Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2015) | Surly Brewing Company

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Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2015)Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2015)
BA SCORE
4.52/5
World-Class
364 Ratings
Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2015)Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2015)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
surlybrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mothman on 10-26-2015

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
56
Ratings:
364
pDev:
6.42%
 
 
Wants:
120
Gots:
122
Trade:
6
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 364 |  Reviews: 56
Photo of TheHopsman
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of aleigator
4.36/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ba darkness 2015 rye on 181127

Pours almost completely black in color with no prevailing head at all.

Offers a unique, bakers chocolate enhanced smoked oak presence, soaked into peppery, yet mellow appearing Bourbon. Offers a rustic caramel touch, melting into vanilla ice cream and old hazelnut hulls.

Has almost no carbonation left, a lighter to medium mouthfeel to it, with a bigger, warming to boozy, well balanced body.

Tastes of sweet milk chocolate, enhanced by spicy licorice, which gets toned down by cream and dried fire wood. The oak then developes an intriguing bourbon zing, gently feathered by chocolate, producing a long lasting, unique spiciness, highlighting the rye barrel very well. This offers dried plums and hard liquor grapes in the finish, cocoa nibs and soft milk chocolate, together with a great, warming oak profile.

This packs an amazing complexity, while not making any compromises as far as its balance goes. An intense chocolate spiciness gets mixed up beautifully by the profound bourbon barrel, exhibiting an old school, world class stout, which got successfully elevated to the next level.

 1,129 characters

Photo of Sabtos
4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The barrel treatment here really worked well, adding maple wood accents and dark, dry charred oak to the wonderfully sharp, rich dark roasted malt. All kinds of chocolate and nutty notes are enhanced by the barrel, and one major beneficiary is the vanilla character that was already somehow present in the 2015 base.

I finally got my paws on one of these and wow was it worth it. This is a massively different, more enjoyable BA Darkness than the 2016 version. Considering the 2015 regular was my favorite, that's no surprise.

 527 characters

Photo of mrbelvebeer1
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Dark as fuck. They should have named this beer "darkness". Oh. Wait...
Smell: Is that olives? Ok, i know there are no olives in this beer, but it has a hint of it on the nose. Probably the tart cherries giving that smell.
Taste: Wow. There's a lot going on in this beer. If there was any chocolate or coffee in this beer, it's gone. The cherries and raisins have dominated over the lesser flavors.
Mouthfeel: Viscous, like an imperial stout should be.
Overall: This is definitely one of the more unique imperial stouts i've had. Definitely recommended.

 559 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.71/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this from claaark13 a while back.

From a 750 into a Darkness snifter
Vintage: 2015
Aged in Rye whisky barrels

APPEARANCE: Pours our clear dark brown and yields a two finger, looser looking, crackly light tan head with lousier retention. Clear bistre brown body with piles of carbonation for the style. Head recedes to a full cap. Swirly wisp and ring remain leaving touches of lacing down the glass as it empties. Far too light in color, unfortunately.

SMELL: Bold nose with plenty of barrel character, including lots of bourbon, oak, sweet cream and vanilla, toffee and butterscotch aromas. Boozy and barrel heavy.

TASTE: Piles of bourbon, wood and booze up front. Strong enough for sure. Toffee and butterscotch at the swallow with a bold and persistent finish of toffee and butterscotch sweetness, sweet cream and vanilla, milk chocolate, hints of coffee bitterness, as well as plenty of bourbon, wood and booze all over it. Bourbon soaked cherries with dark chocolate as well. Pretty flavorful and strong.

PALATE: Medium body with slightly higher levels of carbonation. A touch prickly carbonation perhaps, could definitely be creamier, enough weight though, goes down fine with a decent burn and finishes sticky on the palate. Plenty of heat lingers.

OVERALL: This is solid stuff at this point. I never had this vintage out of the gate, but the 2014 barrel aged version managed to kill off the hop character of the base beer while failing to deliver much in the department of barrel character. This one is not quite the same. While the hoppy stuff that makes Darkness so unique isn’t all that prevalent, the barrel component is much bolder and more impressive than the 2014. It works here. There’s more than enough going on and it’s definitely enjoyable and interesting. The look seems is rather less than impressive and the feel could use a little smoothening out, but the rest of the experience is good stuff. Thanks again, claaark13! Always a pleasure.

 1,982 characters

Photo of Grackos
4.36/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Norvelljeff
4.06/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Buck89
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. An opaque dark brown color with a sturdy and resilient tan head. Whiskey, vanilla, and cocoa on the nose. This was phenomenal: well-balanced bourbon, oak, vanilla, and chocolate with a phenomenal feel - not too sweet but not thin. Unbelievable how well this is dialed-in without too much booziness. Much better compared with the 2015 version.

 365 characters

Photo of Radcpa
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Chrispy_Creams
4.94/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of IrishColonial
4.37/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of billab914
4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.04/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WesMantooth
4.51/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 "bat" edition 750ml bottle poured into a snifter. Actually consumed and reviewed on 12/17/16, but I had listed it under regular Darkness.

Fairly viscous looking black with a moderate dark brown head that retains a solid ring for quite awhile.

Outstanding aroma! It smells like rye, whisky, chocolate, dark fruit, tobacco, leather, and charred grains.

Spicy rye flavor and a bit of alcohol up front, followed by a bitter bakers chocolate, some sour cherry, raisin, oak, tobacco, ashy/burnt grains, some brown sugar, and a stong lingering rye bread and piney bitterness.

It has a very solid, almost oatmeal like, chewy body. Among the more viscous barreled beers I have had for sure. Reminds me of a Parabola.

My biggest knock is that this beer is a little too bitter. Not in the moment necessarily, but a very resinous, lingering hop flavor. Other than that, it is world class, and the best rye stout I have had.

 926 characters

Photo of robgage
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of von_kaiser
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of MichaelCoyne
4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sat on this one for a while and WOW. Very balanced, great taste, feel, etc....Highly recommend seeking this beer out and sharing it with others who appreciate a great BA stout

 175 characters

Photo of Ri0
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured 750ml into tulip glass. Pitch black with a thin 1 finger deep tan head that quickly fades away and leaves no lacing behind. The aroma is simply marvelous with rich malts, fudge, rye whiskey, vanilla, sweet caramel, dark chocolate and marshmallow. There is an explosion of all those dessert flavors... Massive roasted malts, plenty of dark chocolate brownie fudge loaded with caramel. Vanilla and rye whiskey move in to to finish it off. Velvety smooth and rich full mouthfeel that is slightly sweet. I unintentionally let this sit for 1.5 years, but damn if it isn't a wonderful beer that rivals my favorites from Central Waters.

 636 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of YvesB
4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Uconnelmo
4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of PrestigeWorldwide
4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rodmanfor3
4.25/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ADG2995
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of teamwiggum
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2015) from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.52 out of 5 with 364 ratings