HopCat Oil Rigger

HopCat Oil RiggerHopCat Oil Rigger
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,578
Ranked #11,039
4.03 | pDev: 9.93%
Michigan, United States
HopCat Oil RiggerHopCat Oil Rigger
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 40
Photo of scottfrie
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, 2013. Thanks Jay!

A: Pours black...like oil, with three fingers of dense, thick, dark brown head that faded into an oily thick film leaving a few patches of lace down the glass.
S: Coffee and roast on the nose with hints of caramel and something metallic. Chocolate is present.
T: Rich flavors of chocolate fudge, chocolate ice cream, dark roasted coffee, toasted grains and more chocolate. Rich creamy and smooth. Light bitterness in finish.
M: Thick full body, chewy mouth, soft carbonation. Viscous.
O: Excellent. Thick mouth, rich flavor. Very enjoyable. Thanks jbck109.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks, Bob (klipper). 2011 and 2012 side-by-side. I'm basing my review off of the 2011 bottle, because it was way better then the 2012 bottle.

A - Pours dark brown, tan-colored head, thin collar, wisps.

S - Roasted malt, burnt sugars, chocolate syrup, cream, light dark fruit. Really a nice nose, subtle and lots of things going on here. Very much like an alcoholic chocolate syrup.

T - Similar to the nose. Chocolate syrup, oak, burnt sugars, and a nice level of roast. Not overly sweet for me, just about right. The booze is spot-on and there's also a light charred note on the finish.

M - Full body, light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - A solid Imperial Stout that was way way better then the 2012 version. I'm going to give the scores of each year below. I advise to seek out the 2011 and avoid the 2012, if you want to try this beer.

2011 - 4/4/4/4.5/4
2012 - 4/3.5/3/4/3

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Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bob (klipper) for sharing the 2011 and 2012 vintages side-by-side. This review is of the 2011 vintage, as the 2012 was odd and possibly infected.

A - A nice dark tan foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and spotty lace. Black body with a glint of brown at the edges.

S - Lots of vanilla and oak presence in the aroma, mixed with chocolate and very little in the way of overt bourbon. The 2012 had tons of bourbon - was the 2011 barrel-aged? Alcohol is quite well-hidden.

T - Quite milkshake-like in flavor with the vanilla and milk chocolate combination of flavors. Some mild roast character, and a touch of caramel round things out. On the sweet side, but pretty enjoyable.

M - Medium-full body, with pleasant moderate carbonation. Perhaps a touch light for 10.5%, but not offensive by any stretch. Still, probably the least interesting facet of this brew.

D - The 2011 is a solid well-crafted (oaked?) Imperial Stout. The 2012 is a bizarre trainwreck of booze and possible infection. More rare than good, but I'd certainly try this again on-tap at the HopCat if it made an appearance while I was in town. I refilled my glass a few times before the '11 bottle was drained - the '12 was still largely full when I left WLV.

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Photo of stakem
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Murren for sharing this recently at his tasting. The brew pours a dark brown with a fizzy tan head about a finger strong. It dissolves fairly fast and a light swirl revives. Some clarity is seen around the edges.

The smell and taste aline with a faint roasty character of dark grain. Possible hints of chocolate and coffee. There is an immediate hit of tangy alcohol and tart fruit like sour cherry. Looking beyond the tangy fruit aspect reveals a bit of raisony alcohol with trace barrel aging character somewhat like vanilla.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Murren stated this beer has gone downhill fast since having it not too long ago. I dont doubt that this tart fruity quality was not intended. However, at the same time it wasn't horrible either. If you are looking for a roasty stout, you might want to pass this one by for something else.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

browna71 hooked this one up ... shared at an epic tasting a while back in SLC.... Thanks a ton Alex for the amazing trade.

Bottle #47.. Dark tan head atop the expected black brew.. okay lacing...

Aromas are standard for an imperial stout... dark malt.. hints of char ... enough sweetness to bloom the malts... and some background American hops...

Flavor pretty much mirrors the nose but some dark fruits show as it hits room temperature... dusty cocoa... wisps of smoke..

Not as thick as many of the more hyped brothers... instead a solid medium full with a light carbonation that lends toward a creamy sensation.

There seem to be no flaws... nothing huge and off the charts, just a very very well made IS.

Thanks again Alex, this was a real treat.


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Photo of mulder1010
2.56/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

thanks to jonno79

Infected bottle #11.

Lots of sour cherry notes to this bottle. In nose, in taste, and mouth. Still good though. Dark brown to chocolate appearance. Small light brown head.

Sour cherry nose with chocolate and coffee. Carries to nose and mouth feel. Bummer as rest of beer is good.

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Photo of craytonic
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Oily, inky black pour with a tiny mocha head, very little lacing.

Aroma: Very nice, espresso, coffee, cream, bitter-sweet chocolate, vanilla and oak with a bit of smoke/roast.

Taste: Similar to the aroma although not as refined, espresso and coffee followed by bitter-sweet chocolate, cream, vanilla and oak.

Mouthfeel: Big body, a bit under-carbonated

Overall: Fairly good imperial stout, wouldn't chase it again but it was a good tick.

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Photo of homebrew311
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Hannydawg for sharing this rarity at a recent tasting.

A: pours thick black, dark brown head, decent lacing, good head retention

S: lots of wood character up front with notes of chocolate, molasses, syrup, and dark fruit among a nice roasty malt back bone

T: notes of sweetness come first with molasses and dark fruit, the roast never really cuts into the sweetness, somewhat hot on the finish

MF: medium body, low carb

O: nice brew overall, perhaps a bit sweeter than I like in my stouts but definitely incorporates some unique elements that distinguishes it from other stouts.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Stone Levitation tulip glass.

Big thanks to hannydawg for sharing the rarity!

Honestly didn't think I'd be able to try any o' this, but now that it's in front of me, I'm not gonna argue. It pours a murky black-brown topped by a finger of sandstone foam. The nose comprises molasses, caramel, roasted malts, oak (or some kind of wood, anyway), and a melange of smells that coalesces into something akin to Sixlets. That's where my brain went, alright. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, light molasses, dark wheat, fusels, toast, pretzels, and brown sugar. It's all pretty good, but nothing Earth-shattering. The body is a solid medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a thin (bordering on watery) feel. Overall, a solid stout, though not really something I can justify raving about. It does go down very easily, though, something you don't see too often with major stouts anymore.

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Photo of Florida9
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black in color and fully opaque. Forms about a 1/2 inch of dark tan head with decent retention but virtually no lacing.

S: The sweet, complex scent of dark fruits, raisins, and chocolate along with some roasted malts and a light bit of alcohol.

T: Roasted malts, dark fruit, cocoa, and some oaky woodsiness.

M: On the lighter side of heavy with appropriate carbonation. Maybe a bit astringent as well.

D: A solid imperial stout.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Darkness snifter

Thanks to hannydawg for sharing this uber-rarity

I believe this was bottle #24...I didn't write it down

This beer pours a deep black body with a tan head that was damn fine to look at, but it didn't stay around too long. The smell I got a lot of cherry syrup up front, but not in a bad way. There was smoke and milk chocolate on the nose with some marshmallow I believe. The taste was the absolute perfect marriage of the simple flavors of smoke, caramel, and cocoa. It had a nice smooth body too it. But the overall experience of this beer was hard to put into words other than, damn this was an great beer to drink.

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Photo of Gorgoroth
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at HopCat's 3rd Anniversary/Oil Rigger Release Party (complete with Crack Fry Eating Contest!) 01/08/1; served and tasted side-by-side with Espresso Oil Rigger and Bourbon Vanilla Oil Rigger -- from tasting notes taken at bar with my friend BA mermatinger.

Presentation: We also bought four bombers along with our on-tap selections. They have a very cool Russian labor propaganda-style look to the artwork. The off-white background of the label is intentionally made to look like it is stained and worn. They are hand numbered (I believe out of 83 bottles for the 2011 vintage).

Appearance: Served in a 12oz tulip glass, the color is super dark brown, nearly black, with no carbonation and an extremely thin ring of crème brûlée-colored smooth foam.

Smell: There is honestly very little aroma here. Roasty malts, hints of coffee and a slight sweetness.

Taste: It is initially sweet upfront, but develops quite bitterly with roasted malt and burnt rubber flavors. There is a slight hop bitterness in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, almost flat; very drying and chalky like a dark roast coffee. Of medium body, especially for a very dark, high-ABV Russian imperial stout.

Drinkability & Final Thoughts: It is very drinkable for a Russian imperial stout with such a high ABV. It is not very chewy or thick and the alcohol is not very apparent. The flavor is good and it tastes fresh on-tap, but I have no doubt that it will develop well over a year or more.

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Photo of libbekat
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My husband and I were very lucky to be treated to this beer!
The beer was served in a plastic cup (long story but a good one) so if I am lucky enough to enjoy this great beer in a snifter my score may change on the smell and appearance. BUT you cant deny taste, no matter the vessel! Even in plastic it was thick and smooth and rolled around the cup leaving a nice caramel ring of foam.
On the nose there was a bit of alcohol but in the mouth it was smooth and not overwhelming.
It had strong hints of roasted barley giving off strong coffee notes. I personally really enjoy that. The finish was a surprise. I really thought I would get knocked over with the alcohol I smelt on the nose but it wasn't there. It was shockingly smooth for a higher gravity Imperial Stout.
My only regret is that I don't have any of this beer in my beer fridge.

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Photo of grub
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

sampled on tap at hopcat jan 22/2010 as part of their 2nd annual extreme beer fest. described as an imperial stout aged with oak chips soaked in cabernet.

pours opaque inky black with a small very fine dark brown head. crystal clear with a touch of reddish highlights at the edges. spotty lace.

aroma is great. dark chocolate. espresso and coffee. bit of milk chocolate. vanilla and oak and cab take a bit of a back seat and accent the beer. toasty whole wheat bread. bit of cracker and biscuit. light alcohol. nice grapey fruit character likely coming from the wine. earthy, maybe with a little bit of smoke.

taste is good. a nice vanilla and barrel character with a bit of wine comes in up front, but quickly fades to a more tannic and astringent edge. dark and milk chocolate. heavily toasted multi-grain bread. roasty. touch of caramel. bit of dark fruit. as the astringency starts to fade a bit more of the dark and bittersweet chocolate come through.

mouthfeel starts off really nice and smooth, but after a minte the tannic astringency of the chips starts to take over and really bites into you. cubes would probably make for a smoother brew. nice big body. medium-low carbonation level.

drinkability is good. nice balance, hiding its alcohol pretty well. good complexity too. a really solid stout with great depth that could be world-class with a few tweaks.

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HopCat Oil Rigger from HopCat
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 40 ratings