Pappy's Dark | Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant

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Pappy's DarkPappy's Dark

Brewed by:
Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant
Oregon, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Brewed with six malts of Belgian & British origin. Bourbon in color with a very complex and interesting malt profile. Matured in 9 & 10 year old bourbon barrels for 2-4 months. Bright aromas of bourbon, fresh baked bread, caramel, and oak. Velvety texture, rich malt and bourbon flavours with an enticingly warm bourbon finish. 10% alc/vol 40 IBU's"

Added by seanthornton152 on 05-28-2010

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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 123
Photo of themaj
1.75/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

2011 vintage. Thought only the 2012 was infected but after tasting this I think it is as well. Straight sour smell and taste. Pained me to do it but had to pour out.

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Photo of danwho
2.55/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Received in trade from the Pacific NorthWest a few months ago. Was told of the infection issues and to open soon.
Took to a bottle share today and it had soured. Some nice bourbon in the nose, but otherwise nothing but sour tartness in taste. I would have liked to try this fresh, oh well, at least we opened a Rare.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


Bottle thanks to writerljberg for the bottle. Poured into snifter.

A: Reddish amber with a small brown head.

S: Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, coconut, date. Evident booze. Smells a bit like an old IPA with some barrel characteristics.

T: Pretty hot. Earthy hops, caramel, oak, toffee, and lots of booze. Low bitterness. Finishes dry, with pronounced booze and oak.

M: Upper medium in body with upper low carbonation. Mouthfeel is silky, smooth, and sticky.

Overall: An interesting beer. Somewhere between an old Double IPA and a Barleywine. Not bad, but I wouldn't recommend it.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.37/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours a flat reddish brown body. No head. The thinnest of collars going on.

Smell - Bourbon, lots of caramel, vanilla. Not as impressive as I remember it.

Taste - Richer caramel, lots of barrel and vanilla. Finishes astringent and bourbony.

Mouthfeel - Mostly flat. Slight booziness to it.

Overall - Just a bland beer in a good barrel. This would be a nothing beer without the barrel.

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Photo of itsiilegal
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Barely audible pop to the cork. Pours very slowly. High viscosity, very sugary looking. Body is very still, 1/2 cm lacing around glass, no other head. Quite murky looking and the color of dark maple syrup.

Smell is not nearly as boozy, sweet or bourbony as I was expecting or like. What is there is some brown sugary, woody bourbon. Slight maple sugar and oxidation smell.

I normally expect this style to explode onto my mouth with sugar, bourbon, oak, wood, smokiness, something. This starts off very small with slight apricot tartness. Incredibly slight irish whiskey taste jumps in and a little brown sugar, apricots and plums still dominant flavors. Very mellow and long lasting middle taste. Finally lingers away to leave tell tale warm bourbon and brown sugar. Slight boozyness stays on back of tongue and throat. Apricots and stonefruit overpower the entire taste.

Very thin mouthfeel for a 10% bourbon barrel english beer. Sugars do coat the tongue slightly and are persistent. Very slight carbonation would normally compliment flavors, but do not particularly hurt od help this beer.

Overall I am an enormous Block 15 fan. I was very let down by Pappy's Dark. I cellared for about 2 years and really wish I would have drank fresh. I cannot see this getting better. I also would really like to try on tap or a different batch, this has great potential. For style, this is too tart apricots, not quite enough to make me think it's spoiled / infected, but certainly does not help the beer. It is still drinkable and nice but would not buy again unless I have tasted a better batch / bottle.

About 2 months after reviewing this beer I received an email from Block 15 stating possible infection issues in some bottles of 2012 Pappy's Dark. This confirmed my suspicions. Block 15 graciously offered full refunds to any opened or unopened bottle of 2012 Pappy's Dark (proof required). In their email they go on to explain they will be doing a full system clean, purge, sanitation and swap of all auxiliary equipment. They are also starting an in-house lab to keep track of yeast and quality. Nick and everyone at Block 15 handled this problem professionally and I will continue to be a loyal supporter. Cheers.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the pre-FWIBF bottle share held at the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, CA.

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with no head. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is sour with malt, fruit, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with sour malt and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is definitely infected but not all that bad as it is.

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Photo of spicelab
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle [email protected] 15 and brought back to Oz. Shared with mulder1010 and MrKennedy.

Treacle hue with a noisy, yellowy one finger head that falls without lacing to a minimal ring.

Mild leathery oak, dark fruits, muscatels, vanilla, coconut and candy cane.

Plethora of dark fruits, vanilla and heavy, bourbony, booze.

Carbonation feels way too jazzy and active for a big beer like this. Would be more suited to a hop-driven Pale Ale. A smoother, creamier body would also help to offset the hot booze. Finish is slightly tart.

There's lot of potential here, and plenty that I liked, but it's a bit hot to handle at the moment. Have another bottle that I will sit on at least 18 months and then revisit this review.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention and minimal lacing. Aroma consists of caramelized malt with some bourbon notes and some woody notes. Taste is a weird mix between some woody notes with some bourbon some caramelized malt notes though not as much residual sugars as I would have expected. Body is about average with good carbonation and some warming alcohol. Disappointed by this beer which lacks the balance I was hoping for and veers close to the messy category.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked & caged bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a deep amber with a nice off-white head that fades to a ring and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is toffee, caramel, sweet malts, dates, coconut, and a slight cherry aroma. The barrel aging is pretty well integrated into this one.

T: The taste is caramel, toffee, toasted coconut, booze, and a slight hop flavor to balance out all the sweet flavors. The booze is almost too's like they dropped a few shots of cheap bourbon in the bottles.

M: The feel is on the thin side of medium and decent carbonation. The alcohol is pretty apparent in the flavor and definitely makes itself known here.

O: Not the best barrel aged beer I've ever had but it could be worse. The smell is really great but the flavor and mouthfeel are subpar. The boozy aspect detracts from the overall enjoyment of the beer.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer appears a murky shade of burnt copper with virtually no head. The aroma offers oak, vanilla, bourbon, sweet malt. The flavor is very malty, with tannic / vanilla notes. Perhaps a hint of citrus from excessive barrel character. Light in feel with low carbonation. Overall, this was ok.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, split, hill farmstead glass

PAPPY BARRELS. A difficult beer to categorize or describe - pretty big bodied, caramel and toffee are the dominant flavors - bourbon is percolating, but not particularly refined. Brown sugar and molasses contribute additional weight and sweetness. I'm not sure about this one - some nice things going on, but kind of a mish-mash and the barrel aging really was pretty sloppy in my opinion.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle of 2010 vintage from my cellar, poured into tulips

A: Dark brick reddish, loose 1 finger head, good lacing

S: Raisin, bourbon, leather are detectable from a distance immediately after pouring. More subtle notes of toffee, vanilla, and dark fruit.

T: Bready and toasty malt, very slight banana, boozy on the finish. Doesn't really live up to the aroma.

M: Low-to-medium carbonation, a bit thin for the style.

O: Good, but a bit underwhelming, particularly compared to my memory of it on draft a couple months ago.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for this beer! Thanks Hollis!

reviewed from notes taken on 4/25/12.

750ml cork and cage format bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance: medium brown bodied beer with 2 fingers high of light tan colored frothy head. Some fizziness in the head that quickly drops to ring around glass.

Smell: Really mild nose. You gotta really put your nose into this beer to get anything out of it. Caramel and toffee; oak, brandy, and dark fruits prominently figs.

Taste: Toasted coconut and smooth bourbon. Oak, caramel, toffee, and vanilla notes. Figs and brown sugar. Nothing really stands out the flavors all just meld together. Mild astringency and a dry quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low carbonation. Smooth beer with a warming alcohol. Slickness to this beer, but it seem a bit thin.

Overall: This brew reminds me of Figgy Pudding from Block 15. I wish it had a bit more flavor.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of ramnuts. Thanks, Frank! I opened this without reading the label or beer description.

A: The cork was ridiculously hard to get out. The beer pours a murky (pond-water like) chestnut color with a thin head that consists of large tan bubbles. Retention is poor.

S: The aroma is not very strong; requiring some agitation to bring it out. It suggests some Belgian influence here; it carries notes of figs and raisins. Caramel, rye bread -- a bit of toffee behind mild bourbon and oak.

T: Woody, with toffee, caramel, and dark fruit (perhaps raisin and grape, or fig) leading the charge. I pick up mild spice that suggests a holiday character -- clove and nutmeg come to mind. The bourbon is present but not overwhelming, and it delivers a small vanilla accent in the finish. Brown sugar in the aftertaste. The beer manages to avoid being cloying by virtue of being [relatively] dry, the astringency of the oak, and a mild hoppiness. It is, however, a desert sipper.

M: Medium-bodied with low carbonation. The finish is clean and falls off the palate quickly, leaving some slickness behind.

O: I found this tasty enough, but it has a weak nose, and the flavors are too muddled to swim with the big boys in the style (assuming this is an English barleywine). It's good, but it needs some polish to shine. As always, I'm impressed by Block 15 and think they have potential.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jedwards for sharing this one. Pours the color of toffee with a hazy clarity. Head is just a soapy skim with a thin band around the edges. Nose is sugary and reveals toffee, citrus and a buttery quality. Taste expresses butterscotch, albeit it's a bit watered down, with just a suggestion of bourbon and a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium-light in consistency with a sharp carbonation and a slightly oily texture; however, all and all, it comes off a bit watery. My overall impression of this beer is a thin old ale. All and all it's decent, but the mouthfeel makes it all just fall a little short for me.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A snifter (a paltry $3? what???) served at The Hop & Vine, one day after a big Block 15 bash. Thanks to Yetta for the pour, despite the bar side not opening for well over an hour ~ glad there was still some left on-tap, even after bottles were long gone.

A: For lack of a better descriptor, this looks like 'bourbon' - a deep brown-orange that shows very little carbonation through its slight haziness. Barely a a 1/4" of khaki cream breaks apart quickly; 'lace' is a polka dot scattering.

S: Plenty of woodsy 'barrel' in the nose, a toasty malt/crushed spice/candy-like note that screams 'BOURBON!' with a backing of hoppy greenness, kinda minty. Smells good an strong right, but something of a one-trick pony right now...

T: Notable flavors of richly sweet and amply spiced bourbon; it's very straightforward with the oak and the spice. A curious fruitiness (apple) with toasted nuts and a little toffee. Dessert-y sugars and something deeper and darker, light cocoa and charred wood. It's complex know, but you have to believe there's much more to this given some time to relax.

M: Has a little surliness to its fusel heat, but that can't detract from a refined smoothness. Medium-heavy build; not quite 'cloying' but definitely a 'lasting feel, due almost entirely to that creamy booziness. Nice, but could stand to simmer down quite a bit...

D: A beer with 'good bones', but not an entirely drinkable one right now. The potential is high in this one, given anywhere from 6 months to... oh, I don't know... a couple years(?) to mellow. Awfully warm right now, which makes it a sipper that warrants nearly an hour to finish. If you're lucky enough to snag a bottle, do yourself a favor and sit on it til at least next fall... or if you like a boozy bourbon warmth, go ahead and have it right now!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this, Richard.

Copper in color with minimal head formation, perhaps some khaki foam. The barrel comes through a bit, but not as prominent as many barrel aged beers (a bit of booze and vanilla). There is a nice sweetness of toffee, brown sugar, dark stone fruits, and molasses. The flavor is similar in the malt profile. Excellent brown sugar and toffee flavors. There is a solid bourbon flavor and a smooth vanilla character. A bit more subdued on the fruit. Medium body with low carbonation.

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Photo of vkv822
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into tulip snifter.
2010 bottling.

Pours a clear amber brown with a thin tan head.

Aroma is a blend of caramel, bread malts and toffee along with quite a bit of bourbon from the barrel aging. Fairly boozy. I'm also getting some fig and other dark fruit in the finish.

The taste follows the nose fairly closely with caramel malts upfront followed quickly by bourbon and finishes with a strong oak note at first that turns to raisins and more dark fruits as it warms.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with light carbonation.

A very enjoyable beer, lots of bourbon, thankfully balanced out by some caramel and dark fruits.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler provide the first night of Inflatablechair's annual hair-cutting extravaganza. Seanthornton152 brought this gem over just for the occasion.... Very cool Sean... Glad you entered this one in before I did... I definitely didn't think "RIS" .... I think American Strong does justice.

Pours clear brown... nice off white head with okay lacing.

Nose is a plush sugary caramel conglomeration soaked in good bourbon. :-) Lite cocoa shows too, but that could be my smeller playing tricks.

Thick vanilla caramels... very malty and sweet.. not cloying.. just very thick.. decadent almost.. the bourbon plays pretty heavy too.. vanilla and lesser oak.. something that I pick up as spicy phenols... a bit solventy EtOH as it warms. Too sweet for my teeth.

Body is pretty heavy .... carbonation is lite yet ever present even on later pours.

Thanks again Sean.... I had a really hard time wrapping my mind around this one.... in a good way of course.


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Photo of Jeffo
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer night with Doopie many Tuesdays ago. Cheers for good times man!

From a 750 into a snifter
Vintage: 2011

APPEARANCE: Pours a 1½ finger, looser looking, fizzy, off-white head with decent retention. Head fades to a looser foam cap. Maroon red with medium carbonation evident. A stream flying up the middle of the glass. A nice foam cap remains with touches of lacing down the glass. Decent looking, but the intial head was lack luster.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon, vanilla, caramel and toffee on the nose. LIght red fruits in there as well, but this is mostly bold barrel and candy aromas. Pretty nice really.

TASTE: Sweet with caramel and toffee, then bourbon and oak notes into the swallow. Lots of fruit at the swallow, dark fruits mostly, with raisins, dates and grapes, and then more barrel, oak and spicy yeast linger nicely. Not boozy at all, but plenty of barrel flavors with caramel and fruity sweetness. Good stuff.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Very creamy-smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. A touch of heat lingers.

OVERALL: Good stuff for sure. Really enjoyable and complex. Lots of barrel flavors with plenty of sweet malt notes to compete. Good beers Doopie. Cheers man!

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Photo of MasterSki
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage shared by Mike (AgentZero). Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - Tan foam settles to wisps, a collar, and specks of lace. Opaque brown-orange body. Pretty solid considering the higher ABV.

S - Malt-heavy, with cherry brandy, dark fruits, marmalade, bourbon, and oak as well. Even with all those sweet flavors it manages to avoid being cloying - the oak and whiskey bite help in that regard.

T - A nice mix of fruity, toffee, and caramel malts yield to oak, vanilla, and bourbon in the finish. Notes of plums, black cherry, and raisins with some estery yeast as well - base felt a bit more like a Belgian Strong than an American one. Alcohol is very well hidden, and this went down fairly smooth for 10%.

M - Smooth, medium-full body. Creamy texture that evokes liquid caramel. Lower but present carbonation and well-hidden alcohol. Not sure if this would have been as tame out of the gate, but it's quite ready at this stage of the game.

D - A solid malt-forward barrel-aged beer. Nothing mind-blowing, but enjoyable all the same. You'll definitely need a few friends on deck to tackle the 750ml bottle, but it's perfectly drinkable in small doses.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, consumed July, 2014. Served slightly refrigerated.

Medium brown color, murky, with a small tan head that sank to a ringlet, leaving some random streaks of lacing and legs on the glass. Aroma was a little off at first (medicinal mostly), but after it breathed for a few minutes, it was fine. Notes of dark sugars, dark fruits, bourbon. In the taste, sweet malts, caramel, bourbon, wet oak, vanilla, brown sugar, figs, dates, some solventy booze. As the beer warmed, the bourbon/vanilla came out more, keeping the sweetness in check. Body was medium, mouthfeel was slick and unctuous. You definitely have to expect something different than a BA stout with this beer, otherwise you'll be disappointed. The bourbon was fairly smooth, lacking any major boozy heat, making the 10%ABV seem just about right, and making drinkability easy. Overall, this was an enjoyable beer. Not mind-blowing, but really everything was right where where it should have been.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown in color with burnt orangish brown highlights and a nice little thin head that barely left any lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots out sweetness prsence coming out of the aroma consisting of caramel, brown sugar, hints of maple syrup, toffee and some woody notes. The bourbon barrel character was not as intense as I thought it was going to be and the booze heat was well hidden.

T: caramel brown sugar sweetness with a blend of woody flavor hit the palate frist with just enough booze that was well balanced to me, alongside toffee molasses accents, a touch of vanilla and good bourbon character,

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a bourbon boozy, sweet, slightly woody, sugary and silky finish.

O: it was a pretty decent beer all around but was a little let down on the taste cause I thought it be more rich in flavor; oh well.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle opened and split two ways on 4.7.13.

A - Pours a dark cola brown with a few dark tan bubbles that quickly move to the glass and leave lots of streaking lacing.

S - A bit tart, but lots of barrel notes, toffee, and wood.

T - Lots of barrel, almost a tartness, but more woody. Lots of toffee/carmel, and of course bourbon. One of the best.

D - Lower carbonation with a medium body.

O - A bit tart and woody, but a very nice bourbon influence. Pappy is always nice.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

-Bals, -bals, -bals, everywhere I look I see -bals these days, but the best regarded ones typically involve Old Rip Van Winkle -bals. This 2011 batch actually sourced Pappy barrels this year and here's the result. Corked & caged bottle (750ml) thanks to black13. Split into a pair of CBS snifters and shared with TulipSnifter.

A: Rust body with a finger of butterscotch head that quickly recedes to a wisp ring. No lacing but some legs that give it redeeming value. 4/5

S: Heavy on the booze just like I remember last years being, but this time I'm able to pickup great barrel character behind the alcohol. Vanilla and oak are decadent and forward. Sweet promises of what's to come. 4/5

T: There's the barrels up front full of spice and big wood. Coconut and toffee is right there representing with a long dark sugar finish. Really good depth and complexity. 4/5

M: Thicker then last year and that's a plus. Sticky finish, but this is an after dinner sipper beer... It's expected and welcome. 4.5/5

O: Much better then the previous batch. Thick, complex, and interesting is not something I said last time. Block 15 at their best here. 4/5

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Pappy's Dark from Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant
3.86 out of 5 based on 123 ratings.
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