Zonker Stout
Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub

Zonker StoutZonker Stout
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Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub
Wyoming, United States
Stout - Foreign / Export
Ranked #2
Ranked #3,511
4.18 | pDev: 8.85%
Jan 09, 2022
Dec 26, 2001
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.
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4.59 by DannyBoy15347 from Missouri on Jan 09, 2022
3.5 by rare_bird from Michigan on Aug 08, 2021
Photo of jkblr
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by jkblr from Indiana

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
4.74 by WCKDVBZ from South Carolina on Mar 20, 2021
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Jugs_McGhee from Texas

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
4.19 by odenbr12 from New Jersey on Nov 21, 2020
4.77 by CO-Bloom from Colorado on Sep 21, 2020
Photo of woodychandler
4.96/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
by woodychandler from Pennsylvania

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
4.16 by Limazulu from Idaho on May 20, 2020
4.1 by smi69 from New York on Apr 17, 2020
Photo of jzlyo
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by jzlyo from Iowa

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
Photo of eppCOS
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by eppCOS from Colorado

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
4.47 by Connybumbum from Colorado on Feb 16, 2020
4.23 by ju53o8nyg9 from Colorado on Feb 06, 2020
3.89 by BoozerBrad from Texas on Jan 31, 2020
4.41 by Wisconsin_IPA_Lover from Wisconsin on Jan 19, 2020
Photo of beergoot
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by beergoot from Colorado

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
4 by McBraniel from Virginia on Dec 29, 2019
Photo of Darkmagus82
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Darkmagus82 from Texas

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
Photo of hoptheology
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5
by hoptheology from South Dakota

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
Photo of Tucquan
4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Tucquan from Pennsylvania

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
4 by brandoneast from Texas on Aug 05, 2019
4 by notchucknorris from California on Jun 29, 2019
3.96 by Sayb from Arizona on Jun 28, 2019
4.33 by Spaceman_Jer from Colorado on Jun 20, 2019
4.67 by Dalbeast from Wyoming on May 11, 2019
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

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
4.18 by NastyNorseman from New York on Apr 15, 2019
3.88 by chitownfanatic21 from Wyoming on Apr 12, 2019
Photo of Sprowt20
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Sprowt20 from New Jersey

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
4.17 by NeoClassicist from New York on Feb 18, 2019
Photo of DFM
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by DFM from Illinois

The best Foreign Stout by the best small craft brewery in the USA!

Jan 22, 2019
4.23 by Wizzle32 from Pennsylvania on Oct 25, 2018
4.2 by hozersr from Pennsylvania on Oct 25, 2018
4.2 by Wheels2532 from Pennsylvania on Oct 25, 2018
Photo of DaveMaciolek21
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

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
3.27 by jeschaefer from Texas on Sep 29, 2018
Photo of Jrosso
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Jrosso from New Jersey

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
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by LiquidAmber from Washington

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
4.06 by cd34 from Illinois on Jul 08, 2018
Zonker Stout from Snake River Brewing Company & Brewpub
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 541 ratings