Black Xantus
Humboldt Brewing Co.

Black XantusBlack Xantus
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Humboldt Brewing Co.
California, United States
American Imperial Stout
4.19 | pDev: 10.02%
Oct 21, 2020
Oct 09, 2009
Black XantusBlack Xantus
Notes: Barrel aged for 6 months in combination of Bourbon, retired Firestone Union and wine barrels and Infused with fair-trade, organic coffee from local roaster Jobella.

Style: Imperial Java Stout IBUs: 50 Color: Black ABV: 11%
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Photo of jakecattleco
Reviewed by jakecattleco from California

4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Bottle dated 11/06/14 into a tulip glass. Nose is nice, bourbon and roasted malts. Taste has a bit more dimension, plenty of barrel aspects. Thinner mouthfeel for 11%. This held up really well, little/no oxidation perceived, would happily have again.
Oct 21, 2020
Rated: 3.98 by ChrisMon02 from Ohio

Apr 12, 2020
Photo of jws7968
Reviewed by jws7968 from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured very thin and gave me reason to doubt. It did not. Not much in the line of lacing. Smells nothing of coffee, but does of bourbon and is very fruity. The bourbon is very prominent in the taste as well. This beer was a surprise and well worth looking in to purchasing again.
Apr 11, 2020
Rated: 3.79 by nataku00 from California

Mar 29, 2020
Rated: 4.17 by Sound_Explorer from Washington

Mar 28, 2020
Photo of MikeWard
Reviewed by MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
650ml bottle into a goblet. Bottled 4/3/15, so getting on for 5 years old.

Jet black body, small tan head which, despite the abv, maintains in some form throughout leaving a little lacing

Aroma of dried fruit, and a touch boozy.

On tasting after it had warmed up a bit, the coffee additive has pretty much disappeared. But there is a ton of dried fruit, raisin, plum, etc. You get the feeling that it's about to descend into soy sauce, but it never does. Barrel aging is smooth after 4 plus years in the bottle. Enjoying this one.

Mouth closing in on full, finish boozy dried fruit

Overall, nice sipper on a cold night, a lot going on.
Jan 27, 2020
Photo of ScruffySouthpaw
Reviewed by ScruffySouthpaw from New York

4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Served in a red wine glass from the bottle.

Appearance: Dark thick black body with medium bubbles to the body with a dark tan head rising well over one fingers length off the body.

Smell: Espresso aroma accompanied with light dose of vanilla extract and hints of light whiskey.

Taste: Complex brew and incredibly tasty. It is a dry butter coffee with rich whiskey. It is subtle with doses of dark chocolate with molasses and beyond malty. Caramel notes are there and offset the brew perfectly.

Mouth: Super sticky beer. Comes off a touch dry with espresso stickiness. Full body with medium carbonation.

Overall: Great brew. I got this from a beer of the month club and Will inquiere if I can make further purchases. It's a must grab and better than some of the hyper crap you see see on the internet. Sleeper hit of the year. Yes I said it. Salud!
Apr 28, 2019
Rated: 4.46 by StoutAtTheDevil from Alabama

Mar 26, 2019
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
Reviewed by MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
22oz bottle. Stamped on bottle neck is bottling date of '11/06/14'. The label says the beer was brewed and bottled in Paso Robles CA, which is where Firestone Walker is located. The date of bottling, according to Humboldt's website timeline, is post-Firestone Walker ownership, but perhaps the beer was contact brewed by Firestone Walker.
Ruby brown colored body. Partial finger width of tan head, which sticks around as a partial head fed by rising tiny bubbles. Spots of lacing with each sip slide back down into the body.
Aroma is heavy with dark malts, with dark chocolate. There is a hint of vanilla and black licorice.
Taste is dominated with the heavy, dark chocolate malt. Also has caramel and molasses. There is a background bitterness from how coffee would express. There is a hint that this beer has been barrel aged, as evidenced from the higher ABV% and an aftertaste akin to bourbon and vanilla.
Nearly medium in mouth feel. Quite good carbonation.
The beer has a touch of sweetness, but also has a definitely darker and more bitter touch. The rising bubbles provide a visual show at the beer's surface.

I have another bottle of Black Xantus which the label identifies 'Nectar Ales' as the brewer. The stamped bottling date is '11/22/13', which is an earlier bottling date for the first reviewed bottle. Label says "Brewed & Bottled by NECTAR ALES Paso Robles, CA 93446".
Dark brown colored body, with a partial finger width of light tan head. This head stays around as a partial cap and ring. Leaves behind some strings of lacing.
Aroma is dark malts, with chocolate, dark fruits, and vanilla.
Taste follows the smell with dark malts, heavily expressing chocolate. There is a tang akin to dark fruits, along with vanilla and bourbon barrel notes. Some toffee and anise flavors mix in.
Medium plus mouth feel. Very good carbonation.
From memory this beer is very similar to the other bottle of Black Xantus, and the rating score remains the same.
Mar 20, 2019
Rated: 4.04 by cd34 from Illinois

Feb 26, 2019
Rated: 4.5 by jewellrunner from Missouri

Feb 25, 2019
Photo of Mshoener
Reviewed by Mshoener from Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
The pour is lucious with an outstanding head of bubbly foam which recedes nicely and in itself tastes outstanding. The nose is pure smokey sweetness with a taste that’s thick and smooth with burnt roasted booze warming to the depths of your soul. Enjoy decadence. First time I’ve had this and def will look for more.
Feb 02, 2019
Rated: 4.41 by Abstractspirit from Rhode Island

Nov 23, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by wisegreensoul from Idaho

Oct 14, 2018
Rated: 4.49 by JamesBondGA from Georgia

Oct 07, 2018
Rated: 3.97 by KAP1356 from Pennsylvania

Aug 24, 2018
Rated: 4 by teamwiggum from Wisconsin

Aug 05, 2018
Photo of Harrison8
Reviewed by Harrison8 from Missouri

4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours black with a finger of khaki foam that retains fairly well and then leaves a dense ring of foam. Aroma is heavy roasted and toasted malts with a strong smack of bitterness. There is a twinge of caramel and toffee that soften the harshness a touch. It's a hearty imperial stout that retains focus. Flavor profile is caramel, toasted, and roasted malts with a hint of caramel, toffee, and molasses. The flavor profile is a little sweeter than the aroma, but it still retains a strong bitterness. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a velvety, otherwise standard, texture. Overall, this is the embodiment of a standard imperial stout. While other imperial stouts pack in more flavor, this one retains a splendid simplicity.

Served in a Teku 3.0 from a 22oz bottle.
Aug 01, 2018
Rated: 4.05 by sohearn from Alabama

Apr 01, 2018
Rated: 4.28 by acashk from Texas

Dec 24, 2017
Photo of mwilbur
Reviewed by mwilbur from Minnesota

4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
2015 vintage. Poured from 22 oz bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a very thick and viscous super dark brown with 1/2 inch of dark mocha tightly bubbled head with decent retention that eventually settles to a thin fizzy skim.
S: The moment the bottle was opened, the darkly sweet and bourbony notes started wafting. All sorts of stuff hit at once upon closer inspection...bourbon, smooth dark chocolate, soft red wine note, medium roast coffee, vanilla, and a hint of whiskey. This comes up to and toes the line of “too much”.
T: Medium roast coffee, dark dried fruit, and red wine hit first, followed by smooth dark chocolate, mild sweet bourbon, subtle whiskey, and hints of anise and charred wood. Loads of complexity!
M: Super smooth and coats the palate beautifully. Medium-heavy body with extremely well hidden ABV. Darkly sweet with a wonderfully balanced contribution from the red wine, bourbon, and whiskey barrels. Lingers and matures very well on the palate.
D: Oodles of complexity. Let this warm up for best enjoyment. Love the balanced contributions from the various barrels it was aged in. The coffee note plays perfectly with everything too. Seek it out!
Dec 12, 2017
Rated: 4.1 by BarrelAgedG from California

Dec 11, 2017
Rated: 4.05 by NeoClassicist from New York

Nov 13, 2017
Rated: 4.5 by paulish from New York

Nov 11, 2017
Rated: 4.22 by VashonGuy from Washington

Oct 31, 2017
Photo of Brentlock
Reviewed by Brentlock from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
After letting this one cellar for almost a year, finally cracked it open. Everything melded so well and the bottle said so little that it just tasted complex and good. Would definitely get again.
Oct 27, 2017
Photo of AFunHobby
Reviewed by AFunHobby from New Hampshire

4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A tasty Imperial Stout with a smooth crisp finish. Tasty notes of bourbon and wine dominate. However, this also seeks to drown out most of the coffee flavor and aroma.
Oct 22, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana

Oct 15, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by mpenske from California

Aug 20, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by soco89ziegler from California

Jul 18, 2017
Rated: 4.43 by akopczyk from Ohio

May 03, 2017
Photo of q33jeff
Reviewed by q33jeff from New Jersey

4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle to goblet.

LOOK: cola black-brown, medium beige head.
AROMA: chocolate, toffee, toast, caramel
TASTE: roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, touch of licorice. Lots of great sweet malty flavors. Like a cappuccino, with muted coffee flavor. I know coffee is added to this, but the other flavors kind of drown it out. Barrel effect is also subtle.
FEEL:medium to full body. A bit flat, but to be expected for the style.

Very impressed by this. Grabbed it as an extra heading to a buddy's house to drink a few beers by the fire. Since said group of friends are not huge beer geeks, I grabbed this at $11 in favor of AleSmith Speedway ($21), Victory Java Cask($19) or Brooklyn Black Ops ($23). I think this is right there with those other pricier offerings. I will certainly buy this again.

Apr 10, 2017
Photo of StoutElk_92
Reviewed by StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
22 oz. bottle

Pours dark maroon black with a creamy beige khaki colored foam head. Smells like rich bourbon, wine, oak barrel, sweet caramel, toffee, vanilla, nutty toasted malts, chocolate, coffee, molasses, some cherry, raisin, booze-soaked dried fruits, with floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Tastes very rich, full and intense with red wine, bourbon, oak barrel, caramel, toffee, vanilla, nutty toasted malts, dark chocolate, roasted coffee, molasses, cherry, raisin, boozy dried fruits, and floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy with moderate carbonation. Overall a really great and unique mixed barrel aged imperial stout.
Mar 30, 2017
Rated: 4.06 by Corson from Canada (AB)

Mar 28, 2017
Photo of lic217
Reviewed by lic217 from Connecticut

3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Look: Dark black, almost no head after a couple minutes
Smell: Dark fruit, anise
Taste: Bourbon, maple, vanilla, dark fruit, coffee, finishes with alcohol
Feel: Smooth low carbonation, a little thin for style
Overall: A solid beer, with some complexity
Mar 13, 2017
Rated: 2.64 by rugyrl04 from Maryland

Mar 09, 2017
Photo of TonyLema1
Reviewed by TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.79/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
L: jet black, tan head, minimal lacing
S: dark roasts, dark fruits, coffee
T: bitter chocolate, bourbon, coffee, roasted malts
F: tons of mouthfeel, bourbon, coffee, roasty finish
O: great sipper
Feb 23, 2017
Photo of ClavisAurea
Reviewed by ClavisAurea from New York

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
04/2015 bottle served chilled in a wine glass

The bottle label is not very descriptive. Because this is an "aged" bottle the coffee is really not present at all. The dark fruit and wine character however are really there. The classic bourbon barrel character is very faded to gone. I do get some oak dryness. I do get a little oxidation on the palate and a little vinous character. Overall this is a really nice beer. The alcohol is pretty well hidden and reserved however as it warms up you can tell this is a "stout" beer.
Feb 09, 2017
Photo of TreyIsWilson
Reviewed by TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
A - Pours a midnight black with a one finger tan head. Nice amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark fruits, dark chocolate and espresso.

T - The taste is espresso, roasted malts, dark chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits and light bourbon barrel. There is also a good amount of oak in the finish.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel with a soft dry finsish.

O - A nice beer. The flavors are dark and rich. Good stout that will probably get better with age.
Jan 21, 2017
Rated: 4.7 by C_Pel from Pennsylvania

Jan 15, 2017
Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 1390 ratings