Hammer Of The Holy
Clown Shoes

Hammer Of The HolyHammer Of The Holy
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #698
Ranked #2,215
4.19 | pDev: 9.07%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Hammer Of The HolyHammer Of The Holy
Notes: Hammer of the Holy, an American Imperial Stout aged in 40-year old Jamaican rum barrels, incorporates holy water, signature dark malts, and malt smoked with vampire killing stakes. Dear Undead, "Die, monsters, die!"
Reviews: 64 | Ratings: 384 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Bottle to snifter.

LOOK: dark black, small to medium beige head, some staying power.
AROMA; Charred malt, smoke and rum, followed by some dark fruits.
TASTE: rum, coffee, plum, raspberry, wood, smoke, hint of peat. Finish is overly bitter
FEEL: There is an oaky smoothness, but there is still some astringency in the finish.

A tad disappointed. Some good flavors here, but they don't all meld together well. Bitter and astringent dominate. I think the rum barrel makes this seem overly hot.


Feb 01, 2020
Photo of smcolw
smcolw from Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown; no light shines through the edge. Beige head. Small but dense. The lacing slides down the glass leaving only a few spots.

Plenty of cocoa. Slightly chalky.

Warming alcohol, semisweet chocolate, and cocoa puffs come to mind on the initial sip of this beer. Neutral body; lower carbonation. The swallow is like a chilled cocoa. The aftertaste has a touch of mocha but it's mostly semisweet chocolate.

Nov 02, 2019
Photo of Brutaltruth
Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the good Clown folk in the 22 oz bottle and poured in a snifter.
This solid addition to the line pours a dark pitch black with a thin
cola highlight and a nice head of khaki foam that settles to a thin ring
and a thin light swirling layer. Nose of rum, char, cocoa, barrel, vanilla,
mild coffee, and dark cocoa with dark black strap molasses. Flavors
lightly exceed the nose with a dark cocoa and brulee marshmallow
cream like note over a layer of char and dark roasted malts with
a black strap and dark rum heavy finish. Vanilla and some dark
fruit notes show up nicely with warmth. Nice mouth feel; full body,
smooth, low carbonation, and a subtly dry cocoa and rum laced
finish with bitter malt and coffee on the rear.

Overall----more goodness from the good Clown Shoes folk!


May 26, 2019
Photo of avalon07
avalon07 from South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown / black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a half inch of creamy, tan-colored, somewhat long-lasting head. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: A decent, but not spectacular, aroma of chocolate, malt, rum, a smoky quality, and molasses.

T: Tasted of a moderate amount of malt (present throughout), a hint of the smoky quality, some rum notes (and the accompanying barrel), a bit of dark chocolate, and a little molasses. An interesting flavor that doesn't quite come off. The rum is surprisingly muted, but an intriguing addition to a stout. Not a bad flavor, though.

F: A decent amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: An uneven beer, but it has some interesting aspects to it. Worth a look.

Mar 18, 2019
Photo of HattedClassic
HattedClassic from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer has a nice off-white head. The beer itself is a delicious looking dark chocolate black with a thin texture to it.

The smell is good. It has a moderate smoke note mixed in with a bittersweet and sugary rum note.

The taste is the same but with a bit more sweet dark chocolate to it. Good molasses note too.

Good. Smoother and thinner than you would expect due to the aging.

Delicious and very good. The smoke and rum notes work great.

Mar 09, 2019
Photo of teromous
teromous from Virginia

3.35/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I don't see a bottle date but the label does mark "2019" on the front

Appearance: The beer has a black body and a short khaki head that slowly fades living a crown of foam. It has very slim spotty lacing.

Aroma: There are notes of chocolate, wood, and alcohol.

Taste: The flavor closely mimics the aroma with some chocolate, a bit of burnt wood character, some alcohol presence, and a light touch of mint at the end. After a while this sweet, almost floral alcohol flavor starts to come through. After a while when the beer warms up a bit that woody character has more of a sawdust taste; like cutting wood without a mask.

Mouthfeel: It feels medium bodied which seems to be undercut a bit by the high alcohol content. The label on the neck states that this is "Alc. 11% by Volume" and it seems to lighten the body quite a bit. Bitterness is almost nonexistent. It is easy to drink.

Overall: It is an alright Imperial Stout but it never really shines. The label states this is "Aged In Rum Barrels" and it feels like the rum flavor is mostly hidden in the beer. It has an alcohol character that is a bit floral but mostly it just tastes like alcohol in general. Fortunately there is some character that comes through from the barrels which is nice. I don't know that I would really recommend for or against it. It's worth drinking if you have it but it's not that great and it certainly isn't the best foot that Clown Shoes has put forward. I doubt I would drink it again but it's enjoyable enough to finish.

Mar 04, 2019
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken from New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Total Wine turned up a 1/15/18 bottling of this on the shelves this week - either they sit on stock to present aged releases or it got shipped to them from somewhere it wasn't selling, but I'm game...

Nice black pour into an over-sized snifter produced a thin dark tan head that slimmed into a collar and left a hazy sheen across the surface... Aromas of sweet rum and chocolaty malts were immediate on the nose and substantiated on the sip... I don't wanna dress this one up unnecessarily: classic stout flavors of chocolate, molasses, and a little black coffee char with strong rummy accents suggesting tropical pineapple and, old, oaky rum-soaked wood... Fans of rum are gonna love it - people on the fence will likely be split down the middle... The body is medium-weight, smooth, aired out and thinned out somewhat by the rum and wood notes, but for me, in this case, it's not much of a detractor... The beer drinks real nice - almost like a "tropical stout" - I'm digging it...

Jan 19, 2019
Photo of Vidblain
Vidblain from Minnesota

4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Let me tell you, I love a good rum barrel-aged beer. My gold standard for rum barrel beers, at this particular moment, is Pirate Noir - though I will note that Pirate Noir is a little thin. Hammer of the Holy, however, struck me as significantly thicker and creamier than Pirate Noir. Kudos, Clown Shoes. Hammer also boasts a tremendous malty, chocolate presence to the beer - and the barrels certainly aren't absent. The beer, though creamy and thick, also has a significant dry, oaky presence. I'm quite favorably impressed, though I still don't think that this is on a level with Pirate Noir.

+points for cost and accessibility. I like Hammer of the Holy quite a lot and would not hesitate to recommend it.

May 14, 2018
Photo of matcris
matcris from Arizona

4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

LOOKS: Black with a tan, creamy head. Nice bit of lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Dark Chocolate, smoke, coffee, and a little alcohol.
TASTE: Rum comes out on the finish. Otherwise same as above.
FEEL: A little below average carbonation. Slightly sticky, but, dry on the finish. Feels thinner until the finish comes around.
OVERALL: Pretty tasty. Has a building bitterness as you drink. Needs more carbonation, for me.

May 08, 2018
Photo of brureview
brureview from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark chocolate with a 4F head in a Spiegelau stout glass. Good looking beer, good head retention.

Milk chocolate, sweet aroma.

Excellent MF especially for the style which can be quite thin.This is creamy and smooth.

The aroma doesn't totally transition to the taste which is mostly milk chocolate with hints of rum.

The finish is mild and creamy. That's great for an imperial stout- most have a degree of bitterness.

Overall- excellent stout. Looking forward to more Clown Shoes beers, which will be more consistent with the Harpoon ownership.

Apr 29, 2018
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan colored head that died down and left some patches fo bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of rum are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is mostly dominated by flavors of rum from the barrel aging. There are also some additional notes of dark malts
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the placate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has lots of rum flavors, but the alcohol is very well masked from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

Mar 25, 2018
Photo of SawDog505
SawDog505 from New Hampshire

3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured slightly chilled into a 12 oz snifter, not sure when it was bottled. Pours a beautiful pitch black with a solid finger and a half lace that leaves thin patches of lace and slowly settles into a thin layer of bubbles.

Smell is dark rum, coffee grounds, dark chocolate, vanilla, and some strong boozy presence.

Taste follows boozy start to finish front to back, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and coconut in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a little bigger than medium, moderate life, a tad dry, and wowza it drinks pretty darn big, a zipper for sure.

Overall I am not a rum fan and this guy is way to much not bad, but definetly leaves its mark and is an acquired taste. Still not bad, but a massive brew.

Mar 13, 2018
Photo of dpgoblejr
dpgoblejr from New Hampshire

4.94/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2018 Vintage. Pours cola black; though no carbonation bubbles here! Aromas of coconut, chocolate and rum. Beautiful flavors of smoked malt, coconut rum and bittersweet bakers chocolate. Medium to almost full feel. Really glad I got to try this beast. High expectations and I wasn't disappointed. Enjoy!

Mar 11, 2018
Photo of russpowell
russpowell from Arkansas

4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an effervescent ebony with a pinky of mocha colored head. Nice head retention & lacing

S: Coconut, chocolate, cola notes

T: Follows the nose, a little woodyness/barrel and the dryness that comes with it up front. Dryness, faint charred barrel notes mix with coconut and cocoa/chocolate & vanilla as this warms, faint rum dryness/oakyness too. Finishes with a lot of dryness, some Rum & Coke booze edge & a little vanilla

MF: Fairly thick body, low carbonation

Kind of on level with Death by Coconut to me, ABV is well disguised to be sure. Another lovely Imp Stout from these guys!

Feb 24, 2018
Photo of stephens101
stephens101 from Oklahoma

4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a shiny mirror black with a bubbly dark tan froth. Currant, black grape, treacle, and molasses in the aroma. Tastes prominently of brown sugar, pine, and wood. As it warms a bit other dark fruity notes are noticed along with some syrup and gum as well as a faint smokiness. Has a medium, but still substantial and fulfilling body.

A very unique BARIS. I liked it so much I wrote a song:

I like big beers and I cannot lie.
You other BA's can't deny.
That when a growler is full you gotta' have a taste
Or a big ole bomber in your face
You get buzzed, want a pull of some Zombie Dust
'Cause you noticed that bottle was stuffed
Deep in your cellar you're goin' snaring
You're hooked and can't stop staring
Oh man, I want some of that Double Citra
So I can take a pitcha'
But the Poo-Bah's tried to warn me
It ain't the rarity of the beer that warms ya'
It's that smooth silky smooth body, duh!...

Feb 22, 2018
Photo of gatornation
gatornation from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with a Khaki head. Rich smells of malts and dark fruits with chocolate and rum. Taste is roasted malts,chocolate coffee mixed with wood vanilla and rum, lower carbonation with a thin body, slight booze with slight rum, had this one in the cellar only bought one, not a memorable or recommended offering

Aug 14, 2016
Photo of JebBeerFish
JebBeerFish from New Hampshire

3.79/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Classic Chocolate brown r.i.s. look, 1/4 head on gentle pour.

S: light rum, molasses, dark chocolate

T: not as roasty and dark as most Clown Shoes r.i.s. The rum adds a sweetness and lightness to the beer, while still being very much a r.i.s. with classic bitter dark chocolate
flavors. The rum's presence is limited to a sweetness, no real rum flavor.

F: Creamy.

O: The rum is a nice change for Clown Shoes, but nothing above average here.

Jul 16, 2016
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

"Hammer of the Holy (2015 Vintage) is an Imperial Stout aged in rum barrels for over 8 months, and it incorporates holy water, signature dark malts, oatmeal, and malt smoked with demon-killing stakes. Dear Undead, 'Die, monsters, die!' Sincerely, Clown Shoes Beer." Brewed in the style of an American Imperial Stout aged in Rum Barrels, available in 22 oz. bottle as part of an occasional rotating release.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a rich medium brown head of a frothy foam consistency over a black body. Retention is good and lacing is light and patchy. 4.25

(Smell) Moderate roasted grain, trace peat smoke, tangy moist oak with a nip of grain alcohol. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) A solid and accessible malt blend of chocolate, roasted malt and smooth caramel with a clean undertone of alcohol, a bit light on body but nicely balanced. Not much emphasis from the peat smoke, but very solid delivery of rum qualities, generating lots of complex dark fruit flavors with comparatively light gruff alcohol character. Finishes clean with traces of dark fruit syrups. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, smooth, lightly chewy, clean. Carbonation is mild, generating a mild frothiness and a mellow crisp finish. Body is shy of medium for the style, short of heavy overall. Balance is nearly even sweet to roasted and specialty malt character plus grain alcohol. Alcohol presence is moderate and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) A mild tempered American Imperial Stout with an equally gentle rum alcohol backbone, but nicely balanced and complex. I was expecting something a bit more gruff and aggressively flavored, but this beer drinks solid and is nicely balanced, with a nice complementary rum fruit and barrel aging treatment, nothing is overdone in this beer. A winner for nicely balanced and highly drinkable Imperial Stouts, but the lightness of the body could be made much richer for an even more outstanding malt flavor profile. 4

Clown Shoes'
Hammer of the Holy American Imperial Stout

Apr 01, 2016
Photo of Fcolle2
Fcolle2 from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours viscous jet black in color with a dark tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, vanilla, oak and hints of dark fruits. Roasted malt is more prevalent in the taste with a slight ashy flavor. Flavors of dates, hints of chocolate and some sweetness from the rum. Mouthfeel is thick moderately carbonated and slightly ashy in the finish.

Feb 15, 2016
Photo of pagriley
pagriley from Illinois

3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick with big mocha head that recedes to thin lacing
Chocolate and oak on the nose, with some smoke in the background
A touch of smoke, but lacking defined barrel character and base beer backbone
Medium bodied - expected more heft and body for the ABV

Overall the rum barrel isn't working for me here - the oak is dominating, but the barrel is indistinct and earthy, with an odd aftertaste. OK but not great

Dec 02, 2015
Photo of LloydDobler
LloydDobler from Indiana

4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into snifter

This is straight black but looks thin as I pour it. The thin layer of fizzy foam dissipates quickly and leaves a small ring that borders my glass. The nose is really sweet: sweet rum(not boozy), rasins, deeply smoked malts, burnt brown sugar. Tastes are pairilleled with the smell fairly well. I was really hoping for more of a rum presence in the taste, but nope. It's just not there. The base beer is really good, if not for a bit thin.

Oct 25, 2015
Photo of darktronica
darktronica from Indiana

4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber of the 2015 edition. Seems to be much less emphasis on the smoked aspect, compared to the original batch; this was most evident in the flavor, enough so that I double-checked the label and saw that it's now labelled as an "American Imperial Stout" instead of a "Smoked Imperial Stout."

It's still aged in rum barrels, though, and that's where the beer really gets its distinctiveness this time around. Clown Shoes has a knack for getting great flavors out of their barrel program, and this is no exception. That said, it is not a boozy barrel-bomb at all; the rum simply brings out some fruity, quad-like flavors that are uncommon in a stout and really help the beer stand out. There's quite a bit of apple, plum, and date alongside the more typical vanilla, oak, and molasses flavors. This all plays nicely with the smoked malt, which really does play second fiddle this time around but adds nice accents of smoke, tobacco, and leather to the finish.

Oct 23, 2015
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim from New York

3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black with a .5 finger dark mocha colored head with moderate retention. Lacing is thick and spotty but sparse with little retention. Decent.

Beer is booze, mocha, sweet soy sauce, chocolate, fudge and molasses. Great aroma profile but a bit mellow.

Opens smoke and roast. Vanilla, coffee and sweet soy sauce in the middle with hints of molasses and booze. Fudge and a bit of dark fruit hints at a touch of tartness. Tobacco, peat and more dark fruit at the finish. Some cocoa powder and sweetness in the aftertaste. Tasty!

Full bodied with moderate to low retention. Slick and oily in the mouth and smooth and a bit hot going down. Finishes messy and sticky with a lingering, oily aftertaste. Very appropriately heavy.

This beer is really solid. Maybe not quite as "fudge-y" as others in the style but it has nice complexity and a moderate-to full body that's quite appropriate. Worth trying for sure.

Sep 08, 2015
Photo of ThrewRedButter
ThrewRedButter from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L - Pitch black with dark brown on the edges when held up to the light. Half a finger of tan head.

S - Dark fruit bomb with raisins and plums. Roasted malts, coffee, oak. Rum is not overly sweet.

T - Unique blend of quad-like dark fruits and milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, charred oak, and a faint hint of toasted coconut. Rum is perfect as it isn't too sweet and doesn't burn.

F - For an 11.00% imperial stout, it doesn't coat the mouth as it should, but it gets the job done. Referring back to the abv, there is NO alcohol presence and not even a warming sensation in my chest with each sip.

O - Mix a big, BA imperial stout with dark fruits and add rum. A lot of complexity with a less-than-stellar mouthfeel, but it's enjoyable enough to overcome its shortcomings.

Jul 30, 2015
Photo of Nominoe
Nominoe from California

3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I don't know how to judge the appearance of a barrel aged imperial stout. It's black as hell, with a brown head and decent lacing. What else can you ask for?

The smell is misleadingly somewhat sour/funky, probably from the rum barrels. It smells delicious, just doesn't cooperate with the taste particularly.

The taste is a hammer ful of smoke up front, as stated on the bottle's label. The rum is subtle and comes through your nose after having a sip and swishing - like having a shot or something, amazing! The smokiness subdues as the beer warms and really starts to blend in with the rum to deliver the beer's holiness.

The feel is certainly chewy, but it has a slightly carbonated, bubbly feel that I really don't expect from a high ABV, barrel aged, black-as-night imperial stout.

Overall, this beer is delicious and enjoyable, but it does not compete with other barrel aged imperial stouts by the same or other breweries. I don't think I'd drop $15 on it again, but the manager at my local store found one in the back and put it on the shelf. I noticed, purchased, and opened in the same day. No regrets.

Jul 01, 2015
Hammer Of The Holy from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 384 ratings