Dark Force | HaandBryggeriet

very good
319 Reviews
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 Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 319 | Ratings: 513
Photo of Rutager
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance. Pours a deep and viscous black with almost two fingers of frothy deep tan head.

Smell. Sour yeast funk, some roasty chocolate and grains.

Taste. Dark chocolate and extra roasty malts. Some licorice, alcohol and yeasty fruityness.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium-strong, bubbly carbonation. Pretty warm and boozy.

Overall. Complex and full. Decent, but not really my thing.

 397 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice pour into an Unibrou tulip. Very thick dark head.

The nose is far nothing to describe

The taste is a big wheat stout ,soft with chocolate, slight crystal malt notes and a slight astringency with a lingering "wheat" character.

 236 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Batch No 144, Bottled March 2008

Appearance - pours a dark, Coke-like caramel brown. Opaque in the glass, a few fingers of dark mocha foam doesn't look real thick, and melts away pretty quickly with no lace.

Aroma - some decent roast to the malt, but its graininess outsmells its roast. A light milk chocolate after setup. Okay but neither imperial nor Russian.

Taste - good roastiness in the opening swallow. Grains are mildly sweet, the roast flavors are strong and tasty. Not real bitter, but it is two years old. Pleasant swallow shows some bitter chocolate with the palate drying. One of those in-betweeners for the 3.5 or 4.0 rating, but I'll give it a nod.

Mouthfeel - thin for the style and overcarbonated IMO. Light smoothness but misses the mark on the essential facets of the style.

Drinkability - it's a tasty stout for sure. Kind of a pretender in the RIS category but I suppose it is partially compromised by the imperial wheat part of the name. The taste to me fits the Baltic Porter category best. I'd have it again.

 1,037 characters

Photo of thedoubler55
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500mL bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Pours a vicious opaque black, a serious 2 finger head that never goes away, and some simple lacing around the glass as you drink away.

S - Dark Roasted malts, some caramel, very odd smell nothing to crazy on this one.

T - I tried this one a bit to cold at first, the taste was not pleasant at all. After warming up, lots of strong coffee and chocolate taste, with a bit of caramel as well as wheat at the tail end. This one tasted a lot better after warming up.

M - Full body, mid carbonation.

D - Not to into this brew, probably will not have another.

 595 characters

Photo of Satchboogie
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes
Had on tap at Armsby Abbey

A: Black, light brown/clear around the edges. About a finger and a half of head. No lacing.

S: Roasted barley, dark chocolate, I swear I can smell very light malt: the wheat, almost like toasted hay.

T: Heavy roasted barley character, almost robust porter like. A good bit of dry, bakers dark chocolate. Fairly bitter. The wheat gives this an unusually light and mellow taste. Finish is a little bitter but otherwise very clean, not much hop presence.

M: Light body, but smooth and creamy with a very clean finish.

O: This is kind of the opposite of it's namesake, it's not really much of a dark force. Light, clean, and crisp RIS isn't exactly what I think of when I hear "Dark Force". It's pretty tasty, no doubts about that. The alcohol is very well masked. Its an interesting experiment and I could see this as being a great RIS option for the summer. I want to give this a higher grade because it is tasty, but it just isn't much of a RIS. Category aside, it's an A-. As a RIS, it's average at best.

 1,057 characters

Photo of monitorpop
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 6/20/2008

A: Solid black with a one finger chocolate tan head.

S: Earthy with funky yeast, dark chocolate, malt.

T: Dark chocolate, toasted malts and coffee. A bit musty.

M: A bit thin, but slightly creamy with medium/high carbonation. No alcohol burn.

O: Decent Imperial Stout but it seems a bit off, maybe from the wheat?

 336 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

500ml bottle (batch #93, Sept 07) poured into my Meantime snifter, Dark Force is a pitch brownish black with a very dense, dark, reddish burnt tan head with long last, craggy at first, but leaving almost no lace, dissipating to a light skim.

Smell is bright roasted caramel, sweet malts, some stone fruits, sharp, cherry hard candy aroma, alcohol vapors.

Taste is sweet but really very roasty, astringent, a dark force indeed! A ton of flavor but abruptly delivered, accentuated by the dry finish, chalky with a touch of smoke. The rich sweetness of the malts is reminiscent of a Baltic Porter.

Mouthfeel is extremely carbonated, almost overflowing, with a stark sharpness.

Drinkability is ok, but this wasn't my favorite RIS or Baltic. The price is doing it no favors either...while "Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout" sounded cool enough for me to try one, I probably won't bother grabbing a second to cellar.

 921 characters

Photo of corby112
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes:

They don't call it Dark Force for nothing! Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger frothy mocha head. Very good retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap. Large chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Huge roasted malt aroma with silky chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, coffee and toast. There is also some faint alcohol sweetness in the nose.

Medium bodied and overly carbonated with a good bit of oxidization. Nice roasted malt flavor with hints of chocolate, lactic cream, oatmeal, toffee and alcohol sweetness. Slightly bitter throughout with a very dry, warm finish.

The appearance and aroma of this beer got me excited ut it was a bit of a let down afterward. I'd like to give it another try sometime but it's not worth the high price point.

 781 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

16.9 oz. bottle, Batch 93, brewed Sept. 07

A: Pours a dark brown with a full, yet fizzy tan head, with fair retention, leaves light lacing.

S: Milk chocolate, banana bread, espresso coffee, ethanol volatiles.

T: Definitely full on chocolate at the beginning with a light minty hop profile. Bananas, presuambly from the wheat are there as well along with a big dose of malt sugar, think Whoppers. Bite of strong coffee comes in with the finish and aftertaste.

M: Mouthfeel is very light for a 9% stout, creamy, oily, definitely needs more body.

D: An interesting beer from this Norse brewery, not outstanding, but good.

 623 characters

Photo of geexploitation
3.46/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours quite dark, with a slow-forming, thick and dark toasty head. Smells of roasted barley and a bit of milky mocha, but it's a relatively slight aroma as imperial stouts go. On the palate, lots of green hop bitterness to go along with bitterness from the roasted barley. Some sweetness comes through, too, although I wonder how much of it is due to the alcohol, which produces a measured burn. Mouthfeel is a couple of steps too thin, probably due to the high wheat content, with hard carbonation and hop bitterness contributing to make this beer like a blade: thin, hard, sharp. Overall, this is certainly an interesting, well-considered beer, but I don't think it lives up to its potential. I'll take my imperial stouts with barley, thanks.

 744 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.46/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3 1/2" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head fades ever-so slowly, with heavy, chunky lacing. Aroma is slightly sour with ample alcohol presence. Taste is lightly of dark grains upfront, heads towards the alcohol in the middle, and then swings partially back towards hearty roastiness again. Aftertaste is mostly the alcohol. Mouthfeel is astonishingly thin, and drinking is average-ish. Not what I was expecting at all. Hardly noted any wheat character, must have been shouted down by the darkness.

 632 characters

Photo of Loki
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very, very dark black thick liquid pours from the bottle creating a very thin, wisp beige head that fizzles quickly. Color is beautifully dark and it thick as hell. However, the lacing and head is more than a little disappointing.

Smell: Caramel, roasted malt, strong notes of coffee and grease. Then notes of wheat and roasted malt. Hints of alcohol.

Taste: Lots of roasted malt. Hints of bacon grease, smoke, and just enough hints of hops to balance it out. Very different, not great but not bad. Taste very close to a smoke beer.

Mouthfeel: The beer definitely comes through here. Warm and fairly thick. The wheat give a nice dryness.

Drinkablity: Not great. High alcohol, strong burnt malt and grease flavors make it a one bottle beer.

 755 characters

Photo of Phelps
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a tulip.

Black as outer space. Head is about a quarter inch, a silky medium tan.

A little licorice, dark chocolate, alcohol. A touch of vanilla or marshmallow. A little smoke.

Sweeter in the flavor. Chocolate syrup, smoke, a touch of anise. Slight lingering alcohol. Smooth.

Smooth, medium body. Pretty high carbonation and a little too much fizz. Very well-hidden alcohol. Tongue-numbing.

Smooth stuff. Wish there was a little more showing from the wheat. Still very smooth, easy-drinking.

 511 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch 73, Brewed April 2007; Sampled November 2007
Very well carbonated, and as I pour it the aroma makes me think of Brettanomyces. The head is somewhat large bubbled in consistency, initially four-fingers thick and even flows over the rim of my glass a bit; it is a light brown color and is quite long lasting. The beer is almost black in color and is quit opaque. Aromas of dark malt, toasted grain, toasted bread crust, coffee, ample chocolate and perhaps a bit of traditional, sharp wheat aromatics are noticeable underneath all of dark, roast character. Once I get into it, the aroma is not nearly as funky as I thought it would be (at least from those initial Brett infused overtones); it is still here though, much more subtle, but with a distinct vinous character as well as some aromas of tart fruit. This mostly smells like a roasty stout, a touch of tartness and grain character that could be attributed to the wheat as well as a touch of funkiness.

Much more funky in the flavor than the aroma ended up being, though it is still somewhat subtle, or at least I could see how it could be missed given all of the roast grain flavors that are here. Fairly light bodied (definitely lightened by the Brett / funk), though it does retain a soft creaminess, that is able to show through the ample carbonation. A few quick swirls of my glass frees up some of the excess carbonation and softens the beer a bit more. The beer in the near finish has a light tartness to it that is contributed by burnt grain, the wheat and most likely some of the funk. This tartness is superseded in the finish though by a sharp, lingering, burnt bitterness. Funky notes of moldy cotton and musty wood also linger in the finish. Really though the roast grain is what dominates the flavor profile here; flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, chalky roast grain husks, well toasted whole wheat crust and sour / bitter espresso. This has some fruitiness to it as well, of course the fruit tastes like it has been well burnt underneath a broiler, but it does evoke taste memories of burnt prunes, roasted figs and perhaps a touch of raisin.

As the beer warms, the funk begins to pick up a sharpness, almost a harshness that can at times muck the finish up a bit. Still this is a pretty good brew. I'll have to see if I can get a fresher example of this brew to see what that is like (though for a beer of this type, seven months should be nothing).

 2,427 characters

Photo of ADZA
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark as night black hue which leaves basically no head and no lacing,the smell is wheat,boozy alcohol,dark chocolate and cocoa,the mouthfeel is only medium bodied and abit thin for the style in my eyes with tastes of dark bittersweet chocolate,wheat,cereal,cocoa,dark plums and is finished with a dark mocha bittersweetness and overall its definately a first for me as i havnt heard of anyone else doing an imperial wheat stout but its very sessionable and easier to knock down than other RIS's but just not a true RIS in my eyes cheers.

 545 characters

Photo of atsprings
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500mL bottle into a Brooklyn goblet. Pours a deep opaque black with a thick dark-tan head. Aroma is roasted malts with sweet fruits showing in the background. The beer is somewhat on the bland side, with some roastiness and sweet malts briefly showing up in the finish, but not much there. The beer seems light bodied, the alcohol provides some warmth, but is well hidden. I must say I was intrigued to try a wheat stout, but can honestly say I won't likely be trying one again any time soon.

 492 characters

Photo of tayner
3.51/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz bottle batch 73 best before may 2010 Bottle says 9% abv.

Poured black with a huge tan head that wouldnt go away. didnt really lace and wasnt really sticky, just wouldnt go away.

Smell was mostly just of some aroma hops, the floral kind. Not alot of smells coming from this despite the huge head.

Taste was a bit more bold, roasted, nearly burnt malts, charcoal, bitter chocolate, a hint of coffee, and a wheaty finish. there is also a slight floral hop finish as well which seems a little out of place for me. perhaps a different variety of hops would have suited this one better IMO

Pretty easy to drink for a 9% beer since that was so well hidden, but not my favorite in this style at all. glad to try it once, probably wont seek it out again though.

This one was a bit overcarbonated for me, but it was relatively full feeling in the mouth.

 860 characters

Photo of dre412
3.51/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very sweet. I actually enjoyed the carbonation however and felt that it was needed for the sweetness. I enjoy sweet stouts and this one had a tad bit too much for me, but overall it was good. Definitely more of a dessert beer for me, to be shared with someone after a meal.

 273 characters

Photo of Derek
3.52/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch 74, brewed May 07, best before May 11.

A: Murky black, tan head, very little retention or lacing.

S: Licorice, roasted/smokey grain, alcohol, coffee, soy sauce.

T: Roasted coffee, licorice, brown sugar, soy sauce.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body, moderate carbonation, dry finish.

D: It's certainly interesting, but not overly drinkable.

 349 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bmanning for opening this. What the hell is an Imperial Wheat Stout? I guess this is it.

Beer is black but brown at the corners and kind of hazy with a thin brown head of tiny bubbles, lacing? no.

Odd aroma, mild smoke, odd fruits, a little malt, not much roast.

Beer is coffee, lots of it. Mild smoke, is there wheat in here? Maybe this is why there is only one of this "style". Its an OK beer overall, its mildly sweet, a little chocolate bitterness. Its just OK.

 478 characters

Photo of kirok1999
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a huge dark black with a slight rising off white head. Smells pretty bitter, chocolate,
For the price, $7.95, I'm expecting a lot from the taste. Huge chocolate, bitter malt at first, followed by a dry, bitter finish. They obviously didn't spare the hops on this one. The wheat is only slightly noticable, which is probably a good thing. If you're going to put an adjunct in a stout, make it oatmeal. I'm not crazy about the taste, it needs some more malt sweetness to balance the bitterness of the finish.
Mouthfeel is very nice, thick and creamy.
For the price there's no way I would buy this again. Interesting to try and drink once but there are way better stouts out there that are far cheaper.

 709 characters

Photo of seaoflament
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jw347 for this one in a recent trade.

Didn't notice until now that this one is a "Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout." Sounds interesting.

Batch NR 73. Bottle states this beer as 9%

Pours a muddy dark brown with a chocolate volcano of foam. Half my pint glass was quickly filled with foam and it seems to settle at a thick half inch.

Tangy citrus with coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, cocoa, malted milk and a bit of pine. A decent, soft floral aroma of mixed chocolates and coffee but that tangy wheat presence is beginning to be somewhat dominant. Some more espresso aromas come out as it warms up.

Tastes of bitter chocolate with dark roasted, cold, coffee and the tangy wheat with a bit of citrus is also there. Some bitter roasted barley, dry and rough toasted bread with a bit of alcohol in the finish. Too tangy for my stout preference. Some dry rye feel in the finish as well.

Average mouthfeel, maybe a bit too carbonated.

Interesting, but not one I would seek again.

 997 characters

Photo of frazbri
3.54/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark Force Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout - Batch 74, poured an impenatrable black color topped by an assertive tall mocha head. Aroma consisted of liquorish, cocoa, pepper and clove along with some fruit. Flavor had components of burnt toast and dark chocolate with a fruity depth and a sharp bite. The stout had medium carbonation levels and a full body with a silky smooth texture and a dry bitter finish.

This is a Imperial Stout / Weiss Bier hybrid. The end result of the crossbreeding is mixed. It's got a beer commercial head, full and longlasting, but there is a brightness that doesn't mesh with the rest of it's flavors.

 636 characters

3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is sensationaly carbonated as a strong pour gets three fingers of carmel brown head and two fingers of ink black body. Head fades slowly leaving some dots of lace. Nose has tones of smokey malt, meaty spice and a nice overall zest to it. Enters the mouth with a nice mix of smokey meatiness, coco and a bit of rustic almost mineral based wheat. There is a dark chocolate bitter chocolate thing going on throughout the palate. Alchol is very well hidden for 9%. Mouthfeel is consistantly bitter, thick and rich. If I didnt know better I would think this one was a baltic porter. Solid drinkability.

 607 characters

Photo of Reaper16
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL bottle - brewed in December, 2007 - served into a tulip glass

Pours a dark brown, somewhat darker than cola. The body looks lighter in mass than most imperial stouts (a product of the wheat?). The head is a very dark tan. It builds up to two + fingers before quickly dissipating to nothing. All in all this looks pretty much like the other Haandbryggeriet dark beers I've had.

And smells like them too. Acrid chocolate, raisin and soy sauce (more saltiness than is desirable, frankly). There is an unroasted malt scent - sort of chalky and not-at-all dark - that I am attributing to the wheat malt. There is nothing wrong with the aroma from a stylistic standpoint, it just doesn't smell very good.

The chalky, no-longer tangy, taste of wheat is pretty unique among imperial stouts. Here its blandness serves to highlight the prune flavor and provide more of a contrast with the Hershey's bar-tasting malt flavors. Some low-dose bittering hops give a European grassiness which leads to a finish that is all like a glass of Ethiopian bean coffee from a French press. A solid effort.

If the wheat here has a positive effect it is in the mouthfeel. The body is lighter because of the wheat but the texture of the beer is made uniquely like a biscuit in the sense that it is simultaneously airy and substantial. It makes for a beer that feels almost like a dry stout but with the flavors of an imperial (or, at least, an export stout). Imperial Dry Stout? Heh. The 9% ABV is hardly noticeable.

So, "Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout," eh? This beer is not extreme, and the wheat does not add all that much to the basic impy stout formula. This is a solid imperial stout; if you like Haandbryggeriet's beers than you should definitely purchase this one.

 1,762 characters

Dark Force from HaandBryggeriet
3.95 out of 5 based on 513 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.