Stir Stick Stout | Half Pints Brewing Company

very good
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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 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 pootz
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle:

Pours a hazed dark chestnut with ruby highlights. Decent off white cap lasts and laces.

Aroma is very starbucks dark roast with a malty undertone and some wet grass.

Moderate body for a stout, coffee like character with a robust mouth feel.

Roasted malts in the front provide a rush of coffee tones, hop affinity adds balance to this semi-sweet London styled stout. Finish is clean and lightly dry.

A good coffeeish medium bodied stout with a mellow character...very approachable as good or better than Old Yale's.

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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 Hornet2003
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black with small head. Quite a cloudy beer too. There are some floatie particles at the bottom of the glass. MAybe from the coffee?

Smell: Rich coffee and black chocolately malt.

Taste: Yup there's coffee in here! Good, solid, dry stout flavours. A touch of molasses as well.

Mouthfeel: Quite a bitter beer. The coffee leaves a slightly chalky dryness that lingers. The initial sip is sweet though. Odd combination of mouthfeels.

Drinkability: I could have a couple in a sitting, but it's more of a nice sipper. Maybe on a dark cold night, this would be great.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 CoolJosh
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Carolyn and Deuane for sharing this one. I wasn't sure if I was going to be deemed worthy of this, haha ;-)

Poured into a small snifter, this beer pours a heavy dark brown, with some clarity around the edges. No head, and lots of carbonation bubbles stream through the glass.

The first scent that hits my nose is a biscuit/bread scent, most likely extracted through the use of biscuit malts. A nice compliment to the bread scent is a nice roasted coffee smell. Smells like an Italian roast. Some bitter chocolate, but not much to speak of.

The taste is spot on, with a nice amount of coffee roasts, some roasted chocolate malt flavors, and the bread taste that was apparent in the smell. It tastes mostly like a piece of toast dipped into a cup of coffee. The mouthfeel is smoother then I anticipated, and the carbonation seems more subdued. There is a really nice sweet chocolate finish on the end, and the beer is creamy almost all of the way through. A nice roasted malt taste really does well with the coffee.

Really enjoyed this one, and could easily drink a six pack of this without thought or hesitation.

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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 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 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 oakbluff
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle- pours quite dark, lively two finger offwhite head and sticky lacing. Nose- fresh coffee grounds. Taste- big and bright coffee initially, quickly fades to a burnt roast flavour. Some dark chocolate. Finish has some dark fruit character and slight bitterness. Body is little light. Moderate carbonation. I'd love to see a souped up version of this.

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Photo of Graham5161986
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first beer from Half Pints!

A: pours a dark black with a slight ruby tone when held up to light. gives a nice, rocky dark-tan head that has decent retention and leaves a slight lace.

S: chococoffee malts and slight hops

T: light coffee flavour with slight, milky chocolate and a touch of hoppy spiciness on the finish. slight nuttiness on the linger.

M: surprisingly light bodied, creamy, a nice touch of carbonation and a light, creamy finish.

D: This is a pretty good little stout - very easy to drink given it's relative lightness but perhaps could use a slight flavour kick as it seems a tad reserved. Nevertheless, I am anjoying this beer and I will be buying it again. I look forward to further offerings from this brewery

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Photo of Viggo
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Biergotter Club Brew marathon tasting. Zithal provided this sample.

Pours an opaque brown/black, thick off white (almost tan) head forms, lots of nice lacing, good retention. Smell is sweet, some caramel, citrus, light roast, chocolate and coffee, not wowing me. Taste is licorice, roast, caramel, some coffee/chocolate, not much flavour, seems a bit thin. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, pretty slick. Not bad, but I didn't get much of the coffee in this, think I need to get my hands on another bottle. Thanks Rob!

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Photo of DrJay
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Zithal shared this one at the Biergotter group brewday 2007. Thanks Rob!
Clear, dark brown with a ruby hue and sticky tan foam composed of fine bubbles. Good head retention with some nice lacing. The aroma was fairly hoppy, but was still dominated by roasted barley and coffee grounds. Mild bitterness with coffee grounds and roast up front, malty sweetness and dry cocoa, with a bit of licorice as well. Quite dry with lightish body and carbonation, decent texture. A pretty good stout with roastiness well-integrated into the flavour. Tasty.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Decent coffee stout when there are so few available in Canada. Looks nice: black, brown head. Average stout smell though, hardly any coffee in the nose. Better taste: coffee is noticeable, and definitley there. It takes a back seat to roast malt and chocolate tastes, but it holds its own. A bit high on the carbonation and the coffee leaves a bitter after taste, but better than Phillip's discontinued offering and even though I can't get it here in Vancouver (yet!) its done year round -unlike Steamworks (IMO) superior offering that comes up every other year for a few weeks it seems.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The cool thing about this stout is that it really tastes like a chocolate covered expresso bean ( and smells like one too lol). A very flavourful stout that is low on the carbonation scale and high on the drinkability scale. A lot of coffee stouts kinda lose the focus and taste like an average stout when in fact the coffee component is the key. Good job on keeping the coffee part at the forefront.

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Photo of xav33
3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half Pints Stir Stick Stout
22 oz bottle
Moderate pour in a snifter.
Recent brewing, stirred 08/07

Poured black with brown highlights with a moderate light brown fizzy mostly diminishing head.

Smelt of moderate chocolate, and light coffee.

Taste was upfront bitter moderate roast to burnt grain and coffee and light chocolate followed by more of the same, with a slight almost metallic or green twang on an average finish.

Palate was light bodied, lively carbonated, slightly oily and lightly astringent.

Overall, this is an easily drinkable coffee stout. Not the richest or most powerful, but a good summer stout. Great chocolate nose!

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