Totality Imperial Stout | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

very good
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Totality Imperial StoutTotality Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
formerly Roundabout Imperial Stout

Added by GClarkage on 10-22-2009

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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 176
Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
4.89/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at 5050

A: It came in a pint glass with no foam whatsoever but a light lacing. While being consumed it leaves a nice lacing along the glass as well.

S: The aroma is intoxicating, it has a sweet raisin, caramel, coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, and some really great maltiness.

T: This beer has a ton of complexity to it as well. It starts with a sweet rummy raisin, which then goes into a bittersweet dark chocolate, and then finishes with a nice coffee and sweet caramel. I could not believe how much complexity you can have with so many different malts in which one malt doesnt overshadow another. All the malts lend there own flavor component to the beer and just allows the levels of flavor to continue.

M: It has a light carbonation and a very nice rich mouthfeel to it.

O: Overall, this is an amazing beer. I have had Eclipse several times and you can definitely see how each component that goes into Totality really can lend to the barrel aging in its own way. I have had several stouts, and imperial stouts, and I must say this is the most complex and flavorful. A lot of stouts tend to be heavy on the sweet side or heavy on the roasted side of the stout spectrum and this is a great stout that is right in the middle and very balanced. This beer is absolutely fantastic! Great job Todd!

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Photo of pkalix
4.54/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

well, I had the Eclipse and since there aint anymore of those around I thought i'd grab the base beer while I had the opportunity...
small head, nice topping, great lacing....
smelling this one after doing several of the Eclipses is like sniffing Superman's underwear as he's lying on the floor after becoming exposed to kryptonite (i'm not a superman fan, i'm just buzzed and this is the first vision which came to me). still, a beautiful scent to this stout. a great base. I suppose it's like going back on an old recruit and remembering the interview. I never got the interview; I just got the superior result. I never got the Totality before I got the Eclipse. the Eclipse is FAR superior... very earthy scent, however, and i'm trying to review it as itself as opposed to it's older sister....
taste is.... just another stout. very good. very nice taste considering the abv. it is apparent to me that the barrel-aging is paramount to craft a highly-desirable brew although I was initially against this and despised the high liquor taste I got from several of the 'other' brands' barrel-aging. I have poured me a nice shot of Auchentoshan to kind of give me a sense of the barrel-aging (lame reason for getting ripped, no?) that i'm not getting from this brew.
overall, geez. what can I say? I know by reading the other reviews that others are comparing this 'base' beer to the 'finished' product of aging in a barrel and I can totally agree with that position. what a generic, 'standard' brew this is compared to the Eclipse. but still darned good. a little more bitter than I would prefer, but I think that is what the 'aging' seems to help out with...

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at FiftyFifty, served in a brandy snifter.

Black with a dense mocha head that shows strong retention and sticky lacing, this is a great looking beer.

Licorice and espresso are prominent on the nose. Chocolate fudge and cookie dough lend some sweetness, but this is more of a bitter, earthy imperial stout.

The first sip makes me think of chocolate covered coffee beans. Further imbibing brings out licorice, charred malt, firm bitterness both from dark malt and hops. Medium in body, not particularly sweet. The finish is heavily roasted, quite bitter and sticky. With this as a base beer I can see why Eclipse is so good.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10/17/09- Growler purchased at Firtyfifty Brewing Company.

Presentation- Via the growler into a Duvel style glass.

Appearance- Super black in appearance. Head is slight, maybe at a 1/3 of an inch. Lacing is light, but has some streaks and lines. Looks quite thick.

Smell- Nose of roated malts, light coffee beans and a large nose of dark chocolate.

Taste- Huge chocolate malt presence. Coffee is limited, but chocolate carries the show. Hops are there, but fade out the more you drink.

Mouthfeel- Pretty damn smooth with a lower carbonation level. Light hoppy finish, thick and chewy. Feels like more than 10% in mouthfeel, but doesn't hit hard like a 10% beer.

Drinkability- This is a pretty much the same beer as their award winning Total Esclipe, but they changed the name to match the Oatmeal and upped the abv a tad. Pretty sure this isn't an Imperial least they didn't mention that it was.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Fifty-Fifty in Truckee brew pub.
Amazing draft Imp Stout. Well crafted with great toasty malts throwing off rich coffee and chocolate.
Deep and thick but has a nice raspy ABV edge...but
complementary not distracting
Just a great Imperial Stout.
No doubt how this serves as a perfect base for their BA Eclipse series.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a creamy mocha head.

S: Dark chocolate, dark roast coffee in the nose.

T: Dark chocolate, coffee, some orange and a bit of pine hop character.

M: Full bodied and smoothish, kind of creamy.

O: Not the sweet imperial stout I thought it'd be, given that it's brewed with honey as well as the sweetness often displayed in the eclipses (of which this is the base stout). An excellent example of the style.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from growler into tulip.

A: Black, black, black, with foamy, clinging tan head.

N: Roasted coffee and sweet fresh raisins.

T/M: Creamy chocolate covered toasted coffee beans. The alcohol comes in through the middle with a slight warmness and a touch of licorice/anise. A definite sipper! Sweet malt leaves stone-fruit flavors that linger on the tongue.

This is a great stout, which probably explains why the bbl aged version (Eclipse) is so incredible. Fairly intricate flavor profile, but its smoothness and the way that all the flavors meld together really belies its complexity. This is one solid stout!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah yes, another vote for "this is better w/o" aging it in a bunch of whiskey barrels" gimmick.

Amazing jet black appearance, no floaties, cherry cola top to die for. Bitter aroma, lacking the chococoffee effect you come to expect in this style.

The lack of barrel aging allows the bitterness and hops to take main stage, while the chococoffee feel stays in the background. Extremely smooth for high bitterness. Maybe not as thick as it looks, but if this beer don't hide the alcohol, I don't know which one does.

Drinkability is almost a perfect 5. At $7 a pint, its not atrocious, and maybe even seems cheap, since they charge $20-22 for the barrel aged version. Skip that stuff, buy 3 pints of this instead of 1 bomber of that stuff. This could be the best version overall, but especially from a value perspective. I dunno why people hate the base, I love it.

OK 50/50, you make a dank ryepa, and a dank imperial stout. . . let's get that rye stout ready for winter.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at FiftyFifty.

Served in a pint glass, body is opaque black with a foamy tan head. Leaves a little lacing at first, but not after the head quickly dissipated to a ring.

Smells of dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, toasted malt, and hops.

Taste follows the nose. There is a bitter char and dark chocolate character from the roasted malts, and that is balanced by the other dark fruit flavors and a bit of sweetness. I thought this was pretty well balanced between bitter and sweet. I could see where the BA Eclipse character comes from.

Body is medium and carbonation was sufficient to give this a creamy mouthfeel. There is a little char and hop burn on the tongue, but this tasted pretty smooth, although not as smooth as BA Eclipse versions. It is also lighter in body though still a bit sticky in the finish.

Overall, I thought this was a really good stout on its own and shows the basic character that BA Eclipse is built on. I wanted another, but the ABV prevented me. Didn't keep me from thinking about it, though, which I did for the next few days as I hiked some Sierra Nevada trails.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.31/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great roast. Nice bitter-sweet chocolate. Dark fruits almost cherry liquor / port like. Very will made Impetial stout. Highly recommended. On tap at the source.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 250ml wine-tulip glass on tap at Mikkeller Bar SF. Part of my birthday tasting. Review is from my notes. I've been curious about the Eclipse offerings for years, but due to the high price I've tended to ignore pursuing most of them. I was delighted to see the base beer on tap, so I wanted to see if it was any good before buying the barrel aged variants.

Pours a treacly, syrupy opaque color with a modest off-khaki head that soon dissipates completely. Well, if these guys were hoping to produce something that was "totally" black and intense as far as an imperial stout goes, they did a pretty good job here. Very viscous, almost in the realm of boozy wines, but leaves behind a mark of its own in terms of the style. Not necessarily pretty, but quite menacing and appealing.

The aroma is quite fantastic, with tons of roasted character and black fruits all around. Notes of dark chocolate syrup, roasted coffee and breadiness, as well as a sharp bitterness, combined with blackberries, prunes, and cherries. Very aromatic for an imperial stout, and definitely unique in its own right. Spices abound such as light vanilla, molasses, and cinnamon. Really good stuff here.

The flavor is sadly a little less fruity, but combined with the spices and roasted flavors, it's still very enjoyable. This is an excellent imperial stout! A first you get immediate notes of chocolate and coffee melded with slight vanilla and baking spices, but then it finishes with a cut bitterness from the dry hopping and espresso-like notes which, combined with the sweetness from the booze and the malts, makes it very easy and comforting to drink. With its good carbonation and syrupy, comfortable feel, this was simultaneously a sipper and something that I could drink as quickly as I could if so desired. Definitely one that I could have all night, in spite of the ABV - and, in fact, I did have it again once more that night!

Glad to see that this is the base beer for the variants - although I definitely would love to find some bottles of this and stock up on them whenever I need a great imperial stout fix that isn't too strong or overwhelming. This is among the greater ones for sure. I will seek this out again, and will keep an eye out for variants that I believe are worth my time and money.

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Photo of JWD
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at fiftyfifty today.

This is the base beer for the barrel aged eclipse series so i had to try it to compare next to a JD eclipse.

A- Very dark black in color with only minimal light coming through at the edges. Thin light tan head that was retained to the last sip.

S & T - deep dark chocolate with a slight sweetness, fairly light on the roasted taste noramally expected with a stout like this. I thought this was a great opportunity to see how much a barrel can change a beer.

M & D - Medium body with higher carbonation that the barrel versions. Very easy to drink ABV is well hidden,

Overall i really liked this beer and in some cases would prefer it over the barrel beer just for the raw character of it.

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Photo of oline73
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap at Capone's during Philly beer week. Served in a sample glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a black color with hardly any head. The head that is there goes away quickly.

Smell: This beer smells quite sweet and very roasty. I'm getting some warm alcohol and dark fruit.

Taste: Sweet and roasty with some dark fruit and brown sugar notes. I'm getting a slight bitterness with vanilla and dark chocolate notes as well. Complex and easy to drink.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and there isn't enough carbonation. The finish is dry.

Overall: This is a very nice stout and I can see why it holds up so well to barrel aging. I would have another.

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Photo of rand
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 22 oz bomber to snifter glass

A: Appearance is of typical imperial stout aesthetics: Deep, dark brown with reddish hues, coffee-tan head never completely receding, little patches of lacing stuck to the glass.

S: Coffee, carob, burnt malts. The added honey is apparent and accented by the boozy aspects, which are prominent. It smells liqueur-ish. A surprise given the ABV. Yeah, warm and boozy, damn. A little citrus-rind lingers around the bouquet.

T: The flavors are more traditional, with dry coffee and bittersweet chocolate up-front. An astrigent, earthy overtone keeps some of the more sugary aspects in check, as the honey is almost forgotten in its supporting role (the bottle reminds you of added honey so your sugar-radar is up). The oozing booze in the nose is also tamed, surprisingly so given my beer has warmed into the 50-degree range. The brew finishes long and bitter-sweet, leaning more towards bitter.

M: Medium-to-full bodied, but not as sticky and viscous as I'd expect given the ABV and the brewery.

I was a little disappointed on my first sip and impression, given that the Eclipse is as good a stout as you'll come across. But they can't all be barrel-aged, and as I worked through the bottle and my beer warmed it became more drinkable and interesting. It's not the most harmonious flavor-profile, but there's in unexpected citrusy nuance, and the added honey is far from overbearing. A nice addition to their lineup, especially if they can whip this out without asking their customers to purchase beer-futures.

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Photo of maximum12
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to analogchainsaw for this bottle; I have been lusting after the base beer of the Eclipse series since I had my first sip. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Trickle is dark black, with minimal carbonation. The nose, good guns, the nose issues forth like a Spartan from the Hot Gates. Beautiful roast, underlying molasses sweetness, licorice, dark fruits. Bloody gorgeous.

Totality proves what I always figured: the base beer kicks in Technicolor. Big notes of shriveled grapes, great heapings of roast loveliness greet the palate & overwhelm the senses. Mid-palate comes lesser beings of dark malts, sweetness, again that almost molasses-like sensation, chocolate, licorice. Ends with a blur of complexity & with me sucking at this like the bottle is a teat.

I'll go lick the lip of the bottle once I'm done with my glass & wish I had another. Totality see where Eclipse gets my love, because this is an excellent stout.

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Photo of animortician
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery, served in a pint glass.

A: Deep, Dark brown, light brown lingering head.

S: Roasty, Rich, Nutty

T: Robust Dark Malt flavor, good hop backup, great balance of flavor. Alcohol is well hidden in some great flavor.

M: Smooth, rich, great carbonation.

O: It takes a good foundation to build a strong house and this is what fifty fifty has done. Great beer that they make greater. Well bananced drinkable beer!

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Photo of nickd717
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Darkest brown in color with a small tannish head and pretty nice lacing on the glass.

The aroma is rich and enticing. Roastiness and mocha, like Eclipse without the -bal aging, as crazy as that is. Slight malty sweetness evident.

The flavor is excellent, rich and balanced. Chocolate, coffee, slight black cherry and molasses.

Very smooth mouthfeel with fairly full body and a good soft level of carbonation.

Lived up to my expectations for sure. This is a really good beer, and I can see how it spawned such -bal aged goodness. Easy to drink for a beer of this ABV and style.

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Photo of popery
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft, City Beer Store. I had a taste from a growler a few days ago (courtesy of beddachedda), but finding it on tap so soon afterward is clearly a sign that I should write a review. Appearance-wise, Totality has a black body with a nice beige head. In the aroma, there's a ton of chocolate, lots of brown sugar and molasses, some coffee and roast, and touches of hops that make a stronger appearance in the flavor. It's a medium sweet beer that seems well-suited for barrel-aging, unsurprisingly. The finish has very good hop bitterness to reign in the sweet malt. Feel is fairly thick and smooth. A very good imperial stout that gets a lot better with some time in the barrel.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at tapestry in philly

Pours a viscous, completely inky blackness with a pleasant coating of darkly tanned head resting on top. Retains with oily slick film and some spots and patches of lacing on the glass while drinking.

Bold, roasted dark malts in the nose with some charred edges. Dark chocolate with bitterness and faint smoke, a hint of warmth with a dash of dark fruit and a suggestion of anise.

Robust and full flavored up front – this one wastes no time – waves of malt flavor with dark chocolate and molasses. Dark fruit complexity kicks in with an underlying hint of licorice. I felt a light charred notion was present somewhere in there, along with a tuft of smoke. Boozy and warm towards the finish, with a lingering note of hops.

Full body, decent carbonation, chewy and creamy on the tongue. Drinking this is a great example as to why the Eclipse stouts are so tasty.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with a decent one finger tan head leaving decent lacing throughout. Aromas of sweet chocolate, dark roasted malt, molasses, licorice, dark fruits and a fair amount of booze. The flavors start off with plenty of chocolate slowly giving way to hints of dark fruits, molasses, licorice, day old coffee and the dark malt. The back finish is pretty sweet with quite a bit of booze, lingering on the palate long after consumption. Heavy body mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. I have wanted to try this one ever since I tried my first Eclipse beer. It is always nice to see where all the flavors are coming from in those Barrel Aged Eclipse beers. Overall this is a good stout, but I prefer it once it has seen a barrel.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Cugel shook his head wearily, checked the darting lights once again. Without ambiguity they directed him back the way he had come. Pharesm's calculations, after all, had been accurate. He had best act with decision, lest TOTALITY once more drift beyond his reach."


A growler of TOTALITY into a snifter.

A: Black as pitch it seems, but examined in the light it's a very dark shade of brown. The hard pour from the growler yields a diminutive light brown head that fades in an instant. There's some scattered lacing.

S: Dark chocolate accompanies lighter notes of caramel and roasted malt. Molasses and licorice are pronounced, and earth wafts from TOTALITY. Dark fruits are restrained and coffee is faint.

T: Bitter dark chocolate meets robust roasted grains and notes of black licorice. There's a moderate earthy bitterness and a dash of booze. Coffee is very light. The finish is bitter with a pronounced roastiness, evident anise, and a little char.

M: The beer is full in body with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and smooth.

Overall: An enjoyable beer, though a little more licorice than I prefer in the style. TOTALITY is a respectable base beer for Eclipse.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared by yourefragile, thanks! Provides a valuable comparison with the other BA Eclipses. Really appreciate it. Served in a FiftyFifty glass.

Beer is dark brown / black with a thin tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, low retention, moderate to low carbonation.

Beer has a mixtures of sweet and roasty aroma, smells pretty good.

Beer is medium in body and mildly sweet up front, a little earthy in the middle and REALLY bitter on the end with the roast, seriously strong on the end, wow...really strong. Did I mention the bitterness from the roast? While it is strong it is not overpowering. I did enjoy this beer and I would have it again on draft sometime.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well this just looks awesome, I can't imagine a much better appearance for any kind of stout, super dark roast hefty appearance, black SRM as night, almost 5/6" brown head on the top, super small bubbles.

The aroma was well hopped, bitter Chinook like stuff going on, lots of roast.

Taste is a bitter, chunky roasty, chocolate malt kind of beer. I crack up when I hear Eclipse is too thin. Like, have you had the base beer? There's plenty of dark fruit notes and bitterness in there, like it was blended with a Baltic porter at times. That is the only backend of this that wasn't excellent. Sort of a tobacco bitterness and acrid thing. But it is definitely thick enough to hide the alcohol. That is nice, this is never hot.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Tony's Darts Away
Burbank, CA

Incredibly dark brown, but just not black. Dark brown head and lots of cling left to the glass.

Classic big stout aroma of roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits, some mild chocolate, though leaning toward sweet chocolate as opposed to bitter, throughout, and just the slightest tinge of alcohol.

Flavors follow the nose and consist of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and sweet molasses. Tasty and very easy to drink.

Thick, full, luscious mouthfeel.

A terrific big stout. I'm glad I got to try this one (again?).

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

look: black as night with a 1/2 inch tan colored foamy head and ok retention and good lacing

Smell: Coffee and roasted malts and hints of chocolate rule the nose

Taste: wow a very very sweet stout not like the smell. Coffee and chocolate and vanilla are all present but not in abundance. Unexpected flavor but real nice

Mouthfeel: medium to full body and medium carbonation i would say it leaves behind kind of a film that coats your whole mouth

Overall: This is my second beer by this small brewery and again I must say I'm very impressed. Nice flavor and real good drinkability for such a dark stout

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Totality Imperial Stout from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 176 ratings.
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