Retribution | DuClaw Brewing Company

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RetributionRetribution
BA SCORE
4.12/5
Exceptional
RetributionRetribution
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States
duclaw.com

Style: American 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%.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#4,273
Reviews:
89
Ratings:
483
pDev:
10.44%
 
 
Wants:
79
Gots:
120
Trade:
10
 
User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 483
Photo of _RL_
4/5  rDev -2.9%

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 +2.2%
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 +11.7%
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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Photo of Jlabs
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a teku glass via bottle

Color is a mahogany brown

Smell is all bourbon

Taste is a more subdued bourbon with faint chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch ..decent alcohol burn here but its doesnt distract much

Low carbonation

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy

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Photo of gr0g
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 release that spent six months in the barrel, bottled on 9/23/2013. Pitch black in color with a creamy, khaki-colored head. The sticky foam leaves sparse, tattered lacing. Cherry-vanilla infused cocoa dominates the aroma. There's little else going on, including fusel alcohol. It's a one-note aroma but it's very nice.

Flavor is plenty sweet initially, but then hop bitterness and/or roast astringency arrives and provides balance. Oaky cherry and vanilla flavors. Tinge of alcohol on the finish. Some harshness from the carbonation persists, but the mouthfeel softens over time.

Got this bottle as a birthday gift and was pleasantly surprised. This is a very well-done barrel-aged stout.

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Photo of Ego
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

in barrel 3.19.13
out barrel 9.23.13
barrel 12 of 15

acquired in Maryland in October although now it is available here in nj

eyes...
writhing and sizzling head, it seemingly can't wait to evaporate at first but then magically it stalls into about a half finger of head, nice dark cocoa head of tiny bubbles that are being replaced as they disappear into the ether of this bitter cold night, sporting both lacing and legs this is right on for the style, nearly pitch black hue here with a few travelers of light kind of bending around the edges of the bottom of the glass, the devil himself (insert lawyer name here) could probably hide within the realm of this beast

nose...
bourbon and cherries, slight oak and some smoke, cocoa notes are sunk into the next layer being mired in the very strong booze/bourbon smash, really reminiscent of whiskey for obvious reasons, the bottle mentions espresso notes but I do not detect those here in this
particular offering (and hell I love me some espresso and hookers, but that review would be for eros.com...), as this sits a while longer the burnt notes really come out as do the subtle points of soaked wood, really complex offering here thanks to da' barrels

taste etc...
the carbonation is pretty low, too low imo, this drinks relatively heavy but not as thick as one might expect, pretty boozy but not overly so (I would say spot on in that department), after a few sips there is a real nice subtle char flavor sitting in your mouth which I have to report is like totally awesome (hey, I grew up in the 80s, definite warming in the gut from the ABV here, not a burning hole through your stomach... just a nice hobo on the street drinking wild turkey warming, letting this sit more than a few minutes you lose all the carbonation, I recommend pouring an sipping it quicker, it is much better with the added boost of carbonation, the coffee notes seem more apparent along with subtle chocolate notes, deeper into the bottle now this is drinking boozier

verdict?
worth checking out. I have some mixed feelings about this brew. Certain aspects are just fantastic but somehow as an overall package it does not blow me away. It has quite a nice kick that overdone that speaks to the craft here, but it just doesn't totally do it for me like say Jessica Alba

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Photo of philbe311
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Date in Barrel - 03/21/2012
Date out of Barrel - 09/21/2012
Barrel # 4 of 15

I've been sitting on this one for a little wile...

A - A razor thin head of dark khaki slightly creamy frothiness rises to about a half fingers worth before quickly dissipating... It leaves a splotchy lacing and thin collar... The color is a completely opaque sleek dark mahogany brown... Completely still with no discernible carbonation...

S - The aroma is both rich and robust... The initial volley is equal parts Kentucky white oak bourbon barrels and vanilla... Buried a bit further beneath the surface is a rich layer of caramel, toffee and brown sugar... A bit of lactose sweetness as well... Perhaps a faint whiff of chocolate... Last is a faint layer of roasted malts... Nice balance and good complexity...

T - Very nice mix of stout components to start... Lightly roasted malt... Chocolate notes... Vanilla... Some faint brown sugar notes... The booziness is present, but not overwhelming... It's a very nice complimentary component of the overall flavor profile... Each sip starts slightly sweet and then the barrel aging emerges and intensifies slightly on the finish... Each sip is rather pleasant and shows subtle new nuances...

M - Teeters between the fuller side of medium bodied and the thinner side of full bodied... Sleek and silky smooth... A bit chewy... Little or no carbonation, but that is likely my fault from letting it sit for so long... Even and consistent... Rather pleasant... A very slight bit of boozy warmth emerges on the deep finish...

D - An outstanding barrel-aged Stout... It hides the 11.5% ABV rather well... DuClaw is a very under the radar brewery that deserves some more accolades... If they keep making beers like this, they'll get what they deserve... Excellent all the way around... No complaints... Very nice beer... Try it if you can find it...

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Photo of corby112
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black, completely opaque, viscous and oil like with a one finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Good retention for the style and ABV with streaks of spotty lacing left behind.

The aroma of this beer has a prominent bourbon barrel presence that is very nicely integrated into the elements of the base beer. Complex barrel character with some slightly charred oak, spicy, sweet bourbon, vanilla bean, marshmallow and toasted coconut without completely overwhelming everything else. Underneath, there is a nice mix of sweet, dessert-like malt and subtle roast. Slightly smokey/toasted with hints of burnt toast, dark chocolate, coffee bean and toast countered by caramel, toffee, flourless chocolate cake and fudge-y sweetness. Very inviting.

Lighter body than expected and slightly watered down which is surprising considering how it poured. Unfortunately, it's also not as complex or flavorful as the aroma suggests. The complex barrel presence found in the nose is lacking and what is there isn't integrated very well into the base beer. Very strong oak presence with dry, charred oak and toothpick flavor that lingers throughout, dominating the palate. Very faint vanilla character along with a weak spicy bourbon flavor that just isn't very appealing. There's also some lingering boozy heat but the 11.5% is decently masked. The barrel presence is much stronger than I prefer overpowering the complex malt bill that I was hoping for. Much more roast than sweetness which compliments the oak and spicy spirit but it hides all of the dessert-like that is needed for balance. Overall, this beer looks and smells pretty good but the body is too thin for my liking, the barrel flavors aren't very good and it's a bit one dimensional.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

New Year's Eve 2013. Thanks to cdmillard for the opportunity to try this one. 22oz. bottle served in a tulip. Date in barrel: 03/21/2012; Date out of barrel: 09/21/2012. Barrel no. 09 of 15. Pours an opaque black with a loose, quarter-inch, khaki-colored head the quickly recedes into a bubbly band around the shoulders and an oily slick across the center. No lacing on this one. Nose expresses booze, molasses, vanilla notes, chocolate and ethanol towards the back. Taste consistent with nose, but much bolder. Flavors are very distinct and ethanol is much more apparent at the finish and lingers between quaffs. I also get a dark fruit quality that wasn't as clearly suggested by the nose. Mouthfeel is medium in body, perhaps a little thin for the style with an assertive carbonation, a slightly oily texture and some residual heat between quaffs. Wow - I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and can't believe some of the negative reviews. Definitely intend on trading for some more in the future.

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Photo of MikeMilanoDesign
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

aged this bottle for 2.5 years. and well honestly i wish i let it age for another 3 or so years. its still super sweet. like molasses.

overall its ok. if you do buy a bottle id but a second that you can age for about 5 years.

other then being super sweet overall flavors of molasses, cocoa, and figs.

mouthfeel is syrupy with a light carbonation on the back end.

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Photo of jlindros
3.57/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Another split from rudzud as a trade helper. Still havne't really had anything I really like from this brewery, so hopefully this will break the spell.

Mild creamy dark head no lacing, very dark beer little legs.

Nose starts with dark malts, little roast, and bakers choc, candy syrupy, mild earthy herbal component, mild molasses candy.

Taste super sweet, candy syrup, mild super sweet choc, caramel molasses, little chewy caramel candy, little vanilla barrel and whiskey but barely. Finish is sticky and sweet, syrupy, chewy, little choc. Very sweet and syrupy, if not for that at least it would have been more drinkable.

Mouth is thick and syrupy, light carb, little booze.

Overall meh. Super sweet and almost undrinkable. Not a very good imperial stout.

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Photo of rudzud
3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Split with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown with a thin mocha head that fades to leave spotty lacing.

S - Aromas of some light vegetative, gentle chocolate, light bourbon, something isn't quite right here.

T - Taste is incredibly sweet, cloyingly so, light chocolate, sweet malts, light bourbon. Just way too sweet.

M - Mouthfeel is way too sweet, but drinkable.

O - Overall this was a bit disappointing, alcohol is hidden nicely though awfully sweet.

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Photo of Thesoundandthefury
2.85/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

After a train wreck of a beer in the pumpkin version, I was curious to see what the standard retribution was like.  Well that was certainly a mistake.  This stuff is horrible.  As a huge BA stout fan, I was left scratching my head, wondering what went wrong.  Booze and burnt malts followed with some rather sharp oak flavors dominated this beer.  Nothing about it seemed rounded out or complimentary.  Seemed more like a mediocre imperial stout that was barrel aged, hoping to improve it, only to disjoint it further and provide for some expensive drain pours.  Thinking about the divine retribution, cacao and vanilla retribution?  I’d think twice.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer is an obscure tar black. The beer also has a slick appearance. The head is off tan but quickly dissipates and does not gather much strength even with a hard pour. However, the beer does leave a ring around the inside of the glass. The beer smells strongly of vanilla and oak with a roasted malt smell that supplements the dominant smells. The taste is very similar to the smells. Vanilla and oak dominate the taste with roasted malts complementing the dominant flavors. However, the hops make an appearance in the aftertaste as well as a bit of malts. The mouthfeel is heavy bodied and thick.However, the thickness feels somewhat velvety and not like syrup. Overall ,this is a pretty good beer and worth getting.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. The khaki-colored head, while short at less than a finger high, has pretty decent retention and good creaminess. Minimal lacing is left behind.

S: Wow, this smells great. The first whiffs bring a ton of chocolate, only to develop stronger notes of bourbon, cream, and vanilla when allowed to open up. When it opens up even further, it gains a touch of dark fruits, along with some banana. I don't even miss the low oak presence, because this has a fantastic and complex dessert-y aroma.

T: Okay, NOW the oak is coming through strongly on the opening flavors. This is ridiculously bourbon-forward, almost to the point of excess. The first few sips really lack balance, but it becomes more harmonious as it warms up. Some pleasant chocolate and vanilla characteristics develop near the finish, before the alcohol bite envelop said finish strongly. On the plus side, the booze helps to give this some palpable nuance between its roast, chocolate, cream, and vanilla flavors. I wish it was slightly sweeter (to cover the alcohol better), but thanks to its complexity, I am warming up to this the more I sip.

M: It has a pair of characteristics I like in an imperial stout: it's initially creamy, yet dries nicely on the finish. I also like how the barrels didn't overly thin the body out. There is a harsh tannic bite post-swallow that could be cut down some, though. Carbonation is slightly high for the style, which means it's still rather low.

O: If the rest of the beer had lived up to the aroma, it could have been a local, readily available Parabola killer. Still, there is more than a passing resemblance to the Firestone Walker stalwart - it brings both the bourbon and the stout nicely, it's complex, but it's also rather abrasive. Honestly, in a blind taste test, I'd have trouble telling the two apart. I'd definitely buy another bottle of this to age a year.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a blackish body with one finger tan head on top of a rather oaky, woody aroma, touch of bourbon I guess. Had some dark chocolate and caramel malt as well, maybe even toffee but not that much coffee at all. Smooth, the barrels help smooth things out, almost chewey but more cream, good balacnce between chocolate, real sweet vanilla, caramel, toffee, and those dry, roasted coffee malts. Hints of dark fruits like figs/raisins. Minor carbonation aids into a slightly crisp, dry finish. A stout that packs a little bit of a punch but is not too heavy or muddled.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Bainbridge Street Barrel House.

Solid black pour, with a finger of brown head that receded to a ring, good retention, dots of lacing on the glass. Everything I'd expect from a stout in the nose, dark malts, cocoa, coffee, along with some marshmallow sweetness, and barrel notes that were somewhat muted. In the taste, dark malts, fudge and creamy sweetness, coffee, dry oak, light notes of bourbon and coconut. On the verge of being a mess, but never really reaching that point, all elements just keeping themselves together enough for this to be a tasty brew with decent drinkability. Body was medium, mouthfeel was fairly smooth if a little syrupy, with some booze heat expectedly present.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at Max's during BBW 2013 (from notes, 10/23/13).

A: Pitch black with ok lacing.

S: Malts with a slightly sweet roast.

T: Sweet. Dark and roasty. Dark tasting with a lot of malt. Boozy but not actually hot.

M: Smooth.

O: Ok, stout and probably much better with some age on it. This version might not taste better than the more expensive versions but you get more bang for your buck.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With a sultry and ominous taste, DuClaw's stab at the Impeiral Stout is shrouded in a cloak of bourbon for intense warmth, wood spice and the thin caramel and vanilla tones that round out the roast and introduce a beautiful dessert-like taste.

Simply black in its appearance, the ale is completely opaque. As it settles into the glass, a slow rise of espresso-like creme floats the beer for a short time before the froth disintegrates and the ale trends brandy-like with its creep of legging.

Boozy to the nose, the unmistakable scent of bourbon springs to life with caramel, vanilla, charred oak and an almost vinous wine-like tone. But that is the wrapping for the dense espresso, bitter chocolate, walnut and heavy char that lies within.

Rich with chocolate covered espresso beans, the ale tastes sweet and roasty. Brownie batter and fresh ground coffee is the central flavor with bitter walnuts and chocolate awash on the palate. Savory and salty tastes bleed into the taste of charred fruit, spicy oak, and sweet bourbon to round out the taste.

Absolute fullness on the palate, the beer is creamy, lush and velvety up front, but as the alcohol sets in, the beer is thinned for drinkability as the carbonation is ushered aside and the sweetness dries slightly. High warmth and a numbing prickle provides lasting aftertaste and texture.

Retribution is a forcefully bourbon infused Stout that pulls no punches. Its whisky effects aren't subtle or nuanced. They make every bit as much impact on the palate as the massive Stout does.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a jet black with a tightly knit halo of tan head that sticks loosely to the glass as I sip. The nose is a bit of chocolate, toasted sugars, minimal booze, and some grain. The taste is smooth and chocolatey with a subtle hint of bourbon caramel in the finish. This stout has a world class mouthfeel- smooth, rounded, lightly spiced, full bodied, and has a slightly astringent booziness in the finish. Great beer and definitely a worthy release from duclaw and I'm excited to try the variant at a later date.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black with a small khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Fruity, chocolate. Oak. Not much bourbon. Slight tang.

Taste - Dark fruits. Kinda tangy. Chocolate. Some bourbon and oak. Vanilla and fudge.

Mouthfeel - Tang is weird. Low carbonation. Chewy.

Overall - This tang is weird, but I like it. Red wine and fruit characteristics blend well.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, my bottle says 11.5% abv, and 1 out of 15 barrels. 9/21/12 out of barrel.

appears jet black, nice 1/2" thick tan colored head. decent retention. smell is boozy bourbon and oak flavors. caramel, vanilla, roast, toasted marshmallow. taste is good balance of roasty dark malt, slight bitter cocoa and coffee, with whiskey alcohol burn, lingering. medium boy and carbonation level. could be thicker, but does coat the tongue.
overall - pretty good. if you're a bourbon drinker, seek it out.

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Photo of russwbeck
2.84/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours out like motor oil, but only yields about a finger of fizzy brown head. The head doesn't lace at all, nor does it stick around for all that long. 2

S: The aroma is pretty boozy, but chocolate and vanilla also play large roles. The bourbon is there, but isn't as prominent as I would like. It smell like the taste is going to be very sweet if it wasn't for the booze. 3

T: The taste is very boozy, but the sweetness that I thought would take over, doesn't. The booze is cut by a nice amount of chocolate and vanilla. The bourbon and some oak come out at the end. Overall, the taste is good, but doesn't stand out in the style. 3

MF: The body is a bit too thin and undercarbonated for my tastes. The balance is good, but it's missing an aspect to make it stand out. 2

O: I wanted this to be great, but the flavors just aren't robust enough. The beer hints at being great, but isn't there yet. I enjoyed it, but not for a style that boasts some of the best beers I've ever had. 3

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz, Bottled 9/21/13
5oz mini snifter

A: Pours out a deep reddish brown. After having all 3 Speedways before this, it's certainly thinner than them. Not a ton if carbonation. Not a lot of lacing, but still a good looking stout.

S: Cocoa puffs. Vanilla. Oak. Definitely nice bourbon character coming through on the nose. Seems likes it's meshed in there nicely.

T: Dark chocolate bitterness on the tip of the tongue. Then that integrates nicely with the vanilla from the barreling in the mid-palate, giving you a sort of cocoa puff like flavor (delicious though). Taste a hind of charred wood and roasted malts along with that deep chocolate flavor. Dry finish with lingering barrel character.

M: Full bodied.

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Photo of bum732
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

S: Bold bourbon with strong coffee notes. Sweet oak, some cherry, vanilla.

L: Thick, black as night. Tan head that dissipates quickly.

T: Sweet chocolate-like malt with lots of bourbon sweetness. Alcohol-like bitterness with some bitter coffee-notes. Finishes with some rich chocolate along with some alcohol. Some earthy cocoa as it warms.

M: Medium full bodied, somewhat chewy. Alcohol definitely present, but not too overwhelming. Medium low carbonation.

Really solid, similar profile to BCBS, but a touch sweeter and boozier. Heavy on the chocolate and bourbon sweetness.

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Retribution from DuClaw Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 483 ratings