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:
#4,351
Reviews:
89
Ratings:
483
pDev:
10.44%
 
 
Wants:
79
Gots:
120
Trade:
10
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 483
Photo of Viciousknishs
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a dark dark brown. A finger of medium tan head forms with an average pour. Poor retention as it recedes into a slight paper thin layer of bubbles.

S/T- gigantic layers of vanilla, sweet caramelized sugar and soft oak. The base beer gives a great balanced of milk chcolate and dark chocolate tones. Incredible balance between the sweetness, barrel and roast. Finishes with great roasted malt and vanilla that lingers for forever.

MF- rich smooth mouthfeel with a medium heavy body and soft fine carbonation.

D- really drinkable. Medium sipper of a beer.

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Photo of oline73
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap at the brewpub during the release event. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with just a ring of dark tan head around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Very sweet and quite roasty with notes of bourbon, vanilla, and brown sugar.

Taste: Follows from the smell. Extremely sweet and packed full of my favorite flavors. I'm getting bourbon, vanilla, maple, chocolate, dark fruit, and some alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick with aggressive but smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This beer is very good. I guess the sweetness could have been toned down just a bit, but I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of brap
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whoa! My first taste was more of a big gulp which was mistake. If there is such a thing as a sipping beer, this is it. I had no idea what I was drinking as my hubby picked me up a bunch of random tap stuff and got me a growler of this.

There is a lot going on here. After my palate calmed down I could really appreciate the sweet undertones, it's almost like maple candy and bourbon, which makes sense because apparently it is barreled but the sweetness really comes through, it's almost like a liquid dessert. This one gets better with each sip but really sneaks up on you not nearly as boozy as its ABV suggests.

I loved this and it stood out from similar bourbon barreled beers I have tried. Every sip seemed to bring a different flavor profile too, really trippy. Vanilla, caramel, even a little peppermint going on. Crazy, it's like an everlasting gobstopper, ten courses in one. Pick it up if you get the chance.

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Photo of BirdFlu
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm surprised this beer's rating isn't higher... It comes off almost more similar to other barrel-aged strong ales, but certainly borders the line for a stout... Flavor is more similar to an Angel's Share or such.. very sweet.. good body for a stout, though, and good sweet aroma.. If nothing else, could almost see it requiring a little more ABV to bring the burn up to a BCBS level..If you have a very sweet tooth certainly seek this out. If not, look out..

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Photo of elNopalero
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a ruddy dark brown with thin lacing and just this oh so wonderfully big aroma. Lots of bourbon notes, most noticeably toffee and vanilla. Tastes sweet with a vanilla forward flavor and an obvious bit of alcohol without running hot. This is a good one. I’d love another.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

321jeff coming through. poured into a southampton irs snifter.

barrel 7 of 20
date in barrel 3/11/2011
date out barrel 9/19/2011
date into my belly 3/25/2012

a - brew poured black as night with a thin milky creamy head that was gone quick leaving spotty lacing on the glass. looks rich.

s - VERY nice big chocolate with a hint of dark fruit and a glaze of woody bourbon. rich and satisfying...decadent. some nice caramel in the background. the booziness tickles my nostrils with a mentholated tingle.

t - YUM. just as decadent as the nose suggested. BIG roasty chocolate. kind of like someone squirted some hershey syrup into my beer.

m - thick and rich. the booze coats my mouth leaving my mouth tingling.

o - overall, i had heard that this was good, but i think it is great. really well done. somewhat under the radar. real pleasant surprise. well worth seeking out.

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Photo of sbrotschul
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Given a bottle of Retribution by a colleague, as it was recommended by the store. Living near Bel Air, MD, it is nice to know that a local brewer is putting out a good product. (A far cry from Iron City in Pittsburgh!)

Appearance (4.25). Out of the bottle pours another dark black beauty. Little to no head leaves lines on the glass like little chocolate fingers.

Smell (4.5). A mild smell -- not as strong as some, but thankfully missing any type of smell of syrup. Coffee and chocolate at first, but as it warms, the bourbon smell coates the nose which in turn warms the heart.

Taste (4.75). The first mouthful is of coffee roast & bourbon. It hits all areas of the tongue and the mouth, coating it in liquid goodness. A chocolate-vanilla taste competes with the alchohol -- a great battle.

Mouthefeel (4.25) Wonderful feel -- flat no carbonation makes the beer lack punch -- but you don't buy a beer like this for the bubbles.

Overall (4.5). I'll pick up a few more bottles to see how they cellar ... but I first picked up a bottle of Retribution (and a few Imperial Eclipse Stouts) to give to my brother.

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Photo of ao125
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Overall, this is one of my favorite beers period.

Intense chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, sugar, and roast - all at once. It tastes exactly like a bourbon barrel imperial stout should taste, with zero compromises.

This is the perfect beer to pair with cheesecake, fruit tarts, chocolate, cannolis, or dessert cheese plates.

It's fantastic - and even better is the fact that I don't have to go on wild goose chases for it, from beer stores that only get one case, if they're lucky.

Try it - you won't be able to stop drinking it.

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Photo of nickthetick
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First time reviewing on here in quite a while, very excited!

A: pours a glossy, and almost oily, opaque black into an American pint with a thin skim of brown bubbles for a head ( may have been a result of a well meaning bartender wanting to pour a full glass). As it sits it leaves no lacing and nice fingers running down the glass. Looks like a pretty heavy beer and not one to be toyed with.

S: a huge hit of bourbon and slight hints of dark chocolate mingle well and are right out in the front followed closely by a dark roasted and burnt malt note that makes me remember this is a beer.

T: as soon as it hits the tongue there is a moment of bitter burnt bread that is quickly swished away by a subtle dark chocolate which is in turn swept away by the larger bourbon notes. Things get complicated with some soft caramel and vanilla hints and an even more quiet mossy quality give the lingering flavor of a scotch on the tongue. It keeps you wanting so much more just to see what flavor you will pick up next. And through all of that, there remains a hint of that dark burnt bread.

M: I always laugh at people that say all dark beers are like 10-W30 motor oil; but if that is there true interpretation of stouts this beer is surly where it came from. Viscous and heavy, I think I'll have a light dinner now. It is warm through the whole ride and at the end almost leaves your tongue tired.

O: all the good attributes I have reviewed, time for some of the bad. The Bourbon can get a little overpowering. I like stouts and especially ones aged in/with or infused with a little bourbon or scotch, don't get me wrong. I also like this beer but wouldn't want more than one or two on a lazy cold night but drinkability isn't an issue because I would like another shot at this a couple, maybe 10, years down the road. Overpowering bourbon aside this is a good beer that I didn't expect to be drinking tonight ( the bartender suggested it) but I'm glad I came across it. A good beer but too soon to tell if its one in a million or one of a million.

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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 Khazadum
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks to Jay and his wife Patty for grabbing this for me on their thanksgiving trip.

A- Perfect inky darkness, a finger of mocha colored head dissipating down to a thin collar. The lacing is very sticky and delightful to view. Jet black body as it should be.

S- A sharp ethanolic bourbon nature is the first thing I see. However, this is quickly overrun by the dark fruit, cherry and dates, a sweet deep and dank caramel. Molasses even. It is delightful to drink it in. The back end is the roasted body that isn't burnt but toasted.

T- You can tell this is a bourbon barreled beer right off the bat. This is all about a light spirit nature, alcoholic but very manageable and drinkable. It has the sweetness you come to love of bourbon, the malty nature, the dark fruits. It all blends into the base beer as well before you truly understand if this is a fine bourbon or a great beer. So sweet and yet roasty all at once. The finish is a glorification of all that is great roasted coffee. It embodies the taste you get when you walk into a fantastic coffee shop. When all is said and done and you give it a bit of time, a wooden flavor that must be oak smacks you in the lips.

M- Syrupy, creamy, velvety. Delicious flavors linger and drive you to want more more more! Dry finish with a bit of alcoholic bite occasionally. The heat never becomes something unbearable. Truly a point of contention for some, but for me I welcome it.

What a great beer. If this wasn't 15$ a bottle I may buy a case of this for my own enjoyment.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
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 browniewithnuts
4.71/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My First Review!

A: A deep dark black appearance. A thin brown lacing that dissipates pretty quickly with only a thin brown circle remaining.

S: Strong bourbon notes up front followed by dark chocolate and a hit of vanilla

T: Bourbon right up front dominates the palate. The burnt malts come through strong up front as well and lingers throughout. The roast flavor stays with you well after the sip. There is a hint of dark chocolate and vanilla as well but the bourbon and malt flavors dominate the sip.

M: It is thick but not overly thick or syrupy. It has a flavor that lingers in the mouth well after the sip. Though not overly thick, the flavor coats the mouth and throat. A great after meal drink.

O: Very solid value for a Barrel Aged Stout. The chocolate notes don’t dominate and the other flavors really distinguish it from a lot of bigger stouts.

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Photo of hdofu
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had just about lost hope of ever trying this beer after it ran out on the second day of the premiere party and a subsequent visit to the pub when they just ran out. I was in the liquor store when I happened upon a bomber of it and decided to pick it up. The bottle I picked up was from barrel 10 of the 20 from 3/11/11

The thirst think I noticed with this beer was a punch in the face with molasses from the smell, the kinds you get from fresh fudge. The beer poured dark brown with a thick but small head that almost looked like a frosting. Taste was no holds barred a supper sweet taste of chocolate and molasses initially finishing in dark chocolate... however as it heated up the chocolate got darker and darker making it even more enjoyable. This was a full bodied beer that did not try to hide the heat from the alcohol.... which I respect and like in a imperial stout. I'd honestly say this was a perfect beer, though not an everyday beer so I had to take off points in the overall.

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