High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout
Lagunitas Brewing Company

High West-ified Imperial Coffee StoutHigh West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - American Imperial
4.39 | pDev: 6.38%
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
High West-ified Imperial Coffee StoutHigh West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout
Notes: 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!
Reviews: 377 | Ratings: 2,028 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Meow49:
Photo of Meow49
Meow49 from Washington

5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is, perhaps, the best beer deal in the known Universe, at about $2 a bottle. Huge (but smooth) flavors of nutty (walnut and almond) coffee, bitter chocolate, dried brown fruit, and big rye barrel with more subtle bourbon underpinnings. Lovely dry finish of very long duration. I only wish this was available year round.

Feb 20, 2017
More User Reviews:
Photo of manfromanotherplace
manfromanotherplace from New York

4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
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!

Dec 07, 2016
Photo of jroberts8811
jroberts8811 from Missouri

3.59/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

Mar 12, 2015
Photo of Bosoxfan20
Bosoxfan20 from Missouri

3.32/5  rDev -24.4%
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:(

Mar 11, 2015
Photo of Mavidpark
Mavidpark from California

4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Mar 26, 2015
Photo of joe1510
joe1510 from Illinois

4.26/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz Bomber

2015 Bottling

Huge thanks to Kevin for this surprise! Thanks, dude! It's a black beer, of course. It looks black, and aggressive, and bold. A couple glugs from the glass brings forth a fingers worth of silky mocha head. The head slowly fades to a skimming but it leaves behind some purty foam in its wake. This is a nice looking beverage.

Oh, man. The nose is what's up. Balanced caramel, oak, marshmallow, and pecan from the barrel gets it moving. Roast and coffee make up the malt base. There is still a whisper of floral hoppiness lingering about. Fudge and dark chocolate make up the rest. This stuff is mouthwatering. It gets the salivary glands working.

The flavor follows suit. It's roasty and coffee forward off the bat, perfectly in balance. The barrel is of the utmost complimentary. It's drizzled with caramel. There are hints of marshmallow, oak, a pecan nuttiness, and vanilla. That barrel presence hugs the base but never exceeds it, which is as it should be. Fudgey dark chocolate, gooey, has it's place. This is a well made beverage. It's bold yet balanced with a great amount of depth.

I dig the mouthfeel as well. It leans more toward full than moderate but it's not a mouthful. The body is soft and plush, very worthy of a Russian who's Czar-ish. It still has enough bubbles to keep the beer from being sluggish. There's a touch of booze heat but it's clean and appropriate. This beer is a sipper but it's easy to sip, comrade.

High West brews up some good whiskey. Lagunitas brews up some good beer. This is a Tinder match made to be. A very well made imperial stout gets put into very well made barrels that used to house very well made whiskey and it was overlooked by folks that understand that barrel shouldn't be the main component in a beer, but rather complimentary. This beer is fudgy and delicious. The coffee is still present but it's more chocolate and roast forward now. The, barrel, compliments an already delicious beer. This is some high quality.

Mar 24, 2018
Photo of Scott17Taylor
Scott17Taylor from Iowa

4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Dec 17, 2016
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Apr 25, 2015
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.4/5  rDev -22.6%
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.


Dec 03, 2016
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken from New York

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Apr 26, 2015
Photo of Bluecrow
Bluecrow from New York

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
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).

Dec 24, 2016
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
RBassSFHOPit2ME from California

3.74/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

Apr 11, 2015
Photo of cokes
cokes from Wisconsin

4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Mar 19, 2015
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan from New York

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

as usual, Lagunitas making beer geeks feel the fool for the price point we pay for the beer we get. this barrel aged coffee stout would take down any hype monster in a blind tasting. think I might hit the stores tomorrow to snag a 6er despite not wanting to get more beer. yeah, THAT good

Feb 04, 2017
Photo of Lukass
Lukass from Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
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

Mar 01, 2017
Photo of KillerJigger
KillerJigger from Iowa

4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick lick oil. Quarter inch light mocha head that fades. Smells of oak and rye whiskey. Great oak and roasted notes. Boozy snap to it that is well balanced. Amazing job.

Dec 14, 2016
Photo of Damian
Damian from Massachusetts

3.76/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 1 pint 6 fluid oz bottle purchased at Liquor World, Cambridge, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a dark brown/black but rather thin for the style. A tight, frothy, one-finger tall, cappuccino colored crown topped the shimmery liquid. Drippy streaks of lacing coated the glass. The head faded to thick, bubbly, lasting ring.

The aroma was rich and robust and consisted of an equal mix of roasted malts, dark roast coffee and bourbon. Slightly sweet. Brown sugar was noticeable. Some caramel, burnt sugar and molasses came through as well. Interesting overall, but not as intense as I was hoping it would be, especially with regard to the coffee. As the beer warmed, the aroma really intensified. Powdered cocoa came forth. Very mocha-like. Loads of vanilla as well.

The flavor profile was super roasty and hot. Deep, dark, roasted malts and French roast coffee came through strong. There was a much stronger coffee presence here than in the aroma. Loads of roast and char. Touch of brown sugar. The beer finished with an intense, whiskey-like kick and lingering ashy notes. Slightly acrid. Earthy hops trailed in the aftertaste.

The body was quite thin for the style, yet the liquid was surprisingly frothy and fluffy. Pillowy soft on the palate. The beer contained a super fine, moderate effervescence.

High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout tastes much more raw and unrefined than I typically like an imperial stout to be. Some aging might mellow the alcohol sharpness, but it will likely subdue the coffee notes as well. Fans of rye whiskey should perhaps give this a try, especially at its price point. For others, however, I would recommend passing on it.

May 14, 2015
Photo of impending
impending from California

4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

have never let cost weigh when evaluating
however, with this I couldn't resist
absolutely unequivocally the best value barrel aged brew ever

May 31, 2015
Photo of brureview
brureview from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a brown- black color with a 2F head in a Moa snifter.

Aroma is not as strong as expected- but quite good. Coffee, chocolate, oak.

The taste is excellent. Very strong coffee, with a rye finish, which is quite sharp.
The body of the beer is lighter which contrasts with the finish.

Overall, an excellent IS. I would have preferred a stronger aroma, which is dominated at first by oak. With warming, stronger chocolate and coffee are more pronounced.

This is a better beer at warmer temps.

May 15, 2015
Photo of Tdizzle
Tdizzle from California

4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Dec 20, 2016
Photo of bound4er
bound4er from Wisconsin

4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From a 12 oz single. Pours to a nearly black appearance with a dark tan head of two fingers. Smells of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, cocoa and pitted fruit. Taste mirrors the nose with creamy vanilla, coffee, roasted malt. Finishes with a touch of whisky and hop bitterness to clean things up and limited any lingering sweetness. Thick and chewy mouthfeel. This is a damn good offering from Lagunitas. It's amazing that they can churn out such a great BA beer on a national scale. Wish I would have been able to find more than a single.

Jan 29, 2017
Photo of superspak
superspak from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/12/2015. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, vanilla, rye whiskey, toasted oak, light char, and roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, coffee, and rye whiskey barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, vanilla, rye whiskey, toasted oak, light char, and roast/oak earthiness. Fair amount of roasted coffee bitterness and rye whiskey/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, vanilla, rye whiskey, toasted oak, light char, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, coffee, and rye whiskey barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and slightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a light-moderate warming lingering after the finish with a slight amount of whiskey booziness present as well. Overall this is an awesome Barrel aged imperial coffee stout. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt, coffee, and rye whiskey barrel flavors; and quite smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Apr 11, 2015
Photo of ScaryEd
ScaryEd from New Hampshire

4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Mar 03, 2017
Photo of champ103
champ103 from Texas

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a nearly opaque black color. A massive silky, but dense tan head rises with excellent retention and some of the best looking lace I have seen left in its wake.
S: Baked bread, wood, vanilla all intermingle. I find the barrels here very distinct, not that I could tell what brand they are, but certainly that this is not a typical Bourbon barrel, or at least that is what I have told myself. That baked bread and wood lasts forever.
T: Again, that wonderful baked bread character, wood, vanilla, coffee, bitter chocolate, black licorice. Everything intermingles perfectly here with more nuances that come out not in the nose. As the coffee and chocolate flavors become very deep and rich.
M/O: A big body of coarse. Though not overly viscous which can be a detriment to many barrel aged imperial stouts. Here, there is good carbonation but ultra smooth and silky without a touch of heavy handedness. A big and slow sipper for sure but I keep getting drawn into to take more sips. Really enjoyable to say the least.

A fantastic and nuanced barrel aged imperial stout. Everything is in great balance. Probably the best of its kind I have had in a while that gets wide distribution, and puts to shame some others that takes lots of effort to track down with tons of hype. Really impressed here, well done all around.

Apr 16, 2017
Photo of Sparty1224
Sparty1224 from Michigan

4.74/5  rDev +8%
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.

May 12, 2015
High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 2028 ratings