Labyrinth Black Ale | Uinta Brewing Company

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Labyrinth Black AleLabyrinth Black Ale

Brewed by:
Uinta Brewing Company
Utah, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Labyrinth Black Ale, from Uinta's new Crooked Line, was triumphant in its first competition since it was conceived earning a Gold medal in the Imperial Stout category of the competition at the 2010 North American Brewers Association Awards. Aged in rye barrels.

56 IBU

Added by JohnGalt1 on 06-01-2010

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Reviews: 306 | Ratings: 1,048
Photo of Lawl3ss
3.67/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Lightly chilled 150 ml Cork & Cage into 33 cl tulips.

Look- Extravagant, pours with three fingers of toasted marshmallow head that falls over a few minutes leaving a dense cap. Insane curtains and lacing despite the ABV. Deep, deep ruby brown. One of the better-looking strong darks I've seen.

Smell- Deep char, baker's chocolate and licorice, dry wood. Overall pretty subtle, but promising.

Taste- Extremely nutty, light booze, licorice and tons of wood. Starts with the impression of sweetness but finishes roasty, pretty clean with less char than expected. Mild smoke flavor emerges after the glass is half empty. Spicy, impression of oats and rye. The wood is maaaybe a bit much, but overall things stay workable and keep this 13%+ brew in check.

Mouthfeel- Silky, almost oily. Just enough carbonation to lighten it up. You'd never know that this was over 8%, let alone 13.2. I'd even go so far to say that it finishes pretty dry. Woody presence builds and eventually comes across as moderately tannic- really though, who needs to drink more than 12 oz?

Overall- Unique, absolutely worth trying. Nice take on licorice- comes across as an accent rather than the focus. Not unreasonably priced either, but have someone to split it with. On the whole though, not something I'd try again- what's there is bold, but it's not quite what I'm looking for in a one-drink-and-I'm-done brew.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.36/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark chocolate, no light even at the edges- makes this snifter look like an orb containing the void of outer space. Looks thick, but not syrupy. One of the best heads I've ever seen; deep, thick, and a dark coffee brown with little glimmers of light, as if it has tiny crystals in it. Lacing is surprisingly not gluey; it will return to the mothership fairly quickly.

S: Dark chocolate and oak hit me hard, touches of vanilla in there too. Supremely dark and forward, I'm actually a little afraid the flavors will knock me on my ass too hard.

T: Perfectly strong without wrecking my taste buds. Dark bitter chocolate, oak and wood, undertones of vanilla and even cream. Every now and then I get touches of licorice. I was both excited and nervous about the licorice aspect; I'm relieved to find that it doesn't play a major role and make this brew crazily bitter (even though I do enjoy licorice), but I'm also a little disappointed that it is, for the most part, not too far off from other black ales or IS's. Still, it is outstanding. If I get disappointed by the lack of strong licorice flavor, I take another sip and am reminded of all the good in it. Finish is long and winds itself down nicely- licorice most apparent here. Crazily high alcohol content is hidden extremely well.

M: Creamy smooth with the effervescence to save it from being flat. One of the least syrupy dark beers I've ever tried, while containing that astronomical ABV. Outstanding.

O: I was afraid of this beer. I love my dark and bitter brews, but this one still scared me. Licorice? Combined with oak? How could that possibly turn out well? But I am on the other side now, and I beckon you to follow me. Its vision is alluring, its smells weeds out the weak and rewards the strong, the flavors timeless and yet singular, and the feel a pillow for your throat and bed of nails for your tongue (in a good way). If you have the balls, try it.

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Photo of recoveringmormon
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - black as coffee. Poured cold in a tulip I didn't get the foam some of the other poster saw, very minimal.
S - more like carob than cocoa, sweet and smoky.
T - again sweet and smoky, with a bitter cocoa finish. More like drinking baker's cocoa than Swiss Miss.
M - gravy
O - great for a black, but maybe not in the mood when I had it. Definitely not drinkable as an everyday beer but fun to try, and will probably buy again.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'd seen this before but didn't realize it was Uinta. The $12 sticker price seemed a bit much until I looked closer and learned that it's 13% abv. That's all it took, SOLD!

750mL c&c bottle purchased for $11.99 at Dover Discount Beverage. Bottled on 01/23/13. Served cold in a tulip.

A: A hard pour gives a full 1" of super dense foam that barely settles and leaves thick lacing when it does. Pitch black brew. Zero light gets through when held to a bright bulb. One of the darkest heads I recall seeing, a deep burnt umber brown.

S: Wowsa. Thick rich cocoa aroma. Black licorice plays second fiddle, then a plethora of minor notes including black coffee, cola, charred wood, black pepper.

T/M: Thick heavy body is the first thing to register. Then immediately it's a flood of all that tasty dark stuff detected in the aroma... cocoa (less dominating here), liccorice, cola, and a strong bitterness stemming from burnt malt and generic hop. Mouthfeel is massively thick, with a creamy malty sweetness is balanced by a somewhat overdone carbonation. Like a fizzy milkshake. The cola aspect really becomes prominent. Charred wood and a bit of licorice linger long time in the finish.

O: The 13.2% abv is very effectively masked by sheer virtue of everything else being equally massive. Flavor, thickness, carbo all conspire to keep the EtOH presence down. Nearly through the bottle and I'm definitely feeling it though. Slight EtOH vapor felt on my breath, but that's the only other sign of it. Wow. Not surprisingly, this is a very filing beer.

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Photo of BierStein711
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow! I had this on draught in a snifter. Delicious beer! But, the abv is rather hidden by the complex balancing this beer pulls off.

Apearance, thick beige head with mild carbonation, jet black body

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy

Smell: coffee, chocolate, and hops

Taste: Coffee, cocoa, roast malt, medicinal finish

Overall, this is a good beer! I'm hesitant to buy it in the bottle though.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours thick and viscuous. The color of dark or black walnut. has an inkling of lighter hues but no light passes through. it merely suggests them with it's deep body. Has a thin head of creamy mocha colored foam that refreshes with each turn of the glass. Alcohol legs and shimmering wet lace.

Nose is roasted malt, toasted grain but nothing burnt until the drink. There's a little coffee and some semi sweet chocolate. Dark fruits are too vague to name them but they are there. It has a soft rye on the nose that is a tad spicy but mellow. It has no alcohol on the nose and that's impressive. There's a touch of vanilla and a little toffee. This does not smell terribly sweet. In fact it smells dry and a little bitter.

Taste is expansive and full. Malt is velvety smooth and fat. Lots of toasted roasted grain but only a touch of burnt toast at the finish. Toffee and vanilla go so well together. The rye stays soft on the palate and mellow and adds it's share of bitterness to a good coffee bitterness. Chocolate is smooth, deep and rich but not too sweet. As this drinks it starts to taste like whiskey. Has a ferocious abv that remains smooth on the palate and gives a nice warmth to the back palate and in the chest as it goes down. Finishes dry and a little slick.

The rye really adds a depth to this. The mouthfeel is as good as ti gets for a big beer like this one. The abv is done to perfection. The fact that it is not terrible sweet lets the grain adn the dark flavors shine in a bold way. Exceptionally balanced and smooth.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.66/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into 22oz snifter; black as night with a nice thick fluffy brown head that doesn't fade at all seemingly and leaves lots of lacing. Smell is unlike any imperial stout I've had; rye, roasted malt and chocolate, and a slight hint of licorice. A very dry and bitter, roasty smell. Surprisingly no alcohol detectable in the smell really, which is crazy for 13+%. Taste...semi-sweet chocolate, roasted malt with slight coffee bitterness, soft slightly spicy rye grain, slight oak/bourbon and a classy amount of booze at the very end warming up the sticky bittersweet aftertaste. As it warms, the flavor grows in seemingly never-ending complexity. Toffee and caramel are among the flavors that reveal themselves. This beer is definitely a sipper, due to flavor, let alone the %abv.
Overall, a unique and insanely good imperial stout. The rye barrel character adds a lot to this beer, something I haven't experienced before, and distinct from a stout made with rye malt. I might still enjoy a bourbon-barrel-aged stout more, but this one is very good. A must-try for big beer lovers.

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Photo of Homerb3
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I picked this beer up on a recommendation. I typically like BA's but this one took me by surprise. I've never had anything that compared, it was like pouring semi sweet chocolate chips in my mouth. It was kinda thick like melting chocolate. Since I was savoring it, it warmed up a little and tasted even better the warmer it got. I will be buying another this weekend, and will also be trying more of Uintas creations. Good job!

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Photo of McStagger
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Tasted on 7/1/13

Bottled on 2/21/11

A: Pours black as night. Low carbation. Viscous appearance. One finger espresso head. Minimal retention. Moderate lacing.

S: Dark, fermented fruit. Good amount of chocolate. Coffee, espresso beans, mocha. Touch of vanilla in the mix.

T: Huge mid palate. Lactose sweetness that runs the finish. Huge roasted and coffee notes also on the finish. Faint presecne of booziness. Licorice not detected. Showing it's age wonderfully.

M: Huge, obviously. However, not mammoth. Smooth, silky even.

O: I'm impressed. Many RIS seem to carry too much charring or burnt malt characteristics. This either didn't have them or they have mellowed with the bottle age. Incredibly good RIS>

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Photo of mattwjones
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

I was intimidated by the mention of licorish at first but the flavor was a background note that added to the complexity without sticking out.

Pairing note: I mixed in about 1oz into a cereal bowl of pecan prailene ice cream. It made the ice cream and the beer taste even better!

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Photo of DrStiffington
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a big bottle. Dated January 2011. Passed this one by many times. Finally figured, big beer, aged 2 plus years, why not? Glad I tried it. Had it over 2 nights. This is not a subtle beer. Pours thick, black, small head. Smells boozy, licorice, chocolate. Tastes boozy, sweet, slight chocolate, some oak. Thick and chewy, not exactly a Summer beer, but a nice change of pace from the lighter ones I've been guzzling.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow another amazing underrated brew.

Bottle date: 11/08/2012

750ml bottle into Deschute Teku

A: Black thick engine oil body with 2 finger foamy mocha head.

S: Huge vanilla, coconut, chocolate, brown sugar

T: wowowowowowow what a find. I always see this beer on the shelf (and it's kind of pricey at $13.99) so I always passed on it but wow. It's quite up there with the some of the best BA stouts. It might be due to the age (6 month), but I do not detect much hops and just slight amount of alcohol. Although very bold and vanilla/oak/bourbon/chocolate forward beer, it's mellow and highly drinkable. I also pick up some dark fruits, brown sugar, maybe some honey. A tad bit on the sweeter side but it really works well.

M: Chewy, syrupy, thick. Just like how I like my BA stout.

O: Very very surprisingly impressed. I didn't expect this. I may have to give the rest of their Crooked Line beers a try. No need to age further imo. It's perfect right now.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque black color with a moderate creamy brown head. Looks great.

Nose brings hints of oak and licorice, with a slight sweetness pervading through everything else.

Hits up front with a nice dose of licorice. Coffee and chocolate poke through, a hint of oak and a very subtle whiskey. Bitter roast and dark chocolate through the midpalate, and finishes with a hint of booze and licorice. Like the nose, a low level of sweetness is present throught the whole taste.

Nice mouthfeel. Not too thin, maybe a bit slick feeling.

Overall, a very good stout. You can't quite taste it, but you definitely feel the 13.2% ABV. Finishing the bottle by yourself, as I am doing, is a bit of a challenge. This makes me want to seek out other products from Uinta.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, bottled in 2011, picked up for half price ($5.99 at my local grocery store!).
Pours opaque black into an over-sized snifter, with a cascading, frothy, two-tone tan head (lighter tan on top, with darker tan closer to the ale - cool effect), excellent lacing spattered on the glass as the head fades. Very rich aroma with roasted barley and dark chocolate. Rich flavors here also, with roasted barley, loads of dark chocolate, french roast espresso, boozy, plenty of anise on the pinyish finish with bitterness lingering a little much for my liking for the style, but it's still really good. Full body, velvety creaminess, nice carbonation. Overall, outstanding American Imperial Stout, crazy strength at 13.2%, nice a bold. I'd buy this one again - better than I expected!

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Photo of Resuin
4.73/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a teku glass. This is a 2011 version.

Appearance: Pours a jet-black and leaves a solid finger of dark tan head. A great looking imperial stout!

Smell: Chocolate, whisky, vanilla, licorice, light coffee, dark fruits. Delicious smelling beer.

Taste: Matches the smell: whisky, chocolate, plums, figs, licorice, vanilla, coffee and finishes with a delicious whisky flavor. Really well balanced.

Mouth-feel: Medium body with a light to medium carbonation. Extremely smooth, especially with regards to the ABV - the alcohol is really well hidden.

Overall: This is an incredible stout. Super well balanced, and chocolate-forward. The licorice comes through but is light. Highly recommended.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.79/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a 16 snifter, bottled 1/23/13. Pours as black as can be, with a beautiful one inch mocha head, that takes its time settling into a layer of thick foam, and coats the glass with lacing. Smell is licorice, roasted coffee, leather, pipe tobacco, and oaky vanilla. Taste is so complex all the flavors from the nose are exposed, some dark chocolate and hints of bourbon come out also. Body is big, perfect amount of carbonation, not as dry as you would expect, and for its heft dangerously drinkable. Yes I loved this beer, welcome to N. H Uinta! They make awesome beer. If you are looking for a Bourbon bomb go else where. If you want a crazy complex imperial stout, this is one. Don't let the fact that is brewed with licorice sticks scare you off, that is a small part of this treasure of a beer.

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Photo of JFresh21
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a great beer! It has the makings of a premier BA stout(although they call it a black ale) but lacks the depth and thickness of a kbs or black note. Labyrinth could use more coffee notes. Overall very smooth and easy to drink even at 13% abv. Definitely try this if you are into BA stouts. Cheers!

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Photo of xtrastoutalex
4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Found a 2010 vintage and thought it would be worth a try.
Poured into cigar city snifter.

Appearence: Dark like a blind man in a maze. Pours used motor oil thick. The head was quite thin and yet still present, a clear sign of high abv and sugar content. Lacing is clumps of slow moving, sticky, white foam.

Smell: As the tight cork gave way with a satisfying snap a tight curl of aged vapor came sneeking out. It reeked of dark leather and aged tobacco mixed with burnt molasses , chocolate, and a hint of anise. The age was very present and promising.

Taste: Wow. The age has done wonders for this receipe! The anise forward has been balanced by the smokey leather flavor the years have gifted the bottle. All the other usual palate pleasers are still existant. The prunes and plums play on the middle palate and the burnt sugars, chocolate, and molasses give way to a wiskey style burn amplified by the slight residual anise.

Mouthfeel: Initially, surprisingly thinner than expected. Following that observation my saliva glands activated, thanks to the spices, and it felt much thicker. Very palatible and able to take time to savor all the notes without one being overwhelming.

Overall: On age, one of the best bottled brews on the shelf. If you like well balanced aged stouts this is a must try. Very unique in a pleasant way. Interested to experience the years in between to see the progression.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.36/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer pours like motor oil, both thick and black. Completely opaque, with a tall, frothy, dense, light tan head of a solid two inches. Aromas of roast and burning wood, molasses sweetness, booze character, and licorice. Smells rich and complex. Flavors are rich and warming, with a darkly sweet and rich molasses backbone, bittersweet chocolate highlights, and a subtle roast character highlighting. Very layered and dynamic. Well balanced. Decent lacing as you drink, and the beer has a creamy, smooth, rich body. Aftertaste is bitter and roasted, with a slight molasses linger. Very tasty. The finish is slick and lingering, with a bittersweet twist left behind. Great sipper. Well done brew.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.68/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the 750 ml. bottle bottled on 1-13-13. Sampled on April 12, 2013.

Oh my! The short version is this is something else.

It pours black as night with a long lasting, moderate fluffy mocha head.

The aromas carry the characteristics of mildly sweet dark malts, yeast, licorice, and exotic oil for lack of a better description. Short version - this smells great.

The body is bold but smooth.

Up front the taste brings out some the elements of the nose such as dark sweet malts and licorice but with a slightly dry finish and low bitterness. Some people like smoke in their Porters but this one does not need it. I enjoyed this immensely and would have it again.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a pitch black color with an impressive thickness. The head is a three finger tan shade. Given its strength, I'm quite impressed with the retention of the head.

S: The nose features licorice, chocolate, vanilla, mocha coffee, and a bit of roasted barley. Rock solid, but could have used more barrel influence.

T: The opening sweetness is moderately high, with a strong chocolate/vanilla character. Some coffee and licorice notes gradually build near the finish to counteract the (strong) sugary tones. It makes for a great dessert stout, only lacking in barrel character.

M: Thick, creamy, rich, decadent...every trait I look for in an imperial stout. The booze is superbly hidden, as well. Only thing I can nitpick is the slightly-too-high finishing astringency.

O: Subjectively, I don't really like the licorice-forward tendencies this offers...but I can't deny this is a very well-made product loaded with sophistication and finesse. Still, it could have been a genuine BCBS killer if it featured stronger oak qualities.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark-brown colour. Seriously, we need a scale to measure the darkness of beers like this. But this is up there in darkness, yet light gives a glimmer of brown. Head is ochre, just deliciously dense and retaining as stubbornly as opponents of gay marriage. Lace is amazing. This beer looks amazing.

Smell is quite delectable as well. Dark and roasty backbone but a hell of a lot of sweet booziness. Bourbony coconut notes, peanut and vanilla on there with a chocolatey, nutmeg edge to it. Hint of licorice and pepper as well. Good spicy dark notes but the sweet complexities overlying are just wonderful.

Taste is very pleasant, with dark notes that aren't quite as roasty as I'd like, kind of lightly toasted rye bread on there with dark caramel. Then big booziness comes to the fore, with vanilla pods and coconut and a fair sticky rye note, with a nutty edge like pecans for a hint of bitterness. Slightly buttery on the back. It's all very nice flavours but I feel like it's a bit straight-lace ultimately, and doesn't quite ram the flavour home in the way it could. It's like it's a bit afraid of its own strength.

Full and a bit bitey. Good body, but from the front to the back I get that sense of booze, which is unfortunate, but it's not hot enough to really mar it.

Good brew, lots to like. I feel maybe some more roasty bitterness would absolutely run this one up the flagpole for me. Still a great drop though.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 pt 9.4 fl oz corked and caged brown glass bottle (bottled 1/24/12)served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours an opaque jet black color with four fingers of thick, creamy chocolate colored head. Retention is amazingly good at over 13% alcohol and there's sticky cream lacing when it finally recedes. Impressive.

S - Sweet rich chocolates, light toasty oak, cream, faint coffee, and sweet licorice. Caramel and toffee throughout. Restrained roasted malt. Prune and currant. On the sweet end. I get no alcohol on the nose. A touch of vanilla. Moderate strength.

T - The licorice is a dominate note. I wish it were more restrained. Light creamy milk chocolate and roasted malts buried under the heavy licorice. Bitter coffee towards the end. Underwhelming oak. A touch of alcohol warmth on the finish, but the ABV is remarkably well hidden. Surprisingly mild.

M - Full bodied, thick and smooth.

D - Incredible drinkability. Suffers a little bit from some flavors (oak, roast) being a bit too restrained. Could be great with a little work.

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Photo of Dope
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 11/08/12, only 4 months old this go-around.

A: Pitch black pour. Big, dense, thick dark brown head. Wonderful legs. Great head retention but only minimal, spotty lacing. Oddly enough, not as good as the "bad" old bottle.

S: Big bourbon notes. Lots of burnt sugar, caramel, toffee and even brown sugar. Hints of oaky vanilla. Heavy roasted malt hides underneath, just barely poking through with some heavy chocolate and char. Even a little coffee.

T: Again, big bourbon but not as strong as the aroma. Caramel, burnt sugar (like burnt marshmallows in fact) and a little toffee. Then enormous and sweet roasted malt. Heavy sweet chocolate abound. Hints of char and coffee but the chocolate is the big one here. Lots of anise, particularly in the finish. Not in a bad way like a belgo-anise Stone IRS but instead it nicely compliments the huge sweetness with some bitter notes. A little bit of char in the finish. Lingering bourbon and oak notes in the aftertaste.

M: Thick, heavy, viscous.

O: A great bourbon barrel stout. Hugely sweet, almost a little much at times but what do you expect from a 13.2% imperial stout? Big anise notes, definitely a must-try for the black licorice lovers. Great big, complex and bold stout. Very nice.

Old review from a 2/2013

Bottle dated 03/31/10, almost 3 years old. I'm guessing the 13.2% ABV can take it.

A: Pitch black pour with one of the thickest, densest dark brown heads I've seen. Big foam. Decent fluffy lines of lacing left behind. Great head retention. (4.25)

S: Big fruit notes. Dark fruits, sherry-like (uh oh?). A bit of whiskey but just a touch. Some roasted malt character hiding underneath but hard to discern - mainly smoke and char. (3)

T: Whiskey and dark fruits up front but then devolves into a harsh sherry in the middle. Finish is stale cardboard (what does fresh cardboard taste like anyway?) and prunes. Oxidized, nasty. (2)

M: Heavy, motor oil thick. (4.25)

O: Shame, guess 3 years was way too much for this beer. Lots of oxidization covers all of the flavors. It shows potential but I will have to seek out a fresh bottle and re-review this one. (2)

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Photo of kojevergas
3.39/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Crooked Line Series. "Labyrinth Black Ale." "Ale brewed with licorice sticks and aged in oak barrels." 13.2% ABV confirmed. Bottled 09/19/12. 750ml brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap (also called a cage) over a cork acquired at a local SoCal store and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Cost was $14.00. Expectations are very high; my good friend blakelive784 told me this stuff was tasty.

Served chilled and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with Swiss chocolate.

A: Pours an absolutely beautiful rich cacao tan colour head of fantastic cream, magnificent thickness, and ridiculously good (10+ minute) retention for the high ABV. Damn; that's impressive. Head isn't as vibrant or gold as the best examples of the style I've had, but it's still damned impressive. Body colour is anontransparent opaque solid jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Light lacing as the head slowly recedes. How they get that good a retention at this high an ABV? Marvelous.

Sm: Chocolate, marshmallow, chocolate malt, dark malts, light coffee, anise/licorice/fennel, and very light buried oak; I wouldn't know it was rye/barrel aged just from the aroma if you gave it to me blind. Cream. Caramel. Light vine and buried fruit. Maybe hazelnut? Light hop presence - but it's still more noticeable than it is in most imperial stouts I've had. Hop character is generic floral. Grainy and appealing. Chocolate is the most forward note, but there's a lot going on here. I'm excited to try it. A surprisingly mild aroma. I don't get any yeast or alcohol off the aroma. Prune/dates? Some kind of dark or stone fruit; it isn't plum. A dash of vanilla; I guess that could be from the rye? It's appealing, if timid. It doesn't bring the bold complexity I look for in great examples of the style, but it's solid all around.

T: Nice milk chocolate. Chocolate malt. Dark malts. Light caramel. Cream. Decent roast. A light trace of coffee; it's certainly not a coffee heavy imperial stout. Vanilla. Malty sweetness is more prominent than I'd like, but it's not sickeningly sweet or cloying by any means - just a bit overdone, limiting drinkability. Alcohol is well disguised here. The licorice is there, but it kind of bothers me actually. It doesn't add a lot to the beer and seems to disrupt the balance. Minimal hop presence with generic floral character. I do get a touch of alcohol presence in the third act and finish. The balance isn't ideal, but it's pretty well done all around. It lacks the astounding complexity and depth of other better examples of the style, but I do like it. I want more roast from it. Also, the oak/rye whiskey is quite timid; I wish that came through more. Where's the delightful toasted oak I want in a great imperial stout?

Mf: Silky smooth and creamy up front, but it gives way to a coarser dryer texture that doesn't do it any favors. I wish it were smooth and creamy througout; it's a bit uneven. Carbonation is good if a biteen high. Good presence on the palate. Nicely soft.

Dr: I hate the bottle format; I'd like to see imperial stouts like this one move to a smaller bottle; finishing this alone is a tall order. It's a sipper; the alcohol does come through. But it's a pleasant sipper and I wouldn't dare call it hard to drink. It's just hard to drink quickly. I think my personal aversion to licorice may be bringing my opinion of this one down, but it's certainly not without other flaws. A good offering from Uinta, but there are better beers in the style and at or below this price point. (Not that price affects my reviews). For my money, I'd sooner grab Speedway Stout for $10.49, but I'm glad I tried this.


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Labyrinth Black Ale from Uinta Brewing Company
4.19 out of 5 based on 1,048 ratings.
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