Colossus High Gravity Hybrid | DuClaw Brewing Company

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Colossus High Gravity HybridColossus High Gravity Hybrid

Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 17.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed in 2006, 2011, and again in 2014 to push the limits of our own skills and imagination, Colossus is dark amber in color and full-bodied with a perceptively sweet flavor profile accented by notes of apple, and a surprisingly tame alcohol presence on the palate in light of its staggering 17.3% abv. This astounding alcohol content is achieved through fermentation alone; no alcohol is introduced at packaging nor it distilled. Multiple grains are used in conjunction with three different yeast strains to produce a beer that simply defies classification… and most laws of nature. One sip of this behemoth brew and you’ll agree: Sometimes size does matter!

2011 Batch - 21.92% ABV
2014 Batch - 17.3% ABV

Added by Kegatron on 04-01-2009

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 206 |  Reviews: 61
Photo of PassMeAZima
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.8/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a clearish amber color - honestly, I expected something darker here. The head is a finger high, with a white shade. Since the texture is bubbly like soda (and since the gravity is so massive, natch), retention just plain sucks. No lacing either, but there are some impressive alcohol legs. (3)

Smell: Whoa, this is spiced? I'm definitely picking up some notes of cinnamon here. And booze. Wow, I can't believe it, a 17.3% beer smells boozy! Aside from the booze, there are also huge amounts of sugar, alongside some fruit punch, apple, white grape, brown sugar, and a little diacetyl. While it doesn't smell particularly appealing per se, it earns brownie points just for being so damn unique. (3)

Taste: This is intensely sweet. And intensely spicy. And intensely hot. It starts off with massive notes of apple cider before gaining a cinnamon-laden middle and a boozy finish. After many sips, caramel flavors start appearing in earnest. Normally, cinnamon in a beer bothers me if it's not ballasted by a load of sweetness - well, that's not a problem wit this beer, that's for damn sure. It's starting to dawn on me...the initial flavor is apple cider, and the finishing flavor is cinnamon whiskey...HOLY CRAP THIS IS LIKE A 12 OZ BOTTLE OF ANGRY BALLS. Though the alcohol presence is strong, it's well restrained - unlike the sweetness, that is. This is one of those brews where I need a drink in between sipping this to cleanse my palate. I never like doing that while drinking beer, but it genuinely works in making this beer seem (slightly) less cloying. (2.75)

Mouthfeel: Since it's so sweet, it leaves behind huge amounts of residual sweetness on the palate, while the back of the throat and esophagus are heated by the alcohol presence. On the tongue directly, booziness is suppressed (more like smothered) by the huge sweetness. There's a small prickle of carbonation to help will it down more easily. (2.5)

Overall: I like to think that I get this beer. I don't necessarily like it, but I get what DuClaw was shooting for here. The main problem here is that it's way too sweet without showing much in the way of nuance or depth. I fear my subjectivity against monster beers like this is hurting my score, but even still, I wouldn't buy it again. (2.75)

2.79/5: Rather unsophisticated, but if you enjoy mixing apple cider with Fireball, you'll probably love this

 2,427 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.36/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer comes forth from the bottle with little froth, nor bubble, until at last a thin ring of tiny bubbles forms and wraps the snifter. The ring of head stays there the duration, beckoning.

Aroma of cinnamon, masking 17.3% ABV commanded by the 2014 batch. Alcohol is not in the aroma so much as malty sweetness and spice. And a spiced ale this ale is.

The flavor has cinnamon, brown sugar, molasses and just a hint of heat. Others have likened the taste to a spiced (cinnamon) liquor and I second that notion. Smooth, vanilla like elements cinnamon sugar and slight fruitiness. Quite nice, unbelievably smooth.

Full, velvety smooth body, drinks like a scotch on the rocks. Slight tempered burn. This is extreme beer, gone extremely right.

 751 characters

Photo of Doodamis-Maximus
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of Afroman
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of LowRG
3.44/5  rDev -7.3%

Photo of JMS1512
3.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into my Lucifer snifter

Sight: After poured into my glass, I see a golden, honey like brew with a stark white head. It settles down to a thin cap in top. The lacing present on the sides of the glass resembles that dot game where you try to connect them to make more boxes than your opponent, and put an initial in it. I mean it has lots of small dots, not the boxes.

Smell: Booze, booze, and a little more booze. I also detect faint hints of yeasty esters and a touch of malt.

Taste: I’m so confused. Zippy spices, apricot (I later looked at the bottle and saw peach as a perceived flavor so I was in the ballpark), malt, and well… more booze. When it warms up I might get the apples and honey.

Mouthfeel: Slick and oily, teeth-coating. Not much carbonation, but I do see tiny bubbles regularly make their way to the top, in a relaxed, Sunday-driver sort of fashion.

Overall: Well, I’ve had few as big as this one. It drinks almost like a barleywine. Aside from DFH’s 18% nonsense, I’ve not experienced anything quite like this. I bet this would age well, and the alcohol end up less pronounced. It felt lucky to try it, but you won’t see my buying another unless the jack it back up to 20+ abv.

 1,235 characters

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.99/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review from notes- Had this on-tap at DuClaw Arundel Mills on 10/11/14.

A- Body is nearly transparent dark amber/topaz hue. Served with a thin white collar which maintains well down the glass but leaves no lacing.

S- Nose is astringent and boozy which does not come to a surprise considering the ABV. The astringency is the most prominent- but the nose is quite complex with a lot of apple, cinnamon, and grain in the background.

T- Upfront is apple-cinnamon with a thick malty backbone-caramel seems to come through the most-but it could be the mix of apple/spices that makes me want to taste caramel. The finish is quite hot, but not overbearing. A big boozy alcohol heat and remnants of the initial flavor are left over.

M- Feel is low carbonation, relatively medium to heavy in weight, and slightly sticky overall-but the boozy astringency is there in the feel.

O- Overall this is a nice big beer,and probably the nicest extreme beer I have had. The alcohol is there-but its not overpowering or annoying-it is also much more present in the nose and mouthfeel than it is in the actual flavor.

 1,107 characters

Photo of AndrewMichael
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Photo of ColdWaffles
4/5  rDev +7.8%

This is the 2014 version.

Poured into a goblet from a regular 12 oz pry off bottle, immediately catching a load of booze on the nose. Surprised to see a beer in this style and ABV not corked.

Looks like an amber cider. Almost no head or lacing.

Flavor is a mix of dried dark fruits, seemingly real citrus, Belgian yeast, apple and citrusy hops. Kinda tastes like sugar, spice and everything not nice.

Sticky moderately carbonated heavily alcoholic ale.

Interesting beer. Score is for how much the flavor seems to develop over the course of the drink.

 556 characters

Photo of jaymo18
2.75/5  rDev -25.9%

Photo of grimey68
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

APPEARANCE - Mostly opaque orange amber with a 1-finger head that dissipates. A bit of lacing.

AROMA/SCENT - Slightly sweet, very herbaceous. Not hoppy

TASTE - They brew this with various herbs not identified. I don't like them. I think they might use tarragon, or something sweet like that. I don't like it. ABV not well-hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Very gooey. Almost no carbonation.

VALUE - Cheaper than Dogfish 120, but not worth it

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - A sipping beer at best. Beer advocate has the wrong ABV. The bottle I drank says 17.23. not 21.92.

 576 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Tim725
3.64/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of kbuzz
2.25/5  rDev -39.4%

This is really just a mess of a beer. Too many high fermentable sugars results in a thin bubbly boozy brew with little identity. Lots of cider notes, astringency and fusels. For the price, it should be avoided...certainly are better versions of an American strong ale out there. I have another bottle, so might revisit it and revise this if I have even a slightly better experience, but as of now, this was a drain pour for me...

 429 characters

Photo of Ngntjp
3.76/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of teromous
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

17.3% ABV, 2014

Appearance: Very nice copper and orange colored transparent body with a thin but well-standing white head. Very little lacing, but that could be expected in a beer this high in alcohol content. Good visible carbonation.

Aroma: Massive alcohol scent. It smells like rubbing alcohol. Honestly with this burning my nose it's hard to pick up anything else. I'm sure there's more too it...I keep getting a couple of other scents that poke in but not long enough to really put a finger on what it is. It doesn't smell horrible or anything, it is just very potent.

Taste: It certainly does have more going for it in the flavor than it did in the aroma. There is a kind-of grape like flavor to it, followed by dates, some cinnamon, and a bit of cedar. The alcohol is definitely present. I wouldn't call it a wealth of complex flavors but it has enough to keep things interesting. I feel that the cinnamon flavor masks a lot of the beer, making it hard to really pick out any nuance.

Mouthfeel: It burns. It's pretty hard to drink this alcohol bomb so be prepared to sip on it for a while.

Overall: It's well worth trying. I would obviously recommend it to those who enjoy high alcohol beers, but namely Belgian ones with a bit of fruity and spicy character to them. You will get enough flavor out of the beer that it won't end up tasting like pure alcohol. I definitely recommend having some food nearby, especially crackers or pretzels to refresh the palate after taking a sip or two.

 1,498 characters

Photo of Skabiski
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of theandychrist
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%

Photo of RiverCityBeerGuy
3.36/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of teamwiggum
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of dsshuck
3.52/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of brend2b
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%

Colossus High Gravity Hybrid from DuClaw Brewing Company
3.71 out of 5 based on 206 ratings.
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