Black Xantus | Humboldt Brewing Co.

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Black XantusBlack Xantus

Brewed by:
Humboldt Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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%

Added by ThreeWiseMen on 10-09-2009

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Reviews: 435 | Ratings: 1,360
Photo of hannibalsmith63
4.92/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed at XL Grindhouse in Salinas, ca

A- Dark espresso colored. Left less than one finger head.

S- smells of chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. A lot like and Irish Coffee. Doesent smell as boozy as I expect. Great nose morning or night.

T- it tastes exactly like it's nose. Irish car bomb but cool. Begs for ice cream for a float! Vanilla and bourbon stand up well to the coffee.

M- coats the tongue nicely but the burn you expect does not come. The sweetness makes you lick your lips.

O- one of the better beers I have had in a while. Extremely balanced and sophisticated. I'll be very sad when this beer is not around to enjoy!

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.92/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The color when poured into a pint glass was a very dark, dark, dark brown, on the verge of being black. The dark brown foam was minimal and no lace on the glass.

The smell of roasted malts, mild piney hop's, candy and fruit filled the nose with a pleasant aroma upon the first sniff. On the second wiff, alcohol was evident along with different unidentified components.

The taste was very complex. Creamy, rich with a sweet/bitter finish. The flavors was some complex, that it was a challange to pick out each and every flavor that this porter produced. There was roasted malts, toffee, mild piney hops, prunes, with, other fruity flavors. And, don't forget the 11% alcohol. Not overpowering, but, it was still there.

Interest Imperial Porter. I will say, this is an expensive bottle of Porter, but, well worth it.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.87/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What an amazing brew this one turned out to be...

I had this at a Firestone Walker tasting at Maria's in Chicago...

Arrives as dark as the background on this website...

Loads of deep roasted malts, chocolate, and a big whiff of bitter coffee present in the aromas... Lots of stuff going on here... Coffee, chocolate, deep dark roasted malts, and a hint of hops meld together in the aroma dept...

A lovely blend of cocoa, hops, booze, coffee, and vanilla pervade all of the sensory organs and have this beer on point... An unbelievable plethora of flavors and aromas present in this beer...

It's a shame that these guys don't distribute to TN... I'd be a regular customer!!

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Photo of 100floods
4.84/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pitch back hue with half a finger... no, now no head but a faint mocha colored film lingering on top. sweet, black liquorish aromas, haven't smelt those in a stout in a while, yum! Some chocolate aromas as well. The combination is superb, some of the best aroma's to come from a stout in a while, for me at least.
Nice dark chocolate, roasted flavors. I think I mistook the liquorish for something else, but i feel like they are still lingering barely. coffee with a dash of milk comes to mind. The darker flavors come in second after the chocolate ones. Very easy on the carbonation, doesn't interrupt what else is going on. This beer is very comparable to Speeway Stout in execution. Nice full body, big flavors that come out smooth and not harsh. I let my bottle sit probably no more than 6 months. I don't know if I would age it longer. It's so good as it is right now.

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Photo of hoping4hopps
4.82/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed this beer in celebration of my next few steps in bettering mine and my family's self. Delicious and thick, this brew don't hesitate to spring forward with an onslaught of dark roasted barley and is wonderfully infused with the perfect amount of coffee. Overall delicious would seek it out again and would recomendable to anyone who has a preference towards coffee ales.

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Photo of CA_Infidel2o9
4.78/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to a Tulip

A- black with some ruby sees through w/ light, almost zero head

S- caramel, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, earthy, roasted malts, slight booze

T- follows the nose perfectly

M- creamy, low carbonation, slit alcohol heat

O- Very nice brew! Probably my favorite Imperial Stout of the year. It's rich, decadent, and super creamy. Caramel, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, w/ some booze makes this the perfect holiday brew. I've passed on Nectar Ales for years. If the rest of the line up is as good as this... ill slap myself.

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Photo of Barracudas
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A great beer with a very complex flavor. It has a great aroma and it drinks very smoothly. The beer has a high ABV so it packs a punch! A great beer for a special occasion!

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pretty aggressive pour lead to slight mocha head that retreated and no lacing amongst the mostly reddish black hue as it was consumed. Smells of bourbon, coffee, fruits, and chocolate. Tastes of bittersweet bakers chocolate, cherries, bourbon oak, molasses, and toffee. Medium bodied brew that has a little bit of peppery heat on the finish. Overall, a solidly crafted Imperial Stout.

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Photo of colforbin73
4.72/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

i am reserving a full 5.0 on the overall due to the lack of my own experience. regardless, the is an Exceptional stout.

pours a luscious gloppy black and works up a little tan head with an aggressive pour. it dissipates but leaves a sharp maple star in the glass and thin foam on the rim.

aroma, excellent, lots of roasty and chocolate malts, very strong -- giving an indication of the taste. but slightly misleading....

this stout is very strong tasting, roasted and chocolate malts dominate the palate, nearly smokey, but perfectly sweet and surprisingly creamy. the high ABV hits -- but it is very warming and mellow. you could have a glass after dinner -- a sumptuous desert stout.

a thick & malty, complex, nuanced stout -- this is one to judge against all others. i was overly impressed by this beer... if i see it again, i will gather.


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Photo of hoplover82
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a small tan head that has great retention and ok lacing, but for the style, I'm impressed with the head retention.

The aroma was kinda bland at first, but as it warmed up a bit, it began to become very interesting and complex and wonderful. It began to be full of dark chocolate with light notes of earthy mint toffee. As it warms there also is a coffee note to compliment to dark chocolate. So nice and complex.

My favorite thing about this beer is the roundedness and smoothness of this beer. There is the flavor of the best dark chocolate and fresh roasted bright coffee. There also is a very pronounced toffee note in the flavor as apposed to the aroma. SO smooth.

HUGE silky mouthfeel with a sweet silky finish.

Very smooth and drinkable. I'm so glad that I had the oppertunity to try this. Thanks Jason! This was epic indeed.

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Photo of PatrickSwayze
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A rich deep black color with wonderful light mahogany head.

S: Deep raisin covered with chocolate

T: An unreal smooth chocolate, oak, vanilla mixture that is blended like the best of wet dreams. Serious complexity with mild roast gently caressing the taste buds.

M: Perfectly soft and gentle on the tongue without the alcohol heat.

O: This bee was a great experience. Quite engaging with the flavors.

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Photo of Soonami
4.68/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Chad for sharing this bottle of Black Xantus. This was a delicious RIS, I can't remember having a better example of the style. The beer was nearly opaque, dark as midnight with mahogany hues when held up in the light. The beer was topped with a cappuccino foam that held a wonderful aroma of mocha, roasted malt and fresh ground coffee. The beer had great balance with a wonderful amount of malty toasty grain. Often stouts are all bitter and astringent roast, but this beer has delicious maltiness that just makes it for me. Great beer thanks a lot Chad for sharing, i can't wait to be able to buy this soon.

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Photo of DenverLogan
4.68/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well...I don't rate that often these days, but this seemed worthy...perhaps my first time having it, perhaps not, but it stood out as strong, sweet and smooth...big, bold and something to slow you down nicely! Very dark...aromas were not huge for me, but chocolate malts stood out. Flavor is something and with some time aging in the glass (don't know about bottle aging, this is under 4 months old). Sweet chocolate, carob, slight coffee, dark roasted bitter malts, smooth Bourbon, molasas, Mexican might call this a desert beer at 11%...I'll tell you what though... I'd like to get this more often :)

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Photo of remhaze
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I went to firestone and they had black xantus on tap. What perfect timing!

A - real dark brown, almost black in color.

S - Bourbon, vanilla, smoked, sweet

T - Coffee, smoked, dark vanilla.

M - Very smooth, silky and heavy weight taste.

Overall this was a fantastic beer. I wish I could have stayed longer at Firestone. I bought all 5 bottles of Black Xantus they had left. I can't wait to age and taste this next year.

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Photo of beer4colin
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a very, very nice Imperial Stout. I have been looking at it bottled but never pulled the trigger. I think it was label confusion? On tap today at Union Brewhouse, so trying it on for size.

Need to mention....UBH has had this stocked away for a year, so this is certainly not the same as a bottled yesterday bomber....

BIG! HUGE! This is a mouthful of licorice and coffee riding on a bourbon surfboard. I am going to regret having another of these 11%ers when I fall asleep watching Jeopardy but it is so good I am doubling down.

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Photo of angelogarcia3
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A really great beer! The midnight color and very thin dark brown head imply the thickness and density of this beer. The nose has strong bourbon and alcohol aromas. The visual heaviness transfers to the mouth with a thickness similar to syrup. The taste of molasses, caramel, & malt. No bitterness at all and a warm feeling all over after drinking this beer at Rattle-n-Hum.

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Photo of Jake1605
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black with a mocha colored creamy 1 finger head that went away quickly. Smell is bitter sweet, lots of bold coffee aroma, oak, cocoa, roasted malts, brown sugar, bourbon, molasses, vanilla, milk chocolate & dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is soft. Very creamy & smooth complex brew. The bottle seems boozier than on tap, but it's still very balanced. Spotty lacing, dry, full bodied, great carbonation. Another amazing barrel aged beer from Firestone Walker.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.66/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sampling a cellar temp 22 oz bottle that I am pouring into a snifter. Picked this beer off the shelf because my daughter liked the humming bird on the label. Hope to enjoy this one. The beer pours a dark cola brown with a spongey tan head of 4 cm foaming up even with a gentle pour. there are some deep garnet highlights when I hold the glass up to the light. The aroma is a malty complex smorgasbord of scents. I get molasses, coffee grounds, brown sugar, a little vanilla and a good dose of roasted malt. no real hop presence that I can detect and actually the 11% seems to be hidden as there isnt a strong peppery boozy note that I pick up.
First sip reveals a bit of a thicker body but not syrupy, I also get fine and spacious carbonation that does tickle my palate a little as i swallow each mouthful.
The flavor of the beer is what was advertised by the nose. The beer starts with some sweet brown sugar and roasted malt, which rolls to more roast and coffee ground and finishes with a deep hit of molasses, vanilla and some raisin and finishes fairly dry with just a hint of alcohol warmth. This beer is still very drinkable for 11% and seems to fit the role of Imperial Stout very well. This is a very nice beer for a cool fall evening.

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Photo of mkotsayfan
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a deep dark black with nice tight bubbles and a one finger light mocha head. Very unique smelling stout, almost smells like a strong ale - dark fruits, coffee, and chocolate. The taste brings out those flavors with a very nice balance, I was worried the barrel aging and dark fruits would come through too strongly, but it accentuates the nice coffee and chocolate flavors. A nice mouthfeel too, very smooth and good carbonation along with the right amount of thickness to the beer. The alcohol is there, but just lingering in the background, which is perfectly acceptable for a 11% ABV.

A great beer from Nectar Ales, didn't expect the dark fruits, but everything came together beautifully, which isn't suprising considering that Nectar is owned by Firestone, one of the best breweries at producing blended/barrel aged beers.

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Photo of teromous
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off, I aged this beer for a little over one year.

A: The head is about 2/3 thumb's width, with a dark cocoa color. The beer pours dark like bourbon and is black in the glass. The head subsides, leaving a good portion of head in the glass still.

S: This beer has a very strong smell. Being away from the glass, I can still smell it. It smells of oak, cocoa and darker chocolates, with light notes of coffee. There is a malt scent to it as well. It doesn't smell like alcohol, but it smells a lot like has a kind of spicy scent along with the oak scent which are the strongest smells.

T: This tastes so good. It has a rich cocoa flavor to it, like really good chocolate truffles. I pick up the oak a tad, but it doesn't come out as much as it does in the scent. I saw that this is 11% and I get no alcohol flavor from this at all (could very well be from aging).

M: The mouthfeel on this beer is perfect. There's a slight warming without burning. It is incredibly smooth. It goes down so smooth, and it's flavor all the way. I get zero astringency or unpleasant bitterness. It is a heavy beer, with a decent amount of sweet malty flavor. There is great carbonation without it feeling like soda or feeling too flat...just right.

O: Overall this is the perfect example of how great beer can really be. I will be buying this again, for myself and likely for friends if I can get enough of them. I had the beer when it hit the shelves, and it was excellent then, but a lot has changed over one year of aging. It has mellowed and balanced out a lot more. It is so smooth and flavorful. I would rather drink this than have the finest chocolate.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of cosmo4u
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black Xantus pours a near opaque black with a deep red edge. The large head is light mocha in color and faded relatively slowly for such a high ABV beer.

Big time roasted coffee, caramel and a little anise are the primary notes on the nose. There a slight oakiness in there as well as a bit of a cigar character, but it's light. The alcohol adds a little heat to the nose, as well.

The mouthfeel on this brew is thick and viscous, as a Russian Imperial Stout should be. The roasted coffee nearly dominates the palate while a touch of anise and smoke (the cigar from the aroma perhaps) come in behind it. There's a subtle dark cherry hint in the lingering finish that's also got a bite of bitterness. While the higher alcohol content is present I wouldn't call it "hot."

This is one of the more full flavored and unique Russian Imperial Stouts I've ever had. It's got a complex palate, yet is still smooth and quite drinkable. All I have to say is I'm glad I bought more than one bottle. I can't wait to see how this one changes over time.

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Photo of iD9
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a cognac snifter.

Appearance: Dark, real dark. Head pours dark tan color. Out of the bottle, relatively little head (keep in mind small serving sizes), light lacing around the edges. Very pretty. Note, I had this straight from the tap at firestone brewery yesterday and the head poured beautiful.

Smell: Smells of bourbon, for a reason. Typical aroma of RIS style beers. Notes of chocolate and a dark malt roast. Fantastic.

Taste: Bourbon! Lots of chocolate, dark roasted coffee, hints of dark fruits possibly? Excellent depth of flavor. Sweet, dark molasses are present throughout with a rich, creamy flavor that defies the standards of regular beers. I love this style and this beer.

Mouthfeel: I'm trying to imagine a word or phrase that is not too graphic, but still does justice to this RIS's mouthfeel. It is full, smooth and creamy, with a hint of smokey chocolate. As the beer warms the slow burn of the bourbon presents itself further forward in the mouth. The creamy goodness lingers in the mouth for moments after the beer has passed.

Drinkability: Excessively drinkable. This is definitely a sipping beer and not to be taken lightly. When I had this on tap yesterday it was so good I could not leave until I got another one and a few bottles. I believe the movie Beerfest, starring Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske said it best when they described the specialty brew of the Von Wolfhausens.

All-and-all this is an amazing beer. I cannot, in good faith, not make a return trip to buy more. Sufficed to say this will be a lean paycheck for the rest of the week but well worth it. This is a fantastic RIS and effectively embodies the style. Unlike some bourbon barrel aged RIS, it is subtle and beautiful. Kudos.

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Photo of zackinthebox
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

the bourbon barrels, chocolate and black cherries really stand out in this beer. Thin light brown head that quickly dissipates. I don't drink coffee so I don't feel qualified to comment on that trait . It is dark but not black. Smooth. Nectar of the gods.
I like it. A lot. Thank you!!!

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Photo of PhillyJ
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Overall this exceeded my expectations. the best part of this is the mouthfeel it's so thick and creamy. The downside is a slightly rough pre finish that can't decide whether it's wine or bourbon infused but the coffee takes over and calms the fuss with a pleasant coffee to subtle oak finish. Complex with tons of flavors and depth to explore and enough barrel characteristics to make this a solid offering. Cheers

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Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,360 ratings.
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