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: 432 | Ratings: 1,355
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -3.1%
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 GRG1313
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
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 UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
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 +2.2%
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 Knapp85
4.42/5  rDev +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 metter98
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
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 +9.4%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
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 largadeer
3/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber from Whole Foods, 2009 batch. Great artwork on the label, but it's pretty nondescript; no mention of bourbon barrels, coffee or other details you'd think would be important. Black in the glass, a finger of light tan head forms and slowly settles to a crown.

The nose is...odd. Big fruity tropical hop aroma. As it warms, the coffee comes out more, but then it just smells like dry hopped coffee. Tangerine, pear and pineapple meet slightly acrid coffee and solvents. I had high hopes for this beer, but it's honestly a bit of a trainwreck.

The taste is no more redeeming. Coffee and charred malts meet (read: clash with) fruity dry hops, like some abominable fruit flavored instant coffee. Bal aging contributes little more than harsh solvents; there's hardly a trace of bourbony caramel/vanilla goodness here. What little I pick up is covered by the forementioned dry hopped coffee flavor. I can't fathom what they were thinking with this beer, there are so many clashing elements. The body is oddly thin, and the mouthfeel slightly harsh. It finishes with a lingering coffee bite and a touch of caramel sweetness.

Well, this was hugely disappointing. It's nowhere near the quality of Firestone's barrel-aged beers. Even setting those expectations aside, it's simply not a good beer, and the $15 price makes it all the more offensive.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.38/5  rDev -42.4%
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.


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Photo of zeff80
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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 Thorpe429
2.51/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer *only* punched me in the nuts. Thanks go out to mdfb79 for that one, though working strongly in his defense is the fact that I asked if he could bring this. D'oh. I didn't particularly care for it, though it was a fun piece of the 10-14 diagonal and accompaniments. Served in a FFF / Intelligentsia mini snifter.

Pours near black with a small mocha head that goes away quickly and leaves behind some light spotty lacing. The nose goes bigtime boom with the coffee, so much so that it almost takes on a black-pepper-like character. That's about it; well, I suppose there's a bit of roast in the background. Overpowering, overroasted coffee hits the palate as well, and doesn't feel any better in the finish. In fact, it's worse in the finish. Light sweetness and a long coffee bitterness. Astringent and dry finish. No bueno. Glad to have finally tried this beast, but I wouldn't do so again.

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Photo of mothman
3.72/5  rDev -9.9%
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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Photo of nickfl
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with a small head of tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles rapidly but leaves decent lace.

S - Coffee, chocolate, and some spicy notes of vanilla and clove.

T - Dark caramel, chocolate, and espresso up front. Some nutty toffee and caramel in the middle and a finish of peanut butter, chocolate, espresso, and complex, dark sugar.

M - A thick, oily body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Rich, silky and complex this is an unusually nice imperial stout. This is a surprisingly good beer, especially considering how mediocre the other beers from this brewery have been.

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Photo of oberon
3.87/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a nonic a near jet black with a creamy-like deep beige head that looked good but faded rather quickly.Great mix of vanilla,roast,coffee,and bitter chocolate aromas,really rich aromas.Sweetish and rich on the palate with vanilla and molasses being the main component,its roasted and it holds up to the sweetness well but the sweetness wins out in the end.A rich RIS and its a good nightcap but it gets a tad sweet after mid bottle in my opinion.

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Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev +9.4%
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 jlindros
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this great beer thanks to dfclav, before it started showing up around here in a limited fashion.

Pours a darker bubbly and creamy 1/2 finger head that fades at a medium pace and a little bit of lacing, over pitch black beer, no light coming through there.

Nose is pure chocolate and coffee, baker's chocolate, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, milk chocolate, I feel like a kid in a candy store, a beer candy store, and kid I mean 21 year old... the chocolate seems like it's melting in my nose with a delicate aroma, giving way to a roasted malt and some mocha java, adn even some vanilla, i think a bit of oats, and luscious dark malts.

Taste comes on rich and full, again loaded with chocolate but less on the bitter dark and bakers chocolate and more on the creamy milk chocolate and cocoa nibs, a light roast with hints of coffee, caramel and vanilla, a little sweetness but not much, gets slightly bitter thanks to the charred malts and hints of an earthy hop that I can't really detect other than the remnants that it was there at one point, some creamy oats and milk chocolate round it off as well, hints of warming booze remind me that it is a strong beer, with a slightly drier finish, more lingering booze late that gets slightly tingly, mouth coating chocolate and dark malts and even more vanilla. I also found a slight bit of a bourbon and oak taste, which took me a while to actually taste but it's there once I get past all the chocolate, coffee, and dark malts.

Mouth is rich and heavy bodied, luscious and creamy, decent carbonation for the style, some warming and slightly tingly booze.

Overall I'm impressed, lots of great malt flavors, tons of chocolate but not fake chocolate, light roast, creamy and luscious, and with all the heavy dark malts no burnt flavors or minerality/tannic flavors. I personally would have liked a bit more earthy hops but it does really well, and those may interfere with the luscious and creamy chocolate.

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Photo of chinchill
3.86/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma: not bad but more suggestion of woody roots than expected.

Flavor: rich and strong, even for style. Essentially no burnt qualities but very dark roasted grains dominate. Black coffee jumps in in the aftertaste.

Feel: very full body with proper carbonation.

O: a rich, strong sipper worth seeking out.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.56/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Stone Brewing Bistro & World Gardens on 11/13/09 during their Firestone Walker 13th on the 13th event. Served in a snifter.

Pours black, with a nice looking layer of reddish and burnt mocha colored head. Strong frothy flareup, leaves big smattering of lacing back. The aroma is very floral and green up front. Notes of chocolate, fruit, wood, vanilla, char, and acrid coffee gives this a smokey acrid tang. A stiff waft of heat seems to undermine the flavors here a bit.

The taste is sticky with chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and burnt molasses flavor from the bourbon, with coffee coming out a bit more sharp here. There is a good bit of green citric hops present, that I feel are keeping some of the bolder flavors here at bay. The finish is full of tannic woody dryness. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a big creamy feel that then thins out somewhat towards the back of the swallow. Much like the aroma, this is packing a good bit of alcohol beef, which does offer up a bit of a sting on the tongue.

Between the hop profile and alcohol presence, this was still felt pretty young and raw. I'd love to revisit this in a year or two to see how much more the other flavors strengthen and emerge, as there was definitely some good stuff under there.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation near the surface of the beer and some dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall creamy dark tan head that reduces to a couple of medium sized thin patches of large bubbles and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of darkly roasted coffee with some lighter aromas of roasted malts, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and oak.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of roasted malts that has a strong component of freshly roasted coffee. There are some lighter flavors of chocolate, vanilla, oak, and molasses. That is followed by a strong flavor of bourbon in the finish. Light amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and slightly creamy with a light amount of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Overall this beer is fairly easy to enjoy as the alcohol is actually fairly well hidden. There is a nice complexity of flavors and aromas and the barrel aging complements the existing flavors/aromas. This is a big beer and I think it is best enjoyed by being sipped slowly.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Crow feather black that isn't a complete black hole, since somewhat generous bronze highlights are seen along the bottom of the glass. A thick chunk of khaki colored foam crested the rim on the pour and needed to be slurped. So far, lace looks to be more extensive than the ABV and barrel aging would lead one to expect.

The aroma is perfectly complemented by Jobella Fair Trade coffee, not dominated by it. Dark chocolate, caramelized sugar and vanilla are noted as well. Story is, the beer was aged for 6 months in barrels that had previous held bourbon and some sort of wine. So far, so good.

Nectar Ales Black Xantus tastes like it smells, but loses something in the translation. For starters, there isn't enough malt, which means the beer is thinner than it should be. For finishers, there's too much unmasked alcohol, which is unacceptable in a sub-style that should have enough flavor intensity to cover up a flaw of that sort.

Bourbon whiskey is actually more prominent than coffee. Either those were some leaky barrels or the brewers added a shot of Kentucky's finest to each bottle prior to capping. No red grape vinousness is evident. It isn't a complete and unmitigated mess, but some significant mopping up needs to be done if the brewery plans to release this offering again.

Neither sweetness (slight lead early) nor bitterness (slight lead late) seizes the reins and charges across the finish line. Warming doesn't change much, which is odd. Usually beer of this sort finds its groove by the middle of the bomber. The flavor isn't becoming more well-integrated, the alcohol isn't mellowing and the mouthfeel isn't becoming the least bit chewy or full.

Black Xantus was named after a rarely seen hummingbird. That's a strange name for a beer that is supposed to be big and bold, but it's understandable given Nectar Ales labels and overall theme. Unfortunately, it never really comes together into something that can seriously compete with the country's best, much less the world's best.

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Photo of russpowell
4.11/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with a sliver of fast fading mocha colored head. Minimal head retention & lacing, a minor short-coming

S: Dark fruit & port notes, a touch of chocolate too

T: Figs, raisins, dark cherries, a bit of port & some dryness up front. Oaky dryness, plus a bit of chocolate covered raisins & some coffee thrown in as this warms, some vanilla too edging towards Bourbon/x-mas pudding, Finishes oaky, some warming/boozey with maraschino cherry & a bit of vanilla & cocoa

MF: Fairly chewy with slight carbonation, stickyness as well, gets fairly warming as well

A fairly complex & yet drinkable take on the style. This one would age very well I bet, but is drinking great at the present, almost gave this a 4.5, but some slightly rough edges held it back just a little. Will buy this again to be sure

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another new gem I was lucky enough to get a hold of. I was really looking forward to trying this one as I have heard excellent things about it. Served chilled at cellar temp and poured into a large pint glass, this one was consumed on 11/11/2009.

The pour was perfect. Huge and dark, evil looking jet black in color with a huge tan head that reached a height of nearly three inches before it even thought about trying to settle down, and even then simply dropped tons of spider like lacing up and down the sides of the glass. Really just huge looking and absolutely perfect. Rich aroma of roasted malts, nice touches of rich chocolate notes and huge notes of vanilla and molasses. Warming brings out light touches of coffee, hints of woody notes and a light bourbon touch that really pulls it all together really quite nicely. Rich flavor, huge notes of molasses and chocolate, loads of coffee infused goodness and a just a nasty, wicked dark licorice like flavor to it. This thing was a beast and a half to say the least. Warming brings out more touches of woody notes, more hints of vanilla, and a nice back splash of roasted malts. Really again very well done and a very solid example of the style. Perfect feel and although it clocked in at over 11% there was no way I could possibly tell.

Overall a very solid RIS. I would stack this one up in a tasting with the big boys any day of the week, it was really just that good. Another very solid option here.

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Photo of billab914
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured black in color with a thin, bubbly head clinging to the edges of the glass.

The aroma has dark chocolate mixing with some roasty coffee, brown sugar, vanilla, oak and a touch of bourbon. It has some alcohol heat to it, but otherwise the aroma comes together pretty well.

The taste shows a lot of alcohol to it right off the bat. Coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and oak all come out in it as well as some brown sugar and boozy bourbon. The flavors just don't seem to work well together for me. There is too much going on and they just don't really compliment each other all that well.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being low. Overall it was a decent beer, but not one that stood out in the style for me. The barrel aged flavors didn't really come together well in my opinion. It seemed to have more of a boozy, alcohol flavor that clashed with the coffee. Not a bad beer, but there is better for the price.

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Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,355 ratings.
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