Black Husky Brewing

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #1,239
Ranked #5,025
4.13 | pDev: 8.23%
Black Husky Brewing
Wisconsin, United States
Notes: In the lower 48, 12-dog racing is king. To honor that tradition, our Imperial Stout uses 12 malts. In harness each dog brings unique personality, providing an unpredictable & exciting ride! A Lead dog guides the adventure and while Rosie is smallest in stature, she has the largest personality and is the natural representative for this intensely flavored, full-bodied beer - a bit over the top as is Rosie.
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 87 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a bottle on October 5, 2018. Look is nearly black with a thick tan head and sticky lacing. Smell and taste is dark roasted malts. Feel is full in body.

Oct 07, 2018
Photo of TX-Badger
TX-Badger from Texas

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque dark brown almost black color with khaki colored head. Tons of roasted malt character and chocolate malt on the nose, some oats in there too with cocoa on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with a ton of roast and some raw cocoa.

Apr 29, 2016
Photo of AlarmClock314
AlarmClock314 from Wisconsin

4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, no date. Pours mostly black with a smaller sized khaki head; some lacing. Smells of roasted malt, berries, cocoa, and some caramel. The taste follows closely with mostly a complex roasted malt bill with some added berries, cocoa, and dark fruit. moderate and lingering bitterness. Above average body with some pleasant smoothness and below average carbonation. Overall, this was a pretty well done is IS; it has a complex malty taste with a great look/feel.

Apr 05, 2016
Photo of Angerhaus
Angerhaus from Rhode Island

4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Editing a review as I have just had the December 2016 batch. This is the first batch brewed at the new facility.

This batch is much thicker than previous 12 dog batches I've had. The balance throughout each sip is excellent. Roasty but not dry, chocolaty but not that sweet, and primed to age well.

Jan 29, 2016
Photo of Elumbeer
Elumbeer from Wisconsin

4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber poured into two Spiegelau stout glasses. Initially served at 49 degF. No date, but likely less than a month from bottling.

Poured a smooth solid black (not quite a black hole as with thicker stouts), with an inviting head. Head color was lighter than what I usually want out of an imperial stout- more tan than mocha.

Honestly, I don't remember much of the aroma. My brain is telling me sweet fudge, but whatever it was must not have been anywhere near overpowering.

Taste is very sweet milk chocolate with a good dose of cherry (maybe some blueberry). Slight roasted notes in the background. Reminds me a lot of Saugatuck's Neapolitan stout, but not quite as sickeningly sweet or artificial (this is much better- halfway between the Neapolitan and Deschute's 26th anni). I wish more cherry stouts tasted like this.

I feel like the rating here is too low for what this beer is, most likely due to the infection issues I see noted below.

Dec 17, 2015
Photo of joe1510
joe1510 from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz Bomber
Discount Liquors - Milwaukee

Twelve Dog seems to glug from the bottle and takes a high pour to create a swirling, menacing head. When it does form an incredibly creamy, mocha foam sits atop a black body with faint chestnut highlights. The foam eventually softens to a skim coat and chunky ring with a couple streams of carbonation keeping the head sustained.

Oh, boy! This beer screams old school, delicious, rich imperial stout. It packs in deep roast with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa, A touch of peppery booze keeps you honest. Macerated dark berries bring up the rear with some added depth; think blackberries and blueberries. A drizzle of blackstrap and a whisper of coffee with cream rounds out the beer nicely, very nicely. Smells delicious, fudgy at times!

The flavor is as well rounded as the nose. It's rich in its roast, never becoming acrid, the dark berries rounding it out. Freshly roasted coffee beans run in and out making each drink slightly different. The roast is rich and lingering but it's cut on the finish by that drying, peppery booze I mentioned previously. I would love if more stouts took this direction, bold flavors with a balance between them all. Very nice!

The body has some density but it floats between moderate and heavy making for a highly drinkable beverine, which is dangerous in this case. The alcohol and roast tend to slowly dry out the finish which is much preferred, in my opinion.The carbonation, lively enough to keep any cloying out of mind while remaining soft enough to create a luxurious feel.

The husband & wife team at Black Husky can brew some beer. I mean, they can really brew some beer. Twelve Dog (Rosie) is a champ in my book. It's roasty, chocolaty, bold yet balanced. Dry and delicious. This is a really great beer and while I already knew their skills, this one still surprises me with the quality. Good job, guys. Good job!

Sep 13, 2015
Photo of kkleu357
kkleu357 from Wisconsin

3.69/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From notes on 6/12/15

Black medium thickness body. Mild chocolate taste, reminds me of a tootsie roll. Some booze taste comes through, but not much.

Aug 18, 2015
Photo of d5001986
d5001986 from Wisconsin

2.88/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber poured into Spiegelau tulip.
2014 vintage.

Pours slightly transparent brownish-black with tall beige head. Smell is caramel and brown sugar. Taste is unexpected sour up front - must be infection. Taste in the background reminds me of caramel corn. Too bad the sour ruins it. Overall an utter disappointment.

May 12, 2015
Photo of mjpolzin
mjpolzin from Wisconsin

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I was a little leery of all of the hype surrounding Twelve-Dog. The other beers I have had from Black Husky were just so-so to me and with only a rating of 91 on Beer Advocate, how good can this stout really be? It sure seemed like a beer people went out of their way to get.

I had this beer as part of an imperial stout blind tasting and it impressed me very much, placing 2nd for me out of a line-up of 5 pretty renowned stouts.

The best thing about this beer is that the taste is incredibly flavorful and complex. The abv is quite a bit lower than most imperial stouts so this brew is missing some punch but as far as having an "easy drinking" imperial stout, this beer is great!

Mar 02, 2015
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Louisiana

3.25/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Black Husky Beware of the Dog Series "Twelve-Dog Imperial Stout" Rosie. I received this in a trade with the very generous Duff27 in May 2014.

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass. Generally appealing label art. Unbranded black pry-off pressure cap.

Reviewed live as an imperial stout per the label. Served cold into a snifter and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2.5 fingers wide. Rich decadent dark tan in colour, with an exquisite shiny complexion and a gloriously creamy, full, and thick consistency. Supple and soft-looking. Retention is excellent - about 10 minutes. Great execution across the board.

BODY: Opaque ink-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible. Couldn't be much darker.

Appears well-carbonated. Overall, this is a great looking imperial stout, but it isn't unique. I can't wait to try it.

AROMA: On the sweeter side; I'd like some more bitterness to help balance it - ideally roast and/or chocolate/coffee. Cream. Hints of milk chocolate. Fudge. Hints of char and burnt character. Lactose sugar. A kiss of dark fruit - buried hints of plum and date.

It's a pleasant albeit somewhat reticent aroma of average strength. No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes are detectable.

Constructively, some marshmallow notes and toasted oak would really set this flavour profile off. Bourbon barrel aging is an obvious avenue to pursue to make it more interesting, but let's see how the taste is.

TASTE/TEXTURE: Rich and sweet without ever coming off cloying. Fudge, baker's chocolate, crumbly Belgian chocolate, dark malts, sweet lactose sugar, chocolate malts, a kiss of plum and date, and more bitter burnt sugar characteristics. It's a bit too sweet in the first act and a bit too bitter in the third, but reaches a happy harmony in the second.

The texture follows this model, with it opening smooth, wet, and creamy, and growing more and more coarse, dry, and rough on the palate as it progresses, accentuating the bitterness with the effect that the finish dries out and extinguishes the palate. Creaminess throughout would be preferable, and playing up the early softness would really help. It's slightly overcarbonated and predictably unrefreshing, but has an apt full body and plenty of heft and thickness.

Getting back to the taste, it's nice but wanting. What few notes are present are nice, but more complexity and intricacy is needed for this brew to compete with the best in the style. The dark fruit is nicely subtle, and more notes with that level of subtlety are needed to develop this brew. It's a bit too simple as-is, and there's definite room to fill it out with more nuance. In spite of its structural issues (noted above), it's well-balanced for the most part and has a cohesion of flavour, but it never quite feels like a gestalt whole.

No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes come through.

OVERALL: Average drinkability and a nice but simple flavour profile make this an enjoyable imperial stout, but it just can't run with the big dogs. I look forward to more beers from Black Husky, but wouldn't go out of my way to nab a second bottle of this. I'll enjoy finishing the bottle alone, but it can't even compete with some of the nicer more widely available offerings in the style (e.g. Great Divide's Yeti or Victory's Storm King). Worth trying once. I'm surprised it hasn't received more attention, but ultimately this tastes like the base beer for a planned barrel aging programme, not a finished complete imperial stout. Too timid and subdued.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the bottle!

High C+

Nov 28, 2014
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Oregon

4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. Poured into a snifter 11/19/2014. So 2 years of age.

A- Dark brown, opaque and nearly black. Nice one finger mocha head with fair retention time, no lacing. [4.25]

S- Roasted malt, chocolate, slight peated smokiness, some oxidation in form of dark fruits, earth. Nice complexity, fairly decent nose. [4]

F- Roast malt, mild smokiness, rye/wheat spice, caramel, hint of vanilla. Strong dark fruit presence seems to reflect oxidation in the 2 years of aging in the bottle. Still, the different malts offer a good bit of complexity.[4]

M- Medium bodied, on the thicker side of the spectrum. Smooth, slightly sticky. Dark fruit, chocolate on the finish. [4]

O- Solid imperial stout, seems like 2 years is as far as I'd go in aging this one. Will be trying a fresh bottle soon; will re-review this one when I have it. [4]

Final score: 4.01

Nov 20, 2014
Photo of StoutItOutLoud
StoutItOutLoud from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22-oz bottle. 2013 vintage. Thanks to lowbit for the trade.

A: medium body and viscosity, dark brown to black, tinges of reddish mahogany at the edges.

S: this is the weakest part of the beer. I needed to let sit at room temperature a looong stretch to get much aroma. with warmth, though, I draw out a lot of roasted malt. milk chocolate, caramel, traces of vanilla. as expected, there's no fruit aroma - this isn't marketed as a russian imperial.

T: ton of roasted malt, with the flavors largely following the aroma. it's not acrid, though the roast's strong enough that I am forced to wonder about the quantity of hops added

M: decent body. the taste lingers.

very happy with this one, once I let sit awhile

Jul 11, 2014
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

3.28/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to lowbit for handing off this bottle amidst the chaos & lost phone signals of the Central Waters Anniversary party. Been wanting to try some Black Husky since samples at the Great Taste last summer: & here we are. 22 oz. dog-themed bottle split with my wife.

Pour is moderately dark with above-average carbonation for a big stout. It requires a husky's nose to pull much aroma-wise off the beer's surface: there are gentle notes of vanilla, light sweetness, roast that comes & goes. Mostly goes.

Twelve-Dog is a slow-building fire. The first sip entertains nothing but a bland, sweet stout, but wait! The aftertaste shows some promise. Initial bout of sweetness gives way with odd slowness to Belgian chocolate, milky lactose, & roast with a dull edge of bitterness. Earthiness right on the finish. Mouthfeel is the strong point, nice & creamy, but a half-bomber will do me just fine, thank you.

Not as impressive as the hoppy samples we had from Black Husky. Other than being sluggish as a Prius off the mark, this is standard, pretty-good stout fare.

Feb 14, 2014
Photo of RoamingGnome
RoamingGnome from Wisconsin

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black Husky Twelve Dog Imperial Stout

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a CBS snifter. Served chilled...

A) I've said this beer, or that beer pours out like motor oil, and this definitely falls into that category. Thick looking and nearly black. Big milk chocolate head. Nice....

S) Deep roasted malt with milky sweetness. Light coffee, caramel, wood, and earthy hops.

T) A very nice blend of flavors. Mocha coffee, drizzle of caramel, roasty, woody, a little hop bitterness to balance all those malt varieties. Alcohol is well hidden. Nice aftertaste....

M) Full bodied with light carbonation. This was rich and creamy. A smooth brew, with a slightly dry finish. Very nice....

O) Another fine offering from Black Husky. I really enjoyed this start to finish. Better as it warms. Wonder what this might be like if it underwent some barrel aging?

Dec 31, 2013
Photo of bound4er
bound4er from Wisconsin

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber.

A. Jet black appearance with a two finger dark tan head. Leaves an incredible amount of lacing.

S. Vanilla mocha, coffee, roasted malt.

T. Coffee, toasted malt, chocolate. Finishes with lingering coffee notes and moderate bitterness.

M. I was expecting a bit more creaminess from this beer - call it medium bodied. Nicely carbonated.

O. This is a very nice, easy drinking impy stout. Barrel aging this will likely produce a killer beer. Worth a try.

Nov 29, 2013
Photo of Ri0
Ri0 from Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

poured 22oz bomber into chalice. 2013 batch.

A - Coffee black with a dark tan 1 finger head. Fades into a ring and leaves behind a good amount of lacing.

S - Tons of roasted malt aroma (12 malts in all), espresso, dark and milk chocolate.

T - Packed with tons of flavor from all the malts that were used. Roasted espresso beans, dark chocolate, rich caramel, and burnt marshmallow. Has a bit of a bitter finish.

M - Full bodied, rich and smooth. Very nice carbonation for an imperial stout.

O - This guy knows how to brew beer and I'm very lucky that a few bottles show up in Madison every now and then. I look forward to the BB version of this.

Nov 26, 2013
Photo of TheSSG
TheSSG from Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a huge, dense, tan head that has good retention and laces like mad. An acidic, toasted, coffee aroma. Black. Starts off with a deep, rich, toasted malt flavor with nice acidity. There's a medium bitterness that peaks in the middle as it takes on a very coffee-like flavor. The finish is lingering toasted malt with a touch of acidity.

This is really nice. It's a nice, thick mouthfeel, great toasted flavor, with the acidity kept in balance.

Nov 17, 2013
Photo of wisrarebeer
wisrarebeer from Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: opaque, poured with an incredibly thick dense brown/tan head
S: deep roasted malt, black strap, dense roasted coffee, stewed tea
T: well-balanced for age, some sharp bitterness in finish but well-made and highly drinkable young, will be great once hop bitterness mellows, deep burnt/roasted malt
M: creamy, dense, highly drinkable

Apr 27, 2013
Photo of emerge077
emerge077 from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a dark brown in the light and jet black in the glass. Thin layer of mocha tinged foam that never breaks apart. No lace, but the foam has a nice creamy texture and lasts forever.

Aromas of mellow toast, light plum and chocolate sweetness, some roasty notes also. Flavors of coffee, bakers chocolate, ashy charred wood, moderate hop bitterness, soft roast that lingers in the aftertaste. Full flavored and well integrated. Mouthfeel is creamy, though somewhat light bodied, and at times comes off as slightly astringent. Long lingering aftertaste that is slightly dry and bitter, never overly sweet. Overall a nice imperial stout from this tiny brewery, hope to see more from them in the future.

Thanks Jayme for the opportunity to try this!

Jun 25, 2012
Twelve-Dog from Black Husky Brewing
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 87 ratings