Imperial Crème Brûlée Java Stout
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

Imperial Crème Brûlée Java StoutImperial Crème Brûlée Java Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #1,470
Ranked #4,144
4.12 | pDev: 10.44%
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Imperial Crème Brûlée Java StoutImperial Crème Brûlée Java Stout
Notes: Coffee. Chocolate. Caramel. Vanilla. You’re used to seeing a lot of these terms when describing stouts. These are not just descriptors; they are ingredients. “Java,” as we call it, has become a crowd favorite by perfectly balancing the sweet and the roast, thanks to the use of Creme Brule coffee. The aroma and flavor are a coffee, chocolate or dessert-lover’s dream in a glass.
Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 214 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Sigmund from Norway

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sample on tap at Mikkeller Bar, Aarhus. Black colour, creamy tan head. Aroma and flavour of roast malts, creme brulee, chocolate and coffee. Excellent beer, would buy again.

Mar 18, 2021
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superspak from Ohio

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

12 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 11/21/2019. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 finger dense and rocky tan head with awesome retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, vanilla, whipped cream, toffee, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of molasses, licorice, dark fruit, smoke, charcoal, wood, herbal, grass, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/black/roast/bready malts, lactose, vanilla, coffee, earthy hops, and light-moderate fruity yeast notes; with big strength. Taste of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, vanilla, whipped cream, toffee, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of molasses, licorice, dark fruit, smoke, charcoal, wood, herbal, grass, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate pine, herbal, woody, grassy, peppery, roast, charred bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, vanilla, whipped cream, toffee, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, dark bread/crust, molasses, licorice, dark fruit, smoke, charcoal, wood, herbal, grass, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, lactose, vanilla, coffee, earthy hops, and light-moderate fruity yeast flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet balance; and no cloying/acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/char bitterness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/bready, and fairly sticky/chalky/resinous mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 8.5%. Overall this is an excellent imperial cream stout. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, lactose, vanilla, coffee, earthy hops, and light-moderate fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to drink with the modestly bitter/drying finish; not overly aggressive. Great balance of rich malts, lactose, vanilla, fruity/nutty coffee, and earthy hops; with restrained fruity yeast. Light residual sweetness with lingering hop/char dryness. A very enjoyable offering, and well made style example as expected. Was a little more bitter/drying than I expected, but not overdone. No complaints.

Jan 19, 2020
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Kuhnhenn Imperial Crème Brûlée Java Stout, 8.5% ABV. Pours thick and black with a slight brown head that left no lacing. Nose is sweet caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and lactose. Taste is strong slightly sweet caramel, vanilla, chocolate, lactose, and coffee, with a slight bitter close. Excellent smooth mouthfeel, overall outstanding.

Jan 18, 2020
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JimboBrews54 from Michigan

5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOOHOO!!!!!! What a dessert in glass this is. Just as awesome as Frambouise, but the Creme Brulee version of it. Sweet, stout that has a balanced taste with some roasted malts, this does not have an overpowering coffee flavor to it but a subdued vanilla taste.

Oct 08, 2018
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seedyone from New York

4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Very pleasant surprise. Kind of noodlin' around the list & this catches my eye. Maybe early in the session for an 8.5%, but alongside the other tastes I requested, this bad boy spoke to me.

There is a heap of flavor here. In similar circumstances I've found clashes for attention, but these elements are very well mannered. You can check all the familiar boxes, coffee, vanilla, choco & a touch of lacto.

Ummm, Ummm, Ummm. One to watch out for in all sense of the expression. It might draw you on to the rock like the sirens of old. What a way to go, right? But remember once you are "on the rocks", there's no looking back. So give the keys to the designated driver & have another 'cause this is one you may not see again, if at all.

Aug 30, 2017
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justinp444 from Michigan

4.73/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a black with a 2 inch beige head. Smells of sweet vanilla, coffee, chocolate, caramel, sweet cream, dulce de leche, and roasted malt. Taste of sweet coffee, caramel, creme brulee, slight bitter, roasted malt, chocolate, and a bit of spice. Full mouth feel with a light to medium body and just a slight crisp making it very drinkable.

Jun 10, 2015
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ARoman from Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap, poured into a balloon snifter. The aroma is a warm creme brulee with a heavy dose of coffee. The beer is a dark, clear cola color with an abundant, off-white head that looks thin with large, soapy bubbles that has moderate retention and okay lace. The taste is a medium high chocolate sweet with a medium bitter burnt. The beer is smooth and lightly creamy with a small bubble, soft fizz, and a medium full body. The flavor is a creamy creme brulee with a light toffee and a warm coffee that finishes with a crispness, a hoppy spice, and notes of java. The finish is of a moderate length and tappers off quickly leaving just a light hint of roasted vanilla in the aftertaste.

May 21, 2015
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ThickNStout from Georgia

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz aluminum Kuhnhenn "prowler" from IAmJacksHopTongue (many thanks!). Filled 2 days ago. Served in my Phish snifter.

*a disclaimer- there was a slight leak in the growler that resulted in a loss of carbonation. I'll report the results, with as much understanding as I can muster for the obvious impact to appearance and feel

Pours black with very little head. Given the situation there is no surprise over the complete lack of retention or lace.

Sweet, roasty nose of coffee, caramel and vanilla. Nice.

No surprises in the flavors. A predictable and tasty blend of coffee, vanilla, caramel and dark chocolate. Very little detectable alcohol. This is more successful at blending both coffee and vanilla than many other attempts I've had.

A fairly light feel with almost no carbonation. Finishes with java, burnt cocoa and vanilla beans.

While not up to the greatness of several of their other offerings, Kuhnhenn has a nice coffee vanilla stout here. The nose and flavors are right on and I can't really fault the appearance or feel for falling a bit short.

May 18, 2015
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aratcliffe from Kansas

4.92/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the first beers that blew my mind. I enjoy this beer with pleasure every time I'm back home in Detroit. Among the several great beers that Kuhnhenn produces, this one looks, smells, and drinks the best.

Mar 13, 2015
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blankenhoney from Ohio

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

On tap at Kuhnhenn's

A: Pours coal black with a light beige head; lots of foamy beige lacing

S: Intense aromas of roasted, slightly burnt coffee; burnt sugar; and vanilla. Smells a fair bit like burnt coffee spiked with hazelnut coffee creamer. That might not sound too good, but this a delectable, delightful smelling beer.

T: A lot less sweet (thankfully) than I expected from the nose. Roasted coffee and light, sugary vanilla. Lots of roast coffee flavor upfront, and it finishes with dry and bittersweet coffee.

M: Creamy, but on the thinner side. Love the dry, bittersweet finish.

O: A great coffee-forward beer with an intriguing nose. Nice and rich coffee flavors, and no overbearing sweetness like your run-of-the-mill coffee beers.

Oct 26, 2014
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Bung from Michigan

4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at the new Dead Bear Brewing in Grayling MI of all places.
Becalmed dark brown pour, barely a ring of off white head. Though this is a really full pour.
Aroma, roast malt, fresh coffee. Vanilla is pretty subdued.

Taste, much more intense. Coffee, roast malt, mocha. Lingers nicely.

Medium body, a little low on the carbonation. Coats well enough and definitely no abv presence.

A coffee brew winner with the sweetness very well in check.

Sep 27, 2014
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MDDMD from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and some lacing

S-dark malt, coffee, vanilla, light chocolate

T-dark roasted malt, espresso, chocolate, vanilla,brown sugar, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-nice stout with good flavor and not overly sweet, enjoyable sipping

Feb 11, 2014
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TheBrewo from New York

4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This brew was served from the tap at the Kuhnhenn Brewing taproom in Warren, Michigan. It arrived in a generic tulip, showing the darkest nut brown coloring. It sported a one and a half finger tall head of latte colored bubbles, showing decent retention into spots of lacing around the glass. No haze or sediment was appreciable, and carbonation appeared to be moderate. The aroma was sweet and rich, with notes of milk chocolates, bright hazelnut coffee, vanilla wafer crispness, heavy roast, fresh whole milk creaminess, and black cherry fruitiness. With warmth came light brushes of booze, burnt smokiness, and warming buttery diacetyls. Our first impression was that the coffee really enhanced through the taste, giving much more strength, roast, and genuine savoriness than in the nose. As we sipped, the flavoring began with soured ground coffee, lightly floral hops, fresh but darkly roasted brown and coffee malts, vanilla cream sweetness, bittered walnut oils, smoke, raspberry jam, and mint leafiness. The middle came to a peak with black cherry fruitiness and pit, mild coffee acidity, wet browns and burnt barley, medicinal phenols, and more freshly brewed coffee warmth. The final wash was a blend of continued medicinal bite, fusel booze, cherry sourness, French vanilla and hazelnut coffee beans, white cracker graininess, bitter roast, light leathers, and lemon juiciness. The aftertaste breathed of strong char and roast, fresh coffee, light lemony and floral hops, gritty gravel and mineral, alcohol, plum, and mashed hazelnuts. The body was full, and the carbonation was medium. Each sip gave nice syrupy smack, nice pop, slurp, but lesser cream or foam. The mouth was left coated through the sip, with chalky astringency drying the palate through to the base of the tongue. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank well.

Overall, what we like best about this beer was its taste. The coffee flavoring was genuine, raw, powder, sweet, roasty, and entirely stole the show, as it should have. The secondary addition of this to the final beer base blended excellently, striking just the right balance between the depth, roast, and smoke inherent to the grain bill. This is evident through the aroma as well, but it just doesn’t quite hit you as hard as it does in the tongue. This balance aids drinkability, and again, helps things avoid being sickeningly sweet, while not going overboard with the bitterness or the darkness on the other end. This is a fun, highly drinkable stout, loaded with flavor.

Jul 16, 2013
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tectactoe from Michigan

4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kuhnhenn's brewpub in Warren. Pours very nearly black, maybe some hints of dark, dark ruby-brown near the very edges, but it's pretty much not letting any light through. Tan head shows decent retention, although it doesn't leave much lacing behind. Fine bubbled and cream, it just perches softly atop the black brew.

The aroma is deep, deep coffee beans; kind of like when you open a new pouch of coffee beans for the first time and stick your face in it and inhale. Roasted, rich, oily coffee beans. More roast than sweetness, although a small cream and sugar-like sweetness aspect is relevant. This one has a very faint, abrupt booziness in the tail-end, something that I don't recall being as noticeable in the non-imperial version of this brew. Aside from that, the aroma isn't much different. Maybe a little less sweet.

Handfuls of finely roasted coffee beans and used up coffee grinds line the edges of the flavor profile. The coffee is pretty "deep", in that it almost tastes like a quaintly made espresso rather than a cup of morning coffee. Not picking up as much sweetness on the palate as on the nose, but a faint, vanilla-like residual sweetness comes a-knockin' about halfway through and really ties things together. Without that, it wouldn't really be a "Crème Brûlée" java stout, right?

I'm having a hard time identifying any real differences between this brew and the non-imperial version, and it doesn't help that so much time has passed since I've had the former. These would be a nice one to do a side-by-side with. The mouth feel is pretty smooth, silky, and creamy. Seems thick enough for my liking, so maybe that's something else that the imperialized version has going for it. Either way, they're both very tasty coffee stouts that any coffee-beer lover would definitely enjoy.

Jun 03, 2013
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4DAloveofSTOUT from Illinois

4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to BigBadBarrel for sending this beer as an EXTRA! Thanks Jon you are seriously awesome!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: dark black bodied beer with 2 finger of medium brown head. Thick lacing on the side of the glass and the head has a good amount of staying power, slowely droping down to a thin cap.

Smell: This beer smell just like it should...exactly as the name would imply and honestly even better than I expected! Big dark, rich, roasty ,expresso beans. Then comes the matches the intensity of roasty with sweetness. Big whiffs of vanilla and caramel and coffee creamer its completely undeniable and unmistakeable.

Taste: As if the smell of this beer was tastes very similiar to how it smells! Kuhnhenn you are blowing my mind! Very expresso forward beer; heavy roast and rich coffee beans. Then comes the sweetness which adds spectacular balance to the heavy expresso flavors. Lots of coffee creamer, caramel, and vanilla flavor. It finishes with a nice balance between the roast and sweet flavors and imparts a touch of nuttiness. Almost peanut butter like flavor. This beer is wonderful.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Creamy and smooth beer here. Drinks well below 8% abv. Not a hint of booze.

Overall: I really thought that I would have to belly up to the bar at Kuhnhenns to get a sample for this beer, but thanks to Jon...he saved me a long trip and I still got to try this beer.What a treat. Its such a good coffee beer i would even say its on the same level as veitnamese speedway stout and it might even be better...almost a good as Surly Four! Kuhnhenn you guys just nailed this beer out of the park! This beer has been a long time want that was completely worth the wait. Thanks again Jon!

Mar 16, 2013
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smalenberg from Michigan

4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark with slight ruby in strong light. Small head with slim tan foam ring.

S - coffee and enough caramel to call to mind cola syrup.

T - very favorful and smooth. Extremely well balanced giving precedence to sweet stout style.

M - not nearly as dry as an imperial stout can be.

O - sweet and very enjoyable.

Oct 02, 2012
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jeonseh from Indiana

4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a growler poured into a CBS snifter

A - Dark, espresso coffee. No head other than a very slight layer of foam near the edges.

S - Sweet Coffee. Hints of caramel and vanilla waft up from this. In the backbone, there is definitely a smell of Creme Brûlée that stands out. Smells like you walked into a Gloria Jean coffee shop. Great nose on this one.

T - Sweet coffee at first. There are hints of vanilla and caramel mixed in. There is definitely a sweet hint of the Creme brûlée as well but it is just a hint. The coffee is definitely stronger in here. The finish is light, bitter espresso with enough cream sweetness to keep it from being too bitter

MF - Minimal carbonation. Medium body with a slight stickiness to it. There is a slight astringency near the backend that comes from the coffee.

O - A great coffee stout from Kuhnheen. Has a great nose to it. I really like how well it balances the coffee with the sweetness throughout.

Jul 14, 2012
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DevilsCups from New York

3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a small snifter, taken from notes.

A - Sits black in the glass with cola edges. As the supply goes down it develops a more dark ruby red hue. Still, a very dark stout. Medium brown head and crystal clear. Photo of the pour :

S - Marshmallow, caramel, black coffee and soft vanilla. This one smells fantastic. Roasted malt is swimming around in there. Really an outstanding aroma. Not crazy sweet as it hits on the bitter coffee notes more.

T - Marshmallow again upfront followed by bitter black coffee and vanilla. Very nice. Not overly sweet like Southern Tiers Creme Brule, as it focuses more on the coffee than the vanilla. Very dark chocolate in the late finish.

M - Carbonated like Old Rasputin. Slightly fizzy, medium in body. Not too thick, not too thin. She's a tickler.

O - Search it out. I had this on draft, so I can't comment on a bottled version, but it was a treat.

Apr 13, 2012
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facundoCNB from New Jersey

4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a deep black with a solid 2 fingers of fluffy brown head. head reduced to 1/4" throughout life of glass.

S - toasted oats, vanilla, lactose sugars - very sweet aromas, slight hint of coffee, bourbon

T - a party of tastes just exploded in my mouth.. my first taste was tiramisu.. i guess it's like a rum soaked creme brulee now that i think of it.. very sweet, delicious. the longer i drink, the more coffee flavors i get. this is perfection for a stout.

M - creamy, yet smooth and watery enough to not make you full like most stouts this heavy

O - as far as a flavored stout goes, this is hands down the best thing i have ever had. this, along with joe mama's milk stout are a tough fight for my #1 spot

Feb 20, 2012
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

3.31/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Imperial Creme Brulee Java Stout, 32-oz growler filled at The Growler Station in NYC.

Appearance: Served in my Lost Abbey snifter, this thing comes looking mighty hefty with a shiny-oily black color and a great two-finger head that soon recedes into one and then to a rim and thick soapy bubbles.

Smell: Coffee, dairy, vanilla powder. Coffee-mate and other artificial sweeteners. Cheap chocolate (Russel Stover, most likely)

Taste: Follows nose, with coffee and more of that fake vanilla upfront, then some roastiness and hops. Spoiled heavy cream and funk.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly thin for a beer this big. Disappointing, with low body and carbonation, medium flavor. Ends very watery and flat.

Overall: Drinks good for the style, but this really isn't so good. It mostly tastes of fake vanilla powder, instead of the real creme brulee you get in Southern Tier's version. Will not revisit.

Feb 15, 2012
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EgadBananas from Louisiana

4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks to mikem409 (via RB) for this gem!

Pours with a black body, and a light frothy chocolaty head. Dissipates to a filmy ring. Aroma of sweet cream, coffee, roast, vanilla cream, sugar milk, and a robust chocolate. Fearing an overly sweet taste, I was pleasantly surprised. It's sweet with a vanilla/chocolate milk note, sweet creamy coffee, big roasted notes. Feels average though really. It's very creamy, but it's medium bodied at best. Nothing bad at all but definitely the slight week link. Admissible though in the end because this is a wildly tasty and aromatic beast!

Jan 29, 2012
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Holland from Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor; served in a small sample glass.

A: black with deep brown highlights, little head when it got to me, but it kept it fairly well.

S: smells heavily of coffee, some chocolate, and sweet malts.

T: tastes much the same as the smell, no surprises here.

M: fairly carbonated for something so thick (medium-heavy body). Not sure how much that added, but it was fine.

O: not very drinkable, but neither is the breakfast stout. That's the big comparable here, and I think the FBS is more complex and delicious. Give this one a try, though.

Oct 03, 2011
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liamt07 from Canada (ON)

3.45/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Chris of the Rhino, December 2009 bottling. Into a snifter.

Poured black, with some deep ruby highlights in the light round the edges. A thin head is produced, but a thick brown collar retains. Nose wafts huge notes of French vanilla flavoured coffee, hazelnut and brown sugar. Sweet and some lesser roast notes. Just awesome. Taste left me wanting much more unfortunately, lots of sour/lactic notes - a significant departure from the nose. Chocolate and coffee are there as well but are less pronounced, some roastiness prevails. We debated initially as to the likelihood that this lactic sourness was intentional, but based on these reviews, I'm guessing this bottle has turned south. Although the sourness isn't overwhelming, it certainly isn't what I'd like in this instance. Medium full feel, and I can't help but feel let down that this wasn't as good as it smelled.

Aug 07, 2011
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peensteen from Canada (ON)

3.64/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chris' bottle

Pours a deep black, light tan head, good retention. Smell is rich with sweet sugary notes, vanilla, coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, burnt sugar, very nice to smell. Taste is malty and roasted, lightly astringent, light sour lactic like notes, some bitterness comes out, mild vanilla and chocolate, some coffee, this was pleasant at times and at times a little on the bad side. Medium carbonation, good feel, decent weight. This was fairly enjoyable, aside from the overly lactic and sour points experienced in some sips it was quite good, if you have any in the cellar you should open them soon as these probably wont last much longer.

Jul 26, 2011
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AgentZero from Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Black beer with some tannish foam that faded to a decent ring.

S - Chocolate, coffee, cream, caramelized sugar, vanilla. Kind of does smell like creme brulee, not a bad thing. Definitely more of a dessert beer than anything else.

T - Taste is fairly creamy, with chocolate, vanilla, caramel, some lactose. A little like a milk stout, and sours some on the end. Not bad.

M - Thick beer, pretty creamy, lower carbonation.

O - Too sweet to drink tons of, not bad, but save it for dessert.

Jul 17, 2011
Imperial Crème Brûlée Java Stout from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 214 ratings