Espresso Imperial Stout
White Birch Brewing

Espresso Imperial StoutEspresso Imperial Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
3.45 | pDev: 18.84%
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Espresso Imperial StoutEspresso Imperial Stout
Notes: This stout starts with a blend of dark malts. It’s then fused with freshly roasted and brewed espresso courtesy of our friend John Anastas. The result is a complimentary blend of roasted malts and coffee flavors with a smooth finish. It’s sure to satisfy your inner coffee fiend.
Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 42 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Rochefort10nh:
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Rochefort10nh from New Hampshire

3/5  rDev -13%

Nov 21, 2011
More User Reviews:
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oakbluff from Canada (MB)

2.43/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bomber via Glouglouburp- pours pitch black with thin mocha head. nose- dusty, powdered chocolate, burnt coffee. taste- acrid roast, stewed dark fruit and a gritty coffee rind like flavour. Not much body or malt sweetness to balance out the roast bitterness. cola like carbonation.

Oct 09, 2011
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movingtrain from Ohio

2.98/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 ounce bomber sampled from a small snifter. Bottles reads that this was bottled on April 16th, 2010, batch number one. Bottle 98 of 516.

Pours a jet black with about a half finger, tan-colored head. Carbonation is very strong, keeping a consistent head going.

Aroma gives off hints of brown sugar, molasses, cream, oak, vanilla, brewed coffee, tart cherries, and plums. The aroma is slightly dry, with that caramelized sugary sweet smell.

The first thing out of the flavor is smoke. Burnt wood comes to mind, along with some coffee notes, molasses, and dark dry chocolate. The flavor is somewhat winey, dry, and unbalanced.

The body here, and mouthfeel, is a bit lighter than one may expect from an imperial stout. The flavor is good, not great...and the body feels very watery and light, with not much linger.

Overall, this is a decent beer at best. I'm glad I got to try it, but I would like to taste some later batches to see if the mouthfeel and consistency evens out. Because of the dry smokiness of the beer, the other enjoyable qualities of the espresso and usual rich flavors of the imperial stout do not shine here. As it stands, this is drinkable, but not a standout in the style.

Mar 29, 2011
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BeerNinja007 from New Hampshire

2.48/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Got the bomber at the Lebanon Health Food Store in Lebanon NH for $10.75.

Bottled: April 16, 2010.
Batch: One
Bottle: 68 out of 516.

Served a little chilled in a cold tulip.

There's a good cake of sediment visible at the bottom of the bottle. Brew pours a thick black into the glass and generates a very stable 3" of very sticky solid dark brown foam that doesn't go away. Smells a very thick and robust chocolate, coffee, roasted barley, startchy grains, seriously dark and yummy, but lacking any kind of sweetness.

Mouthfeel falls completely flat... thin and still, no creaminess or viscosity, very underwhelming. All the White Birch beers I've had have been impressive for hiding an impressive amount of alcohol in a thin body and this follows the trend perfectly. But if you call it an Imperial Stout, it's supposed to be thick. The taste of this is dry, roasty, dark coffee and dark cocoa, a bit acidic.

Overall it's no doubt well-crafted, but not in line with the style and not what I was looking for this evening. I wanted a big, thick, sweet and filling stout. What I got was a cold cup of 10% ABV coffee. Way too watery and completely dry for the style, not filling, and easily chuggable when it should be anything but.

It'd be a good beer if it was called something else or carried a disclaimer on the label. Bad marks for trashing my expectations and leading me astray, I'm a bit pissed. Maybe I should know better because I've had other White Birch beers and I somewhat expected it'd go this way. But c'mon.. putting the words Imperial Stout on something this thin is blatantly dishonest and misleading.

Sep 11, 2010
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SFLpunk from Vermont

2.73/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz brown glass pry-top.

Appearance: A fairly opaque brown/black with thin off-white head.

Nose: Mostly espresso grounds, that dirty, thick smell you get from used grounds. Some faint earth too.

Palate: Medium-bodied is a stretch, more like medium-light-bodied. Too much acidity from the coffee. Malts are somewhat roasty, if not burnt. Black malt?

Notes: Not a good coffee beer, period. Acidity is too high, body is too light - I mean seriously, Imperial Stout? Come on...

Not impressed with my first White Birch experience. Price tag is also ridiculous.

Aug 18, 2010
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JohnGalt1 from Idaho

3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this one from Jrae2424.... Thanks Jason for a fantastic trade.. Shared with the Boise peeps a while back. 74/516

Good 3/4" dark brown head... nice lacing.. okay retention.. the brew is the expected black.

Nose shows plenty of coffee... but it is a scolded diner coffee.. late night at applebees!!

Flavor is unfortunately not any better.. metallic .. roasty malts are nice with some minor chocolate.. but the char is a bit overwhelming... very metallic... copper.. pennies.. chocolate covered coffee beans is pretty present with warmth, but the metal is just too much.

Body is medium/lite.. carbonation is pretty high too...

Don't know what to think about this one.. The body screams "infection", but the flavors just say 'average coffee beer'.

Thanks Jason.. Awesome trade!!!


Nov 20, 2010
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

2.5/5  rDev -27.5%

Feb 11, 2012
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GbVDave from Illinois

4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a White Birch flute. Extra special thanks to vanillamike for this from our most recent trade!

Bottled: April 16, 2010
Batch: One
Bottle: 511 of 516
ABV: Alc. 10.0% by Vol.

A: Pours darn near pitch black with only a tiny bit of lighter brown at the edges. A thick, dark brown layer of meringue hangs around for ages and leaves quite a bit of lace in the glass.

S: Major espresso in the nose. Blackened malt, bakers chocolate, tangy berry, and citrus round out the smell.

T: Just as above. Heavily roasted malt, dark fruit, dark chocolate, dark roast coffee with cream, bright citrus, and some green hops that come on in the finish.

M: Thinner and a bit more bitter than I expected. Loads of burnt bitter coffee with dry roasted malt. Finishes on the astringent side with tart fruit at the tail end.

D: I couldn't detect the slightest hint of abv. I just wish this was a little smoother and creamier. All in all, this was great, though.

Aug 11, 2010
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tpd975 from Florida

3.18/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love me some coffee beer and thanks to beerisheaven for sending this hard to great treat my way.

A: Pours a nice deep dark coal black into my narke glass (thanks bosse). Nice tall mocha head that dies to a very solid ring. The ring lasts and lasts with nice chunks of lace left behind.

S: Simple aromas. Nicely roasted with hints of stale slightly acrid coffee. Mild hints of chocolate.

T: Not as good as I had hoped to be honest. Roasted as all get out. Coffee for sure but not the fresh brewed tasty sort. More of the gas station several hours on the burner variety. The more I drink I think I can say the may was a bit too agressive here. A bit too burnt which really detracts from this one.

M: A bit thin in body as well, acidic, almost to the point of being acrid.

D: Not really. If I dank ony three or four ounces I would say its not too bad. The more you drink though the burnt acrid flavors really abuses you.

Thanks Brian it is one that had been on my radar for awhile. As is usual for you, you came through for me :)

Aug 17, 2010
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MrHurmateeowish from Maine

4.28/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased at the Drinkery in Londonderry and split with BA user CheckMate. Pours a completely Opaque black body with a thin film of tan head. Espresso and dark chocolate dominate the aroma - reminds me very much of chocolate-covered espresso beans. Espresso, dark chocolate, notes of caramel and nut comprise the flavor. Espresso pretty much dominates though. Definitely reminds me of eating chocolate-covered espresso beans. Full rich mouthfeel with enough carbonation to keep things fresh. A bit of a sipper to be sure but one sip definitely invites another and this beer was gone much sooner than I wish it were. Very good, one of the finest coffee stouts I have ever had.

Jun 25, 2010
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.77/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Coffee Stout, the end all be all for styles as far as I am concerned. I am not sure what it is about the mixture of flavors for me, but a huge stout that is just dripping with coffee, I really cannot imagine much in life that cannot be considered better when paired with it. Rant about the style aside, I was elated to be able to try this wonderful creation from a good friend. Served at fifty degrees and poured into a pint glass.

And away we go....

As the thick dark, blackness drops into the glass all hint of light evaporates as if you are circling a black hole. Like staring into a bottomless abyss the deep blackness overtakes the glass for a moment before a nice inch of chocolate colored foam over took the top of the glass, obscuring what was below for a few brief moments before receding into a web of thick lacing down the sides of my glass.

I lean in, carefully at first, wanting to fully embrace what was before me. Rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee and rich sugary notes come drifting through the air. Smooth, rich, like a folgers commercial wants you to feel. Warming it up near room temperature only serves to highlight this beautiful aroma. Hints of waht almost seems like a molasses or brown sugar like sweetness start to come through, but this is dominated but just pure espresso. Now being the lover of all things coffee, I eagerly anticipated my first sip, then it hit me, like a full on wave of semi bitter espresso dessert. This thing is a beast. Soo damn smooth, it is deceptive as there is no alcohol in here at all, it has the consistency of a well carbonated and super smooth RIS, but the dryness and light bitterness of rich coffee infused dessert. Just intense. Freshly roasted beans just coat the tongue as hints of sweetness dance around the palate. Light hints of vanilla coming across as well as a light flavor of molasses again (side note before Bill jumps on my case, I know there is no molasses in here, but I taste something similar to it and that is the only thing that makes sense so deal with it, I could have said pepper). So anyway, where were we, ahh yes, back to getting my caffeine fix. Just superb. Light touches of dark chocolate coming in the through the back of the palate, fleeting but present none the less, but everythign floats back to where it started and the long, dry, and sweet tasting finish hangs with me forever. Nuff said. I am really tempted to rate it perfectly on the flavor, but I hold back, unsure why, so this may be revisited on another batch(Hint).

Overall, again where to start. Having had seriously every damn coffee beer out there, I would put this toe to toe with any of them, it really is just that good. Not trying to pretend to be something else or mashing in too much bitterness or astringent flavors it seems spot on. Hands down the fullest tasting I have had, and up there with easiest to picture in a coffee mug. Perfect representation of the style.

Oct 02, 2009
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papat444 from Canada (QC)

3.24/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Flashback #137

Aug 18, 2015
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t0rin0 from California

3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Mar 07, 2013
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younger35 from Minnesota

3.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received this brew as an extra from my main man out in Connecticut. I loves me a good coffee brew and this one looks tasty. Drank from my Darkness snifter.

Batch One
Bottle 152 of 516

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish black with a decent half finger khaki tan head that is foamy and lively. A decent collar remains along with no head a bit of random lacing.
Smell- Very intensely roasted nose with a dark coal like char that smells more of dark malt than coffee. A fair amount of dark chocolate shows along with a touch of caramel. The beer smells bone dry and chalky with just a touch of vanilla. I don't get much in the way of espresso in the nose.
Taste- Sure enough the beer starts very dry and almost quenching with an extremely roasted malt char. A black malt bite of bitterness is perceivable right away and does have a 'somewhat' coffee like profile. I don't get a very big espresso taste though and if the bottle didn't say Espresso on it, I wouldn't guess it had coffee in it. Somewhat astringent as the beer is literally just a dark charred coffee bean. Something lightly metallic as well in the finish.
Mouthfeel- Very light for the style and too thin with a very light tickle of carbonation.
Drinkability- Overall the beer falls a bit short as the coffee is pretty much hidden by the extreme roast of the malts. It just seems to be missing something. I'm thinking a bit less char, a touch of caramel malts and maybe the light sweetness and less bitterness makes the coffee stand out a bit more. Who knows? BUT, the 10% is hidden EXTREMELY well. Thanks very much Adam!

Nov 28, 2010
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1 April 16, 2010

Pours a solid black with a big ole bubbly tan head that recedes slowly leaving a fair amount of lace in its wake. Smells of milk chocolate, coffee, roasted dark grains, faint hints of caramel vanilla and brown sugar in there as well. The taste is heavy on the coffee and roasted malts. The chocolate in the nose is almost non existent in the flavor. The coffee give this an acridic bitterness that is not overly enjoyable. Long lingering roasted grain and burnt coffee in the finish. The body is a bit on the thinner side for an Imperial Stout I would have mashed a little hotter or maybe added more crystal malt. Mouthfeel is somewhere between creamy and watery and the carbonation is light and to style. Not a bad stout and I would certainly not hesitate to have another one. I think with a few tweaks in the recipe this could be world class. I think with a little time some of these flavors may assimilate a little more, I will sample again next year and re-review.

Jul 16, 2010
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tehchunk from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yet another fine offering from White Birch. Without further ado...

A - Poured from a 22 oz bottle into their signature White Birch glass. Opaque black color with a brownish tint to it that refuses to let any light through it. Creamy, mocha head that stays with the beer throughout, very inviting!

S - Espresso dominates at first but is followed nicely by hints of dark chocolate & vanilla. Very roasty but not overpowering. Big fan of the scent.

T - The taste isn't as smooth as the smell, has the typical espresso bitterness to it. Good amount of roasted malt and you can even pick up on some dark chocolate and vanilla towards the end. Finishes with a dryness and one last bitter kick.

M - Not overly carbonated which is great for this style. However, a little thin & not as creamy as your typical imperial stout. Rests very nicely on the tongue and is very pleasant once warm. Just like every White Birch beer, the 10% ABV is hidden quite well & makes this one quite dangerous.

Overall I really enjoyed this one. It's a classic example of an espresso stout that catches up to you quite easily.

Jul 02, 2010
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gford217 from Georgia

3.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 482 courtesy of rochefort10nh poured into a tulip.

Pours pitch black with a small but thick tan head that recedes slowly to a thin cap that leaves some lacing on the way down.

Aroma is heavily roasted dark malts with espresso grounds and vanilla. There is maybe some chocolate hints as well. Really nice nose on this one.

The taste is a step down and a bit watery. It's a lot roastier than the aroma - the espresso is almost burnt in its character and there is less chocolate than I was getting in the aroma.

The mouthfeel is light for a 10% impy stout with a low, soft carbonation. Definitely lacking in the body department.

The aroma on this one had my hopes up but the taste left me wanting more. It's a bit watery and overly bitter with the espresso in the finish. Still, it's the best White Birch I've had so far.

Jul 11, 2010
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Bubba83 from California

2.6/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Batch One, 234/516.

Having trouble motivating to write this here review. Poured at 45 degrees into a snifter and let it warm a while. Dark black body, a small light tan creamy head. Retains okay, leaves very little lacing.

Actually smells pretty good, there's a nice nutty character that reminds me a little of brunch weasel. A big hit of espresso comes through too. Unfortunately the smell is a bit one dimensional, not too much in the way of caramel or chocolate or anything else.

I had low expectations for this beer coming in, which were temporarily heightened after I saw the look and the smell. Then I was let down by the flavor. If it tasted as it smelled, it would just be a nice big hit of espresso, which I do enjoy. Unfortunately, it's a big hit of acidic twang, like espresso when it's left to sit too long after being brewed before being incorporated into an espresso drink. There's also this kind of off rancid type of flavor, good thing that's not too present... There's a bit of roast that saves a little face to balance the acidity, but I'm not impressed.

It's hard to believe this is a 10% beer because I find it to be quite watery. I suppose the carbonation level is okay but I can't get past how thin it is.

It doesn't drink well. That acidity level and the off flavor I described make it a chore to get through the bomber. I can understand how someone might give it an okay score on just a few ounces, but until you try a bomber to yourself, it's pretty hard to judge. I think the way the coffee was incorporated into the beer was the main culprit for why this beer didn't turn out so well. Well, that and the fact that the malt backbone needed to be a lot better.

Feb 04, 2011
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Had this as part of the infamous White Birch tasting at the Holistic Dramming Institute, thanks to Tim. Notes will probably be short since there were so many different beers to note, and drink.

Batch one, April 2010. This one was a lot lighter than expected, especially right after the 80+35=20. This one was actually bit of a disappointment.

Pours very dark black, with a dark rich 1/2 finger head.

Nose has fresh espresso and coffee beans, roasted malts, earthy hops, but seems light.

Taste is very light and thinner, fresh coffee and espresso beans, a little bit of chocolate and roasted malts, but not much. A bit of powdered cocoa, and not creamy at all. A bit of bitterness. Very light and thin, and the finish brings a bit of espresso and roast, but drops off somewhat quickly.

Mouth is lighter bodied, very thin, and watery, decent carbonation.

Drink is decent, being so thin and not very heavy, not very bitter either, and the booze is there but not heavy.

Dec 22, 2010
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barleywinefiend from Washington

3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured black with brown hues and a tannish head tops it off

S: Esresso, roasted malt, some cocoa

T: Like many coffeee beers there seems to be this acidic, overcarbonated and annoying, however, this is not one of them, not completely. The espresso seems to be a tad bit annoying, like it did not blend well witht he beer but it did not taste bad if that ames sense. Some roasted malts, chocolate, smokiness

M: Lighter mouthfeel, thought the body would have been a bit heavier

D: Try it. Not great but still good.

Sep 12, 2010
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Beerisheaven from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, props to Kelp for sending a number of these my way. If you get the chance to trade with this fine gent, do so! He is one of the better traders on this site even if he is just starting out on his trading adventures. Thanks much Jeremy for throwing these my way in addition to the ridiculous haul of Portsmouth bottles, including Kate. I will do my best to even up the score.

A - Poured from a bomber into a couple of snifters. Dark and menacing with a tan head resulting from a normal pour.

S - True to its style, you get a massive hit of coffee, not cheap coffee but really good quality coffee. Fresh dark roasted, the kind that wakes you up even after a long evening of drinking beer. There is a whiff of dark bakers chocolate in there as well.

T - Very close to the nose in that you get a wonderful dark coffee hit with a fine profile of rich dark roasted malt. Not the smoothest but that is OK. Really seems like espresso, bold and forthright. There is a slight hint of good dark chocolate there as well.

M - Nice, not a ton of carbonation, and if anything a small ding for it being a bit on the thin side. That doesn't bother me as much as it might others though.

D - Very enjoyable. Hides the ABV well and really presents what it sets out to do, that being a coffee forward beer that would be the perfect start to a tailgate for a noon football game on fall Saturdays.

So glad to have a couple more of these in tow for the fall and even more glad that Kelp is a trading partner of mine.

Jun 28, 2010
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Kelp from New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +30.4%

Apr 23, 2013
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brokensail from California

3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Ryan for sending me this bottle. Shared with some fellow BAs this past weekend.

A: The pour is nearly black with an abnormally large tan colored head.

S: A strong roasted malt note along with quite a lot of coffee. A bit of dark chocolate in there too. Not terribly complex, but it is as advertised.

T: I pick up a little bit of acidity to this one, could be the coffee, could be the roasted malt, or perhaps an infection. Quite roasty with lots of coffee and bitterness.

M: The body is definitely on the thin side and the carbonation is much too high, further backing up my thought that this one my be infected (three signs of it already).

D: A decent imperial stout, but a little too one note for me, and the possible infection doesn't help either.

Aug 04, 2010
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.91/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle dated April 16, 2010, Batch One, #408 of 516. Sampled on July 18, 2010. The pour starts out extremely dark to nearly black although when held to the light it reflects a more dark brown appearance. Lots of silky light brown head about an inch thick. Coffee aromas are the leading scent but behind it comes a roasted maltiness and a day-old breadiness. The taste does not have as much coffee as I expected but there is a fabulous dry hoppiness that lingers throughout.

Jul 18, 2010
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a tan to mocha head and some traces of lacing as it drops. Smell is strong espresso. Perhaps a bit too much as it is slightly harsh and covers up the less dominant hocolate and roasted malt characteristics hat hide underneath. Taste is more even keel and enjoyable. Feel is quite a bit too thin for such heavy flavors. All around, could certainly use some improvements, but is a fairly solid offering.

Sep 28, 2010
Espresso Imperial Stout from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 42 ratings