Babayaga | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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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 deereless
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A hard pour resulted in a good two inches of brown cottony head, lots of lacing around the edge, a dark chocolate brown - 4.25, S: Lots of specialty malts, tons of grain and charring, a slight burnt cherry smell as well, chocolate and coffee - 3.75, T: There's a subtle sweetness to the beer, otherwise a nice spattering of grain, mild raisin and date flavors - 4.25, M: Touch of graininess, medium body with a little warm syrupy texture - 4.50, D: A very pleasant beer, not an aggressive stout but a very easy drinking stout - 4.00

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Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Loterbol tulip. Special thanks to corby112 for this from our recent trade!

Bottled November 2009

A: Pours jet black that instantly spawns a dark khaki colored head that reaches about three fingers thick, retains for ages, and leaves a beautiful lacey mess all over the glass.

S: Instantly, I'm met with a wonderful roasted malt nose that's interlaced with campfire smoke, dark chocolate, some spicy yeast, and a touch of sweet ripe raisins.

T: Tastes much as it smells except the roasted malt is a bit more dominant and the other flavors are relegated (a little more) to the background. As it warms, some of its' more subtle nuances begin to emerge (i.e. an obvious Belgian yeast flavor...)

M: Quite prickly and lively. A peppery tingle dances on the tongue long after the beer has been swallowed.

D: Jeez! Can Pretty Things do no wrong? This is an excellent winter seasonal. Strong and robust without being too heavy and syrupy. Loved the lingering smokiness and roasty prickle.

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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 ShogoKawada
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz into flute. Bottled November 2009, batch 1? I think so.

A- Robust, coffee brown, tan khaki head, great lacing right off the first pour, looks tasty. Beer is like black coffee with a few ice cubes melted into it.

S- Spicy, floral, almost like incense. Dark fruits, like a porter. Hmm... interesting. Roasted campfire malts, but very light smoke, hickory?.... unique.

T- A bit spicy, a bit floral, a bit of a baltic porter... off the beaten path, for better or for worse. I like it, but I don't love it. A good fruit element and a bit too much roastiness make this a draw. Well, no, it's on the fair side of good, but its complexity may be hurting it a bit. A bit cluttered on the tongue.

M- Robust, roasty (if a bit too much), moderate body, lighter than expected, good carbonation.

D- Moderate. I'd have another one. A unique beer. Perhaps its an acquired taste... but my least favorite Pretty Things to date. That's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.. still love most of their beers.

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Photo of BigMike
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip from a bomber.

Black and silky looking. Thick finger and a half of tan chocolately looking head.

Smell is roasted barley, cocoa, bitter chocolates, a small touch of coffee and a tiny amount of hop essence.

Chocolate, coffee, and some smokeyness. Finishes with a bitter chocolate flavor. Lots of roasted malty goodness. Overall pretty damn balanced.

Mouthfeel is where this one shines. Silky silky silky smooth. Almost velvet like.

Drinkability is high. At 7%abv. its sessionable as all hell. Sweet, bitter, smooth chocolately goodness in a bottle.

I recommend this one highly.

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Photo of Gmann
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color with a dark tan creamy head that settles into a rocky cap. The aroma is of caramel, light tin and a sweet milk stout. If an aroma can smell silky this does. The aroma is not strong but sure is smooth. The taste is quite mellow, with bitter and milk chocolate, and roasted malt. The feel of this brew is outrageous. It has an obvious full body but feels light and fluffy; soft carbonation leads to a very smooth and silky feel, much like a frothy head to a milk shake. Finishes with a light roasted malt bitterness. A very silky stout indeed. Not huge on flavor but that is fine as it has a solid roasted malt flavor.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared with a few friends at a tasting, from notes.

Pours black with a sturdy dark tan head. Decent lacing and retention.

Smells of lightly roasted malts, but is overall sweet. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Taste follows with some sweet malty chocolate and delicately roasted bitterness to balance. Dark fruits along for the rides and a bit of an earthy hop presence.

Medium to low carbonation with a borderline oily mouthfeel. I'm unsure how to compare this to other american stouts. It's kind of at an in-between profile ABV-wise. (What the hell is a Sylvan Stout anyway?) Overall, I kind of feel like this beer is underwhelming - it's solid and there's nothing wrong with it, but I wouldn't purchase it again just because of it's price point and availability. There are some better options out there that I could almost get a 6pk of for the price of this 22oz. Still, I am glad to have tried another beer from a brewery that has yet to disappoint.

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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 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 smcolw
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Impressive starting (dark tan!) head--leaves modest chunky lace. No light shines through the dark brown color.

Mild alcohol aroma behind the typical chocolate and black patent smells.

A moderate stout profile--there's notable alcohol in the swallow. The body is lighter than most stouts, but the carbonation is low enough to have the beer feel right. The aftertaste has toasted bread flavors with a light plum relish.

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Photo of fastpass17
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz Bomber Bottle

A: Jet black, limited head, average carbonation

S: Roasted malt, toast, smoked wood, cocoa

T: Lightly sweet, roasted malt, nice rauch beer finish

M: Coats the mouth awkwardly, reminiscent of a black lager

D: Enjoyable in front of warm wood fire with a sharp cheese.
Smokiness makes this beer.

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Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber, with a cutsie paper tab over the cap, that lets me know it was "Bottled November 2009" Nice, fresh and tasty beer. Always interested in giving a new brew from hyper artisinal Pretty Things a try. Pours pretty darn near black, the head also is a quite dark shade of mocha. Head is of moderate height, and shows much better then average staying power, then turns to a thick film and collar and leaves slippery and sliding sheeting and ample ridges and ripples of lacing. The sniff emits healthy notes of vanilla, dark malt, raisins, and chocolate. Rich and flavorfull stout, more of the same flavors on the tongue and mouth. Smooth and comfortable mouthfeel. More then typical roastyness. After trying several of the other eclectic PT brews, I was unsure of what to expect from a "Sylvan Stout" (whatever that is) from them. What I got was a pretty straight ahead, hearty/robust/flavorful and underneath it all, tasty and enjoyable stout. Nice job and well worth giving this one a try.

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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 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 ManVersusBeer
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber to a pint glass. Straight down the middle like it says on the bottle.

It looks dark, dark brown with a mocha tan head that is huge until it settles into something that is a bit smaller but lingering. Lacing is awesome, leaving marks from the top to the bottom of the glass.

I can't place the smell. There is a bit of coffee and some sweet. Something spicy in there too, maybe. It intrigues me and I like it.

The taste is something like the best Guinness you have ever had with some sweet and spice and smoke. On the drier side and has that woodsy feel Dann Paquette speaks of on the label. Almost like tree bark and molasses. There is a slight bitterness from the oats which balance it well. Like a fine, peaty single malt. But beer. I'm digging the originality.

I wish I had another one. Gets a bit chewy, but not syrupy. Smooth and dry and goes down like any stout should, deliciously.

If I may, an edit to this review as I had the new batch on draft tonight 10/19/10. It is nothing like I remember before, with sour, tart cherries in the mouth right away. [I don't want to say infection, right away, though it very well could be.] Then it becomes extremely sweet, like a milk stout, with subtle tobacco, leather, molasses, and light cherry wood smoke notes followed by a bitter hop taste. It looks good, but not all that drinkable. The numbers I give it here are A--4.5, S--4, T--3, M--4, D--3.

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Photo of steeltown71
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Nov. 2009. Pours a dark chocolate black with transient tan head. Smell has some expresso and roasty malt notes. Taste carries the same theme. Although some chocolate hints are here, there's not much sweetness. I have to comment on the mouthfeel: it's unexpectedly light-bodied and effervescent. Definitely not what I would have figured on first glance. Has a Belgian ale feel to it.

I know it's not a fair comparison but this is what I want Guinness to taste like any time I order a pint.

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Photo of stoutfiend27
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bottle brought back from Boston by a good friend of mine

a-black..small tight khaki colored head..dissipated quickly..fell to a tight cap and a decent bubbles present in the darkness

s-roasty...a bit peaty can def smell the subtle smoke in this one...had a bit of a fruity,phenol,floral character to it as well..

t-rush of roastyness..a little coffee..a tad bit of bitterness from the hops..the smoke sneaks in near the end..finishes on a bitter coffee dry note

m-creamy and utterly smooth...acceptable for this style...carbonation is spot on...a bit chewy but does leave me wanting a little more

d-off the charts...exceptionally easy to drink..nothing hinders this from going down smooth

overall a truly impressive beer..not sure what a sylvan stout is but i like it and wish i could get it here..

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Photo of deapokid
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This "Sylvan Stout" is a deep black in color with a massive, brown two-finger head. The lacing is absolutely amazing and the thick piles of foam are billowy and inviting. I'm not sure what kind of stout this is, but I'm really excited to try it.

The smells are plentiful and I'm initially catching the sting of alcohol, sweet anise, ginger snap cookies, sweet cake frosting (chocolate, of course), a hint of whiskey and something spicy. There might even be a smidgen of sea salt in the mix. Certainly an original and appealing aroma with a ton of character.

Tastes are equally as varied. Chocolate, a nice smokiness and coffee bean are definitely present. The Rauchbier-esque smoke is surprising and delightful and the saltiness in the finale successfully emulates the dry roasted character present in Irish Dry Stouts. I'm also catching a bit of heat on the back of my tongue. Is that chipotle I taste?

The mouth is smooth and crisp and the smokiness adds a nice bite to the tail end and a tingly warmth to the chest.

This seasonal offering is absolutely delicious and superbly flavorful. I would say that a couple glasses of this may be filling, but, it would work perfectly as a digestif and will definitely keep you warm on a cold winter's night.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have had this beer twice since it was just released in bombers, and I have had mixed feelings on it. Lets see how it is out of the bottle. Appearance is quite dark, with some rocky tan heading that is slow to settle. It has the aroma of an export stout, with some burnt coffee bean, bitter in places, and a hint of smoke. One gets a good dose of bitter coffee, smoke, and slight chocolate from the taste. Mouthfeel is relatively heavy, making it a sipper for me. Alcohol is well hidden within all that smoke. Not half bad...I do not really get the Belgian aspect of this beer, but it certainly passes for me as an export or robust stout. On the lower end of the totem pole as far as Pretty Things beers go, but worth a try no doubt. Cheers

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Photo of mikey711
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Almost pitch black with just a hint of light able to seep through at the bottom of the glass. The head retained quite well and sat at about an inch thick.

S: Hints of molasess and ginger. Not too much roastiness which was strange.

T: The ginger and spices are pretty prevalent, and it lacks the bitterness and roastiness that I am accustomed to in a stout. There is a toffee in the flavor and a strange chocolate flavor, but the spices turn me off a little. As it warmed up though it got a bit smokier which I greatly enjoyed

M: A bit thin for a stout. The flavors are pretty rich but spice heavy. There is no roughness though.

D: It is a nice beer to try, especially if you are in the mood for something a little different. It is a bit more of a winter warmer in my opinion and worth trying once, but this is not my favorite from Pretty things

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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 m1ked
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Listed as a Sylvan Stout....not sure what that is, so I listed it as an American Stout.

A- Pours a black black black liquid ,starts with an inch of foamy tan head that transforms into some espresso skim covering the whole top.

S - The aroma is verylight all around. Some lightly burnt wood, light ground coffee beans. Bittersweet chocolate. Kinda the usual suspects here. Def not bad, but not outstanding .

T- I get a dark cocolate covered dark cherry with some etoh brandy like heat. Burnt wood and bitter chocolate.

M- The cask warmness makes it feel thin at first, but it does have some thickness to it. I must admit I like cooled (not cold) casks ( ala Hamilton's in San Diego) vs the warm/hot cask...just my 2 cents though. No carb , bit of an etoh burn.

D- I would love to have this on tap ( as opposed to a warm cask), and let it warm up a little. Nice flavor. My offering from this brewery. I am pleased and will keep my eyes peeled for some more.

Brewed out of the now defunct Buzzards Bay Brewery.

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