Babayaga | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

BA SCORE
88
very good
454 Ratings
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BabayagaBabayaga
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States
prettythingsbeertoday.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
454
Reviews:
192
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
10.2%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
57
For Trade:
2
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 454 |  Reviews: 192
Photo of dubdrop
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Maxwell
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a proper stout black with a medium sized roasted tan head on top that quickly fizzles into a tight scrim that causes very thin droopy lacing. The body is impenetrable to the eye, sitting entirely opaque in the glass, but seems clear of sediment and haze. On the nose, the beer smells terrifically bizarre for the style. The slight roasted coffee and dark chocolate are there, but they play second fiddle to the beer’s dark fruit, quad-like smells of plums and raisin, and even a slight kiss of spicy alcohol. The beer tastes just as terrific, with light dark fruit notes on the beginning and aftertaste, but a strong roasted coffee stout flavor coming through in the middle. The beer begins with slight sour plum and raisin before opening into creamy roasted coffee and light dark chocolate notes, while sweet raisin and slight alcohol linger behind the roast and again show themselves strongly in the lingering aftertaste alongside the roasted coffee. The beer feels medium to medium heavy on the mouth, with a drying feeling in the face and sticky dry crackling on the tongue. Overall this is a terrific export stout with a Belgian yeast flair. I love the quad-like characters in the beer as they add a nice unique twist. This beer is a must try for stout fans, and another success from Pretty Things, as well as a go-to stout for me.

 1,353 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Schmuckles
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grab me the baggie pants, cause this is a beer that drinks like a meal. Strongly malted and hearty enough to satisfy both the stomach and the sanity of those dark and dreary winter days.

It's strong black pour matches that of the winter mood. But a creamy mocha head brightens the mood as memories of hot cocoa start to come to mind. Like a thick blanket, the foam tucks in the beer and laces with intricate patters as the beer fades.

Aromas of burnt stuff is all over the beer's nose- burnt sugars, torched wood, burnt fruit, burnt coffee, burnt nuts- all that's missing is the heavy smoke elements that you'd expect from all these dry roast elements. A faint backbone of vanilla and cream burrows deep within the roast and carry with it a mildly ester and perfume note.

Although the flavors are heavily circulated around roast as well, it leads with a creamy starch and soothing malted milk taste. But then the strong roast coffee, burnt toast, seared wood embers, and cocoa come soaring in with aggressive burnt barley taste. Even the caramel sweetness seems scorched as it accompanies mild licorice, grape, and perfume taste.

Its full creamy texture is chocked full of char and dryness that hold onto its robust structure until very late in finish. Only then does the dryness of roast and warmth of alcohol prevail. This leaves room for coffee-like bitterness and roast astrincency to become noticed.

Of course there's the perfumy lavender notes that distinguish this "winter warmer" from an export stout that could come around any time of the year. But the spice aids in aroma but distracts in taste and texture. Added fruit esters and better supporting malt sweetness could have garnered better accolades. Keep in mind, this will be a fan favorite for those that prefer extreme roastiness in their stouts.

 1,817 characters

Photo of TheMiddleofSound
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Orange
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of sammy806
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of ferrettman687
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of BeerNacho
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of ValTass
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of ELECTRONICAnonymous
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of ScottStache
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of sneaks2210
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of calmstock
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of hooliganlife
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours dark cola, light cream head with a faint cocoa

very rich. lots of ripe fruit, some dark roast coffee.

very rich in flavor, some cherry and rosemary. lots of charred roasted malt, and dark chocolate bitterness.

light and airy but a nice amount of bite in the carbonation.

decent, interesting to say the least.

 320 characters

Photo of argock
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a 13oz tulip at Sunset Grill and Tap (Boston, MA).

A: Black with brown-ruby edges and short 1/2-finger cap of head that recedes to leave copious lacing.

S: Smoky dark maltiness carries the aroma with some grape and fig dark fruitiness that provides a roast component to the nose as well

T: Solid flavor but nothing too special with some caramelly and slightly fruity figgy dark maltiness. The smokiness in the nose carries forward in the flavor, subtle but enhancing, with some mildly herbal hops. Bitterness is mild-to-moderate.

M: Fairly highly carbonated with medium body. Alcohol character is low.

O: A pretty good but not great stout with a light smoky quality.

 688 characters

Photo of monitorpop
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of snowmaggedon
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of kaelingirl
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of cowboy83
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of jondeelee
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Babayaga opens to a coffee-and-cream aroma, tinged with touches of tobacco and ash, and bearing slight remnants of chocolate and black malt. Caramel, molasses, and brown sugar add a sweet boost, joined by small whiffs of fig, vanilla, anise, black licorice, and white pepper. There’s also a thin thread of grapefruit and pine from the hops, though in no way does this interfere with the stout aromas. The nose is balanced heavily toward black notes, but is as a whole nicely balanced, with enough sugars present to make things palatable; this is definitely a novice-friendly stout. The nose does want for a bit more oomph, however, the low 7% ABV not coming across here as watery, but as simply meeker than expected, and the beer suffers somewhat from a lack of uniqueness.

On the tongue, the initial flavors are largely black coffee, tobacco, and ash, but these are joined quickly by a strong sugary rush of caramel, and brown sugar, and tinges of fig. Slight hints of black licorice and vanilla lurk in the background. Hops provide a surprisingly present grapefruit and lemon presence, lending a medium-strength citrus undertone. Late in the mouthful, as the sugars die off, the beer’s ashy characteristics move to full throttle, and the final flavors are largely black malt and charred grains, which last into the aftertaste and linger on the tongue for a while. Mouthfeel is an unexpectedly watery medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, fizzing on the tongue like soda water.

Overall, this is a nice stout, and again one of the more novice-friendly ones on the market (as opposed to, say, an ash bomb), but suffers from a lack of pizzazz. The flavors here are nice, but light, and the watery mouthfeel doesn’t help. The fact that the beer’s latter notes are almost exclusively ash seems to point to a general dearth of sugars (thus the low ABV), and so while the initial flavors are good, they lack staying power.

 1,954 characters

Photo of andidsaywhat
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Mikecap
4/5  rDev +2%

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