Groundhog Imperial Stout
Carolina Brewing Company

Groundhog Imperial StoutGroundhog Imperial Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #408
Ranked #8,896
4.1 | pDev: 8.78%
Carolina Brewing Company
North Carolina, United States
Groundhog Imperial StoutGroundhog Imperial Stout
View: Beers
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 42 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81 from Florida

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with one finger head that died quick with no lace. The aroma is mixed with roasted malts and some sweetness that is akin to chocolate. Smooth, slightly sticky medium bodied beer that retains some creaminess that balances roasted malts, possible coffee, and a chocolate sweetness with hints of dark fruits.

Mar 31, 2016
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 1-21-15. Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, ruby-tinged, blackish brown coloring with no head. Aromas of chocolate, hazelnut, hints of smoke and earth/peat, and a bitter roasted coffee backbone. Flavors are heavily roasted forward, with a blast of chocolate and coffee blended together nicely, with some subtle highlights of hazelnut and caramel sweetness. Some subtle cream balances out the earthy highlights, as well. Smooth and robust in mouth, although slightly lighter than what I have come to expect from the style. The aftertaste is more of the bitter roasted coffee, with all of the sweeter characteristics stepping back into more of a supporting role. The finish is rich, velvety, and smooth, with a mocha coffee linger. Very tasty, big beer.

Mar 20, 2015
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beavers from North Carolina

3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had a couple bottles left from a case I bought a couple years back. Let's see how this holds up.

Bottled 01/30/08

Near black body with thin toffee brown covering. Smells of rich roasted coffee, toasted grains, bitter chocolate, caramel, licorice. It also has sweet cream/milk notes to it, kind of like condensed milk. Big roasted flavor or burnt grains and espresso. Balancing caramel sweetness that meets a bittersweet chocolate finish. Still a decent hop presence in the finish too. Mouthfeel is full, creamy and coating (but not cloying). No alcohol presence. This beer is big, roasty, sweet, and a sipper. This beer has kept up better than I would have imagined. I don't see it holding up much further though.

Feb 19, 2010
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a Beerworld populated by many good RIS, this one held its own. Pours black and thick with a head, good roasting, good balance between bitter and malt, and very drinkable-I was sorry to have finished it but not sorry to have had it at the end of my dinner. I would have this on a regular basis if available, thank you Tom.

Mar 15, 2009
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FtownThrowDown from Ohio

3.69/5  rDev -10%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with absolutely no head to speak of. Smell is coffee, roasted malts and some alcohol. Taste is much the same, but something is smoothing this thing out.
I don't know when this was bottled, but this one tastes a little aged. Still plenty of roastiness. Good beer, needs to come a little bigger than this though.

Feb 21, 2009
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Oxymoron from Colorado

3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What happens if the beer see's its shadow? Pours a silk midnight black color with limited viscous sticking to the glass. A tannish colored head with good retention that eventually hid to the side of the glass but didn't die altogether.

The nose is limited overall but does have a malt base to it. Even as it warms, the malt is limited overall but some nice darker malt aromas. A good dark chocolate under tone with a hint of coffee and more of a roasted malt undertone. Some milky notes as well giving it a hint of mocha. There is some noticeable alcohol and fusel note but other than that a very clean yeast aroma.

The taste is closer on par. The malt really comes out with a good blend of chocolate and roast. Very nice malt orientation with some complexity. Some light diacetyl notes that kind of influenced me more in texture than taste but its still there. Some minor nutty notes as well. The yeast comes out more with a estery influence. Some tropical notes, figs and plum with some lighter raisins. Some alcohol and fusel notes as well that linger in the finish.

The body is big with a nice warming effect. A more slickness than a creamy texture to me. A bit booze. A nice beer that should age out well.

Feb 04, 2009
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Kegatron from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. I've had a six-pack of this for almost a year now that I just found while cleaning up the beer cellar. Let's see how it's holding up.

Pours a very deep brown, just not quite getting to black, with 1 1/2 fingers of creamy dark mocha colored head. Retains mostly around the edges, flaring up very nicely when swirled, leaving some thick swathes of lacing down the sides of the glass. Solid Imperial Stout look to this guy. The aroma is quite heavy up front with the coffee and roasted malts that gives it quite the toasty and bitter smelling edge. Some chocolate in the back helps balance out the nose some and light notes of floral hops and alcohol make themselves known as well.

The taste is similar with a big roasted and smokey feel thanks to toasted grains and coffee bitterness. Underlying chocolate and caramel shore up the profile with some good balancing sweetness. Roast and hops emerge again in the finish to leaving a nice burnt tasting lingering feel on the palette. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied with a good chewy feel that fills the mouth nicely, moving all of that big roasted character along well. ABV is extremely well hid. Maybe just a bit of heft in the body but that's about it.

This really surprised me. It wasn't overly complex for an Imperial Stout but it brought to the table exactly what I like in the style. Big roasted flavors with a creamy body and enough alcohol to be felt but not distracting. Nice stuff. I'm glad that I've got some more bottles of it.

Jan 14, 2009
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seaoflament from California

3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of many extras provided by Tim in a recent trade, thanks!

Pours a dark cola color with a inch of tan colored foam. Decent retention, has a nice ring throughout.

Toasted and nutty malts upfront with some cola, vanilla, and hints of coffee and chocolate. There's also a hint of grain, roasted barley and earthy hops. Sort of weak on the aroma, subtle yet pleasant. Seems to get a bit better as the beer settles, some notes of caramel and malted milk.

Some bitter and astringent roasted barley on the tip of the tongue, then a wave of chocolate and coffee in the finish. Chocolate and toasted malts in the middle as well. This beer also has an astringency in the finish that I'm not too fond of. A bit of cherry in the aftertaste and apricot pit. Alcohol is a bit noticeable. Some cola flavors in there as well. Bitter chocolate is more pronounced as it warms up.

Average mouthfeel, a little sting on the tongue at first but decent body.

Oct 21, 2008
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kirok1999 from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very near black with no head or lacing. Theres some wispy carbonation on the surface.
Smells of bitter chocolate, just a slight sweetness behind it.
Taste is mostly chocolate with some slight coffee notes. There's just a slight sweetness and a lingering hop in the finish.
Very dense and smooth mouthfeel make it very drinkable.

Aug 05, 2008
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brewjones from Colorado

2.99/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle

This was my first bottle from Carolina so I did not know what to expect. The beer came out nice and black with a nice tan head that stayed around for a while. The aroma had nice roastiness but some minor fusels that detracted some but not too much. At first sip, their was a strange sourness or acidity that was a little overpowering. Let it sit and warm up a bit and that smoothed out a bit but was still present. A full body although a strange slickness on the tongue that lingered after the sip. This was a somewhat hard beer to drink although not a bad beer, I wasn't finding myself wanting to grab a second (didn't have a second one anyway).

Jul 23, 2008
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brewdlyhooked13 from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours black enough, generates a small mocha head. A thin wall of lace hangs around as the cap recedes.

Aroma - light cocoa, decent roasted grain smell. Not great, positive though.

Taste - full roasty malts. Peanuts, lots of medium-char grain and espresso. The swallow has a mild burnt flavor and a light dry bitterness. Finishes dry, a little more bitterness and lengthy roasted/char grain flavor. Abv is non-existant, impressive.

Mouthfeel - wonderfully smooth, good heaviness and solid carbonation.

Drinkability - a fine stout, on par or better in just about every area. The lion on the label makes it the appropriate beer to toast the life of our fine family pet, Jinx, gone today, despite the vet's best efforts. A good beer to toast a good kitty; we'll miss her.

Jun 24, 2008
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turbine2475 from Texas

3.16/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Joe1510 for the chance to try this beer:

A - Pours a completely opaque black with a large fluffy mocha head that disipated slowly leaving a good lace.

S - Roasted coffee and grains, touch of chocolate and some floral hints.

T - Brunt coffee and roasted grains. Slight espresso and a little chocolate. With an unexpected floral hop.

M - Slightly milky and smooth with a low carbonation and a slight alcohol bite.

D - Not a bad beer. The first from the company, but definately worth a try.

Jun 20, 2008
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kasper from New York

3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

01/30/2008 bottle received as an extra in a trade from brentk56.

A: Pours a completely opaque dark brown that's just a few shades from pitch black with just shy of a single finger, creamy mocha-colored head that dissipates rapidly leaving a polka dot pattern of lacing around the rim of the snifter glass.

S: The smell isn't too complex; initially all I picked up was a pungent aroma of roasted licorice root with a touch of hops. As it warmed a bit there was a faint hint of toasty, roasted chocolate as the licorice aroma subdued. As it warmed even more, sweet dark fruit, carmel, and chocolate dominated.

T: The taste was much better than I expected given the smell. Sweet chocolatey malts up front followed by a touch more of the licorice and then a bitter, roasty dry finish, with more roasted bitterness hanging around in the aftertaste.

M: Mild carbonation. I wouldn't call this full bodied, but it's almost there. Very pleasant.

D: Great sipper. The 8.5 percent alcohol is hidden pretty well. I could probably drink a couple of these in a sitting, but would opt for something with a little less licorice for my second if it was on hand.

May 02, 2008
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a thick black color with the type of creamy head you would expect from a Guiness; quite a few shards of lace

Smell: Big dark chocolate and mocha aromatics, with strong roasty undertones of black licorice

Taste: Opens roasty, with developing dark chocolate and some dark fruit and anise building by mid-palate; after the swallow, the roasty flavors burst with a big and somewhat boozy crescendo

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy, with moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet at the end

Drinkability: Very impressed with the 2008 version that somehow seems a bit more complex than in the past; drinkability limited at this stage by the alcohol but I expect that will settle down in the next six months or so

Postscript: Drinking the 1/24/07 bottling in May 2013 and it is still very good; a bit oxidized but the flavors noted above are still present; shame this beer is retired

Apr 27, 2008
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JoeyBeerBelly from New York

4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, bottled on 01/30/08 which I received as an extra in a trade with GODofALL, served in a nonic pint glass.

A - pitch black liquid with a rising head of tan foam which fell to a layer that left some small spots of lacing.

S - very good, smokey, roasty aroma, scents of coffee and chocolate.

T - smokey and delicious, the roasted malty flavors are met on the finish with a subtle bitterness that carries through to the after taste. Real nice balance for an Imperial Stout.

M - silky smooth, a pleasure for the palate.

D - highly drinkable but be aware of the higher abv.

Final Note: If you like delicious stouts that are full of flavor, this is one worth seeking out.

Apr 14, 2008
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou from New York

3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, shipped via black bart

appearance: looks very nice in a bulls tulip-chalice, black on gold, very dark body with a moderate mocha cream head, light lace

smell: dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate...aromas are a bit buried and nothing particularly stands out

taste: rich and smooth espresso jaded dark chocolate whirls, super creamy, heavy roastyness, dark fruits. bold and rich, pretty nice stout

mouthfeel: creamy and smooth

drinkability: good

Apr 05, 2008
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ChainGangGuy from Georgia

3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with a small, light tan head.

Smell: Aroma of black, roasty malts with a distinct note of charred licorice.

Taste: Black malts, more of the licorice, and some unsweetened chocolate wrapped up in a mild sweetness. Roasty bitterness. Slight hit of grain astringency in the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Creamy texture. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A good, roast-heavy stout.

Mar 29, 2008
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NCBeernut from North Carolina

4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Brought some of this home from my favorite local brewery after trying it on-tap.

A: Dark brown, but looks black, with a full one finger brown head with good retention.

S: Very robust roasted malts, chocolate, some coffee, a bit woody, a very slight touch of alcohol.

T&M: Everything that is in the smell, but also a slight touch of fruitiness that is easy to miss. A bit smoky; hints of vanilla. By far the smoothest, creamiest RIS I have every had...and now one of my favorites.

D: The alcohol is almost undetectable, except in the form of a wonderful warming feeling in my chest.

Feb 27, 2008
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Tilley4 from Tennessee

4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A million thanks to NCBeerNut for sending this one a little west....

Not quite black on the pour, but it is a very, very dark brown... smallish head...

Smells of heavily roasted malts and a little chocolate and vanilla and maybe a bit of coffee...

Wow, this is one unbelievably creamy stout.. I was NOT expecting this to be this creamy and smooth. It pours a little thinner than the it tastes, I can say that... Wonderful taste of chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, and coffee and there is a certain smokiness to this that is absent in others... Simply an amazing brew...

Again, I can't thank NCBeerNut enough for sending this my way.... got one more bottle and I'm already eyeing it....

Feb 27, 2008
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CrazyMacHarris99 from Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to NCBeernut for a chance to try this amazing RIS.

Poured an opaque black with no light getting through. Thin head on top that formed after I stopped pouring. Smells of rich chocolate. The taste through me for a whirl. There is definitely roasted almost burnt chocolate but then sweet licorice that put this one over the top. There is so much depth to this brew and it could stand up to any other RIS I have tried. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth and creamy. Wasn't too strong like some RIS brews but that just made the drinkability so much better. Overall this is one amazing beer that was a big surprise seeing as how it comes from a small brewery in NC.

Feb 21, 2008
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wagenvolks from Texas

4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Props to NCBeernut for the local trade...enjoy that Nugget Nectar & homebrew!

Bottled 01/30/08.

Bottle pours out a thick, viscous fluid into my Chimay glass. The body is seal brown in color, with faint cola highlights, and the head quickly dissipates to a ring of light brown foam. Aroma is exceptional: thick notes of roasted coffee malts, burnt chocolate, fresh leafy hop buds, caramel, and more coffee. The only thing keeping it from a perfect score is the fact that it smells more like an American Double Stout, not a true RIS.

The taste, however, is both Russian AND mistake. Smooth, sweet chocolate malts float atop the palate, whilst bitter notes of coffee, hops, and baker's chocolate coat the sides of the tongue with a sticky goodness. Alcohol is barely discernable, but chooses to leave its mark on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is wonderfully thick and viscous, with a low carbonation level (as expected) and a great coffee finish. This is a solid beer: bold flavors, lots of complexity, and even though it's not the easiest to drink, I'm definately looking forward to my last bottle. Will I buy it next year? You bet your ass.

Feb 19, 2008
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NCSUdo from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, bottled 01/30/08

A: Pours black under a fingers worth of brown head. Some nice lace and good retention. Some lighter hues through out the beer.

S: Smells of lightly roasted malt, some creamy coffee and some chocolate. Really a kind of go for balance nose rather than knock you over nose.

T: Big roasted taste. Roasted but not biting like some. Decent bitterness in the finish with hints of burnt malt. Some nice hints alcohol that is a bit warming. Some hints of coffee. After taste mellows the bitterness a bit with just a touch of chocolate.

M/D: Full, creamy body. Really smooth and doesn't drink like a 8.50% at all. Drinkability is pretty good too. Really drinks well. Everything about this beer just screams balance. This is probably my favorite offering from my local brewery. Keep it up CBC. I was going to sit on the other 5, but man this is just so good fresh I won't be able to keep my hands off.

Feb 12, 2008
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SIRIUS2 from North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark and thick, very nearly black. Very thin light brown foam head recedes quickly leaving a thin ring. Clings to the glass in an almost oily fashion.

S: Incredibly malty with pungent coffee aromas.

T: Robust, bitter espresso coffee taste, almost a burnt flavor. Malty sweetness lays underneath with noticeable warming.

M&D: Heavy, full and chewy. Light but steady carbonation is perfectly suited for this brew. Goes down warm and smooth.

Wow. This one is as robust as I have ever had. Incredibly malty flavors with bittering that seems to come from the dark roasting rather than hops. It's impossible to get away from the strong espresso flavors, even in the lingering aftertaste. If you like this style I have to think you will like this beer.

Feb 10, 2008
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I let it warm a few minutes before pouring this ink black bodied beauty into my glass. Head is an inch and a half of deep dark tan foam with nice retention. Nose is a very attractive even richness with strong sweet smokey malt all up front. As soon as it enters the mouth you know it is a well made imperial. Long dark sweetness enters the mouth like melted bakers chocolate. This is quickly folowed by a robust smokey, syrupy feel that hangs on to the taste buds. Sweetness is just right while having a slight bitter bite on the finish. Mouthfeel is a hue of soured bitter chocolate. Drinkability is quite nice.

Jan 13, 2008
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BeerTruth from Connecticut

4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to MuddyFeet for this one. I’ve held on to this treat for a while now!

Bottled 1/24/07. 8.8% abv.

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours an onyx black that lets not light in. A two finger tan head that slowly dies down to a nice layer of bubbles. Stickiness is great, leaves its mark all over the sides of the glass. Smell is a rich brownie batter with caramel malt. Subtle coffee scents with a hint of alcohol in the nose as well. The taste is actually more smokey than I had anticipated but not overpowering by any means. Nice dark chocolate flavors with a sweet caramel malt and some espresso on the tongue as well. Big, thick, chewy mouthfeel with very minimal amounts of carbonation. Just about perfect, I really dig this brew. I really put this one down much easier than I should have, but it was just too damn tasty. I wonder what even more age would do to this already amazing brew. I wish I had one to age and see how much smoother this would get. Great work CBC!

Oct 13, 2007
Groundhog Imperial Stout from Carolina Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 42 ratings