Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #9
Ranked #18
4.7 | pDev: 8.09%
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
Iowa, United States
Notes: After endless hours of scorching in heat, brewing in turmoil, fermenting in angst, the Assassin’s journey has just begun. In the shadow of the temple, he lies in wait, maturing his plot to perfection. He emerges merciless, dominated by darkness, his bite laced with the charred remnants of his victims. No man dares to cross his path. They will forever sleep with one eye open, in fear of the Assassin’s hot kiss of death.
Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 1,408 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Phineasco
4.36/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2018 Vintage Orange Wax

The beer pours pitch black like heavy dense motor oil. It smells of char, whisky barrel, dates, and raisins. The beer tastes like cherry, raisins, tobacco, a little smoke, and heavy whisky barrel. The beer is very thick, 2 years smoothed it out a bit, but not much. It’s a fun stout to try, but wasn’t really my jam. I prefer Mornin Delight and KBBS. It would be nice to try other vintages.

 419 characters

Phineasco from Massachusetts, Feb 16, 2020
Photo of NYNorseman
4.72/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I became a big Toppling Goliath fan over the past few years and traveled out to the brewery in August 2019. Assassin was on tap and it was the best beer in the joint. My draft was a beautiful midnight black with light lacing, thick and bold with rich mouthfeel. Slightly boozy aroma. Chocolate notes blend magnificently with coffee on the back end. There were a lot of excellent beers to try but I did several Assassins and made a stop back on my way out of town the next day for another one. This brew was deadly good! Give Decorah, Iowa a try. It's a great small town - filthy dirty (in a good way) with Norse culture and a few great breweries. How can you go wrong?!?

 672 characters

NYNorseman from New York, Jan 16, 2020
Photo of pants678
4.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black with tan foam.

Whiskey, roasted malt.

Sweet liquor/vanilla, cola, not really roasted malt. Gives a sugary marshmallow flavor.

Not piecing despite ABV. Very low carb, not all that thick.

 195 characters

pants678 from California, Jan 04, 2020
Photo of briandgilbert
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Surprise on tap at brewery July 26
Look - jet black with brown edge on glass
Smell - holy cow!! Huge smell and such a punch!! Amazing!
Taste - this stout blows me away, such a chocolate punch!
Feel - very very thick, must sip little by little!
Overall - a knock out!! Mornin Delight and I assume KBBS are only better because they have a sweeter taste to them. Hope to try KBBS soon! Coming in Dec for another release.

 420 characters

Photo of jhavs
4.64/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Purple wax, 2016, shared with friends.

Black, sticky, thin head of deep tan. Settles into a few thin bubbles.

Aroma is rich and substantial booze, roasted malts, bittersweet cocoa, toffee.

Bold and rich flavors. Booze heat but not overpowering, fudge and bitter chocolate, earthy vanilla and woody barrel. Dark fruits and licorice root. Toffee sweetness as it warms.

Rich and decadent body, lighter side of moderate carbonation.

Excellent brew, super mouthfeel and flavor balance/blend.

 495 characters

jhavs from New Hampshire, Jul 25, 2019
Photo of von_kaiser
4.81/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage...may 26th 2019....this is amazing! Every sip is a different experience. flavors all over the place. maple? vanilla? chocolate? Not nearly the viscosity of Sr-71 but LEAGUES ahead of all around! Worth trying.

 228 characters

von_kaiser from Connecticut, May 26, 2019
Photo of JapaneseZombie
4.84/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'13 vintage (yellow wax)

Pours like SR71 b1 thick 5W-30 motor-oil viscosity. Upfront chocolate fudge, with a hint of black licorice and bourbon. Mouthfeel coats the tongue and teeth after each sip, 9/10 viscosity level. Absolutely amazing beer if it was drank fresh or properly cellared. This was drank early May of 2019.

 322 characters

JapaneseZombie from Washington, May 14, 2019
Photo of Dharmelink
4.62/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Gold Wax

I’m tasting Carmel, bourbon, black licorice, vanilla. Lucky enough to drink the whole bottle myself. Barely any carbonation at this point. Extremely delicious! Yum yum

 188 characters

Dharmelink from Wisconsin, Nov 25, 2018
Photo of mohaghandi
3.91/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark black pour, lacing for days.

Cherry and birch bark on the nose. Smells more like a quad.

The awesome texture on the front of the tongue is quickly assaulted by liquorice, anaise, and anything else you might taste after opening up a package of black Twizlers candy.
It coats the mouth, throat, lungs, belly, all the way down to my big toe.
Each additional sip seems to enhance the assault. Were it not for the heavy price I’d paid for this bottle, I would not want to finish it.
This drinks hotter/more painful than most 18-20% stouts. But as a glutton for punishment, I’m very disappointed in this one.

 618 characters

mohaghandi from California, Sep 28, 2018
Photo of Zach_Attack
4.88/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

03/2015 - This is absolutely incredible - the nose is big bourbon, dark chocolate, roast, and some vanilla, too; the mouthfeel is velvety, luscious, and full on whiskey, yet there isn't any ethanol; the finish slightly sweet, yet the roast and barrel linger in a wonderful union that lasts and lasts.

 300 characters

Zach_Attack from Massachusetts, Sep 25, 2018
Photo of pmarlowe
4.31/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2018 release (orange wax).

A: Pours absolutely jet black with a thin cap of dark brown head. A couple streaks of lacing and pretty good retention for something this big.

S: Rich dark chocolate bar, dark dried fruit, sweet vanilla bean ice cream, light oak char and whiskey. A bit of an alcohol burn on the nose.

T: Hot ethanol, dark chocolate, oak, light vanilla and whiskey, and a bit of red cherry with the associated tartness. The cherry and a powdery cocoa lingers on the (very long) finish.

M: Thick, motor oil consistency cut by medium carbonation. Moderate alcohol heat and burn.

O: A big, bruising imperial stout. Interesting fruit notes and complexity. The heat and light barrel treatment knocks this down below top tier BA stouts. This is decidedly less good than much easier to acquire BA stouts like BCBS or BT.

 837 characters

pmarlowe from Virginia, Aug 22, 2018
Photo of njcraftguy
4.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really good beer - solid and enjoyable but I'm glad I had a buddy who got a bottle on the cheap n shared. If I did what it normally takes to score this I would have been very disappointed. Smells boozy and tastes the same. Decent flavor but not great. The booze just over took everything else. I'm glad I got to try it but won't go crazy getting more.

 354 characters

njcraftguy from New Jersey, Jul 02, 2018
Photo of chitownfanatic21
1.86/5  rDev -60.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

Wow, very disappointed in this one. I would never do secondary value on this, and probably not even MSRP. It was like soy sauce honestly, glad to have tried it, but much better BA Stouts out there for a much better price, straight up hype train in my opinion.

 259 characters

Photo of Masonz223
4.38/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Orange wax

The nose is great and is full of rich chocolate brownie batter with a touch of barrel. The taste doesn’t transition though. There is a ton of dark fruit and dark cherry on the palette. The dark fruit overwhelms the other notes in this beer and pushes them into the distant background like the big brownie batter note that was dominant on the nose. The mouthfeel is full and verges on chewy. Overall this beer is pretty good, but falls short of the hype by quit a lot.

 483 characters

Masonz223 from Michigan, Jun 08, 2018
Photo of jlindros
4.59/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Huge thanks to David for this gem

Decent foamy black head, pitch black beer, long legs

Nose super dark malt, big dark chocolate, fudgey cocoa, roast, coffee, little caramel nougat

Taste thick fudgey dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, big dark fruits, brandy raisin, fig date, nougat, little roasty bitterness, candy, syrupy little boozy

Mouth is fudgey thick chewy, nice fluffy carb, little booze

Overall very nice, like any of the big hitters but no licorice, nice fruits and drinkable now not in 5 years like many of the other big hitters (Abyss, Darklord, Darkness, etc)

 579 characters

jlindros from Massachusetts, May 06, 2018
Photo of stt1118
4.64/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Whiskey Barrel, dark chocolate and cherry on the nose. Very thick mouthfeel with raisins coming through on the sip. Finishes with burnt sugar and chewy chocolate. Impressive non adjunct stout here!

 198 characters

stt1118 from Minnesota, Apr 26, 2018
Photo of Kdouble
4.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The 2018 version (Orange Wax Version) but my review is a draft pour from Toppling Goliath on release day, Mar. 31, 2018.

Look- A 4 oz. pour (that is what they had) into a taster glass. A deep dark black with no head and sticky thick. It just stuck to the glass.

Smell- Chocolate was super strong with a hint of the barrel mixed in. After a sip, the dark fruits and especially raisins came through. It was amazing.

Taste- The chocolate was definitely dominant up front and then the dark fruit mixed in. The raisins seemed to hang around. A slight aftertaste of the alcohol to finish. Super drinkable brew

Feel- So deliciously thick it was like oil. It leaves a lingering taste that was so wonderful.

Overall- A phenomenal brew that lives up to the hype for me. I prefer the sweetness of the chocolate to the more common coffee flavors. It was worth the trip for this one. Highly recommend getting it if you can .

 918 characters

Kdouble from Tennessee, Apr 01, 2018
Photo of Vidblain
4.17/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rating applies to 2018 (orange wax) Assassin.

Barrel is quite prominently present. Nose is laden with loads of dark fruit. Taste similarly reflective of dark fruit. I found myself quite surprised. At least while cool, the beer is not incredibly thick and doesn't have a ton of character other than dark fruit and barrel.

But I had another pour later, possibly deeper in to the keg - this pour was significantly thicker, oilier, and richer (nose, taste, and mouth feel). It still consisted of too much dark fruit for my liking, but it was much better. I'm still slightly puzzled by the difference in those two pours.

Assassin is another one of those whalez that I was eager to tick... and in the time that I've been searching for one, I've drank too many other good beers. It just cannot live up to expectation at this point. Cheers if it's a favorite of yours, but it certainly is not one of mine.

 900 characters

Vidblain from Minnesota, Apr 01, 2018
Photo of Davepoolesque
4.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014, gold wax. Dark chocolate, cocoa, brownie batter, oak, dark fruits and bourbon. Straight fudge. Awesome mouthfeel. Luxuriously thick and rich. Underlying bitter bite on the finish. Sweetness has mellowed and this has dried out. Still decently boozy. Very good. A bit of oxidation has crept in thou. I'd drink now.

 319 characters

Davepoolesque from Massachusetts, Mar 27, 2018
Photo of jcoleMA66
4.81/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I also had a chance to taste the 2018 batch (orange wax) today at Julio's poured by Clark Lewey. Tough to gauge look in small taster but looks super dark and sludgy. Smell is chocolate, sweet bourbon, some tobacco. Taste is chocolate, dark fruits and some roastiness. Also bourbon sweetness, but overall pretty subdued. Not much in the way of booziness. Medium mouthfeel with some good stickiness. Super excited that I got to try this.

 437 characters

jcoleMA66 from Massachusetts, Feb 25, 2018
Photo of brewmeister1984
4.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got he opportunity to sample the 2018 batch before it was officially released at a tasting at julios Liquors. Very tasty tasty with big dark chocolate notes. A little on the thin side but delish nonetheless.

 207 characters

brewmeister1984 from Massachusetts, Feb 24, 2018
Photo of Futbolmanby
4.73/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Assassin range a lot, this rating is based on the 2014 pappy aged assassin.

2014=4.75, 4.75, 4.75, 4.5, 4.75 (4.73)
2016=4.5, 4.75, 4.5, 4.25, 4.5 (4.54)
2018=4.5, 4.5, 4.75, 4.5, 4.5 (4.6)

Look: thin khaki head and motor oil black
Smell: milk chocolate, carnal, malt and some bourbon
Taste: milk chocolate, carnal, bourbon and dried fruit
Feel: thick and heavy, oil like... strong bourbon finish.

 402 characters

Futbolmanby from Michigan, Dec 30, 2017
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 vintage; drank 6/2/17 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Black/brown appearance.

Minimal dark tan head; minimal lace.

Raspberry, vanilla, milk chocolate & dark roast coffee bean notes in the nose.

Thick, smooth mouthfeel.

Chocolate, raspberry & dark roast coffee bean flavors up front; Cabernet Sauvignon notes on the finish.

Berry bliss; fairly incredible.

 359 characters

GuyFawkes from Illinois, Dec 10, 2017
Photo of WhaleSlayer85
4.99/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Gold Wax.

Wow, amazing Barrel character, perfect mouthfeel. Luxurious beer.

Orange Wax

Pours pitch black, sludge like. A dark brown half ding of head that fades to a thin ring. Nose is big bourbon, wood, smoke, rich milk chocolate, getting some cherry, figs. Taste is huge brownie batter, oak, some mild dark fruits. Mouth coating, silky mouthfeel. Overall, absolutely fantastic. Cannot imagine what more one would want in a nonadjunct BA stout 4.75+

 453 characters

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2016 Batch Pour from Iowa Craft Beer Festival in Des Moines, IA.

Thick, Stick Bourbon. Pitch black with dark khaki head which subsides rather quickly. One of the thickest stouts I have drank in relation to mouthfeel. Amazing beer!!!

 233 characters

Assassin from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1408 ratings