Zonker Stout
Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub

Zonker StoutZonker Stout
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Stout - Foreign / Export
Ranked #1
Ranked #2,217
4.19 | pDev: 8.59%
Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub
Wyoming, United States
Zonker StoutZonker Stout
Notes: A rich, well-balanced foreign style stout with a huge amount of roasted barley as well as chocolate, black, and caramel malts. The intense roast character is the main attribute of this black colored beer. The alcohol content is 6.0%. Zonker has been recognized time and again as one of the top foregin style stouts.
Reviews: 271 | Ratings: 539 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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jkblr from Indiana

4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz can stamped 03/02/21 poured into a tulip pint glass at fridge temp 6% ABV. The beer pours dense, black in color with generous and lasting mocha colored head. The head recedes slowly to a one inch cap and leaves a web of lacing covering the glass. The aroma is mild featuring dark cocoa & slight ash with a nutty, earthy undertone. The taste is more dark chocolate with a caramel balance not found in the aroma. Mild bitterness. The mouthfeel is silky & medium bodied with less than medium carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, excellent. This is a superb example of a disappearing style. Export stouts, done well, offer the character of the imperials with much better drinkability. Would definitely acquire and drink again.

May 29, 2021
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Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

CAN: 12 fl oz pull-tab with an understated label. Nabbed as part of a sixer from a Total Wine & More in Colorado - I think for $9.99 USD plus tax?

"Export Style Stout." Currently ranked #1 on the top Stout - Foreign / Export list with a 93 overall score.

6% ABV.

Served cold into an oversized pint nonic snifter hybrid glass thingamajigger (I don't know what to call this glassware but it's fancy).

APPEARANCE: Pours a gorgeous gilded tan head replete with loads of creamy softness. Robust...its starting ~6-7cm head height sticks around for a good 8 minutes or so, and rich thick lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes. Body colour is a true to style opaque black. No yeast/lees are visible within.

Looks as an export stout ought to. I guess the head could be still more gilded and could have more of an imperial stout-like golden sheen to better effect, if we're really picking nits. I see nothing wrong with this appearance and it looks rather good.

AROMA: Roasted barley is immediately obvious, buoyed by chocolate malt, dark malt sweetness, and burnt sugars. Hints of something from the licorice/fennel/aniseed family of herbs...I guess fennel. Burnt blackstrap molasses. Buried scintillae of caramelized sugars.

Seems perfectly attenuated for the style, with a big roasty bitterness balanced by specialty chocolate malts. Seems like a carafa-driven export stout that's impeccably balanced judging by the aroma.

I don't get any coffee-like aromatics, dark fruit, vanilla/vanillin, or actual chocolate (i.e. the chocolate aroma is solely chocolate malt-derived).

Aromatic intensity is average.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Big, roasty, and dry, with a nice undertone of burnt sugars and earthy fennel-like spice. No hop flavours are obvious...maybe some preservative-only herbal hop varietals. Chocolate malt joins with its dark malt backbone to give it some balancing sweetness without usurping the roast at the beer's heart. And the roast is lovely...this beer is chock full of carafa goodness, pleasing the roasted barley lover in all of us.

Has a subtle dryness and coarseness that helps coax out depth of flavour from the carafa/roasted barley without detracting from the gooeyness on the back end that complements the smooth chocolate flavours. Rich without tasting too sweet; robust without being too boozy or harsh. A flirtation with silky softness towards the back end helps surface a brief hint of fudge and chocolate syrup before the roast banishes that sweetness back under its depths.

Carbonation is perfect. Medium to full-bodied, which is apt for the style and this beer's flavour profile.

OVERALL: This is an impeccably balanced export stout with no flaws and few shortcomings...I will say the subtle coffee-like flavour carafa tends to impart is absent here to its slight detriment, and I can't help but imagine some vanillin or vanilla bean flavours would liven it up. But while I can imagine it better with subtle tweaks, I can't find any faults or flaws; it's tremendously well brewed.

Rivals Guinness' export stouts, which is no small feat in my book.

A- (4.13) / EXCELLENT

12/14/20 12 fl oz can:

Roasty with chocolate undertones. Boasts impressive depth of flavour. Balanced.

God, I love a nice roasty stout in the winter.


Nov 29, 2020
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.96/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Today marks my first day off in a week, following six (6) ten & a-half (10.5)-hour days! I just started a job as a sorter in the post office & we are busy, busy, busy. I am tired, tired, tired, but getting used to the pace, the hours & the pay! 8=) The start of today will be Stout Sunday before switching to something else. For me, too many Stouts are as binding as cheese for some people. 8=p

From the CAN: "WY drink anything else? [Ha!]"; "GABF Gold Medal"; "Zonker Export Style Stout"; "World Beer Cup Gold"; "Named for a highly effective fishing fly, Zonker is a rich, well-balanced foreign-style stout formulated with a huge amount of roasted barley as well as chocolate, black, and caramel malts. The intense roast character is the main attribute of this black-colored beer. A six-time medalist at the Great American Beer Festival (tm) and a four-time medalist at the World Beer Cup (tm), Zonker has been recognized time and again as one of the world's best stouts."

Oooh. I wish that I had transcribed the preceding before my Crack! of the vent, followed by an inverted Glug. I wanted a pseudo-cascade, which I got, but I should have treated it like the bloody Stanley Cup & worn white gloves & treated it reverentially, instead of as a cheap tart. It may be some residual bitterness over Linda Lou, a Wyomingite, who threw me over a quarter-century ago, eh? It performed admirably, forming two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, deep-brown head with very good retention. Color was coal Black/Opaque (SRM = 44) & as to light penetration? It sent out a bouncer to keep watch! 8=O Nose was beautiful - charcoal smoke; anise; treacle; toffee; coffee; dried dark fruits, such as raisins & prunes; burnt tobacco - think a smoked Maduro cigar. Mmm.

I used to love Macanudo Maduros until I developed adult-onset asthma. Mmm, they were slow-burning & more flavorful than so many others. Try one, if you CAN.

Mouthfeel was dense & thick, more like a R-hook into the tongue. POW! 8=O The taste was like a cut 'n' paste of this site's Style Guide - " a very pronounced roasted character", "roasted grain and malt flavor with a coffee, chocolate, or lightly burnt grain character, although without a sharp bite". 8=O Holy Picture Perfect, Batman! No wonder all of the awards. Finish was "[m]oderately dry" & I was left wondering how I have not had this before. This was an outstanding Foreign Stout!

I am heavy on all-5s, despite the site's dictum to have them be a rarity. Fair dinkum. I didn't like the bouncer's glare & the feckin tongue punch put me off. Howzat? YMMV.

Jun 07, 2020
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jzlyo from Iowa

3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is coffee, dark/roasted malts and slightly burnt. The flavor is roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, a hint dark fruit and a slightly acidic/somewhat smooth finish.

Apr 03, 2020
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eppCOS from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - Fantastic foam, head, and some minor lacing on this "between dry Irish and export Stout" stout.
S - Roast, chocolate, burnt grains, smells like an Irish breakfast on a foggy morning.
T - Where it truly stands out against other light stouts - it tastes like something, none of that dry, chalky foamy dry Irish effect, and ALMOST as rich as a bigger export stout (Guinness/Cumbre's Malpais). A great 'tweener Stout for the undecided.
F - Great carbonation, enough hops to not be dull or too malty, just great palate impression. Full taste and fizz.
O - One of THE best American Stouts on the market today, period. End of discussion. Get it, try it, trade for it. Good stuff!

Mar 25, 2020
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beergoot from Colorado

4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Inky black body topped with a thick, rocky and sticky light tan head; sheets and rings of foam cling to the glass. Excellent roasted grain aroma; baker's chocolate. Nice rich chocolatey flavor; cocoa; well-rounded bitterness; not too sweet. Heavy, oily body; smooth and slick; great residual sugar heft.

This a a delicious, straightforward stout, nothing pretentious or gimmicky. Beautiful eye appeal and outstanding mouthfeel with a deep and balanced taste.

Jan 03, 2020
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass
Appearance – The beer pours a deep brown, nearly black color with a one finger head of tan foam. The head fades very fast, leaving a little bit of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is massive of a roasted coffee bean smell mixed with cocoa and a touch of molasses. Along with these smells come a tiny bit of charred toast and a hint of vanilla crème.
Taste – The taste begins with a rather strong dark roasted malt flavor mixed with a god showing of a coffee flavor. Upfront there is also a light chocolate taste, with the chocolate adding a touch of sweetness along with a caramel taste. As the taste advances the chocolate becomes drier in nature and takes on a more baking chocolate like flavor. All the while the caramel fades some as well being replaced by some light char tastes. With the transitions of flavors that occur during the taste profile, one is left with a rather dark roasty coffee flavor to liner on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is one the average to slightly thicker side with a carbonation level that is rather average to slightly lower. For the dark coffee flavors of the brew the feel is well done and makes of a nice medium for the dark roasty tastes to be well appreciated.
Overall – Dark, coffee, and somewhat on the drier side. A rather nice foreign stout.

Oct 20, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

12 oz can poured into Tallgrass globe snifter.

My first Snake River beer experience.

Deep, luscious, dark liquid spews forth forming a mirror-finish body and a tall creamy beige cap of 2 fingers. Sparse broken lacing up the sides remains as the head diminishes to 1/2 finger.

Aroma is of deeply dark roasted malts, piney hop, ashtray, espresso, and some faint semi-sweet chocolate.

Flavor brings deep, dark roasted flavors, intensely bitter and very burnt. Yet there's a nice molasses-meets-chocolate sweetness that balances the ashen assault to a palatable and tasty level. Slight grassy espresso. The flavor mirrors the Russian Imperial Stout style with a little extra ash.

Feel is carbonated foremost, and then slick/oily, and then roasty/dry. Pretty killer stuff.

Overall, best in its class. For an Export Stout without any barrel or adjuncts this beer is simply incredible. It reminds me of bells expedition at half the ABV. For the style, it's a 5 all day long. Best stout I've found on shelves under 10% ABV. Absolutely does not get better than this in its class. To the point where if I'm on the west side of the Dakotas, I will make the trip into Wyoming just to buy this beer. Incredible recipe, incredible execution, artisan brewing. Nice work guys.

Oct 17, 2019
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Tucquan from Pennsylvania

4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2019-10-06 near Pittsburgh, PA from a 12oz canned on 2019-07-31

A - Opaque dark brown with a 2-finger light brown head and great lace

S - Chocolate espresso latte. Medium roasted grain. Sweet and inviting

T - Dark chocolate, roasted grain with some char, earthy spice, lactose. Balancing, roasted bitterness.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Creamy at first but finishes dry with some acerbic/acid bite.

O - Tons of flavor packed into this 6% brew. Quite impressive and an exemplary example of an Export Stout. I can see why it won quite a few medals at GABF over the years

Oct 06, 2019
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A great stout that I can only compare to Fremont - Dark Star, Eight & Sand - Short & Stout, and Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel - Péché Mortel, the tops of the non-barrel aged stouts!

Apr 21, 2019
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Sprowt20 from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The roasty nose brings to mind coffee and thick stout. In the mouth, a tingle from the carbonation accompanies notes of chocolate and dark malts. Swallowing it, a mild hop build gives it adaquate bitter to keep you coming back. Overall, a fantastically interesting, savory stout.

Mar 20, 2019
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DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

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

Deep brown color, dark tan head. This is not the silky smooth Guinness-style stout. It's more intensely roasted with chocolate and caramel notes. Still very good, a solid enjoyable stout in every way.

Oct 17, 2018
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Jrosso from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark with a thick head. Great aroma of chocolate and roasted coffee with a taste to match. A very well balanced stout at 6%. This beer has been recognized time and time again while being a six-time medalist at the #gabf and a four-time medalist at the world beer cup.

Sep 27, 2018
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, opaque in the glass with a fine, half finger, light brown head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, bread crust, cocoa and a hint of caramel, appealing. Flavor follows with dark toasted malt with light char, brown bread crust, cocoa and a little mild chocolate, hints of coffee and caramel. Nice lingering lightly charred malt and cocoa finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. The flavor profile is spot on export stout, but this is what this style should taste like. Very smooth and integrated even down to the light malt char. Nice caramel and coffee notes on the edges. Looks, smells and tastes great. I'm spoiled by the big BA stouts I drink frequently and these smaller stouts sometimes taste underwhelming; this is an exception. Very nicely done. I look forward to trying this brewery again.

Sep 19, 2018
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flagmantho from Washington

3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can into a dimpled mug. Canned 11/28/17.

Appearance: rich black hue with a finger of frothy dark-tan foam. Damn nice.

Smell: moderately roasty with a bit of a malty sweetness. Not a bad aroma, but I'd love a little more intensity and/or complexity.

Taste: lightly roasty and a little bit sweet; like the aroma, it's good but I'd love a little bit more intensity.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good carbonation and a very smooth creaminess. I really like it!

Overall: what this beer lacks in complexity and volume, it makes up for in drinkability. I dig it.

May 23, 2018
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great example of the style that managed to show up in my fridge (given to me by a buddy).

Charcoal-black pour with a thick khaki head; nice, classic look for the style. Good looking beer. Head lasts a while.

Aroma is fire-roasted malts, smoke, char, dark roast coffee grounds and dark chocolate.

Taste is roasted malt, French Roast, dark bitter chocolate, charred bread, campfire. Toast and roasty throughout but nothing sweet or acrid. Nice malt and bitter balance.

Dry, earthy, smoky and crisp. Drinks clean and easy. Nice flag bearer of the style.

Mar 21, 2018
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Stevedore from Oregon

3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can, served in a tulip glass. Pours a dark black body, two finger massive offwhite head, good retention, lots of lacing. The head size is fairly obnoxious, and has the look of overcarbonation. Smell is licorice, milk chocolate, cocoa, resin and herbal notes. Touch of citrus. In some ways this is much like a black IPA. Flavour is a milk chocolate combination with resin, a bit of leather, touch of roasted malt, licorice and herbal notes. Sort of like a citrusy chocolate combination with a floral, sort of resinous, bitterness on the backend. Mouthfeel is medium thinner bodied, good carbonation, smooth roasty creaminess with a bit of floral and citrus hop dosing on the backend. Essentially drinks like a solid black IPA, with a heavy emphasis on the roasted malts.

Jan 20, 2018
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a fairly dark black, with a large fluffy brown head, and a good bit of lacing.

This smells like heavy roast, light cream, slight smoke, and dark chocolate.

It doesn't get much better than this for the style. It's got a killer roasted grain flavor- slight smokey, all roasty, with a little bit of high quality chocolate flavor. It's really creamy, with a nice vanilla feel to it.

This is pretty creamy, with a medium body, and a good level of carbonation for the style.

I'd been waiting to try this one a while, and it lived up to my expectations.

Dec 06, 2017
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to tacosandbeer for this can.

A - Pitch black pour, burnt toffee colored creamy lacing that's very sticky on the sides of the glass.

S - Dark roasted chocolate, light char and smoke, delicate cream, roasted cocoa, and has a slight astringent

T - A nice balance between smokiness, roasted chocolate, delicate cream, and some acidity that blends perfectly.

M - Medium body, dry on the back of the tongue.

O - For a 6% Stout? Zonker packs a TON of flavor and character into 12 oz.!.!.!

Aug 25, 2017
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xanderbock from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz can into pint glass.

L: Pours black with a fluffy, brown head. The head holds for a bit, but as it dissipates there is nice lacing left around the glass.

S: Light cocoa/coffee, light roast that becomes more present as it warms, and some fruitiness on the nose. Caramel notes come forward as it warms too.

T: Light roast, some acrid/burnt notes from the roasted malts, light chocolate notes. Caramel and some sweetness as it warms as well. Bitterness from the roasted barley and hops are present.

F: Bitterness coats the tongue each sip, but is pleasant. Carbonation is light/medium with a medium body. There's a silkiness to the beer on each sip.

O: Solid example of a stout. Has everything you would expect with roast, bitterness, chocolate, and smooth.

Jul 16, 2017
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.62/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewpub in Jackson WY.
Opaque black body with an excellent very durable tan head.
Aroma: light spicy hops, dark toast, licorice and alcohol esters.
Flavor: moderate strength and high bitterness for style.
Full body and medium carbonation.

Jun 13, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a nonic. The appearance was a dark brown to black color with a nice looking semi-dark tan head that really took it’s time dissipating. In the wake, there’s a nice semi-thick coating of lace. The smell was full of roasted coffee bean amplified by a deep dark roasted chocolate malt coming forth like milk chocolate. The taste took those previously mentioned flavors to town to let in a fury of roast and bitter. As it continued to warm, sweet chocolate invades yet balances very nicely. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a good sipping quality about it. The carbonation was smooth. This one really ramped up a nice rolling sweet bitter roastiness coating my tongue. Overall, hot damn! I really liked this one. I would love to have this again.

Jun 09, 2017
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Rogerlb from California

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can from a 4-pack. Pours quite black, mate. Finger and a half head that's sudsy. Aroma is chocolate, smoke, some coffee. Smells quite rich.

Taste is instantly pleasing, bitter chocolate, ashy coffee, a thick mocha feel and none of this is overpowering. Cream, nutty, all that yet surprisingly smooth for what presents as pretty rich. As BA user @Benish says, it drinks like an imperial although it's only 6%.

Malt, tobacco, good roast characteristics. Honey? All this and WW2. Finish is sticky and a bit chewy.
Great body and feel. Bitter is slight on this, more a subtheme than the main plot. Finishes with a slight chocolate-covered cherry.

Really, it's just a base roasty stout with tons of great nuances. For 6% I'm still getting some of the alcohol as well. Pretty amazing foreign stout, a style I don't have a lot of experience with. Quite recommended.

Apr 11, 2017
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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz can dated 6/6/16. Oh boy. Poured into Kane glass.

L: 1F tan head with decent retention, some lacing, leaves thin tan cap and ring. Beer is dark black.

S: AFAIK it's still in good shape. This stout is all in the roasted malts and grains - barley, chocolate, caramel. If it was more intense than this months ago, that must be something.

T: Comes through here as well. All roasted chocolate and caramel malts, along with roasted barley and a coffee character that naturally results from the roasting. May have lost a little bit over the months, but definitely not a significant amount.

F: This is light to medium body, almost porter-like. Light carbonation. Roasty taste lingers on palate and stays neutral throughout. Good construction and balance.

O: Reminds me a lot of Carton Adjunct, just an excellent no-frills basic stout. Reputation definitely earned and deserved.

Feb 24, 2017
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Act25 from New Jersey

4.36/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Best 6% stout ever, sets a new high mark.
A) rocky, jagged head that lasts and laces over a jet black body.
S) Best part, char, coffee and chocolate duking it out along with hop bitterness and a major, fruity, prune like malt base.
T) Abundant, following the smell, a charred, woodsmoke feast with coffee and chocolate on the simmer, and a long drying herbal, pruney finish.
F) Just weighty enough without being heavy and that long, slow dry finish.
O) Could make this my go-to beer, or could be black & Tanned with any beer for great improvement. Try 24. A personal best.

Nov 23, 2016
Zonker Stout from Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 539 ratings