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Black River Gumbo Stout | Peace Tree Brewing Co.

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Black River Gumbo StoutBlack River Gumbo Stout
39 Ratings
Black River Gumbo StoutBlack River Gumbo Stout

Brewed by:
Peace Tree Brewing Co.
Iowa, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This dark deliciousness is named after the gumbo dirt of the Des Moines River bottom which nourished our Peace Tree and is now used as the surface for Knoxville’s famous Sprint Car track. Instead of using traditional ale yeast required of a stout, a Belgian yeast was used to add complexity. This stout is brewed with high quality pale malt, three roasted malts and two caramel malts. The dark roasted caramel malts contribute to the chocolate and toffee characteristics. Three varieties of hops contribute to the bitterness and aromas of this beer.

Added by FreshHawk on 12-22-2010

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 39 |  Reviews: 20
Reviews by rundocrun:
Photo of rundocrun
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Shorts Burgers & Shine in Iowa City.

A - Pours a brownish-black color with two fingers of dirt-brown head (appropriate for the name of this beer, I guess). The foam fades very slow and lazy to leave decently-sized sheets of lacing on the glass.

S - Caramel and dark, roasted, burnt grains are most prominent here. I don't notice anything special from the belgian yeast, but this ale also has a mild floral note to it--almost like it was ever-so-slightly dry-hopped.

T - This stout is sweet, but not over-poweringly so. It has a nice chocolate characteristic to it that is almost acidic in nature toward the finish. Remarkably smooth for a stout (no acrid and/or burnt flavor). Finishes with the mildest hint of earthy hops.

M - Medium-to-thick mouthfeel. Not the most drinkable or sessionable stout I've ever had but definitely not bred to be one of those mid-winter sippers. Smooth carbonation.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of schoon
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of RDW
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of augustgarage
2.71/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz stubby bottle into a Central Waters shaker pint.

Active fizzy head dissipates in a brief moment, revealing a murky dark chocolate brown liquid. No lacing.

Toffee, cocoa butter, and coffee in the nose.

Nearly-acrid tang with tart smoked meat and citrus flavors fighting for your attention. Scalded sugar and peppery hops lead into the long, burnt, astringent finish. Yeast contributions just make the profile more sour.

Thin body with low carbonation.

I wonder if they took the "gumbo" too literally and started with a roux? While not a drain-pour - I'd avoid this one.

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Photo of dbossman
3.77/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown with a small head that dissipates incredibly quickly; hardly any lacing

S: Roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolates, caramel, and coffee up front with a touch of burnt malts shining through--also a bit of a grainy and yeasty quality here

T: Nicely roasted malts with coffee presence; there is a strange grainy quality that shines through; some dried fruits--probably from the Belgian yeast--prune juice perhaps; also a subtle burnt quality on the back end of the flavors

F: Thin body with moderate carbonation

D: Decent beer but the flavors don't quite mesh; it's kind of a strange beer; however, as the beer warms up, it does grown on you; and it is fairly easy drinking; alright, I like you, Black River Gumbo, and I'll drink you again, I will drink you again

 780 characters

Photo of zoolou
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.13/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into an imperial stout.
5.5% ABV, "leave sediment in bottle, Serve at 48°F"

A - Clarity is visible through the slow pour giving the otherwise black beer a dark brown hue. It's short tan head vanishes to a ring of foam pretty quickly and leaves little lace left on the pint.

S - Loaded with heavily roasted malts, Black River Gumbo is rich with milk chocolate smoothness trailed by dark chocolate-dipped espresso bean and raisin and finished with toasted wheat bread.

T - Chocolaty and roasted still, the flavor opens up with new complexities but abandons much of the coffee nuance and milk chocolate for a harsher, bitter bakers chocolate and cocoa as well as blackstrap molasses. Burnt brown sugar and subtle Belgian yeast characteristics make it through with raisin and soft spice notes on the finish.

M - Balanced between sweet, rich maltiness and roasted, bitter maltiness, this stout walks a fine line and feels pretty full-bodied for only being a measly 5.5%. Like the rest of Peace Tree beers, Black River Gumbo has lower carbonation but here it works.

O - Belgian yeast, the common link between all the Peace Tree beer's I've tried, is the least noticeable in Black River Gumbo, only adding slight fruity and spicy traits to an otherwise roasted, chocolaty beer. The outcome is one of their best brews, low in alcohol, high in flavor!

 1,368 characters

Photo of DCdevyl78
4/5  rDev +15.6%

Photo of jadenmiller
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Beestin
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

rich dark black color, with a small head of tan rising up and over it that settled down gently without much fan fare. Some nice lacing. The aroma was rich vanilla, molasses, sweet sugary notes and a touch of almost licorice like candy. Smooth, mellow carbonation let this one sit down nicely and made it a really nice sipper i have to admit. As it warmed subtle notes of chcolate and roasted malts took over, but always leaving it moderatly sweet, this was a nice little stout. I had no issues polishing this one off, and would have no issue in doing so again

 559 characters

Photo of FreshHawk
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black color with a good looking largish, thick, cake-like, foamy, mocha colored head. About average retention that settles into some speckled lace with a solid ring of lace.

S - Chocolate and roasted malt are pretty strong. Hints of coffee that comes out stronger as it warms. Hints of dark fruit and the Belgian yeast. Dark roasted coffee becomes quite strong toward the end.

T - Very strong dark, roasted, coffee and charred malt flavors initially. Mid sip some tart flavors come out, not really strong dark fruit flavor but somewhat. Some charcoal and slight mineral flavor also present. Somewhat bitter and a touch of baker's chocolate on the finish.

M - Lighter side of medium body with average carbonation. Slight drying finish.

D - Goes down easy, and I didn't mind drinking this and would have another. That said, I'm not exactly craving another.

Notes: Not a bad beer, but it fell a little short of what I was expecting. Very strong coffee flavors with some of the Belgian yeast coming through as well. Enjoyable, but not something I will readily buy.

 1,075 characters

Photo of ovaltine
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of TheQuietMan22
2.93/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is an opaque black; no light passed through when I held it to my lamp. Three fingers of dense, cappuccino-tan head developed and dissipated to leave a dense lacing (much like a cappuccino) and ring around the edge.

Smell: Delicious roasted chocolate, coffee, and caramel malts. This smells PROPER! As it warms, there is also a sweet scent of toffee.

Taste: Intriguing. The Belgian yeast gives it a unique flavor that couples with the usual suspects in stout. It is not as bitter or roasted as I want. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, and toffee. Disappointingly, though, the backbone is the cheap, adjunct corn flavor that is reminiscent of their saison, Cornucopia. As the pint warms, it overpowers everything else -- the stuff I do want to taste. Compared to the smell, the taste is a real letdown.

Drinkability: It's okay. It is nothing spectacular, and I suppose I would buy some again out of state pride.

 962 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.7/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a Three Floyds tulip pint glass.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this bottle!

I feel I should be skeptical of any beer with "gumbo" in the name. Maybe it's just me. Either way, this thing pours a decidedly dark brown (though not quite dark enough to mistake it for black quite yet) topped by about a finger or so of tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, light coffee, greens, burnt wheat, and topsoil. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, soil, bad rice (not entirely certain what this means, but that's what entered into my mind), broccoli, gravy, greens, coffee, and a sprinkling of cabbage. I gotta tell ya, I have no idea what's going on on my tongue here, but I know I don't like it. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, I was not a fan of this stout at all. Not sure what I was tasting, judging by the other reviews, but whatever it was did not sit well with me. Clearly.

 961 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.47/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance : Pitch black, but comes out looking like Coke in appearance. The head pours 1/2 finger but fizzles and disappears almost immediately. No measurable head to speak of, in fact it looks like a flat soda. Opacity is 90%.

Smell : Dark, syrupy porter smells; lots of sticky anise and licorice. Some sweet sappy malt mixture. Mostly just a very syrupy, sweet, sachharine smell. No detection of hops whatsoever.

Taste : Actually rather sweet for a stout. Those semi-sweet licorice and sugary anise flavors come out immediately, with roasted malts, light smoke (almost smoked meat like a rauchbier) and a touch of hop to offset the sweetness. It's still largely malty, saccharine, and pasty/sugary though. It's for sure not balanced at all, but it's drinkable.

Feel : Medium bodied but too light for a stout, moderate carbonation, a dry and pasty finish.

Overall : A mix between a light bodied stout and a Rauchbier. It tastes overall like an anise cola, which leads to some glaring flaws. It's very out of the box , but if you like sweet stouts, maybe this is your kind of thing. I know I won't be having it again anytime soon.

 1,137 characters

Photo of bpkrippner
3.98/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Doeden23
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Pintofbrown
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I brought along a glass mug as I trawled the river for some Gumbo.

Appearance- The beer pours a dark brown, cola color, and has just a few slivers of dark brown highlights in the black body. The foam is airy and ecru colored, the froth dying quickly to a ring.

Smell- There is some caramel and toffee character, but with a hint of roast that intimates acidity. As for the Belgian complexity, it comes off light and with a peanut buttery and earthy sense.

Taste- Roast up front with a little chocolate that is hit on the back end with a load of sweet earthiness. Again, that combo of roast and Belgian earthiness gives the stout an almost peanut buttery flavor that I find enjoyable, as it is not too cloying.

Toffee and caramel are pretty much gone by the time the beer is on the palate. There may be just the slightest bit of toffee near the back end, but the earthiness and acidic roast really steal the show in this beer.

Mouth feel- This one is creamier rather than slick, giving the beer a solid medium body. The roasted quality makes the beer pretty dry, and lets the earthy finish hang on for a long time.

Overall- A solid stout all around, Peace Tree can't be bothered to stop using the Belgian yeast, and in this beer I say it works rather well. It does add some nice complexity to the palate and nose. Not letting this one get overly sweet is the right move.

 1,378 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
3.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fairly black in color with a tan head of little stick. Not much character.

The aroma is charred, with notes of herbals hops and roasted malts. Decent here but I expect more power.

The flavor is similarly charred up front, and slightly watery on the back end. I could do with a much heftier chunk of malt. Metallic tasting in the finish, fairly hard to drink with this aftertaste.

The Belgian yeast strain does little to alter the course of lightweight malt bill and insufficient hopping. While perhaps interesting and somewhat different from your usual american stout, this one is not ready for the big time.

 614 characters

Photo of djohnse
3.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Right after the pour a very thick, dark tan head but fades away fairly quickly forming a ring along the glass. Very dark color, held up to the light can barely have the beer lighten up.

Smell - Things are coming alive in the midwest, therefore allergies have made me lose my sense of smell so I just used the average that I saw for other reviewers.

Taste - Light toffee up front, little bit of caramel with a finish of the roasted malts. Pretty good balance but the flavors could be a bit stronger.

Mouthfeel - Very light on the tongue, feels thin as I'm drinking it. Doesn't leave much of a coating on my tongue or the rest of my mouth.

Overall - Got this on recommendation for making Stout floats and it balanced nicely with the vanilla ice cream, on it's own its a decent stout but doesn't make me want to go running to the store for more.

 859 characters

Photo of AmericanGothic
3.47/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

A: Nice, deep copper brown. Not much head, no lace. But the color is good.

S: Good roasted malt aromas, a bit of coffee in the mix.

T: Some nice flavors here-- coffee, unsweetened chocolate, roasted malt, a hint of caramel. A little smoke emerges as the beer warms.

M: The carbonation helps keep the roasted flavors up front. Feels a bit velvety, with a lingering finish.

D: Very drinkable. A bit austere, but given the option, I would have a second.

This particular bottle that I'm brewing seems a bit undercarbonated. I remember a bottle from a few weeks ago where the cap didn't seem tight. That said, the beer doesn't seem at all stale, and despite the modest head, there's still plenty of carbonation in the mouthfeel. I will update this if another bottle seems obviously different, or if I can find it on tap. A nice brew and one I will buy again-- the roast flavors keep me wanting more.

 924 characters

Photo of Whiskeydeez
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Vdubb86
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint glass

Thanks to GraniteSkunk for this random Iowa beer

This beer pours a dark blackening-brown with a nice beige head on the surface. The smell is interesting to say the least. There is a woodsy caramel smell to the beer. The taste is more intense on the woodsy properties, but it's backed up by a really mineral almost iron like after taste. The mouthfeel is really watery to the point where it almost seems like dirty tap water. This is drinkable, but I don't know if it's on my recommendation list for the state of Iowa.

 561 characters

Photo of Herky21
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%

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Black River Gumbo Stout from Peace Tree Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.46 out of 5 with 39 ratings
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