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Death | Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House

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132 Ratings

Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Ohio, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A high-gravity Russian Imperial Stout brewed from a blend of dark malts and Jolokai peppers (Ghost Chili Peppers).

Added by Ohiovania on 12-15-2012

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 132 |  Reviews: 23
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
2.17/5  rDev -41%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

32 oz. growler filled last week at the brewery poured into a NB snifter.

A - Pours a dark brown in the glass. A very loose, bubbly head of dark khaki foam disappears quickly, leaving a small sheen on the surface in the middle. Held to a full-spectrum light, the beer is almost jet black and solidly opaque.

S - Distinctive notes of cherry/almond right in the front of the nose just after the initial pour along with a fair amount of ABV. Very dark baker's chocolate in the background. Hints of burnt, charred wood and heavy-roast coffee grounds. As it warms up, hints of dark caramel emerge.

T - Whoa - that's a black and chili pepper blast to the olfactory senses that's going to take some adjusting to. The freshly ground black pepper is especially prominent and lasting on the tongue. Letting the beer warm in the glass lets anise emerge just behind rich, dark caramel malt and black, almost bitter, molasses. Dry, dark chocolate appears in the finish. As it reaches room temperature, it settles into something resembling cough syrup with a pepper chaser.

M - A bit smooth, but pretty neutral with soft carbonation. Body is not only thin, on the verge of being watery, but noticeably undersized. Structure of components seems to be missing, but it's hard to find them behind the pepper - there's just not enough substance to support the pepper bomb. Because of the pepper, the finish echoes a long, long time.

O - Do you like pepper? I mean, there's no such thing as too-much-pepper-in-the-dish like pepper? If so, you'll probably enjoy this beer. There's really nothing subtle about it. I could see pairing this beer with a thick, juicy grilled steak or a big bowl of meaty chili that, on it's own, is on the mild side. It would be interesting to see what would happen to the pepper if this beer was aged, especially in barrels matched to the spicing profile. Pepper is a spice, meant to be an accent. In this beer, it's pretty much the whole show, not only because of how dominant it is, but also because the rest of the recipe simply isn't big enough to support it and so gets overwhelmed.

 2,119 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
2.23/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Pours dark but it doesn't seem to be viscous. No head. Aroma is spicy and heated but there are other aspects here. An earthy scent. Dark malt. Herbal. Roast. Flavor is far too spicy. It takes away from all other aspects of the beer. If am 100% convinced that if I drank this whole bomber I would shit my bed while experiencing a sweaty, hellish nightmare tonight. Far too hot. Nothing else to note. Who actually drinks this and feels satisfied afterward? Get this away from me. Would vote this "Beer most likely to make you shit a hole through your britches".

 567 characters

Photo of ColdPoncho
2.34/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

What is a Jolokia Pepper?

A - A light body for an "imperial stout." Very brown.

S - Loads of diacetyl. I guess it's spicy diacetyl. Caramelly diacetyl. Roasted diacetyl. It's fuckin buttery.

T - Tastes like hot pepper-laced butter with hints of dark fruit and caramel. Thinking of it as a beer that represents "death," I can dig it. But it's not something that is good, much like death.

O - Don't care about mouthfeel, this beer is weird. Buttery as fuck, spicy. And maybe there's an imperial brown ale behind it. This is a deathly beer for sure.

 550 characters

Photo of meanmutt
2.37/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Photo of BT_Bobandy
2.5/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of Ryan011235
2.57/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Parkbrau Pils glass on 12/22/12

Dark brown, but not as dark as a RIS perhaps should be. This is merely a shade or two darker than Famine. 1/3rd of an inch head drops and scatters to ring retention. Very few specks of lace.

Burnt sugars and some chocolate, toffee molasses, raisins and dark fruit. Notions of peanut butter. Grainy smoothness; oatmeal? Faint soap and some off notes. Peppers are marginal at best.

Ah, the Jolokia peppers do come through for the palate with building spiciness. Roasted chocolate lies underneath; thankfully not as sugary as the aroma let on. The base beer isn't outlandishly heavy or boozy, especially if this thing is really 11%. Death has some of the usual Rivertown funny business but, coincidence or otherwise, the peppers detract from it.

The body is medium-full with fairly average carbonation. Smooth, modest viscosity. Any alcohol is masked by the peppers or well hidden. Feel-wise, this is pretty easy to drink for a RIS.

Leave it to Rivertown to make somewhat enjoyable a rather timid version of a style such as this. This may be the best of the four horsemen.

 1,120 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
2.67/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Death 22 oz bottle poured into ice cold shaker

A: coal black with almost no head looks like a good bit of carbonation

S: lots of anise and licorice light peppers

T: very mild chocolate light anise and some chili pepper heat on the end

M: dead feel no carbonation and oddly thin and watery

O: This is just a flat out bad stout the taste is muddled and the beer is completely lifeless the chili peppers can't even save this beer as they don't impart a nice pepper flavor as much as just some heat on the backend.

 519 characters

Photo of ohiobeer29
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

Photo of Mooslerfitness
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

I'm having a hard time drinking the heat is burning my throat there might be a ghost pepper in the bottle

105 characters

Photo of beernads
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

Photo of dunlap926
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

Photo of Syracuse12
2.88/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Photo of AlexFields
2.95/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of RickyBfromCT
2.95/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of cbutova
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing this bottle Emma and Dan.

A- Oily black deathly pour into a few pint glasses. A small head forms but dies out fairly quickly to nothing. Lacing is rare.

S- Something strange here as banana esters come to mind with some higher order phenolic spiciness. Raisin, toasty nuts, cocoa and burnt espresso.

T- Starts off like the aroma but as the beer is swallowed the burn comes on hard. The banana and spicy raisin seem to somehow out do the roast grains but the toastiness is supreme. Becomes a bit caramel and cardboard filled with time. Peppers burn the throat immediately.

MF- Oily and thick but lacks carbonation and most major supportive texture coming off as slightly slick. Aforementioned very low end carbonation and a fiery ending.

Full of strange flavors like banana, hot pepper, phenolic spice and cocoa. Burns quite good in the finish and the stout base seems lost.

 896 characters

Photo of jordanimal
3/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of MaximumYuks
3/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of Derek_Besly
3.09/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Inky, spicy, some decent roasted malt. Peppers feel too prevalent to allow for complexity. Over all not the best

112 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black looks light in the pour not thick strange. But it is dark no light getting through it, head is non existent maybe dark tan ring around the top.

Aroma is strange also some very light roasted malt, some light chocolate but dominate by what I assume is the pepper. The pepper smell is kind of a mix between vinous like notes, licorice and pepper.

Taste is light roasted notes with chocolate, then bam the pepper burn kicks in lighter side of medium heat at least for me. Finish feels light and is linger roast pepper bite. Haven't had too many beers with pepper in them but would assume this is how not to do it.

Mouthfeel is wtf how is something that is almost 12% so damn light I don't understand. Carbonation level is fine though.

Overall would pass on this one unless you just dig watered down stouts with a big pepper bite.

 844 characters

Photo of Iparedman
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of dcisco44
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of fellowrs
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of LeeEvolved
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of jlindros
3.36/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Shared with rudzud.

Forced pour gives it a decent fizzy foamy almost 1 finger off white head, fades quickly though, no lacing, darker but thin cola brown color.

Nose is weird, a mixture of sweet cola syrup, toasty brown nutty malts, little candy, mixed with vegetal green pepper, chocolate caramel syrup a little fake syrup like.

Taste brings sticky syrupy mess, candy syrup, fake chocolate coffee syrup. Plenty of hot pepper heat but not a ton, little green pepper vegetal thing, decent dark malt, little cookie note, faint baking spices. Finish lingering pepper heat, little more cookie and choc syrup, little booze.

Mouth is heavier bod, little syrupy, decent carb, decent pepper heat and little booze.

 709 characters

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Death from Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Beer rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 132 ratings
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