La Muerta (pre-2015) | Freetail Brewing Company

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90 Reviews
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La Muerta (pre-2015)La Muerta (pre-2015)

Brewed by:
Freetail Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by wagenvolks on 02-17-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 319
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth drinker. Average mouthfeel but dangerous drinker. Great flavours cover the booziness. Brown coloured body with a creamy foam. Complex, with smoke the pleasant hook in the smell and in the taste, leaving a velvet chocolate finish. Great beer in a great style, this one is a meal in itself.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MrVonzipper for sharing this one at his tasting!

Pours an opaque black with a dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, smoked malt, cocoa, coffee bean, and slight alcohol. Taste is of dark roasted malt, smoked malt, cocoa powder, and some slight coffee bean flavors. There is a nice roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good carbonation level with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good stout with nice smoke and cocoa aromas and flavors.

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Photo of brentk56
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been in the cellar for several years - perhaps an '08 or '09

Appearance: Pours a charcoal color with chocolate highlights; very little head and no lacing action

Smell: Fudge and smoke, but not particularly vivid

Taste: Fudge, with a growing smoked meat character that builds into the middle and lingers, after the swallow, along with the chocolate elements; gets somewhat fruity in the finish, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation

Overall: Perhaps I sat on this one too long, but I notice that others have not cared for the way the smoke presents itself in this beer

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Photo of kojevergas
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
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)

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Bottle is an incredible gusher with two-third of the bottle ending in the sink. Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of chocolate malt with light dry roasted malt is intriguing. Taste is an interesting mix of black chocolate malt with some light dry roasted malt with light residual sugar notes. Some small traces of smoke can also be detected. Body is lighter than expected and carbonation was exceptionally strong when I opened the bottle but died quite quickly. Interesting beers but texture and level of carbonation was definitely off in this bottle.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Huhzubendah. Served in an Allagash tulip. Ouch.

Pairs near black with a good lit mocha head. Light collar. The nose carries a heavy amount of chili and some roast. Light chocolate. Nothing too in depth in the flavor or aroma. Lots of chili. Probably too heavy. Medium body and a roasty finish. Boom.

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Photo of mothman
3.37/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage

Pours no head. Color is black.

Aroma: Peat and smoke. A lot like surly smoke in that sense. Very malty. Bacon and chocolate. Not very stout like.

Taste: Very similar to the nose. Smoke, less peat, bacon, chocolate, malty, and creamy. Odd.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends with more roast and smoke.

Overall, this tasted more like a smoke beer than anything. Somewhat drinkable, but far from what the style should be.

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Photo of jlindros
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to ApostleBrewing for another interesting one from Freetail.

Pours a darker creamy 1/2 finger head that fades at med pace little lacing, pitch black beer, no light coming through.

Nose starts with roast, roasted malt, roasted coffee beans, a bit of dark chocolate and cocoa, hint of char and bitter dark malt, a light smoked malt with hint of smoked cheese like and light oats I think. Just a touch of earthy hops.

Taste brings creamy dark malts, light caramel, a bit of powdered cocoa, hint vanilla even, some creamy milk chocolate as well. Light roast in the background, just a bit of fresh roasted coffee beans. The dark malts bring a hint of bitter char but not acrid. Melting choc really comes through the more it goes and warms. Slight chewy malt center with hint if oats, and faint hint of smoked malt again. Light earthy bitter hops in there somewhere, as well as a bit of warning booze. Finish is long creamy chocolate, hint if coffee, more bitter roast and earthy malts, fairly dry but slightly sticky mouth coating.

Mouth is fuller bodied, rich and a bit creamy, nice carb, just a bit of warning booze.

Overall quite a nice beer, nice malt profile with good roast and coffee, nice bitterness with roast and hops although a bit more hops would have been nicer, and a bit more coffee too. The light smoke is a nice addition, and acrid niceness kept in check well. Also nice balance and booze levels, a nice tasty beer that I'm glad I didn't age.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a tiny, tan head that bubbles out nearly instantaneously.

Smell: Dark, roasted malts imparting fragrant notes of roasted coffee beans, black licorice, chocolate, molasses, and even some soot.

Taste: Lip-smacking combination of bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, and ooey-gooey molasses. Pinch of chimney ash. There's a strong roastiness to be had, but also plenty of sugar. Earthy bitterness. Minor dark fruit hints here and there. Touch of alcohol heat welcomes in the sweet, roast finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Appropriately smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A full on good, enjoyable Imperial Stout to honor Día de los Muertos or any other various holiday, such as Columbus Day or Cupcake Day (August 18th).

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a dark brown with a one inch brown head on top. Nice retention, but minimal lacing.

S: Extremely smoky aroma with some charred malt, and little bit of meat/bacon. Some hints of chocolate as well. The smoke is a little too heavy for me.

T: The smoke is not as heavy as the aroma, which is a good thing here. It is mixed in with some heavily roasted malt, chocolate, and some dark fruit.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: A little too smoky for my taste, especially in the aroma.

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Photo of billab914
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes, opened as part of a haul from a great group of Texas BA's. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tasting glass. Pitch black in color with a thin tan head barely covering the top.

I'm getting a lot of smoke to it in the aroma, which I love. It's got some really good notes of dark chocolate and roasty coffee. I'm getting a a bit of a chili pepper like flavor out of it as well. I loved the smoky, roasted malt flavors in it.

The smoke and dark chocolate flavors continue into the taste and again are really good. I get a little more roasted malts and coffee in the finish. The smoke is definitely the highlight for me, but it's not overdone either.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style and moderately slick and oily. Carbonation is on the lower side. Overall, I thought this was one of if not the best beer of the day. I really loved the smokiness in it. Everything really came together nicely in it. Great beer overall.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark as night, thick and inky black with a nice two finger head of cocoa brown on top that really capped it off just about perfectly. Dripping tan lace down the sides it really just looked the part quite nicely i have to admit.

Aroma is of deep roasted malts, lots of cocoa, a touch of a light peat, or smoked flavor and a really well balanced and nicely put together coffee bitterness. This carried over well into the flavor which was rich, creamy and smooth with hints of light chocolate that welcomed the palate first and were soon followed by a nice blend of coffee, roasted malts, light hop notes that dried the palate out quite nicely and a rich, even, semi dry and sweet finish.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: An extremely dark brown (probably black) pour with a finger's worth of tan head.

S: There is quite a high level of smokiness to the nose which goes along nicely with the roasted malt, coffee, and mild chocolate aromas.

T: As if the nose wasn't smokey enough, that particular character gets a bit more intense on the palate. The roasted malt works very well with the smoke, and a bit of chocolate to sweeten the beer up a tad.

M: A full body with some low to medium carbonation.

D: I'm not always the biggest fan of these smokey beers, but this one was quite nice and had more going for it than just the smoke.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 06/09/12 notes. Big thanks to Huhzubendah for trading a bottle of this to me. Shared with friends side by side with the BA version. 2011 vintage.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with one inch of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of smoke, peat, roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, light dark fruits. Pretty nice; the smoke is there but not overbearing.

t - Tastes of smoke, vanilla, roasted malts, peat, dark fruits, toasted malts, chocolate. Much more smoke and vanilla than the nose, but too much smoke for me.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth body but a sipper for sure.

o - Overall a pretty good smoked stout. I liked the nose, though thought the smoke dominated the taste a bit. If you like smoked beers worth checking out, though I preferred the BA version a bit.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Thanks to both wagenvolks and twiggamortis420 for the hookups!

I feel this works as the digestif following a nice plate of tacos. It pours a straight onyx topped by a half-finger of sandy khaki foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, dark chocolate, light coffee, and molasses. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a hint of hickory-smoked ham. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a very nice stout, one I'm glad to be able to try (and share) more of in the coming months. Good times.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer is dark brown with an oily beige head. The aroma brings a lot of smoke with additional notes of vanilla. Really interesting aroma. Unique for the style. Sweet, with a lot of vanilla flavor. Chocolate, roast. Medium to full bodied. An enjoyable beer. Would definitely have again.

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Photo of stakem
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to SamuelJackson45 for sharing this brew on 1/22/11.

Bottle #144/450 poured into a snifter. This brew appears black in color with a thin ring of dark brown around the edges when held to the light. A spotty amount of lengthy patchy lace clings to the glass. The cap fades fast but a light swirl revives it back to a finger's strength.

The aroma is dark and fruity with a roasted quality that edges on smelling lightly smokey and somewhat nutty. Sweet smelling overall with a grainy scent coupled with a bit of alcohol burn to the back of the nose.

The taste includes a light smoked quality from the roast of the malt. A prick of alcohol hits the tongue and opens up a lightly fruity indication somewhat similar to raisin/plum. Nutty in the aftertaste with increasing amounts of alcohol character as the brew warms.

Medium in the feel with a light yet prickly level of carbonation. Decent drinkability and well balanced. This was a nice take on the style and a little off the normal beaten path for an imperial stout. Worth giving a try.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Eric for sharing this one on New Beer New Year's Day. Served in a Sinha tulip glass. Guessing this is the '08, but am unsure as the label lacked any info being the beer and brewery names (not even a Surgeon General's warning!).

A - A finger of dark tan/almost mocha foam that dissipates quickly to a ring and some light haze. No lace. Black, with the tiniest hint of brown at the bottom of the glass.

S - Smoked malt, hickory, roasted malts, almost meaty, a touch of salt/soy, and aged dark fruits. This really reminds me of a few Baltic Porters I've had (Surly Smoke & East End Smokestack come to mind). The booze is quite well-hidden, and the beer IS evocative of Texas.

T - The taste is quite similar, with well-hidden alcohol and a good amount of smokiness, however the dark fruit sweetness is more pronounced and there's also a touch of milky cocoa. As the brew warms the smoke character actually mellows out a bit, which was a little surprising. I like the taste a little more than the smell - probably more of a 4.25, but I'll be generous.

M - Carbonation is a little zestier than I like. Body is more on the medium side, although it's sufficiently viscous for a 10.2% brew. Nice dry finish that complements the roastiness.

D - My 5oz or so were quite delicious and I gladly would have had some more if there weren't so many people sharing. However, as with all things smoked, the flavor becomes a touch fatiguing.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Huhzubendah for hooking me up with this want of mine. Served in a Stone IRS snifter.

Beer is black with a nice tan head that recedes immediately to this wispy constellation of small bubbles on the surface of the beer that fails to rally to make a decent lacing, strained under low carbonation.

This beer makes its point with the aroma, smokier than most imperial stouts out there, still sweet with a strong malt backbone.

Beer is medium in body, smokey but not dry which saves this beer for me. The smoke on the palate is ever present but still subtle some how. Easy drinking nice finish. I'd have more of this.

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Photo of aasher
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle about a month ago in a great box from BrewerB. Thanks for hitting this Want Brian!

It pours a full bodied, dark, dark brown in color that turns to black as it collects in the glass. It has a nice and creamy dark khaki head that dissipates to a soft lacing. The aromas consist of smooth chocolates, low bitterness, dark roasted malts, and light coffee. On the backend I even pick up some light bacon. All are well integrated and make for a really nice nose. The flavors are of cooking chocolate, light coffee, smoke, and bacon. I really like it. It drinks in between medium and full in body and the aftertaste leaves just the right amount of smoke. It drinks really nicely and for the abv. I am a fan of this one. It is a really nice beer. I'm glad I could finally try it.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at the Freetail-Real Ale barrel-aged festival in San Antonio.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the smoke with some roasted malt mixed in. The flavor is heavy smoke, chocolate and roasted malt. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Very good, but I think the smoke overpowered any of the more subtle flavors that may have been in the beer. Still, glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle shared by Sgt. Geist.

Pours an opaque dark black with a light mocha head, no lacing. Smoky, roast malt aroma, mildly sweet and ashy. Medium thick, syrupy body with moderate carbonation and a dry, ash finish. Malty body, roast and caramel, with minimal fruit or hops. Meh?

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Photo of corby112
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Dajtai007 for sending this beer my way. Red wax, 2009(?) vintage

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a half finger mocha colored head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Slightly smokey, roasted aroma with dark and sweet malt notes, dark fruit and alcohol. Some charred wood along with dark chocolate, coffee bean, oatmeal, toffee and caramel. Some fudge/chocolate cake sweetness underneath, balancing out the smoked meat/burnt malts.

Slightly viscous medium body with a nice balance of smokey, roasted malt, dark chocolate and sweet booze. Dry and toasty with lots of dark chocolate, coffee bean and oatmeal flavor but it never becomes acrid or overly burnt tasting. There is some chocolate cake, toffee and caramel sweetness balancing things out along with some strong booze in the finish. Plenty of alcohol flavor but never hot or harsh. Not overly complex but has a nice balance of roast, sweetness and alcohol. Tasty but definitely a sipper.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a nice black color with good carbonation leaving a nice tan head and some light lacing

S: Big smoke with some cocoa, roasted malt and a light booze sting

T: Immediate smokiness with blend of smoked meat, liquid smoke, light campfire and charred wood all rolled up into one. Cocoa, roasted malt and a light coffee note.

M: Big body, loads of taste but to smokey for me.

O: While it is a decent to good Imperial Stout the smokines and booze mix does not sit well with me

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La Muerta (pre-2015) from Freetail Brewing Company
3.98 out of 5 based on 319 ratings.
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