Sarsaparilla 666 Bourbon Barrel Root Beer Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

very good
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Sarsaparilla 666 Bourbon Barrel Root Beer StoutSarsaparilla 666 Bourbon Barrel Root Beer Stout

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 01-09-2012

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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 203
Photo of SerialTicker
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at HopCat Detroit's Wood & Wild a few weeks ago.

While I like this beer, I'll say right off that I'm shocked this has an 88 rating on BA... I assume that the rating is that high because people are like me -- likely trying this because they're fans of root beer.

Truthfully one of the more unique beers I have had. Unlike "Not Your Father's", this actually has some beer flavor to it, and the bourbon barrel is a great compliment to the sarsaparilla -- BUT -- this beer comes off as borderline cloying. Maybe that's the wrong word ... I don't so much find it too sweet, as much as the flavor of the sarsaparilla becomes a bit much and prevents me from imagining drinking much more than the snifter I had of it.

At 12%, this beer will hit you hard. It drinks a bit warm, but I would have figured this was about 8% ABV rather than the 12% it clocks in at if I hadn't known better.

Looks like oil, smells like root beer, and tastes like bourbon-y, oak-y root (or birch) beer with a beer-like roastiness.

Super interesting, and glad to have tried it.

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Photo of devilfluff
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle was a gusher, got all over the place. Some root beer flavor, but not enough. Not much barrel. Kind of a mess overall. Thinner than I expect from a barrel aged stout.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage
black wax top 12oz bottle poured into a teku

A- we've got a gusher. After frantically pouring into the glass, it pours jet black with a dark brown foamy head that retains for a while, but eventually dissipates to leave nothing behind

S- aroma immediately gives off notes of sassafras root, followed by undertones of smoky charred malt, dark chocolate, black licorice, wet oak & hints of vanilla & cinnamon. Not finding any bourbon in the aroma

T- sassafras root flavor up front just like on the nose, almost imparts a cinnamon-like flavor. The mid palate brings some dark chocolate and black licorice flavors, followed by tons of woody & earthy notes. The finish gives a bit of vanilla with a linger of more sassafras root and impressions of cinnamon, maybe just a hint of bourbon

M- medium body and carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into the finish, abv is hidden well

O- really enjoyed the root beer notes throughout. It tastes very much like cinnamon, and gives off the flavor of a Mexican spiced stout without the pepper heat, very good

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Photo of Slack
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ruby brown to deep brown in color with an inch plus of head that settles to maybe a quarter of an inch. Lacing is moderate as it drinks down.

Smell is dominated by a mix of saparilla, oak, and wood, with more subtle vanilla.

Taste is root beer up mixed roasted malt filled by bourbon in the middle and a saparilla oaky finish.

Mouthful is medium and a bit thin. Carbonation is medium to high. Finish is dry and lingers.

This beer is probably a love it or hate it. The aroma of saparilla and oak is very strong. The taste is much better and mimics a root beer with its profile. Very drinkable with hidden alcohol. I would try it if on tap.

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Photo of KingEdward
4.56/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like this beer alot, tastes of vanilla, chocolate , and sarsaparilla. Has a nice body for a lower abv beer 8.5%. Not sure why it says 12% maybe early version was stronger? I would love to have some more!

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Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2015 vintage bottling. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big milk chocolate, caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, licorice, mint, cola, wood, light bourbon, and herbal/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, vanilla/root spice, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big milk chocolate, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, licorice, mint, cola, wood, light bourbon, and herbal/oak earthiness. Light herbal/woody spiciness and roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, licorice, mint, wood, light bourbon, and herbal/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt, vanilla/root spice, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/spice balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth and creamy/silky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged spiced imperial stout style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt, vanilla/root spice, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to drink for the ABV. The overall bourbon presence was low; but the silky mouthfeel and additional flavor complexity that go along with barrel aging were very prominent. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of AndyEdgar
4.54/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle enjoyed Sept-15. Absolutely loved this beer and really hope to see it again this year at 4-elf party. Big bourbon and vanilla with just a touch of rootbeer notes on the back end

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Odd flavored beer. Sort of a cinnamon flavor, but not quite. Imagine this is a hit or miss beer for most people. I'm a bit meh, but can't say its bad though.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black. Mocha head. Medium collar.

Smell - Intense woody root beer aroma. A little bourbon.

Taste - Chocolate. Licorice. Turns more root beer flavored, but it's more intense than regular root beer. Dark black chocolate. Kinda woody in the back, but not a lot of bourbon.

Mouthfeel - A bit of a chalky texture. Heavy body with medium low carbonation.

Overall - Tough to really say how good this is. It's an odd beer. At points it works really well, other points not quite on point.

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

Really glad i got to try this one. Great bourbon and vanilla. Wish the mouthfeel was a little thicker but am really glad this will be available at 4 elf again this year.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Rich, decadent flavor, big bourbon. A little sweet and it doesn't taste like root beer (fortunately), but this is quite enjoyable, especially when consumed as a dessert beer.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark black, with a small foamy tan head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells great- vanilla, roasted malt, spicing, and root beer- duh!

The taste is similar. They still managed to make this one a stout at heart, which is nice. The sarsaparilla/root beer flavors, sweet and earthy, mix really well with the subtle sweetness of the bourbon. There's ton of vanilla flavor here as well, with some chocolate and roasted malt as well.

Medium bodied, but slightly thin for the style, unfortunately. Still quite drinkable, with a creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

One of the more unique stouts I've ever had, this was delicious.

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Photo of pjkelley82
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From bottle into Teku... thanks jas45578

Pours nice and in color with a nice 3/4in dark burnt sugar colored head.. slim lacing with little legs... ring left around and thin skin atop the liquid..

I read some reviews prior to drinking and some say they don't smell ot taste bourbon... well thank you for the one good bottle as I get tons of sweet bourbon right from the start... before I even put my nose to the glass... slight cinnimon... light aspects of root beer such as the sarsaparilla and other root. Liquorice and a dabber of booze...

Man.... again... sweet friggin bourbon greets with open arms.. so much going on here in the taste and layered so nice... lots of root beer aspects in the taste mostly made up by vanilla liquorice cinnamon and a slight chocolate and fudgy aspect to it...nice bitterness to it... almost too much but not quite too much.. alchol is presemt in this one and a nice warming touch at the end..

Not too thick but pretty heavy with light carbonation and semi-dry finish. Wish it was more creamier like a sarsaparilla usually is compared to a standard root beer...

Overall im a big fan of root beer as well as lover of beer and this was damn tasty.... to me more of a spicy stout with the spices consisting of those that taste like root beer.. so it's not like your drinking root beer with alcohol in it... but a stout that's sorta like root beer... bow they took that and aged it in bourbon barrels and the bourbon notes went perfect... added an addition layer of sweetness the bitter ingredients used. Plus thw bound was so present and well worth it... I think it would of been just average without the bourbon addition.... im damn happy I had this and would recommend it to those root beer fans as well...

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle courtesy of dbc5 pours a viscous black with a small cap of brown head. Not much for retention and lacing. The viscosity is very impressive...I havnt seen a beer pour this thick since Ten Fidy.

Nose is interesting to say the least..very earthy and almost a little like a bag of moldy bread - it certainly smells like they used the actual sarsaparilla vine here. Lots of chocolaty malt as well as some woody barrel aromas.

Taste is much more appealing than the aroma...marshmallows, vanilla, wood and some licorice. Alcohol is well integrated and smooth. Barrel presence is lighter than anticipated. Mouthfeel is not as viscous as the pour would indicate, but it is rich, velvety and full. Very interesting and unique brew...and tasty to boot! Its not just a gimmicky beer, truly good stuff.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz black wax bottle from the past 2013 4elf party. Thanks Doug. Poured into a Surly goblet today, 1/22/2014 as part of our cellar/extras cleaning tasting.

App- Dark brown, nearly black, opaque. Fairly minimal dark brown head, fair retention, not much lacing. Oily, stains the glass brown.

Smell- Cinnamon bomb. I'm enjoying this aspect even though I know there is no cinnamon and this is most likely from the sarsaparilla root. Not much bourbon barrel.

Flavour- Interesting- not quite cinnamony, but definitely has an unique flavour. My taste memory picks cinnamon and ginger, even though it is neither. A bit of oak and boozy bourbon, but not too much.

Mouthfeel- Viscous, medium-thick body, good carbonation, easy to drink

Overall- Interesting BA root beer that I enjoyed drinking. Its certainly worth a try especially if you like spiced beers like Abraxas.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that fades to nothing. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, vanilla extract, and root beer aromas. Taste is much the same with vanilla and root beer flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and interesting with the root beer like qualities.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Hawthorne's, Philly, PA

Served in a Chimay chalice, an opaque black liquid with a wispy tan head that receded to nearly nothing. Unique aroma of vanilla-aged root beer, woody bourbon, dark malts. The taste followed this, with flavors of dark malts, moderately roasty, root beer, vanilla, spicy licorice, stiff bourbon-soaked wood presence is not unnoticed. It was good, but a bit awkward. Rich mouthfeel, nearly full-bodied, smooth, and decently drinkable. They had a good idea with this, but I don't think they quite pulled it off 100%. I love a good root beer, but I'm not sure how I feel about it combined with the dark malts, or the bourbon for that matter. To me, root beer is kind of something you don't **** with, nor do you have to, unless that means putting vanilla ice cream in it.

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Photo of Holland
2.15/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: dark black with a small tan ring sound the edges of the glass.

S: sweet root beer, vanilla, very much like a root float

T: terrible combination of stout and root beer. Tastes malty and roasted and then tons of Sarsaparilla root. Lot of licorice.

M: thick, low to medium carbonation.

O: not recommended at all. I like both root beer and stouts, but it tastes like someone dropped root beer and licorice into what was a wonderful beer. Maybe some wool like this, but it's not for me pending a change odd palate.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured out as a dark black color with a tan/brown head on top. The first sample I had was with some vanilla ice cream in it which was really good. I went back for a second sample to just get a taste for the beer on it's own. The smell of the beer had a sweet aroma much like a Sarsaparilla soda does. The taste of the beer is great, it tasted so much like a Root Beer or Sarsaparilla that I wouldn't even know that there is alcohol in it. The beer is sweet and had a light amount of spice in there to bitter it up. The mouthfeel was smooth, very creamy texture. Overall this had to be one of the best at the event, it's very very good.

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Sarsaparilla 666 Bourbon Barrel Root Beer Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 203 ratings.
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