. Roasted notes in the finish with perhaps a hint of mint? A really odd finish and flavour to this beer. Definitely fennel seed flavours here causing a vegetal finish. I know it is advertised as such, but why so much liquorice?

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Photo of Rutager
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, very close to black with almost 2 fingers of thick tan head. Pretty nice lookin'.

Smell. Dark roasty malts, some Pernod, a little bit of molasses and dark chocolate. Pretty nice smellin'.

Taste. Nice big chocolaty roasty malts, a little anise, a bit of dark fruitiness. Fairly complex, much more so than I was expecting. Pretty nice tastin'.

Mouthfeel. Pretty full body with medium-low carbonation. Just a little warmth. Pretty nice feelin'.

Overall. Loved this one. Big and rich with a complimenting amount of licorice. Pretty nice beer.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours jet black with 1 finger of light tan head which dissipates into a thin cap. No light passes through even well held directly to the light.

S: Big blooms of black dutch liquorice with deeply toasted malt. Notes of cocoa powder, roasted coffee and the scent of sassafras, what you would find in root beer.

T: Taste follows the smell, black liquorice followed by cocoa and roasted coffee. Finish is very smooth with a slight bitterness left on the tongue, reminiscent of grapefruit rind.

M: Full bodied and oily smooth.

O: This is a well balanced stout, liquorice is very evident but not overpowering allowing the other flavours of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts and coffee to come through. Alcohol is barely noticeable. A very enjoyable sipping beer. Will be buying a second to store and try again next winter.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1L swinging pop top poured into tulip 16/3/12

A near black with just some red highlights at the edges, large light brown head has great retention slowly falling to a thick film leaving lots of unorganized lace all over

S licorice pops out pretty strong but not the final product but the root itself, reminds me of the licorice root I'd buy in the candy store in Banff as a kid, there's a little molasses and coco and a fair bit of fennel, cola and root beer

T mimics the smell pretty well, a little more earthy root notes, do they use licorice root in root beer? I'm getting more root beer notes then I would expect, reminds me a little of absinthe with the anise but without the booze, that reminds me there's no booze detected with this one

M not overly heavy for a beer this dark but decent carbonation helps its cause, still no booze and a lingering aftertaste is of nutty char

O very smooth stuff all around, looks great smells and tastes great, not much to complain about... unless of course you don't like licorice if that's the case avoid like the plague

Imperial licorice stout is quite accurate in this case, a great heavy hitter that could convince you its a lightweight if you ignored the warning signs, mellow stuff well worth looking for, cheers chickenm for sending me this bad boy

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Photo of BashOnABike
3.91/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 1L bottle into snifter:

A: ~1/2" tan, foamy head, which dissipated moderately quickly. Dark cola appearence. Messy, tan lacing

S: Coffee, licorice/anise, vanilla, faint nutty. A little mild, considering the snifter pour

T: Much like scent, but much stronger. Almost salty, reminescent of Baltic Porter. Coffee, licorice, nutty with a boozy aftertaste.

M: Low carbination, fairly foamy with a boozy bite, short on tongue.

O: A very good, heavy beer, but not as unique as I hoped. Not too heavy body, and disguises alcohol well. After flattening out a bit, though, the anise really came through,

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Alibi Room in Vancouver.

A: 1/2" mocha head that left a nice lacing over black liquid.

S: Heavy scent of black licorice and some yeast.

T: Huge amount of black licorice and some yeast up front which transitions to toasted malt, coffee and some alcohol.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: An easy drinking Imperial Stout whose drinkability is dependent upon how much the taster likes black licorice.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.82/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a year for RIS in BC what with Singularity from Driftwood and now this. Essentially the Pothole Filler RIS combined with licorice this is a totally unique beer that has tons of depth and an incredible smoothness from the licorice. You have to love licorice to like this beer but it tastes like the best black licorice combined with the already complex chocolate and roasted malts from the stout. One glass is just right as the big flavours and high ABV make the big bottle either a multi night drink or one to share

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Photo of Derek
4.72/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a tan head, good retention & lace.

S: LICORICE! Black strap molasses, more licorice, hints of underlying dark caramel, roasted nut & coffee. When I smelt it, I thought it'd be a little one dimensional (licorice).

T: Yes the licorice comes through, but there's a plethora of other flavours: black strap molasses, burnt caramel, roasted nut, espresso, biscuity malt, rye bread, very nice spicing (the hops aren't identifiable, but I'd guess there's some Willamette). There's a slight vinous quality (figs, dark caramelized raisins, dates), but the alcohol is really hidden under all the flavour. The bitterness is not at all harsh, and the crisp finish is surprising for a brew of this strength (and body). Exceptionally well-crafted.

M: Full body is smooth with a light roasted acidty, slight drying finish.

D: A surprisingly good drinker.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An awesome combination. Roasted malts, chocolate and coffee and nice anise and sweet licorice explode in the bouquet and taste of this brew.

Predominantly licorice root in the nose with a bit of milk chocolate and some green anise. Chocolate and licorice root mingle in the taste with hints of molasses, anise and even grape juice in the taste. Almost a root-beery taste. Very enjoyable. Low, but ever-preseny boozy warmth

Smooth as it warms, but too carbonated when cold. As tasty as this is, I think at 10% in a 1L bottle this is something to share. Indescribable taste - if you like anise and licorice root and beer this is a must. Get it before it is gone.

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Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 136 ratings.
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