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

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Ratings: 517 |  Reviews: 320
Photo of sholland119
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Black as night with a very thin tan head that quickly dissipates, leaving a thin ring.

S-Roasted malt, dark chocolate and lots of oak notes.

T-Delicious. Rich roasted coffee dominates the flavor with just a hint of sweetness. An undertone of oaky leatheriness is also present.

M-Medium bodied and very dry.

D-Quite good. I will happily pick this up anytime.


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Photo of spratmi
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer poured a deep dark almost black color with a rich brown three finger head. A decent amount of lacing remained on the sides of the glass.
S: The smell was wonderfully complex with strong hints of bitter cocoa and rich caramel. There was a background hint of coffee in the nose. Malty and full of alcohol.
T: Very much like the nose. I noted bitter chocolate and sweet caramel with a hint of coffee. There was a nice alcohol tinged citrus finish.
M: The beer was full bodied and well carbonated with a dry finish.
D: Fairly good drinkability with a refreshingly dry finish.

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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.

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Photo of nickfl
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One and a half fingers of medium brown head on an opaque black body. The head recedes quickly and leaves little to no lace on the glass.

S - Strong bitter-sweet chocolate and dark caramel. A light smoky aroma with notes of toffee, almonds, and molasses.

T - Dark chocolate and coffee beans up front that transition to sweet, dark caramel in the middle. Notes of toffee, cola, and roasted almonds. Darker malt notes come in towards the finish; smoke, carbon, unsweetened chocolate, and a hint of hop flavor.

M - Moderate-high carbonation, reasonably thick, slightly oily body, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - Quite drinkable with some excellent and complex chocolate character. The high carbonation is a bit strange and detracts from the beer in the end, but there are no other noticeable flaws. I have been very impressed with the HaandBryggeriet beers that I have had thus far, and will certainly try any more I am able to get my hands on.

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Photo of montageman
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Deep, dark brown color with a moderate tan head that sticks around, but leaves no lacing. Smell is spicy, chocolately, with a touch of coffee. Taste follows suit with strong notes of coffee and solid creamy milk chocolate flavor as well. Mouthfeel is creamy, but a touch thin. Quite a tasty beer - would pair well with dessert or a nice hearty stew. Recommended.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer I've been eyeing for close to a year on the shelves at the Cary Whole Foods down on Kildaire Farm Road. I always kind of thought that eight bucks for 500ml was a little pricey and always ended up walking away with something else. Turns out this was the week. I like how the back of label brags about being the product of "four guys brewing in their spare time, on an absurdly small scale". The vague Star Wars references are money as well.

Pure black color with dark chocolate colored head that caps in only a brief time. The nose is bitter coffee notes and more than a little alcohol, but plenty enticing. No sign of the wheat, curiously.

The alcohol and coffee continue their double team through the taste although the carbonation is a little too assertive for my taste. Fortunately, the texture is thick and muffles all of the extra bubbles nicely. True to their Norwegian word, both hop bitterness and wheat actually make a late appearance.

This is fairly complex, interesting stuff, although not quite in the highest echelon of the style. I would try this again, but probably not for eight bucks a shot.

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Photo of rudylaw
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It bills itself as the world's only Imperial Wheat Stout. OK... let's do this thing. Bottle from batch #93.

Poured into a tulip glass, it's dark... like the name. But holy shit, there's a monster head. Largest head since that kid on Axe Murderer.

I smell roasted coffee and some dark fruits. A twinge of smokiness is present as well.

It's a very sweet taste. Very sweet. The wheat aspect in this beer is definitely something I can taste. Some sugary sweet candy, fruit and chocolate. Interesting.

Light mouthfeel makes for decent drinkability. I think I might try this again... but the $8.99 tag may sway me away.

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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.

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick texture. There was a huge, tan-colored, long-lasting head and some good lacing.

S: Big alcohol smell, along with coffee and malt.

T: A nicely balanced taste of coffee, roasted malt, alcohol (though not as prominent as I would've thought) and some dark fruit. An interesting taste for this style.

M: A well carbonated beer with a smooth, dry finish. Not as thick and chewy as you might think for this style.

D: This is a good example of a Russian Imperial Stout. It's very well made and is not as heavy as others of the style.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from River's Bend.

Poured black color with a large frothy brown head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Moderate roasted coffee and dark fruit and woody smoke aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture. Solid dark roasted flavor with medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

Solid complex beer that when well with a good cook out.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours impenetrable black with a thin brown ring of bubbles. Almost nothing in the way of a head.

Nose has lots of dark chocolate, boozey alcohol floating around, cherries, a bit of licorice. A nutty, roasty quality underneath.

Taste starts off with a big dose of slightly roasty chocolate and some boozey alcohol, with some cherries sitting underneath. Bit of burnt roast comes through, an herbal note, and with the finish comes the tangy wheat note, poking through the lingering dark roast. Not necessarily unpleasant, just unexpected. All the classic Imperial Stout characteristics, alongside just enough oddball reminders to let you know yeah, this is still a wheat beer.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, chewy, with a smooth, very under-stated carbonation.

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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.

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Photo of Bung
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque pour, good sized brown head that lingered a while. Roasted malty aromas with some chocolate and alcohol. Tastes similarly, the fine carbonation leads to a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Good amount of mocha. A bit of wheat grainyness if that's a word. Some hop presence at the finish and warming as it goes down, lingering malt and coffee, full bodied. Enjoyed it, but not sure if I would seek it out again.

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Photo of bowersdm
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a mug. Batch 73.

A - black with a slight ruby halo around the very bottom of the mug and with a 3cm light brown-brown colored head.

S - cocoa, chocolate, roasted malt, and a tangy scent that I'm going to attribute to wheat

T - cocoa, roasted malt, dark fruit, maybe some molasses and a wheat-like tang. I don't taste of the Imperial Wheat part of this. It's still pretty good.

M - I was surprised by how creamy it seemed

D - It's a pretty good RIS, but the $8.00 price tag puts a damper on it. It's pretty good, but I was expecting more given the price and the wheat stout promise.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This one pours out amazingly dark with one of the darkest heads I've ever seen. The head is nicely sized too, with good lacing and retention. The smell is interesting, but not exactly what I'd expect. There's a hint of fruits, like raspberries or strawberries. There's also the smell of chocolate in there. Not much else to be found here for me. The taste is nice. There's a good roasted character under it, with a good rush of sweetness. There's nothing harsh, no alcohol burn. Well balanced, but not as much complexity here as I've come to expect. The mouthfeel is kind of slick and thin. And that might have hurt the taste a bit. I found this one to be very drinkable. Must be the 8.5% ABV, the less than heavy feel, and the simple non-threatening flavor. This one, I'd say is worth a try. I don't know the age of this, but it seems that there's something lurking in the background suggesting that this could be less inviting at a young age.

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Photo of Kendo
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is black, with a 3-finger chocolate brown-colored active, noisy, fizzing head over top. Despite its size, it leaves behind no lace.

S: Not terribly strong, but pleasant: roasted grains, some fruit and sugars (think molasses) with a hint of chocolate.

T: First impression: roasted malt, some coffee, with heat noted on the way down the gulley but not on the palate. As it warms some chocolate and fruit become more noticeable. Molasses too. Sweetness is cut by solid bitterness, however, so it finishes pretty clean and dry.

M: Medium weight, a tad bit lighter than expected. From the wheat perhaps? Active carbonation borders on too much, but doesn't quite get there. Seems to settle a bit in the carbonation department as it warms, which smooths it out a bit.

D: Very good. Packs a good buzz too -- bottle says 9%, though BA says 8.5%

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Photo of rhinos00
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter (Batch #73; Brewed April 2007).

A- Jet black with hints of hershey brown. Solid two fingers width of tan head formed. Slowly dissipated over time.

S- Strong, pungent smell of alcohol, malt, and dark chocolates. Scents of dark fruit could be detected as well, however the aroma of alcohol dominated.

T- Very mellow. balanced taste of chocolates and roasted malts. Hints of vanilla and various fruits meshed very well with the dominant flavors.

M- Smooth and creamy, yet not as thick as suspected. Pleasant surprise.

D- Highly drinkable. For an RIS, this is incredibly smooth.

Overall, a well crafted brew. Very pleased to have built up the courage to pull this one of the shelf and give it a try. Definitely a great tasting beer.

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Photo of popery
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is a very good Imperial Stout that has a wonderfully smooth feel from the wheat content. The flavor is chocolatey and deeply roasted. There is a fair bit of hop bitterness, maybe a bit more than I want, but the effort is appreciated. HaandBryggeriet does wonderful work with their beers, and this is no exception. The feel is silky and creamy like no other Imperial Stout that I've ever had. It's also a great looking beer with deep black-brown liquid topped with a mocha head. I wish that their beers were lower in price, but this brewery continues to impress me with well-crafted and unique beers.

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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.

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Photo of Chelsea1905
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark hazelnut brown with mild amber colouring when held up to the light. Think 1" meringue style head, that fizzled out slowly leaving a little lacing.

Light, almost sour, malt. Background of dark fruits, burnt caramel and chocolate.

tastes f Molases, burnt malt, although very little wheat (which I was associating with the sour smell) back bone of the dark malt takes over from the plum taste you get up front. Nice contests within the one taste.

The mouthfeel I feel is where this beer lacks. For as strong as it smells at tastes, the mouthfeel was very gaseous and bubbly for a stout. Left a little bit of a watery aftertaste too, but not too bad.

Drank fine for the 9% abv, not too heavy


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Photo of errantnight
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From holiday review notes...

A double imperial extreme wheat stout? ok... sure...

Pours a deliciously creamy, engine oil brew into my glass, with a surprisingly rich head, creamy and full finger and a half on top.

Aroma is full of fig and chocolate, roast is mild and restrained. Slightly floral?

Wow, that's deliciously smooth... not sure if I'm being bowled over by the wheat stout claim, but there is a depth of malt character behind the roast (again, coming through a lot as milk chocolate) and it's exceedingly smooth and drinkable. Maybe some vanilla notes.

Very easily drinkable... horrendously expensive. 13 or 14 bucks at Healthy Spirits? Glad to have tried this and Haandbaak from these guys... but this is a delicious but unremarkable imperial stout of which the market is literally flooded and I just can't see ever recommending this at this price point except for the truly dedicated or overly curious.

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Photo of brentk56
3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch 73 (brewed 4/07; tasted 1/09)

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate color with ruby highlights and a fizzy head that fades to a ringlet rather quickly without leaving much lace

Smell: Charcoal dominates the aroma, along with chocolate, caramel and wheat toast

Taste: Chocalate up front, along with a building bready flavor, but the charcoal elements kick in by mid-palate, bringing along a surge of roasty bitterness; after the swallow, more chocolate and some vague fruity flavors; cherries, perhaps?

Mouthfeel: There is a bit too much fizzy carbonation to really get a sense of the beer's body character

Drinkability: Interesting, but the mouthfeel is a real problem for me as I don't want a big beer to get all fizzy; also, just too much charcoal flavor as well

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Photo of erosier
4.49/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a deep black color with a huge tan colored head that fades slowly and laces the glass all the way down. Too much head on this one.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, interesting burnt wheat aromas, some vinous aromas, and aromas of chocolate, caramel, and coffee.
T: Tastes of a really nice mix of malts, coffee, chocolate, and caramel flavors, then a nice burnt/toasted wheat taste.
M: Very smooth, warming, perhaps too much carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer, interesting twist on the Russian Imperial Stout with a nice wheat taste to it that was not only heavy, but it was really interesting.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #93

A - Solid black with a bubbly cola like brown head that lingers.

S - Wheat malt, chocolate, vanilla, roasted malt, licorice and a touch of smoke.

T - Wheat malt, bitter chocolate, roasted malt, licorice, soy sauce and chocolate milk in the finish.

M - Creamy and very carbonated. Fizzy in the mouth until it settles down.

D - Not a true RIS but very interesting.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pt, 9 fluid oz bottle served in my DFH snifter. Batch NR 116 brewed in December 2007, 9% abv. Poured one shade shy of black; zero light penetration. Dense, two inch khaki-colored head eventually settled into a solid, consistent cap. Sheets of foam coated the sides of the bowl with each tilt; however, weak adhesion. First impression off the nose is alcohol heat, followed by a suggestion of dark fruit. Some coffee character revealed with a slight swirl of the glass. Flavors consisted of coffee, malt, dark fruit and some alcohol astringency detectable at the finish, but I also picked up a slightly metallic character in the mix. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied with a light background effervescence; fairly subdued. Consistency starts of silky, but also yields a little chalkiness as well. Good drinkability. Alcohol is apparent, but not over the top. Flavors are fairly well balanced, making this an easy drinking RIS.

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