The Rusty Nail | Fremont Brewing Company

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The Rusty NailThe Rusty Nail

Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Rusty Nail begins life as The First Nail, an oatmeal stout of epic proportions with brewer’s licorice, smoked barley, and pale malt and is then aged on cinnamon bark. She becomes the Rusty Nail after spending 15 months in 12-year old bourbon barrels. The Rusty Nail pounds your palate, challenges your perception of all that you’ve known of beer, and leaves you wanting … another sip. “A fine beer may be judged by one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” – VWP.
Age this beer, please! But try one now … go on.

Down & Dirty: Pale, Vienna, and Smoked malts, Midnight Wheat with Flaked Oats and Magnum and Yakima Goldings hops.

50 IBU

Added by fsck on 03-28-2014

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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 115
Photo of msteves99
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Split a bottle with a friend of mine from Seattle that graciously brought this when he visited.

A - Dark brown, bordering on black. Thin layer of khaki head. Glugs out of the bottle, sounds thick.
S - Chocolate, oak, cinnamon, roast, dark fruits
T - Similar to the nose, cinnamon in the back. Dark fruits, leather, roast, chocolate, all meld perfectly. Slight heat in the finish. Unbelievably tasty.
M - Thick and rich, coats the mouth without being overbearing. Moderately carbed.
O - This is quite possibly the best beer I've ever had and I've had most of the tier-1 stouts. This is right there with them, and dare I say, better. I've had a couple Fremont beers before but if they're all like this I'd say they might be the best barrel program in the nation. Phenomenal.

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Photo of woemad
4.47/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

32oz grunt purchased at the Newport Hwy Growler Guys on the northside of Spokane for $20.99. There was a lot of hype and hand-wringing over this beer on the NW forum, and it's sold out rapidly up til now. Only found one bomber of this, at Huckleberries for $17.49, but now that I scored a fresh grunt, I think I'll sit on that bottle for a year or so.

Poured into a Selkirk Abbey glass, this was a viscousy,syrupy black, with a super-thin dark tan head. Pretty much no lace, which isn't surprising, given the strength.

Bourbon aroma , with a little cinnamon edge to it, and a whiff of licorice. The booziness is subtle for the strength, but it hangs in the background like the blade of a primed guillotine.

The bourbon barrel aging imparts the most dominant flavors at the start. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla-y oak notes, along with some toffee and plum flavors. The cinnamon bark gives a fairly light spicy edge to thinks, along with a very light taste of licorice. There's also a bit of pipe tobacco. Much like First Nail, the combination of flavor and restraint is superb. The boozy strength is there, but it's remarkably well behaved, like an iron fist in a velvet glove, to paraphrase a line by John le Carre.

Velvety, creamy mouthfeel, like a dessert nearly.

Decadent. That's the word for this. It's practically a dessert beer, one that happens to come with an awful lot of savory to go with the sweet. I think this could hang with BCBS, no problem. I'm not sure it's quite as devastatingly smooth, but it definitely functions at the same altitude. I may not go for Fremont's Ancient Age, or whatever it's called, but this is worth seeking out, and I will again if it turns up.

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Photo of jjdc
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Fremont is criminally underrated. This beer is better than a lot of other stouts with more hype. Fremont just kills it from beer to beer. Another great example.

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Photo of dar482
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in an almost pitch black color, dark brown head.

The aroma hits of bourbony sweetness, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, very much a Bourbon County quality, plum, sweet raisin, caramel sweetness, cinnamon.

The flavor follows with decadent sweetness up front, very desserty. Sticky bourbon, toffee caramel, vanilla, bourbon sweetness, raisin, sweet plums, very subtle smoked malt and cinnamon. As it warms the licorice finally arrives towards the finish.

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Photo of lupercmda
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I do not give 5's across the board very often. But I cannot find anything I would do differently to make this beer better. It is perfectly balance with all the flavors and goes from one to another across the palate. WOW. Just WOW Fremont.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.43/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Red wax. 650ml bottle, served in a snifter glass. Dark black body, one finger dark brown head, good retention, bits of lacing, overall an impressive, dark and foreboding beer. Smells of trace licorice, rich chocolate, bourbon barrel vanillin and oaky aromatics, dark fruits. It's an interesting smelling beer although the licorice still bothers me a fair bit. It's expected as I'm not a huge anise/licorice fan. Flavour is a nice complex mix of chocolate, oak, cocoa, light cinnamon, a trace of smoke, bits of dark fruit. It's sort of like a Hair of the Dog beer, but instead it's a big bourbon barrel stout. Roast, coffee. Mouthfeel is fuller bodied, good carbonation, just the right amount of slickness, a bit heavy on the dark fruits at the end. An overall tasty big stout, lots going on here and while the licorice isn't my thing, it's not a huge player in this beer. So it works well in the long run for me.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2016 Bottle shared with me by a generous friend! This was probably the best BA stout I have had in quite a while! Figured it would be too boozy being this fresh but instead was creamy and smooth with nice bourbon, cinnamon and licorice notes! Amazing stuff!!!

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Photo of tapperm
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Dark and syrupy
S: Slight bourbon smell. Dark roasted malts. A little spicy and dark chocolate
T: Small amount of cinnamon. A little bourbon on the front but very smooth delivery. Chocolate. Almost tasted like a barrel aged Huna.
F: nice full mouthfeel. stained the glass a little with the legs.
O: Kick ass beer. I am curious how this will age. Really glad I got it. IMO, this beer deserves more hype that what it gets. Fremont knows what they are doing with their BA stouts!

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Photo of stevoj
4.74/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle share on 7/30/16, thanks to Toby. How to top The Crusher? With this, the 2016 vintage. Perfect blend of everything, from the toast malts to the barrel aging. Truly breathtaking experience, if this was one I could drink for the rest of my life, i would. Ticked my world!

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Photo of domdomdomdom
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sweet, roasty, dark fruit, fudge, vanilla, oak, bourbon... so much going on but no flavor coming forward more than any other. This beer is balanced. Smooth going down and on the sip; on the thicker/more viscous side. Amazing beer.

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Photo of NJBrews609
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From a 650ml bottle into a 12oz. snifter - enjoyed alone because there was no way I was sharing it.

A - Pours with the sound of motor oil thickness. Deep deep dark brown bordering on black. Very thin tan layer of head.

S - A wonderful bouquet of chocolate, roast, cinnamon, dark fruits, cherry, and the faintest hint of bourbon.

T - Chocolate, roast, mild cinnamon, dark fruits, leather, with bourbon most noticeable in the finish. The cinnamon really starts to show up as the beer warms and all the flavors come together in a beautiful cornucopia.

M - Thick and rich, but not chewy or syrupy. Moderate carb.

O - I got a tiny pour of the first iteration of this beer a few years ago when it came out. Since then it had been a white whale of mine to track down. This recent release made it a bit easier, though it still cost me a fair sum to get. Was it worth it? Abso-friggin-lutely. This is flawless, easily in the top 5 (maybe top 3) beers I've ever had. I wish I had traded for another bottle and likely will because I am definitely going to want this when the weather cools off a bit.

This was a white whale for me the first time it came out. Nothing I offered could land it so

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Photo of anteater
4.47/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful appearance. Roasty chocately bourbon on the nose. Taste is more like a bourbon barrel stout with cinnamon. Did not pick up any licorice and only got a faint hint of smoke during the last few warm sips. Regardless, this is a delicious stout with the cinnamon layered in really nicely with flavors of espresso, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. Very sweet, full bodied, a bit sticky on the mouthfeel.

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Photo of brandonwnw
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yep, it's that good. The downside could be one of two things: First, this is a dessert beer so if big sweet barrel aged stouts aren't your thing, skip it and leave more for the rest of us. For everyone else, the downside is it makes everything else a disappointment. Thanks for the amazing beer, Fremont.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.6/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle. Black body with no head. Smells of licorice, molasses, bourbon, lots of sugar. Some cinnamon and a light smoke aroma. Taste is very sweet. Smoked malt tempers it just a bit. Bourbon and cinnamon. Licorice, brown sugar, and molasses all lend to the sweetness. Heavy and boozy. Really sweet, even with the tempering effects of the smoke.

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.65/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle, a week or so after the release. Appears thick and oily, there's a nice little head but it disappears before you know it. It's not the blackest stout -- definite dark red highlights at the edge of the glass.

Aroma is absolutely stunning. I was surprised when I put my nose in the glass at all that's going on in there. Not sure if it's a British yeast strain, or cinnamon playing tricks on me, but it has an incredible mix of red fruits, dried cherry, bourbon, bit of spice and roast. Really nice.

Then the taste...I immediately can't help but think "BCBS" -- a very similar flavor profile of roast, chocolate, and bourbon to that old standby...but it is immediately evident that this is in a wholly different class. Much, much thicker, much richer with layers of bourbon that tastes smooth and quality. I found it more complex and less "hot" than other brews in this same vein (BCBS Rare, Puga Royale, Rye Black Magick....). There's a fruity spicy complexity in the mid palate, with barely a threshold level of black licorice at the back end. I wouldn't have known licorice was there without being told. Similar threshold levels of spice from the cinnamon -- not super tannic or spicy as some cinnamon beers can be. There is however just a bit of that spice tannin, which (along with a slightly lighter color than expected) might be my only quibble with this outstanding brew.

The mouthfeel is spot on. Low to moderate carb, viscous, rich. Any thicker and you risk getting into DL mud territory. Thinner and you lose the richness. But this is thicker than 95% of stouts I've ever had, and after trying this I continue to wonder why more breweries don't up the body on their imperial stouts. It adds so much to the experience.

World class brew. One of the favorite stouts I've ever had. Absolutely excited to have it again, and I imagine after 6 months+ in the bottle this one is going to be unbelievable.

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Photo of EdwardAbbey
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you doubt that beer
matters, this one could change your
mind. It answers why.

(P.S. I am indebted to the person who ensured that I could try this. You know whom you are. Thank you...)

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Photo of Kellee
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

6oz pour on tap at the release and then again out of the bottle.

A - Dark brown / nearly black, opaque with a thin layer of deep tan head
S - Cinnamon, chocolate, some licorice, dark fruits (figs, dates), and some barrel
T - Similar to the nose - chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, dark fruits, hint of vanilla and bourbon. The cinnamon starts to show up more as it warms, barrel character is present with a touch of vanilla and just a touch of bourbon heat. All the flavors are exceptionally well integrated.
M - Thick but not overwhelmingly so, somewhat chewy, extremely smooth.
O - I considered just typing "WOW" with a ton of Os until I hit the character threshold but figured that might not be particularly informative. This beer is exceptional. Batch 1 of Rusty Nail is perhaps the best beer I've ever had and this new batch is a close second. All the flavors come together in perfect harmony. It really doesn't get much better than this. Can't wait to open another bottle in the winter. Fremont has one of the best barrel programs in the nation and I'm lucky to live so close.

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Photo of dmk82
4.74/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at the 2016 release. This was an extremely enjoyable beer. Are there better BA stouts out there? Yes. Are there MANY? Nope. A deservedly hyped beer.

Look = jet black, very little lacing.
Smell = chocolate and typical barrel aged stout qualities, nice but not outlandish like 2014 Goose Island Vanilla Rye.
Taste = cinnamon more pronounced than licorice. Chocolate notes. Definitely not "hot" in terms of the bourbon barrel, but well incorporated. Note - I had this side by side with the 2015 First Nail, and I found it difficult to believe that this was the base beer to the Rusty Nail.
Mouthfeel = just about perfect for my liking. Not too thin, not too chewy.
Overall = extremely glad I have 2 bottles in my beer fridge (which reminds me - this is a beer that gets better as it warms up).

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Photo of AJBlankey
4.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely perfect. Another hit from Fremont.
L - Think black/ultra dark brown condensed wort with lighter brown shades around the edges of the bottle's pour.
S - Woody bourbon, Chocolate, not getting the cinnamon but may be because it needs to come up in temp.
T - Rich chocolate, bourbon, mild dried dark fruits. Cinnamon comes out a little more as it warms up. Barely any smokey taste.
F - Heavy but not syrupy. Color makes you think it would be heavier. Medium carbonation. I like it.
O - Assuming your expectations are high and you've had a Fremont BBA beer before, this is right in line with what you'd expect. Priced exceptionally well too, if you can ever find it.

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Photo of Meow49
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely midnight black pour with a syrupy body that shows ample evidence of Fremont's superlative barrel aging program. There is a ton going on in this beer, including figs, dates, raisins, plums, and even some tropical fruit, as well as chocolate, coconut, huge bourbon, oak, vanilla, nougat/praline, and subtle spiciness. I have rarely tasted any stout as beguiling as this one.

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.49/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It's an odd thing to say about a BBA Impy Stout, but I give this high marks for subtlety. Fremont's beers always seem to be well balanced, and Rusty Nail illustrates this perfectly. There is a lot going on in terms of flavor, but nothing dominates. There's the bourbon and the wood, of course, but this is not a bourbon bomb. It's unmistakably a stout, but the typical dark roasted malts are kept in check. There's zero bitterness. It's just a bit sweet, and the mouthfeel is a little syrupy, but it's not cloying. The flavors blend into a perfect combination that is incredibly smooth, almost creamy.

It's an excellent BBA stout, but actually, it's not quite as ethereal as the hype. That's the problem with hype, of course -- it almost always outpaces the reality. The reality is that Fremont has made a wonderful BBA stout, to stand alongside the other benchmarks of the style, but not necessarily head and shoulders above the rest.

On tap at the brewery: 6 ounce snifter.

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Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just when I thought they couldn't get any richer, more bourbony, more chocolate-y, and more dark fruit-laden, along comes this latest Fremont barrel aged gem, to blow my palate completely way. This monster is just plain unbelievable, and I feel honored to have sipped a 22 oz. bomber. As much of a fan as I am of all the Fremont barrel aged brews, this one has absolutely taken over the top spot in my beer heart.

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Photo of Beer_Line
3.87/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with minimal head. Smells of bourbon barrel and spices. Taste is similar but a lot more complex with everything going on. Smoke licorice and barrel. Beer is thinner than I anticipated. Overall, great beer but not my favorite mix of tastes.

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Photo of TNasty1126
4.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

(This was enjoyed release day July 9, 2016) On Draft at the brewery

Look: Deep dark with almost no transparency. A small head maybe a cm with a great deep tan head which disapates quicky and leaves little lacing from the alcohol legs.

Smell: Barrel, Cinnamon, some licorice and dark figs.

Taste: Rusty taste smooth with notes of spice and licorice with fresh whiskey notes and a little wood.

Mouthfeel: little carbonation, not too thin but not super thick.

Overall: This beer is delicious, lovely fresh bourbon and barrel steal the tastes show without being too overbearing for most palettes. The beer warms exposing some figs, more cinnamon, and licorice. This is a great beer with low enough ABV for those to enjoy and high enough for booze hounds such as myself. This beer is great fresh and will only get smoother and more complex with age.

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Photo of jtirpak22
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

6oz. pour of the original batch (~3yrs old) side by side with an early pour of the new batch.

A - Rich dark brown bordering on black. Thin layer of head.
S - coffee, chocolate, hint of cinnamon
T - Taste is incredibly complex. Follows the nose for the most part with vanilla and a bit of bourbon
M - Big, thick, viscous, fully body
O - Have had this a few times in the past and each time I have it I'm left thinking that it's the best beer I've ever had. I can't wait for the new batch to get bottled.

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The Rusty Nail from Fremont Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 115 ratings.
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