Black Xantus | Humboldt Brewing Co.

1,361 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,361 |  Reviews: 435
Photo of mrbubbler
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Heretic42
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of kevwcamp
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of BeerBucks
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Hophead717
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of BeerBeast
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours an almost pitch black color with a one finger of tan colored head. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a moderate level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer has tons of chocolate and coffee in the nose. Along with these smells are some wonderful oaky and bourbon aromas mixed with a good dose of caramel and vanilla sweetness. Some other lighter aromas of a more dark fruit nature are thee as well with smells of cherry, raisin and plum all there. Overall the aroma is big roasty and sweet producing a nice warming aroma overall..

Taste – The taste begins with a huge sweet chocolate flavor with tons of caramel and vanilla mixed within along with a decent sum of a roasted malt flavor. While described from the bottle as a coffee stout, I got much more chocolate and sweetness out of this then coffee. From the onset with the big roasted, chocolate and sweet flavors does however come some notes of a coffee flavor as well as a bit of a oaky flavor. Some lighter alcohol flavors, for a brew of 11% abv, come to the tongue at the end of the taste, which are accompanied by some fruit flavor of raisin and fig, end up mixing with the other flavors that had come up throughout the taste profile to leave a nice smooth and sweet, chocolaty roasted flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both were fantastic for the big chocolate, and sweet flavors of the brew with the lower carbonation only accentuating these and making for a nice slow drinker that is surprisingly easy to drink.

Overall – A nice and “easy drinking” Imperial stout at 11 % abv. It has tons of nice smooth flavors that make it a real pleasure to drink.

 1,870 characters

Photo of Claytonbrewsby
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Mike
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of dtomes
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of freewill35
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of neurobot01
3.54/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured at fridge temp into a snifter, allowed to warm while drinking. Have been sitting on this since late Nov.

Look: Dark brown, with very minimal head, not much carbonation.

Aroma: Initial smell is really hard to place—pretty sure it was the wine barrels coming through, but didn't quite smell like wine. I think the best description I can give overall is that it smells Iike Ghirardelli Raspberry-filled Dark Chocolate Squares. Also a hint of astringency. Honestly not sure what to make of it.

Taste: First thought was, "What the hell is in my mouth?" Sort of bitter/tart fruitiness, has a kind of rotten something going on. Followed quickly by intense sweetness, chocolate, then sweet fruit (or fruit-like goo; see aroma). I also feel like I'm getting some char—maybe that's part of the initial bitterness. Lingering taste of fruit, chocolate, and burnt wood. Surprisingly pronounced yellow bell pepper way on the back end. As it warms, things meld a bit better—it almost has the feel of an ABA, thanks to the combo of roastiness and bitterness. Might also pick up a bit more Bourbon.

Feel: Fairly light, particularly for the abv and style. Pretty spot-on carbonation.

Overall: I really wanted to love this beer—it's a local brewer trying something pretty different. As it is, I may grab another bottle from a local shop where I know it's been in cold storage the whole time. But based on this bottle, this just doesn't quite work for me, and for this price, I'd much rather be drinking actual FW barrel stuff than this step-child brew.

 1,553 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with one finger tan head that left lace patches. Dark fruit aromas like black cherry and figs are evident as are notes of vanilla and coffee for that java smell, roasted malts, molasses, chocolate and wood. Body is chewy, fuller bodied, breadlike, beer goes down smooth yet at times is also sticky, there are cherry and figs for dark fruit flavors, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, wood, chocolate and there all balanced for a both sweet and dry beer that is a monster sipper.

 489 characters

Photo of BAsbill
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Beerdless
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of 01001111
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of TTAmod
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Received this for free from my beer store. Thanks!! 22 oz. bomber poured into pint glass. Looking at the description, I must say I'm excited....

A: Looks really good. Pitch black beer, even when held up to the light. Thick dark brown head on top. Excellent retention for 11%.

S: Smell is also quite good. Sweet coffee, bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, wood, bourbon-soaked cherries....very nice.

T: Very well-balanced for a barrel stout. Get the sweetness up front. Lots of vanilla, fruit, bourbon, brown sugar, etc. Lots of coffee and espresso on the back end. A touch roasty, but not burnt. Not bitter at all. Finishes with a nice taste of coffee. Some alcohol is present near the end.

M: Pretty thick, but not cloying, thankfully. That's typically the problem with these types of stouts. Moderate carbonation, but more lively than your typical stout. Easy enough to drink for a big stout.

O: Color me impressed, here. Never heard of this one, but my guy at the beer store said it's going on clearance and gave me one because he had a ton of them. If people knew what this tasted like, it wouldn't be around long enough to go on clearance. There is a lot of strong tastes and depth with this beer, but nothing overpowers the other. This beer is quite the balanced barrel stout.

 1,288 characters

Photo of threedaggers
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Jdub2839
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hope there’s a good reason this bomber was over $15; still, I’m the sucker who bought it, so I guess that’s on me. Cheers.

Bottle 11/22/2013, about four months before the date of this tasting.

A: Dark, dark brown body, pouring nearly black from the bottle, with no head whatsoever. Give the glass a little twist and you get a bit of mocha-colored bubbles hugging the walls, but that’s it. Get a little further into the bottle and a bit of creamy head appears after the pour, but you have to work for it. Looks thick, at any rate.

S: Complex, gourmet coffee and artisan chocolate aromas create an alluring character, one I’ve experienced in only a few special stouts. Wow. Typical stout scents – vanilla extract, brownie batter, heavily roasted coffee – are present in force, but more intricate tones of bright ripe cherry, toasted pecan, and rose water add nuance; that, plus an ever-present maple and bourbon scent, shows that this has some wonderful complexity before even taking a sip. A memorable nose.

T: As expected, this is a rich palate packed with residual sugars, but the coffee and barrel tastes are just odd enough to turn this into something that’s not your typical imperial stout. In each sip, you have a vanilla ice cream and Hershey’s chocolate foundation laying flat beneath sharp and abnormally wild bitters – tastes of earthy coffee and hops add a twist of acidic espresso, herbal mint, raspberry, and a touch of cola. That all wraps up in a catty, mildly flowery hop taste that pulls on the palate a bit, adding some prickliness to the smooth sugars. The barrel aging adds a nice touch, as well, playing on the interesting bitterness with a slight oxidation flavor – a lightly papery note – and an oak sawdust and taste. Finishes with some light whiskey and smoke on the tongue, woody and very slightly dry.

M: This stout is the definition of “milky:” no real carbonation, a creamy (but not thick) body, and a lack of intensely drying features on the palate. It fits, though, since the palate is sweet in a meaty, lactose sugar kind of way.

O: Sometimes a beer with an odd palate is interesting; here, though, the abnormal fruity and herbal tastes end up perceived as off-flavors. I enjoy drinking it, sure, but that’s only because there’s a streak of traditional stout flavor to this beer. I’ll take a stout with an interesting palate any day – Porcine Unidragon, Surly Darkness, Bourbon County Cherry Rye – but it’s possible for out-of-the-ordinary to become unpleasant, and that’s what ended up happening with the hops and the coffee here. Underneath, though, you have a great stout with a spectacular nose and creamy drinkability that shouldn’t be overlooked.

 2,736 characters

Photo of kevindp9
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Bilco
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Jordy777
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of jkball01
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 1,361 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.