Black Xantus | Humboldt Brewing Co.

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Black XantusBlack Xantus
1,372 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: 1,372 |  Reviews: 439
Photo of Beerdless
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of 01001111
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of TTAmod
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
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 +1.4%

Photo of Jdub2839
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
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 +1.4%

Photo of Bilco
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Jordy777
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of jkball01
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of Jlang2012
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Treyliff
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Late '13/early '14 release, poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black with a thin light tan head that reduces quickly, leaving only a ring around the glass, no lacing & short lasting alcohol legs

S- milk chocolate aroma meshes with a roasted and slightly smoky charred malt, there's a big fruity aroma in the middle with notes of cherry and dark grape. Also picking up vanilla & oak, licorice, some woodsy notes with a hint of bourbon

T- big sweetness on the tongue up front with flavors of sweet cherry juice and more fruity flavors, perhaps from the wine barrel aging. Sweet milk chocolate kicks in mid-palate with highlights of vanilla and a red-wine-like tartness. The finish brings out a hint of fresh coffee, dark fig and a touch of bourbon warmth

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy, almost chewy mouthfeel, leading to a smooth finish. Alcohol warmth on the linger

O- Really enjoyed this, I think the wine barrel aspect used in this beer adds a nice fruity tartness to it. The bourbon is more of a compliment, rather than a focus, but I think it all balances out quite nicely.

 1,118 characters

Photo of ryannosaurus
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured to tumbler (snifter/tulip would be better for this)

Opaque dark brown with small brown head

Aroma is big on molasses with hints of anise, whiskey, and wood.

I rarely give anything a 5, but flavor here is so perfection, not too much oak, not too much bourbon. Anise and hot alcohol abound, tempered by delicious grape and fig sweetness. A hint of coffee bitterness for punctuation. It all melds to a dark chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is what one expects from a big stout: heavy and a little intimidating, nice bite from the bubbles, which stick around.

Overall... a whole lot of everything I want from a huge Imperial Stout, but still some very subtle elements. Fruitier then a lot of other big IS's, and the barrel elements very subtle and engaging. I brew to savor slowly and mull over. Probably my current favorite style of beer, Xantus was a surprise addition to my top 5 in style.

 904 characters

Photo of BuckTuckian
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of BeersAndBears
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of SuperbikeShaun
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of JSchock7
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of imyourhero21
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of KYGunner
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black rich color gave way to to a thin layer of cream for a head. Smoky nose with a spicy chilli pepper. Lots of char, whole smoke, dry Graham cracker, chocolate, chilli pepper capsaicin, chipotle , coffee and roasted malts on the tongue. Nice bit of spicy heat on the feel. Excellent and fun beer.

 299 characters

Photo of Casey3236
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of PalatePilot
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Yeti1979
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of 904Will
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Black Xantus from Humboldt Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.19 out of 5 with 1,372 ratings
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