Retribution | DuClaw Brewing Company

very good
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Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A full-bodied, Single Barrel Bourbon-aged Imperial Stout with rich aromas of espresso and dark chocolate, and smooth roasted malt flavor. Aged for 6 months inside charred Kentucky white oak bourbon barrels to add the natural vanilla and caramelized sugar flavors of the bourbon soaked wood to the beer. Each bottle run is drawn from a single barrel, making each batch a unique drinking experience. ABV from 10.5% to 11.5%.

Added by Kegatron on 10-14-2011

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Reviews: 85 | Ratings: 468
Photo of CHickman
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Lark, pours pitch black with a small tan head that faded average time and left decent spotty lacing. Head did not have the legs I expected from a barrel aged stout.

Smells of dark chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, fresh coffee grinds, cocoa powder, vanilla, faint piney hops, bourbon and some oaky notes. The chocolate really dominates and helps mask the ABV.

Tastes like it smells but with a lot more chocolate and bitter dark coffee, then some roasted grains, peat moss, chocolate syrup and burnt wood. The ashy char notes works well with the chocolate sweetness and let the complexities tie it all together quite well. This brew repeats the same profile as the nose with a lot of chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, coffee grinds, cocoa powder, vanilla, faint piney hops, bourbon and some oaky notes. The bourbon is an accent in this case but helps keep this smooth and true to the style. A real fine brew that's easier to drink than it should be at 11.5% ABV.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice dose of bourbon, bourbonesque cream and alcohol. Mid palate shows Creamy chocolate, vanilla, coconut, dark fruit and cherry cordial. Drinks a little thinner than I like with low alcohol heat.

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Photo of Steffano
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received a bottle as an extra last year, felt the weather was right to open. Nice but mellow coffee aroma, taste is straightforward bourbon-barrel, hint of vanilla, flavors dominated by chocolate, coffee, a little vanilla, and some anise. Pleasantly surprised by this, compares very favorably to stone's imperial russian stout (not sure what the price or availibilty on this one) Incredibly drinkable for the abv, only downside is the thin mouthfeel. Otherwise, very much recommended, well done Duclaw!

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Photo of thebeers
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Garnet-tinted black with a moderate cola-colored head. Sweet bourbon and milk chocolate in the nose. Great creamed coffee, chocolate, oak and heavy bourbon in the taste, with a moderate alcohol kick at the end. Creamy mouthfeel with good carbonation. Nice. This is a three year old keg, and the coffee and bourbon are both still very strong. Can't imagine what this was like in 2013.

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Photo of stevoj
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Bel Air location. Initially comes off a bit thin, but aroma and taste more than make up for it. Lots of vanilla, molasses, wood accents, slightly smoky. Slippery mouth feel, after burn halfway down the gullet.

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

On tap at Dommys pizza
A. Brown black with a finger of tan head very little lacing.
S. Roch bourbon and roasted malt, sweet caramel, toffee, black cherry.
T. Dark and rich malt, dark fruit, bourbon, coffee, dark chocolate.
M. Thick and clingy velvety texture.
O. Pretty solid bba beer.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.62/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

JAN 10, 2015
Sampled about 2 hours after having Brooklyn Black Ops. Very comparable.Stronger whiskey in the aroma and more overall flavor. Maybe not quite as smooth as Black Ops, but very nice. Actually, it is smoother and better than Black Ops. Would not have thought that, but it's true.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice barrel aged stout but was lacking a little bit in the mouth feel as well as the barrel notes… The nose I was getting off of it excited me for the taste which was a little bit lacking but still extremely tasty overall!

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Photo of atone315
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 vintage, thrown in barrels on 3-28 and bottled on 9-1. Definitely not a sweet beer, this was still a perfect brew for an after dinner desert. The roastiness was outstanding, usually that's lost in beers that are barrel aged....speaking of which, 6 mos was perfect match for this one. Just enough boozy kick to let you know it's there, but not so much that it overpowers the base beer. I was searching for this one for awhile, glad I got to try it.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into snifter. Thanks for the bottle, Josh. Bottled 10/14/2013.

A: Pours a deep dark brown with a finger of very dense and soft looking head that slowly faded into a fuzzy and lasting film. Spotty lace was left down the glass.
S: Bourbon dominates the nose with hints of anise, caramel, and vanilla. The nose isn’t hot, but the bourbon pretty much dominates everything.
T: Tons of bourbon barrel up front with thick and creamy flavors of chocolate, anise, fudge, spicy oak, and a touch of vanilla in the finish. The finish has hints of toasted marshmallow and caramel, and the aftertaste is full of spicy bourbon barrel, anise, and slight leather and honey. I get nuances of molasses and coffee throughout.
M: Thick body with a heavy and chewy mouthfeel. The booze isn’t hot, but there is a strong bourbon barrel presence. Carbonation is creamy and smooth. Alcohol is noticeable but not hot.
O: I’m very surprised how much bourbon flavor there is with almost two years of age on it. Fairly complex overall, and definitely dangerous drinkable. Not the world’s best, but definitely worth checking out. Thanks again StormKing47.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note: Date in Barrel 03/28/2014, Date out of Barrel 10/01/2014

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear jet black in color with moderate amounts of fine visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall dense foamy dark tan head that reduces to a medium thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of boozy bourbon, vanilla, and oak over the top of moderate aromas of roasted dark malts, bittersweet chocolate, and dark fruits (prune, fig, and raisin).

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of roasted dark malts with a light to moderate amount of dark fruit sweetness (prune, fig, and raisin). That is followed by strong flavors of boozy, bourbon, vanilla, and oak from the barrel aging as well as a moderate flavor of bittersweet chocolate. Light to moderate amount of roasty bitterness which does not linger in the finish but the lingering flavor is bourbon.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Enjoyable but pretty boozy, definitely a slow sipper but it matched well with my breakfast for dinner tonight (blueberry granola pancakes, sausage, and cinnamon baked apples).

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Photo of tigg924
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Taste is bourbon, oak, molasses, vanilla, and a bit of raisin. Very tasty and smooth. One of the better bourbon imperial stouts that I have had in a while. I will get this again.

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Photo of StartedwithSAM
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured at 50° F into a grand snifter.

Appearance: This imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels pours quickly and appears black with dark brown edges when held up to natural light. There is a 1 to ½ finger of head with sparse lacing.

Smell: At 50° F the nose is bourbon forward and sweet. As it warms, the bourbon retreats yielding to a more Belgian sweetness and very subtle roasted malt.

Taste: Again at approximately 50° F it is bourbon forward, with a subtle sweetness of raisins or dates. As it warms the only characteristics of the imperial stout to emerge is the recognizable cocoa. The cocoa finishes and lingers a bit on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth. This has a much thinner feel than I prefer for an imperial stout, I don’t get the feel good coating that I anticipate but it doesn’t take away from the beer itself.

Overall: So far DuClaw’s beers have been hit or miss with me. Many of their offerings have been too sweet which, to me, is not my preference. I love my stouts to be bold, smoky and peaty. I have had a few Belgian-style imperial stouts and this would fit the style as one. I was just disappointed that they didn’t try to move out of their comfort zone of sweetness and try something bolder with more roasts. That being said this would be something I could pick up and store for the holidays as a winter warmer.


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Photo of StoryOfTheGhost
1.83/5  rDev -54%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

I rarely feel the need to leave a negative review on a beer. I rarely write reviews at all, but when I do, its usually because I really enjoyed a beer and want to share about it. But this beer was so bad that the story must be told.

It was promising looking. Very dark, great lacing and nice copper head.

The smell was enough to let me know I was in trouble. It smelled like a hot mess. A mixture of Raisonettes and Booze.

Taste- goodness gracious. It was so awful that I am really just spitballing to come up with anything that reflects the pungent taste of sweet and bitter malts, boozy with no character, cloying chocolate syrup and raison puree.

Feel- hard to rate. I hated the first couple of sip so much and they lingered so bad that I just threw my head back and went down the hatch.

I think I just do not get Du Claw. Every beer I have had from them tends to be my least favorite beer I have purchased in a long time. Some people love them. I have some friends that think they're the bees knees, but I just don't feel it

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is a thick, oily, jet black coloring with a low profile, foamy, tan head that quickly settles out into a halo. Aromas of bittersweet baker's chocolate, bitter and roasted espresso, hints of wood and char, vanilla highlights from the booze, and earthy undertones. Flavors are extremely rich and heavy, with a blast of bittersweet dark chocolate forward, followed by a heavy hand of dark roasted coffee/espresso. Very well balanced. The highlights provide a significant layering and a ton of nuances, including rich vanilla, boozy warmth, char notes, and molasses. Extremely robust and full bodied. The aftertaste is all the rich and sweet blending together perfectly, including some caramel, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and booze. There's a pretty solid booze warmth building as I go, too. The finish is smooth, layered, and velvety. Fantastic beer!

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Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.
A - Black, looks like coffee, small head that dies off quickly.
S - Smell of vanilla, alcohol and raisins.
T - Flavor is alcohol forward with dark fruit, almost licorice. The vanilla comes out as the beers warms.
M - Thick and chewy.
O - A good solid bourbon barrel aged Stout. Definitely improves when warmer.

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Photo of cmq103
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A well done bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. This reminds me of the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout with a bourbon twist. A thick, slow sipping powerful stout meant to enjoy over time. Duclaw did well with this one. I'd definitely buy again, perfect for a cold winter night.

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Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Put in barrel 3/28/14 taken out of barrel 10/01/2014.Pours ink black with a creamy deep beige head that leaves an almost full ring of lace as it settles into a frothy mass.Vanilla/bourbon in the nose along with alcohol soaked dark fruit,and mild roast.Bourbon is big in the nose along with brown sugar and dark fruit,a hint of lactic-like sourness is there as well.Odd in the fact I don't get alot of roast or coffee but I like the fruit and the bourbon components.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle in barrel 3/28/14, bottled 10/1/14:
Pours an opaque black with a modicum of deep tan head that layers the beer but fairly quickly dissipates. Strings of carbonation cover the surface throughout the pour, but the foamy edge lacing is the sustaining remnants from the initial pour. Lacing is good, and a quick swirl bring forth a froth from the edges. Nose has a bourbon note to it but is on the tart side of BA stouts, a familiar nose that I always have trouble describing. I am going to use cherry wood, knowing that it exists, but not knowing if it exhibits the tart, somewhat cherry-like scent I get.

The taste starts somewhat dark side of bitter - maybe bittersweet - chocolate. The bourbon taste comes in with a stronger tartness. Again this taste is familiar, but seems almost as if old milk was used to produce the chocolate (given that lacto- bacteria is used in good sours, this should not necessary be considered bad). The feel is medium at best, carbonation adding some feel. The beer does coat the mouth, but the core flavors don't linger, leaving a root beer like after-taste.

This is a decent beer. There are no obvious flaws other than I have found (currently) two styles of imperial/BA stouts, a more tart style (this, Black Butte XXVI; and a more sweet style, Evil Twin Doughnut Break got one). I prefer the sweeter style (Doughnut Break being a towards the extreme side), but I have run into this style enough to say its a decent version of the style, and if you can understand my likely made up substyles, use it as you wish. I think it's at least a beer worth trying to form your own opinion.

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Photo of uvachief
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber. Bottled on less than a month ago after barrel aging for 6 months. Pours dark deep chocolate brown almost black. 2 full fingers off lingering head. Aromas of espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon and roasted malts. Tastes just like it smells. Delicious thick and heavy. Very boozy with burn going down. More vanilla and bourbon in the after taste. Incredibly high ABV but goes down without fighting back too much. Could probably mellow more if I let it age around 6 months or longer. Strong espresso, chocolate and bourbon favors. Full bodied. Not for the casual craft beer drinker. Hard core imperial stout. Love it.

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Photo of Antoine
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

As a fan of black coffee and chocolate, this beer was very satisfying. You can taste the notes of both.

Getting a pint of it is rather expensive as far as beers go. I'd rather use the money on 300mL of hard liquor. BUT if you don't mind forking over the extra dough, go ahead and enjoy this imperial stout

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Vanilla, oak, a hint of chocolate. Slightly sour? On the thinner side. It's pretty good..............................................................

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Photo of _RL_
4/5  rDev +0.5%

On nitro at pizza boy. Pours black with little head. Not as flavorful as a typical bb stout but still good, although not great. Hints of bourbon that are quite nice but not much from the underlying stout - I would take Ten Fidy or regular Pt5th over this. A decent beer, but below what I would expect from a quality bb stout.

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Photo of argock
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a clear glass snifter. Bottled on 9/23/2013 on label. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Very dark brown with 1-finger of quickly receding light brown head with minimal lacing.

S: Beautiful aroma of vanilla, light coconut, dark chocolate, black coffee, and roasted malt with a nice dose of burnt and medium caramel. The barrel notes really complement the base stout well.

T: The flavor is not quite up to the high bar of the aroma, but it is no big lagger as the sweetish caramel and chocolate notes really mesh well with the vanilla, coconut, and light oak tannin notes. The dark chocolate and espresso in the nose are there and add complexity. It is a pretty sweet BA imperial stout, but it has enough bitterness from the roasted malt, coffee, and dark chocolate components to pull it off. It does have a touch of tobacco character bordering on ashiness with warming. The alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M: The body is too light for the style and doesn't work too well with the sweet nature of this beer. THe carbonation is low as it should be for the style.

O: If this beer had more body, it would be a killer BA imperial stout, but it is for those who enjoy the sweeter version of the style.

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Photo of teromous
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(From the label)
Date in barrel: 03/19/2013
Date out of barrel: 09/25/2013

A: Dark black body with a pretty dark brown cocoa looking head. The head stands for a good amount of time but it took some aggressive pouring to get started. Some lacing.

S: Very strong bourbon scent. If I were blindfolded I would think this was just a glass of bourbon. I get the oak as well. It smells good. It's nothing but bourbon but that one element is strong.

T: Very strong bourbon, oak, and rich coffee. There are two elements that make this beer perfect. The first is the richness of flavor. It is right there, full of flavor. It's not watered down or muddy, it is bold. The second is that the flavors work well together without stepping on each others toes. The bourbon flavor is big, but the coffee stands up to it, without being too bitter or harsh. No "standard" alcohol flavors (11.5% ABV) so the only alcohol I pick up is from the bourbon. Very well at hiding the bourbon.

M: Perfect mouthfeel. Full, smooth, thick but not syrupy, very alive on the palate, and just rich feeling.

O: Overall I loved this beer. It's a freaking amazing beer. I will be looking forward to buying this one again. I highly recommend it.

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Retribution from DuClaw Brewing Company
3.98 out of 5 based on 468 ratings.
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