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Babayaga | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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454 Ratings

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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 454 |  Reviews: 192
Photo of ZeroSignal
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle dated Oct 2011 poured into a DFH Snifter

A - Pitch black pour with a finger's worth of mocha colored head. Retention is decent, settling to the edges and leaving a loose lace.

S - Chocolate malts and a light tinge of alcohol in the nose; something kind of herbal as well...can't quite put my finger on it.

T&M - Smooth and a little bit creamy feeling. Nice, chocolate malt punch. Higher hop presence than a typical stout, with some of that herbal bitterness from the nose making itself known and matches well with the bitter chocolate notes. Light smokey tang in the finish.

O - Officially the first beer with a smoked component that I have enjoyed. Chocolate malt abounds, so if you're into that, this one is a sure winner. One I would revisit.

 763 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

 547 characters

Photo of dennho
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of celticfutblclub
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of bishopdc0
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into my Allagash tulip

The beer is black with a dark tan head. The head is thick and fluffy with loads of small bubbles.

The aroma is roasted malts sweet and hints of coffee and a slight creaminess.

The taste is an American stout. The beer is very creamy at first with a smooth mouth. A slight bit of carbonation hits the top of the mouth. A roasted and creaminess linger and hints of roasted malts.... ehh at first the mouth feel was good enough to shadow the taste. nothing special about the favor average craft stout.

 530 characters

Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a short milk chocolate colored head.

Smell: roasted malts and oatmeal provide a pleasant aroma.

Taste: roasted malt, oatmeal, bits of chocolate, rosemary, some earthiness, a hint of coffee grounds, and a decent bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Long aftertaste here.

Overall: a funky stout with a bunch of flavor, and the rosemary spice really come through here. Very enjoyable and easy to drink beer.

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Photo of drcarver
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Deep brown/black color with a medium brown head. Decent carbonation and a fairly long lasting head that laces well.

S - lacking a bit in this department. roasted malt is about all is decernable.

T/M - Smooth and creamy, dark chocolate coats the finish and smokiness covers the middle. roasted malts and sweetness covers the alcohol.

Very enjoyable. I would definitely buy it again.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into mini nonic as part of a sampler.
Deep black with little white foam, looks smooth.
Malty aroma, but lacking...
easy drink, not much flavor, but smooth. Milky, creamy, and silky. Decent easy drinking stout. You dont taste the ABV at all, but you do feel it...
OK stout, but I probably wouldnt buy again. Glad I had in taster not a full pint.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours rich and silky into the glass with a deep deep brown color. A small foamy head was produced the color of mocha. Some spotty lacing.
Aroma is of rich dark malts but is weak.
A desent tasting beer with a good roasted malt taste.
Feels heavy on the palette and smooth and has a dry bitter finish.
I'd didn't really pick up any rosemary or other stuff in the beer. There was an off taste like metallic maybe that's it either way it was off putting to me.

 456 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
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 VelvetExtract
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours black. Only a hint of brown around the outer edge when held up to the light. Tan/brown head is about a quarter inch thick. The head is foamy and leaves wavy whips of lacing along the glass.

S-Aroma is chocolatey. Surprisingly strong yeast component. Coffee and light earthen hoppiness. The yeast smells Belgian-like. Light smokiness too.

T-Quite a unique flavor. And I am pretty sure that I like it. Black licorice, chocolate, cherry, and other fruits. The aforementioned flavors are accompanied by a smokiness and yeast. Roasted flavors. Very unique and all its own. Rosemary comes out too.

M-Lighter than anticipated with a ton of carbonation. Slightly slick. Not very viscous. But the feel is sturdy/

O/D-Not what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed how strange this beer is. Very, very complex and hard to accurately describe.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 fl oz brown bottle served in a nonic.

Bottled 10/2011.

Nearly opaque, maple brown with shades of coal. Half inch, creamy, coffee-colored head that recedes to an intact sheet after a moment. Thin and condensed lacing with decent strength.

Deep, slightly bitter roasted malts with a smokey espresso quality. Semi-sweet caramel with hints of toffee. Medicinal, herbal notes including saffron and licorice.

Spicy licorice and rosemary up front amidst a strong, roasted malt character. French roast/espresso with a somewhat dry, nutty flavor profile: almond and peanut. Moderate alcohol presence is a touch under slick and is followed by a roasted, nutty finish. Notes of plum, peat, and espresso in the aftertaste.

Full in body; dry and chewy. A very nice balance for such a robust offering.

A real flavorful export stout with a good balance in both flavor and body. A pleasant choice from Pretty Things and one of my favorite offerings of theirs to date.

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Photo of amphion1065
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16 oz. pour into a Pretty Things pint glass at The Indo. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very deep, dark chocolate brown. A dark cocoa half-finger head never quite recedes, leaving rings of lace in progressive layers down the sides of my glass. This is probably the best-looking Pretty Things beer I've had before.

A lot of dark chocolate, cocoa-like malts in the aroma. I wouldn't necessarily call it a sweet-smelling beer. There's a burnt, roasty but also slightly bitter quality that accompanies the chocolate and adds some balance. Slightly spicy as well.

Predictably, there's plenty of chocolate in the taste. The cocoa and coffee flavors are really well balanced, with a sweet/bitter interplay in pretty perfect alignment. A very toasty sort of flavor profile, not ashen and burned but roasty enough to add some smoke. That burnt flavor only amplifies the coffee bitterness in a way that plays well off of the sweetness.

The body is lush and thick, though unfortunately it's marred by a fairly high level of carbonation. Perhaps the bottles don't suffer from this, but on-tap it definitely feels too lively.

I really hope Pretty Things continues brewing stouts, as this one is very good. Restrained and balanced rather than brash and overpowering, this is a really nice seasonal offering.

 1,296 characters

Photo of Chincino
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on-tap this past summer. The beer poured to be a very dark brown, close to black in color. You could smell a strong aroma of roasted coffee, malts, and caramel. Upon tasting this beer, there was a bit of a spice to it-hard to decipher where the spiciness comes from. This beer was full-bodied, sweet but not overpoweringly sweet. This beer was very enjoyable. Cheers!

 383 characters

Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Nose is roasted/warm sweet malt, coffee beans, dark chocolate, and a dash of love. Excellent execution of what I expect good stouts to smell like.

Creamy malt and soft-spoken mocha, Nice little bitter bite from hops cooperates well with the bitter dark chocolate tingle. Still, not overly complex; the roasted malts control the discussion -but the hint of Rye diversifies even that. Not too rich though.

Very full bodied, but goes down quite easy. I'll be having a few more of these mythical brews this season. Pretty Things never fails me.

 555 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

tan head rises up above an entirely black body. Wonderful retention leaves it several inches high and deposits tons of side glass web like lace. The smooth vanilla and cocoa aroma melds wonderfully with hints of coffee and a touch of molasses. Very complex here. As i take a sip the huge full bodied feel comes in waves over the tongue and settles down with a wonderful coating feeling of sweet chocolate and vanilla. As this fades though a very nice bite of hops comes in and seals the deal, body is a touch thin and there is some off notes going on in the finish, but overall i think it really worked quite nicely.

 616 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a DFH signature glass because it was clean and at hand. Beer is brown to black, hazy, thin head that disappears, no lacing on the glass, low carbonation.

Aroma is estery -- almost bubblegum, very yeasty, nice though.

This should be classified as an export stout. Beer is sweet on the front, thinner in body than expected, strong, heavy with alcohol. The midpalate is fruity, estery, filled with a floral sort of yeast, the finish is relatively dry but not overly so. It is odd that the roast bitterness comes up almost as an aftertaste. Interesting beer overall. Quite good.

 586 characters

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into cervoise. Cap labeled Oct 2010 - Batch 2

A - Pours a nice deep brownish black with a very nice fluffy brown head. Decent lacing and retention

S - Bitter chocolate, molasses, toffee and some spices I can't quite put my finger (or nose ;) on.

T - Lots of roasted coffee grounds and bitter chocolate. The hop bitterness was a bit more prevalent than I expected. Some spices (cinnamon?) and dark currants as well.

M - A bit thin and unorganized. Not too bad, just average

O - A decent stout, very middle of the road. I thought it was good and I'd have it again, just wouldn't go out of my way to get it.

 622 characters

Photo of Beertracker
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty Things Babayaga (Sylvan Stout) [*Bottled November 2009] pours up with a moderate, but lively carbonation that creates a persistent tannish-brown colored head that envelopes the nearly opaque, dark brown-reddish black body. The rich, fruity aroma is an interesting mix of caramelized sugars, roasted malt & charred (barrel) wood. Hints of cherry tobacco, chicory, peppered jerky, rosemary & vanilla add to the overall complexity. The bold, roasty flavor starts off with a dark, ripe fruitiness that gives way to some burnt (blackstrap) molasses, chocolate maltiness marked with a solid bitterness that creates a slightly sharp, bittersweet, smoky, warming finish. This collaborative American Stout is certainly more of an export-style stout by surely defies conventional categorizing, as it runs a wide gamut of flavor. This medium-full bodied stout shows some creaminess from the oats, as well as some sharpness from the rye. Very complex & interesting beer that's definitely worth seeking out. Beware of the Baba Yaga!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of THECPJ
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown almost black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: roast, little smoke, also some coffee and chocolate

taste: roast, malts, coffee, and chocolate, dry bitter finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium to full body,

overall: usually enjoy most beers from pretty things. this one is a little lost for me. The characteristics of this beer did not stand out as well as I had hoped. Still enjoyed it but it wasn't great.


 478 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep dark brown almost black with a 1.5 finger tan head. The head is really fluffy and thick, very nice.

S: Not a ton going on, seems a bit closed. A little bit of roasted malt, some coffee, and a little bit of chocolate.

T: A bit of roasted malt, some baker's chocolate, and a little bit of coffee. Again, seems rather closed, not a real intense flavor profile.

M: Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Slight dry finish.

O: Its not bad, but there was nothing that stood out in this beer. Have had a bunch of other beers from Pretty Things, and this is the only one thusfar that is a disappointment.

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Photo of jale
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Eric(turdfurgison) for this.

A: Pours black with a half a finger of brown head.

S: Smoky roasted malt.

T: Smoked malt followed by bitter chocolate and bitter coffee. Just a hint of rosemary. The finish is mostly all bitter chocolate.

M: Lightly thick body with good carbonation.

O: A little much with the bitter chocolate finish.

 349 characters

Photo of arktos
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

02/28/11 - Bottled October 2010 (Batch 2)

Babayaga, that's fun to say... 22oz to Imperial

A: Almost black with dark brown/garnet highlights and semi-thick 2 finger tan head. Good sticky web lacing.

S: Quite nice, a bit unexpected amount of dark fruit/cherry, smooth underlying roast malts, a bit of licorice, and maybe a hint minty.

T: The dark fruits take charge upfront but quickly transition to molasses overlapped by roasty bitter notes of black coffee with a bite of herbal spice. The upfront sweetness comes back and the bitter-sweet volley thru the end joined by a little warmth of alcohol - interesting.

M: Medium/maybe a bit light for the style with a healthy balance of carbonation.

Not quite what I was expecting from a stout (though I shouldn't be surprised coming from Pretty Things). Another interesting brew from this "Project" and worth a try.

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Photo of paulozanello
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled Oct 2010, Batch 2.

Pours a black and opaque color but not as thick as oil (I could see easily through the pour). Forms a huge light brown head with great retention and spider-web lacing all over the glass.

Aroma is dark malts, bready grain, dark fruits, a hint of chocolate/lactic sweetness and some booze. However, all the notes are very light and there is a kind of a metallic aroma hovering above everything else.

Taste starts with dark malts and chocolate, along with dark fruit notes (even less than in the nose). It continues with very light smoky notes and finishes fairly bitter, also with some lactic sweetness and maybe tiny vanilla notes.

Body is pretty mild for a stout as it doesn't "fill" your mouth while drinking. The carbonation is high, somewhat hurting the mouthfeel that could use more smoothness. Drinkability is good.

Overall a pretty ok american stout. It has its flaws but I like the smoked malt component. I would probably have it again if someone gave it to me but I don't think I would buy it again.

 1,039 characters

Photo of JimbobAlonymous
5/5  rDev +27.2%
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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Babayaga from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 454 ratings
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