Black Coal Stout
Railway City Brewing Company

Black Coal StoutBlack Coal Stout
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Stout - American
Ranked #701
ABV:
6%
Score:
85
Ranked #30,391
Avg:
3.77 | pDev: 9.55%
Reviews:
20
Ratings:
70
From:
Railway City Brewing Company
 
Ontario, Canada
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  2
Gots
  16
SCORE
85
Very Good
Black Coal StoutBlack Coal Stout
Notes: This medium to full body stout is Railway City’s signature dark ale: introduced with a deep brown hue, the stout pours a thick and frothy dark chestnut coloured head. The nose is dominated by coffee and toasted characteristics with underlying tones of rich dark chocolate. On the palate the stout begins with bitter-sweet chocolate leading into elegant toasted notes reminiscent of coffee and a slight undertone of freshly baked rye bread.
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 70 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Arichuna:
Photo of Arichuna
Arichuna from Canada

2.7/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

As a lover of room temperature Irish Stout especially the caramely Murphy's I was disappointed by my first experience with the Black Coal Stout - taking the rating factors in turn, (1) Look - the head getting flat in 5 minutes in the glass (3) Smell - an acrid back smell (3) Taste - Too bitter a throat and too "medicinal" a mouth (4) Feel - smooth at first but turning quickly stodgy flat as the residual carbonation disappears. I'll try it from a unrefrigerated fresh cask next time (if such a thing exists these days) for a second opinion rather than from an LCBO can where Canadian bars insist on chilling stout like a soft drink

Apr 08, 2018
More User Reviews:
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SteveWeiler from Canada

3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jan 20, 2020
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TerryW from Canada

3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark with a good looking head. Some spotty lace, not a ton. Smells dusty and smoky, proper for a stout. Lots of licorice to taste, some smoke, but oddly sweet somehow. Not quite what I was expecting that way. Thin bodied, slightly drying. Passably good, but for the odd sweetness.

Nov 22, 2014
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Sammy from Canada

3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Ok drinkability, possibly one of the better ones I have had from this brewery. Decent amount of smoke to make it interesting. A bit thin mouthfeel. Lots of licorice in the finish, hazelnut like flavouring. Bottle at Stouts Irish Pub in Toronto. Black without visible head.

Feb 26, 2013
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DrJay from Texas

3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Dec 29, 2013
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rab53 from Washington

3/5  rDev -20.4%

Jul 24, 2013
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headlessparrot from Canada

3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

While it's a respectable brew, the problem is that the appearance (dark, nice head, very sharp poured into the pint glass) and the smell (lots of chocolate, coffee, caramel) set up expectations that the taste can't deliver on: it's not bad, just quite light in flavour, and a bit watery in feel.

Jul 22, 2015
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shivtim from Georgia

4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Apr 01, 2018
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InspectorHound from Canada

3.44/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours dark brown with a 2 finger tan head.
Light on the nose with burnt coffee coming through.
Very dry mouth feel, finishes tart and slightly sour.
Dominant tastes of burnt coffee, dark chocolate, oats and black jubes.
This beer earns a B -

Feb 17, 2020
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thehyperduck from Canada

3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from the brewery; best before Feb 7 2013. I enjoyed the sample I had while visiting, and decided to pick up a few bottles of this before I left. I don't think this is the first year they've brewed this particular stout (since it has apparently won a Silver Medal in something-or-other), but apparently I'm the first BA to review it.

Pouring black as night, this one handily earns its 'black coal' nickname with an opaque black hue and two fingers' worth of dense, foamy brown head at the surface. It gradually dies down over a period of minutes, coating the glass with webs of lacing. The aroma is full of rich roasted malt character, with baker's chocolate, mocha and burnt coffee grind notes. Not particularly complex or anything, but the aroma is powerful and intense, which is enough to say it does its job well and has me eager to sip.

Very tasty stuff, with lots of roasted grains and nuts at first, followed by dark chocolate and spent coffee grinds. A slight twinge of dark cherries toward the finish, but this is quickly scrubbed away by the roasted coffee flavours in the finish. Slightly herbal - perhaps with shades of anise - and a roasty, malty aftertaste that lingers on the palate. Medium-bodied, pretty creamy, with mild carbonation that gently prickles the tongue and leaves the mouthfeel of this stuff supremely smooth. Very drinkable, even at 6%; I could definitely have a few of these in a night. Black Coal Stout is probably the best beer that Railway City brews, at least judging from my own experience - so it's a bit of a shame this stuff probably won't see distribution nearly as wide as their Dead Elephant or Blonde any time soon.

[Updated Mar 29 2016]

Another can, dated from earlier this month. Despite my original pessimism, this has now been available in LCBOs for at least 2 years. I still feel that it's a solid stout, but my enthusiasm has wavered a bit recently - the roasted malts are a bit lacking in intensity, and overall this beer doesn't really impress me as much as it used to. Good, not great - but certainly worth a look, at least.

Final Grade: 3.87, a solid B+.

Dec 17, 2012
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Electros from Canada

3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Apr 19, 2015
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GodOfBeer from Canada

3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

One of their better beers for sure.

Very dark brown with a nice thick brown head.

Smells very smokey, kind of like coal, interestingly enough.

Coffee, smoke, chocolate, dark malts, a hint of sweetness and bitterness. Seems to be missing something though, not much body here.

Very dry, almost chalky texture, thin mouthfeel. Definitely something missing, but still very good!

Mar 07, 2013
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Jeffo from Netherlands

3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one at the LCBO in Toronto this past summer.

From a can into a pint glass

APPEARANCE: Clear black pour yields a 3+ finger, medium-looser looking, foamy, light tan head with half decent retention. Swiss cheese head pops and fizzes down to a foamy cap with foamy lacing on the glass. Clear black body with no real carbonation evident. A half wisp remains leaving touches of lacing on the glass. Lousy head on this one but the body is alright.

SMELL: Roasted barley, burnt notes, dark fruits, leather and tobacco on the nose. Notes of burnt coffee with dark chocolate as well. Quite aromatic. Good stuff.

TASTE: Roasted barley with burnt and charred flavors up front. Medium strength with more flavor at the swallow. Burnt malts, leather, tobacco, bitter burnt coffee and some sweet cream linger on the palate. Pretty flavorful after the swallow.

PALATE: Slightly thinner body and higher levels of carbonation. Light on the palate, a bit foamy perhaps, goes down fine and finishes a bit mouth-coating. Too light and foamy for the style, but creamy enough.

OVERALL: Okay, and the name Black Coal fits the bill here as well. The look and feel could use some work but the base recipe is solid. Good aroma and the flavor works well, especially after the swallow. Well worth checking out if you get the chance, and I’ll definitely be on the look out for another batch when I’m home again in July. Cheers!

Dec 16, 2015
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TheHammer from Canada

3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 27, 2015
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RedAleMan from Canada

4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 30, 2015
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andrenaline from Canada

3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Jun 25, 2016
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Molson2000 from Canada

3.11/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Apr 23, 2015
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achepil from Canada

3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Oct 03, 2018
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spinrsx from Canada

3.34/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

May 23, 2015
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rapayn01 from Kentucky

3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a standard 473 ml Canadian pint can. Bitterness prevails with this stout and I liked it. The flavor made me think of dark unsweetened chocolate or even mocha. It's quite black in appearance, as the name implies. I'd seek it out again.

Nov 20, 2018
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hopsolutely from Canada

3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes taken last week while on tap at "The Kick-Off" in Waterloo. Remember enjoying it last year and possibly also the year before, but not sure how long Railway City has been brewing this seasonal.

Stunningly beautiful draught pour, a murky black with large bubbled, coffee-coloured head. However mouthfeel is thinner than I'd expect, lacking creaminess .

The aroma is excellent. Coffee is the predominant note, with enough roasted malts to be interesting. A complex malt-forward flavour, both roasted and toasted, with chocolate and coffee elements. Another positive is that this pint has no discernible diacetyl, which seems to be a struggle for this brewery.

An excellent Ontario dry stout that I'd highly recommend.

Dec 22, 2012
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deonreds from New York

3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

May 29, 2014
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WoodBrew from Ohio

4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I bought a can of this from the beer store in Brantford whilst in Canada for my son's hockey tournament. It poured an opaque black with tan head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent is roast and slight espresso. The taste is nicely balanced and easy to drink. There was coffee and slight touch of chocolate. The Mouthfeel was lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a solid stout.

Jan 09, 2017
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Mitchell_ from Canada

3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Absolutely beautiful color. If you're looking for a stout you really can't go wrong with this one. As for taste I can pick up notes of coffee mixed with chocolate. Really a must try for people who like stout.

Jun 28, 2020
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ThinkAgain from Canada

3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Mar 22, 2015
Black Coal Stout from Railway City Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 70 ratings