Hephaestus | Clown Shoes

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Average: 4.28 | pDev: 5.14%

Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 32

Russian Imperial Stout | 14.00% ABV

Wants   Gots 

Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States

Notes: Rotating availibility. 
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 32
Photo of darktronica
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I've really loved Clown Shoes' other coffee stouts, so I was excited to see this on the bottle list at Hops Meet Barley in Houston. I'm not sure this one, from the 2017 batch, is quite as good. Coffee notes are more subdued, and not the same profile as others like Breakfast Exorcism. Dark roasted, down and dirty coffee flavors. Let it warm up a little to bring out more vanilla and nougat from the base.

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Photo of HipCzech
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Hay Merchant (Houston, TX), served in a 10 oz snifter. Inky black with a short, dense head of brown foam and streaky lace. Rich nose of espresso, caramel and roasted grains. Immediate barrel flavors: charred oak and sweet bourbon. Roasted malt, dark chocolate and salted caramel fold in with underlying espresso in the finish. Medium body, creamy smooth feel and moderate carbonation. Big but balanced, coffee and BBA work well together.

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Photo of Blackop555
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black. Short, thick brown head lasts a little.

Smells espresso, roasted malt, bourbon and hint of dark chocolate.

Tastes roasted malts, espresso and bourbon. Followed by light char and dark chocolate. Finish is dry with a coffee and char linger. Full body and creamy lower medium carbonation.

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Photo of mig100
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night and frothy. Aroma is strangely doughy, but not off putting, just atypical. Taste is huge chocolate and roasted malt with a lot of coffee bitterness, which follows through to the mouthfeel, along with some heavy alcohol heat. A pretty great and satisfying barrel aged imperial stout even though it has its flaws, namely the strong alcohol presence and heavy carbonation.

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Photo of SargeMcCluck
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep black with a thin, lacy head.

Doesn’t smell or taste like generic ‘coffee’ essence so much as what I imagine is a a very distinct kind of bean - a sweet, woody aroma to this, almost marzipan-like. No fruit to speak of, but whispers of bourbon, burnt sugars, and a smoky, sinus-clinging alcohol burn.

The mouthfeel is similarly distinct - velvety, oily, and just shy of thick. There's a tight fizz of active carbonation in each sip, only made obvious when the beer is swilled. All in all, it's nice to see a brewer capable of playing around with those go-to stout flavours.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle from ClownShoesDreams (you rock!). Bottled 4/11/16. Served in a Clown Shoes snifter.

Pours black as midnight with a dense finger and a half of pale mocha head. The thick froth slowly settles to a modest veneer and full crown that imparts a few islands of lace.

Smells of sweetened espresso, bourbon, heavily kilned malt and cooked caramel. It's dark and roasty with a nicely balancing sweet note of bourbon.

Taste kicks off with a nice bourbon barrel char and continues on to espresso, dark chocolate, smoke, roasted barley, burnt caramel and a hefty reminder that we are well into double-digit abv territory. This leans towards the dark and roasty flavors but with enough oak and bourbon to balance it out a bit.

Semi creamy, medium full body with slight carbonation. Finishes with notes of espresso, charred bourbon barrel, dark cocoa and burnt caramel.

Clown Shoes have proven to me time and time again that they make outstanding stouts. While the body, like their others, is perhaps a tad light for my preferences, Hephaestus delivers the look, smell and flavor of what I look for in a barrel aged coffee stout. I'm really appreciative to Gregg for letting me try it and I would love to see this released again with wider distribution.

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Photo of Rcaros
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: poured out bottle black.. no light through the glass.. motor oil black. 1cm of a light beige head that dissapated quickly

Aroma: coffee,sweet malts, slight pepper skin, roasty malts, burnt sugar

Taste: bitter chocolate, raisins? Bourbon notes not overpowering,lingering oak.and sweetness.

Feel: medium plus

Overall : bortled 4-11-6.. reviewed 7-14-16
Very well made beer.. balance is awesome. .. better than kbs
Should have reviewed it fresh to get optimal coffee notes

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black pour with clarity under a creamy dark tan head; cap retreated quickly; spotty lace at best. Toffee and roast coffee nose. Semi sweet toffee, roasted coffee, bourbon and oak flavors; boozy finish with a whisper of smoke from the roast. Dry, medium mouthfeel; moderate plus carbonation; warming from the alcohol. Overall, not a pretty pour but an excellent tasting one- roast coffee/malt balance nicely with semi sweet toffee notes; and I can taste the alcohol, which I like!

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Photo of Mateo2699
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is an oily pitch black, minimal head with khaki colored lacing.
Coffee foward head with a subtle bourbon-esque woodiness.
Taste is espresso foward, nice subtle bourbon and wood that's nothing over powering. No robust malt presence,
Slick and oily mouthfeel.

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Photo of thatche2
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured on cask into a snifter glass. Appearance is pitch black with one finger thick head and decent retention. The bourbon is dominant on the nose, but coffee/espresso, vanilla, roasted malt and chocolate are also present. Taste is a nice balance between the bourbon and coffee with a delicate flavor profile. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy but light enough to be fairly drinkable. Carbonation is low to moderate but works well throughout.

Overall, this is an excellent BA coffee stout with great balance brewed by three great partners: Hay Merchant, Blacksmith and Clown Shoes. The bourbon strength is just right, and doesn't overpower the other flavors. The espresso seems to bring the base beer from Clown Shoes together in near perfect harmony. As a coffee nerd, I could use a little more espresso, but it works well overall. Maybe the next version will be a double espresso (I can dream).

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Photo of cultclassic89
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Good, The Bad, The Unidragon with coffee from Blacksmith's.

L: Fine, not super thick, no carb to speak of, though it was on cask.

S: Milky, chocolate, roast but I'm missing the coffee.

T: Very similar. Coffee is faint, especially compared to the Brash beer before this. Some alcohol flavor as well.

F: Fine, low carb as expected, slick and oily.

O: Fine stout but I'm missing the coffee that's advertised. Too much alcohol on the taste.

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Photo of Can_has_beer
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unaged cask at Hay Merchant. This is a collaboration between Hay Merchant, Blacksmith coffee and Clown Shoes.

This looks exactly like a cask RIS, no head, deep dark black in color. The aroma is coffee forward and where it gets really interesting is the taste. The taste isn't coffee heavy, but espresso heavy. Coffee and espresso lovers who can tell the difference will definitely notice this. And that's a great thing, since the 1000 espresso shots Blacksmith used were hand drawn.

I think this successfully captures the philosophy behind what all three party's were trying to do with the espresso and the stout. This will be enjoyable.

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Hephaestus from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 32 ratings