Big Gruesome
Spring House Brewing Company

Big GruesomeBig Gruesome
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,303
Ranked #3,010
4.11 | pDev: 10.46%
Spring House Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Big GruesomeBig Gruesome
Notes: Creamy, malty, and full-bodied, the Big Gruesome Stout is scary good. The intense, roasty flavor comes from two types of chocolate malt and raw cocoa nibs. The stout is then aged on whole vanilla beans and more raw cocoa nibs to enhance the chocolate flavors. Rich peanut butter is introduced throughout the entire brewing process to make this stout even more Gruesome.
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Reviews: 142 | Ratings: 789
Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours nearly jet black with a thinner quick to fade mocha colored head atop.Peanut butter and vanilla stand out in a fantastic nose,the peanut has a roast flavor to it,chocolate comes in as it warms,to me almost a hazelnut quality to it.There is more chocolate on the palate wich pairs well with the roasty peanut butter elements,it never gets too overly sweet.A really nice stout that has alot of different nuances not just over the top sweetness.Very well made.

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Photo of SkeletonBitch
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Much better than I expected.
Purchased four different cans from this brewery for the artwork alone, this one in particular turned out to be a real treat, will get this again.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.81/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin brown head that dissipates to patches and a ring around the glass with light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, peanut butter and cocoa with a hint of vanilla. Flavor is dark toasted malt, peanut butter and light cocoa. Finishes with malt, peanut butter and a little char. Medium bodied with slight creaminess and sharp carbonation. A nice balance of peanut butter and malt, with light chocolate notes. Surprisingly light body for an imperial stout. The malt, peanut butter and cocoa flavors are quite nice and work well with each other, but the malt and additive flavors seem a bit dialed back. I liked the flavor of this, but wish it was more robust.

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Photo of tigg924
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap. Pours opaque, dark brown in color with 1/2 inch head. Taste is big peanut butter, cocoa, and roasted malt. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation and sweet. Makes for a tasty sipper. Plenty of peanut butter goodness.

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Photo of izraelc
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

What could be better than combining chocolate, peanut butter, and beer? Well I wouldn't know because this beer didn't seem to accomplish that. Avdaek pour with a nice frothy head. Strong aromas of chocolate and peanut butter. So far so good. And that's where the good stops. It's not a bad beer but it's not that good either. It falls very flat. Very unimpressive and boring. Some gimmicks are just that.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
3.07/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Comes in a pitch black color with a foamy beige head. Medium-poor retention, but a thin film always remains, leaving rings of lacing.
The smell is sweet, like Honey Nut Cheerios or sweet cereal. Tons of vanilla, almond milk, peanut butter, and milk chocolate. Lots of honey and raw cereal grains as well.
The taste is exceedingly sweet. Some milk chocolate, vanilla, hints of peanut butter. It really tastes more like Coca-Cola than beer. Extremely sweet.
The mouthfeel is thin, but highly carbonated. Soda-like. It's even harshly grain on the finish, like there are actual chunks of peanuts floating in it.

...Yikes. I don't what went wrong here, but this is not a good beer.

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Photo of colts9016
3.02/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I am a fan of peanut butter. Thank you, Houser, for the opportunity to try it. Poured into a tulip glass at 47 degrees. A two finger head with poor retention is pitiful. A light tan creamy and foamy head. The beer is inky black with and not opaque.

The beer reminds me of Peanut Butter Captin' Crunch. The aromas in the beer are peanut butter, chocolate, coffee, earthy, burnt sugar, dark roasted malt, bread, grain, and wood.

The peanut butter feels forced into the beer. The initial flavors of the beer are coffee, chocolate, earthy, burnt sugar, dark roasted malt, grains, bread, and wood.

The mouthfeel of the beer is water and dry. The body of the beer is medium, the carbonation medium, and a medium finish.

I am sorely disappointed in this beer. It advertises as a double imperial stout, yet I find nothing in this beer that makes me believe that. The body of the beer is too thin, not chewy. The peanut butter is lacking within. I was expecting a thick and chewy beer with velvety notes of peanut butter, chocolate, and coffee. I did not get any of that in this beer.

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Photo of The_Beer_Guru
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown color with a feint tan head. Smells of peanut butter and chocolate. Taste starts off with a light chocolate flavor and ends with a gooey peanut butter taste that sticks to your tongue throughout. I'm very impressed with this beer because, I have had a total of 4 chocolate/peanut butter beers and this one is definitely the best with the most peanut butter flavor. What a phenomenal brew.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a tulip. The appearance had a dark brown close to black color with a slim finger’s worth of off white foamy head that dissipated within less than thirty seconds. Stringy lacing glosses along the sides of the glass. The smell was decadent peanut butter chocolate, pure and luscious in every sort of aspect. The taste was definitely more Imperial stout as the peanut butter was there but more scaled back. I didn’t mind so much. The aftertaste was dry and somewhat had a peanut butter connotation to it. A semi - sweet sticky finish accompanies the end. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a fairly decent sipping quality about it. The carbonation seemed pretty controlled and allowed a decent creaminess to roll over the tongue. Overall, I say this was an exceptional imperial stout with peanut butter in it.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.03/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

CAN: Courtesy of Schlimenhaumer - thanks, bruv! Canned 01/11/17. 12 fl oz format. Standard pull-tab. Green, purple, brown, and white label.

"Stout brewed with natural flavors." 8.30% ABV. "Chocolate peanut butter stout." (I'm reviewing this as an American {adjunct} stout - not as an imperial stout like many have done - given the label's style identifiers.)

APPEARANCE: Khaki colour head boasts mild creaminess and frothiness. Has a soft complexion and a nice supple consistency. Leaves thick lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes, which takes a good 8+ minutes (pretty impressive at 8.30% ABV).

Body colour is, predictably, an opaque black. True to style, lacking any visible yeast/lees within.

Looks like an American stout, sure. If we're nitpicking, the head could be darker and richer with a gilded shining complexion and the body could be an ink-black. Appears well-carbonated.

AROMA: I always bristle at the line "brewed with natural flavors" because so often "natural" flavours taste anything but. Aromas like this one turn me off; I get artificial chocolate and artificial peanut butter flavouring, but no authentic cacao nibs, cocoa powder, or true peanut (not that I'd want actual peanut butter, but Omnipollo and Buxton succeeded at evoking the flavour authentically). Sure, there's chocolate malt in there in addition to the usual dark malt sweetness of a stout, but it reeks of artificiality. It's not unappealing, just far from genuine.

Suggests a sweet stout with plenty of adjunct. Roasted barley isn't present at all, nor is any other source of bitterness to counter the high sweetness (e.g. charred sugars, burnt malts, coffee, et al).

Aromatic intensity is moderate. I'm cautious about trying this one; I'm expecting an extract-laden fake tasting brew.

TASTE & TEXTURE: It's not sticky or syrupy as feared, nor is creamy or soft (as would be ideal). Medium to full-bodied. Smooth, wet, unrefreshing (which is to style). More dryness and coarseness (ideally from roasted barley) would aid depth of flavour (which is merely average here), but this works. Well-carbonated.

Tastewise, it's indeed sweet, but not cloying. Yes, it tastes artificial - the peanut butter is obviously from a flavouring, and the chocolate is anything but genuine - but it's not a bad brew by any stretch. The two titular notes are one dimensional and shallow, but the brewers have succeeded at executing the premise they had in mind; anyone would readily identify this as a peanut butter brew in a blind tasting. Chocolate malt and dark malt sweetness lurks behind the artificial surface flavours, propping up the sweetness still further when what the build really needs is a source of bitterness (coffee, chicory, aniseed/fennel, roast, char, burnt notes...something!).

I'm reticent it call it a balanced brew in spite of its relative simplicity, but it's not imbalanced. I guess I'll go with "unbalanced." There's no clashing of flavour, but they don't all coalesce into a harmonious gestalt whole of a brew either.

Average flavour duration and intensity.

What really works here is how well the ABV is disguised; I'd figure this for 5-6% ABV in a blind tasting.

OVERALL: In spite of how artificial it tastes, I do like it for what it is. Too sweet for me to justify picking up a sixer (hell, even a full pint would be trying), but anyone buying the beer with full knowledge of its premise would get what they expected. There are far better expressions of the style and even of this premise (see Buxton / Omnipollo), but this isn't a bad brew by any means and I'll enjoy my glass. Its high sweetness means it's not too drinkable, but it doesn't have any heavy booze so it's not a sipper either. In any event, this makes me enthusiastic to try more offerings from Spring House; it's definitely inspired work.

Low C+ (3.03) / ABOVE AVERAGE

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Photo of trygelski1
3.59/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a Spoonwood Brewing snifter:

Look: Pours a nice dark black color with about an inch of dark tan head. Little to no lacing present.

Smell: Decent peanut butter aroma, some chocolate also present.

Taste: Peanut butter taste seems artificial. There is a bit of a weird metallic aftertaste of some sorts. A bit disappointed with the taste after reading prior reviews.

Feel: Thin to medium bodied. Needs to be thicker.

Overall: A bit of a let down with this one. I was expecting more based upon the reviews I have seen. I will give this one another shot though at a later date.

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Photo of muchos
3.79/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L. Black and opaque, small light tan head.
S. Peanut butter forward aroma, some chocolate malt. Pretty good smelling.
T. Bitter cocoa, natural peanut butter, earthy bitterness. A little more chocolaty as it warmed. Slight bitterness, vanilla, and peanut butter in the aftertaste.
F. Good amount of carbonation, medium feel.
O. More bitterness than I expected, better smelling than tasting. Not tons of flavor, and not very complex, but it is what it says it is and for that it ain't bad. Cheers!

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Photo of strohme2
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown pour, smallish head. Smell is spot one Reese's Puffs, lots of artificial peanut buttery goodness, and grains. Tastes like pb cereal but with a title more depth. Cocoa, bakers chocolate, maybe some fig undertones, corn cereal, artificial peanuts. Slightly metallic, tinny and dry finish.
Honestly, it was better than I describe here! 1 of the better pb/chocolate beers I've had.

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Photo of mothman
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tan head that fades away quickly. Dark brown in color.

One of the better peanut butter stouts out there. It isn't too sweet and it isn't too chalky. The vanilla note are nice as well. Decent body and decent feel. Nice and chocolatey.

Dessert beer, but easy to drink.

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Photo of Myotus
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at 50°F from a 12oz can (canned on 09Feb16) into a Spiegelau stout glass. Consumed 25Mar16.
LOOK: Pours with a fingers worth of brown foam that shrinks to a quarter fingers worth of khaki foam within 1 minute. Black in color with an orange luster. Rising bubbles are small in size and large in quantity. Lacing is small in quantity and thick.
SMELL: Strong aromas of sweet chocolate and peanut butter intertwine with mild aromas of sweetened coffee. Subtle vanilla and bitter roasted malt aromas along with hints of alcohol further boast the stout qualities of this brew.
TASTE: Strong sweet chocolate and mild sweet coffee flavors first step onto the palate and present an instant and enjoyable sweetness. The sweetness is immediately balanced and nearly overtaken by strong bitter roasted malt flavors. Mild vanilla and peanut butter flavors come in last to ensure that the sweetness prevails over the bitterness as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL: Somewhere between full-bodied and medium-bodied. There are hints of carbonation. Goes down smooth and creamy. Finishes with a strong and unpleasant dryness.
NOTE: Another great beer from Spring House. I thought the roastiness was too much. Althiught it was balanced with the sweetness, it could have been toned down more to allow the vanilla and peanut butter to shine through as the chocolate did.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

They recently added this beer to their CANned lineup, so if anyone would like some, The CANQuest (tm) CAN help you out!

The Crack! was nice & loud, so I celebrated with an inverted Glug. This produced two fingers of dense, deep-tan/light-brown head that fell while I CANtemplated my next move. Color was absolutely Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration! Nose held notes of dark chocolate, peanut butter and a mild smokiness. Mouthfeel was creamy, like a dollop on my tongue. It tasted like Chocolate Peanut Putter Swirl ice cream! It was a softer taste than a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, for instance, but as reviewer thebeers said, it was like a liquefied Girl Scouts Tagalong, thanks to the presence of biscuity malts. Finish was semi-sweet & I gave a sigh of relief as some of these types CAN be cloyingly sweet. It strikes me that they may have tweaked the recipe because I have memories of it on draught being gosh-awful sweet. Even so, I would not want more than a couple at a time.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.24/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Lots of peanut butter on the nose, it tries to even it out with some robust dark malt & bitter chocolate but it clashes a little. flavor definitely skews more towards the roasted, burnt malt & bitter chocolate. Lots of beers in this style make them too artifical / sweet / cloying, but here is one that really doesn't coax any of the softer elements you'd expect from what it is labeled and presented as.

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Photo of thebeers
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Plum-tinted black with a finger of dense tan foam and soapy lacing. Smells strongly of creamy peanut butter, with roasted malts and some chocolate behind. The mouthfeel is relatively thin, with carbonation cutting through what body is there. Peanut butter is front and center in the taste, too, but much more mild than the nose would suggest. There's a ghost of chocolate in there, and also some biscuity (like a British cookie) taste to the malt. If you ever wanted to drink a Tagalong, this beer's for you.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz.

Pours jet black, opaque, with a brownish tint around the edges. Head is fine, about an eighth of an inch thick, and dissipates to a lacing.

Smells of peanut, cocoa, coffee beans, buttered toast, vanilla, and a bit of raisin.

Tastes of peanut butter, chocolate, coffee, walnut, and roasted coffee. Mild coffee acidity in the finish.

Full creamy body with velvety tingles of carbonation.

A very good and tasty stout that looks and smells wonderful. It would be fantastic, but the taste fall just a tad short of the beer's other characteristics. Given that is chocolate and peanut butter flavored, it ought to have a bit more richness and sweetness to it. Otherwise, quite a good experience and worth trying if you find it.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours an opaque jet black with a huge, pillowy three finger creamy brown head. Retention is excellent and there is some spotted lacing. Smell is amazing. Huge doses of chocolate, peanut butter, roasted malts and a hint of vanilla. Taste is similar, but seemingly watered down from the smell. Roasted malts are more apparent while the peanut butter takes a back seat and there is no vanilla to be found. Feel is medium, but I thought it was a little light for the style. Very smooth too. Overall a very good beer, but it could be world class if the taste lived up to the smell.

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Photo of AngryPenguinBrewCo
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thick black, no head retention even with an aggressive pour. Nose is mostly peanut butter and streaks of peanut butter impressively stick to the neck of the glass. Big malt flavor and mounds of peanutbutter with a hint of chocolate and a slight phenolic aftertaste. Slick and somewhat thinner mouthfeel than expected with sharp carbonation. Spring house nailed the flavor profile here but missed the mark a little on the mouthfeel.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black body. Head is 1/5th of an inch and beige in color. Head retention and lacing are above average.

Smell is pure peanut butter and milk chocolate. Seriously smells like someone blended a bag of reeses peanut butter cups into a stout. Tons of sweetness present, alcohol and hops not detected.

Taste is similar to smell, rich peanut butter first, sweet milk chocolate next, finishes with some burnt malt, almost coffee like. Hops and alcohol aren't present, drinks very smooth for 8% alcohol.

Mouthfeel is somewhat light for a peanut butter stout, carbonation levels were good. Wish the head was thicker.

Overall, really enjoyed this beer. Best peanut butter beer I've had. If it had a bigger body, that would really make it world class.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a black color with a one finger white to off white foamy head that dissipated at a nice pace. Light stringy lacing sticks to around the glass.
The smell takes in the peanut butter and combines nicely with the roasty cocoa beans. Light coffee runs in slightly. Dark chocolate plays a part underneath.
The taste had a stellar amount of sweet to roasty qualities of the cocoa beans with the peanut butter. Coffee beans once again come in for the balance. The aftertaste was exceptionally sweet and roasty pulling the peanut butter and cocoa beans in to combine wonderfully.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with more of a sipping quality to it. Carbonation felt nice and low key creating an exceptional smooth to creamy feel laying down on my tongue.
Overall, Terrapin's is nice, Foolproof's is nice and yes, I know they're both porters and this is a Double/Imperial Stout, but when comparing the "porter/stout" ales with the "peanut butter" thrown in. I'd have to go with this. Might not be "apples to apples" but maybe "Granny Smith apples to Cortland apples." I think you get what I'm saying.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very happy to finally have a bottle of this for 8 bucks a bomber. Into a mason jar glass.

A - As expected very imperial stout like thick and dark with a 1/2 inch of mocha tinted head that fizzes out in time.
S - Very raw peanut butter smell like fresh crushed thick chunky peanut butter. One of the best peanut smelling beers I ever had! Slight chocolate smells from the malt it does have a rather smooth and sweet tone to it. Very mildly roasty or hoppy.
T - Its OK rather roasty and dry in the taste with more peanut oil taste if anything. Semi sweet cocoa nibs round out the hoppy body of this stout.
M - Light to medium rather creamy stout body. Drinks well.

Overall it's hard to capture pure peanut flavor without artificial flavors this one taste rather natural but is in no way sweet like chocolate or smooth like peanut butter. A great stout overall.

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Photo of Ohiovania
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not really any competition for Willoughby's PBC Porter or Nut Smasher but a nice offering at only $6 a bomber. i get more chocolate than I do peanut butter. Mouthfeel was a little thin and the carbonation was a little high.

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Big Gruesome from Spring House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 789 ratings