Stir Stick Stout | Half Pints Brewing Company

very good
59 Reviews
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Stir Stick StoutStir Stick Stout

Brewed by:
Half Pints Brewing Company
Manitoba, Canada

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Stir Stick Stout is robust with ruby highlights and a generous addition of locally roasted fair trade, organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee.The beans lend a distinct chocolate aroma and flavour that blends well with the roasted barley and malty sweetness.A woody bitterness rounds out this ale and makes it the perfect match for barbequed buffalo burgers, sweet desserts like chocolate lava cake or with vanilla ice cream as a decadent beer float.

35 IBU

Added by fisherman34 on 08-19-2006

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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 95
Photo of marty21
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black with a very nice deep ruby red around the bottom when held to light. Has a nice two finger tan head. Settles to a very thick cap and leaves decent lacing.

S: Strong roasted coffee bean aroma. I also get a very faint smell of hops. The hops blend right in with the coffee aroma to which the point that you hardly notice them unless you look for them.

T: Roasted coffee dominates the palate with faint hints of chocolate.

M: It has a medium body with medium carbonation. Very creamy with a bit of a dry finish.

D: Probably my favorite offering from Half Pints so far. I never drink coffee but this beer makes me love the taste. Stouts are probably my favorite style and this one is right up there near the top of my list. I could drink many of these in one sitting.

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Photo of Rutager
4.41/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a deep chestnut brown, almost black. Three fingers of thick, chocolate head leaving some thick lacing.

Smell. Light coffee, roasty malt and a little earthy, grassy hops.

Taste. Roasty malt, slightly sour coffee, some dark chocolate and maybe a little citrus zest.

Mouthfeel. Lighter body with strong carbonation. Works well.

Overall. Really nice, lighter stout. Could drink a bunch of these.

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Photo of Noxious26
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341ml brown bottle with twist-off cap poured in a pint glass. Part of a 12-pack sampler.

Absolutely black. When you hold it up to the light you get a touch of cola appearance around the edges, but no light is getting through the center. Big, rocky, dark beige/light brown head foams over the top of the glass. Settles down to a solid cap with lots of sticky lacing.

Not surprisingly, coffee is the dominant aroma. Hints of chocolate, burnt malt, and brown sugar.

Dark roast coffee, dark chocolate and dark malts of the start. After the carbonation rush we're left to a long finish of burnt malts and coffee.

Full bodied with mild carbonation. Tiny little bubbles tickling your palate.

This is one of my regular go to beers in the winter time. I still remember when I first tried it with some friends at FestivAle here in Regina a few years ago. By the end of the night, we just stayed by the Half Pints booth and drink Stir Stick.

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Photo of Dawkfan
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Big mocha creamy head that takes awhile to settle out on top of a very deep brown colored body. Thin cap sticking around, above it is a meager amount of lace.

S- Aroma of coffee first to greet the nose, milk chocolate and roasted malt in the mix as well.

T- Mild flavors which I can enjoy in a stout like this, some coffee beers are just way over the top for my liking. Great balance of coffee bitterness, dark chocolate, and sweet malt. Faint coffee bitterness in the aftertaste.

M- Medium body and carbonation. Very clean mouthfeel, it really suits the flavor profile. Very easy stout on the palate/mouth.

D- This is right up my alley for a coffee stout of this strength. I could drink this all night long. Nice work Half Pints.

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Photo of Shadman
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

now available in Medicine Hat...who wudda thunk it?

Nice looking stout...dark like used oil. Creamy head receeds fast, but lacing puts up a good fight to stay noticed.

Ah almost good enough to be a morning drink..if I wanted a short morning.( 5.6% abv) lot's of rich coffee with some bready chocolate maltiness. Hint of floral hop as well.

Smooth and balanced...first things that come to me as i taste it. Rich smooth coffee infused with some dark chocolate. Some hop present to make it interesting and not so 1 dimensional.

Goes down very easy...carbonation is almost spot on. Actually quite creamy.

Glad it's available here as I will be drinking A LOT of this beer in the future.

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Photo of chickenm
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

341mL waxed bottle. Pours almost opaque dark brown with some sediment floating around and a thin light brown head that leaves some lacing. Really nice aroma of strong coffee, and some dark chocolate and hops as well. Great taste, lots of coffee and chocolate, and a nice bitter finish. Weakest aspect of this beer is the body, which is a bit on the thin side, with light carbonation. Still this is very drinkable, and one of the best Canadian coffee stouts I've tried!

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Photo of GregH
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm an oddity in that I don't drink coffee but I still love this beer. I get the coffee flavour right off the first sip and it carries throughout. Maybe a hint of dark chocolate but mostly dark roasted malt. Thin to no head. could be served a bit warmer than mine and the taste improved and became more complex as my glass warmed. Very yummy on a cold day. Wish Tim Horton's sold this.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured into Creemore glass nov9 2009

A not quite jet black but quite dark with a two finger head that sticks around for a few minuets and leaves a few patches of lace

S this is beer right? It smells very strong of fresh coffee grind and that's about it. I keep bringing it back to my nose and I'm wondering if I'm going to catch a buzz (a caffeine buzz of course)

T coffee is fully in charge here but it's friend cocoa is playing a small part

M not as thick as I would hope for and it's a little flat but still above average

D add it all up and you get a pretty nice beer drinking experience. I will be drinking this again and you should too

I am truly impressed by this brewery, I have yet too have anything by Half Pints that disappointed me in any way.
keep it up guys (and girls)

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Highly carbonated. Dark brown body, big, fluffy, cocoa'tan head, nicely frothed.

Rich espresso nose, very earthy, nutty, a little chocolate, nougat...yeah, nice, and intriguing....ah, yes, it's the Ethiopian coffee beans sticking out, now that I read the label...

Generously flavored, robust body, big mouthfeel, but smooth and easy-going.
Rich, roasted malt, licorice and dry toasty coffee flavor, minor cocoa...fading off, and finishing neat and dry-ish.

An interesting stout. Well-done, solid, refreshing, drinkable, downable, and rearding. Might be my favorite from the four beers Dave was so kind to drop off for me, all the way from Winnipeg. Much luck to this little, plucky brewery, they're headed in the right direction!

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Photo of demcorhip
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good stuff, enjoyed on a bitterly cold February night. Thanks to chonyr and raider for bringing this treat back from the 'peg.

Pours black, nearly opaque, some blackened ruby tones reveal where the light passes through the body around the edges of the glass. Big three finger tan coloured head formed on the pour. This mildly carbonated stout left a somewhat scant yet intricate ring of lacings inside my Samuel Smith pint glass.

Big espresso nose on this one with aromas of dark roast coffee and dark chocolate. A hint of creamy nuts and treacle lie underneath the aromas of roasted coffee and roasted barley. Theres also a hint of smoke, as well as the slightly bitter, earthy, pleasant fall-like decaying leafiness from the fuggles.

Yummy! Slightly bitter flavours of dark roast coffee and roasted malts take the fore on this one. Their clean and clear flavours of dark roast coffee and dark chocolate compliment each other so well its difficult to pinpoint the contribution each made to the overall flavour profile. Underneath the roastiness lies lesser complimentary flavours of creamy nuts, treacle, and a very mild smokiness that all nicely blends into the earthy and leafy fuggles with mild bitterness.

A slightly creamy medium bodied very well balanced stout. Hints of bitterness from the roasted coffee, roasted malts, and the fuggles balance out the richer malts in this one. Very mild level of carbonation present as fits the style.

A yummy, tasty and very drinkable stout. Certainly sessionable, and should be approachable to the stout novices who are adventurous coffee drinkers. Would like some of those ethiopian beans that made their way into this one for my morning cup o joe. Recommend that you try this if you havent, Ill be drinking this one again.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very, very, very dark brown chocolate hue, with mahogany edges, and two fingers of foamy beige head, which leaves a few specks of random lace around the glass as it recedes. It smells of bitter cappuccino, and some sweet roasted caramel malt. The taste is coffee grounds, bittersweet chocolate, and caramel malt. The carbonation is on the low side, the body close to full, smooth, and creamy. It finishes still quite in the coffee/chocolate vein, with a drying bitter earthy hoppiness.

Wow, what a tasty stout, like chocolate milk, good coffee, and beer all rolled up in a freakishly stellar hybrid. I know that I keep saying this, but I do not drink any manner of coffee, but when done up like this, it is very enjoyable.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A private import, got 24 bottles of this one! Nice!

A: Black color, not very dark. The head is brown but disappear very quickly. Some red color notes on the edges.
S: Coffee... but not espresso... more like... yeah mocha coffee notes. A first for me in beers! Some milk chocolate too.
T: Mainly it is mocha coffee. The bitterness is very light.
M: Thin bodied for a stout.
D: So drinkable it is scary!

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Photo of biegaman
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like a giant glass of molasses, the beer sits lifeless, opaque and without any real foam atop it. Its marble-like complexion and stark contrast between the black body and eggshell lace gives it a distinctly sleek look. Swirling produces a thick, frothy trim that has a rusty tone to it; it is this that transforms the beer's appearance from handsome to downright wicked.

What struck me first was not the coffee but the malts, and that sits well with me. Cookie dough, dark caramel and chocolate chips, even a pinch of dark fruit, all amalgamate well into the smokey, rich aura of the coffee. Most importantly, they aren't drowned out by it! It has a ton of roasty mocha character that it isn't shy about either. Yum.

If I wanted coffee I'd just as well drink coffee, no? It always frustrates me when brewers are too heavy-handed with the beans and not heavy-handed enough with the grains; if you're going to add coffee to your beer make sure you've provided enough malt so that the flavours can counterbalance one another. That's exactly what this brewer has done...

Its flavours are intense but harmonize well and come across the palate with balance and good collation. I remember finding the first few batches of this beer to be overly liberal with the coffee - my notes state that it was "like drinking cold, flat espresso" - but by now they've figured out to be more diligent with the coffee and more generous with malts.

And it doesn't end with flavour, either. I've had many coffee beers that are plagued with the astringent, acrid texture of coffee grinds. Generally speaking, I don't want the smoky bitterness of the coffee to override the sweet, toastiness of the malts. With this one, however, we appreciate roasted coffee and sweet, doughie maltiness all in one.

I wish this beer also came in solid-form; 'Stir Stick cake' or 'Stir Stick cookies' would make heavenly desserts and I'm hardly kidding when I say that I'd kill for the recipes. Hell, this has flavours of cookie dough, espresso, pecans and macadamia nuts, tiramisu, creme brulee, chocolate chips and toffee brittle... come to think of it, it is a dessert already! Maybe I'll just buy more of the beer and save myself the trouble of baking ;)

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Photo of bobsy
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Decided to grab a bottle at Volo to finally get an idea about what this great Canadian brewery is up to.

Dark, oaken pour with a frothy mocha head that left some touches of lace as it slowly dissipated. The aroma has to be smelled to be believed... its as if I've plunged my nose into the coffee grinds I use for the morning cup of joe. This is a wonderfully smooth and intense hit, with great notes of cocoa. The flavour is nicely nuanced, and contains a lot of coffee, while also managing to stay balanced, In part this is due to generous notes of chocolate and caramel, which take the edge off the coffee bitterness. Everything is capped by a slightly herbal, dry finish. My only complaint would be the body. Its good for a regular stout, but in an ideal world I would have gone for something bulkier, and played off the breakfast theme by throwing a bit of oatmeal in the mash.

If Half Pints always brew like this I'll be happy, and it sure bodes well for the burly wine that I have at home. I think I need to do a bit more investigating...

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Photo of MeisterBurger
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Pours inky black topped by a creamy tan head, nice, intricate webs of lacing and good head retention.

This has just a wonderfully dry, roasty, woodsy, smoky, cedary aroma of wet coffee grinds.

And the taste follows that exactly. It has wonderfully dry roasted malt with hints of fireplace, and like I took a scoop of cold spent coffee grinds out of my coffee maker and sucked on them. (I love coffee. This is a good thing, believe me). This is played against restrained caramel notes.

It's a little lighter bodied than I would prefer.

Overall this is a great tasting stout full off nice black coffee goodness. I found it moreish and sucked it back a little too quickly. I want more.

Another great beer from a great brewery.

Thanks to stagger for this one.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was quite excited to try this one from Half Pints. Big thanks to my neighbor for hooking me up with a couple bottles from his recent trip home to Winnipeg.

A - Pours pitch black, finger of mocha coloured head with decent retention (2-3 minutes) and no real lacing.

S - Delicious. Quite sweet with milk chocolate and caramelized sugar coming off the top, and finishing with a mild espresso scent. Quite pleasant on the nose, almost mouthwatering.

T - Sweet chocolate at first, with subsequent sips becoming more bitter, but not offensive. Chocolate is still dominant on the finish, but espresso undertones complement it and linger on the tongue. The sweetness on the nose doesn't come through quite as strong in the taste, however, it is still a delectable stout!

M - Perfect carbonation, not overly syropy, nice smooth feel on the tongue, and goes down just as smooth. A lighter stout offering, but I much prefer that feel to a thick chewy stout.

D - Yet another winner from Half Pints. A lovely go-to offering for any stout fan and highly recommended. Mind blowing? Not really. Delicious? Absolutely! Do yourself a favour and grab a 6-er of this stuff, because you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of treyrab
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Whoa whoa, big thanks to Deuane and Carolyn for picking this up for my buddy and I on their latest excavation for fine beer across the country. Much appreciated!

A: Pours a cola brown with a rather spritzy light khaki head. Carbonation sticks like glue to the side of the glass as the head lasts for a few minutes and fades slowly away. The colour (hey, it is a Canadian beer) is clear and dark brown as the glass gets consumed.

S: Fresh as can be roasted coffee (none of that Folgers stuff), nice espresso, and some Bakers chocolate. Very, very robust and enticing.

T: Very nice flavours (there I go again) of roasted coffee and nice espresso. The espresso really comes to the forefront and makes it appearance big time. The dry, roasted coffee and chocolate creep in at the end.

Thanks again guys, this was a real surprise! (No rhyme intended)

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tall tight spongy beige head that leaves thick gashes of lacing in its wake. Dense, dark brown, yet still slightly translucent when held to direct light, at least it reveals rick oaky highlights.

Robust coffee-like notes are prominant on the nose, a creamy sweetness, roasted and burnt malt, grainy malt.

Coffee is prominent in the flavour too, held up by a decent backbone of roasted and burnt malt, some smokey and woody aspects, astringent bitterness on the finish from the grains, yet a creamy mocha character develops in the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, light and slick at times, fullness returns on the finish.

An overall great drinker for a stout, the addition of coffee isn't an excessive ingredient or a burden, but blends right in with the malt bill. Would even make a decent stout for a session ale.

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Photo of BasementBer
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was the first Half Pints I had, warm that time and a bit unexpected. Today I am proud to say that it is a specialty dark for me when I'm looking for beer to slowly be enjoyed. If I could just voice an issue I have here briefly, it is about the new label of the half pints bottles. I don't like it, it is not nearly as appealing or classically identifiable as the old circular symbol you see in the picture above. I have not rated the beer with this dislike in mind. Just gotta put that out there. Like, its a problem for me when I see it...MOVING ON

A: Deep coffee brown. Not a lot of head remains, surprising for this style. Good amount of lacing trail.

S: Mmm, yirgacheffe! Delicious coffee smell, you can really tell its added for aroma. This is one of the best parts of this stout for me.

T: A good coffee taste, not too as long lasting as I would have hoped. But a nice bittering finish to carry out the nose.

M: Finishes dry on the tip of the tongue and goes down smoothly and settles like coffee in the rear.

D: A good beer to definitely be drank chilled. I am pleased that it is now in a 341ml bottle as opposed to the 650ml of old.

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Photo of markaberrant
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 20oz pint glass.

Pours opaque black. Small tan head forms, and quickly recedes to a thin cap. Splotches of lacing are left down the glass.

Aroma is dark roasted malt when I open the bottle. In the glass, it's nothing but coffee with a hint of cream. Finally, a coffee stout that smells like coffee!

Taste continues with a distinct coffee flavour, but there is a bit of sweet malt and hops to make it recognizable as beer. Finish is not overly bitter, which I would have to say is quite nice given the bitter coffee flavour that is alreay present.

Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, not overly heavy, seems appropriate for 5.6% stout. Carbonation is low and perfect for the style.

Drinkability is high for me. Every time I go in for a sip, I get that great coffee aroma, which keeps me coming back for more. This is my kind of session beer.

Overall, this beer is a pleasure to drink. Yes, it is somewhat one dimensional (COFFEE), but very well done and unique in it's own right. Thanks Dave!

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Photo of GK14
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one came from the bottle.

Very, very a good stout should be. Pours smooth with little head but nice lacing afterwards. The aroma of the beer is the best part, heavy on the coffee and to a lesser extent some chocolate. With respect to taste, a little on the bitter side though still respectable. A velvety mouth feel, really enjoyable.

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Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Thanks go to Deuane for hooking me up with a 4-pack of these Half Pint brews from a recent trip.

Pours a very deep brown/almost black, with nearly 2 fingers of mocha colored foamy head. Creamy looking thin layer of retention fires up magnificantly, leaving back a great looking cascade of lace that hangs in thick swathes. Espresso and roast just dominate the aroma, with chocolate and toffee mixing in to create a sharp roasty and bready tang in the nose. Just a solid pop in the nostrils here.

The taste is black roast and coffee darkness up front, which just levels a pleasant crunchy bitterness on the profile. This is balanced by a chewy underlayer of chocolate and toffee, which leaves just about as big of an impact as the darker flavors did. The finish is actually a bit cleaner than I would have thought, with a bit of dry lingering bitterness and that's it. The mouthfeel is medium-fuller bodied overall, but has an overall mellower (and slicker from the espresso) feel to it. Some pricklier carbonation comes out towards the back of the swallow, giving this some extra presence.

Another well done Half Pints beer here. Nice intermingling of roast, coffee, and sticky malt flavors makes for a great fix that any Stout lover would enjoy.

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Photo of eat
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown-black, almost opaque with reddish-brown coming through with the light. Nice milky beige head fades to a thin covering. Retention is not so good but traces do stick around for a while and there is a bit of lacing.

Lots of coffee grounds, smokey roasted malt and some hops in the background. I've tried quite a few coffee stouts but none quite like this. This one is unique, very nice.

Again, lots of coffee. This is no espresso stout; this is coffee-coffee, as in from a drip machine. Roasted malt and dark chocolate round it out. A little bitter and nice and smokey on the finish. I wish the flavour was a little more pronounced, but it's still solid. No alcohol presence.

Good feel. A little thin for my liking, but most stouts are. Medium body and moderate carbonation.

It's all good! This is a really nice stout, very drinkable. Light enough to session but still full of flavour, especially at only 5.6%. I can't wait to try the $ellout, I'm sure it's going to be awesome.

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Photo of BigBry
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341 ml brown bottle, allowed to warm slightly, poured into my large dimpled mug.
Poured basically black, some reddish highlights around the edges. Large, solid head of tan foam. Nice retention, sticky lace. Lots of espresso coffee aromas. Also sense some dark chocolate with the roasted malts. Great flavors, dark roast coffee and dark chocolate. There is some bitterness, but balanced out with enough malt sweetness, almost like an espresso with cream. Also find some nuttiness, slightly smoky finish. Earthy hops keep it from being too sweet or sticky. Creamy mouthfeel, medium body, rich balanced flavors. A tasty and very drinkable stout. Great balance of coffee and stout. I could sip this one all night. Definatley one I need to get again.

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Photo of kjyost
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3rd Time Lucky: re-re-review on Feb 10, 2011
Much better this time around! Hopefully I never have to triple review a beer again.

Light lacing from a tan head. Light chocolate and coffee along with mild roasted barley on the nose. Similar body, with enjoyable sweetness and a bitterness that lingers over time. Fairly thick mouthfeel. I would drink this again.

Reviewed 03-12-10
I am not sure if Half Pints has rejigged their recipe, but I had another bottle of this beer and it seems vastly different to me than what I recalled. I have another bottle from another batch lying around so I will soon be able to compare. I felt the need to re-review after having it though.

A decent appearance with a light head and moderate to light lacing. Light notes of coffee, with a bit of chocolate on the nose, but not nearly as strong as I expected. The beer itself was thin, with a light body and barely a hint of the coffee. Low carbonation. I would reach for other beers first.

Looking at other reviews, it looks like I may have got a bad batch or something, but I am gravely disappointed in this beer.

Reviewed 05-07-08
A: 4.5, S: 4.5, T:4.0, M:3.5, D:4.0
Pours a nice opaque brown, just as a stout should. On this pour it had a weak head, but I have had some in the past that have had fuller heads.

The aroma is one of my favorite things about this beer. It is dominated by chocolate and coffee. The smell makes this beer.

A strong coffee flavor comes through in the beer and bitterness lingers.

It feels almost like water in the mouth. For some reason the carbonation is almost non-existent in this bottle.

This is not a 'drink 6' beer, rather should be enjoyed a couple at a time with foods that have strong matching flavors.

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Stir Stick Stout from Half Pints Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 95 ratings.
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