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.

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Ratings: 454 |  Reviews: 192
Photo of BARFLYB
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I missed the boat when this was originally released and was surprised to find a bottle poking around the shop, split with oglmcdgl.

Baby Yaga pours your standard stout black with a nice bright tan head that's condensed and creamy looking, nice sheets of lace on the way down, kinda sticky.

Smell is your standard stout as well with the roast ruling the roost. A whole lot of roasted malts and even some smoked ones as well. Some assorted nuts with warming and brownies with significant warming, some vanilla as well.

This stout tastes a little burnt, but it is not over done. I usually don't like the burnt/smoke flavors but it's so low in baby that it meshes well with bakers chocolate, small vanilla beans, and nuts. A small grainyness towards the end and even a little hop kick from a almost year old bottle.

Feel is medium and smooth and not overly bitter, this is easy drinking with not much intrusion from off and overly smoked flavors, it's carbed up PRETTY well ande I have no complaints.

I like this beer, I like it alot, I like that it's not 10 percent and it's not overly heavy. I drank it with ease. I am steadily impressed with Pretty Things beers, a good company.

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Photo of bamadog
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I received this bottle in a trade back in the late winter and didn't get the chance to drink it when I received it, so it sat in my little cave for the spring and summer and now that we've got a nice cool near-fall night here in KY, I figured it's as good a night as any to give this beer a shot. Review is from notes taken on 9/10/10 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Before I get to the beer, I'd like to say that I really like the presentation in the bottle -- the label is pretty sweet looking and I dig the colorful matching decorative tape that they placed over the cap. Pours a very nice deep dark brown/near black, like coffee (pretty standard and what I would expect) and starts with a big creamy 2 finger dark tan head that eventually fades down to a full and uneven creamy cap; body is entirely opaque; loose washes and spots of tan lacing are left behind.

Smell: Nice warm roastiness that is slightly burnt creep out of the glass, and combine with a mild smokiness and a slight semisweet chocolate; there is an interesting spiciness hiding out in there too and I see that the description above touts brewing with rosemary and other spices. Nose isn't as robust as I would like, but it's still pleasing.

Taste: Quite nice and starts off with a dry, burnt roastiness and a definite, but well-blended aspect of mild smokiness as well; the spiciness that is caught in the nose is present as well in the mouth and it's reminiscent of warm baking spices that sort of common in winter warmers, but it has a unique sensibility to it and it may be the rosemary -- not something I'm overly familiar with; very slight hints of the semisweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and watery like most American Stouts and they're never quite as thick as I want; the carbonation is smooth and soft though and fitting of the style; a semi-dry thin coating is left all over the mouth and the belly is left just tad warm from the 7% ABV and interesting spiciness. Not bad and not too heavy, so it's nice for this time of year, and I can see where the slight warming would be nice in the winter time as well.

Drinkability: Not too shabby - I enjoy the smells and flavors, but I do wish it was thicker in the body; the ABV isn't awfully high, but it could easily sneak up on anyone.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A bottle split with onix1agr. Poured into my duvel tulip.

A- two big fingers of mocha colored head from a hard pour. Head settles slowly leaving a thick ring and a fuzzy skin. A good swirl bring the head back nicely. Black as night with just a hint dark brown at the edges.

S- dark roasted malts, cocoa, some sweetness and interesting earthy herbal hit.

T- dark chocolate and anise, with some burnt brown sugar and coffee. There's some smoke and char with a vegetative touch. Lighter fruity esters as the brew warm ad a nice layered complexity.

M- starts out with an above medium body then the carb kicks in and lightens it all up and gives you a creamy wash that finishes on the dry slightly tannic side.

D- interesting and tasty stuff another brew from pretty things that I've enjoyed very much. This was a november 09 bottle so I wonder what it was like fresh.

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Photo of nickd717
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle via trade.

Pours dark brown with a large, lasting tan head that fades to a ring.

Aroma is roasty and smoky, with a hint of chocolate and some yeast.

Flavor is nicer than I expected from the aroma. Roasted malt, slightly sweet caramel, dark chocolate, fig and prune, and a mildly smoky finish.

Medium-full bodied and smooth with average carbonation.

One of the better Pretty Things beers I've had. Pretty solid for a stout.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz brown glass bottle. Bottled Nov 2009.

Pours pitch black with creamy off-white head that billows up and fades down over 3 minutes. Nose is surprisingly bitter, lots of black chocolate and leather, plus black pepper and cream. Palate is angular and dry, medium-bodied.. The creamy carbonation is smacked around by the dryness of the palate. Really dark chocolate and/or bittersweet chocolate, espresso grounds, patent leather and some moss maybe round out the flavors. Moderately long finish.

Notes: A SUPER dry-style stout. Was not expecting that at all. Toasty and bitter, but I prefer a little more sweetness. Just personal preference. Really well done if you like dry stouts.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 7/9/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting thanks to argo0 (RB).

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of brown head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. Little bit of smoke as well.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate and coffee, as well as roasted malts. Little bit of caramel malts.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent stout. Some nice roasted elements to the smell and taste. Would give another shot but probably not seek out.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.26/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a Närke tulip glass.

The beer is black, even in the light, with a light tan head, good retention and lacing...The aroma is super light no chocolate or coffee, just a very fresh overall sense, hops and grass, strange, doesn't get you excited...The taste is so bland, its utterly boring. Light hops is about all you get, no chocolate, light feel.

This beer should be skipped, no need to pursue. I don't have the best palate but Hans the Närke owner-brewer agreed with me and we moved on, so I'm comfortable in my score.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass. Courtesy of nickd717. Thanks, Nick.

A: Pours a dark, translucent mahogany body. Light tan cap with great retention. Some lace is left behind.

S: Smoke / ham. Roast, milk chocolate (slightly lactic), anise.

T: Same. It's really ham-like. Rauchstout? Anyway, it follows up with roast, a slightly lactic twinge that gives the impression of milk chocolate, and small amounts of anise. A pretty solid flavor that is undermined by the smoked malt.

M: Light-medium body; about what I'd expect for a regular stout. But decent flavor. Amply carbed, maybe too much.

D: Meh.

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Photo of EPICAC
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Babayaga pours a deep black, and is topped by a thick, fluffy, creamy brown head that slowly fades to an eighth-inch thick layer. The aroma is reserved, but pleasant. Roasted malts come out on swirling, but on sitting the sweet notes of chocolate and fruit are most evident.

Sweet chocolate flavors upfront serve as a the backbone of this beer, lasting throughout, but are elaborated upon from start to finish. A mild fruitiness appears in the center, and the chocolate morphs into a roasted, dark chocolate flavor in the finish. This beer is full-bodied, smooth, creamy, and nicely carbonated.

I though that this was a very good stout, though perhaps slightly on the sweet side.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This looks great - very dark ruby to black, but an extremely volatile head that takes a long time to calm down.

Bitter-sweet malty scent of chocolate, coffe and toffee. Very mild hints of butterscotch and even lemon, probably from the hops.

The rosemary-smoked malts probably impart the slight bitterness (even bordering on sour) that I pick up in the taste. I wonder if the Belgian yeast also might lend a bit of sourness to the chocolate and coffee flavours.

Carbonation is nice, and at 7% ABV, not too bad as a dessert beer. Not entirely sure what "Woodland stout" or "Sylvan stout" on the label mean.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beerman 777 for this.

A: Black with a khaki colored head. Moderate lacing.

S: Sweet, a touch of lactose. Some roasted malts and banana.

T: Sweet, slightly cloying. Very rich. A mouthful of roasted malts, rye, and licorice. There is some kind of burnt flavor in here. I can't quite place it, but it's not pleasant.

M:More carbonated than your average stout. Medium to full bodied and mouth coating.

D: I wouldn't revisit this, but it was interesting to try.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle. This bottle came from Lukafer....I owe you Luke!

A- Pours a deep black color. Two finger mocha colored head rises and sits like that before dying to a small cap. Nice thick streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- This smells sweet. Roasted malts mixed with a creamy lactose nod to it. Almost like Tootsie Rolls...but better. Light banana bread in this too. Not much else...there is one thing but I can't place my finger on it.

T- The taste is almost as sweet as the nose itself. Nice roasted malts battle with some light chocolate malts in the front. This beer has some light bready notes to it as well in just hints. Some lighter dark fruits in the back end before going into a lactose sweetness in the very end.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Roasted malts in left on the palate with a sweet almost Tootsie Roll like finish in the aftertaste. Flavors were very present and blended well together. Creamy in the mouth. Coasts everything in the mouth as it passes it.

D- This is yet another Pretty Things beer that knocks itself out of the ballpark. This brewery has yet to do anything wrong in my book. Looking forward to getting more Pretty Things!

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with two fingers of tan head. Spotty lacing. A touch of brown color around the edges.

S: Very sweet. Lactose. Tootsie rolls. Chocolate.

T: Really sweet. Chocolate. Roasty. Again I will go back to the tootsie roll taste. Reminded me of choklat lite which is a good thing.

M: Full bodied and well carbonated.

D: Good beer but it was a little too hot to have when we did. I did not want to hold onto it over the summer. This one was bottles in November 0f 09 and just never got around to it till now. Still great. Would be great around a fire.

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
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 drseamus
3.64/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

November 2009 bottle.

A: Very dark body, thick mocha head. Very carbonated.

S: Roasty, thick sweetness. Some banana and come lactose.

T: Big blast of flavor, thick and sweet. Almost too much.

M: Pretty thick but very smooth.

D: Too much for his 85 degree day. I wish it was cold again.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.31/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks out to cmurren25 for sending this one in a recent BIF. I have been looking forward to a chance to try a Pretty Things creation. 22 oz bomber pours a very dark brown color with a tantalizing mountain of light brown foam. Awesome retention and superb lacing. This is a great looking beer.

Nose is bready and a little bit fruity to go along with the requisite chocolate and marshmallow sweetness. Pretty light nose, but it is pretty interesting and unique....almost like a Belgian stout.

Alot of licorice flavors here with a healthy dose of yeasty esters. Medium fruits like strawberries and cantaloupe make their way to the parade in the middle and is followed up by a decent amount of roast and hop bitterness. Not a very sweet beer, especially for a stout. Mouthfeel could use a tad more heft and creaminess. Alcohol is plenty noticeable and I would not mind some more chocolate and a little sweetness. Not bad, but I dont like it as much as I wanted to.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle from nov. 2009. drank from a taster glass.

A- this one pours out a mostly black colored body. only a small amount of red highlights can be seen when held up to the light. a large coffee colored head forms on top and sticks around for a while. small rings of lacing are left behind.

S- after the initial rush of roasted malt that reminds me this is a stout i get sweet smelling chocolate and a bit of coffee. nothing really spectacular here or out of the ordinary.

T- the taste is overly sweet for me. that comes on more strongly than the roasted malts. theres a smokiness in here that seems out of place. slight coffee taste on the finish.

M- too thin for the style. creamy and well carbonated.

D- meh. my overall impression is that this was just ok. there are several locally available options that i would go for before this. however, i will continue to seek out beers from this brewery.

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Photo of rpstevens
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was bottled in November 2009. Poured into a dogfish head signature glass. The beer pours black with hazy brown edges and a frothy tan head. The foamy head fades, leaving adequate lacing, but it never goes away.

The smell is roasted malts, very roasted-almost charred. Beyond the roasted malt is dark chocolate and hints of coffee and chocolate. There are also some dark fruits, mostly cherries, but the nose is pretty mild on this one.

The taste is more bold than the smell. The roasted malts, chocolate and coffee are all smooth and sharp. There is some sweet milk chocolate, lots of cherries (some of them almost tart) and some sweet alcohol characteristics. The over-roasted charred malts come back to balance the tart flavors nicely.

The beer is well carbonated, more than most stouts but it makes it interesting. The flavors are well balanced and the beer has a nice dry finish. The alcohol is well incorporated into the flavor, this is a good beer that I will certainly revisit.

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Photo of gford217
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
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 Amalak
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had out of a 22 ounce bottle. It is tar black with a dark brown head. Very thick, bubbly head. Gorgeous bottle. Nice stout scent to it. Cocoa?

Very, very, very burnt taste. Taste like wood a good way. Thick, kind of alcoholly. Has a cherry taste. Dry aftertaste. Quite strong.

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Photo of wnh
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a wine glass. Label said "Sylvan Stout," but appears to be the same beer.

Pours an opaque black topped by a large tan head.

Strange medicinal funk on the forefront of the nose, followed by undefined red fruit. Sort of an export stout thing going on. Moderate roast comes through in the background alongside a touch of chocolate. Then, after a few more whiffs, the medicinal funk evolves into straight up ashtray, as if someone had just dropped a few cigarette ashes in my beer. Somewhat unpleasant, but somehow seems to work with the beer.

Ashy on the palate, more so than the nose. Light roast, chocolate, and fruit lingering in the background, but taking a clear backseat to the ash. Chalky sort of mouthfeel, medium bodied.

A decent beer, but one I wouldn't seek out.

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Photo of vacax
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a smallish tan head. Aroma is malty, roasty, phenolic. Tastes of roasted malts, awkwardly tart, peppery with a sort of Belgian phenolic character and dry finish. Body feels properly full though carbonation is a bit overdone. I'm not a fan of this one much.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.49/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle, bottled Nov. 2009, poured into a snifter.

Deep chestnut brown color with a light fluffy tan head. Fades to a thick ring of bubbles with a few streaks of lacing. Aroma is slightly astringent and bittersweet. Charred roast malt, chocolate and slightly nutty. Overall very rich and varied aroma. Flavor and body sort of reminds me of an oatmeal stout, but flavors are richer and, I don't know, the word rustic is coming to mind, but I just might have the artwork stuck in my head. There is a strong charred, roasted malt body supporting a blend of earthy, dark chocolate, toasted malt, dark fruits, and smokiness. Body is medium full but seems over carbonated and overly fluffy on the palate. The finish is astringent and slightly off, with a potent charred, earthy medicinal flavor. Very robust and rich throughout, with a surprising amount of alcohol warming and burn for such a low ABV. Lots of interesting flavors, but overall I don't really enjoy the combination or the way they complement (or dont) each other. Regardless, a very unique stout worth seeking out for at least once.

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Photo of cavedave
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
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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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer.

The beer pours an inky black color with a light brown head. The aroma is fruity with some light smoke. The flavor is sweet fruit, sometimes dark fruit and sometimes other fruit such as cherries. The smoke is of medium strength. Medium-high carbonation and medium mouthfeel.

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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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