Babayaga | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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192 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Foreign / Export Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Babayaga, our autumn seasonal beer, appears each year just as the winds begin to blow a little stronger and the nights bring Winter’s first frost. The beer is a 7% export-strength woodland stout. We found this beer in a cauldron in a tiny wooden cabin perched on chicken legs in the woods near the Volga River. The old lady inside, an ancient witch/wise-woman/baby-eater called Baba Yaga, let us try some. We liked it so much, she said we could brew it for all of you here back home, as long as we named it after her. And so we did! How could we not have: she’d have eaten us if we didn’t!

It took us a while to figure out the secrets to Baba Yaga’s recipe, but we think we’ve got it: We smoke some malt with rosemary, and we add a few other eerie embellishments that she’s making us keep hush-hush. We ferment with a mix of English and Belgian yeast strains. This beer should taste like Eastern European folklore, like woodland, streams, cold dark nights and woodsmoke. Enjoy it!

…And what’s over here? A poem about the eerie old woman and the beer she brought to us! Close your eyes, imagine yourself lost deep in the foggy thicket somewhere, and click the little linky below…

Added by m1ked on 11-10-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 192 | Ratings: 454
Photo of JimbobAlonymous
5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best stout I've ever had.

I'd get into the details but its easier to just say that its everything you could expect from a stout and more.

I highly recommend everything I've had from pretty things. They spend a lot of time perfecting their flavors.

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Photo of GabrielM
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared as an extra from SteveFinny. Thanks again! Poured into a Bruery toulip.

A - pitch black in the middle, pitch brown near the top and edges. A nice, frothy head sits on top.

S - a ton of roasted malts, some vanilla, a bit of coffee and some dark fruits, maybe currants, with some molasses in the back.

T - same as nose - very malty and roasty, with a definite fruit presense, almost a raspberry tang, but not too strong. Very nice.

M - feels good!

D - a low enough ABV to enjoy a couple of these! Unfortunately, they aren't sold here and this is my only bottle :(

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Photo of NiceTaps
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a stemmed tulip glass.

A- It pours nicely and looks good while pouring. So oil-spill dark brown that it's black in color with a dark British tan colored head, big and whipped 2-plus finger. Ample foamy lacing. Active bubbles to start that get lost in the darkness.

S- NOT a roasted malt and chocolate overload. Sure, there's some roasted malt but the beauty of its aroma is in the subtle blend of molasses, sweet and dark chocolates, hop spiciness, the right touch of alcohol, and black licorice. Light smokiness. A sublime combination.

T- The flavor profile follows the nose. It's mellow, not as intense as many stouts. The dark chocolate, dark malt and licorice are sweetened nicely by the molasses and spice.

M- Well carbonated with medium body. Tingles. Hearty enough, not quite chewy.

O- It must be the combination of 7.0 abv and 48 ibus that makes this a hit for me. Bold, not boozy. Balanced, not sugary or bitter. And, the aroma; mmm

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Photo of HBBJ
4.51/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black, with a tinge of red. Opaque. Thick, brown, long-lasting head with copious lacing.

Smell: Big burst of chocolate, followed by coffee and burnt toffee. Malty with some yeast fruitiness.

Taste: Big, bold coffee-toffee flavor. Dark and roasted malt, with a touch of hop flavor. Long, chocolatey aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and creamy. Dry, with a bite from hop bittering.

Overall: Export-style, drier and stronger than many stouts. Outstanding. A world-class stout.

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Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey, served in a pint glass.

A: Huge thick rich head that never wants to leave. It takes 3-4 minutes to pour as he has to keep scraping off the head to fill with more beer. Eventually when I get the glass, the head very slowly fades, but still wants to hang around and enjoy the party. The pitch black color traps light surrounding it, almost as if they dimmed the lights just as the beer arrived in front of me, or did they?

N: Nose beckons you with roasted malts, coffee and toffee. Some slight oatmeal flashes me thoughts of breakfast, with my coffee on the side. Then some dark chocolate gushes out in waves, battling its way into the nose trying to fight through the roasted malts and coffee. The chocolate starts to win and become more dominant as the beer breathes and warms.

T: Wow, I think this weighs more per density than the glass its in. Its super rich and pretty thick. Again it bombards you with roasted malts and some more dark chocolate. I'm detecting quite a bit of caramel as well, and I don't mean caramel malts, I mean real caramel. Perhaps it is a product of the malts, but it adds a nice touch. Almost like one of those really interesting coffees you get that have lots of chocolate and caramel in them, except this time in beer form. Some creamy chocolate milk presents itself a little as the beer warms and breaths. As my taste buds start to get past the rich chocolate coffee roasted flavors, I start to get some bitterness that builds a bit. It's a combination of the earthy stout-like charred bitter flavors, and some spicy hop characters pushing out. Then almost a very hint of alcohol warmth that starts to build, both the hop bitterness and alcohol warmth build as the beer magically gets drunken.

M: Very rich and pretty thick, almost have to chew it. Good carbonation to go with it, no Tomme'd beer here. It also leaves a coating around the mouth and tongue reminding you of the flavor for a while.

F: It finishes semi bitter and a nice slight hoppy flavor. The rich creamy chocolate also sticks around, giving you memories of being a kid and drinking the chocolate milk from the carton. Most of the roasted malt and coffee flavors have subsided by the finish. The bitter earthy charred stout-like flavors present themselves quite a bit at the end, probably accentuated by the bittering hops. Although, except for the coat of chocolate and caramel that coats the mouth and tongue, it finishes pretty clean.

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Photo of scriabin
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with dark, rich color and creamy consistency. It's subtle yet appealing aroma are matched only by it's smooth flavor and mouth feel. Babayaga has a medium yet thick head. My only criticism is that Babayaga's hut moves around on three hen's legs, not four but this is a beer, not a fairy tale, although after finishing this fine stout you'll feel as if you've been transported in time!

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Photo of BeerMusketeer
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally tried this, as I am getting more into dark beers and stouts and I LOVE Pretty Things. The beer is a dark black with a nice tan head that drops slowly. Smells of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit I assocaite with Belgiam yeast. The taste is similar, but with surprising bitterness. A GREAT freakin' brew! Thanks, Dan!

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased at The Liquor Shoppe in Tygsborro, Mass. Pours an opaque pitch black body with about an inch tan head that clings to the side of the glass as it dissipates. Coffee, dark chocolate, nut, and wood comprise the aroma. Coffee, toast, and dark chocolate hit at first, becoming much fuller and richer as the sip settles in. Wood and nut are present in the background, but only as an accent and balance. Full-bodied with ample carbonation to aid drinkability. The profoundness of the coffee and chocolate in the flavor makes this not only super-delicious, but one of the best for the style I've had. More, please!

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a charcoal black color topped by a rocky tan head that leaves a fair amount of splashy lace

Smell: Heavy on the roasted malt, but with some unusual elements which I presume come from the secret rosemary smoking process

Taste: A little bit of chocolate and a little bit of fruit and then the roasty, charred malt really steps up; I wouldn't have guessed rosemary, but there is an almost Belgian Stout character to this, though it doesn't have the yeast profile I have seen from the Belgian versions; a bit of sweet licorice on the finish but also some spicy rye character as well

Mouthfeel: The body is clearly influenced by the malt bill, what with wheat and oats in the grist; as a result, the body is light and creamy for a stout, with buoyant carbonation

Drinkability: Love the creativity and love the flavor - kudos

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to jlindros.

Pours black with a finger and a half of a smooth tan head.

Scent of molasses, cocoa, roasted malts, dark fruit, bitter, sweet hops, and a hint of smoke. Balanced very well, the bittersweet malts combine so well with the hops. I was expecting much more smoke, but what is there is quite pleasant.

Taste of roasted malts, dark fruit, chocolate, wood, a hint of smoke, and sweet juicy hops. Finishes with a lingering flavor of roasted malts with a touch of smoke. An excellent Stout, balanced with a nice strong flavor. Another great beer from Pretty Things, this one exceeded my expectations.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, oily and biting with a big bite of carbonation, keeping it from being too overbearing and making it nicely drinkable.

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Photo of jbertsch
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with a modest yet sufficient head. Smells of charcoal, peat moss, and woodsy earth. As it warms and I swirl it in my glass, I notice notes of banana along side Belgian-like yeast. The taste is a nice change of pace for a stout as it's not just the usual chocolate and coffee notes. I get notes of smoky woods, a little licorice, slight fruit notes, and a little herbiness thats a nice surprise. Tihis all swims in a pool of roasty toasty notes. Mouthfeel is a little slick but still mainly creamy.

Overall I'm surprised more people don't love this stout. It's unique with great layers of flavor that range from woods, herbs, and fruit with an underlining roastiness that runs across everything.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very dark black with just a touch of brown and a half finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some light lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts with some smoke, coffee, and a bit of dark fruit sweetness.

T - Starts out with some roasted dark chocolate malts with a bit of vanilla and smoke. Through the middle, some stronger smoke comes through with some coffee and light dark fruit sweetness. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate and coffee, smoke, and just a touch of dark fruit.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry and roasty finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice Stout. The balance is spot on here with a great mix of chocolate, coffee, and a touch of dark fruit sweetness.

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Photo of ksimons
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-a dark chocolate with a thin layer of tan head that quickly disappears and leaves some lacing around the rim

S-Rich roasted malts, mocha, something that smells like plums or dark cherries, mocha, and a hint of alcohol. Really nice and complex smell here.

T-Rich roasted malts, molasses, slight bitter coffee, vanilla and dark chocolate. Again like the smell it is a really complex and balanced taste.

M-medium body, light carbonation, silky smooth

Overall I think this is my favorite from Pretty Things, easy to drink, great smell and taste.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle, bottled in October, poured into a pint glass while slightly chilled. Pretty Things always makes really solid brews so I'm pretty excited to give this a try.

Appearance: Brown, almost black, in color with a large, three finger brown head. Very nice retention.

Aroma: Roasted, smokey malt upfront. I get a nice hint of rosemary and spicy rye. Coffee and chocolate note are also there. Really nice and unique.

Taste: Coffee and smoke note upfront. There are some spice notes, most notably rosemary hints. Really nice balance of sweet and bitter. A background hint of rye. Only a touch of alcohol but its hidden well for the most part. One of a kind and enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Feels a bit thin for the style. Creamy with a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall, a pleasant and one of a kind stout. Really well done with nice balance throughout. I would get this again.

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Photo of albern
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't see the name of the beer on the label and it wasn't until I looked for it among the other offerings listed on BA from this brewery. On the bottle it is listed as a sylvan stout, whatever that means. Despite the name and labeling, this is a really good stout from a very interesting brewery with an unconventional background. I'm not sure of their distribution, but I'm glad of its availability where I live. The beer laces nicely and there is a bit of retention, but not much.

The beer is creamy, dark, slightly syrupy consistency and color with a smallish but dark head. The beer has a bit of carbonation for the style and has that very nice inky black transluscent quality. The aroma is very nice, pungent, with chocolate, roasted malts, dark malts, some charred notes, and coffee qualities. The nose has some sweeter malts aromas than you will find in the taste.

The taste will not disappoint. The beer gets high marks for overall creaminess, and slight oily quality on the tongue. It has a full palate of dark malts, a touch of dark chocolate, and coffee flavors. There is just a touch of sweeter malts and a little bit of prickliness at the very beginning, but this segues out into more bittering flavors. The beer has a strong roasted quality, and is loaded with dark unsweetened malts. There is less chocolate flavors than I would have liked. The coffee is slight as well, which is okay by me. It is the charred, dark malts and roasted flavors, and slight bittering dryness in the finish that defines this beer. It is a substantial, full palated affair.

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Photo of gford217
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle courtesy of axeman9182 poured into a tulip.

Pours completely black in the glass with no light passing through and a big thick tan head that recedes slowly to sticky collar with bits of lacing.

As a smoked beer lover, this one smells nice. Lots of smoked black malts and spices coming through on top of the typical chocolate and coffee I expected up front.

The taste is also very enjoyable. It's got sweet caramel and vanilla paired with dark chocolate and hints of dark fruits. But, again, the most interesting part is the smoked malts and unique spiciness that I really dig.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with more carbonation and spiciness than you normally get in a stout.

This one really impressed me as I love the use of smoked malts to add to the complexity without turning it into a full-on smoked beer. Great beer.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into my Mad Elf tulip glass. LOTS of "smoke" out of the bottle once the cap is popped off. Pours BLACK and semi-thick. Aroma immediately hits the air and smells roasted! Head is a tannish brown, very frothy and huge. Settles to a pretty thick layer over the surface. Sticky lacing.

Aroma has tons of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Smells complex and inviting! A little fruit is detectable.

Taste: hmmm, fruitier than I expected a stout to be. Still...very tasty. Bitter chocolates, coffee on the back side of the tongue. Malty...creamy...complex. The fruity flavors up front: cherry perhaps? Wow, interesting stout, and very good!

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Photo of BasementDweller
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I am over the moon about this brewery, and waited with great anticipation as this brew chilled in my fridge. Poured into a good stout glass at 55 degrees.

A big, creamy head jumped up immediately. I buried my nose in it and took in all the aromatic goodness. It smacked of charcoal, smoke and chocolate. A sip revealed the same, with a complex dryness that was just short of chalky.

A big body mid-palate gave way to a delicious, roasty bitter finish. Exactly how I wanted this beer to taste, and a perfect compliment to a nice grilled steak dinner.

It's not a style-bender like Jack D'Or was -- and certainly not as mind-blowing -- but if it's true that every great brewer has to produce a great export stout, then I suppose the Paquettes can be officially anointed as such. (As if there was any doubt.)

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

“Bottled Oct 2010 Batch 2” poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short dense beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a sweet burst of dark fruit and bourbon up front but those flavors fade and transition into the more constant flavors of milk chocolate and coffee. There’s a hearty roasted malt character and a mild but complementary hops presence creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, slightly filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to jmu500 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Bottled: November 2009

Poured into a chalice a very nice dark brown/black color, nice carbonation, very nice thick two-finger thick/creamy tan head, with some very nice thick/creamy sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, nice chocolate/toffee notes. The taste is big on malts, slightly sweet, slight bitterness, nice chocolate/toffee notes. Medium body. Very drinkable, another very nice brew from PT.

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Photo of jdaelhousen
4.31/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour produces an amazing 3 fingers of frothy brown head. Milkshake like. Color of the body is a very dark brown, almost black. Aroma contains notes of roasted barley, chocolate malt, mild black cherry tones. This beer just appears and smells hearty and wholesome. Taste contains flavors up front of roasted malt grain that mellows out. When this happens, more chocolate malt can be tasted. Fruity notes pick up at the center. Black cherry, some citris from what is the beginning of a nice hop bitterness to this beer. Finish keeps the hop flavors and comes in with a bit of a tobacco hint. Aftertaste leaves the roasted, charry flavor from the grains and bittering hops dancing on the palate. At 7%, this beer is very drinkable and delicious.

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Photo of nhindian
4.31/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in the 'You Aint From Around Here?' BIF from apollokim, thanks Kim!

Poured into a Pretty Things Oversized Wine Glass, also extremely generously provided by Kim. You're the best!

Bottled in November 2009 (And vintage bottles? Insane).

A - Pours silky smooth out of the bottle and fills the glass with midnight black beer, but not as heavy-weight or syrupy as expected. Builds a creamy, 2-fingered, light tan head which contrasts nicely with the opaque body. Retention is great as it lasts for a good portion of the beer. One of the most outstanding things about this beer is the lacing. This beer doesn't have just sporadic lacing or intricate webs, but rather it completely covers a good 3/4ths of the glass (minus the side I'm drinking from) with an absolute curtain of lacing. It just sticks there and clings for dear life. Fantastic.

S - The smell is much more mild and subdued than I would've expected. There's a light roast from the malts, and some bittersweet chocolate, but it's muted and non-aggressive. Rather, the floral hops and spices take the forefront of the nose. It's unusual, considering the majority of stouts rely on the malts, but it works for this beer and is a nice change. Light and refreshing.

T - Much like in the nose, the taste is surprisingly not malt-forward at all. While the initial flavors are nice and bready, with the fresh roasted espresso notes, it transitions quickly and smoothly into the more floral side with the hops and rosemary. Interestingly this brings me back to the Stone/Victory/Dogfish Head Saison du BUFF, although not as excessively spiced (thankfully). The malts do bring a lasting sweetness, however, which carries into the finish, which is long and pleasantly balanced between the sweet and bitter characteristics.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light with low carbonation. Leaves a nice coating in the mouth and the finish is long and enjoyable. Maybe would've preferred a bit more carbonation here. Very creamy and velvety smooth, it goes down easily.

D - Drinkability is high. I had no problem finishing a bomber of this, and the unconventional profile of this beer was a refreshing change to the palate in a period where I've had quite a few Porters / Stouts / RIS's / Imperial Stouts. The flavors really mesh well together, and the lighter mouthfeel makes it easily to drink and definitely changes what it could be paired with compared to more heavy and syrupy stouts.

However, this also makes it a bit hard to grade. If grading to the style, it certainly falls short of what 'traditional' stouts are, but as a beer itself, it's interesting and I really enjoyed it. Overall a great first impression for this brewery, and I have another bottle from this BIF that I am looking forward to, and from there I'll hopefully expand further!

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Photo of tzieser
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber (Bottled Nov. 09) poured into a Raftman tulip

a: nice two finger off-white/tan head that settles into a nice foamy lacing. almost pitch black in color. really great looking stout

s: really pleasant fragrance. nice roasted malt character; getting some subtle hints of smoke....interesting. i think there's a belgian yeast strain at work here as well.

t: magnificent. nice roasted malt flavor. undertones of chocolate, not much coffee (which i'm thankful for). i also pickup some spices/herbs...very subtle notes rosemary? intriguing. oh, and that belgian yeast works beautifully.

m&d: very smooth and delicate mouthfeel. drinkability is great. i want more!

be sure to try this

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Photo of mirish72
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was psyched to finally find this the other night at my local as I have been itching to try it.

Pours a lighter black with a flowing 1-2 finger head. Smells of roasted malts, but the aroma isn't as big as you would think from the pour.

Has a malty taste, but again not as much as you would think. Also has a sweet aftertaste. Very smooth and it hides the booze well, very easy to drink.

Overall, probably not my favorite Pretty Things, but overall very good. Gotta love the artwork and these guys are doing great things.

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Photo of cavedave
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One shade of brown away from purest black, opaque, and a lasting, fine-lather, two finger head of dark beige. Nice.

Smell is a medium aroma of rounded yeast tart, plum, dark caramel, even some nice ripe berry scents, bordered by faint floral and earthy citrus.

It has a medium strength flavor, but what a flavor! Very fruity, very herbal, as it warms I taste plum, nectarine, blackberry, orange, sharing the sip with some luscious caramel, and light roast malt notes. Behind it all is some subtle hop flavor, along the way I get light lemon, ganja, and pine, always in the background, but making the sip complex and delicious. The balance is wonderful here.

Mouthfeel is light, med. carb. (despite the look), med. viscosity, but the finish is clean as any of this style.

Drinkability is crazy good. This beer is so delicious I fear the consequences of having unfettered access to large quantities of it.

Fourth PT beer for me, first one I have really loved. This stout hits me in all the right places.

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Babayaga from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
3.92 out of 5 based on 454 ratings.
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