Driftwood Brewery

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Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #126
Ranked #1,916
4.27 | pDev: 9.6%
Apr 15, 2022
Jan 18, 2011
Notes: 2011-11.8%(silver foil), 2012-11.6%(black wax), 2013-11.8%(black wax), 2014-14.6%(black wax), 2015-12.2%(black wax), 2016-11.2%(black wax), 2017-13.2%(black wax), 2018-12.0%(black wax), 2019-10.6%(black wax), 2020-10.0%(black wax), 2021-11.8%(black wax)

2020: Coming in this year at 10.0% ABV this is a beer that is to be shared and savored. Drink fresh, or cellar this one away and allow the bold bourbon barrel notes of vanilla and cherry to develop and mellow the malt driven chocolate and coffee flavours.

Our 8th annual release of Singularity has been conditioned for 2 months in authentic Kentucky bourbon barrels. This aging process adds warming notes of bourbon and oak that push this Russian Imperial Stout beyond the event horizon. The result is a beer of infinite density and depth of character. Singularity 2018 features deep bourbon & barrel character that held in balance by the warming 12% abv !

Our 7th annual release of Driftwood Brewery’s Singularity has been conditioned for 3 months in authentic Kentucky bourbon barrels. This aging process adds warming notes of bourbon and oak that push this Russian Imperial Stout beyond the event horizon. The result is a beer of infinite density and depth of character. At 13.2%, Singularity Russian Imperial Stout 2017 will be a prized addition to any beer cellar!
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of WunderLlama
Reviewed by WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
650 ml black waxed Bottle and a snifter glass received from @beersnake1 in Bif15. Poured into a snifter , creating a fluffy taupe three finger foam mountain over a dark brown liquid

Brewers notes: Beer of infinite density. Massive, rich coffee and chocolate flavour mingle with the vanilla and dried fruit. A beer to be shared and savoured. Can be cellared. Enjoy with (or as) dessert!

ABV 11 %

MALTS: Pale, Chocolate, Roast Barley, Cararoma

Aroma is roast malts

Taste is roast malts , hint of chocolate taste , no char

Mouthfeel is smooth, roasty

Good beer , I like the roastiness without the char, thanks Tim !
Apr 15, 2022
Rated: 4.75 by Long813 from Canada (ON)

Nov 15, 2021
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Reviewed by HipCzech from California

4.16/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
650 ml bottle (2021) poured into a brandy snifter. Pours deeply dark brown with a thick head and brown foam and spotty lace. Aromas of darkly roasted malt, dark fruit, caramel and chocolate. Flavor continues with rich, dark notes and bitter chocolate, roasted malt, caramel and slight earthiness. Fuller mouthfeel with moderate but soft carbonation. A big, boozy that opens nicely as it warms.
Jul 22, 2021
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Reviewed by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2021 fresh release - 11.8% ABV in 22 oz bomber with black waxed top.
Deep black pour - slightly oily with scant tan/mocha head.
Aroma muted but as warmed opened up nicely with dark malts, caramel, molasses, dark chocolate and hints of coffee - slightly earthy.
Taste as above opened up as warmed - roasty dark malts, char, but then brown sugar sweetness, molasses, notes of oak and bourbon, coffee, dark chocolate and some green hop bitterness.
Full slightly boozy mouthfeel with decent carbonation and a lingering coffee and dark chocolate bittersweetness.
Let this warm to cellar temperature and becomes a phenomenal beer.
May 29, 2021
Photo of draheim
Reviewed by draheim from Washington

4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
22oz bottle (2012, label says 14.0% ABV as opposed to the 11.6% shown here, sealed with black wax) into a tulip. Pours an opaque black w/ a thin collar of beige foam. As the name suggests, this beer is black as night.

Aroma is rich and deep, complex. Charred oak, dark chocolate, heavily roasted dark malt. Smells like it looks.

Taste likewise is rich and complex. Vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate. Everything works together here really nicely. Nice cocoa bitterness is a relief, as nothing puts me off quite like an overly sweet imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is spot on. Slick but not too heavy, not sticky or chewy. But also substantial.

Overall I'm very impressed with this one. I'm not sure if I've had a beer from Driftwood before and, of course, this one is 8 years old, and has aged well. Would definitely seek this out again. Just about perfect for the style.
Aug 02, 2020
Rated: 4.04 by csmrx7 from Canada (AB)

Jul 26, 2020
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Reviewed by Bacon-Flavor-23 from Canada (BC)

4.87/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
2015- Black Wax 12,2 abv
Appearance : black. Black as black can be. Driftwood isn't kidding when they say it's a beer of "infinite density". This one was aged in prime cellar conditions, in a dark cool room, for 5 years. I was expecting great, I got better. The residual sugars are sticking to my glass. No head whatsoever. Just a thick black syrup full of magic.
Smell : black, dark roast coffee, pure dark chocolate (think 99% cacao), caramel, bourbon, smoke. The alcohol has evaporated from the aging, I can tell from the sticky stuff on my glass. Some fresh cigar smell, burnt toast.
Taste: like swallowing a black hole. Thick, liquorous, no carbonation. Not a dang bubble in there son. My head starts spinning straight away. Dang it's hot in here suddenly. It's like drinking liquid coffee beans. Not like a coffee, like if you could liquefy coffee beans themselves. The smokey flavor from the bourbon barrels hits like a ton of bricks. Not much alcohol taste, I was expecting more. Overall I'm impressed. This is why I got into craft beer to begin with: Imperial Stouts.
Jul 03, 2020
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Rated by Eric_Standard from Canada (BC)

4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
2020 vintage.
May 04, 2020
Photo of altstadt
Reviewed by altstadt from Canada (BC)

3.2/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3
Pouring green-brown color, but opaque black in the glass. Formed very short dark tan head that quickly dropped down to a patchy skiff, leaving no lacing. Too dark to see any bubbles rising.

Faint super dark malt, almost a tar scent. Builds up a touch of barnyard in the glass. Swirling the glass boosts the barnyard, but it takes on more of a cheese scent. Overall this has very little smell, even though it was poured close to room temperature.

This is just over the edge of a malt that has been roasted too far. Somewhat bitter char flavor builds up. The sweet bourbon flavor rides over the top, smoothing over some of the char. Overall this tastes like a sweet toffee that has been forgotten on the stove while it was cooking. Somewhat harsh.

Turns into a thick creamy foam of very fine bubbles. Some tongue tingling at first. The oily cream feeling persists to the end. After swallowing, my mouth is left tingling all over.

This was a 2020 vintage. This is not something that can be drunk without major pauses. Each time it tastes much better when the mouth is fresh than after a second or third sip. My overall impression is that someone forgot about it at some point when it was roasting or cooking, and then tried to recover. Perhaps it will improve with some cellar time, but I wasn't impressed at this point in its life cycle.
May 02, 2020
Photo of sulldaddy
Reviewed by sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Sampling a 2019 vintage, black wax, bottle says 10.3% ABV. Obtained in part of a swap with a local beer lover.
The beer is poured into my snifter a deep cola brown to black coffee color with fizzy tan head of 1 cm foaming up. This fades quickly to nothing within less than a minute of the pour.
Aroma is some dark fruit, roasted malt and charred wood mixing with a little brown sugar. Maybe a little tart fruit note as well, no hops and not really boozy.
First sip reveals a lighter body than expected and slightly watery texture with very very fine and tingly carbonation. Was hoping for a bigger body for this beer.
Flavor starts of with some roasted malt and a little charred wood, then some black licorice or anise notes and a bit of brown sugar and molasses comes through on the finish. Also a bit of wood dryness from the barrel comes through. No hops here either but I do get a bit of red grape or other darker fruit with a little bit of tartness, but not much. The roast and molasses dominates here.
Surprisingly, I dont get any booze character with warming or black pepperiness and this beer goes down pretty smooth.
A nice dark beer, not a great one, but not flawed either. Id like to try some other beers from the brewery too. This was a fine beer, but didnt blow me away.
Mar 30, 2020
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Reviewed by AmeriCanadian from Tennessee

3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
2020 vintage consumed within a week of broad release. Poured into a stemmed beer glass and consumed by the fire on a cool but dry winter evening in Vancouver.

Pours cola brown with mahogany edges and light-medium viscosity, but appears jet black with medium viscosity in the glass on and on the swirl. Fantastic mocha head of tiny, compact bubbles that initially held up extremely well and then disappeared altogether. Some splotchy lacing.

Initially smells more like an English porter than an RIP, very malt-heavy (natch), nutty, creamy, and grainy. Then I get notes of licorice, dark fruit, chocolate-covered-cherry, medium-roast coffee, and a twang of vanilla. Perhaps a little smoke, some definite oak, very faint toffee and lactose. It's an interesting mix, but it comes off as almost watered down, hence the porter comparison.

Flavor profile has much more of a zing, with a surprisingly large hop presence to go with all the dark roast. Espresso, cream, fig, baker's chocolate, chocolate-covered cherry, berry jam, red grape, and miles of licorice up front. Piney, bitter hops alongside the dark roast coffee make for a strong smack of bitterness. Then there's an amazing zing of sweet vanilla, which drops in hard but fades out quickly. Smoke and ouzo on the back end, with a semi-sweet finish that rounds into astringent coffee grounds. It's a pretty fascinating journey, but the strong (almost burnt) black coffee at the end (which lingers forever and comes off as medicinal) just isn't my cup of tea and takes away from the overall experience pretty meaningfully. As the beer warms, the licorice comes out more and more, making for a pretty robust and dark punch of black coffee and licorice.

Feel is soft but thin, though well-carbonated.

I'm not a huge black licorice fan, and I prefer my stouts to have a little more chocolate and a little less coffee. So this isn't really up my alley. But to be fair, it's categorized as a Russian Imperial Stout, so my tasting grade is intended to honor alignment with the category versus my own personal preference. With that in mind, this is a good but not great RIP (or BA stout in general). I'm honestly disappointed and wonder if a little aging might do this beer some good.
Feb 23, 2020
Rated: 4.58 by cgwami from Canada (MB)

Jan 03, 2020
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Reviewed by LiquidAmber from Washington

4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Poured into a Fremont small snifter. 2019 vintage. Pours nearly black, appearing opaque black in the glass with a quarter finger dark khaki head that dissipates quickly to a small ring around the glass, slight lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt with light char, milk chocolate, light vanilla, woody oak and a hint of bourbon. Flavor is dark toasted malt with moderate char and a little smokiness, bourbon, woody oak, touch of coffee and dark dried fruit. Nice charry, chocolate finish with residual bourbon. Medium bodied with light creaminess. A full flavored imperial stout with fine bourbon barrel character. The malt body is a bit on the light side for a Russian imperial stout, but is still supporting and flavorful. Pleasant char and chocolate notes. I was up in Canada picking up untried breweries, but couldn't pass this up from a favorite from north of the border. We used to get a few Driftwood styles in Seattle, but not for a while. Glad I grabbed this, it's one of their beers I've wanted to try for a long time.
Nov 14, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by BEER88 from North Carolina

Oct 21, 2019
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Reviewed by ChrisPr from Oregon

4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2016 11.2%, black wax.
Appearance of dark black with cabernet highlights. Alcohol, cocoa and light Cherrywood smoke on the nose. Taste of roast, frothy almonds, dark dried fig and a noticeable alcohol finish. A very nice beer but the alcohol finish is a bit rich, leaving it slightly imbalanced.
Oct 14, 2019
Photo of kemoarps
Reviewed by kemoarps from Washington

3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
2019 bottle
Pours is completely opaque, even held up to the light the corners hold their edge with no creep. Decent little swell of light brown head settles down pretty quickly to little more than a floating patch that looks well on its way to dissipating as well. No lacing to speak of. A faint oily film when the light catches it just right.

Nose gives a first impression of rich dark fruits and the smoky char of a beach side campfire when you wake up the next morning. Some roast emerges as it warms and the fruit fades. I'mma let it sit for a bit as I get the impression that it will continue to evolve as it warms.
Coming back, this continues to be more mellow than I would have expected. I dig that. Not light, but definitely mellow. Some notes of coffee and an almost berryjuice rich component. The barrelling is expressed more in woodiness than in spice/vanilla/alcohol heat.

Flavour continues the theme of mellow blended components with an initial kick of acrid coffee meeting a roasty middle character with again a light smokiness I hadn't really expected and a sweeter thread that is more fruit than chocolate. Rambles around a bit before coming back together in the finish with a quick dick punch of bitter/alcohol/coffee/and a weird high sweet note. Almost like green coffee vs darkly roasted beans?

Thin body with bright effervescence and a finish that lingers very bitter and almost mildly tart. Alcohol is folded in wonderfully though.
Overally I enjoyed this and I'm very glad to have grabbed it, but if Im' being honest, the beer I wanted this to be is a bit better than the beer this actually is. Still looking forward to the bottle I set aside in the 'cellar', though, to see how it transforms over time!

EDIT: It definitely grows on me as it continues to warm, but the overall impressions remain largely the same.
Apr 15, 2019
Rated: 4.29 by NickNVBC from Canada (BC)

Sep 04, 2018
Rated: 4.46 by polloenfuego from Canada (NB)

Jun 09, 2018
Photo of Niceroad77
Reviewed by Niceroad77 from Canada (BC)

4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Just had two 2019 bottles of this great offering. Small head that disappeared quite rapidly after my first sip. Very fizzy. Medium body, thinner than what I was expecting. Great taste though with the obvious bourbon barrel ageing. This is the lowest ABV Singularity offering so far.
Feb 02, 2018
Rated: 4.06 by Jlang2012 from South Carolina

Aug 14, 2017
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Reviewed by Ghrymm from Canada (BC)

4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Poured from a 650ml bottle a 2016 Black Wax.
L: Dark Black/Brown pour with a thin tan head.
S: Chocolate/Vanilla Toffee and Coffee,wonderful nose.
T: Tastes as it smells .Great.
F: Very smooth need to drink it slow our it will knock you on your ass.
O: Very nice i am glad i let it sit for almost a year in a cool spot.
Jul 18, 2017
Photo of yasky
Reviewed by yasky from Canada (ON)

4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pitch black pour, smaller brown head, minimal lacing. Lighter bourbon aroma, roasted malt, fudge, vanilla. Dark chocolate, lighter whiskey notes in the taste, vanilla, sweet, char. Thicker fuller body.
May 16, 2017
Rated: 4.35 by braican from Massachusetts

Feb 21, 2017
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Reviewed by dillybarrrrr from Canada (BC)

2.55/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5
Singularity 2017 @13.2 out of a 650nL at 13.99 into a jar... lol a jar..
Picked up because of the hype
L: Dark as hell no clarity, 1 finger of head
S: chocolate, vanilla, mainly coffee tho
T :Super coffee and chocolate not my type of thing at all
F: Not thick, smooth mouth feel best part of the beer.
Ov: Wont pick up another one waaaaay overhyped
Feb 11, 2017
Rated: 4.4 by GJKerr from Canada (ON)

Jan 26, 2017
Rated: 4.22 by ZachT from Canada (BC)

Dec 17, 2016
Rated: 4.57 by Coronaeus from Canada (ON)

Dec 02, 2016
Rated: 4.23 by Corson from Canada (AB)

Oct 13, 2016
Rated: 3.75 by SmithyAlan from Canada (QC)

Sep 26, 2016
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Reviewed by biboergosum from Canada (AB)

4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
650ml, black wax-capped bottle, @ 11.2% ABV (2016 edition) - thanks as ever was to rogerdandy for bequeathing me this hard to come by offering - cheers, man!

This beer pours a deep, abyssal black, with subtle basal cola edges when pressed to backlighting, and four fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and well creamy brown head, which leaves a decent array of layered sudsy and stringy lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of testy Bourbon barrels (wood, spicy rye booze, and neutered vanilla), grainy caramel/toffee malt, black licorice, a muddled dark orchard fruitiness, and some further nail polish remover adjacent astringent alcohol heat. The taste is gently roasted, bready and doughy caramel malt, a hint of biscuity toffee, semi-sweet, yet still aggressive Bourbon cask notes (dried vanilla pods, rye/corn whiskey, and musty wood), bittersweet chocolate, edgy cafe-au-lait, a fading melted anise candy character, and more hovering, and about to alight metallic booziness.

The bubbles are fairly inert in their difficult to get excited about frothiness, the body a stoic medium-heavy weight, and mostly smooth and creamy, but for a loitering sense of tacky alcohol ingress. It finishes sweet, sure, and moderated to a certain degree by wood, generic fruit, and heat alike.

Yeah, I probably cracked this one open a bit too early (but you never really know, eh, Tofor?), as the big ABV seems to have not yet found its sexy groove, instead evoking a somewhat scratchy persona. At any rate, that's judging this like a typically hyped-up whale, rather than on the merits I sense before me. So, in summary, this is indeed a splendid big BBA stout, the perceivable wowee sauce forgivable enough (see label if you want to quibble about this), and I'm glad to have tried it.
May 26, 2016
Photo of DaveBar
Reviewed by DaveBar from Canada (ON)

3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Got on trade! 2016 vintage served at 10deg C in a challis.

A- Opens well and pours a solid 1.5" high light brown head that stays forever. Nearly 10mins before film out. Super dark brown colour and just a wonderful stout

S- Bourbon and, unfortunately, metallic scent.

T- Bourbon, chocolate and malt hits you right away. After the juiciness leaves it's heat and a lot of it. Too much but it sticks out at you because of the wateriness.

M- Watery. Way too watery for a BBA stout. Makes the heat stick out at you

O- Pretty good brew minus the watery nature of the mouth. Hope they improve their technique. Ingredients you can taste are high quality but......

Food Pairing

This pretty good brew went well with......... Sorry for the common theme however it works...... Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. It just works times ten...

May 15, 2016
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Rated by spinrsx from Canada (ON)

4.24/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2013 vintage
May 15, 2016
Rated: 3.97 by EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona

Mar 21, 2016
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Reviewed by BCborn from Canada (BC)

4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2015 bomber, aged 1 year, my 50th birthday beer
A: very dark- bkack reddish hughe, not much head
S: sweetness-vanilla, licorice, bourbon-alcohol, dark fruit- cherry
T: follows smell with a yeasty-dough dominant flavor
F: no carbination, medium
OA: Big abv-bourbon flavo, very good sipper
Mar 06, 2016
Rated: 4.5 by mtomlins from Canada (ON)

Jan 15, 2016
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Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.67/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Could use some head on the top of the beer, but looks like your average dark stout beer, brown and black.

Aroma was dark fruit bitterness and roasting. Substantial amount of alcohol noticeable, but hey its a big ass beer. Mouthfeel and body was a little thin, brought out the bitterness and alcohol sting. Too much licorice. Glad to try, but not gonna seek it out.
Jan 07, 2016
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Reviewed by souvenirs from Canada (BC)

4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A: Impenetrably dark, with chocolatey tan head.
S: Licorice, vanilla, bourbon.
T: Lots going on. Sweet black licorice, bourbon, vanilla, coffee...
F: Heavy.
Sep 29, 2015
Rated: 3.71 by Tmappin from Canada (NS)

Sep 22, 2015
Rated: 4.5 by CurtisD from Canada (NB)

Sep 17, 2015
Rated: 4.42 by Whatup14 from Canada (QC)

Aug 24, 2015
Singularity from Driftwood Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 184 ratings