Contemporary Works - Surround
Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Contemporary Works - SurroundContemporary Works - Surround
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Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Maryland, United States
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #1,589
Ranked #10,450
4.01 | pDev: 8.48%
May 10, 2021
Dec 19, 2014
Contemporary Works - SurroundContemporary Works - Surround
Notes: Imperial Oak-Smoked Wheat Stout.

Like a sound system that fills the room with audibles swarming in every direction. This massive stout overtakes your senses with aromas & flavor of dark chocolate, caramel, roast, smoke, earth & wood, It's heavy I know, but you have to drop that bass every once in a while if you really wanna get down.
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Photo of Sigmund
2.89/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3
by Sigmund from Norway

RBESG 2016 in Barcelona. On tap at the Garage. Black colour. Very malty aroma and flavour, a bit unfresh, too moderate hops. Not much smoke though. Did not blow my socks off this one.

May 10, 2021
Photo of EMV
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by EMV from Pennsylvania

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Inky black pour with 2 fingers of fluffy brown head. Great lacing.

S: Strong and roasty... smoke, coffee, and oak.

T/F: Follows the nose. Rich and charred.... French roast coffee, burned sugars, wood, and dark chocolate. Light smoke but not overpowering... works well with the woody flavor. Bitter roast with sweetness coming through mid swig. Medium to full bodied... creamy and smooth. More roast and smoke at the finish.

O: A big rich sipper of a stout. Strong flavor and very tasty.... one to savor as it warms.

Feb 09, 2019
4.46 by stephenlee from England on Aug 07, 2018
4.37 by Electros from Canada (ON) on Jul 15, 2018
Photo of Captain69
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Captain69 from Illinois


May 30, 2018
3.79 by Isarnan from Michigan on May 23, 2018
Photo of MaltyPythonsHopCircus
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by MaltyPythonsHopCircus from Canada (BC)

Pours quite dark with small tight tan head that dissipates quite quickly. Nose is subtle smoke, chocolate and licorice. Those follow onto the palate as the flavour opens up with bakers chocolate, coffee grounds, licorice, tobacco and a hint of wood

Feb 09, 2018
3.5 by 1971bernat from Virginia on Jan 03, 2018
3.65 by Hoonia from Missouri on Dec 04, 2017
3.94 by ZachT from Canada (BC) on Nov 22, 2017
4.12 by sdm9465 from Canada (NS) on Oct 06, 2017
4.75 by JavierGC from Spain on Oct 04, 2017
4.5 by jwat from Pennsylvania on Jul 04, 2017
4.46 by Gagnonsux from Texas on Apr 21, 2017
Photo of biboergosum
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by biboergosum from Canada (AB)

12oz bottle - an 'oak smoked imperial wheat stout'. Yeah, about par for the course for this brewing concern.

This beer pours a solid black hole, with not even the barest of basal edges, and two fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat creamy brown head, which leaves some heady border wall (in theory) lace around the glass as it lazily recedes.

It smells of gritty and grainy caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa powder, dry cafe-au-lait, some plain dark orchard fruitiness, a further hint of toasted wheat cereal, some ethereal wet char, an equally faint generic oaken woodiness, and a sense of alcohol love unrequited. The taste is rather dry chocolate wafers, sort of reduced wheat and pale malts, a still subtle oakiness, some free-range wet ash, muddled dark stone fruit, day-old coffee, very earthy vanilla, and some fairly well-behaved big-boy booziness.

The carbonation is quite active in its perky frothiness, the body a decent medium-heavy weight, and not particularly smooth, as the char, weird graininess, and burgeoning heat all perform a negative number right about here. It finishes trending very dry, the cocoa and java notes carrying us right on out past the velvet ropes.

Overall, this is yet another offering from this outfit (one that seems to be the American version of Mikkeller - yeah, I know, San Diego, and all that - which is not a compliment), that has just too much going on to really be worthy of any sort of perceived balance or basic appreciation. I admit, I was curious upon first sussing this one out, but now, I'm not so sure.

Mar 01, 2017
3.81 by HopBelT from Belgium on Feb 17, 2017
Photo of Harrison8
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by Harrison8 from Missouri

Pours black with a finger of dark caramel head. Head foams up fairly quick, with extremely tight foam. Retention is modest, with a little lacing left behind. Smoke, and roasted malts at the front of the aroma immediately give a dark presence. Wheat, and malted barley bring the aroma slightly out of the darkness. Flavor profile is oats, smoke, roasted malts, malted barley, and wheat. Live earthy characteristics mingle with charred and burnt earthy flavors. Finishes a little bitter. Mouth feel is a grainy, almost ash-like suspended in medium-thick liquid. Overall, smoke characteristics are strong enough to be at the forefront, and yet are not totally off-putting. Well created, with a solid, earthy experience.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

Feb 14, 2017
Photo of bushbeer75
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by bushbeer75 from Michigan

12 oz brown bottle - bottled on 113:15

Stillwater Contemporary Works - Surround has an almost black body with a slight red cast. An easy pour produced a short [1/2-finger] dark tan head. Light lacing clung to my tulip glass. The nose picked up the pleasant aroma of dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit. The taste matches the nose with caramel, and burnt toast also noted. Grapefruit hops showed-up at the finish to provide a light and lingering hop aftertaste. The body is light-heavy for its style. The mouth feel is smooth, and a little chewy. Medium carbonation is noted.

This Imperial Stout is not too filling for the style making for good drinkability.

Feb 02, 2017
Photo of pattysykes
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by pattysykes from Australia

Poured from bottle, opaque black with thick red-brown head that didn't last long. Smoke, sweet malts and dark fruits in the aroma. Tastes sweet malt, smoke, raisins and some dark chocolate. Aftertaste mostly smoke and raisins. Full body. Very enjoyable beer.

Jan 29, 2017
Photo of AccipiterofBeer
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
by AccipiterofBeer from New York

L: fiver. Wow. Such a tantalizing pour. Large, nutty brown head over a deep black body.
S: 4. Roasted malts, chocolate. A bit of a nutty quality. Hops.
T 4.25 Dry. There is a wheaty presence. Bitter coffee. Plenty of hops. This is a bitter brew.
F: 3.75 Overwhelms the palette. slight alcohol burn. A slow drinker.
O 4.25 what a find. I would it another give it a go if I ever come across it again.

Dec 26, 2016
4.36 by jkn09 from Texas on Dec 19, 2016
Photo of hoptheology
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by hoptheology from South Dakota

Just...damn. Love this pour. Motor oil obsidian black with an angry reddish brown head of 2 fingers. Sticks around awhile, too.

Not much on the nose except for dark wheat. Lactose. Maybe a little roasted barley, a little penny. Clay.

More bitter, roasty, and smokey than anything. Absolutely zero sweetness. A crisp herbal bitterness mixes with a dark wheat malt, a hint of liquid smoke, penny, ash, bbq pit smoke. As it warms it grows more bitter and metallic.

A palate punisher. Real thick and viscous, with an ashy dry roastiness.

Overall, the zero sweetness in this stout is getting to me. Still, the roastiness is impressive and I'd recommend it for others who don't like much sweetness in their stouts.

Nov 15, 2016
3.58 by ilikebeer03 from Texas on Oct 30, 2016
4.09 by geodonnokepyo from Pennsylvania on Oct 09, 2016
3.63 by Shane-L-Waddell from Ohio on Sep 28, 2016
3.79 by mattsucks from Ohio on Sep 27, 2016
4.06 by OKbrew89 from Oklahoma on Sep 23, 2016
4.1 by BdM from Netherlands on Sep 06, 2016
3.81 by Momon from Philippines on Sep 04, 2016
4 by kell50 from North Carolina on Aug 20, 2016
Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by oberon from North Carolina

Pours jet black into a goblet with a creamy billowing mocha colored head atop.Sweet alcohol dipped dark fruit in the nose with some mild toasted oak underneath,quite sweet.Sweet raisin/prune notes upfront on the palate with slight bitter chocolate and coffee roast underneath,the dark fruits and alcohol play a really big role.Not bad but the dark fruit and intense alcohol sweetness is just really in charge here with the smoke/oak taking a my opinion.

Aug 05, 2016
4.5 by shigg85 from Japan on Aug 03, 2016
Photo of threeviews
4.77/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by threeviews from Florida

Poured from a 12oz bottle (Julian BOD: 315:15 = 11 November 2015) into a 16oz Belgian ballon/snifter glass

A - Like an imperial stout should, Surround pours a viscous, pitch black with a coffee colored head reaching about 1/2 a finger before quickly disappearing. (5.0)

S - If you said this was aged on wood, I would believe you. It is a beautiful trifecta of savory smoke, oak, burnt coffee, chocolate and vanilla. (4.75)

T - The Oak-smoked malt, overly roasted coffee, bakers chocolate and some sweet vanilla dominate the flavor profile. It finishes dry and for 10% ABV, the drinkability is so high that it is absolutely dangerous. (4.75)

M - Here is where the contribution from the wheat takes effect...full bodied and luscious which coats the palate. The texture is velvety, like a liquid version of a fudge cake drizzled with a vanilla cream icing. (4.75)

O - Surround absolutely ranks not only as my favorite beer from Stillwater, but one of my all-time favorite imperial stouts, rivaling another favorite and truly wood aged beer: Palo Santo Marron. The 10% ABV is completely hidden, the flavor profile and mouthfeel are gorgeous and a 4-Pack is reasonably priced. Although a year-round offering, I just wish it was more readily available in the markets that receive Stillwater's brands. (4.75)

Jul 30, 2016
4 by whatname from Pennsylvania on Jul 29, 2016
3.75 by XmnwildX12 from Minnesota on Jul 18, 2016
3.75 by Hayley_86 from Netherlands on Jul 06, 2016
4.25 by Mikemcgrath4 from North Carolina on Jun 26, 2016
Photo of Slatetank
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Slatetank from Pennsylvania

I tried this from the bottle chilled in a snifter and allowed to gradually increase in temperature to breathe.

The color is black, opaque with thick medium brown head with fine bead and spots of lace that stick with very good retention, there is a cascade of gradual brown to black as the beer is swirled. The smell is great - it is definitely a smoked beer as evident in the aroma with a nice dark cocoa complimentary aroma from malt and subtle woody/alcohol spiced accent. The feel is excellent very nice balance of malt with some smoke in the feel adding a dryness which is great to prevent from becoming cloying. The carbonation level is just right with a subtle bitterness in the middle and some warming alcohol in the finish.

This is a seriously tasty smoked stout - the base of roast and chocolate in the malt provides a great foundation for a smoked character that is not overwhelming but adds a woodiness with the hop flavor to compliment the slight toffee-like flavor with a gentle pine-like taste as it finishes with an almost peppery alcohol yet the smoke lingers on in a pleasant way with dark toasted grain flavor. This is a high quality 10% smoked stout - one of the best with the flavors described I have had the pleasure to experience lately. The way it is so drinkable for being such a big beer is great I could easily have consumed 2 or 3, but am glad I took time and savored this bottle.

Jun 22, 2016
4.62 by ACKonig from Pennsylvania on Jun 19, 2016
4.23 by dcmchew from Romania on Jun 10, 2016
Contemporary Works - Surround from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 241 ratings