Babayaga | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Very Good
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:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 454 |  Reviews: 192
Photo of canucklehead
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's cool how such small brewera from across the US find their way to BC. This is a stout that seems to be hard to pigeonhole as it is somewhere between an Imperial and an Oatmeal in flavour profile. The Belgian yeast shows up too to add to the mix. I had to let the beer warm up and assert itself to really appreciate this beer. The chocolate notes were there in force but I also tasted smoky flavours and coffee . Complex beer that is quite different than most stouts

 469 characters

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

A: This beer pours a thick, deep dark opaque brown with a one finger of rich creamy brown head to it. Head retains beautifully and fades to a 1/4 inch of creamy head that sticks the whole way through. Thick coating of lacing is left on the glass.

S: Nose is of sweet chocolate and cocoa, roasted malts, and a light touch of vanilla. There is a very light but clean smell to this stout.

T: Taste starts with a dose of bitter bakers chocolate, then lends in to the roasted malt with a touch of vanilla flavoring. Some sweeter milk chocolate comes in mingled with a bit of a charred.. can't quite place it flavoring. Finish has a hint of hop bite to it, and the chocolate notes come through again and really linger on the palate.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, sits rather light on the tongue yet creamy.

D: This is a unique stout, flavors play nicely off one another. Goes down easily and is worthy of sitting with for a few pints.

 941 characters

Photo of kmo1030
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

deep dark opaque brown with a moderately sized tan head that sticks around for the duration.
the aroma is a cross between a rich roasted stout and a dubbel. very interesting. it's got dark chocolate, toasted malt, a touch of vanilla, faint bubblegum, and then there is a an undercurrent of dark fruity belgian-ness. it's also got a lgihtly piney hoppiness going on, giving the maltiness a little bit of a balancing edge. just a bit though. smoke comes out as it approaches room temp
the taste falls a little less on the begian side than the aroma might let on. it's got a healthy dose of the same dark chocolate, and toasted malts as the aroma. there is some plum-y brown sugary action beneath the roastyness. some smokiness (as in the aroma)and root beer character develops with warmth.
the mouthfeel is on the slightly fuller side of moderate body with creamy carbonation.
the drinkability is good, it packs substantial roasted punch that sometimes cuts down drinkability, but here it reaches the upper limit of balance, but doesn't cross my line. a very unique and very good stout. i hope this remains a seasonal, i could see this being one of the beers i look forward to every year.

 1,186 characters

Photo of andylipp
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance -Very dark brown pour with a massive creamy brown head that has a bit of staying power. Any lacing resulting from a swirl of the glass recedes quickly.

Smell -Yum. Dark candied fruits, subtle spice, roasted and charred grain, and a hint of fruity Belgian yeast aroma.

Taste -Very interesting. The roasty stout-like flavors battle it out with the Belgian yeast character. Both linger on the finish, with a bit of what may be Ringwood yeast in the late finish (which wouldn't surprise me, knowing how Mr. Paquette likes to blend yeasts in his brews). A hint of smokiness and a quick smack of alcohol add to the mix. Hops? No so much...

Mouthfeel -Pretty creamy, with soft yet plentiful carbonation.

Drinkability- The mouthfeel enhances the drinkability, the taste is complex enough to beckon you to explore further with another sip.

Comments- I would guess some of the reviews citing an off flavor are likely not taking the Belgian character of this stout into account. Not your typical American stout-which is a very good thing. The last thing I want is another "me too" stout. Bravo Pretty Things.

 1,158 characters

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

Ruby-dark with a giant mahogany-colored head that lasted forever and appeared to become denser as it compacted. There's an astringency in the aroma that competes with cocoa powder, a slight smell of oranges and a bit of coffee. There's a heavy dose of alcohol as well. The taste begins with a flat slathering of hot-chocolate mix, followed by cocoa and then some smokey roastiness that fades as the orangish hops take over at the tail end. The whole thing is rather odd, and the alcohol-- make that booze-- tops it off with too much muscle. The hops were nice; they're a bit like those used in a good UK stout. Here, they were clubbed to death by the chocolate and the alcohol.

As with all the other beer I've had from PT, this one contains many good components but everything fails to come together as a whole. If they cut out some of the alcohol and backed off the chocolate taste, this could be a good bottle of stout. As it is now, it gave me a headache.

 959 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.09/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a deep dark brown, essentially black, with a fluffy tan head.

S: The nose is not all that appealing nor intense. Some roasted malt, coffee, and perhaps a touch of plastic.

T: There isn't too much in the flavor either, but it doesn't quite have that plastic sensation. The only real flavors are some roast and mildly sweet malt.

M: The mouthfeel is thrown off a bit by an intense carbonation, which is nearly to the point of annoyance.

D: This wasn't a particularly good beer, and another let down from Pretty Things.

 574 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle bought in Philadelphia, $10. Not sure what a Sylvan stout is, hoping it's kind of a Russian Imperial variety.

Aaah crap, after pouring the first glass I see that this is more a straightforward American Stout. Oh well, it could still be good.

The beer is dark brown, just a little light coming through when held to a lamp, 2-3 fingers of mild chocolate colored foam. The aroma is strong with roasted malts, maybe a little sweet cocoa too but really mostly roasty. The taste is similarly roasty, nearly to the point of bitterness (but not quite).

The body is appropriate for the style, north of medium but not overly so. Again, a straightforward take on a straightforward style.

 688 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle, bottled Nov2009. In a tulip glass the beer was a black color with a thick tan head that diminished fairly quickly. Mostly aa sweet chocolate aroma, but also a little bit of coffee. Chocolate dominated the taste, still that little bit of coffee. There was also a hint of licorice. A nice dry, smooth beer.

 319 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled November 2009.
Very dark with a dark brown cap, lots of thick lacing, good head retention. Aroma was a bit roasty, some chocolate, with sort of a funky, fruity undertone - quite mild overall. Same with the flavour, it's nice but also on the mild side. Dry malt flavour with a bit of bitterness, sweet cocoa and a bit of roast. Medium bodied with fine carbonation, smooth texture. Quite enjoyable.

 404 characters

Photo of meatyard
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours really dark, opaque, black with a 1-inch, tan head with moderate retention & light lacing.
The smell is sweet & roasty malts and as it warms a nice smoke aroma comes out.
The taste has the sweet & roasty malts along with the smoke as it warms. There is a bit of dark chocolate in the warmong.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and medium/thin in body which is OK given the creaminess.
Yeah, this has very nice drinkability. The ABV is moderate and it's easy drinking. This is not terribly complicated but has no major defects.

 529 characters

Photo of photomike
3.49/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep translucent brown with a towering tan head. Impeccable retention and lacing. Really just about perfect looking.

The aroma, however, is not quite as impressive. Somewhat herbal nose with light roastiness. Smells actually somewhat like a Belgian dubbel. Someone below mentions that this beer is brewed with rosemary, and that makes a bit of sense.

Taste is pretty interesting as well, although it is at least partially masked and distracted from by an unreasonably light body and unreasonably strong carbonation. Lightly sweet at first, this beer gets crazy dry as it finishes. Slightly roasty and somewhat herbal, there is an earthy hop character that pervades. A touch of apple fruitiness. Quite bitter on the finish.

Man, the mouthfeel on this one is pretty far off. Very light in body with an incredible amount of carbonation. Astringent bitterness. Not my favorite.

All negatives aside, this is a very interesting and unique beer. Paired with the lack of an alcoholic bite and the ease with which this beer goes down, this is a very drinkable beer.

 1,072 characters

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.48/5  rDev +14%
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!

 628 characters

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

A - wells up a huge chocolate milk head, the brew itself is pitch black in color

S - notes of chocolate, lactic sweetness, woodsy/charcoal burnt/roasted malts

T - bittersweet chocolate, some subtle ground coffee, nutty roasted malts and some lactic sweetness, slightly peppery

M&D - thinner than i expected, but not offensively so, a nice flavor combination, layered nicely, light on the palate and easy to drink, Pretty Things continues to make a name for themself

 468 characters

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

Pours black with two fingers of head that settle to a thin persistent layer.

Smell is wood and a bit of sweet metallic/cherry aroma, some milk chocolate, floral hoppiness, and marshmallow.

Taste has a bit of an off putting metallic oaky note up front. Underneath is a lightly roasted malt profile and some earthy hops. Not really much of interest here.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation levels. Overall this beer was passable, but not something I would go back to. Without the metallic notes it would have been pleasing but still simple.

 555 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received from SMADMS as an extra in an already righteous trade.. thanks a ton Peter!! Poured into my shaped SA glass.

2 finger beautiful head is dark tan with great retention and lace atop a black brew... Nose is lite coffee with some roasty malts.. a bit of malty sweetness makes this brew very inviting... bittersweet chocolate comes to mind with almost no char.

Nice body .. thick for the style with small bubble carbonation makes it seem a bit oily... more char on the palate than the aroma.. nice chocolate and dark maltiness.. lite malty sweetness mid palate really helps tie this one together.. coffee really shows as it warms..

I would not really put this in the American Stout category... there is not enough hoppiness in my mind.. a pretty damn good Foreign Extra stout probably..

body is pretty nice.. drinkability is interesting enough.

this is only my 2nd beer from Pretty Things, but so far, I have been very impressed.

Thanks again Peter... I hope you enjoy the brews as much as I am enjoying mine.


 1,038 characters

Photo of Kelp
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice black beer poured into my glass with a light tan head that was huge. The head slowly dissipated and followed the beer down my glass.

Smells of coffee and dark roasted malts. There is a hint of both chocolate and smokiness.

The taste is definitely different for a stout. Everything about it is subtle. It tastes first of coffee and malts. Then a kick of chocolate very quickly and the smoke stays lightly on the tongue.

A thinner stout that has incredible carbonation to it. Has a nice velvety feel to it.

This a good brew that is different in a way I can't quite put my finger on. I could enjoy a couple more glasses of this.

 636 characters

Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bomber from portia99, a wonderful man named Bill.

Poured into tulips and pint glasses with beautiful people, accompanied by yam tacos and friendship. Its dark, near black with a thin brown head despite the vigorous pop of the cap. The taste has sulfur, licorice, and a load of roasty smoke. There is a hint of chocolate and wood but nothing to proclaim with any volume.

It reminds me of a thin Abyss, with the sulfur and smoke. I like this. I could drink a lot of this, probably too much.

 494 characters

Photo of EtOHMD
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Dark chocolate to black in color with brown-white head which leaves a thin residual layer. Smell is peppery, smoky, beefy, bacon, backyard BBQ. Taste is very very good, as predicted by the smell -- smoky, tobacco, black licorice. On some sips, there is a slight medicinal aftertaste which is the only down side of this beer. Feel is creamy, smooth. Easily drinkable especially for a 7% stout. Great beer from an up and coming local brewery.

 485 characters

Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a black body with a tan/off-white head.

Nose was a rich mix of cocoa powder and some mild dark roasted malt. Very mild, without any over the top coffee or espresso attacks, almost has a porter type nose at first.

Taste is medium to full bodied with an initial strong dark roasted espresso bean, or dark burnt caramel taste. Creamy with an almost Guinness or Cream Stout sort of touch. Lots of big dark session stout flavor but never over the top. A little bit of that granite, stone, sort of taste. Hops are not present, but there is a good bitterness that give a nice balance.

As always Dann's beer are fabulous. This beer is a great simple, 7%abv, stout. I'd almost call this a session stout. I wish I could describe this beer better, but it's just so... not simple, but perfect. It's a perfect stout.

 824 characters

Photo of kbnooshay
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle design is absolutely gorgeous. Illustration is of a dilapidated bird house thing? Cool floral designed paper seal at the cap.

Aroma was lighter than i expected. Mostly just malty and roasty.
Taste is mroe of the same. Super malty and sweet with a slight bitterness. For a beer that claims to be brewed with rosemary i was hoping to taste more of that. I did detect a slight piney hint though that could be the rosemarys involvement.

While not amazing this is a nice well balanced calm stout. Alcohol isn't detectable. Feel is smooth but thinner than desired. Very drinkable.

 584 characters

Photo of number1bum
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a not quite completley opaqe black, but quite dark nonetheless. Generates a huge dark tan head that makes for a bit of a slow pour. Head retention is very good, with a thick, creamy lace topping the glass all the way tot he bottom.

Smell initially has some coffee and roasted malt, plus a good bit of hoppiness when it's cold. As it warms the malts come out even more, with lots of roasted malt as well as some bittersweet chocolate and a hint of smoke.

Taste has a nice roasted malt base with some dark chocolate and coffee to go along with it. Chocolate gets milkier and sweeter as it warms. Some smokiness like the nose, as well. There's a dark fruitiness here that I think is probably coming from hops, and the roastiness in the finish also has some earthy hop bitterness with it. Not sure what the IBUs are here but I'd say this is on the hoppy side for a stout.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. It's a touch dry, a touch creamy, and has a nice smoothness to it.

This is not an imperial stout yet it has lots of flavor, and probably resides somewhere between a 'regular' stout and an 'imperial' one. It occupies a nice spot on that scale, because there is a ton of flavor without being too heavy and alcoholic. Very drinkable, and another mighty fine brew from Pretty Things.

 1,308 characters

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

Thanks to jlindros for the generous extra!

A--Nice lacing, deep mahogany

S--faint smell of toasted malt and coffee

T--Very tasty stout, for 7% smooth.

M--nice and silky

D--tasty beer, enjoyable, worth trying. Seems like a pretty good brewery that is up and coming to be sure. Good stuff!!!

 294 characters

Photo of tzieser
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
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

 693 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

 464 characters

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

22oz bottle purchased somewhere local somewhat recently. Bottled November 2009 says the cap tape.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head falls ever-so slowly, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is lightly of chocolate. Taste also finds the chocolate sweetness, which gives way to light spiciness, and a slightly earthy close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good. Was looking for a bit more, but still a good stout.

 490 characters

Babayaga from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 454 ratings