Giant Slayer
Tri-City Brewing Company

Giant SlayerGiant Slayer
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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #842
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
82
Ranked #46,907
Avg:
3.45 | pDev: 17.68%
Reviews:
57
Ratings:
165
From:
Tri-City Brewing Company
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  1
Gots
  37
SCORE
82
Good
Giant SlayerGiant Slayer
Notes:
Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 165 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by tpd975:
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tpd975 from Florida

3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jale for this one. Jim is THE MAN.

A: Pours very deep dark black with a nice tall foamy mocha head. Excellent retention and nice big sheets of lace.

S: Dark chocolate, deep roasted malt, and a strange lactic aroma.

T: Nice rich roast, hints of dark fruit and acrid coffee. Chocolate peaks through. It has a bit of a strange metallic finish.

M: Medium in body, smooth, good carbonation.

D: Just okay, minus the strange metallic finish it would actually be quite good.

Dec 21, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of SerialTicker
SerialTicker from Michigan

3.37/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A surprisingly cheap $2 single. Poured it into a shaker pint. Had their Giant Vanilla Slayer at last year's World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth and thought it was a fantastic beer. How's this one?

Appearance: A half-aggressive pour had to be stopped after three ounces due to an insane amount of foaming. What? I haven't seen that for an Imperial Stout in my LIFE. Huge cinnamon colored head that eventually went down to about half a finger and stayed. A lot of lacing. Pitch black hued brew.

Smell: B-L-A-H. Worst Imperial Stout I've whiffed, that I can remember. I've never smelled one quite so bland. Mild roast, but I actually get a lot of hop character in there. So much so that it almost smells like a black IPA, but not quite. Well, I don't think it's so much that the hops are potent as the other characteristics are just subdued. A shame.

Taste/feel: A medium sort of feel with a moderate carbonation. Not quite what I'd expect for the style, but not bad. That hop character comes through on the start with a weird, surprising wave of... saltiness? This is an incredibly salty tasting beer. On the back there's a very pleasant roasty character with some chocolate and alcohol warmth, but it's not there enough through the sip, or even on the finish.

A decent beer. Considering a single bottle was $2, this is about what I expected. The biggest drawback for this beer, aside from the fact that it doesn't have a huge roasty boldness I affiliate with an Imperial Stout, and the feel is a bit off, is definitely that unusual amount of, for the lack of a better description, SALTINESS that I get on this one. Not a soy sauce sort of flavor or anything, just... salt. So much in fact that for a moment after each sip I take, I swear I feel a slight bit of acid reflux -- and I very, very rarely get acid reflux. In case you're wondering, no, I didn't eat anything recently that'd cause it.

It's a fair value for $2 for the ABV alone... and hey, it tastes alright as well. just don't drink too much of this, because you may end up dehydrated. Not from the alcohol, but from the salt.

(I swear to God, there must be a tablespoon per bottle. Why doesn't it ruin the beer for me?)

Give Giant Salter -- I mean Slayer -- a run for yourself.

Jan 21, 2014
Photo of clager
clager from Michigan

4.45/5  rDev +29%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black with a generous tan head. Strong smell of chocolate, oak, and vanilla. Very flavorful with upfront bitter chocolate followed by oak and a bit of coffee and vanilla. Wouldn't say it's particularly creamy but the mouthfeel is outstanding, lightly carbonated appropriately so. More full that I would expect from this beer, likely owing to the extra IBUs. Overall a surprisingly good beer, one of my favorite stouts of all time.

Jan 18, 2016
Photo of Chaz
Chaz from Minnesota

3.21/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a pitch black in color, topped with a dark tan head. An aggressive pour allows for a nice-sized, dark tan head, and just a little in the way of lacing. Head falls at an average rate.

Nose is very good, roasted malts. Smells sweet, with notes of chocolate and espresso. Slightly acidic and tangy.

Rather sweet on the first sip, but with all of the aspects from the nose being otherwise present. Rich, a bit tangier than usual (and in a good way), reminding me a bit of Le Coq -- a benchmark of the style at some level.

Lighter in body than many examples out there today, but not by too much.

Seems to have been well-filtered, or at least there is not much in the way of sediment at the end of the pour.


The bar on this style of beer has been set fairly high for years, now, and Giant Slayer just squeaks-by as being slightly above average. Worth a try.

Poured from a bottle: No production codes / best-by dates that I can see.

Jan 01, 2015
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oberon from North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first try from this brewery from my neck of the woods.Pours jet black with a deep mocha thinner head atop.Dark fruit,chocolate,and sweet caramel in the nose,smells quite sweet.Slight roast on the palate upfront but the big sweetness takes over from there,dark fruit,caramel,and brown sugar,it actually gets a bit cloying in the back end.Eh it started out decent but just too sweet for my liking really.

Nov 08, 2015
Photo of Sammy
Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Great head, thick and very bubbly. Black body. Aroma is chocolate and roasty. Taste is coffee and sweet. Rather sweet for a RIS. Rather fair for a RIS, but quaff able. Thanks Josh for sharing. Middling mouthfeel, though a spot acidic.Mouthfeel is tingling.

Jan 27, 2013
Photo of adams82
adams82 from Michigan

3.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours pitch-oil slick black, no highlights when held to a back light, no head what so ever, no lacing.

S: Roasted malt, dark chocolate, heavily roasted coffee, a hint of alcohol, raisin/dried plums. Almost seems too "standard" for the style; nothing really exciting, nothing really stands out.

T: Starts with the taste of sweetened bakers chocolate, which quickly fades as the roast kicks in which brings the heavy coffee flavor, bittersweet dark chocolate, finishes with a subtle nutty/dried dark fruit flavor with a nice bitter bite at the end. Little to no hop flavor. As it warms, the roasted flavors fade a bit and the sweet dark/dried fruit notes are more noticeable. Overall, I'd say this tastes like a "standard" RIS; it's just missing something that makes it memorable, fairly underwhelming.

M: The mouth feel is dense and robust; defiantly full bodied; silky smooth.

This certainly has the staple flavors of a RIS, but it's not complex and it really didn't "wow" me; nothing really stood out except for the fact that it didn't warm up too well. No head, no lacing, the aroma is lacking, and the flavor profile is rather mediocre.

If you're not too familiar with this style, I would start elsewhere if you want to wowed(perhaps Bell's Expedition), otherwise, its an "OK" beer that's suited for rounding out a mix pack; I wouldn't be apt to pick up more than a single.

Feb 01, 2011
Photo of psmith161
psmith161 from Indiana

3.99/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Apr 23, 2015
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.69/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

'Giant Slayer' is a cool name for a beer that looks so big and strong; its deep, inky-black tone is sure to be intimidating to most people. It's a natural to play 'David' considering none of the 'Goliath' breweries offer anything remotely so dark or opaque. The most colourful part of the beer is its hazelnut-coloured head... while it lasted.

To be entirely honest, I was expecting the worst after reading the reviews for this beer on the two big rating sites. It's my first offering from this tiny, unknown Michigan brewery. But much to my relief, the aroma shows no noticeable signs of infection and, along with the appearance, is promising. Fudge-y malts, dark fruits, and black licorice are a very decent start.

The flavour has enough chocolate, vanilla, and coffee to keep me happy. It's not the symphony that some Russian Imperial Stouts offer up but it's serviceable. The finish is lightly ashy with an appreciable smokiness and a leafy bitterness that's been entwined with black licorice notes. It's well composed for its strength (though 8.5% is conservative for the style).

The mouthfeel reveals an underlying sweetness reminiscent of brown sugar or molasses. This covers for the faint soy sauce-like impression (and compliments the chocolate brownie and black coffee flavours). It has a hint of oak too, even though it's not barrel-aged (this likely owing to the presence of vanilla bean on the finish). Drink it now. I doubt it'll cellar well.

It looks I was in the lucky minority to get a non-infected bottle of Giant Slayer - take my word, it's not a bad little.. err, big recipe. It doesn't rival Michigan's best Imperial Stouts (Founders' or any of the many Bells) but the people of Bay City can't consider themselves hard-done by; if this were on-tap near me I'd have to hire someone to carry me home.

Dec 14, 2013
Photo of ghostwalker
ghostwalker from Massachusetts

3.21/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap in a MI Whole Foods.

A: Appropriately dark body with a thin finger of tan head.

S: Not a lot of nose. Roasty, malty, slightly fruity.

T: Dark fruits and roasty, in that order. Low complexity and no real hop character. Thin on flavor for the style. What there is is a well balanced combination.

M: Thin, slightly oily. Decent carb level.

O: Solid, but unexceptional RIS. Love the D&D influenced label.

Feb 18, 2012
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

3/5  rDev -13%

Jun 08, 2013
Photo of enfield249
enfield249 from Michigan

3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark black with no highlights, and a head of espresso.

S - Sweetness, black patent, coffee and slight chocolate.

T - Basically the same as the smell, but with more of a accent on the coffee.

M - Full and thick. Slightly astringent.

D - A decent RIS. Very tasty, and full, but nothing out the ordinary. Perhaps we are all used to amazing beers, and a standard beer is considered "sub-par" Be that as it may, a fine beer.

Sep 04, 2010
Photo of gordavidson
gordavidson from Maryland

2.43/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Absolutely pitch black with only the slightest bit of light getting through at the edges. The head is very thick, creamy, and brown. Looks like serious business.

S- Cocoa powder, alcohol, malted milk powder, earthy, and just the slightest hint of cinnamon and a distinct nuttiness. This is just not appealing at all...

T- More appealing than the aroma, but still a distinct flavor that I do not like and have a bit of trouble placing- it's almost like melted plastic... Some chocolate, alcohol, nuttiness. Not a lot of depth.

M- A nice amount of carbonation and it is pretty smooth, but the aftertaste is just not nice. Pretty dry.

D- Well, this was just a disappointment. This is just not very good. I wish I knew what the ABV was so I knew what to do with this.

Jan 27, 2009
Photo of BMoney575
BMoney575 from Texas

3.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 6-4-09

Pours very thick and black, with lots of yest that I didn't realize was there until it was too late. A thinning head leaves small ring of lacing.

Smell is kind of fruity, tons of yeast, with a nice burnt malt and a decent anise aroma.

Taste is very smoky and burnt, actually rather enjoyable. Surprisingly bitter, the hops come through in a charcoal way, which is rather unique, and a nice twist.

Mouthfeel kills the whole experience, way too thin and watery. A major disappointment.

Drinkability would be better if the mouthfeel helped out a little.

Overall, much better than I expected, but still unfortunately flawed.

Jun 05, 2009
Photo of gmfessen
gmfessen from Michigan

3.13/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, Giant Slayer is black as night and pours like motor oil. The head is one-finger, fluffy and mocha colored. The nose is all malt as you might expect, dark fruits like dates and currants along with roasty malt notes like burnt coffee and dark chocolate. The taste follows suit with the fruity notes coming to the forefront; acrid, bitter notes on the finish. Mouthfeel is light for a RIS, with the carbonation being very inactive and thin. Overall, not an overly impressive RIS... Drinkable but not something to seek out.

Feb 24, 2013
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short mocha colored head that died down a bit but never completely faded away.
S: Moderate aromas of licorice, dark malts and molasses are present in the nose.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and has additional hints of roasted malts in the flavors, most particularly towards the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with hints of dryness towards the finish.
O: This beer feels a little lighter in body compared to other Russian Imperial Stouts, but isn't too difficult to drink.

Dec 28, 2013
Photo of Magpie14
Magpie14 from Michigan

2.64/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: pours a murky brown and black with soft orange amber colors. Collectively a great mass of darkness. A quick and fleeting mocha colored cap did appear. Lacing is minimal. Body is large and in charge, looks like a good heavy stout

S: earthy, bitter cocoa, malts, and some illusive dark fruitiness. Coffee can be detected in the nose as well. Not sure if I have smelled anything like this before...whether good or bad I am not sure

T: hmm. Mostly full of heavy malts, cocoa and coffee beans with a hint of smokiness. These strong flavors bring out a snappy bitterness pulling in creamy nut-like notes and some dark fruit characters. In addition to this is wet cardboard. Warming does not enhance flavors but makes them overbearing, not to balanced this one. Alcohol peeks in as well

M: lush and pretty thick. Mouthfeel has some nice features but these are hampered by the clammy flavors

D: I pass on this one

Nov 17, 2010
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bozodogbreath from Indiana

3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Jun 09, 2012
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Boverhof3 from Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +23.2%

Mar 12, 2014
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carlborch from Michigan

4.14/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured densely black, producing a 3-inch, creamy, light brown head. The immediate nose suggests roasted coffee, chocolate, chicory, and vanilla. The head persists, but settles in at 1.5 inches. Medium-full body, with modest carbonation, and distinct bitter chocolate notes. A little chalky. Rich. Bitter notes carry through into the lingering. The ABV is not noticeable on the palate, but shows up overall! Cautious hints of sour, but that may be the bitter chocolate notes. Strong roasted notes. Creamy, rich, delicious stout! I taste wood and bourbon!? Did it spend time in a barrel? I like it, and while it is quenching rather than moreish, I will seek it again.

Jan 16, 2016
Photo of GRPunk
GRPunk from Michigan

3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a nonic pint.

A- 1/2 finger dark brown head and a near jet body with red-brown highlights. Head drops to a thin film and leaves really good stick.

S- A little muted at first. Roasty malts, lighter, dark chocolate qualities. Almost smoky with a little warmth. Even later, alcohol reveals itself a bit too much. Roasty is the main scent. That said, it never seems to open up.

T- Lots of roasted malts. Medium, dark chocolate isn't overly sweet, but not very bitter either. Hints of dark, cooked or dried fruits later on. Alcohol is warm, not sharp, but kind of wears on you throughout the bottle. More flavor than the aroma would let on.

M- Light carbonation and solid viscosity is pleasant. A touch chalky perhaps. Warm alcohol in the finish. Generally good.

D- It's alright, but doesn't set itself apart. Dollar for dollar it's solid. However, I'm willing to pay $.50 more for a bottle of something I enjoy a little more. Glad I tried it. Not going to seek it out. Might buy it to round out a mixed sixer during the colder months.

Jan 31, 2011
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LXIXME from New Mexico

3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jul 02, 2015
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djeucalyptus from Oregon

3.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to semibaked. pours a typical jet-black with dark reddish-brown head. a vigorous pour yields half a finger of head that quickly dissipates and leaves no trace behind. not quite on the level of giant slaying.

aroma is heavy on the roast, blackstrap molasses with sea salt, heather, leather and kiwi shoe polish undertones. coffee and some burnt bread. fairly subdued... I feel like I keep waiting for it to brighten up, but it doesn't happen.

taste is heavy on the roast. burnt coffee, wet leather, toffee, cocoa powder. I'm kind of digging it. not as boozy or intense as many a RIS, but certainly enjoyable. again, not quite as flavorful as I want it to be, but for a nice, heavily roasted RIS, I'm liking it.

Moderate body with a hefty viscous finish. decent carbonation for the style helps from being cloyingly thick. Not bad.

All in all, I actually quite enjoyed this one. Not as robust, rich, or boozy as many RISs out there, but I kind of like that. I was pleasantly surprised when i tried it, and even more surprised when i checked the other reviews. Maybe there's something about it that just jives right with my palette, although my other half commented that she wished we had more than the one bottle as well.

Apr 15, 2011
Photo of Bung
Bung from Michigan

3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. Black enough pour, ring of tan bubbles. Fairly calm looking which is fine.

Aroma, A bit phenolic, some more alcohol than one might like. Roast malt, molasses, chocolates peak out around that.

Taste, Quite roasty. Malt and coffee. Maybe considered near burnt, but it's on the border. Still dark chocolate and cocoa finish. Very dry, maybe more like a foreign stout. I had no overt problems with this.

Medium bodied, maybe a tad on the thinner side. Doesn't coat real well, more from the dry nature I think.

In all honesty I thought this was just fine. Maybe more over roasted roast coffee and cocoa than some would like.

All right, so the coffee becomes a little overbearing after a while.

Nov 10, 2011
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BarrytheBear from Wisconsin

3/5  rDev -13%

Dec 03, 2013
Giant Slayer from Tri-City Brewing Company
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 165 ratings