XPO | Spilker Ales

Liked This Beer
2.97 w/ 7 ratings

Brewed by:
Spilker Ales
Nebraska, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Retired as of January 2005.

Added by bditty187 on 09-20-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 7 |  Reviews: 6
Reviews by BuckeyeNation:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.63/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Darkest brown--nearly black--with a hint of lighter brown and ruby through the center of the glass when backlit by only weak sunlight. In other words, close to, but not quite opaque. The mountainous light brown head of stiff, big-bubbled foam leaves a handful of meaty hunks of lace on the glass.

The nose is strictly average and smells like dark malt and weak, metallic chocolate. Where's the coffee as boasted about on the website ('dark roast Italian coffee beans') and whose inclusion is indicated by the steaming cup of java on the label? I don't particularly like coffee-dominant stouts, so if this one favors chocolate on the palate, so much the better.

Coffee is the most obvious member of the flavor profile. Chocolate is nowhere to be found. The dark maltiness is seriously undercut, however, by a chewing-on-aspirin bitterness coupled with a thin body and an overly carbonated mouthfeel. It's less noticeable than it was in Hopalleuia IPA, but given the style, it's more unforgivable.

There may be some semblance of a decent flavor in there somewhere, but I'll be hanged if I can appreciate it given the abysmal body/mouthfeel. Where the hell is all the malt? Where the hell is any malt at all? The finish is abbreviated and is characterized by a mineral-like, borderline metallic character.

The label says that XPO Stout is 'smooth, velvety, roasty and... extremely flavorful'. Uh... no. It may be unfair to generalize after only two Spilker beers, but until they fix their problems with body, mouthfeel and carbonation (if they even recognize them as problems) the first two will also be the last two.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The body is a very deep mahogany that appears black in the glass but reveals clear brown and ruby highlights when held to the light. The foamy, light-tan head drops fairly readily, but it does maintain a thin surface covering for most of the pint, and leaves some spotty lace as well. The coffee is clear in the nose but appears more as cooled, damp coffee grounds than that of a fresh brewed pot of java. Some sweetish notes from the malt also creep in, adding an odd juxtaposition - I think it might work better with straightforward roastiness. The body is thin, but the carbonation is very fine and moderate which leaves it smooth in the mouth (and allows for more of the subtle malt flavors to come through). The flavor starts with some mid-level bitterness and an acidic note from the dark malts wrapped in roastiness. As it warms, the coffee flavor comes through along with some caramel character and a mild touch of chocolate (at this point it tastes a little bit like a chocolate-covered espresso bean). A flash of dark sweet fruit appears followed by roasted barley as it crosses the palate; leading into a long and dry finish that's so much about roastiness that it almost appears smokey. The bitterness remains mid-level throughout.

I was expecting creamy coffee, but what I got was simply black. It's rich, but not malty. It's an interesting beer with a fair amount of complexity, but that just doesn't seem able to carry over into drinkability. There are better beers from Spilker!

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Photo of bditty187
3.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

XPO is an Espresso Stout.

It poured as black as a shark’s eye with a tight, tan, and bubbly head with similar lace. The smell was roasted malt, coffee, and unsweetened chocolate. The coffee smelled day-old and the chocolate was bland. What’s worse, the stout tasted like day-old coffee! It’s an eye-opener! Okay, there are some subtle background spice and chocolate to add some complexity to the taste. But oddly… overall, the stout was drinkable.

I like coffee, thus I like this beer just fine. If you’re a coffee drinker, check it out!

It comes in a Big-ass 32 oz. bottle now.
-Freshness Date on the label.

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Photo of MinorThreat
2.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of marc77
3.11/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Virtually black, with clear deep crimson when held to light. Fluffy, largely bubbled tan head settles into thin but persistent layer that leaves sparse lace. Medium roast coffee dominates the aroma, with drier hints of roasted barley and sweetish chocolate and dark caramel secondary. Trace butterscotch. Underwhelming and one dimensional, but clean aromawise. Mildly bitter coffee upfront in flavor is followed by token dark caramel sweetness and understated chocolate malt. Trace hint of date like, fructose sweetness mid palate is immediately offset by both roasted barley and moderate hop bitterness. Thin in body, with a slightly watery and spritzy mouthfeel that lends a carbonated iced coffee impression. Finishes mostly dry and clean, w/ a hint of smoke laced black malt tartness. XPO is an odd stout. If you love coffee, you might like this beer. I do love coffee, but malt character lacked support. A few notches below Bell's Java stout overall. It's akin to a brown porter "dry beaned" with crushed coffee beans in the keg. The coffee used seemed to be lighter in roast than espresso. This would make a delectable ice cream float, though. Thanks to bditty187 for the bottle of this quirky brew.

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Photo of BeerBob
2.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

XPO Stout pours as black as black can be, there are none blacker, none.

Head comes very nicely to well over two fingers... but then goes, kaput... nothing!

Nose is like a sweet bag of charcoal Brickets, inviting... and I wonder if a can of charcoal lighter would get this brew going.

Coffee is in the forefront of the pallet here, and lots of it to boot! The lack of carbonation is the singular thing bringing this brew down. After just a few moments all is gone, no fizz, no eye candy, no nothing, the thing just sits there in the glass as dead as dead can be.

The thing pours with a good fizz then poof! it’s gone!!! I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life... EVER!!!

If you like to suck on a charcoal bricket with your cup of coffee, then this is the thing for for you!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.24/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled from a monstrous 32 oz. jug. "1 Quart Stout" I like the sound of that.
Color is solid black, with reddish edges, and a small, swiftly diminishing head.
Aroma is redolent with notes of espresso...ah, that's the stuff!
I've got my nose deep into it, to withdraw every aromatic morsel into my snoot.
On the palate, bracing bitterness, but very mellow soon afterwards. Perhaps a bit overcarbonated, and lacking in the texture I like to find in stouts. There's a lingering tinniness in the flavor, and it finishes rather weakly. Doesn't compare well to Bell's Java Stout, but then, in my book, few things do. Overall, a fairly average stout, with beautiful coffee aromatics.
Thanks to bditty 187 for the sample!

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XPO from Spilker Ales
Beer rating: - out of 100 with 7 ratings
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