Black Xantus | Humboldt Brewing Co.

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92
outstanding
423 Reviews
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Black XantusBlack Xantus
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Humboldt Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
423
Ratings:
1,326
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
18.45%
 
 
Wants:
128
Gots:
378
For Trade:
32
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Reviews: 423 | Ratings: 1,326
Photo of Boccu
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma of booze, coffee and malt. Pours dark and rich with a nice head. Taste of booze very light then a roasted malt to a roasted coffee to a light wine with a vanilla finish. Really really good. Very smooth yet complex. Very strong imperial stout. This is right up my alley as I am a huge stout fan.

 301 characters

Photo of Sabtos
3.19/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Black with a light tan, thin, soft head.

Smell is a confusing raisin and cocoa, like a stouty barleywine.

On the tongue an immediate burn of alcohol hits right up front, from the bourbon barrel, with a raisin attribute following through from the wine barrel. Chocolate and dry bitter coffee try to come in here and there but are overpowered by the barrel treatments.

Thin, but good froth.

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Photo of mac31
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On draft, tulip

Sweet, rich, dark chocolate, bittersweet cocoa, intense, creamy and chewy-all in the entry. One amazing start to a beer. The Dark chocolate rolls right in to a nice shot of thick, rich espresso. Bitterness from the dark malts and coffee teams up well with the subtle, mild, earthy hops. This would be a bitter bomb if we're not for that bourbon barrel sweetness that balances everything out. The bourbon barreling makes this a wonderful, cohesive brew. Nice creamy mouthfeel. The alcohol is hidden very well, drinks more like an 8% beer than an 11%. Soft, inviting carbonation lends to even more drinkability. The beer finishes fairly dry. A complex beer for sure. I've seen this in bottle shops around town, but never knew what a jewel this was. This can be viewed as the little brother of the famed FSW Parabola, as they were both once part of the FSW family of beers before being sold off. I see the similarities. I think this beer, while not as refined as Parabola, does have a little more personality. Without a doubt, this is a great beer. Get it! Have it! Enjoy it! I did! And will again.

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Photo of Beejay
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1100th Review!

A: Dark black in color with deep brown at the edges when held to the light. A dense brown head rises out of the body of the beer.

S: Rich molasses at first. Followed by vanilla, brown sugar, oak, rich caramel malt, and a coffee finish. More barrel comes out as it warms.

T: Rich and malty with vanilla notes, followed by oak, and finishing with espresso and some earthiness in a long linger. While it is cold there is a bit of a harsh edge in the finish, as it warms the flavors deepen and smooth out into a luxurious rich melding of coffee, barrel, and brew.

M: RIch and thick body with some nice creaminess. Carbonation is fine, but perhaps a tad high for the style, although I do think that it keeps it from becoming to syrupy.

O: Overall, this is a damn fine beer, just lovely.

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Photo of hoping4hopps
4.82/5  rDev +17%
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 CraftBeerRunner
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Maybe it will improve as it warms a little, but it smells like a wet dog and the initial sip was just all over the place. Weird. World Cost Market, Oakland, April 2016

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.81/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: 8-oz. (I think) clear cognac snifter glass
From: Cost Plus World Market in San Jose, Calif.
Price: $10.99 ($1 off regular price)
Purchased: April 16, 2016
Consumed: April 16, 2016
Misc.: No BOD on bottle; Think it was bottled in 2015 though

Bought this on a whim after not finding anything I really wanted at Trader Joe’s. Once I got back to the hotel I realized that this was on my want list. Sounds really good (barrel-aged for six months in combination of bourbon, retired Firestone Union and wine barrels and infused with fair-trade, organic coffee from local roaster Jobella) and it was a dollar off the original price.

Poured a very dark brown, dark mahogany color with two fingers of frothy, tan head. Below average spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Below average retention. (Sight - 3.50)

First whiff was a bit unbalanced and a bit all over the place. Settling down I got sweetened dark tea bags (somehow), java coffee, dark milk chocolate, smooth bourbon, espresso and roasty malts. (Smell - 3,75)

Taste followed the nose somewhat, kind of reminding me more of an imperial milk stout. Got roasty coffee malts, dark milk chocolate, tea bags (still), dark espresso, hints of smooth bourbon, burnt molasses, dark cocoa nibs, caramel and light vanilla. Can’t believe this is 11 percent. (Taste - 3.75)

Full body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth, slightly warming finish. Best part of the beer by far. So smooth. (Feel - 4.50)

This was not as good as I thought it would be. Disappointing overall. Good, just not great. (Overall - 3.75)

3.81 | 86 | B+

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Before there was Parabajava, there was Black Xantus. They're pretty damn similar actually. This one is probably better, but you know how rarity fuels hype. Anyhoo, this one is black as expected. Drops a better coffee quotient than Parabajava.

This melds coffee and chocolate quite well with the bourbon. Nicely hides some of the dark fruit bitterness that plagues this style. Don't see why one would chase rare beer and stand in line for a barrel aged coffee stout when this is on shelves unless they really don't value their time. Just pull this off the shelf.

 571 characters

Photo of Catracho5
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bomber poured into a snifter

A: Pours a dark brown, lots of light comes through around the edges, no head retention, slight lacing, looks thin for an imperial stout, medium amount of carbonation.

A: Bourbon? No, big whiff of wine, oak, hint of bourbon, touch of vanilla, alcohol is not present on the aroma, not getting as much as I thought I would. Smells pretty good, but not like a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout.

T: Get of wine and oak, touch of bourbon and vanilla, some dark chocolate, hint of espresso, taste is definitely a lot better than the aroma, lots of drinkability, a little heat, some depth and complexity.

M: Medium bodied mouthfeel, creamy, smooth, good amount of carbonation.

O: Besides the thin looking appearance, this is pretty good, a strange mix of flavors, but very drinkable and enjoyable, it's not a typical bourbon barrel aged stout, it's got some wine, oak, and hints of bourbon notes.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

$14.99 bomber. Picked this up on a whim... just sounded interesting. Bottled 11/6/14 and poured 2/25/16. I didn't see the dating until I had my beer finished.

This pours looking absolutely nothing like any other Imperial Stout I've ever seen. Very light in color -- really, brown. The smell and taste are absolutely unique... this is a truly bizarre beer. I don't know how to break it down. There's a pretty intense sweetness up front that is wine-y, that's the best way I can describe it. That sweetness and slick alcohol wine-y feel last halfway through until a heavy caramel malt and decent dose of roast come into the picture. Near the end and on the finish there's quite a bit of a coffee with milk and sugar vibe.

Absolutely strange beer and I'm not sure that I love it... in part because I don't think this is very stouty at all, but also because it doesn't have the typical "feel" that a big stout does. This beer is pretty thin, slick, and sticky with a fairly significant wine character ahead of any roast. The description says this is aged in bourbon barrels, but all I get is maybe a hint of oak. Another negative on this beer is the aroma... it's just strange. Very sweet dark fruits, wine, a little oak, and very little roast qualities.

I love trying new and unique beers, but this isn't a beer I'd likely have again... I'd've likely preferred it quite a bit more if it were more fresh so the coffee was more pronounced and maybe the sweetness was less intense.

 1,478 characters

Photo of alarmclock314
3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, no date. Pours nearly black with a large khaki head with good retention. Smells of dark fruit, sweet malt, and bourbon. The taste follows closely with dark fruit, sweet malt, and port with some char, bourbon, and nearly undetectable coffee flavors. Pretty sweet and moderately bitter. Higher carbonation and medium body. Overall, it's closer to a Barleywine than an Imperial Stout; it left me craving more roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. There are better IS's available on the shelf.

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Photo of PhillyJ
4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
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

 416 characters

Photo of danh53
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big anise notes with coffee, molasses, and tobacco. Bourbon is subtle but adds some caramel and booziness. Wine barrel is present adding dark and red fruits. It's mostly bitter, but there is some sweetness as well to add balance. This exceeded expectations.

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Photo of smanson56
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark black color into my snifter. The nose is heavy on the coffee side and hides the barrel aging well. There is a wonderful mix of flavors in the taste with the rich coffee and the mild bourbon. The mouthfeel is thick and wonderful and IMO perhaps the best side of this beer.

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

For the thin brown pour on this one it sure had a nice thicker and slicker feel to it. The nose is cocoa, anise, honey, and coffee(but not much). The barrel comes through nicely here. Smooth and dangerously easy to drink.

 221 characters

Photo of L_Raydell_Mundo
3.44/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Didn't work for me, way too boozy. I'm wondering if I got a bad bottle - my experience wasn't even close to other reviews. The bitterness overshadowed any coffee, chocolate, or bourbon notes.

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Photo of ccg
4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's jet black but still somehow looks slightly watery. Above-average retention, but the foam on the edges hides the tint that's often a give-away on a BBA stout.
The smell is excellent. I had to keep the bottle in the regular refrigerator (beer fridge is full) so it was a little too cold when I opened it, but the sweet bourbon barrel smell was still there immediately. It mingles perfectly with the coffee scent.
I can taste vanilla, bitter chocolate, coffee, a bit of caramel and toasted malt, lots of oak, and something with just a hint of smokiness, like sweetened pipe tobacco. It has a somewhat bitter finish, with the chocolate and coffee dominating at the end.
Overall: With Humboldt Brewing being a part of Firestone Walker, I'm not sure how this beer manages to fly so completely under the radar. It's one of the best beers you've never heard of. It's probably difficult to find outside of California, but if you see one, buy it. It's comparable to Epic Big Bad Baptist, but, in my opinion, better, because more of the barrel comes through in the flavor.

 1,066 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle, no date

jet black, tan head. the head is thin and fades fast. nice aroma, a bit of roasty coffee and bitter cocoa. similar flavors in the taste, a bit of alcohol when it warms. creamy smooth body. thick, coats the mouth.

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Photo of Greasy
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black Xantus pours the same color as its namesake with a khaki head that eventually dissipates.
S: Big notes of coffee and bourbon. Roasted malts are there too.
T: A huge flavor profile on this one. A kick in the mouth of coffee, semisweet chocolate and roasted malts. Oak flavor is subtle, but evens out everything.
M: No alcohol burn for an 11% monster; full bodied, not super thick, good mouth coating going on.
O: Black Xantus is not cheap ($14.99 for 650ml), but is definitely tasty. A solid imperial stout that should be tried and enjoyed by all.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thoroughly enjoyed from the big bottle in a snifter. This most excellent imperial stout pours a deep dark blackish brown with a very nice head of light tan foam that subsides to a thick ring, nice pool of foam, and light lacing. Nose of light bourbon, subtle black coffee, vanilla, moderate black licorice notes, subtle char, and deeply roasted malts with moderately strong chocolate notes. Flavors exceed the nose with rich dark raisins that intertwine with light coffee and dark cocoa on all sides. Vanilla fades into the middle of the taste with bourbon and warmth followed by a light cream and roasted malt with a char aftertaste that is filling and substantial. Full mouth feel with light carbonation makes for a fine sipper with a moderately boozy warmth.

A most excellent imperial----had to buy this since I blew the tap and could not get it in a growler.

Cheers

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Lots of roasted malt character, mild barrel notes, dark fruits, and a touch of bitterness in the finish. A pleasant surprise and one I am shocked I waited so long to try. Solid all around

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Photo of Barracudas
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
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 JakerLou
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque brown with a small amount of tan head.

Smells of spicy raisins, booze (bourbon), some vanilla, and a bit of coffee.

Taste is similar, I get a lot of raisin and booze with a touch of vanilla. The coffee is understated and really comes across as a slight bitterness in the finish.

This beer is a bit on the thin side for an 11% imperial stout.

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Photo of GOBLIN
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall a decent imperial stout. Doesn't have that deep pitch black appearance I've come to expect from your typical imperial stout though. Appearance is more of a dark mahogany. Flavors of cocoa, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, and a faint, subtle touch of bourbon . . . If any at all.

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Photo of barczar
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is thick with dark fruit, molasses, and roast malt. Deeply caramelized notes meld well with dates, figs, and plums. There's a touch of leather. Smells extremely sweet. Notes of vanilla and bourbon emerge as it warms.

Flavor is very sweet initially, with a roasty, lightly charred malt backbone kicking in mid palate and carrying through to a lightly bitter finish. Well balanced. Wine barrels added a slight tart contrast. Fairly complex beer. Hints of cinnamon and vanilla surface in the aftertaste, and coffee becomes more noticeable. Really opens up as it warms. The bitterness is just a tad too charred, for my liking, and it's a bit hot.

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Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 423 ratings.
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