The Rusty Nail | Fremont Brewing Company

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The Rusty NailThe Rusty Nail
526 Ratings
The Rusty NailThe Rusty Nail

Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

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.

Added by fsck on 03-28-2014

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 526 |  Reviews: 89
Reviews by LilLebowskiUrbanAchievers:
Photo of LilLebowskiUrbanAchievers
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

More User Reviews:
Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.65/5  rDev +2%
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 msteves99
5/5  rDev +9.6%
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 jtirpak22
5/5  rDev +9.6%
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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Photo of Mshea805
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Not a fan of licorice and really hate smoked malt so I was always scared to try this beer, it is however neither smoky or heavy on licorice flavor. Nothing remarkable on the nose but perfect thick chewy body. The cinnamon is present and delicious but never overpowering. Big chocolate and oak with the licorice adding a subtle spice element and warm cinnamon lingering on the finish. Overall another masterpiece from Fremont, I expected clashing flavors from the ingredients but it all comes together beautifully.

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Photo of EdwardAbbey
5/5  rDev +9.6%
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 gcamparone
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Fremont pint glass. Shared with Ryan, 2016 vintage.
Pours a thick, motor oil, inky body with a dark brown head that reduces to a ring of foam, little lacing present. Fantasticly thick, this is exactly how a stout should look.

Aromas are a little muted straight out of the fridge but as it warms up, bourbon and vanilla, chocolate and a little booze are present.

Taste.. out of this world thick chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, fudge-bomb, light cinnamon, roasty coffee, finish is amazing with potent roasty coffee, charred malt and a light astringency. Thick, rich, low carbonation.

This was fantastic, one of the best stouts i've had this year.

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Photo of PerfecTool
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorites at Huna Day 17'. Thought it was just as good, if not better than the whales I tried. Incredible mouthfeel and taste. It was thick, vanilla and boozy. Very, very good.

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Photo of woemad
4.47/5  rDev -2%
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 tapperm
5/5  rDev +9.6%
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 GreesyFizeek
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This review is an amalgamation of both the '16 and '17 vintages of this amazing beer.

This one pours a thick looking dark black, with a small head, and not much lacing. It looks menacing but inviting.

This smells pretty incredible, like chocolate fudge covered in cinnamon vanilla icing, some light smoke, sweet licorice, and espresso. There's also spicy oak and bourbon.

As always, Fremont just knocks it out of the park here. It's incredibly complex, with a thick deep cinnamon character here, it's almost reminds of cinnamon icing on a cinnamon bun, or something like that. There's also blackstrap molasses and brown sugar, light smoke, very light sweet licorice (thank god- overwhelming licorice could have ruined this), caramelly bourbon, and vanilla-heavy oak, toasty and warm and delicious. This is unbelievably delicious, really.

This is pretty thick, but not incredibly so, with a good level of carbonation, and a high level of drinkablity despite the ABV.

This one of the best stouts I've ever had- just amazing stuff, really. It's one of the few beers that I've traded for multiple times- I usually only trade for beers I haven't had before.

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Photo of brandonwnw
5/5  rDev +9.6%
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 lupercmda
5/5  rDev +9.6%
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 StonedTrippin
4.61/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

i have been trying to source this beer since i first learned of its existence, so i was stoked to not only see fremont pouring it at this years gabf, but also that they sent some kegs around the denver market, i was lucky enough to find it on tap out at cedar creek pub! search over! as much as i am moving away from huge adjunct stouts personally, this one had all that i could have wanted, and definitely is of the highest quality, worthy of its absurd hype actually! pours a beautiful coal black, mocha colored fizz holding its shape and running down the sides of my small globe glass. sure there are cinnamon and licorice notes to the aroma, but this is so far from one of those over flavored dessert stouts, i have to emphasize that, its stout first and any adjunct here is an accent, fresh and bold as it all is, the beer as a beer comes first. very natural with those too, spicy and sweet and earthy and rich, molasses and brown sugar notes, thick slow pulled espresso and nearly charred barley, but without the bitterness of a lot of deeply roasted grain based beers. the flavor is super well integrated, the cinnamon and licorice feel like a natural part of this one, its layered but not striated, if that makes sense in a flavor context, like its together not apart. vastly complex, with an incredibly rich and high quality bourbon aspect too, vanilla and honey, wet rotting oak, and an almost volcanic tasting mineral composition to me, black and rich and old. some booze here, but its supposed to be here, and not overly sweet for all thats happening here. oddly well carbonated too, this isnt as still and sludgy as a lot of them are, and in a world where this style is increasingly cheap tasting, forced, and samey, this one stands out as a beacon of timeless quality and flavor nuance. i absolutely loved it!

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 version with about 2 months age on it. Sweet stout with cinnamon flavor. Nice thicker smooth mouthfeel. Great beer, though I would prefer more barrel aging flavor (bourbon) to rate it higher.

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Photo of DanGeo
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SkiBum22
4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of johnny_chimpo
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of oddlandf
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of NWer
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Pooles26
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chossboss
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Marius
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at Kloster. Pitch black with a thin espresso head. Notes of smoke, licorice, sugar, bourbon, sherry, cherries. Full bodied, low carbonation and a sweet finish.

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Photo of Prospero
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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The Rusty Nail from Fremont Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.56 out of 5 with 526 ratings