Big Gruesome | Spring House Brewing Company

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Big GruesomeBig Gruesome
BA SCORE
4.1/5
Exceptional
778 Ratings
Big GruesomeBig Gruesome
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Spring House Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
springhousebeer.com

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by llllDrGONZOllll on 05-06-2011

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#2,477
Reviews:
140
Ratings:
778
pDev:
10.49%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
216
Gots:
138
Trade:
8
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 778 |  Reviews: 140
Photo of SkeletonBitch
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
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 LeftHanded666
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bigpoppa67
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
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 Furlinator
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ArtAttackEd
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of psoriasaurus
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tigg924
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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 Curt3
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of izraelc
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
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 -25.1%
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 Chrispy_Creams
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Duncian
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of colts9016
3.02/5  rDev -26.3%
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 timmy2b
3.59/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of The_Beer_Guru
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
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 jkrug5
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of vande
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of jmccraney
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
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 22Blue
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of TedStrosser
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kojevergas
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
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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Big Gruesome from Spring House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.1 out of 5 with 778 ratings