Big Gruesome
Spring House Brewing Company

Big GruesomeBig Gruesome
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #1,430
Ranked #3,391
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.
Reviews: 146 | Ratings: 799 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cjeep
cjeep from Pennsylvania

3.57/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

sorry but i'm not feeling it as much as most of the reviewers. There are a lot of great stouts out there. Peanut butter stouts, I don't know. But this is not a great stout...
L: Drinking from the can. As someone else mentioned, great can art. "Great as a gift" they said. Maybe that's a good idea because actually drinking through my 4 pack will be a chore. (But I'll do it of course...)
S: smell is pretty good. Lots of peanut butter. I have not had many before so, ok, it's interesting. I'm definitely willing to give it a go.
T: Ok, here the wheels fall off. Some what interesting but not that attractive. Lots of peanut butter, fine. But I'm missing a lot of other great stout flavors that are just lost or non-existent. ok, maybe espresso develops over time.
F: Wheels really fall off here. very thin. very low carbonation level.
Sorry, man, but this is just not a beer for me.

Jul 25, 2020
Photo of Lucular
Lucular from Maryland

3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

5 oz pour on tap. The appearance is not quite as opaque as I like for imperial stouts. The aroma is full of dark roasted malts, peanut butter, dark chocolate, and a whiff of coffee. Taste is similar but almost too heavy on the peanut butter. Pretty solid as far as peanut butter stouts go.

Dec 17, 2019
Photo of branham1989
branham1989 from Texas

3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout 8.5% ABV. This stout pours a dark roasted coffee brown almost black but a little bit of light shines through the bottom of the glass with a half finger width dark khaki colored head that dissipates quickly due to the additives in the brewing process. The aroma is of roasted peanuts dark chocolate with hints of coffee and malts. The flavor is very peanut butter forward with heavy tones of dark cocoa powder and espresso coffee that dark almost to bitter coffee which balances out the sweetness nicely it finishes with a slight bitterness. The mouthfeel is a little bit thinner than I prefer with a stout but it doesn’t detract from the beer too much I also think it’s slightly over carbonated.

Aug 28, 2019
Photo of npolachek
npolachek from New York

4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with mocha head. Notes of PB and Vanilla. Not to sweet and a decent beer. The bottle art on this is really nice as well so makes a good gift.

Aug 27, 2019
Photo of oberon
oberon from North Carolina

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.

Oct 28, 2018
Photo of SkeletonBitch
SkeletonBitch from New York

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.

Jul 10, 2018
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

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.

Jun 20, 2018
Photo of tigg924
tigg924 from Massachusetts

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.

May 08, 2018
Photo of izraelc
izraelc from New York

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.

Mar 24, 2018
Photo of HorseheadsHophead
HorseheadsHophead from New York

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.

Mar 21, 2018
Photo of colts9016
colts9016 from Idaho

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.

Dec 19, 2017
Photo of The_Beer_Guru
The_Beer_Guru from New York

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.

Dec 11, 2017
Photo of Lone_Freighter
Lone_Freighter from Vermont

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.

Jun 24, 2017
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Louisiana

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

Apr 13, 2017
Photo of trygelski1
trygelski1 from Pennsylvania

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.

Apr 01, 2017
Photo of muchos
muchos from Pennsylvania

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!

Nov 02, 2016
Photo of strohme2
strohme2 from Michigan

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.

Apr 25, 2016
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

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.

Apr 14, 2016
Photo of Myotus
Myotus from Texas

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.

Mar 26, 2016
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

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.

Mar 19, 2016
Photo of ajm5108
ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

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.

Mar 16, 2016
Photo of thebeers
thebeers from Pennsylvania

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.

Mar 07, 2016
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

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.

Feb 24, 2016
Photo of CNoj012
CNoj012 from New York

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.

Jan 31, 2016
Photo of AngryPenguinBrewCo
AngryPenguinBrewCo from New York

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.

Jan 30, 2016
Big Gruesome from Spring House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 799 ratings