Babayaga | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

very good
454 Ratings
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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 ryan1788a5
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a New Belgium globe. Bottled October 2011.

A: Opaque, very dark brown. Thick tan head. Excellent retention, clumpy lacing. Looks good.

S: French roast, fudge sauce, molasses, roasted sesame seeds. Herbal English hop backing.

T: A woody roastiness and some char on the attack. This evolves into a nice French roast coffee taste with some herbal and chicory tastes. Sweet throughout. Vanilla and malted milk balls. Earthy, nutty yeast tastes and milk chocolate undertones. Pithy, green tasting English hops do more than just provide balance. Finishes with some of that pithy, oily hop bitterness and some coffee and woody tastes.

M: Medium bodied and very creamy and silky. It seems to expand and fill the mouth, like it has been whipped. Prickly, small bubbled carbonation. This beer has a great mouthfeel.

O: Very English at heart, and sort of Old-school. A nice change of pace.

Notes: Yet another solid beer from Pretty Things.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Weizen glass in low altitude Orange, California. Expectations are average. Reviewed live. This is me first beer from the brewery.

A: Pours a one finger head of appealing tan colour, incredible cream lacing, great thickness, and good retention (~ 5 minutes). Colour is a nontransparent solid black.

Sm: Caramel, cream, nuts, and chocolate. A mild strength aroma.

T: Chocolate and cream and the most pleasant flavours in the build. Hints of caramelized malt. It's not as complex as I hoped, but it's pleasant and enjoyable. Bland and a bit boring, all things considered. Well balanced.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and a bit creamy. A touch too thin, but it's forgivable.

Dr: Quite drinkable, but also boring and unremarkable.

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Photo of RyanLigeia
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pretty unique. Its the darkest brown possible without actually being black.

Smell- I dont know what else to say besides it has the most generic but DELICIOUS stout smell. Its everything normal stouts usually smell like, nothing over powering but not weak at all.

Taste- Same as the smell. Its not unique at all but it is a near perfect balance of everything youd expect/hope for.

Mouthfeel- Like I said for the smell and taste its just pretty spot on for what I'd ask for with the tastes it brings. Could be a little little thicker but not enough to complain about.

Overall- Overall I think it's great. Nothing new, no specific strong point but its not boring by any means. A good stout done right.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, Duvel tulip, bottled in October 2011. Thank you to Jayli via Secret Santa 2011.

The color is very dark, the kind of crude brown that only grants a very small amount of light passage. I wouldn't say there is a head, only bubbles, primarily a ring of large ones in a dark latte tan.

Lilac or lavender, chalky Mexican chocolate, wood, and phenols. A bit of dairy.

Smoky chocolate and dark malt steeped with herbs like rosemary. Phenolic Belgian yeast with berries, backed with oak. It's like a silky, complex dark chocolate bar. Decent bitterness.

Smooth, silky, and medium weight, with medium carbonation.

All the parts are blended wonderfully and I am not aware of whether this is a beer skillfully crafted from only the traditional ingredients or a masterful mixing of herbs, etc. too. This one was worth waiting for, now where can I get another?

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Photo of Gatch
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a viscous black with a bubbly, light brown, frothy head. Good head retention and no lacing.

S: Earthy, smoky malt with a hint of hops and some dark chocolate.

T: Smoky, roasted, creamy malt. Some earthy and lactose flavors with burnt sugar. A different interpretation of the style that is welcomed.

M: Smooth and easy drinking. The smoked malt is very prominent. Leaves a pleasant taste lingering on the palate.

O: Unique stout from a consistently solid brewery.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black color with a medium, tan head that disappears quickly. Scent bring a bit of charcoal to the nose, immediately followed by sweet chocolate. A little bit of oak and citrus as well. Slight bit of anise and a ton of dark malt. Taste is initially citrus hop flavors, immediately followed by some dark fruit and chocolate. Some wooden oak flavors along with a hint of smoke. Finishes with a dash of clove and more bitter chocolate...maybe some espresso. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, rich, and smooth. Drinkability is fairly high. Overall, this is a very tasty stout. It lingers nicely between stout and imperial stout with some complex flavors to it.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours an opaque black with a red tinge around the edges. There's almost a finger of mahogany head that dissipates quickly to a wispy topping. Thin layer of lacing trickles down leaving film behind.

N: Red licorice, dark chocolate, cocoa, smoke and citrusy hops. The aromas bring together a sort of peppermint quality to me (I don't know why).

T: Cocoa, semi-sweet chocolate and citrusy hops upfront along with honey and plum. Mid-palate is mostly toffee along with a little charcoal, smoke and red licorice that transforms to black licorice. Finishes with a lot of roasty burnt flavors along with a resinous pine bite and what tastes like a mix between coriander and clove.

M: Medium bodied, creamy, soft, chewy, bitter and dry.

O: I was expecting an Imperial Stout for some reason and instead got an "American Stout" that tastes more like a Black IPA. Highly bitter with a good amount of charred roasty malts. Fruity notes are apparent along with some subtle spicing.

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Photo of rudzud
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at a Monday night tasting at Julio's.

A - Pours a nice deep brown with a thin white head that leaves a light, thin coating of lacing.

S - Aroma is relatively average with some light chocolate and coffee with some burnt sugars and roast malts. There is a slight herbal note from the rosemary.

T - Tast is nice chocolate and light coffee with lots of roasty sweet malts. Nice bitter chocolate with a light smokey note and maybe even some black licorice.

M - Mouthfeel isnt all that bad. Nice carbonation for an American stout. Somewhat light, a bit more prickly than used to. Still, a good beer.

O - Overall this is a solid offering from Pretty Things. While its not the best stout on the market, it is one that is readily available in my end.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a medium off-white head. Solid retention, good lace.

S: Dark chocolate, light vanilla and rosemary.

T: Dominated by that dark chocolate flavour. Has some wood/bark character, licorice and herbs. Nice complex flavour.

M: Medium-bodied overall, soft carbonation, creamy and resiny.

O: A really tasty winter stout. I love the idea, and it's pulled off effectively. The price is tough at $10 a bomber, but it's worth a try at least once.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to phnphilly for this one.

A - Black with ruby highlights and a few finger tan head. smalls bubbles of foam remain after the head fades.

S - Roasted malt, hint of rosemary, chocolate, coffee, spice, light smoke.

T - First taste is smoked malt that has a touch of smoked meat flavor, licorice, rosemary, chocolate, coffee, nutty, some dark fruits.

M - Full body with a lot of carbonation. Dry finish.

D - A solid beer. Not that big of fan of the smoke in it.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

“Bottled Oct 2010 Batch 2” poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short dense beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a sweet burst of dark fruit and bourbon up front but those flavors fade and transition into the more constant flavors of milk chocolate and coffee. There’s a hearty roasted malt character and a mild but complementary hops presence creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, slightly filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of ahq514
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into St Bernardus chalice. Bottled in Oct. 2010 from Batch 2.

Pours an extremely dark brown head with almost no head, appearing to have very low carbonation. Almost no lacing.

Aroma is complex. Roasty, slightly smoky, oaky, dark chocolate. Has a little bit of a belgian element to it. I pick up a touch of oats too.

Creamy and slightly sweet oats come through first, followed by a dry roastiness, dark chocolate, and subtle smokiness. Real slight Belgian yeast characteristics. Has a real dry wood component. Not much in the way of hops.

A little higher carbonation than I thought would be there and a little too much for the style I think. Creamy at first and then dry, Medium to full body. Fairly drinkable for 7%.

An enjoyable stout overall, but nothing to really seperate it from the pack. Pretty dry for a stout. Would like to try fresh.

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Photo of Sensaray
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears dark brown with mocha head about an inch.

Smells of roasty chocolate and light coffee.

Roasty chocolate and light coffee in the smell as well.

Feel is very nice on the lighter side for a stout but good spiciness, medium body.

Overall very good, wanted a bit more alc, but very delicious.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 2" mocha colored head which exhausted all the effervescence from the body but did leave nice lace as it slowly receded. Body is a very deep burnt umber brown, almost coffee. Smells of roasted malt and chocolate. Taste matches the smell, adds some cola, and the chocolate really comes through. There's a hint of smoke, plus there's a medium hoppiness in the aftertaste with a long life. Bodyweight is lighter than I'd expected.

One of the finer beers I've had from this brewer. Nice local artisanal product.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap tonight at Porter Cafe in West Roxbury. Served in a Pretty Things wide-mouthed wine glass. Extremely dark brown body, with a tremendous looking tan head. This glass really accentuates the look of the beer. Smell was subtly earthy. Taste is right on the money. It's rich with flavors of chocolate and milky coffee, with just enough of a hint of smoke to enjoy. There is a slight mineral quality in the finish. Mouthfeel was right in the middle - not too thick and not too thin. This is a very enjoyable stout, and I am upset with myself that it took me this long to finally try it.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

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Photo of ksimons
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +2%
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 -2.8%
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 -5.6%
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 -10.7%
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.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
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 -1.3%
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 +4.6%
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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Babayaga from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
3.92 out of 5 based on 454 ratings.
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