High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,952 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
Ratings:
1,952
Reviews:
346
Avg:
4.38
pDev:
6.39%
 
 
Wants:
195
Gots:
486
For Trade:
58
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,952 |  Reviews: 346
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of acurtis
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Texasfan549
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kylehay2004
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jaydoc
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage. 12% ABV per the label.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, fudge, earth, char, wood, and slight rye whiskey aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, brownie batter, char, earth, and slight rye whiskey and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a fantastic mix of chocolate and rye whiskey characteristics all around that only get better as the beer warms up.

Serving type: bottle.

 798 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of spycow
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kjkinsey
4.24/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of djrn2
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Knapp85
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out as a black color with a thin tan head on top. The smell of the beer is pretty nice, some coffee and bourbon notes with some chocolate in there too. The taste has quite a bit of bourbon flavors in this one, some chocolate and vanilla with some definite coffee in there too. The feel is smooth. Overall it's a pretty killer stout.

 339 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.04/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.7/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of metter98
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a finger high dense dark tan head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: Moderate aromas of bourbon are present in the nose.
T: The taste has strong flavors of whiskey and bourbon along with notes of coffee and dark malts. Faint bits of alcohol are perceptible.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warmth from the bourbon.
O: This beer is all about the rye whiskey barrels, but is quite drinkable considering its strength. It is a nice beer to sip and savor.

Serving type: bottle

 617 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On thur curtails of Founders KBS and Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Brand Stout, craft beer aficionados seem to loose all composure and fall all over themselves for a mere sip of the sultry bourbon-barrel, coffee-aged imperial-dark tipple. And any brewers worth their weight in malt come to answer the demand.

Lagunitas High-Westified is one of those beers. It opens with a creamy and somewhat silky viscosity. Richly textured like milkshake, a creamy whipped froth adorns the crown while aromas of dark chocolate and light whisky swirl about. Then to taste, a majestic robust sweetness graces the tongue with a host of burnt sugars.

And as those deeply seared caramel and toffee flavors saturate the palate, its bittersweet chocolate and smooth espresso dominance simply slather on the tastebuds like after dinner aperitif. Candied almond and vanilla round out the taste as its warm finish is accompanied with coffee-like bitterness, peppercorn bite and an oaken whisky set of complexities and strengths.

Full and creamy, but somehow the larger-than-life stout retains a moderate sense of drinkability as its creaminess and maltiness relax and the body lightens through the middle palate. A late and warming sensation prickles gently at the tongue as the whimsy of roasted marshmallows delight the senses in aftertaste.

 1,327 characters

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

 4,954 characters

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.

 624 characters

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SocalKicks
4.06/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of zeff80
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured an opaque, jet-black color with a small, light brown head of foam. It smelled of coffee and bourbon. Tasted of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and oak. Really good. Great balance.

 181 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of largadeer
4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev -3%
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.

 1,678 characters

Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A bit bummed about this one. It just isn't the same as the last batch of barrel aged cappuccino stout that was tap only. It is over roasted and burnt. Had an ash/char flavor to it. Kind of tar like/burnt rubber. Once you get passed that the coffee shows a little with a massive about whiskey. Vanilla and chocolate. So much roast.

I didn't like this very much. Not for me. Only thing good about this is the appearance. Creamy tan head with nice retention and lace.

EDIT: Had the 2016/17 (winter) vintage in the 12 oz bottle and it was much better. Still a little burnt, roast, char, but more barrels and more goodness. The coffee is much better as well. Very drinkable. Crushed my 12 oz bottle and wanted more,

 713 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 1,952 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.