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Hellshire II | Oakshire Brewing

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Hellshire IIHellshire II
64 Ratings
Hellshire IIHellshire II

Brewed by:
Oakshire Brewing
Oregon, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The second beer in the Hellshire series is an Imperial Stout that was 100% aged in Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels for 7 months.

Released November 2011

Added by msubulldog25 on 10-17-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 64 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of sweemzander
2.45/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz. waxed bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to Jason for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a rather thick pitch black color. Produced a small cap of brown froth and lace.

(S)- Tons of dark fruits. Prune, raisin, plum, cocoa, and maybe faint bits of coconut and vanilla. Very dense in the dark fruit area.

(T)- A small, but very evident tart sourness and soy component that takes over most of the beer's flavor profile. Still, some of the dark fruits poke through though.

(M)- A very mellow carbonation level. Clearly infected with that sour kick. All the dark fruits are nice, but just adds to the infection bit. Very sweet and fairly thick too; even for the style.

(D)- Unfortunately, this is clearly infected. However, it is not an infection that completely makes this undrinkable. Honestly, it is not horrible with the sourness it has, but obviously not intended. It does show some interesting flavors, but you just cannot get around the sour infection.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.46/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

One of a couple I bought around Thanksgiving at the local Zupans Market ($14.99/ 22oz. bottle, purple wax seal). Served out of the cellar on a pretty chilly day, so temperature is in the 40s, I'm certain. Tulip snifter.

First off, I'm not going into Hellshire II blindly. I've seen some reviews and read the banter in the BA forums, including some very forthright explanations from brewer, Matt Van Wyk, regarding the 'infection'. For what it's worth, I'll be as impartial as possible.

A: Perfectly dark, 'BLACK' for all intents. It's the way a heavy imperial stout *should* look: impenetrable. Crown with a thin layer of tawny cream, impossible small bubbliness, with a dollop of floating froth. Good lace, a sheet that breaks apart but holds as a constellation of speckles, a few loose strands.

S: A nice coffee roast, very earthy and vaguely smoky. chocolate and a little vanilla sweetness. A little papery... or is that cocoa powder? Mild tart fruit, but nothing overbearing. Good strength.

T: Had to mull this one over before filling in this category; given the unintentional tartness, it's a curious thing to rate. Dark and pungent, coffee and chocolate form a solid base, with an ashy/woody huskiness. Then there's the vinous, pucker-inducing cherry/lemon and sour grape that ebbs and flows, sometimes playing nicely with espresso and cacao, sometimes overruling it. Interesting and, for me, not offputting.

M: Rather thin feel and moderate-low carbonation. 'Smooth', yes, but also slick and somehow 'juicy' (my salivary reaction to the tartness). Long-lasting finish holds the worst of both the bitterness and sourness.

O: This reminds me a bit the love it/hate it 'infected' porter that Cascade released a couple years ago; the sour-lovers rejoiced while many others balked. Know what? I like this beer. Sure it's tart and oddly thin, but I had no problem finishing the bottle...and, frankly, wanted more at the end. Here's to unintended consequences and to Oakshire continuing to make forward strides...

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Photo of draheim
2.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

The first infected beer (affirmed by the brewery) I've ever had. Here goes.

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a deep black color w/ a frothy, rich mocha head w/ oily little bubbles. A really beautiful beer, nice thick lacing clings to the side of the glass.

Aroma is chocolately w/ espresso and a hint of fruit - black cherries maybe?

Taste is dark roasted malt, chocolate and a slightly sour wine/cherry taste. Must be the lactobacillus infection. Tastes like it was aged in wine barrels, not whiskey. Not especially off-putting, it just doesn't taste right for a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. I'm also not getting any of the vanilla, bourbon or coconut described on the label - perhaps they're overshadeowed by the sour cherry taste.

Mouthfeel is smooth and dry, clean.

Overall this is about what I'd have expected if this were an imperial stout aged in cabernet barrels. If I'd been looking for a stout with a slightly vinous, sour element I might not be that disappointed - although to be fair this just doesn't taste all that good. Because this is supposed to be a rich, chocolate vanilla coffee bourbon stout, I have to dock points for falling short of the mark.

As the beer warms the sour cherry thing becomes more prominent and this ends up a drainpour. Too bad because this was a pretty expensive beer and the only way to get a refund on the other bottle I bought would be to take it down to Eugene. I'll try my luck returning it to Whole Foods, but unfortunately even though they know it's infected Oakshire won't make any guarantees.

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Photo of the_beerist
4/5  rDev +34.2%

Photo of HuskyinPDX
1.51/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

22oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a dark, deep brown with no head at all.

S - Funky, sour, soy sauce. Hmmm.. Not good.

T - Woah, Way off. This tastes like a cat crapped in my beer. Not good at all. Tainted and infected. My first run in with an infected bottle.

D - No carbonation.

O - Infected, badly. Tastes awful. Ask my sink how it tasted.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.73/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak Tulip. Pours pitch black, very little signs of carbonation. Pour leaves a thin medium brown ring around the glass, but no lacing. Aroma is subdued, dominated by chocolate and coffee. Flavor starts with dark, roasted malt and coffee, followed by a very odd red wine component, almost like a stout had been mixed with an oaky red wine. Finish is also quite vinous, but with roasted malt. Medium to creamy bodied. Very little bourbon flavor. This was an apparently infected batch, which is too bad, the stout flavors seemed quite nice. It is still drinkable and I'm enjoying a one time chance for a stout and red wine combination. It doesn’t quite work, but still interesting in an odd way.

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Photo of kswbeer
4.17/5  rDev +39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours very thick, black with a hit of red/brown and next to no head. The last time I poured something this think was when we were reviewing Old Engine Oil.

With the first aroma I get a hit of bourbon and red wine with just a little maraschino cherry.

The first taste is complex. It starts as a Stout with a little coffee but quickly moves to a plum/prune followed slowly by a light bourbon and dark red wine. The taste left on the tongue is the traditional Stout chocolate/coffee. It’s a 10 ½ percent ABV but it really doesn’t hit you with the alcohol, its more of an afterthought.

Mouth feel is right in line with an Imperial Stout. It’s thicker, coats the tongue and hangs around for a while. My personal preference would be to serve it a few minutes after its out of the fridge so the temp/carbonation balance is right.
Overall I’m a fan. There are a few barrel aged Stouts out there right now and I think this holds up with any of them. I don’t think it’s a beer for a novice drinker (they just won’t enjoy it), but if you like Imperial Stouts I think you’ll like the complexities the barrel aging adds to it.

The lactobacillus is a big downer but I’ve had to pitch a more than 1 batch of my own homebrew. I had a fear of opening an undrinkable beer but I thought my bottle was just fine. The effect on the beer will completely depend on the storage conditions and time. I had mine in the fridge since I bought the bottle at the OakShire tasting room on Nov. 23, 2011 and opened it on Jan. 8, 2012. So if you have a bottle and are thinking about taking it in for the refund think about how you’ve stored it, I wouldn’t want you to miss out on a good beer.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of klipper
3.5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of monitorpop
1/5  rDev -66.4%

Photo of Duff27
3.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Short head form on a dark brown/black beer. Nice alcohol legs inducing spotty lacing. Little head retention.

Smells like lacotose, soured. Kinda Stanky! Faint cherries.

Definitey different, definitely soured. Some cherries, chocolate involved.

Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

Well, I liked it...sort of! I can see how some would drainpour for some. Worth a shot if you get a chance...have some people on hand though. Thanks TATURBO.

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Photo of John_M
4.42/5  rDev +48.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up a few weeks back at Concordia alehouse in PDX.

The beer pours a pitch black color with good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is complex and impressive, showcasing considerable dark chocolate, licorice and coffee grounds, coupled with some underlying vanilla, chocolate malt balls and light bourbon. There's a strong roasty quality as well, which I can only recall ever experiencing to this extent with some of the Abyss RIS. The flavor profile is every bit as good, and once again, is quite complex. The beer is dominated by dark chocolate, bourbon and strong coffee, but there's also an underlying wine flavor that is unusual and intriguing as well (like other reviewers, I'm wondering if this is intentional). The wine flavor tends to counter the sweet vanilla and dark chocolate, and actually works pretty well to tone the sweetness down a bit. The beer is a bit thin on the palate, though mouthfeel is otherwise fairly full, with a long, winey, licorice and dark chocolate finish. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, though the warming sensation in my cheeks is a tip off that the alcohol is up there a bit in this one.

Really liked this beer, though I guess it's not for everyone. At least with the bottle I had, the beer was delicious and delivered plenty of flavor. Also, I got none of the "butter" or "infection" flavors some reviewers have noted, though the winey flavor and finish is a bit unusual. Still, this is pretty tasty stuff, and is a beer that is very "light on its feet," at least in comparison to most RIS. Would definitely not mind trying this one again with a bit more age on it. I have to think, however, that there is considerable bottle variation in this beer.

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Photo of kkipple
1.74/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks UncleJedi for the taste! PNY 2.

A. No pop from the (nice artwork!) bottle. Purple wax job is a beaut. Goes into the glass a very pretty deep walnut with cherry-red highlights, but no head, no lace, no foam.

S. I can't believe it's not butter! Massive diacetyl - butter butter butter all the way. Slick and heavy and offputting, to say the least. Past that, if you can, an unusual red wine / acidic note that I'm sure isn't supposed to be here. Otherwise, coconut, roast malt... I dunno, I don't really want to smell it anymore.

T. Ugh... variations on acidic / sour and slick / buttery. The base beer is, sadly, completely overshadowed by these flaws. There's some bourbon in there somewhere, but this is bordering on undrinkable. It's a real shame.

M / O. Did I mention this is virtually flat too? The body is heavy and oil-slick. The finish lingers but is gross, clearly a multitude of things went wrong here. I take no pleasure in executing harsh judgement on Hellshire II (well, okay, maybe a little) but a few hours into it, this is the worst beer I've had all year.

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Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
3.5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle generously shared by milwaukeeclassic while listening to Monday Night Football on the radio.

Pours black with some medium sized chocolate colored bubbles.

Smells of beer jerky, soy sauce, and chocolate mousee. Oddly, it works. There's a wine note here that muddles with the bourbon that doesn't smell bad, but it hints a bit at what's to come.

The infection is right up front. There's a fruity tingle right on the tip of the tongue. Sour cherry and tart red wine segue into a creamed coffee and light mild bourbon. The finish is nutty with an ashy finish.

The feel is where the infection has presumably done its worst. The body is too light and seems thinned and tart.

Overall, despite the infection, this beer wasn't half bad. The no shit comment would be to drink this sooner rather than later, as I can't envision this improving with time.

 855 characters

Photo of brentk56
2.31/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Despite an increasingly hard pour, no head arose over the espresso brown liquid

Smell: Dark chocolate, espresso, bourbon and sour tones

Taste: If you keep this beer isolated to the sweet receptor cells on the tip of the tongue, it is rather nice, with dark chocolate, coffee and bourbon tones; sadly, if you move the liquid back and wash it over the receptors on the sides of the tongue, the sourness from what appears to be a lactobacillus infection become apparent and overwhelm the stout flavors

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with almost no carbonation

Overall: Sorry to see what has happened to this beer but recommend that those who have a bottle drink it sooner rather than later as the infection spreads as I doubt that it is what Matt intended; I really enjoyed his beers when he was at Flossmoor so I know about his capabilities; better beers are coming, I am sure

Thanks, chumba526, for the opportunity

 922 characters

Photo of NWer
2.33/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Aggressive pour into tulip resulted in minimal flat head and very little carbonation.
Initial flavor picked up is dark cherries. Aftertaste, a feel of wet towels allowed to mellow in the hamper for a few days.
A normal person would drain pour this puppy. I'm not normal. I'll drink it anyway while watching Tim sink into the abyss.
My only regret is that I have two more I picked up as a result of the hype surrounding Hellshire I and the release of Hellshire II.
Oh well. Can't win 'em all.
A definite swing and a miss with this one.

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Photo of stakem
2.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Joe for the chance to try this. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears black in color with the faintest line of clarity and brown around the edges. When held to the light, there is a faint redness along the perimeter. A dark brown finger of head appears and as it slowly recedes, leaves spots and a webbing pattern of lace. A swirl revives a full finger worth of dark brown head.

The smell of this brew initially has cocoa, coffee and roasty elements with a hint of oak and vanilla. Those initial pleasant suggestions dissolve into a tangy fruit character and a touch of sulfur mixed with dirty diaper. More smells bring out more notes if sulfur that mixes with a mineral character.

The taste is tangy alcohol that is accented by whiskey with both flavor and warmth. There are faint notes of chocolate, oak and vanilla. Just like the aroma indicated, there is a dirty taste of sulfur and diaper that is off-putting a bit. The aftertaste is somewhat vinous with earth, tobacco and light coffee to cocoa quality. Unfortunately the unpleasant character to this brew outweighs the positives.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Very big alcohol inclusion here even while served colder than ideal. This currently tastes a bit off and was not very enjoyable. I was happy to have a chance to try it but not something I'd be terribly excited to have again.

 1,391 characters

Photo of Mahlik
3.45/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber from Bridgetown Beerhouse in Portland poured into snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A - Pours an opaque black with almost no head. The minimal amount of head was a dark brown/mocha color and dissipated quickly. Little to no lacing; this beer appears to be thick and oily, looks like motor oil; Some carbonation bubbles could be seen racing up the side of the glass.

S - Coffee and dark fruits (prunes/raisins). Vanilla, bourbon and oak in the background. Some faint chocolate as well. Also almost a caramel smell. I do get whiffs of coconut but I was only able to pick that out because the bottle said so. You can get some the alcohol off the nose.

T - Coffee with an almost prune juice taste. It's a bit unusual. It's not terrible but something seems off. Vanilla and bourbon notes come through but not as much as I thought. The alcohol hits up front but finishes smooth. I'm not pulling out as much in the taste as I did in the aroma.

M - Full-bodied with very little carbonation. It's a thick, oily and a bit chewy.

O - A decent BA imperial stout. Not my favorite. It had an unusual taste. Definitely brings the beer down. I'm glad I didn't make the trip to the brewery for the release.

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Photo of vissai
2/5  rDev -32.9%

Photo of honkduh
2.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of jophish17
1.5/5  rDev -49.7%

Photo of seanthornton152
2/5  rDev -32.9%

Photo of pperez38
3.5/5  rDev +17.4%

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Hellshire II from Oakshire Brewing
Beer rating: 2.98 out of 5 with 64 ratings
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