Imperial Java Stout | Santa Fe Brewing Company

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very good
225 Reviews
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Imperial Java StoutImperial Java Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is the kind of beer that gives the word "stout" a reputation. Extra generous quantities of barley malt, followed by vigorous fermentation leaves this "imperial" heavy weight with 8% alcohol A.B.V. and a body as full as chocolate bread pudding. A complimentary and complex array of bitter notes comes form potent American hops, earthy British hops, black-roasted malts and, of course, coffee. Santa Fe Brewing Company uses only top-quality ingredients like organically grown East Timor coffee beans blended with New Guinea coffee beans, locally roasted by O'hori's Coffee House. Its heavenly flavor and aroma can't be beat or imitated.

Added by goochpunch on 03-31-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
225
Ratings:
976
Avg:
4
pDev:
21.75%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
180
For Trade:
6
User Reviews
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Reviews: 225 | Ratings: 976
Photo of Retail1LO
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a small snifter. Pours a jet black hue with a thin, bubbly, effervescent head that recedes quickly, and knows nothing about lacing. Smell is a pretty decent coffee note with a hit of dark fruit/cherries. Sweet nose, regardless. The taste is nothing to write home about. Some moderate coffee notes, but nothing that wows you. There's again, a pervasive sweetness to this that's just not right. The mouthfeel is thin as hell, something I'm not fond of in coffee beers, especially ones that are declared "stouts." Overall, this is "meh" at best. Another easily forgettable beer.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from brown undated can to a pint glass. Picked up a sixer after numerous recommendations from several friends. I had seen this but never bought as I wasn't really wowed by the packaging - rather foolish but it's the only reason I hadn't tried it.

A - The beer pours a deep deep brown color that's nearly black with dark mahogany brown edges in the light. Looks thick with a huge 2.5 finger mocha color head. Excellent retention and lacing throughout.

S - Huge coffee/espresso aroma! Absolutely dominates the nose. There are notes of roasted barley but it's hard to decipher through the coffee.

T - Very similar to the nose in that the first flavor is the huge coffee/espresso flavors. It's more complex than the nose in that there are hints of chocolate, vanilla, black roasted barley, toast, and a medium bitterness. Hides the alcohol extremely well. I am not a huge coffee guy and don't normally appreciate coffee beers but this is a good beer.

M - Creamy and smooth. Full bodied.

O - Very impressed and worthy of the praise.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.
Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 04-12-2011 14:44:51

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Photo of JGlitz87
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep dark brown, almost black. Nearly opaque. Small off white head that leaves a decent amount of lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Lots of lots coffee. Chocolate and malts underneath.

T: Mirrors the smell. Dark espresso coffee dominates the flavor profile. Chocolate and roasted malts fill out the taste. Not for those that do not like their coffee black. Slightly creamy.

F: Medium carbonation and moderate to heavy body. Hides the alcohol well.

O: Good coffee stout. A bit strong on the coffee, but since this is advertised as a java stout, I knew what I was getting into to.

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Photo of mabermud
3.59/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

After a hard pour, this beer has a dense, off white, persistent head. The head forms a halo as I drink the beer, and the lacing is light and sticky along the glass. The beer appears black, but when held up to the sun, it is a dark boysenberry color.

The aroma is of light roasted malts, light coffee, and faint dark chocolates.

There is a light balanced taste of roasted malts, coffee, and dark chocolates. Nothing sparkles or stands out.

The mouthfeel is fair and substantial.

The ABV is mediocre and the taste is right there...in the middle. This is a solid mediocre imperial stout. I would drink this again as a standby, or if I couldn't find any of the top tier stouts on my list.

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Photo of mjurney
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
Black color with some ruby red highlights. Tan head, spongy.

Aroma:
Lots of coffee and dark chocolate, dark roasted malts.

Taste/Finish/Body:
Dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, burnt caramel, roasted malts, brownie. Some hop bitterness towards the end. Finish is sweet, roasted, a little dry. Body is medium, creamy, silky, rich, smooth, some dryness, a little boozy.

Overall:
It's an excellent beer.

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Photo of Beerandboards
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap

A - black, cola type color. Little light on head, but most, of not all of that is the fact that it was out of a plastic cup at a food festival.

S - chocolate espresso beans. Little bit of vanilla.

T - smooth coffee bomb. Dark chocolate. They should do themselves a little bit of a favor and change the label to "stout" as opposed to "imperial stout." It just lacks a little bit of depth to hold up the imperial label. That being said, very tasty coffee stout.

M - a little on the thin side, carb is good, if not a little high.

O - great coffee stout. The only gripe is in the labeling, nothing on the beer front. If this were a stout, as opposed to an imperial stout, the numbers would be higher. That being said, don't let the numbers fool you, this is a great beer.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled 12 oz. can poured into a shaker pint. No visible canning date.

Look- Clear deep brown with a dense cap of frothy tan foam. Decent retention, glass is coated by the time it's been emptied.

Smell- Baker's chocolate, char, dark roast coffee, light sweetness. Appealing.

Taste- Rich flavor, dark, roasty char, espresso, semisweet chocolate, again a light toffee sweetness in the background. Takes on a lighter flavor by the swallow, more of a milk chocolate flavor. Finishes with more cocoa and coffee dregs. Alcohol near nonexistent.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full feel, light carbonation. Coffee astringency lightens it a bit, very smooth, full, rich without being syrupy. Very nice. Drinks like.. coffee with dairy creamer.

Overall- Nice, absolutely what I wanted from an imperial coffee stout. Bold flavor, not quite a dessert beer. I'll certainly be getting it again.

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

12 ounce can into a glass. Served at refrigerator temperature.

This is one of the two best coffee stouts I've ever had, along with Founders Breakfast Stout.

It's much more of a Coffee Stout than an Imperial Stout. If you're looking for a really big Imperial Stout, with huge body and huge flavors, look elsewhere. Santa Fe Java Stout is a perfect example of a marriage between a terrific iced coffee and a wonderfully balanced roasty stout. I guess the ABV makes this "Imperial", but the ABV is well hidden.

Appearance is beautiful - dark brown with a lovely foamy head that persists quite a while, with traces of lacing.

The aroma is roasty, both from the coffee and the malts. Taste is roasty, coffee, just a bit of sweetness, and hardly any bitterness.

The beer has medium body and a creamy mouthfeel ... more substantial than lots of ales, but less than you might expect from the imperial stout label.

My only regret is that I don't get to the Southwest more than once or twice a year. If they marketed this in Seattle, it'd be a staple in my fridge.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This was an okay coffee stout but not spectacular. It was very drinkable and the coffee was present but it didn't blow me away. This is a style I really like so I probably have a high bar for what I expect for a coffee beer. One thing that was interesting was that the nose had a bit of cola which reminded me of Trader Joe's Vintage Ale.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P:  A sea of pitch black silk adorned with a creamy cappuccino head. 

S:  Roasted dark chocolate malt, dark roasted coffee beans, woody hops, and  charred barley. 

T/M:  A thick and foamy body that tingles the tongue.  Heavy notes of dark chocolate and coffee with burnt wood and grains.  A slight copper taste in the back followed by a dry but powdery finish of smoked cocoa. 

O:  Big coffee chocolate and a thick body is just what I expected when I grabbed this up. I was supposed at how well put together this was. Complex but well mingled and easy drinking.  A huge plus for it coming in a six pack of cans. I will frequent this beer and am eager to try more from Santa Fe Brewing Co. 

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Photo of JMad
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color almost completely opaque with a thin brown head. The aroma is nice with tons of roasted coffee and some chocolate. The taste is bitter coffee with some dark chocolate and some earthy hop notes with a hint of pine. It is nice and thick but not too heavy with low carbonation and a dry finish. Very nice brew, all of their beers have been good that I've tried.

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Photo of MCain04
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Extra from a trade with Dimenhetfield thanks! Can poured into a 12 oz Half Acre snifter.

A: Root-beer brown body with a healthy kahki head of 2 fingers, good retention, moderation lacing.

S: Burnt coffee and roasted malts. Not much in terms of toffee or caramel or anything else, but decent nose.

T: Roasted malts and coffee are present. Not a lot of hops or bitterness, which is fine. Not much of a malty backbone. Taste is kind of thin.

M: Moderate carbonation, thin body, watery finish.

O: Not a bad coffee stout, but not great either. To thin on the taste and mouthfeel. This would have been a better coffee porter than imperial stout. Just not enough body to cash that check.

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Photo of obrike
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Just noticed this one for the first time at Specs Round Rock...a sixer of an Imp stout in a can for 9 bucks...hard to pass up.

Pours a typical nearly black stout pour. Nice clingy tan lace though. A thin very thin head remains throughout. Not bad...but doesn't stand out at all.

The scent...good lord...that's bad ass. For those who love a nice strong coffee...this one's for you. Getting bitter coffee, milk chocolate, some sweet burnt malt, spices...just damn good. Can't wait to taste it.

Holy moly...that's a tasty beer A wonderful coffee smack to the palate, but a good sweet malt finish as well. Vanilla, expresso, a shot of sweet cream...just delicious. A bit jarring if you're not a coffee fan though...thank God I am.

This one would scare off non coffee fans i'm afraid. But for those who love coffee, this one is a winner. A little thin on the mouthfeel and a lot of carbonation for an imp stout, but just incredibly tasty. I could drink this one all winter long. A very good beer at a very good price. Don't pass this one by.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

looks like a perfect stout... head could be a bit stronger, but the retention isn't bad. hints of lace, but the darkness is a beautiful cocoa hue that kills.

aroma of milk, molasses and espresso, hints of leather, tobacco, rich dark earthy malt.

taste follows. coffee, dark earthy malts. milky, rich, dark cocoa. licorice and leather.

mouth solid. moderate body, ample carbonation, light and soft with a hint of roasty bitterness in the finish that's pleasantly drying.

all in all, damn awesome. if this were local, it'd be steadily stoked in my fridge. I miss Santa Fe.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz / 355ml can with no date poured into a Three Philosophers mini wine glass.

Appearance - Black body. Light brown pancake batter head with decent to low retention and low stick.

Smell - Smells and feels like a Starbucks Java chip frappuccino in my hands.

Taste - Tastes better straight from the can. Do not pour this beer! I don't know if it just oxidizes quickly or what the deal is.

Mouthfeel - Astringent -- like the solvent taste you get in your mouth when you put raw coffee grounds in your both. Sort of thin and sharp.

Overall Drinkability - Tastes okay but the mouthfeel sort of kills it.

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Photo of jmbranum
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black liquid with a big tan head. Very thick and full looking. Fairly opaque.

Smell is excellent. Nice toasty coffee notes.

Flavor is interesting. Very, very dry. Maybe too dry for my tastes. Lots of bitter coffee notes but not enough malty richness. Some hops in there. Lingering bitter aftertaste. I tend to like bitter beers, but this one doesn't quite work for me.

Alcohol doesn't feel like 8% at all.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick. Fair amount of prickle but overall not bad.

Generally, I liked this beer reasonably well, but it doesn't compare with the better Imperial Stouts. I think I would have preferred more balance.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large goblet.

Looks black in the glass, with 1 finger of head that consolidated into what looks to be eerily like espresso crema (not a bad thing!).

Smells like a coffee stout, no doubt. The distinct coffee aroma melds with hops to kick the olfactory senses with a twang of bitter coffee bean. Some black malts and a touch of bitter baking chocolate as well.

Coffee comes through huge in the flavor, even more than the nose indicated. Wow, big sweet coffee flavors, this reminds me of well prepared French press. The hops don't thrash around in the mouth like I expected from the nose, which makes this much more approachable, although they are present in sufficient quantities to keep this from getting too sweet. The roasted malts provide a nice backdrop, and even poke through all the chocolate and coffee flavors with some of their own toastiness. Some nice hints of something like vanilla fade in and out as well.

The mouthfeel is creamy (I love cans!) and full bodied, with enough carbonation to keep this interesting, but not enough to lift the flavors off the tongue before they have a chance to get to work. A nice balanced feel. Surprising.

Conclusion: This is actually quite fantastic. I wasn't expecting a major player, but this is coffee forward, balanced, textured, dynamic, and damn tasty. Well done Santa Fe. My second favorite coffee stout behind Fouders Breakfast.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can, Boulevard tulip, no freshness dating.

An impeccably dark beer with just a smidge of red glowing near the bottom and a tall, proud cappuccino head, this coffee stout looks the part.

One whiff immediately puts me in mind of my favorite coffee beer, Coffee Bender. The nose is essentially all coffee, slightly sweet espresso and oily dark roast beans. A hint of bitterness. It is like a cup of very fresh iced coffee that may or may not have cream in it.

Bitter, slightly sweet espresso defines this beer. There may be bitter roast behind this bitter coffee, it is nearly impossible to tell. A layer of dark fruit resides behind all the coffee and slight minty alcohol too. I'd almost swear this was coffee most of the time. It is clearly beer, malty and coffee infused beer.

The carbonation is very active, but seems to work well.

I've found my second favorite coffee beer. Coffee is the main feature, rather than an enhancement, and that may be why some write it off. If you love coffee you will at least like this beer.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nearly black, with nearly a two finger head which settles down to a film, off-white/tan. Smells lightly of roasted coffee, some malt and hop aroma. Nice coffee aroma though. I'm getting the coffee and I'm getting bitter hops. Lively taste is interesting. Not what I expected (I like thicker feeling, sweeter stouts with less bitter characteristics) but this is a nice drink nonetheless. And yes I'm thinking "donut" if I were to grab a bite to pair with this brew. The coffee presence is solid and i do love coffee. Plus, this is great as it warms (I may tend to crack open my brews just premature of suggested serving temperatures). The hops aren't as noticeable to me as when i took my first couple of sips, yet they play their earthy role in the hefty roasted espresso notes. Makes me wish i had bought 2 cans (in addition to wishing i had access to retry Terrapin's interpretation, and of course one day to get ahold of and sample Founders' take on these "before noon" breed of stouts). Santa Fe has a winner here. Even though I've only tried one other style from this brewery, this is clearly my favorite of theirs.

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Photo of Cvescalante
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a dark brown cola color, with a medium sized head of foam that fades quickly.

S- Coffee forward, some sweet chocolate, very roasted almost burnt malt aromas.

T- Coffee bomb! Roasted coffee and sweet, sugary, chocolatey flavors balance very well.

M- Medium bodied, very smooth, wet finish, not much carbonation. Pretty great for what the beer is supposed to be like.

O- I really enjoy this one! Perfect price point, and great quality for a wonderful coffee bomb of a stout... Did a blind tasting with similar beers in this style and it definitely hangs with the best according to our group.

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Photo of thebeers
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Near black with two fingers of thick mocha-colored head that leaves heavy lacing. Strong roasted coffee aroma, with some nuttiness, a little chocolate and a touch of cream. Heavy, lush, viscous mouthfeel that's surprisingly creamy and only somewhat cut by carbonation. Bigger chocolate and sweet cream flavors in the taste than expected -- huge really -- with the coffee taking a backseat until the aftertaste, where it lingers. Very, very tasty.

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Photo of suspect
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a Duvel snifter.

A: As per usual with a stout it pours deep dark brown almost black in color. Aggressive glug-glug pour leads to a growing 2 finger whipped mocha colored head that leaves plenty of lacing and nice rocky clouds on the top.

S: Over-brewed coffee and some dark toasted malts are the highlights of this one. Sometimes the coffee smells well blended and thoughtfully picked out. This is not one of those times. It doesn't really blend well and the bitterness really just overpowers.

T: Coffee and coffee grounds are what hit me the most with this one. There is a nutty flavor in the finish which is a pleasant surprise.

M: Creamy big finish. Just the right amount of carbonation for my liking with a stout like this.

O: A good, not great, beer. An easy drinking, nice touch putting it in the can.

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Photo of sweethome
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at pub. I had this a couple months ago - finally putting notes in -Well, I hesitate to call this an imperial stout...I would consider this more of a coffee stout, but here we go - rating based on what it tastes like - not the name:

Pour is a bit thin - you can see right through - looks more like a brown ale than IS.

Nose is of coffee and roast malt - a nice Starbucks Verona nose.

First taste really pleases - a nice coffee flavor with roast malt - a hop bitterness provides balance. The coffee flavors are complex and full - not just a blast and fade as many coffee beers are.

I would compare this with Bell's Java Stout, Lakefront Fuel Cafe, etc. As Coffee stouts go, I like the flavor profile here.

I don't consider this an Imperial Stout at all, but this beer works - it is clean - no faults, nice use of coffee - good flavors - satisfying beer...change the name!

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Photo of humuloner22
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this one as an extra from trade. Poured from plain brown can. I like the minimalist design!

Appearance: Dark as night, very much like you would expect from a stout. Large frothy head with some light caramel notes, more on the side of butterscotch in color. Body is not completely light evading but it is very dark. You can see some light around the edges if you look closely.

Aroma: Dark roasted grains, some caramel and vanilla in the aroma. Coffee seemed to be very dominant when I first opened the beer but as time went on it faded.

Taste: Well balanced bitter dark coffee notes and some sweet to balance it out, really well made coffee stout. Reminds me a lot of one from my local area.

Overall: I love coffee stouts and I am happy I had the opportunity to try this one. It was very well made. I would certainly seek this one out again and I would like to make a trip to the Land of Enchantment to try some of their other breweries, I hear they are doing some really cool things down there!

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.14/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a fourteen-ounce tulip out of a twelve-ounce can that is (as is standard with Santa Fe Brewing) very simply and sleekly decorated. The result of the initial pour: a massive, sudsy mushroom-cloud of head, milky-khaki and oddly pitted or clumpy, but generally impressive and requiring two distinct pours from the can. The depletion is surprisingly fairly quick—down to a thin, eighth-inch creamy ring—but the lacing is sticky and pervasive down the tulip's rotund edges.

A bit of a metallic, aseptic, "off" quality dominates the faintest of café odors across what is, overall, a very limited and initially listless nose; as the stout airs, a little more coffee (and a little less "clouds taste metallic" defect) is detectable from atop the ale.

From the first sip, it becomes apparent that some of the coppery "off" notes are likely not "defects" but aspects of this stout—either derived from the coffees blended into the beer, as I find most likely, or from the "earthy British hops" or deep roasting of the malts. (It may also have arisen, in part, from some undesirable aging, as this beer is listed as a "winter" seasonal, and I purchased my six-pack on 18 August.) Irrespective of the source, these less-pleasant characteristics—as with the nose—subside after exposure to atmosphere, though never entirely departing.

Aside from these metallic impressions, the main melody of this beer is "bitter": coffee bitters, burnt-grain bitters, and herbaceous, damp forest-detritus (but pine-absent) hop-bitters all swirl throughout the creamy (but on the thinner side, for a stout) body of this stout. This decision definitely delegates a lot of bite to each sip, and likewise buries the alcohol behind a storm of various palate-smacking bitters, both subtle and pronounced, both dark and deep and grassy and gritty. However, while there is some good, nicely-restrained residual sugar allotted by the malts, the coffee and the multi-faceted hopping unfortunately don't provide much beyond the aforementioned—and, true to the patter's promise, complex—bittering.

Ultimately, I'd like to try this effort again, ideally a little geographically nearer and a lot temporally closer to the source. But even if the sniffing-a-nickel, sucking-on-a-penny characteristics *were* to be defects (either of canning or aging), I'm nevertheless skeptical I'd raise my score all too much: while Santa Fe's Imperial Java Stout is much too richly and variably bitter to be called "one-note," its very much "one-chord": many notes, but all firmly residing in a single register; complex, but in a narrow way; good at one thing, but all too reliant on only that thing.

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Imperial Java Stout from Santa Fe Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 976 ratings.
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