La Muerta (pre-2015)
Freetail Brewing Company

La Muerta (pre-2015)La Muerta (pre-2015)
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Freetail Brewing Company
Texas, United States
American Imperial Stout
4.03 | pDev: 11.66%
Jul 26, 2019
Feb 17, 2009
La Muerta (pre-2015)La Muerta (pre-2015)
Notes: La Muerta is brewed each year for Día de los Muertos in honor of our departed friends and family. A big, lush Imperial Stout, La Muerta is full of roast, smoke and chocolate flavors from an array of specialty malts that go into this garnet-black beer.
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Photo of superspak
Reviewed by superspak from North Carolina

4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in 10/2011. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, peat smoke, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, chili pepper, leather, tobacco, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, vanilla, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, charcoal, wood, cinnamon, herbal, grass, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready/smoked malts, vanilla, chili, cinnamon, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with big strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, peat smoke, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, chili pepper, leather, tobacco, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, vanilla, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, charcoal, wood, cinnamon, herbal, grass, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Mild herbal, grass, roast, charred bitterness; and pepper/cinnamon spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, peat smoke, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, chili pepper, leather, tobacco, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, dark bread/crust, licorice, vanilla, dark fruit, charcoal, wood, cinnamon, herbal, grass, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready/smoked malts, vanilla, chili, cinnamon, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet and spiciness balance; with no cloying, acrid, astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering ho bitter/spiciness. Medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/bready, and lightly slick/sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 10.2%, with zero lingering spice heat after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic spiced imperial stout. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready/smoked malts, vanilla, chili, cinnamon, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV, with the mildly bitter/spicy/drying finish. Fantastic balance of super rich malts and spices; solid earthy hops, and restrained fruity yeast. Light residual sweetness with lingering bitter/spicy dryness. Not overly sweet/heavy for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering, and amazing style example. Not overwhemong on any aspect. Aged amazingly for 7.5 years.
Jul 26, 2019
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Reviewed by HardTarget from Texas

4.64/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
09 vintage, opened March 2017

Appearance: Black as night, holds a thin halo of tan head but doesn't lace.

Aroma: Malt monster, mild soy sauce note of age, lots of sweet toffee and molasses.

Taste: Hints of tobacco, leather, citric hops, all crushed by a huge malty base that is mellow and soothing.

Mouthfeel: Medium heavy body with a small chew, lingering but dry finish.

Overall: A real gem, one of the best beers made in Texas. Big sweet flavor with enough depth to keep me interested and entertained. One of my favorite labels too.
Apr 24, 2017
Rated: 4.23 by lupercmda from North Carolina

Dec 20, 2016
Rated: 3.92 by spinrsx from Canada (ON)

May 15, 2016
Rated: 4 by Dominic_Decoco from New Jersey

May 14, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by Mikexw from New York

Apr 09, 2016
Rated: 3.7 by Shawner from Minnesota

Mar 13, 2016
Rated: 4.14 by Kurmaraja from California

Feb 13, 2016
Rated: 4.86 by Thomasweir from Texas

Feb 13, 2016
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Rated by rlee1390 from Indiana

4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75
Roasted malt, some coffee, tad bit of burnt notes, plums and other dark fruits.
Jan 06, 2016
Rated: 3.98 by Kegatron from Pennsylvania

Nov 21, 2015
Rated: 2.75 by SocalKicks from California

Oct 29, 2015
Rated: 4.04 by Stinger80OH from Ohio

Oct 11, 2015
Rated: 3.96 by cyrushire from Florida

Sep 10, 2015
Rated: 4.09 by Pete_IV from New York

Sep 03, 2015
Rated: 4.3 by hollywood_15063 from Pennsylvania

Aug 23, 2015
Rated: 3.68 by IsYoursGold from Texas

Aug 06, 2015
Rated: 4 by kew from Texas

Aug 02, 2015
Rated: 4.31 by Anaxagoris from Washington

Jul 27, 2015
Rated: 3.88 by Doublechar0517 from Kentucky

Jun 16, 2015
Rated: 4.13 by corm44 from New York

Jun 12, 2015
Rated: 3.92 by bobv from Vermont

Jun 05, 2015
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Reviewed by flagmantho from Washington

4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Poured from waxed 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: totally black with lots of haze and a thin layer of rich brown foam. Quite good.

Smell: sweet and quite fruity with plenty of raisin character, some dates, and a little bit of chocolate. Not bad at all.

Taste: very much like the aroma, with an emphasis on sweetness and fruitiness. There is a hint of roast here, but it's not strong. There is also a little ashy aftertaste, along with a little caramel and toffee. Nicely complex.

Mouthfeel: big body with a good, well-integrated carbonation and a big creaminess with a silky smooth texture. Very, very good indeed!

Overall: tasty and with a great texture, this is a nice stout. It's a bit on the sweet side, though, so be prepared for that.
Jun 02, 2015
Rated: 3.94 by Cynic-ale from Texas

May 24, 2015
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Rated by kscaldef from Oregon

2.75/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75
Pretty underwhelming. Not much intensity of flavor. A bit think for an imperial stout.
May 19, 2015
Rated: 4 by brandon911 from Texas

May 04, 2015
Rated: 4.33 by crobinso from Colorado

Apr 26, 2015
Rated: 4 by Duff27 from Illinois

Apr 18, 2015
Rated: 3.82 by egrace84 from Illinois

Apr 18, 2015
Photo of ShanePB
Rated by ShanePB from Pennsylvania

3.08/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3
Served from a 22 oz bottle
Apr 14, 2015
Photo of Wayne17
Reviewed by Wayne17 from Texas

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Had this on tap at Flying Saucer. Smells like chocolate, coffee, and a hint of smoke. I thought I might be slightly turned off by the smokiness but everything really worked together. Just enough roasty, smoked, sweetness and alcohol to all meld together well. Nice and creamy on the mouthfeel and a nice medium thick body. My preconception of this beer is that it would be one that would need time to really develop and it may age with the best (I wouldn't know) but fresh out of the tap was fantastic. Reminds me a bit Dark Lord but tamer and more well rounded right off the bat.
Apr 08, 2015
Rated: 3.77 by Jamato14 from North Carolina

Apr 08, 2015
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Reviewed by Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
With its current #99 position on the Top 100 Southwest list, La Muerta came with high expectations. I picked up this 2014 vintage 22 fl oz bottle in Austin, TX; it boasts great label art and a grey wax-ed over pry-off cap for ostensibly increased aging potential. Bottled on: 10.27.2014. 8.9% ABV. 55 IBUs.

Reviewed live. Served cold into a snifter.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Khaki-tan, with wonderful creaminess and softness lending it a gorgeous complexion. Has an even consistency and a full presentation. Retention is excellent for the high ABV - easily 6-7+ minutes. Leaves a light even coating of lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque black. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, the head could be richer and darker. It's a nice looking imperial stout - definitely above average without boasting any stand-out characteristics.

AROMA: A classic imperial stout aroma comprised of chocolate malts, schwarz/dark malts, cream, fudge, and a kiss of faint hazelnut. The label mentions roast and smoke; I find neither. Indeed, a roasted barley presence would help counter the malty sweetness, but this doesn't suggest a cloying beer by any means. The rauch malt isn't evidenced at all except by a hint of burnt characteristics on the back end.

This mellow aroma never betrays the ABV of the beer; I'd guess this was 6%. Aromatic intensity is average at most.

To style, no yeasty notes are detectable, nor are any off-notes. Hop presence is minimal.

TASTE: The smoke promised by the label never quite comes through, though there is a bit of burnt character in the third act which helps it finish a bit drier and coarser. Actually smoking their own malts would likely help develop the smoke profile; I'm assuming they're just buying rauch malt from Weyermann or something as-is.

The second act is dominated by the classic chocolate malt and schwarz/dark malt backbone, with whispers of plum-like dark fruit lurking deep beneath the surface, barely perceptible. I like that it doesn't trifle with caramel, malted milk balls/Whoppers, or any of the other tired notes common in imperial stouts. The sweetness is appropriate; this isn't the cloying dessert beer it could be.

What's missing is a robust roasted barley presence, which would really help the balance of this beer, which errs on the sweeter side. Additionally, some coffee and/or more of the promised smoke character would lend desirable intricacy while also rounding out the balance. I think I find a hint of faint cayenne pepper on the climax, but I can't be sure. It's a bit fudgey there too, which is nice initially but may become too much for drinkers taking on the whole bottle. A hint of vanilla bean would be lovely here.

This drinks like a base stout for a better beer, lacking the developed flavour profile, intricacy, and subtlety of execution observed in the best imperial stouts. It's satisfying as-is, but there's ample room for improvement. Certainly gestalt, with a cohesive build and an intentionality behind it. These brewers clearly know what they're doing.

Average flavour duration and intensity. Above average depth of flavour.

TEXTURE: A strength of this beer is its creamy, soft mouthfeel - which fits into the schema of its dessert beer vibe. But it's strangely light on the palate, lacking the heft and weight this beer should have to support its robust flavours. A heavier body would be ideal, but the thickness/viscosity is about right and the carbonation is near perfect. It's smooth and wet, with an almost silky porter-like feel. The addition of roasted barley (and/or more rauch malt) would likely help give this a more appropriately coarser and drier feel on the palate.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or rough.

The ABV is quite well disguised here.

While this mouthfeel doesn't elevate the beer as a whole, it does complement the taste nicely. There's room for honing.

OVERALL: I can see why this is on the Top 100 list for the Southwest region. I'm pretty certain it's the best beer I've ever had out of San Antonio, and may well be one of the best imperial stouts I've tried from Texas while living here. Still, in this market it will struggle to compete with superior offerings from Prairie, and I don't know that I'd reach for this over widely distributed classics like Victory's Storm King, Great Divide's Espresso Yeti, or even North Coast's Old Rasputin (if we're allowing comparisons to Russian Imperial Stouts). This is highly drinkable and I'll enjoy finishing the bottle, but I'd like to see them further hone their recipe by playing up the rauch characteristics, bringing in some roasted barley, maybe adding some coffee or vanilla bean for intricacy, and adding more body to the brew. A spirited effort from a brewery that now has my attention, La Muerta is well worth trying and I'd recommend it to friends and trade partners.

Low B (3.55)
Apr 07, 2015
Rated: 4.21 by bmurray10 from Texas

Apr 04, 2015
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Reviewed by Beerzebub from California

4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2014 bottle. Nice creamy tan head. Pleasant roasty, smoky aroma, with malt, cocoa, and coffee. On the palate it's creamy and rich, roasty, well balanced, not at all overly sweet. Some discernible spicy/earthy hops work well with the other flavors. Dry finish, pleasantly bitter, with good length. Quite drinkable. Tasty batch; I enjoyed this.
Mar 17, 2015
Rated: 4.66 by jkn09 from Texas

Mar 14, 2015
Rated: 3.77 by StArnoldFan from Texas

Mar 01, 2015
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Rated by ucsbmullet from Colorado

3.24/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Smoke is something I'm not a fan of in beer. And the bottle was a gusher when opened.
Mar 01, 2015
Rated: 3.25 by Karibourgeois from Texas

Feb 22, 2015
Rated: 3.92 by thereal_adam from Texas

Feb 21, 2015
La Muerta (pre-2015) from Freetail Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 320 ratings