High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout | Lagunitas Brewing Company

High West-ified Imperial Coffee StoutHigh West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout
BA SCORE
4.38/5
1,968 Ratings
High West-ified Imperial Coffee StoutHigh West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
lagunitas.com

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly ScareCity #3: High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout

Up until this brew, none of Lagunitas’ barrel-aged adventures ever made it to shelves. They’ve been super-limited draft-only releases. This time we’ve made enough to actually bottle some … The 100% barrel-aged 2015 High West-ified Coffee Stout. Ale brewed with Coffee from our friends at Petaluma Coffee & Tea, then aged in Rye Whiskey barrels from our friends at High West Distillery in Park City, Utah … barrels that held High West’s Double Rye and American Prairie Bourbon, to be exact. Cheers!

Added by jhartley on 12-24-2014

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#288
Reviews:
351
Ratings:
1,968
pDev:
6.39%
Bros Score:
4.06
 
 
Wants:
197
Gots:
486
Trade:
57
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,968 |  Reviews: 351
Reviews by Lukass:
Photo of Lukass
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Picked 4 of these up at the Tap on Ponce in Atlanta, GA. SO glad I came across these, its been on my wants for quite a while. What else is there to say that hasn't been said before... just an excellent BA imperial stout and the coffee takes it to new heights. Right up there with KBS in my opinion and for 1/3 of the price

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More User Reviews:
Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fortunately barrel aged stouts are my thing, so im not going to be one of the idiots who writes "i dont like stouts" and then give it a poor rating.

Its most similar to KBS, is it on that level?no. But its still a very, very impressive ba stout.very boozy and could probably benefit from a sit down in my closet for a while, but at $14 a six pack this is outrageously good value. Do not miss this. Im now just off to give some beer styles i dont like poor ratings!cheers!

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.32/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Interesting aroma of raspberries and dark cherries. Not much of the coffee I got with the non barrel version. Goes down fairly smooth. Flavors combine sweet and bitter notes, but the coffee simply doesn't stand up to the barrel. Dark fruits again. Some heat from the rye whiskey. Overall, I expected more and I'm a little sad:(

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Photo of Mavidpark
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Best bang for the buck barrel aged stout. EVER. Lagunitas does it again.

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Photo of jroberts8811
3.59/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm so disappointed in this. Coffee is subtle, missing vanilla, caramel notes. Needed more time in the batrel and a more sturdy base.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.74/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The two best things this beer does well is hides the ABV completely, and it's price point. It's easy to let that $8.99 sway ratings some.

Otherwise, there's no real body in comparison to the heavy hitters and overly discussed counterparts of this same style. The bourbon component is almost watery. In both the nose & the taste. Not sure if that's due to the barrels or a shorter amount of time in the barrels, or due to the base beer. Also a bit scratchy and ashy. Almost prickly. Possibly due to the rye, the coffee, or both. Vanilla stands out nicely however with everything else going on with it. Nothing too silky or smooth about this one however...

Strange. Because the last time I had their Cappuccino Stout aged in Rye Bourbon at the source in Petaluma, I couldn't get enough. Not the same beer obviously but I guess my expectations were a little too high. If BCBCS & KBS is the epitome of the style, I'm baffled why this keeps an average above 4 for the style minus the great value. SN Maple Stout is everything this beer aspires to be. I say that because everything I feel this beer is missing is in that beer...

Wish I would have spent a bit more and grabbed another Parabola.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: black body of ale kicked up but a slim film after a center-pour into a snifter

S: rich coffee aromas accentuated by wisps of whiskey and wood; subtle roasted malt and vanilla woven within

T: immediate sweet whiskey coffee, molasses and vanilla; underscored by bittersweet roasted chocolate malts and aired out by gentle woods

M: medium-bodied, subdued carbonation, smooth and slick, slight drying on the finish, vapors of whiskey

O: a top-tier entry into the BBA stout field - and far more affordable than many others of its kin - gotta grab one if you spot it.

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Photo of jlindros
4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to rudzud for sharing his bottle so I could save mine.

Decent creamy dark smaller head, pitch black with decent legs.

Nose nice roasty malts, dark malts, little cocoa, little fluffy fudgey cocoa, nice caramel, some vanilla oak, nice buttery oak, little bourbon note, even a hint of fluffy nougat.

Taste brings mild roast, lots of bitter cocoa and little char, nice coffee notes, earthy coffee, fluffy nougat, caramel, etc. Nice vanilla with touch of buttery oak, decent barrel but not a ton, little bourbon notes. touch of biscuit wafer cookie. Finish is little bitter, more wafer cookie and caramel, faint vanilla barrel, toffee, etc.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, nice carb booze is hidden well, decent creamy.

Overall nice but not phenomenal, really wish the barrel came through more.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Currently #231 in the Top 250 list. I nabbed a sixer at a Whole Paycheck in Manhattan for $15.00. Initial impressions below:

"2016 OneHitter Series High West-Ified Imperial Coffee Stout." "Aged in High West(TM) Rye Barrels."

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass. Standard Lagunitas label design. Iconic branded green pry-off crown cap.

12.20% ABV.

APPEARANCE: Head is ~5-6cm in height and of khaki/pale tan colour. Head could be richer, more robust, and better coloured (a gilded rich tan with a shining complexion would be a step up). Somewhat creamy, somewhat soft. There's room for improvement there. Uneven lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body is predictably an opaque black.

True to style, but not unique or special. The head retention (~5 minutes) is pretty good considering the high ABV.

AROMA: Bourbon isn't shy in this aroma. Vanilla (vanillin) jumps out along with oak. No toasted coconut or rich white oak, but the bourbon is present - and that's sadly more than I can say about many bourbon barrel aged beers. On the other hand, rye whiskey has a signature spiciness to it, but frankly that doesn't come through aromatically.

The base beer seems standard judging by the aroma...some dark malt sweetness, some specialty chocolate malts, faint roasted barley maybe...I honestly wouldn't figure this for a coffee stout in a blind tasting (smelling?). There's just no coffee aroma whatsoever.

While both barrel and base leave much to be desired in terms of complexity and vividness aromatically, I'm hopeful the taste will deliver a bit more. Aromatic intensity is somewhat low for a bourbon barrel aged coffee stout, but there's nothing off (no off-notes, no booze, no overt hoppy or yeasty notes). Suggests a simple but balanced basic bourbon barrel stout that wants for the rye whiskey and coffee it's advertised as containing.

TASTE & TEXTURE: A bit silky, with a nice softness and almost perfect carbonation to it. Full-bodied yet smooth and wet, never feeling too heavy or overbearing on the palate. Not syrupy or sticky, to its credit, but also not gooey (which would play to the bourbon a bit more).

There's some acidity on the finish, which is - frankly - the only evidence I find of coffee at all. The power of suggestion is strong, but as much as I search for coffee - even generic shallow coffee flavour - I just don't find it. There's a bit of roasted barley and that aforementioned acidity, but I wouldn't conflate that and true coffee. In a beer purported to be amongst the best 250 in the world, I'd expect not only present coffee, but rich roasty java with identifiable richness and flavour; that just plain isn't the case here.

The base beer is pretty generic, to be honest. Dark malt sweetness, chocolate malts, a hint of vanilla (or maybe that's just the oak-derived vanillin from the bourbon barrel).

Speaking of the barrel character - it's well integrated. Almost seamlessly so. But it's also reticent, lacking the vivid expressive notes that make it impressive when a bourbon barrel flavour melts into a base beer. Lagunitas plays it close to the cuff, throwing out some oak and vanillin but not going for rich toasted coconut or toasted white oak or barrel char or the like. And as for the rye whiskey? This is bourbon through and through; I find none of rye whiskey's signature spiciness, and I'd be surprised if educated drinkers could find it consistently in a blind tasting.

Like the aroma, the flavour is wanting in terms of intricacy, subtlety, depth, and vividness. The base beer seems a bit basic, but it's well balanced, and the barrel character is reticent. I don't need huge bold flavours in an imperial stout, but one does expect a bit more than this offers. It lacks the complexity of even the best non-barrel aged imperial stouts and porters, and one wonders who would reach for this when it's on the same shelf as the likes of Ballast Point's Victory At Sea, Victory's Storm King, or even North Coast's Old Rasputin. Sure, this has balance to offer, but the limb can't snap if you don't go out on it.

OVERALL: A competent bourbon/whiskey barrel aged stout from Lagunitas, but I honestly hoped for better. Stouts have never been Lagunitas' strong suit, and this is no exception - though it is the best "dark beer" they've done, by my estimation. Well worth trying and I'll happily finish the 6 pack, but where's the coffee? Where's the whiskey? $15 a sixer is pretty good for a barrel aged stout, but I'd take many regular imperial stouts over this. Surprisingly simplistic.

The vanillin is the standout, shallow though it is. And hot damn is that ABV dangerously well-hidden.

High B- (3.45) / WORTHY

***
12.05.16 2nd impression:

The coffee is there, the bourbon/whiskey less so. Indeed, the barrel character is quite wanting. For the price, this is pretty good stuff, and I'm glad Lagunitas didn't go the 22oz cash-grab format route. But it's not dazzling.

B- / WORTHY

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Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ok, I'll admit I'm elevating a little bit because of the price, but this beer really is killer.
It pours thick and black with a small beige head that dissipated quicker than I'd like. The aroma is very rye whiskey forward with some vanilla, coffee, dark fruit, and a little cocoa.
The flavor is absolutely insane, you get coffee first and foremost followed by a very nice rich sweetness that is between dark fruit, molasses and chocolate. The rye whiskey comes through with a very nice spiciness and booziness on the finish.
Very rich mouthfeel with light carbonation that doesn't really play much.
Overall, this is an incredible BA stout that comes out to $2 a bottle, buy as much as you can get your hands on. I only bought 2 6 packs and I'm regretting not buying a full case.

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Photo of Bluecrow
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

-nearly opaque dark brown with a wisp of tan foam; aromas of bourbon and a touch of anise. Richly flavored stout with pervasive whiskey flavors, but No heat! Finish is a bit slick, but very pleasant too. I appreciate that this is "findable"
(two drops in my region).

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Photo of Jason
4.06/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber, sample from the brewery.

Dark and inviting with a beautiful lacing. Sweet, oaky, and boozy to start. Loads of roasted flavors of coffee, burnt toast, & dark chocolate with hints of vanilla and dark berries. A true sipper and very easy to drink as there is a lot of balance even with the barrel aged character.

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Photo of cokes
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark, dark brown. You'd probably call this black if it was a crayon because you generally don't try to tease gradients of color out of a crayon by holding it up to a light source. But here, it's less dark than black, and browner. The khaki head is low-slung, large-bubbled and shows impressive staying power, and it laces the glass up pretty well considering its potency.

The nose is a maple-coconut-black cherry-char quadrilateral of barrel notes, underpinned with treacle, plum, and a dash of soy sauce. Coffee enhances and augments the roast and char notes.

It should be noted that I am a rabid fan of High West's lineup of ryes. I'm also not so much of an asshole to tell you that I could detect the brand in the barrel aging, though the tamed spiciness of the rye shows through.

It lays a thick foundation of molten tootsie rolls across the tongue. Ensued by wetter, fudgier,chocolate notions. Fruits appear midway, brandy soaked raisins, dates, and plums. It migrates through carob,chicory,and toasted coconut. Woodier late as the barrel shows up. As does the rye whiskey it contained. Tempered, but still carrying a spicy, fiery,maple and brown sugar and black cherry and menthol and mint and clove and peppered char heat. The coffee is most apparent in an immediately post-swallow espresso astringent bitterness, bolstered by a bit of ethanol wrath, though congruent in the overall maelstrom. It's just a touch rough on the finish, but, honestly, that's kind of why I like rye. Lingering chocolate, pepper, and molasses, as the booze quotient ebbs.

Thickly palette coating, sparked by a trickling, yet ever-steady roil of carbonation. This veers well away from becoming super sticky or soupy, despite its girth and strength.

This deserves mention alongside most of its peers that attract crowds when they become available. It's also nice that it won't make a person skip a mortgage payment to secure a few bottles. I'm already wishing I had bought more.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.93/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

L: Pours out dark brown, but is pitch black in the glass. The head is frothy, dark brown, and slightly creamy, with surprisingly long retention for the abv, but it eventually dies down into a thin tan ring. The lacing is also pretty solid.

S: Whiskey, charred oak, dark chocolate, chocolate syrup--the coffee is subtle, but there is a general sense of roastiness--burnt raisins, figs, and plums, and a bit of caramel and butterscotch.

T: Rich, gooey chocolate for days. Dark chocolate, bitter cacao, and chocolate syrup. Slight dark roasted coffee/espresso. Then the whiskey, oak, and booze cut through the chocolate. Toasted coconut, vanilla, butterscotch, caramel. The oak tannins and vanilla barrel character dry the beer out on the finish. The dark fruits are less present than on the aroma, but there is an undertone of burnt raisin and plum. It is warm going down and you can feel the warmth in the stomach, but the dry finish makes this drink dangerously easy.

F: Medium-bodied. A bit thin, but it drinks very easily. Dries out very nicely on the finish.

O: One of the best barrel aged beers I've ever had! Goes toe-to-toe with BCBS in my honest opinion.

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Photo of emerge077
3.89/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with little fanfare, dark brownish black color. No lace, very little foam, just a brief puff of foam when poured.

Aroma of autolysed yeast, faint woodiness, round malt toastiness, whiskey. No coffee or subtlety, but it's decent.

Taste is pretty good, raisin, wet wood, coffee, whiskey, roast malt lingering in the aftertaste. Body is unfortunately thin and the feel is hot. Would rather drink whiskey with a coffee stout chaser. This is an off kilter marriage that doesn't quite coalesce. Flavors are good, the body and aroma just aren't quite matching up. Overall its worth a try, not worth going out of your way.

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Photo of imbibehour
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Real nice looker of a stout. Pours nice and thick with a jet sheen of dark walnut brown and nearly black. Reddish tinge when held to light and a bit of see through color just a little at the head. Head is gorgeous with a creamy two finger appearance and some good staying power. Settles to some thin web lacing, a thick collar, and a good whispy cloudy top. Head color is real unique light espresso tan but also with a real faint hint of orange to it, it seems. Very great looking beer.

A classic stout nose comes with hints of subtlety. Light notes of dark chocolate and a powdery roast grain but not too dry, and gets into a cocoa quality. Biscuit wafer and a bit of ripped coffee bean but everything seems a little sly, a little hinted, just very subtle but not completely obvious either. There's a sense of sweet chewy notes on this of grain that hint of some real good palate perhaps coming.

Palate just rings with excellent quality. Silky and rich thick mouthfeel brings a wash of dark chocolate and mellow sweetness. Soft coffee cake finish, mellow bitterness of coffee and just thick dark chocolate powder. Rich body, a hint of a little bit of woody oak just ever slightly which just finally reminds me this is actually oak aged. Spicy finish as well almost prickly/splintery wood which goes so well with all the other flavors. After some time fruit aromas really open up with a great roasty grain and char, with the spiced finish really getting accented but balanced out by sweet dark chocolate.

Excellent taker to the coffee imperial realm of barrel aging, wonderful balance too. Great job here.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin brown head that dissipates to a ring around the glass with light lacing. Nice aroma of dark chocolate, toasted malt, light coffee, whiskey, inviting. Flavor starts with strong bourbon and dark malt, but quickly settles into a smooth chocolate, dark toasted malt and coffee blend, with hints of vanilla and complex whiskey and bourbon flavors. Nice creamy medium body with peppery carbonation. A very well integrated complex stout. Start is a touch boozy with bourbon, but the base flavor is beautifully balanced, with malt, coffee and chocolate all present, but none really dominating. Good blend of barrel flavors. The body and deep malts really combine well. The only unbalanced part of this stout is the active carbonation slightly conflicts with the creamy smoothness of the mouth feel. But that's a tiny issue when balanced off the fact that many barrel aged beer are rather flat from the barreling. This was very nicely done and flavorful. Coffee, stout and bourbon go together perfectly and this is a good example. Way to go Lagunitas. Glad this is limited and hard to find, else I'd never sleep again.

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Photo of ScaryEd
4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a finger of khaki head. The head settles into a ring around the beer, leaving a few splotches of lace.

The aroma on this beer is underappreciated, like Joey Fatone. It's roasty with tons of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and a tingle of booze on the back end. It's sweet smelling, but not overpowering. Also like Joey Fatone.

The taste is underappreciated as well, like Lance Bass. Coffee, whiskey and chocolate, followed by dark roasted malts. It's not the most complex flavor but it makes me moist. Like Lance B....nevermind.

The feel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Creamy and smooth. A bit chewy. Has some warming from the alcohol but I mean this beer is 12.2% so honestly what the hell do you expect?

Overall, a beast of a stout that's flavorful as hell and stupidly fair-priced. So glad I got to try this finally.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on November 18th, 2016.

L - High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout pours deep, dark brown with a frothy head of tan foam that gradually settles to a velvety film atop the beer. A thick ring of foam sticks around for the duration of the drink down, leaving some swaths of lacing clinging to the glass.

S - Aromas of creamy milk chocolate and smooth coffee leap from the glass. The barrel character is prevalent throughout, and the spicy quality of the rye comes through as the beer warms. The 12.2% ABV is remarkably well hidden.

T - Heavy, slightly acidic roast of the coffee and malt variety hits the palate first, immediately giving way to the rich chocolate character that the aroma promised. The third wave brings an intense barrel tannin. The finish is surprisingly dry, though not overly so. It's also slightly bitter, leaving behind remnants of coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and barrel.

F - Thick, viscous, rich, a tad syrupy, and velvety smooth on the palate. Dry on the finish, which is a nice contrast.

O - One of the best barrel-aged beers I've had in a long time. A California barrel-aged offering that isn't just a brown sugar and bourbon bomb. This is a must try for anyone who is a fan of stouts, coffee, or whiskey.

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Photo of pda22
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lagunitas knocks it out of the park again. This beer looks fantastic and tastes even better. Strong coffee flavor and delicious bourbon notes. I can't get enough.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Was so looking forward to trying this one! Glad that a friend found this for me as I couldn't find it myself. Look: pours brownish-clay color. Big, rising cappuccino foam head. Comes down pretty quick. Smell: amazing. I could smell this all day. Lightly sweetened coffee, rye whiskey, caramel, cocoa, raisin. Taste: bitter bite of hops and coffee, with the rye spice coming through. Malt sweetness is there, but it doesn't impart overly sweet notes - this isn't a sweeter stout such as BA narwhal or BCBS. This is a bit more balanced, akin to parabola. Love that. You MUST let this warm up, def. don't drink it cold, you won't do it justice. Feel: a little thin for a stout. Not the heavy, creamy, viscous feel that I enjoy on others. Good enough though. Overall: enjoying the crap out of this. Bravo Lagunitas! Proud to have this representing norcal.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage
~1 month from bottling date

Appearance- Pours a black color, opaque. Half finger thick, medium tan colored head, creamy and frothy thick. Tons of spotty head lacing on glass, moderate coating of alcohol legs.

Aroma- Coffee beans, spicy and rich espresso. Chocolates, sweet caramel, vanilla, nuttiness. Spicy roasty notes, oak, mild whiskey, barrel char.

Taste- Rich roastiness, spicy espresso beans, mocha type sweetness. Dark chocolates, chocolate syrup, caramel, lingering vanilla sweetness. Touches of oak, spice, and whiskey notes.

Feel- Medium bodied, creamy but not overly thick. Moderate carbonation, silky smooth texture.

Overall- Coffee flavors are right upfront with lots of richness and spiciness, and pairs well with the sweetness that follows. Barrel characteristics add a lot of vanilla, and a spicy whiskey type finish. Very well balanced beer and delivers on both the coffee and barrel aging.

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Photo of MFMB
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep black with a thick dark brown head. Nose is of whiskey, coffee roasted malts and light chocolate. Taste of roasted malt, whiskey, vanilla, light caramel, chocolate and coffee. Not a lot of barrel but enough. A lot gone on and it is done perfectly ! It is very smooth and mellow (in a good way) honestly and I'm just saying but I'd rather have this than BCBS so there is that. I'm full on the High West-Ified hype train! This is a very good quality brew that you need to seek

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Photo of gshak
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

First time having this, so having high expectations based on what I've heard. Thanks to a kindBA'er (BRENT212), I was able to snag a 6-pack at 11:00 pm at ISO Beers in San Jose, on a rainy night.
From a 12 oz bottle at refrigerator temperature into a whiskey glass.

A - The beer itself is pitch-black, with a half-finger's width of mocha-colored head that receded into a thin ring, but lasted the whole drinking course.
S - The aroma is very muted, possibly because the beer is yet to warm up. Doesn't really smell of anything at this point, but I'll go ahead and give it a 3.75. Perhaps as it warms up, I will get to revise this score.
T - Boy, oh boy, this has got to be one of the most balanced brews that I've ever had the pleasure of sipping, and this is fresh to boot! Whatever I may have missed in aroma, the taste definitely showcases what this beer is all about. Opens sweet, with dark roasted malts, bitter cocoa, a shot of espresso, vanilla, lactose, with the barrel notes only expressed towards the end. Mild oakiness, with a rye spiciness is noted. All the flavors are in perfect harmony, none trying to overpower the other. This puppy needs no aging.
M - Soft and smooth like liquid silk. The soft carbonation is just perfect, and yields the full mouthfeel that this beer deserves.
O - One of the best beers I've had to-date this year, and mind you that list includes KBS, Backwoods Bastard, BCBS, Parabola, FW XVIII and so many more.

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving: 22 oz. bomber poured into a snifter. Bottled on 2/12/15, making this exactly 3 months old.

A: Pours a slick, dark black with a nice frothy mocha head that sticks around. Surprising amount of bubbles/carbonation for this 12% ABV beer.

S: Lots of wet bourbon up front, very fresh whiskey notes. After that, waves of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, coconut. The aroma may not be very deep, but it is huge, balanced and rich with interplay between the whiskey, coffee and chocolate.

T: Very rich coffee and chocolate up front. Coffee is a nice bright blend with lots of fruit and acidity. Lots of bitter dark chocolate mixed in. In the middle you get waves of vanilla, oak, whiskey, char, coconut. Finish is all whiskey. Very wet and fresh barrels, but not too boozy at all. All together the flavor is very sweet and rich and decadent, almost like a dessert.

M: Full and rich. Not completely motor oil thick, but close. Nice amount of carbonation to add to the fullness. 12% ABV is hidden quite well here. Great balance, as not one flavor is too dominating. It all comes together so nicely.

O: Wow, wow, wow. This beer is great. And not in the sense that it's the #1 beer of all-time, but rather it's unbelievable how cheap and available it is and how it really came out of nowhere. It's the first bottled BA beer from Lagunitas, but you'd think they'd done it for a million years already. I keep hearing about this SMS vs. KBS battle, but I don't get SMS in my Chicago distro. And frankly, I don't care, because this here is your KBS killer. I've had both 2014 and 2015 KBS recently, and Hi-West blows them both out of the water. On mouthfeel alone, I'd say this wins as this is way more rich, thick and decadent. But it's the surprising aroma and flavor that even has KBS beat this year. There is so much more depth here, more balance. The coffee is way up front and the chocolate is there as well. It's rich, sweet and delicious, and I just keep going sip after sip because it's so tasty. KBS has a very bitter, abrasive and unbalanced boozy feel this year. Hi-west is just much, much improved. Was 2012 KBS the better beer? Probably. But right here, right now, Hi-West is your winner.

Recommendation: Never seen a bigger slam dunk in my life. 8.99 a bomber with just cases and cases sitting on the floor? For a beer that I think is better than KBS in 2015? Please, please just go out and buy it. And if it's gone by now, trade for it, as it shouldn't take much.

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High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 1,968 ratings
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