Black Xantus | Humboldt Brewing Co.

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Black XantusBlack Xantus
1,373 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,373 |  Reviews: 439
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This tasty bomber I could not believe I finished over lunch. vanilla and chocolate aromas in a rich black body. The 11% is well hidden, some sugar, coffee. Very mild bourbon. Some complexity that keeps it interesting. Above average mouthfeel and drinkability. Thanks Augustgarage.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Minimal head with scattered lacing on a very dark body with red tinge coming through. Aroma of vanilla, roasted malt, brown sugar and dark chocolate. The alcohol is very well hidden with a lot of vanilla and chocolate sweetness, a touch too sweet. The roasted malt base is mild and provides little bitterness. Brown sugar rounds this one out in the finish. Medium to full body and moderate carbonation with oily palate. This one is excellent but its a little too sweet for me. A solid and drinkable brew.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle has been chilling at my place for a while now, staring me in the face, daring me to crack it. So, I did.

Pours an opaque black with a small 1/2 inch khaki head that fades to an oily film on the top of the beer. A curtain of lace forms on the glass during the drink down. Smell is of dark fruits, dark roasted malts, and some coffee notes. There are some barrel notes as the beer warms. Taste is of the dark fruits, roasted malts, coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, wood, and vanilla. Very complex flavors here. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth and creamy with a lower level of carbonation. A slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat with each sip as the beer gets warmer. Overall, this is a very good stout with a complex set of flavors that meld together quite well.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

really underrated. tastes and smells like chocolate covered coffee beans. pours chocolate brown, and just like hersheys. surprisingly robust dark brown head as well, but it doesnt last long. the nose is seriously milk chocolate and coffee beans. love it. flavor is more milk than dark chocolate, but there isnt a ton of leftover sugar, which is awesome in a beer of this size. where is the alcohol? 11% and you would never know it. the feel is smooth and groovy, nice and full on the body, with moderate but ample carbonation. this is a straight up ice cream float beer, and i think it deserves more props on here. maybe not the most style accurate big stout because of the chocolate, but man this is good. for real, a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be the best dessert i can imagine. get into it.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black, creamy, viscous texture with a big, thick and firm light brown head. Nose is assertive and layered sweet cherry, coffee, dark chocolate nose with an abundance of cherry alcohol in the nose.

Mouthfeel is creamy, rich, thick and appealing. Perfect carbonation and very "richly elegant" and well integrated.

Flavors are big, rich, assertive and bold. Flavors of thick semi-sweet black chocolate and sweet creamed coffee. There is a whiskey, creamy sweet bourbon character. Layers of dark, coffee, black chocolate, espresso and whiskey flavors.

This has wonderful sweet espresso finish.

For this big, creamy, sweet black chocolate/coffee type stout this is very drinkable. Would go well with smoked meats, charcuterie, BBQ, and game. Would also go well with lots of different desserts or simply very nice to drink by itself.

Very friendly all around; very approachable. A very creamy, rich drink with a big black espresso finish. Hard to put this one down.

This tastes like a wonderfully made stout that already has some age on it because of it's integration and "bold" elegance. Likely will get even better with a bit of age.

 1,158 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very excited about trying this beer, The brew poured out as a deep black color with a brown head on top. The smell of the beer was full or bourbon and rich coffee aromas. The flavors of sweet roasted sugary malts blended with the coffee and the bourbon flavors give this brew a huge complex flavor that's unforgettable. The mouthfeel was thick and oily. Overall I was impressed with this and I'm very very happy I got to try it.

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Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -28.2%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a creamy tan head that rapidly dissipated leaving lacy patterns of bubbles in the center of the glass.
S: Light aromas of bourbon and roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is somewhat complex and has flavors of chocolate, coffee, molasses, roasted malts and oak from the barrel aging. Alcohol is present in the finish, but this taste becomes hidden as the beer warms up.
M: It feels full-bodied, smooth and slightly creamy on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. Warming sensations from the alcohol are present in the finish.
D: The beer is rather drinkable considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Espresso, bourbon, wine- ooh, my! Emboldened with utmost complexity, this powerful stout tantilizes with savory sweetness while promoting dry roast to take the taste buds on quite a wild ride!

Black Xantus pour with an onyx-black pour and complete opaqueness. A thick sheet of foam builds on top the dark ale before reducing to a delicate creme before holding firm for the duration. Where lacing is minimal, the beer instead prefers brandy-like legging that combines with the froth for a sultry and ominous appearance.

Decadent aromatics rise from the glass with a burst of espresso and dark chocolate first, and then the sweet bourbon aromas secondarily. Brought together with notes of molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla- the scents all intertwine into a savory mix of all-things-dark. Warming up a bit, deep sherry wine emerges and brings in the light soy sauce and char-grilled scent that's more meaty than smoky.

As the malt lays on the tongue, it saturates with black-strap molasses, espresso, bittersweet chocolate and burnt grain. Its merely mid-weight sweetness promotes a dry roast taste that accents its roast and introduces slight ash. While the roast easily balances the sweetness, the savory wine flavors peak through with aged sherry, rich meaty and salty soy sauce, and licorice-like pepper taste. Finishing with sweet bourbon- the caramel, vanilla and booze-soaked oak sweetens the taste before closing with a return of coffee-like bitterness.

Certainly full on the palate, the beer takes little time to cast the bulk of its malt sweetness and weight to the wayside in order to favor a drier and more drinkable palate. Where the dryness helps here, it exposes the powdery ash textures and roast-derived astringency that creates slight harshness in texture. However, this only keeps the beer from becoming world class; its still and excellent mouthfeel component.

Black Xantus is an incredible Imperial Stout with strong bourbon and mild wine undertones. Though delicious and dry on the palate, the stout promises sultry and savory aromatics that the taste and texture has a hard time equaling.

 2,114 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.38/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

650 ml brown glass bottle with papered-over standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given what I've heard, though I have a merely average opinion of Firestone Walker.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger head of no real cream, decent thickness, and poor retention. Colour is a solid black. No yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Heavy coffee bean, some cacao, chocolate, roast, dark malts, and caramelized malt. A moderate strength aroma. Not particularly rich. No yeast comes through.

T: A bit medicinal, actually. Heavy coffee notes. Some cacao, but not enough. Too bitter. Dark malts form the foundation. no real roast. Some caramelization. Not rich enough. A bit too simple for the style. Lacks subtlety. Boozy. Lacks layering. No yeast comes through. Stale coffee is dominant and poorly implemented, annihilating any chance of good balance. No cream. Neither complex nor subtle.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Should be coarse and dry. Adequately carbonated. Thick but off. Doesn't suit the taste all that well. Lacks creaminess.

Dr: Drinkable but lacking quality. A major disappointment; I'd heard great things. This seems to be a running trend with Firestone Walker. I wouldn't get it again or recommend it to friends. Doesn't really hide its ABV. A poorly conceived imperial stout. Might get better with age.


 1,567 characters

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of zeff80
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a two-finger, light brown head of thick, bubbly foam. It left thin soapy rings of lace.

S - It had a strong black licorice aroma with a good dose of roasted chocolate malt. There are some mild toffee and floral notes, too.

T - It tasted black licorice, bourbon, chocolate, rich roasted malt and touches of toffee. A nice blend of bitter and sweet flavors for a really great taste.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a dry finish. A medium-bodied ale with a well-hidden alcohol warmth.

D - This is a nice RIS. I hope they brew it again.

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Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 11/12/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 2 finger dark tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, nuttiness, vanilla, toffee, oak, bourbon, tobacco, light smoke/char, and roasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with outstanding balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, coffee, and oak barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, nuttiness, vanilla, toffee, oak, bourbon, tobacco, light smoke/char, and roasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, nuttiness, vanilla, toffee, oak, bourbon, tobacco, light smoke/char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt. coffee, and oak barrel flavors; with a nice roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick mouthfeel that is incredible. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely insane imperial stout. All around incredible complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, coffee, and oak barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A world class imperial stout offering.

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Photo of brentk56
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color with just under an inch of foam topping the liquid; the bubbles quickly fade to a ringlet but the beer leaves plenty of dots and legs draping the side of the chalice

Smell: Chocolate and coffee; black bread and Bourbon - nothing over the top

Taste: Coffee-infused chocolate Bon Bons, with the Bourbon expanding in the middle; licorice and black bread, after the swallow, cut the sweetness somewhat but the finish is much like the start

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: TIme has been kind to this brew, hiding the alcohol and bringing all of the flavors together; not a mind-blower but very, very good

As there is no date on this bottle, I think it may be from the original bottling in 2009 or possibly 2010 as it came in my 2010 Secret Santa box; thanks, mrmiles, for the opportunity

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Photo of mothman
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Duck Rabbit snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Color pours a copper brown, but settles a dark brown. No head retention. Leaves some splattered lace.

Aroma: Whiskey notes and oak, light vanilla, cocoa, a little boozy,. It gets betters as it warms.

Taste: Strong whiskey and oak. Sweet vanilla and caramel with cocoa hitting next. A lot like the aroma. Maybe some dark dried fruits here.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, but light. This is a very light bodied BA stout. Medium to a lower amount of carbonation. Ends dry and bitter with whiskey. It is was too light for a 11%$ imp stout.

Overall, not bad, but not good. The whiskey flavors are nice but this beer is so light. Not thick and chewy like the beer should be. Very let down with this one.

EDIT: Having the 2nd bottling of this, I would probably rate it higher. It has notes of coffee and bourbon reminding me a bit of bourbon county. A lot better than the first bottling.

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Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 1,373 ratings