Dark Force | HaandBryggeriet

very good
517 Ratings
Read the review
Dark ForceDark Force

Brewed by:

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
From a country far, far away, comes the only imperial Wheat stout in the known universe. This Imperial really strikes back. Made with wheat malt and wheat yeast.

Added by Sigmund on 06-17-2007

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 517 |  Reviews: 320
Photo of Stoutmeister
4.49/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this bottle when I was down in Florida on vacation. Served at cellar temp and poured actually in a tall pilsner glass as it was all I had, this one was consumed on 03/05/2009.

The pour was very nice, rich dark black in color with a large foamy head of tan. Toom uch as it came up over the bottle and foamed out all over the place. Once in the glass it settled down nicely though. The aroma was rich chocolate and coffee, lots of molasses and rich dark malts. Smooth carry over into the flavor here as the rich molasses and rum soaked roasted malts were tight as hell here. Really solid RIS as the beer warmed really started to let loose with vanilla and caramel flavors and a nice toasty flavor. Smooth, creamy, full bodied and not too jacked up on ABV, this was easily, and I mean easily one of the btter RIS I have had recently without a doubt.

 857 characters

Photo of jondeelee
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

According to HaandBryggeriet, Dark Force is the only known Imperial Wheat Stout, and since they have better access to this information than I do, I'll have to take their word for it. So what does the wheat brewing do for the beer, and can this brew really live up to the "Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout" description on the label? Judging by the smell, I'd say it's off to a good start: rich, thick, loamy malts dominate, bringing figs, dried fruits, anise, dark chocolate, and deeply-toasted grains.

On the tongue, the brew is unbelievably dark, beginning with a shot of sugary figs and dark cherries, then descending with breathtaking pace into the depths of darkness, where ash, tobacco, and coffee join hands with prunes, anise, vanilla, black cherries, and black malts. As the sugars die off, the black malt and tobacco flavors come into stronger focus, and continue into the aftertaste, which lasts for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is an excellent Imperial Stout, and the wheat brewing brings levels of toasted malty goodness to this beer that shoot it several levels above a standard stout. Fans of this style will have much to rejoice about in this version.

 1,219 characters

Photo of CHSLBrew
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemless wine glass.

A-Opaque black beer. Dark force? I think this is an appropriate name. This oil-black brew spawned a dark brown, frothy(!) head with strong retention, remaining in a thick collar and consistent bubbles.

S-Smells of roasted malts and chocolate. Dark fruits also elbow for space in my nostrils. Some hop character is also able to emerge in a quite distinct resinous note.

T-Big with roast and chocolate. Some dried fruits of the darker persuasion stand in. Hop bitterness is slightly present near the end, along with a pretty clear sweet, floral hop character. A little alcohol comes through in the end of the flavor Is that wheaty spice/twang in there? Maybe a little bit on the aftertaste.

M-Creamy, yet oily and full-bodied. Low-medium carbonation is there just enough for me to realize it. Smoother than many imperial stouts I've tasted. A very pleasant warming deep in my belly.

D-I say two thumbs up for Haand. This imperial stout has a lot going for it with its immense body holding complex flavors. Even with the substantialness of this beer, I would love to have another bottle... right now. This was my first encounter with this brewery, and I look forward to trying them again.

 1,225 characters

Photo of adamette
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken while I enjoyed this beer on tap at The Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL with (among others) my two brothers-in-law Steven and Mat August 21st, 2010. Mat lives within minutes of this place and we enjoy visiting there when I am in town. Poured into a tulip glass.

A Dark brown head over a completely black body. You simply have to love the look of these foreboding RIS's as the look of them is so full of attitude and presence. I certainly do love the look of this beer. 5.0

S Deep, dark roasted malt with molasses sweet notes. Just awesome! 4.5

T Great, complex flavors of the sweet molasses, dark roast malt in a really good, obviously carefully crafted beer from the Norwegian micro brewer. 4.5

M Thick, luxurious, silky. Really, really good feel! 4.5

D Huge beer with bodacious tastes and that silk like smoothness but it is really easy to drink despite all of that. 4.0

Notes: Consider me blown away by this, a world class Russian Imperial Stout! Also: my first review of a beer from Norway!

 1,020 characters

Photo of TheJollyHop
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cocoa, charred dried fruits, smoke and roast scents; sea air as well.

Solid, fluffy, molasses hued head; jet black body.

Smoke upfront, smooth chocolate, smoked malt, roasted barley, and a touch salty. Finish is salty sweet.

Complex medium to light body, effervescent, and highly carbonated. Wheat manifests itself in the mouthfeel while the alcohol adds a pleasant warming character.

Finish isn't excessively lingering yet the flavors are all for the most part balanced. An interesting, albeit delicious brew.

 515 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Double chocolate fudge brown with the suggestion of lightening at the edges, though no actual highlights. The massive crown is the color of dark brown sugar, has a mousse-like texture and is beginning to deposit attractive lace in tattered sheets. What's not to like?

The nose is rock solid as well. Dark Force doesn't smell as devilishly dark and as pungently powerful as some versions, but it definitely gets the job done. I can appreciate quite a bit of dark fruitiness and more than a handful of hops. 65 IBUs will do that. Warming kicks things up a notch.

The brewery claims that DF is the only known wheat stout in the universe. Doubtful. They also call it (in small print along the bottom of the label) a 'Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout'. That's a pretty big boast, so this brew better bring it.

Although I could never have identified the fact that mainly wheat malt is used, it makes sense after the first big gulp. Not in the flavor (there's too much roasted maltiness for that), but in the lighter than usual body and the silky softness of the mouthfeel. Yeah, but does it taste good? You betcha.

Dark Force is reminiscent of a Baltic porter (in some respects), although the stated style is much closer to the mark. There's a huge charred barley character, complete with rivers of chocolate liquor, black coffee and blackstrap molasses. Grapefruity hops crash the mouth party at the midway point, and then come on like gangbusters at the finish.

For all of its smooth silky softness, mouthfeel doesn't quite keep pace with flavor and drinkability. It came up just short of 'very good' in the end.

Dark Force is my third Haandbryggeriet beer and is easily the best. It may not be Double, Extreme *and* Imperial, but it's a delicious RIS that I would love to drink again and again. Since I'm not a Star Wars geek, I'll refrain from some lame joke about The Force. If you're an RIS geek, you should pick this one up whenever you run across it.

 1,963 characters

Photo of kaimcm
4.41/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9oz bottle poured into a La Fin Du Monde glass. Batch # 75, marked Best For May 2010. 9%ABV. Review penned 12/2/07.

A: deep opaque body topped off with a super creamy, super fluffy head. mostly lots of tiny bubbles but a few big ones abound. reminscent of some witches cauldron. dark horizon eh? no lacing. one of the best looking beers Ive seen in a while.

S: Smells like a bakery or cafe in the morning. lots of sugar, chocolate, coffee, pastry grain. a bit of alcohol and some alcohol soaked fruits.

T/M: The wheat is readily apparent in the mouthfeel and flavor up front. Kudos to Haand for retaining the guts of this beer in what is a unique and adventurous "style". Soft but full bodied, the grains wash up front followed by the bakery. All that coffee and chocolate hits hard. Some carmelized sugar follows, a bit of twang from a subtle acidity I actually quite enjoy. A tannic husky-ness follows and the finishes lingers a bit drying. Sugar on the teeth and warmth in the belly this one begs for more. Mouthfeel throughout is rich and creamy.

D: For 9%ABV and the hefty price tag, this goes down way too easy. Would love to enjoy regularly.

Thank god for this beer, or more appropriately, thank the Norwegians! Im am enjoying every drop of this. Its been a while since a new beer really made me take a step back and Im glad it was this one. Cheers to HaandBryggeriet for this beer and the Sheltons for bringing it in. Now, if only we can get more of it. Label says "Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout"...sillyness aside, this beer kicks ass. Seek out. Now.

 1,574 characters

Photo of Rothobinide
4.41/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bruachan
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

super opaque brown with a good half finger of toffee-colored froth. head was enthusiastic at first, no doubt thanks to the wheat

smells deeply roasty, with enough sweetness to keep balance. earthy hops and some fusel heat

strong hop presence, which couples with the strong kilning to make one intense beverage. strong bitterness tangos with heat and a sensible kilned astringency. wheat keeps mouthfeel manageable and active, whereas some RIS feel stagnant. chicory flavors, anise perhaps some dried cherry

some might chirp that this is porterish...meh

 555 characters

Photo of doppelmeup
4.39/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Exceptional looking pour with a very thick, long lasting creamy brown head that never went a way and laced the glass all the way down. Pitch black.

Full bodied and very flavorful without over-top-bitterness. Alcohol very well hidden. The wheat must make it slightly softer and smoother than typical RISs.

Highly recommended!

 327 characters

Photo of jbphoto88
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a tall, slim 25oz bottle with a modest white sticker on the back noting the batch # of 75 and a "best for" date of May 2010? Actually its hard to read and a lot of the other notations don't make a lot of sense. What it does tell me is that there has been some care put into this beer as the label appears to be hand applied. The beer itself is as black as car tires and has a cappuccino colored head that rises a nice 1/2 inch above the beer.

Smell is pungently dark. Heavy malts mix with dark fruits and a molasses covered cereal. There is a nice hop profile but it is shrouded by a solvent like alcohol scent. The solvent characteristic is mild and not the main scent but still noticeable.

Taste is quite good. There are a lot of nice dark flavors in there that range from rum soaked currants and raisins to roasted malts. A strong backbone of coffee and chocolate flavors balanced by some strong citrus hops and scorched malts. A sweet molasses finish with a slight bitter twang (but in a good way.)

There's a bitter finish from both the slightly aggressive hops and the roasted malts and grains. A mild carbonation doesn't mask the flavors and a smooth start combined with a tart dry finish make for one helluva brew. All this and the label says its the only imperial wheat stout!! Very innovative, interesting and unique. The wheat really makes a difference in the body of this beer, not letting it get to heavy. Wow, Dark force where have you been all my life?

 1,481 characters

Photo of hmich176
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black brew with an almond colored head. Very large head when I poured it straight down the middle. A more proper pour resulted in maybe a two finger head.

S: There's a hint of vanilla, rather wheaty (surprise!), some fruits and coffee notes as well.

T: The alcohol hits at the very end, but it's not very noticeable. Sweet, but bitter...warm and toasty. Nicely balanced. Someone else mentioned tongue-numbing - I agree with that.

M: Carbonation isn't very strong; it goes down smoothly. Full body that's on the edge of being too much. For a stout, it's pretty easy drinking.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer. Not my favorite stout, but it's very good and right up there. I enjoyed the play on the wheat beer, and it's something I'd get again should the opportunity arise.

 778 characters

Photo of Vancer
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks mucho to me amigo limesmut for this beer sent via another great trade.

Pours a gorgeous coal black, capped with a perfect brown mountain of rocky head, sticking around like a street bum at a convention.

Aroma is thin, subtle hints of chocolate malt with cherries tossed in for good measure. Quaff is great - thick and rich mixture of the dark fruit, anise and the sturdy backbone of wheat malt. First wheat stout, and it is a beauty! Can't see any downside to this brew - no hint of any alcohol anywhere. Quite a treat to drink.

 537 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black completely opaque. A huge frothy three-finger caramel colored head crowns the beer then very slowly recedes. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, wheat, alcohol, and raisins comprise the nose. First sip is an incredible balance between the coffee, chocolate, and touches of tobacco. There are also notes vanilla and licorice. Medium to heavy bodied, very creamy, the beer is bitter from start to finish. There is a complexity here that matches the balance and pushes Darkforce into the style's elite.

 510 characters

Photo of dgilks
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Inky black with a big, creamy, dark tan head. Decent head retention.

Bright, spicy alcohol combines with sweet malt and sweet, milk chocolate. Very nice.

This is a really interesting beer because the inclusion of wheat makes it so smooth. The rounded, chocolatey roasted wheat combines with spritzy alcohol, a touch of roast, mild bitter chocolate and an earthy hop character. A few esters add complexity. Really nice.

Medium-full body with moderately-low carbonation. Good.

A smooth, rounded Imperial Stout that shows off the versatility of wheat in a beer. The roast character is different to what you get with barley and I really enjoyed this.

 650 characters

Photo of CHADMC3
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch NR 93, Brewed Sept 07

Pours an opaque black body beneath the viscous mocha head that patiently dissolves to leaves a sticky, yet thin lacing around the glass with traces of the mocha head lasting throughout.

The aroma is magnificent, rich with roasted malt and wheat with hints of cocoa nibs and slightly boozy.

The flavors are fantastic as well, again with the generous amounts of roasted malt, coffee, and wheat with fainter notes of milk chocolate. The finish is part smoky and part boozy.

Much lighter in body than your standard Russian Imperial Stout, which is suitable given the beer. Carbonation is generous and the finish is boozy and warming.

This is a fantastic beer. This batch was brewed in 9/07, so it is approaching 5 years old which probably lends to some of the character I am experiencing. I can’t say I have ever had a beer like this before.

 875 characters

Photo of rallison
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one sounded incredibly interesting, so I had to order some from Liquid Solutions (having never seen it in Southern California).

Pours a murky black color with a nice 1 finger creamy tan head. This eventually dies to a nice covering.

First smell is very, very interesting. What is this - dark fruits? Molasses? Burnt sugar? Port? Not what I was expecting, but very welcome!

Taste is full of dark fruits and port wine. The smells definitely show up in the taste, along with a good bit of chocolate and roasted coffee. There is a wheat background as well that integrates nicely into the dark fruit flavors. Very unique taste - I like it.

Mouthfeel is very rich with a truly velvety creaminess. Lovely.

Drinkability, for what it is, is very good.

Highly recommended. A truly unique beer, and a style I wouldn't mind seeing more of. You owe it to yourself to try this beer.

 882 characters

Photo of cvstrickland
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 75
500 ml bottle with a bottled-on and best-by date on the label, poured into a snifter yields an opaque ebony body capped with a thick finger of creamy, melted-chocolate ice cream-style mocha-colored foam that retains at a thick sheet and leaves a bit of sticky lacing on the glass.

Smell is dark, burnt oak with herbally hoppy notes and chocolatey dark roasted barley. A whiff of tangy molasses wafts from the glass and aroma of caramel-covered toasted nuts and Devil's Food cake emerges as the drink warms.

Taste is silky-blackness! Burnt malt, dark roasted malt, dark coffee, dark chocolate, smoky, smutty black malt... charred and malty with a caramelized burnt brown sugar note. I want to say I can taste the wheat, soft and mellow, floating along helplessly in the roasty swirl of darkness, but an incinerated jag of smoky chocolate drowns the grainy essence in sooty cocoa goodness. A fruity, hoppy note arrives to the party late, bringing a twinge of grapefruit and bitter herbs to the roasty, bittersweet party.

Full-bodied and magnificent. Great drink that might become too much for me were I to venture beyond the 500 ml serving that seems just about perfect.

 1,181 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a weizen glass)
Described as a Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout on the bottle
A-This beer has an opaque black body with a strong carbonation of micro-bubbles that glide up the sides of the glass. The super thick head of tan sticks to the glass after each sip and last for the full beer.

S- The smell of white wheat and fresh white paper has a yeasty note and a burnt marshmallow. There were some dark black roasted malt notes that come through as the beer warms.

T- The taste of dark burnt flavor has a soft wheat dough note followed by a black coffee malt flavor and bitterness that lingers. There are notes of light smoke and tar notes. There is a nice bubble gum note that is dry and soft adding a nice twist to the black malt. There are also some fruity dry prunes notes and yeasty notes that come through as it warms.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz in the finish. There is no alcohol heat until the beer warms and in boost the bitter finish nicely.

D- This beer has a wonderful robust big black malt flavor with a nice twist of wheat beer flavors. This does have the black roasted flavor to qualify as a double imperial stout. I bet some age might as a nice twist to this.

 1,225 characters

Photo of mchengcit
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle, Batch NR90, brewed Aug07. Poured into a tulip glass, this was a very black beer with a thin rim of orange head. It had an aroma of dark fruit, dark roasted malt, and chocolate. The dark fruit was tasted, as well as the chocolate. A wonderful espresso taste became apparent, and it lingered a long while, ending in a pleasant bitterness. Really liked this beer.

 374 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 116
Brewed: Dec. 2007
Best Before: Dec. 2011

I really like that the information above is printed on the label. There's even an ingredients list and phone number!

Served slightly chilled from cellar temp. Pours into a pint glass, absolutely black in color with thick brown head. Great retention but no lacing to speak of.

Aroma is sweet and malty with a hint of red wine.

Flavor is full of depth and complexity. Lots of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. The sole use of wheat gives it a unique flavor. Nice and spicy but smooth. Lots of bitterness from both hops and dark malts.

Mouthfeel is dominated by big body, lots of bitterness, and a bone dry finish. Not the easiest thing to make a session out of but this bottle seems the perfect size.

Very nice overall and I look forward to trying others from Haandbryggeriet.

 832 characters

Photo of zaphodchak
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice thick tan head, retains a thin layer throughout. Dark brown.

Nose is rich, wheaty, almost a rauch, Pork, almost.

Interesting. Totally a wheat, but with enough dark malt to exceed dunkelweizen and go striaght into imperial stout territory. And there is a bit of a rauch character here which is an unexpected but welcome surprise. Trace of molasses at the end.

Big and thick, definitely wheat feel.

The style for this beer seemed made-up, but it was definitely as described.

 481 characters

4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 10oz tulip for $7.50 with the menu indicating an even 9% ABV. Sampled 1/15/11.

A: The beer arrives with a small tan head that is quick to disappear and settles in without any film, collar or lacing. The color of the body is a notch below pitch black. Zero transparency - even at the edges and the thinnest parts of the glass.

S: The nose presents rich roasted (nearly burnt) aromas of coffee, bitter chocolate and ash. The smell is straight to the point and everything a RIS should be. In my mind, the integration of aromas is damn near perfect.

T: Very strong malt character with enough hop presence to back it up. Again, extremely roasty with rich, bold flavors of coffee, chocolate and charred wood. A less than acrid bitterness holds the final taste impression together and ensures the next sip will be soon after.

M: Soft, very rounded mouthfeel with a low level of carbonation that compliments the luscious texture. So smooth. I am a big fan of the wheat in the grist, which I think has the perfect impact on mouthfeel and consistency.

D: [DRINKABILITY] Excellent. Very little room for improvement from this serving type. The bottle I had was good, but not nearly as impressive.

 1,203 characters

Dark Force from HaandBryggeriet
3.96 out of 5 based on 517 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.