Big Gruesome | Spring House Brewing Company

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Big GruesomeBig Gruesome
780 Ratings
Big GruesomeBig Gruesome

Brewed by:
Spring House Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 780 |  Reviews: 140
Photo of Kelp
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Beerisheaven
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap, nitro-tap, and in a growler from the brewery. So, let's just say this rating is a combination of all three, as I did not get a huge difference in experience in one versus the others (even the nitro-pour).

A - Dark brown with a head that settles down to a nice collar. Leaves some lacing behind for good measure.

S - Wow, just like the peppermint choc stout hits you with the peppermint, this one hits you with the peanut butter. I am a softee for peanut butter so I find this to be very appealing. The choc is there but is reserved, the peanut butter is the star of this show.

T - Really takes a bit to get used to in that the peanut butter once again dominates. It mixes with the chocolate and I guess some would say they get a little bit of Reeses Peanut Butter Cup but the peanut is more forward than the chocolate.

M - Like the peppermint choc stout, I found this one to be very nice. Thick and oily and certainly an improvement over last year's Kerplunk and Planet Bean. Very nice, I think they did this nicely.

O - This one will certainly leave an impression. Some will find it interesting, some will think it too cute for a beer.

I love Springhouse and love their improvements made to the pumpkin and their stouts. Here is hoping that the Bean follows suit. Matt has done a great job and brews these beers with passion. I will certainly continue to support them and look forward to his continued evolution in brewing. Great place and great staff. Springhouse is a winner in my book.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Spring House Taproom.

Dark camel head with excellent retention and thick rings of lace sit on a dark cocoa brown body. Aroma is dry peanut butter, exceptionally nutty, with mild dark chocolate. First, let this and/or the peppermint chocolate stout warm up before consuming. Flavor has minimal trace of sweetness instead focusing on the peanut butter and has an oily, dry peanut aftertaste. Dark chocolate and mild roast coffee flavors complement the peanut butter, but the PB is the focus. Medium body, exceptionally smooth and light carbonation, no alcohol presence.

Well, this is as advertised. My birthday cake is annually chocolate with peanut butter icing so I'm predisposed to liking this and am exceptionally happy to find this leaning more heavily on the PB than chocolate. A novelty to some degree, but seek this out if the combination sounds good to you.

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Photo of weeare138
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dense, dark brown nearing black with a fluffy brown head that slowly fades into a gentle cap and collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of LOTS of peanut butter up front with a complementary cocoa and a touch coffee and cream.
Taste is of the mentioned with a blast of bitter cocoa and hops.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, slick, and dry in the finish.

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Photo of Stout6
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of BMart
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of TheNightwatchman
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Hopstimatic
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of prodgerm
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tall pint glass on tap at the Spring House Brewery's Taproom in downtown Lancaster PA. This beer was served MUCH too cold - I held the glass for ten minutes to warm it a bit and then took half an hour to drink.

Appearance: very dark almost black with one finger of tan head quickly fading to light lacing.

Smell: Coffee, Chocolate and roasted barley on top with some sweet undertones. Very intense.

Taste: Complex - The Chocolate and roasted some coffee on top with some slight bitterness and sweetness under. I could not pickup much Peanut Butter. This is a dry Stout so I wasn't expecting much sweetness. Hops very subtle just enough to balance all the malt.

Mouthfeel: Very dry and crisp for a Stout. Lighter than I expected.

Overall: Good stand alone beer or with dessert. I would not want to drink more than one.

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4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler to stemless wine glass. Sampled 11/27/11.

A: The pour produces a finger and a half of dark tan head, bubbly, foamy, semi-compacted and rather long lasting. While the head sticks to the glass fairly well, the jet black body adds only an average amount of lacing.

S: As advertised. The nose on this beer is fantastic. A peanut buttery nuttiness is the most prominent aroma, or at least it stands out the most. Dark, bitter chocolate wafts in and blends perfectly. The combination of the two is as good as they've ever been.

T: The flavor is nutty, but not as convincingly "peanut butter" as the nose suggested. Incredible nonetheless. The chocolate comes across more milky sweet on the palate than it does on the nose. Coffee flavor lingers in the background. Bitterness is adequate and keeps the sweetness at bay. Fantastic flavor and the drinkability is off of the charts. I'm not entirely convinced there is any alcohol in this beer...

M: Rich and decadent with a creamy texture. The level of effervescence is spot on. Desperate for a complaint, I might say that the mouthfeel is a touch thin. Then again, for an 8% ABV, nothing is out of line.

O: I've had most of the beers from Spring House's roster and the Big Gruesome is, by far, the most complete and most impressive beer Matt has made to date. Keep up the good work!

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Photo of orangesol
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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 billzee
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of pvequalsnrt
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of luvND
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: draft in the basement pub
A: black, nice white/tan head
S: as advertised, chocolate and pbutter, really nicely blended, a little roasty as well
T: all chocolate up front but not too sweet or thick, peanut butter comes mostly after the swallow and is really nice, aftertaste is a slightly bitter with a nice gently hop character
M: great, not too thick and heavy

Overall: Was very skeptical until my distributor got a growler to share, liked it so much I got a sixtel hooked up in the basement pub. This beer has been extremely popular with friends I've had over. Really tasty brew, great in cold weather and they nailed the mouthfeel by keeping it not too heavy/thick which keeps it drinkable for a few pints. Excellent stuff

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Photo of oline73
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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 THECPJ
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with minimal mocha head no lacing.

smell: peanut butter, chocolate, sweet,

taste: peanut butter, chocolate,

mouthfeel: moderate carboantion, thin to medium body,

overall: decent beer was expecting a little more carbonation and a little chewier body. glad I got to try it.


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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4.74/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pitch blach, thin head (generally looks like a serious Imperial should)

S - Exceptional - mmm... roasted pb with chocolate and coffee notes and a tiny *sniff* subdued hint of hoppage

T - Exceptional - again, does not dissappoint. Don't like boozy beers and this one disguises the alcohol all but totally. The rest is just chocolaty, toasted malty bread w/ a touch of peanut butter... well you just have to try it.

M - Creamy, no grittiness, buttery smooth and finishes nicely without any chemical or strange flavoring. Very good.

O - What else can I say? Read above and then go try some (if you can).

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Photo of boralyl
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it on tap at the Spring House Tap Room.

A- Tar looking color with a heavy head and even lace.

S- Smell oh so good. Chocolate between dropping chocolate in the pot with heavy amount of chocolate malts and also roasty must use roasted barley and great smell of peanut butter powder. Just put up a killer aroma.

T-Taste of peanut butter and chocolate works well together. At the time I wish they serve Reese's peanut butter cups to get the way experience. This beer have a very good taste.

M- Very creamy, roasty , chocolatety and peanut butter goodness. This beer is a real treat to try and enjoy.

O- Hope this beer become a seasonal so far That beer I had is batch 2 which is a good sign this beer might be around for some time or might come back again next year.


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Photo of ShanePB
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
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 JunkYardJake
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nitro-tap at the Taproom.
The description in the notes pretty much says it all; Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout. How can one resist that? The beer is spot-on from start to finish. Perfect balance of peanut and chocolate in the palate and the nose and a silky smooth mouthfeel. Absolutely my new favorite dessert beer. Hopefully this stays in the rotation and isn't a once and done batch. Kudos to Spring House for another great stout.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
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 brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
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 thain709
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Side trip from Hop Attack with Deuane and orangesol

A - Pitch black body with a creamy, dense, tan head...the head stood about one finger tall and showed great nitro retention...nice lacing

S - Big roasted malt notes along with some roasted peanuts...bittersweet chocolate lingering as well

T - Roasty peanut butter up front...big emphasis on the roasted transitions right into the chocolate part of the beer...creamy, bittersweet chocolate with a roasted cocoa bean finish

M - Full bodied...full on roast flavors linger...sometimes it comes up a tad thin

O - "Yuck"... Not really ... This is what I was expecting a chocolate peanut butter stout to taste like...both stand out in their own right with both being nicely roasted...this is a must try for chocolate and peanut butter lovers

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Photo of stakem
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
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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Big Gruesome from Spring House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.1 out of 5 with 780 ratings