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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 110 | Ratings: 438
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL courtesy of mikesgroove, thanks a ton Mike! Cork had to be sawed off and removed with a wine opener! Tough S.O.B. Gushed a bit and pours with a massive, light brown head. Retention and lacing both decent.

Nose is vanilla-laden with light, vaporized bourbon aromas. Nutty, almost like hazelnuts with a rich chocolate note. Nice.

Has the same bourbon heat as the Tripel Overhead aged in bourbon barrels...intense heat but maintains a smoothness and interesting flavor profile that seems to beguile the mind. Very cool. Lacks a bit of rich sweetness I wouldnt mind seeing, but that is a very mild complaint. Vanilla is fun and adda some much needed depth. I think this would be a good candidate for aging 5 years or so. Thanks again, Mike. Very generous offering from you.

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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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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 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 aasher
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I received this bottle courtesy of thagr81us in a massive trade. Thanks Calton!

The cork was majorly bulging out the top of the bottle. It looked abnormal so I decided to open it soon, hoping it wouldn't blow in my fridge. When I removed the cage it didn't budge but gave a very, very loud pop when I pulled out the cork.

It pours a full bodied midnight black in color with a billowing three finger, dark hazelnut brown foamy head. The aromas consist of a good amount of bourbon, oak, chestnuts, sweet dark roasted malts, cream and spices. The nose is really nice and I like the amount of bourbon that is present. It isn't over the top but it is very fitting and reminiscent of a Jack and Coke. The flavors are a little more traditional for the style. You get a bevy of sweet dark roasted malts, light oak, light bourbon, vanilla, and spices. The bourbon isn't as strong in the flavor as it is in the nose, which is a little disappointing but it is still very solid. Luckily the bourbon builds as it warms up. It drinks full in bodied but isn't overly sticky and is quite drinkable for the style. I am a pretty big fan of this one. I wouldn't mind trying it again this upcoming winter when it's fresher. I'd say it's worth your while.

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Photo of Soonami
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Lauren (ThoreauLikeAGirl) for sharing this bottle.

A-Rocky ochre head tops this dark brown beer. There are huge bubbles and high carbonation that yields a "very vocal head," according to lauren. The lacing is great as is the sustain.

S-Fresh brewed roasted coffe, cooked apple

T- Sweet, dark chocolate with mild coffee. A hint of oaky tannins with warm vanilla. There is caramelized sugar and dates in the middle. The finish is fairly dry with bitter coffee.

M-Despite the high carbonation, good MF and it wasn't too prickly. In fact the high carbonation help to keep the beer bubbly as we let it rise in temperature.

Great little beer, I'd definitely like to have this again.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.72/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An absolutely superb beer, and one that I think is underrated on Beer Advocate. Pours very dark brown, almost black, with a thin tan head. Lovely aromas of coconut, cream, vanilla, Bourbon notes, charred wood, and a nice nuttiness. Very smooth and integrated in the nose. The taste is similar, but what a smooth, well integrated package. There is also a nice burnt sugar note, but this doesn't come on too strong or overwhelm the other flavors. This beer is an excellent example of how to successfully utilize a Bourbon barrel to age a beer. Everything here is beautifully balanced and complementary. Superb job! Very, very smooth- graceful power on an elegant frame.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with TONS of head... way too much if you ask me. Other than the ridiculous over carbonation its fairly pretty. Smells bourbon heavy with lots of chocolate and a light roastiness. The bourbon is fairly balanaced with the sweet maltiness on the nose and the tongue. Lots of oak and vanilla and chocolate on the tongue. Some sweet dark molasses with atouch of boozy burn.
Way too bubbly for me! Sweet and tasty but the over carbed bottle hurts it a bit

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Photo of glid02
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


Pours black with a light brown head leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with good amounts of smoother dark chocolate with hints of vanilla. Also present are very light amounts of earthy oak.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as complex. Robust roasted malt flavors up front are joined by solid amounts of mildly bitter dark chocolate. Midway through the flavor profile sweetens with hints of vanilla, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is OK, with a lighter-than-normal body for the style and solid carbonation.

Overall this was a very well done beer that had a good deal of complexity. A bit more thickness and it could compete with the big boys. Worth a shot.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bottle opened by Andrew (womencantsail) at Stone Sour Fest 2011, thanks!

A: Looks like a Russian Imperial Stout. No surprises here. Dark in color, bordering on black with a respectable brown head exhibiting good retention.

S: Molasses, bourbon, dark chocolate, licorice, and roasted malt. There's a decided nuttiness in the nose that I don't often get from beers of this style, it's an interesting and enjoyable touch. The various components are well balanced. I get a whisper of vanilla. Smells nice.

T: Again, the characteristics are balanced: black strap molasses, dark chocolate, coffee, oak, and bourbon. There's that nutty quality again. The bourbon is well integrated with oak and a mellow bitterness. Alcohol is faint.

M: Upper medium to lower full in body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is silky, smooth, and sticky.

Overall: A nice barrel aged Imperial Stout. A pleasant surprise in a sea of acetone. Recommended.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mark for sending this one to me.

A: The pour is surprisingly lively and overcarbonated. Almost black in color with a huge tan head.

S: Smells pretty nice. Lots of roast and dark chocolate with a decent coffee aroma. There is a bit of char to it as well as some burnt sugar, licorice, and just a hint of dark fruits. Really complex and good.

T: The flavor is quite as good, but still nice. Dark chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, char, and plenty of roasted malts. Just a little bit of licorice and molasses and perhaps a dark fruit character.

M: Medium in body with a fairly high level of carbonation.

O: I was impressed by this beer. The nose was quite nice, and the flavor wasn't half bad either.

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Photo of ZX6Chris
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got 2 of these so I figured I'd open one up.

Pours dark with a thick tan head, swirling the glass leaves some nice lacing.

Smells nice but subtle. You really have to stick your nose in there to get to that wonderful aroma of burnt sugar, bourbon, oak and vanilla.

Taste is similar to the aroma. Nothing crazy comin at ya but it all blends together nicely and makes for a pleasant drinking experience.

Solid mouthfeel without being over the top.

I'm glad I got one of these left, I'll wait for a cold night to crack it open.

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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 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 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 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 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 Beerandraiderfan
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cork blasts off almost taking jh1982's eye out after merely unscrewing the cage in the parking lot of a Wolfpack baseball game! Worries about infection subside when it pours nice and black with ample tan head. Very roasty aroma, didn't pick up bourbon in the nose.

Great chewy roasty presence. Tiny bits of bourbon and chocolate, everything melds oh so nice with this, alcohol heat is tame, if at all. Reminiscient of Eclipse for multiple reasons, none of them being the flavor per se.

Very roasty, like the base beer for Eclipse (Totality). Bourbon and alcohol are not through the roof, this beer isn't about being the strongest or -est anything, its just about being a damn good beer. This definitely is thicker and chewier though.

Balance is its strong suit. A lil wood, lots of roast flavors, little bits of chocolate and bourbon = a damn fine beer, thanks for bringing it fellas. Wish I would have kept the empty to shoot though.

The higher than average carbonation was nice to blend with the flat Papier Brandy, that's worthy of another bump in this overall score.

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Photo of Jason
4.39/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml brown magnum with a bottled on freshness date on the label.

The ale throws down a black liquid with tiny tan bubbles that seem to want to take their time on their ride to the top of the glass. Head retention is a non-issue here, each sip leaves a thin ring of lacing. Hint of boozy fusel barrel juice, vanilla, charred wood, roasted grain and a blackberry brandy fruitiness. Big brawny body with enough smoothness to break up that thick creamy body a bit and a cushy body that is as it settles down on the palate. The flavor lands sweet but with a charred slightly smoky backing, burnt sugar comes to mind as well. Hops take second seat. Faint bourbon note though there is a definite pull on the palate from the wood. Very balanced and almost too drinkable for its size. 9% is pretty mellow. Finishes with that dry pull from the bourbon barrel.

Hard to balance near perfection like this in a bigger beer. Very well done.

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Photo of dfclav
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to n2185 for an excellent trade and the chance to try this one...

A - this is an excellent looking stout. I'd go so far to say it is a perfect example of the style. A fairly slow pour produces a frothy three finger cappuccino head. I had just received this in a trade, and when I took the bubble wrap off the shipping package the cork and cage blew off the bottle. I planned on cellaring it until next winter but so much for that! The beer itself is jet black and the lacing is great.

S - fairly malty with big notes of chocolate, coffee, and a whole bunch of smoke and oak. Bourbon not too noticed but you can tell without a doubt this is a barrel aged beer.

T - truly delicious....the barrel aging was done so well here. Bakers chocolate, coffee, molasses, and burnt toffee. Oak plays a big role and the profile of this beer suits the much more noticed bourbon very well. Hops sit well and finish is dry with heavy vanilla extract. Bakers chocolate aftertaste hangs around forever.

M - prickly carbonation with a fairly thin body. Despite being so light-bodied, it maintains a very good level of creaminess to it. Not too on par with the style but it works with this beer.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. This honestly may be the best looking stout I have ever tried. I think after trying this brew I will definitely be seeking more from mother earth. Very good job guys, highly recommended for stout lovers. 


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Photo of farrago
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour will yield two plus fingers of loose froth, mostly larger bubbles with not much power of retention, pops and fizzes down to a solid surface coating which does retain, the lacing is thick and goopy, almost sloppy. Follows the script completely, perfectly black liquid with nary a trace of orange nor yellow to be found. The nose is a cavalcade of coconut custard, vanilla pudding, butterscotch, rum raisin with white grape, peach, cherry fruit and then a slight uptick of toastiness as the hops and grassiness exert themselves mildly, conjures up an alright spritz of orange, the oak treatment very clear yet not boozy, this in its favor. Full-bodied to the point where you begin to question it as a carbonated beverage, like where's the bubbles and fizz. Still, sharper profile here with added emphasis on the orange, grapefruit citrus verging on lime, grains and more rustic breadiness. Cocoa powder, vanilla extract, hard butterscotch candy, caramel eventually gains traction. Funny, has a relatively lowish alcohol percentage for its type yet sneaks up on you, buzz develops swiftly. Grape, plum, cherry fruit not sweet enough to challenge the overall roast factor which ends up favoring coffee grind notes. If it could maintain more weight and sheer forward momentum through the finish might approach "behemoth" territory. As is, struggles to keep itself balanced and with clarity of message. That said, if you want some stout fireworks you should be pleased. Price is ouchy, though.

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Photo of kflack
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a caged bomber.

A: Well, black as night as expected. Small, 1/4 inch head with a little froth to it.

S: Roasted barley? A little caramel, and some toffee. Much more robust than I was expecting.

T: Rich, with a strong hop taste up front. Creamy in the end, with a little expresso.

M: Thick, but not chewy (if that makes sense). A mild sweet, stickiness to it, but not overpowering.

O: A great example of a IS, not too sweet, nor too much coffee. You need a wood fire to go with this one. Wish I was back in Minnesota with this beer!

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Photo of GbVDave
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into multiple pint glasses. Special thanks to Wil for sharing! Thanks to Joe, Matt, and Wil for the assist!

A: Pours black with some lighter hues at the edges. One creamy finger of dark khaki foam spreads itself out on top and leaves some specks of lace behind.

S: Huge, delicious nose of bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruit (especially raisins), fudge brownies, vanilla bean, and molassas.

T: Along the same lines as the smell with the introduction of damp oak, heavily roasted malt, bittersweet bakers chocolate, and maple sugar candy.

M: Sweet dark fruit and bourbon that's balanced pretty well by the dry oakiness. Mouthfeel is quite full and rich with a bit of alcohol spiciness.

D: While not a big boozy mess by any means, this one is pretty frigging big and complex. The aromas and flavors are right there but 8oz was just about all I could handle.

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Photo of emerge077
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thank you Wil for sharing... tastes like winning.
Review from written notes.

Black with mahogany edges, a finger or so of mocha foam with a creamy surface. Solid retention with some spotty lacing around the edges of the glass.

Wet bourbon barrel, freshly emptied... plenty of whiskey in the nose. Dark fruits, dried plum and figs, brown sugar, oak and vanilla.

Big sweet bourbon notes, woody oak tannins, molasses, plum and fig notes upfront, mild roast and dark chocolate in the middle, aftertaste of oak tannins and vanilla. Frothy feel, medium bodied. Moderate alcohol presence... to be expected. Well integrated Imperial Stout & bourbon barrel character. A sipper, but easily enjoyed.

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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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Silent Night from Mother Earth Brewing
4.03 out of 5 based on 438 ratings.
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