Silent Night | Mother Earth Brewing

110 Reviews
Silent NightSilent Night

Brewed by:
Mother Earth Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by atsprings on 11-26-2010

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Reviews: 110 | Ratings: 439
Photo of bobhits
2.16/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours possibly the deepest black you’ll see. Even held to sun light only the slightest hints of light shine through on the rims. Marginal head, and no real legs here are a touch underwhelming.

This beer opens with and I know this sounds odd, but apple cider as the primary aroma. The beer warms more and the notes from a sharp and acidic coffee aroma starts to jump out. There are light notes from the bourbon oak, but certainly nothing overt. The alcohol is amazingly out there given the beer is only 9%.

The flavors open again much like the notes with a citrus and fruity apple/apple cider flavor with dark malts, chocolate and oak. Warmer this beer takes on a more traditional stout flavor with the citrus flavors numbing and perhaps some coffee.

Low on carbonation and HIGH on alcohol is the only way to describe this one. Give it enough time sitting out and eventually the alcohol bite will let up.

This is an odd beer to say the least. It takes on a lot of fruity flavors that some of the hoppy stouts can get, it never really gives you any strong indications that bourbon barrels were used. Overall an interesting beer, but it doesn’t really do anything for me. That said reviews for this are all over the place so it might be worth trying again. All and all if one could get this cheaply I think it is worth a small sample as it is very different even if it doesn't really do anything well.

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Photo of billshmeinke
2.45/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Huge four finger mocha head. Pitch black body.

The nose is quite oaky with malted milk balls and some dark fruits in there. Really not all that impressive.

And the taste is slightly less impressive. Bitter, burnt espresso, lots of oak a touch of bakers chocolate and yeeeah that's about it.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied very tannic. Well carbonated for the style.

Pretty underwhelming overall.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.66/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Generously opened by MrFootstones. Thanks, Brian! From notes.

A: Pours a dark, opaque brown with a fluffy, long-lived tan head. No lacing or curtains, but it's fairly lively for an imperial stout.

S: Dark chocolate, some coffee. The strongest smell is roasted grain bordering on char; I tend not to like this approach to the style, and its dominance here is a turnoff.

T: It takes a burnt espresso/grain approach to lead the flavor, which (as noted above) is not my preferred take on an imperial stout. Tannins are well-developed, and there is a strong presence of dark chocolate. A small element of bourbon and caramel. Lacking in nuance and development.

M: Light-medium bodied, with aggressive carbonation (for the style) that accentuates its thin-ness. I actually don't mind imperial stouts that aren't total sludge, but when the flavors are underdeveloped, the cumulative effect is disappointing.

O: I really wanted to like this considering the travesty of the trademark situation. But it's just not an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.68/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: This pours a nearly black mahogany color, slightly transparent, with a huge tan head. Somewhat quickly the head fades to nearly nothing, with no lacing left on the glass.

Smell: The smell is fairly simply roast coffee and vodka. Some smoke and light caramelized sugar exists in the background.

Taste: The taste is unfortunately the same as the aroma. It starts out with some roast malt and a fair amount of bitter chocolate. An overwhelming and unpleasant booziness exists throughout each sip, substantially detracting from an otherwise decent flavor. Some brown sugar and earthy tones are also present, but they kind of get lost in the malaise.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is very rocky, even with a little creaminess it would be tough to call this smooth. It also has a light to medium body, which is not what I would expect - it's strange and off-putting.

Drinkability: The strange light feel and intense boozy nature of this beer despite not having THAT high of an ABV really do not make me want to drink it again.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.81/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Darkness snifter.

My 3oz pour is very black with a full two finger mocha colored head. The smell of bourbon creeps from my glass. Pretty powerful. I come back to it a second time after a gasp of air and I find a little vanilla trying to come through. Sipping time. Holy crap is this beer carbonated. Way too much. Distracting even. Getting past that I find some bakers chocolate up front accompanied by roast and char. Then of course the booze heat wave in the throat. This beer burns a touch. After the sip settles the aftertaste is rather awful. I wasn't a fan of this beer.

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Photo of mothman
2.97/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a fizzy tan head. Color is black.

Aroma: Whiskey, oak, and bourbon flavors. Chocolate as well with some cocoa. It is fairly hoppy.

Taste: Super roasted with coffee, chocolate, and cocoa flavors. It has some hot bourbon as well as oak and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Hot and fizzy. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends boozy.

Overall, I wasn’t the biggest fan. Too much carbonation and too hot. Not for me.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Thanks to UMNBeerhunter for breaking this one out. Poured into a tulip glass a pitch black brown color with a slight tan mocha head. The head is by no means thick and as viscous as I would like in an IS. The nose is a heavy dose of dark chocolate, leather, barrel, and slight booze. To me is smells a touch "hot". My first sip, the thing I notice the most is the medium/light mouthfeel, too light for me for this style. The flavors are boozy mixed with dark chocolate, leather, and molasses all highlighted with bourbon. Dry and roasty finish. Overall, a tad let down by this as I wish it was a little less carbonated and had a heavier mouthfeel.

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Photo of Sponan
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Barley's, 10 oz serving.

A - Standard black pour with a thin, dark brown head that quickly disappeared. Some lacing, but nothing exceptional to see here.

S - Some smoke/char, a little chocolate and dark fruit. Then my nose hairs were singed by some booze and I could not smell anything else. Outside of the booze, I found the smell to be the best feature of the beer.

T - A hint of chocolate, followed by some coffee and burnt malt bitterness. And then like the smell, my mouth was assaulted by booze. I don't even get much bourbon, more like rubbing alcohol along with some lingering, unpleasant char bitterness. This beer also seemed to be lacking a bit of the malt backbone and sweetness I prefer in the style. Not dry exactly, but hidden by the burning in my mouth.

M - Well carbonated and reasonably thick. I enjoy the feel of this beer. Another strong point .

D - Even sipping on a small glass, I found myself wishing there was a smaller pour. Knowing what this beer costs in a bottle, it is likely I will not revisit. Definitely not if I am buying.

Not sure what to say. I love Mother Earth's regular line, but this beer just doesn't seem like it is ready. I think the base stout needs some work before even considering the barrel aging.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.16/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle thanks to cadaugherty!

A - Pours black, tan head, good lacing, whisps on top as the cap.

S - Dark chocolate, lots of booze, oak.

T - Very boozy, chocolate, oak, very very bitter finish.

M - Medium, over carbonated, semi-dry finish.

D - Okay for a BA stout, not something I'd look for to revisit.

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Photo of jpro
3.17/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Got the nice looking caged and corked bottle for Christmas. Popped it in the fridge the other night, and decided to bust it out. Served in a snifter...

A: Pours an espresso brown/black with a monstrously foamy / rocky, light brown head (a ton of tiny bubbles form the head on this one - kind looking super carbonated... not so much the "creamy" head variety here). Very fizzy. Foam dies down, leaving no lace.

S: Lightly tannic bourbon notes; some dark chocolate, cocoa and dry coffee; also some malt sweetness floating around, and a touch of dark fruit.

T: Light woody tannins give way to caramel and coffee sweetness; some dark chocolate powder and dry bitterness on the finish; nothing overly flavorful... base beer lacking a bit, methinks... the beer isn't overly flavorful, and the barrel aging didn't lend much in the way of bourbon to this one (although the dry woodiness is definitely there).

M: Letdown; feels way too thin... which isn't helped by the super high carbonation; totally not expected for a big beer like this.

D: Nothing to see here, really; base beer is thin and lacks character; I like barrel-aged beers that don't necessarily reek of bourbon, but in this one, the flavor it imparts is miniscule. Was hoping for more... maybe next year's will be better.

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Photo of azdback
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone Imperial Russian snifter. Deep and dark black in color. The tiny carbonation bubbles reach the top to form a honeycomb side and a small light tan and creamy top. Lace doesn't stick much at all.

Smell is initially bourbon barrels. Go figure. There is some vanilla, chocolate and a bit of charred wood. Some tobacco and alcohol as it warms.

Taste is dark red fruit. Cranberries or cherries. The roast and chocolate aren't there in the taste. The alcohol survives though with a belly warming burn.

Mouth is much more carbonated then the start. Stays full to the end with just a bit of alcohol burn.

Overall I enjoyed this. Thanks to MattttYCE for this sample.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.39/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Chad for sharing this one. Served in a Portsmouth tulip.

A - Pours with a good amount of tan foam that features nice retention, glass-coating lace, and eventually a thin cap. Black body. Very attractive.

S - Alcohol, dark chocolate, some light nail polish and acetic notes, wood, and solvent. Seems way hotter than the listed 9%.

T - Bitter dark chocolate, some char and burnt notes, a bit of barrel. Thankfully the tart notes found in the nose are gone here, and this is definitely less sweet as well. Very bitter licorice and espresso finish.

M - Lower carbonation, smooth medium-full body with nice creamy viscosity. Obvious heat in the finish, but otherwise quite style-appropriate.

D - This is a sipper, and definitely needs more time to cool down. It's not as bourbon-forward the ridiculous Mother Earth but it's still too hot to be enjoyable at this stage.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by bmanning--thanks, Ben. After reading the initial reviews on this, I was quite excited to try it. Unfortunately, it doesn't nearly live up to the hype. Served in a tulip.

Pours near black with a bubbly reverse-cascading head. This quickly fades into a tan collar with some large carbonation bubbles. The nose is roasty with quite a bit of smoke as well as some charcoal and bourbon. The bourbon is a bit light, with the smoke coming through on a stronger level. There is some definite boozy heat, and this makes its presence known more so in the mouthfeel. Slightly prickly carbonation. As it warms, the nose is still a bit light, though it exhibits more notes of coffee and roasted malt. The finish is a bit odd--harsh and a bit bitter. A bit disappointed in this, though it's not a bad beer. Could probably use quite a bit of time.

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Photo of wedge
3.54/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

@ Tasty Beverage

Blackish in color with a thin, spotty ring of tan bubbles around the edges. Dark chocolate, coconut, bourbon, and slight vanilla aromas. Bourbon roast, some black malt sharpness, molasses, burnt sugar, bitterness, fruit, and a charred wood finish. This beer could use some sweetness, and that's something I say too often. Well carbonated medium body and quite dry. Disappointing. It could really use a little bit of richness to add some character and smooth it all out. I'm glad I don't spend the $15+ for a bottle whenever I see it, though I bet a couple years in a cellar would do it some good.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Beerness for the bottle!
Bottled December 2010

Pours with a huge, foamy, tan head, which eventually fades to a thin film. Leaves some good lacing.

Grassy, roasty, bourbon on the nose. Touch of booze and a hint of smoky malt. Green, earthy notes.

Dark chocolate, grassy hops and light bourbon throughout. Oak, a hint of vanilla and alcohol sweetness.

Mouthfeel is over-carbonated and almost spritzy at first. Let this one breathe for awhile to lower the carbonation. Good alcohol warmth on the finish. Body has some nice weight to it, but the carbonation level really needs to be fixed for the style.

Overall, this is my first brew from Mother Earth and it seems like they are off to a good start. This is a pretty decent BA Imperial Stout, but it also easily overshadowed by many others in this category. I think if they tweak the recipe a bit and lower the carbonation they could have a pretty good beer on their hands.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chad for this tick, drank from a Cigar City snifter... A black body, looks decent. Lots of carbonation here, at least three fingers of tan head, good retention and lacing. Looks good... Bitter chocolate, roasted bitters and lots of alcohol, off tartness, hint of maple which I attribute to the barrel. Too much alcohol, comes of chemically... The taste is slightly better than the aroma, but the mouthfeel is way over-carbonated and distracting and really detracts. Dark chocolate, wood, roast, and a bit of coffee. Meh.

I was't too impressed with this, probably needs more time. I'd re-visit in the future but can't recommend it right now.

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Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

bomber bottle pours black with a decent head.
Moderate barrel aging effect in the aroma, but a bit stronger than I prefer on the tongue.

Lightly sweet until the finish whereafter bitterness from the hops and burnt grains comes out.

Full, near chewy body. Well set carbonation.

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Photo of brentk56
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Arrives with a pitch black colored liquid topped by a mocha cap; both the retention and lacing were decent

Smell: Boozy bourbon on top of roasty chocolate and coffee tones

Taste: Burnt sugar, dark chocolate and a hint of coffee, up front, with a bit of hops arriving in the middle; by mid-palate, the boozy bourbon starts to impact the profile, adding a vanilla tone; after the swallow, the bourbon is dominant, leaving a harshness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body (lighter than expected), with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not.a bad first effort but still needs a bit of work to find the right balance points; I have a bottle but will put a bit of age on it before I give it a go

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Photo of maximum12
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerness for this 750 ML bottle as part of an excellent trade. Left in the fridge, ignored & sad for too long, now it's out in the open. Breathing. Split with my wife.

Pour is wrought iron black. Amply carbonated for a big, dark beer that's been suffocated in a barrel. Smell plays to form: chocolate, deep malts, barrel is fairly light. I'm craving bourbon. I hope there's a ton in here.

Silent Night is accurate: the beer never spoke to me. And it's night, though I have no idea how it knew that. Big roast notes that weren't real apparent in the nose have the upper hand, bordering on the country of coffee. Barrel is spare, big split, 7-10, the ghost of vanilla past lurking deep in the beer. Little sweet malt & slow-building but ultimately intense oak that starts in the background & comes to bulid a shed around the finish. Bourbon plays hide-and-seek as it warms.

Seems to be a trend that brewers are using bourbon barrels that impart the mildest, sparest hint of bourbon that's quickly lost in the complexities of a beer: here is onesuch. I like the bourbon to complement the beer, not get lost in the maze. Good beer, but hoping for more.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.66/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle into a couple of tulip glasses. Big thanks go to Barscream for sharing this one with me. I must say that I really like the label on this bottle. Very classy presentation overall from Mother Earth!

Pours black as night in the glass, topped with a finger of milk chocolate colored foamy head. This holds tight across the top of the glass, staying thick and rich, and drenching the sides of the glass with a robust and creamy cascade of lacing. Really top-notch look to this! The bourbon is a bit forceful up front of the nose, with notes of molasses, burnt wood, and vanilla, that then move into a more base blend of rich chocolate fudge and roasted malts. Sharp pangs of warmth cut across the back of the nose and add an extra sweet sting to the proceedings.

The taste is similar with the bourbon flavors layered on top; with charred burnt sugars that give way to vanilla, toffee, chocolate, and dark roasted character. There is maybe even a little bit of some leafy hop tones that mingle with the green tannic dryness of the barrel in the finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied and puts some sharpness on the tongue before spreading out into the mouth with more of a creamier feel and then finally getting thick and chewy as you near the swallow. Great overall feel here. The actual ABV seems well hid for the most part but the bourbon really brings a lot of raw heat to this as well.

This was solid for the most part and I really liked what I felt out of that base Imperial Stout as well (I wouldn't mind seeing just a separate release of that). Unfortunately, this got a little too hot at times for my taste. Probably more so than I usually like in a BA beer. Plus it seemed like there could have been a little more of a melding of the beer and barrel flavors as well. Not bad at all for a first time effort from Mother Earth but I would like to see them continue to work and refine this one, as it really has the potential to be excellent.

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Photo of marvin213
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A 2010 Especial, it looks like a nitro-pour with that small-bubbly top. Pitch night...fitting. The nose is thick malt. More chocolate than coffee, but both arrive to the olfactory.

Toasted malts on a roasted coffee platter, it's a winter warmer with chocolate and coffee beans. The faintest hop memory lingers only on the finish, as this beer seems more winter warmer than even the most subtle of stouts. On a down note, the coffee is toasted/burnt such that it reminds me of the coffee pot bottom. :-( On an up note, the coffee--an ingredient whose influence I commonly indulge upon--presents itself more pronounced than I remember. Still, 2-years under wrap, it's a relative disappointment to have brought this out. I'm a homer, but I'll save this one for the trades....

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Photo of gford217
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Trevor for this 750ml bottle.

Bit of a gusher alert on this one. As soon as the cage was unhooked the cork immediately hit the ceiling and the gushing ensured. It doesn't last too long so not much beer lost. Pours deep chocolate brown, not quite black, with an enormous dark tan head that shows great staying power.

Aroma is heavy on the roasted chocolate malts, cocoa powder and espresso. Hints of bourbon but probably more oaky tannins than true bourbon or vanilla.

Taste is excellent with oak and vanilla up front mixed with malted milk balls, bakers chocolate and coffee. There is a light fruity character in the middle before the oak and alcohol take over in the finish.

The mouthfeel is what really holds this one back for me as it's way too carbonated for my liking. Almost effervescent with a medium body.

The carbonation of this one really keeps it from being a great stout. The flavors are good if now a little chalky and heavy on the oak. Still, a decent BA stout.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into snifter - 2010 vintage - thanks to CarolinaKevin

Pours an opaque black color with a huge, frothy tanned head resting on top. Plenty of carbonation building, leaving webbed, sticky lacing all over the glass. It takes a few moments to calm down, settling into a nicely retained head.

Dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans in the nose. Dark malts and caramel with some oaky char. Light notes of bourbon and vanilla with some warmth.

Warm and robust up front with notes of chocolate and cocoa powder. Coffee beans and toasted dark malts with some sweetness. The barrel character has mellowed out, with oak, vanilla and smoothed out bourbon. There's a bit of a char lurking in the middle that feels out of place as the beer finishes warm and dry.

Fuller medium body, high carbonation, a bit prickly on the tongue despite some creaminess. A solid, fairly balanced imp stout, although I'd like a bit more punch from the barrel and a smoother feel on the palate.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on March 12, 2012, so last year's vintage.
Poured in to snifter.

A - Poured black with a thin layer of light brown head that reduced to a ring around the glass.

S - Roast, chocolate fudge, charred oak, bourbon, vanilla and a hint of coffee.

T - Roast and chocolate fudge from the base beer that integrate well with the barrel characteristics of sweet bourbon & vanilla and toasted oak. Sweet cocoa in the finish. There is the faintest hint of coffee present but the coffee profile has definitely faded away in the almost two years since this beer was bottled. Would like to try this one fresh.

M - Just short of being full bodied. Very light carbonation.

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Photo of matttttYCE
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing this from my phone so just let that he known. Shared this one with azdback.

Appearance - Stone RIS glass. Head is creamy, maybe a finger high, and light tan in color. Lace is light. Color is just pitch black and inviting.

Aroma - The lighter side of bourbon at first but it becomes more prevalent as it warms. Vanilla much the same. Roasted malts and dark chocolate hint in the background. I get some nice dark fruit like plum and roasted char more than any other background aroma. What's much more apparent as it warms is alcohol. Didn't notice it at first but I notice it now. Also in there that I noticed was hints of some creamy marshmallow aroma.

Taste - bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit that's really cranberry mostly with hints of fig or plum or cherry. Noticeable alcohol and burn on the way down but not intense like I was drinking World Wide Stout or anything. Behind that are hints of roasted malts and dark chocolate but they are ever so light. Really the main points of this beer are bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, and hints of everything else an imperial stout is.

Mouth - Pretty round carbonation but not prickly or off-putting. Velvety almost in consistency but the higher carbonation makes it slightly off from that. Body is medium, with a pretty lingering finish.

Overall - A nice bourbon barrel aged stout. Not the greatest I've ever had but nice. I'd say overall that some of the flavors could have been more pronounced. Maybe even should have been more pronounced. Either way still a barrel aged stout that I enjoyed having. Thank you very much to Lunch for this in our trade.

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Silent Night from Mother Earth Brewing
4.03 out of 5 based on 439 ratings.
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