Big Gruesome Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout | Spring House Brewing Company

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Big Gruesome Peanut Butter Chocolate StoutBig Gruesome Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout

Brewed by:
Spring House Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

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

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Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 755
Photo of Knapp85
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a solid black color with a thin mocha colored head on top. The retention is decent the lacing is minimal. The smell of the beer is sweet and malty with a pleasant aroma of Peanut Butter. The taste of the beer is sweet, nicely balanced flavors of sweet chocolate malt, some subtle roasted noted as well as a nice dessert-like Peanut Butter flavor in there too. The mouthfeel is a little on the thin side. I feel it could use a little more body than it has for the style. The carbonation is a pretty good. Overall this beer was really nice to try. I would probably drink it again someday if I could get my hands on it.

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Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -1.7%

From a bottle, pours a dark brown, soft light brown head, very thin looking, but good carbonation.

The nose is peanut butter, a little berry jam, milk chocolate, and a little hazelnut. This makes me think of a Nutella and jam sandwich. The flavor is roasty, a little alcohol, nutty, peanut butter cup, cocoa and just a fain barrel, a little oak and vanilla. This is pretty well balanced. These beers are now a thing to do, some are disasters, but this is a pretty good one.

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Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The beer has that nitro pour look and it pulls it off quite well, sheeting lace down the side of the pint glass

Smell: Chocolate and peanut butter - a liquid Reese's

Taste: Black bread and chocolate, up front, with a growing peanut butter character; by mid-palate, the hops arrive to balance out the sweeter elements through the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with gentle carbonation

Overall: Extra points to Spring House for their creativity with this brew; by creating a flavor profile where the hops are more powerful than the peanut butter, the brew really works well

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Photo of kojevergas
3.03/5  rDev -25.6%
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 oline73
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at the taproom in Lancaster. Poured into a sample glass.

Appearance: Pours black with a layer of tan head that goes away completely.

Smell: Smells like a Reeses peanut butter cup. Milk chocolate and quite nutty.

Taste: There is a lot of peanut butter and chocolate in this one. I thought it would be overly sweet, but it was very tastefully done. There is some roast that is smooth and mild with a nutty flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a smooth finish and mild carbonation.

Overall: A very nice desert beer. Very tasteful. I loved the smell and the taste. Big fan.

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to yourefragile for the bottle. Served in a SAVOR wine glass. Pours near black with some spotty lacing. The nose carries a faint bit of peanuts plus some roast and chocolate. The flavor has moderate peanut and chocolate. Nothing over the top, but fairly nice. Medium body and a smooth finish with a bit of the peanut dryness coming through. Pretty good stuff.

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Photo of mothman
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
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 jlindros
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to rudzud for sharing.

Pours a great creamy dark fluffy head hits a finger and fades slowly, nice lacing, pitch black beer.

Nose brings a nice chocolate, fudgey cocoa, then peanut butter, more like the peanut and shell rather than Peanutbutter. Mild caramel sweetness, slight salty like note.

Taste brings fudgey cocoa, creamy choc and cookie wafer, very mild peanut, again more like the nut than Peanutbutter, choc chip macadamia nut cookie. Mild bitterness, and mild creamy milk choc. Finish is drier and mild bitterness, more choc and cookie, very light nut.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, little creamy, decent carb.

Overall a good beer but lacking on actual Peanutbutter. Decent nutty notes, nice chocolate and cookie, etc.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap @ the Spring House Taproom (Lancaster, PA) back on 5/7/11. Served in a pint glass.

Pours black in the glass, with a finger of tight and foamy mocha-colored head. This retains with a rich ¼ finger that leaves back a good bit of sticky lacing. That peanut butter character jumps right at you, backed in the nose by darker flavors of bitter chocolate and burnt roast. Some green citrus sits way in the back, as the scent of peanut butter pretty much controls this.

Things are a good bit more integrated here in the taste, but you can still definitely pick the peanut butter flavors up, especially along the back of the profile. The bulk of this however has more of a big American Stout presence, with additional notes of chocolate and caramel, a firm hop bitterness, and burnt malts that spread out into a dry and roasty finish. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a strong aggressive prickliness that soothes out into more of a creamy crispness from the nitro addition. That 8% ABV is VERY well hid, giving this an overall impressive drinkability, and only starting to show it’s beefy power as things warm up.

Wow, another very nice Stout here from Matt, which seems to be really becoming his forte here. While I’m not quite totally blown away by these specialty-type beers like I once was, I will say that this was definitely one of the better executed examples that I’ve had recently. This is one worth checking out.

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

First had: on tap at the Taproom, Lancaster, PA

This was sort of "the one I came for," when I decided to finally visit the Taproom. It was tasty, no doubt, but I wouldn't rank this one iota over a 4.0.

Solid black pour with a small layer of tan head that sank to nearly nothing, and left tiny spots of lacing behind. Aroma was very nice, peanut butter and chocolate as promised, with the former edging out the latter, dark roasted malts coming through as well. Tastewise, this wasn't a full-blown in-your-face Reese's cup or anything...which was a bit disappointing, but then again, this is a beer after all, and if I wanted a Reese's cup, I could just go buy one. Peanut butter was still the dominant flavor here, roasty malts, semi-sweet chocolate, slight earthiness, but nothing really in the hop department, appropriately. Body was about medium, bordering on heavy-medium, quite low carbonation, and better when allowed to warm up a bit. Nice beer overall. I always seek it out when it's available.

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Photo of russpowell
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to Stormking47 for this one!

Pours mahogany with 3 fingers of mocha colored head. Nice head retention & lacing

S: Reeses peanut butter cup

T: Cocoa, roastyness & a touch of peanuts up front. Bitter cocoa, peanuts, & a bit of peanut butter cookie once warm, plus roastyness & a smidge of charred grain. Finishes roasty, dry with cocoa & peanut butter & a touch of booze bite

MF: Medium bodied, lively carbonation

A decent IMP stout, was looking for more chocolate & peanut butter, worth a shot to be sure

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Paradise by the Slice. Thanks to Shane for this one!

A: Big Gruesome is deep black with a small tan color head, decent retention leaving a small cap on top. Thin lacing forms on the sides.

S: Just like Reese's Pieces, some peanut butter and chocolate, a bit of cream and sweetness. Very nice, just like candy.

T: More peanut butter and chocolate on the flavor profile. Not as specific as the aroma where it instantly reminded me of Reese's. Mostly milk chocolate, a little but of cream, and a faint roastiness.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a touch thin. Very smooth and creamy.

O: Very happy to have finally tried this beer. Definitely a sweet beer, and a treat. not something I would drink all the time, but would be happy to have it again. Perfect dessert beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed a pint of this on Nitro pour at Thirsty's in York, served in a standard pint glass at a cool temp. The beer served a little cooler than my preference so I allowed it to warm gradually before partaking.

The color is black as night with an opaque clarity. The cap of light tan settles fast to a thin coating atop the stout with very tight bead and rings of lace cling to the glass after I take each sip. The smell is just like opening a peanut butter cup wrapper, so creamy and nutty, yet has a good amount of chocolate in the aroma with some light roasted presence and subtle sweetness. The feel is good with an almost salty tinge to the creamy smoothness with mild sweet middle which fades into some roasted malt body and actually becomes bitter in the tail end with a dry finish. Some slight roasted notes linger, but hardly any alcohol is present in the feel -well done.

This tastes so nutty and smooth with a flavor that makes you believe you are enjoying a peanut butter cup -smooth but then the dark chocolate flavors envelope with a slight bitter edge and mild roasted grain character shines through. The flavor of the malt is roasted with a good amount of chocolate on its own, but the Wilbur's chocolate adds a nice sweet edge to the creamy, nutty peanut butter taste as the hops come in they add spice the stout and keep the beer on the level. The hops only add to the flavor by providing spice, but don't take anything away at all and make for a good balance to the sweet nutty and malt flavors. I really think this lives up to my expectations and more, the stout lives up to the name and this is a great beer for anyone who likes chocolate and peanut butter together, it is dangerously drinkable because for an 8% beer you don't feel it anywhere until the pint is drained. I was very pleased with how well the concept was realized and am eager to try Lil Gruesome now that I have had Big Gruesome.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 01/02/12 notes. Thanks to yourefragile for sharing this one; thanks Michael. 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of peanuts, peanut butter, dark chocolate, roasted malts, light toasted malts. TONS of peanuts and peanut butter; I liked it and thought it was a very nice/cool nose, though I preferred the Chocolate Peppermint nose.

t - Taste follows the nose; lots of chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, roasted malts,light cream, toasted malts. Much more chocolate in the taste than the nose. Very nice.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Smooth and pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a really good and fun beer. After this and the chocolate peppermint beer, and hearing Planet Bean is better on draft, I think next time I go visit my girlfriend's family in PA I'm going to have to stop by the brewery.

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Photo of orangesol
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler (FINALLY!!!) filled fresh from the Taproom.

A - Pours black with a nice one finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smell is fairly similar to the other versions, just slightly more subdued. Their are still hints of peanut butter, chocolate, dark roasted malts, and a faint whiff of coffee grounds but they are all toned down a notch.

T - The flavors are spot on with the nose yet again. Yet again there are hints of chocolate, peanut butter, dark roast, dulled coffee grounds but the light smoke has grown slightly stronger. This version is the worst of the three but it is still easy drinking and the taste is still spot on.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Not as smooth as the other two versions but still pretty good. Lots of dark roast in the finish.

O - I still prefer this one on some kind of tap but I see no reason why it can't be available for growler fills. I may have to go back down there and grab another one before it is gone...

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.74/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Served in a Tyskie glass.

Speakin' my language with a chocolate/peanut butter stout. It pours a murky black-brown topped by a finger or so of dark tan foam. The nose is just plain heavenly: Imagine a liquified Reece's Peanut Butter Cup, with luscious milk chocolate and hardy peanut butter wafting through your 'strils. Very nice. The taste, though, brought me down from amongst the clouds. Though some residual hints of cocoa and peanut butter remain somewhere in the thicket, a strong sense of black cherry dominates the proceedings. Though it's not very tasty, the letdown leaves an even worse taste in my mouth. I don't think I've ever been this depressed and disappointed in a beer before... The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, it's clear some sort of infection has set in here. Either that, or "chocolate peanut butter stout" means "PB&J on pumpernickel beer", and I missed the memo...

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Photo of woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
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 Huhzubendah
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by yourefragile. Thanks Michael.

The beer Is dark brown, nearing black and has a quarter inch of dense, beige head. The aroma brings a big blast of peanut butter, followed by chocolate. This smells like chocolate Nutter Butter cookies. The taste follows suit, with ample peanut butter chocolates. My biggest complaint is that the body is a bit thin and watery. Lingering aftertastes of chocolate peanut butter cups. Fun and enjoyable, I definitely recommend this one.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.95/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black with some transparency. Not much of a head. Very thin khaki head.

Smell - Very peanut buttery. I like it. Chocolate is nice too.

Taste - And it's almost a disaster. Green peppers. Some chocolate. Lost the nuttiness.

Mouthfeel - Rather thin. High carbonation.

Overall - Smells great, doesn't taste great.

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Photo of stakem
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Springhouse Taproom on 5/20/11 via a nitro pour. This brew appears black in color with a rich mocha brown head. Beautiful appearance here as it laces in a complete wall with a web-like pattern across the glassware. The head remains fairly solid across the top throughout the duration.

The smell of this brew is unquestionably the most impressive feature of this offering. Sweet aromas of rich peanut butter mix with a more deep nutty aspect which collectively comes across sweet with a mixture of cocoa and roasted malt. There is a backing of light coffee and more chocolate sweet indications come forward as the brew warms.

The taste is roasty grain with a light bittersweet cocoa note. Peanut butter is present throughout the body with much less assertiveness then the aroma led on. A light citrus hop tang is present bringing this brew back into more of a "beer realm." There is a bitter almost herbal aftertaste present from the hops which is a little distracting from the overall theme of this beer. It isn't bad, heck it's actually pretty good. It just seems a little disjointed and lacking a driving factor to blend and mesh the flavors.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light, smooth level of carbonation that is slick in the feel. Quite drinkable but the tangy alcohol aspect that is evident at times clashes a bit with the chocolate, peanut butter and roasty qualities of the brew. As with the other stouts by Springhouse, the alcohol is very surpressed for what it is listed at. It's certainly a brew I would have again and I'd love to see them tweak the recipe and clown around with this to be released again. It's a very decent offering, maybe not as exceptional as others have made it seem but it's certainly worth a glass or two.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark black with a thin but attractive dark espresso head.

Smells like big dark chocolate, peanut butter, ground coffee. Peanut butter chocolate shake. Great!

Taste is similar, more bitter--dark chocolate, light peanut butter, bitter coffee again. Lactose maybe. Tasty.

Creamy, frothy mouthfeel, full bodied, impressive.

I really like this!


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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hmmm. This is not quite what I was expecting. Very chalky on this one, in a way that seems like too much cocoa powder was added into things. Coffee in the mix. This very much lacks balance. Kind of a thick and clogged with each aspect standing alone and not meshing together. Not really working for me.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Spring House Taproom in Lancaster. Peanut Butter Chocolate stout? Sign me up! Poured into a 20 ounce nonic pint glass from the nitro tap.

A: Deep pitch black body with a rich and creamy mocha colored head. It's velvety due to the nitro and leaves some very nice web-like lacing on the glass walls. The retention is wonderful and has a lasting head throughout the entire glass.

S: Peanut butter, milk chocolate, slightly roasted chocolate malts, caramel malts and a sweet milkiness. All the elements of both peanut butter and chocolate are certainly here, it's a very rich and decadent smelling beer, simply wonderful!

T: Loads of gritty, Reeses peanut butter cup like flavor comes through immediately and consumes the palate. Towards the back end the chocolate notes start to appear, very much a milk chocolate like flavor with some roasted malts around it. As it warmed, I think the chocolate intensified and the peanut butter blended very nicely with it.

M: Velvety smooth, rich and creamy on the palate. I feel it's a bit thin on the palate but it still has a nice medium body. The nitro I thought would have helped to give this a fuller body than it does.

If you're a peanut butter and chocolate lover, this is one beer you need to try. The flavors work extremely well and is quite incredible getting that much peanut butter flavor into the beer, due to the oil difficulties. With a bit more of a thicker body this could easily top the charts.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Curran at his tasting.

Pours a very dark black, with a mocha tan colored head, about one inch, with a lot of lacing in the glass.

Smells like rich, not too sweet peanut butter, dark bitter chocolate, and roasted malt.

This blows Sweet Baby Jesus out of the water. Thick, nutty, rich peanut butter character, with some intense roasted bitterness- roasty nuts and roasty malts. Huge chocolate character as well. At times really has the feeling of drinking liquefied alcoholic peanut butter. This is a good thing!

Thick bodied, rich, smooth, creamy mouthfeel. This one has a pretty low level of carbonation. Very drinkable, ran through 5 oz or so really quick.

This one is great, probably the best peanut butter based beer I've ever had.

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Photo of tone77
3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of chocolate, roasted malts, a touch of peanut butter. Taste is roasted malts, chocolate, a bit of smokiness, some peanut butter but not a lot. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall was a different and enjoyable beer.

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Big Gruesome Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout from Spring House Brewing Company
4.07 out of 5 based on 755 ratings.
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