Big Gruesome
Spring House Brewing Company

Big GruesomeBig Gruesome
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,354
ABV:
8.3%
Score:
92
Ranked #3,082
Avg:
4.11 | pDev: 10.46%
Reviews:
144
Ratings:
791
From:
Spring House Brewing Company
 
Pennsylvania, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  217
Gots
  137
SCORE
92
Outstanding
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: 144 | Ratings: 791
Reviews by kojevergas:
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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More User Reviews:
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.

 513 characters

Photo of malfunxion
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

liquid bliss < SBJ < big gruesome

34 characters

Photo of BirdsandHops
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Photo of schimschim
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Billquirk
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of domnalbrecc
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

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

Photo of boralyl
4.58/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black with a nice creamy dark tan head that has nice retention and laces well.

S - Smells just like peanut butter and nuts.

M - Full in body with light carbonation. The nitro pour gives it a very smooth creamy feel.

T - The beer begins with some light sweetness followed by honest to goodness peanut butter. Dark chocolate rounds out the beer leaving a little bit of chocolate bitterness in the aftertaste.

This was an unexpected surprise. The beer tastes exactly as it's described, a chocolate peanut butter stout, definitely worth seeking out.

 565 characters

Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Draesith
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of billab914
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of nesarebad
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Yellolab2010
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

 230 characters

Photo of TeachChefs
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AMarkle6524
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of tweezer159
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of nightowl66
3.04/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Whoooo doggies...

Black beer with off white head. The nose is throwing my whole perception of this beer. Smells like sticking my nose in a glass of vanilla extract. Even more vanilla if possible as it warms. Overwhelmingly vanilla, can make out some chocolate and malt if I work at it. Taste is again getting skewed by the aroma. Smooth chocolate with some peanut butter coming in late. Very silky mouth-feel. While I say "congratulations!" for trying something new, this Spring House beer is just not for me.

 510 characters

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4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of AshleyMiller
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

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4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of csoult
4/5  rDev -2.7%

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Big Gruesome from Spring House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 791 ratings