Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Assassin Imperial Stout | Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
93 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Assassin Imperial StoutAssassin Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
Iowa, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Pintofbrown on 02-20-2012

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 93 | Ratings: 1,049
Photo of dboon
4.46/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Big thanks to Hopscotch for sharing this gem. Dark brown pour with a light brown head. Incredible caramel and chocolate aromas. Great lacing. Sweet with some cola like qualities. Caramel, chocolate, and woody notes with a fair amount of heat from the rye in the finish. Very good mouthfeel and body.

 307 characters

Photo of 4lo
4.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 Gold Wax

Pours like motor oil which builds up your anticipation on the mouthfeel. Coffee, chocolate, bourbon and raisin on the smell. Significant depth to the taste with fudge & coffee leading the way. Roast and bourbon pick up on the tail with a bit of sweetness. Mouthfeel is among the best.

 303 characters

Photo of gatornation
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

pours a thick jet black color very viscous with a slow forming small mocha head very little lacing or head thru -out
chocolate rich and delicate with slight coffee and vanilla roasted malts wood and bourboun
this is perfection it is a blend of fine chocolate melded with roasted malts the BA presence brings this whole stout together a touch of vanilla nothing overpowers here is a perfect blend that leaves you wanting one more sip
rich with flavors BA is perfection it compliments this stout
this is a must try if you are a BA Stout lover exquisite brew

 555 characters

Photo of MOVERTON1284
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to @justdoit1234 (Jesse M) for this amazing gift! 2014 Vintage, opened at an amazing share. Pours like motor oil, black with very little carbonation. Taste was very balanced and while you got lots of the barrel flavors, it was not overpowering. Best BA stout I have ever had.

 287 characters

Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.99/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage.
Definitely lived up to the hype.
Has that special something that's hard to pin down.
'13 Prop is the only other BA stout that I've had that's in the same league as this.

 183 characters

Photo of TampaRainman
4.63/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 Gold Wax batch poured into Teku. Big thanks to @HawkeyePA for the hookup.

A: Black Oil poured from the bottle struggles to churn up a slight dark brown head. Only light wisps and a few small bubbles last more than a minute. Swirling leaves a sticky film that slowly recedes.

S: Heavy dark chocolate and molasses. Slight coffee. Burnt marshmallows. Smoky, woody campfire. Bourbon.

T: Bourbon hits strong in a good way. Sweet boozy goodness. Molasses. Caramel. More burnt marshmallow. Dark chocolate. Roasty malts but this is definitely leaning dessert.

F: Low carb. Not super thick, but silky and creamy. Bourbon finishes a little hot.

O: A pleasure to drink and a great example of the style.

 717 characters

Photo of jaken0ss
4.83/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Rating reflects the 2013 vintage, yellow wax. The rye barrel aging makes quite the difference in this beer and honestly takes it to a whole new level. Having had the 2014 right before opening this bottle.

Good, will probably age beautifully, but did not impress compared to the 2013 which was phenomenal

 310 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Sure glad I didn't have to travel out to the middle of nowhere in Iowa to land this highly sought-after beauty! It's good to have generous friends in beer nerdery circles. Pours brown-black with a thin but quickly dissipating mocha head. Probably the only disappointing feature of this beer. I could smell the Pappy goodness from a mile away once I poured the beer in my glass. Sweet chocolate, molasses, hints of vanilla and marshmallows, and oak in the nose. The flavors were surprisingly softer than expected! The Pappy flavors came through very nicely, cocoa, coffee subtleties, marshmallows, roasted oak and toffee. Thin to medium bodied along with a velvety and a slight burn in the finish. This beer was indeed a level above a coked up Parabola or BCBS!

 760 characters

Photo of bismarksays
4.42/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle sampled out with friends

Appearance: Syrupy, thin tawny head, opaque. Beer looks like most imperial barrel aged stouts. As thick as BCBS. So, expect a chewy animal.

Smell: Chocolate, almost fudge like, some bourbon (and some heat from the booze), a touch of caramel, and maybe a little bit of coconut. Smells like a chocolate bar sitting next to a glass of whiskey. No, like freshly baked brownies and an glass of whisky. Much more chocolate present than bourbon.
T/M Mouthfeel, I am not going to beat around the bush, is thick and chewy. Leans more silky than sticky though, which is a nice surprise and makes it much more drinkable than one would have thought given the viscosity of it. Taste follows the nose. Chocolate before booze, but booze still present. The chocolate and other barrel qualities (coconut with the faintest hint at vanilla) tone down the booze mostly. Rich. Nice. Warming.
Overall: I was worried that the bourbon would win. I was worried this would be sticky. I worry too much. Enjoy.

 1,026 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.24/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to Jeff for this rarity. 2014 vintage with gold wax into a Founders snifter. Shared with schen9303.

A heavy pour yields a thick, 1 finger chocolate covered head with excellent stick. Beer is pitch black, oily and very rich. Lacing is thick, web-like and layered with outstanding stick. Top notch!

Nose is fudge, sweet soy sauce, fresh plum and grape, vanilla, chocolate and a creamy hop presence. Moderately aromatic. Pretty average.

Opens chocolate, sweet soy sauce and lactose. Notes of dark fruit. Prunes, grape, vanilla, fudge and cocoa in the middle with a bit of wood and booze at the end. Finishes sweet brownie and cocoa powder. Aftertaste of hop creaminess, mocha and molasses. Excellent.

Full bodied with low carbonation. Thick and oily in the mouth and goes down smooth and luscious. Messy finish with a filmy, sticky aftertaste. Fantasticly robust and fitting for the style.

Toppling Goliath is putting out a ton of extremely high quality offerings and Assassin is certainly worthy of leading the bunch. Near perfect look and feel for the style with an unbelievable flavor. Definitely worth the hype.

 1,133 characters

Photo of linnymtu
4.9/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the best mouthfeel I've ever had in a beer. In fact I never understood why mouthfeel was part of the ratings until Assassin. Coated your mouth almost like peanut butter does it was so thick. Will definitely try to find another bottle.

 243 characters

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ive had the 2013 & 2014 before, but I was lucky enough to be able to sit on the TG patio with Clark and Mike BOTH and sample the 2012 B1, 2012 B2, 2013 & 2014 back to back! All are out of this world ridiculous with tons of barrel but the 2012 B1 & 2013 were smoother than 2014... 2014 was still pretty boozy. 2012 B2 (Single Barrel Rye Assassin) was great too but the rye was a little overpowering.

 402 characters

Photo of HOPSareKey
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Unbelievably enormous without any one area being over the top. Deep roast, sweet, toasted coconut, perfect barrel character. Every quality you would want in a stout. The best beer I have had to date.

 199 characters

Photo of Fcolle2
4.56/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours viscous thick jet black with a thin tan head that retains nicely. Smell has incredibly rich decadent aromas of chocolate whiskey vanilla oak And some dark fruit aromas. Taste follows nose with super rich semisweet chocolate malt with notes of cocoa coffee, fudge, and caramel. Whiskey, oak barrel vanilla tannins and roasted marshmallow follow before a sweet jam like berry flavor finishes with notes of red current, boysenberry, and black cherry. Mild smokey malt on the exhale. Inceribly complex beer. Mouthfeel is thick velvety and smooth.

 548 characters

Photo of RelentlessLefty
5/5  rDev +9.4%

I had this a while ago, just wanting to log what I have had from the 250 list. Of all the beers I have had thus far, this might be my favorite. Tons of bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate in this. Mouthfeel was thick and luscious. Everything about this beer was top of the chart.

 275 characters

Photo of Berg77
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Split a 2014 vintage with a buddy last weekend. Probably the thickest beer I've ever had, like close to milkshake. Great bourbon flavor but just the right amount, not overpowering the rich chocolate truffle-like flavor. Just an excellent BA stout, and one of the best beers I've had yet.

 290 characters

Photo of jbwimer
4.78/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Huge thanks to Chin for sending this beer to me. Hell. Yes. Stupid fudgey. Woody, sticky, and amazing barrel influence. Bourbon shows up, for sure. To me, though, it's the wood character that makes this beer remarkable. Marshmallow, vanilla, yum. A touch of roast to provide some balance. Smell is a little more complex than the flavor, which is my only "knock" on this beer. Mouthfeel is viscous and rich as I've ever had. A beautiful beer in every regard.

 457 characters

Photo of mlhyatt
4.79/5  rDev +4.8%

Poured from bomber into tulip glass. Let it warm up for a good 45 minutes before drinking.

A- black with an dark brown head, looks like chocolate cake with a mousse topping. Delicious. Head dissipates rather quickly into nothing which is pretty normal for a beer with this high ABV.

S- Tons of alcohol, sweet molasses, vanilla and oak. Then coffee seeps in and smooths out the scent. It was kind of a roller coaster ride with the smell. After the coffee, dark fruit and chocolate come in on the end.

T - Follows the nose almost exactly. Tons of bourbon but the coffee is a lot smoother in the taste than the smell. It coats the mouth like ice coffee does but it tastes like hot coffee (if that makes sense). Dark chocolate comes through on the end and finished real nice.

M- a little hot, but overall extremely smooth. Very thick as well.

O- A fantastic beer, I was expecting a little more coffee, but the smoothness of the coffee rivals BCBCS. I think with a year on this beer the alcohol will tone down and it will get even better.

 1,043 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black motor oil body. Almost no head, but who cares. Woo that smells good. Chestnut aroma with an awesome whiskey smell. Good amount of alcohol aroma. Really sweet. Almost a prune raisin taste. Lots of woody barrel tastes. Similar to a fine brandy. Too much going on to explain. Just an absolutely excellent beer.

 319 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
4.87/5  rDev +6.6%

2014 gold wax bottle from trade. Humungo thanks for this one. Pours thick viscous pitch black looking thicker than any beer I have poured, including dark lord and Hunahpu. Not really anything but a ring of dark brown head. Beautiful aroma of vanilla, toasted coconut, caramel, chocolate, oak, bourbon, dark fruit, hint of roast but mostly sweet. Flavor is bourbon up front with toasted coconut and vanilla galore, a hint of chocolate, oak, more bourbon. Finishes with a blast of vanilla bourbon and wood that is just amazing. Thick bodied with low carbonation but not as sickly syrup thick as expected from the look of this thing. TG is just stupid good when it comes to making beer. Jeez.

 689 characters

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.45/5  rDev -2.6%

Appearance: pours a dark mahogany, not quite black but not far off. a very small amount of tan foam forms but has very little retention. completely opaque due to the darkness but lets a nice rich mahogany brightness through the edges. sticks to the glass and leaves a brown layer behind. 4.5/5

Smell: lots of whiskey, maple syrup, some chocolate and some alcohol. low amounts of espresso and roasted malts. 4/5

Taste: opens with a good kick of whiskey, and whiskey soaked dark fruits. strong dark chocolate character. large amounts of sweetness coming in waves of maple syrup and toffee. back end has some oak and wooden character. little to no alcohol. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: extremely thick and chewy. sticks to the glass and the sides of your mouth. strong alcohol warmth but overall drinks very smoothly. 4.5/5

Overall: no doubt this is an excellent beer. almost exactly what I look for in a big chewy barrel aged beer. certainly a treat that I would not pass up on at any chance.

 984 characters

Photo of drmcleod10
4.29/5  rDev -6.1%

Popped and domed by myself on a Sunday night.

A - Dark and thick with very little to no carbonation. Coats the glass and stains it quite a bit. No lacing no carbonation dark as night.(4.5)

S - Smell was lots of chocolate and that classic pappy smell that you get in Remy, Rare, others. It's not as much of a marshmallowy smell as I thought it would be. VB Assassin has a definite edge in this category. Lots of chocolate with some roast and hints of vanilla and bourbon. (4.5)

T - Taste follows the nose, except for the fact of how overwhelmingly sweet this is. This is a bottle that is tough to down yourself(even though its a bomber to share). It's almost cloyingly sweet with loads of chocolate sugary, bourbon, vanilla booze. It wasn't as boozy as I have heard which leads me to believe theres quite a bit of variation. Overall, cloyingly sweet and leaves an unpleasant feeling in the mouth. It's tasty don't get me wrong, but doesn't stack up to TG's other stouts. MD, KBBS, VB Assassin all edge this out by a mile. (3.75)

M - Thick creamy, lingers forever and coats the mouth. After I got through the first half of the bottle it became easier to get through the rest. Started tasting slightly better as it got to 65ish degrees. (4.0)

O - Overall, this was a letdown. It's good, but not world class. It was too sweet. I had a much easier time downing 20+ ounces of MD then this and you would think the Pappy barrels would have mellowed out some of the sweetness. I have another bottle and will either see how it ages and revisit in a year or trade for BA Abraxas or DB Huna which are far superior in my eyes.

Still a solid effort and a solid beer.

A friend of mine said his tasted and resembled nail polish remover which further leads me to the conclusion that there is great variation between the barrels or tops and bottoms of these barrels.

Re-review from Abraxas day.

This bottle wasn't quite as sweet but definitely still didn't stand up to the ratings and the recent ratings of gold wax. This almost reminded me of a barleywine this time, not as sweet, still thick and creamy. Just not on par with their other stouts. Not even in the same stratosphere, I think hype is getting people here. I really don't see the 5's and 4.9's and where the are coming from and I am a very generous rater.

Need to nab a 2013 to compare. This bottle was more of a 4.35

 2,378 characters

Photo of timc100
5/5  rDev +9.4%

2014, with some weller 12yr on the side

Pours our thick, dark, and oily black. Closely reminiscent of a CCB stout with BC Prop oiliness. Very impressive.

Brilliant aroma of sweet pappy bourbon (graham cracker, pipe smoke, tobacco, vanilla, oak) molasses, chocolate, caramel and slight umami. Really pleasant booziness and completely in balance. Tastes in great balance as well with a nice booziness.

Outrageously thick - very viscous, full, almost sticky. Carries the vibrant flavors well - great boozy sweet and bitter chocolate finish.

This is an astonishing beer.

 580 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.55/5  rDev -0.4%

22oz bomber with yellow wax from the 2013 release, generously shared by lunarbrew with our tasting group today, 6.18.2013. We drank this after the Hunahpu's which we opened up first.

Aroma: Sweet straight up whiskey combined with tons and tons of sweet milk chocolate, a good bit of bitter dark chocolate and coffee accompanied by a little bit of marshmallow sweetness. It smells very sweet and boozy. (4.5)

Colour: Nothing special for a big barrel-aged stout- very very dark brown, almost opaque and black, illuminating dark cola brown. The head comes out as a sexy 1cm mocha head that sticks around for a good while until it slowly dissipates into nothingness, leaving a placid abyss. When it was poured into my glass, it looked super thick coming out of the bottle, thicker than anything I've seen- including Ten Fidy. (4.5)

Flavour: Wow! This beer definitely packs tons and tons of sweet whiskey and chocolate. I swear I'm having chocolate fondue, if you could somehow put your beer on a fondue fork and dip it in chocolate. It's incredible how the subtle vanilla sweetness, ostensibly from the barrel, combines with the chocolate sweetness. It's like marshmallows dipped in chocolate fondue. Normally, this would be bad news for any beer, but no, it was also balanced out with a good bit of espresso bitterness. There is a little bit of dark fruits, but not a whole lot, and there is a small woody oak presence. But this beer is ruled by the chocolate and vanilla oak. A perfect dessert beer. (4.5)

Mouthfeel: This is definitely full bodied, viscous and chewy. Incredible, one of the thickest beers I've ever had. Well-carbonated and I cannot detect much booze at all in this beer. When it goes down, it goes down silky smooth without any heat. It was like liquid brownies.. doesn't get a whole lot better than this. (5)

Overall: This is probably a top 5 barrel-aged imperial stout (without additions like coffee or cherry or whatever) for me. It is up there with BCBS- in fact, the best way I would put it is that this beer is what Goose Island would make if they made a Bourbon County Brand Chocolate Double Cream Stout. So thick, viscous and explosively sweet with complex flavours that complement each other really well. It's worth trying at least once, don't kill yourself getting this beer- its just beer- but be happy if you get the chance to try it! (4.5)

[2013 Final Score: 4.55]

Re-review: of the 2014 gold wax vintage, poured into a Toppling Goliath gold snifter 8/22/2014. This simply isn't as good as last year's. As a whole, the bourbon character is far too strong here as there is very little of the chocolatey fudge goodness that characterized last year's yellow wax version. The nose has a paint thinner, nail polish scent going which was very surprising as last year's had essentially chocolate marshmallows on the nose, which is not to be found here. The mouthfeel is still there in spades, but I would highly recommend aging this for a while. The whiskey almost entirely covers up the normally excellent base stout and I honestly feel that the PVW+TG hype is carrying this beer further than it should be conceivably going based on how it is tasting right now. Still, don't get me wrong- this is a thick imperial stout with a strong whiskey character (think Fifteen with a thick mouthfeel and an acetone-like nose) and it may very well improve significantly with a year on it.

[2014 Final Score: 3.825]

Score breakdown:
Appearance: 4.5 (5%)
Smell: 2.5 (20%)
Flavour: 4 (45%)
Mouthfeel: 5 (10%)
Overall: 4 (20%)

 3,543 characters

Photo of stouts4me
4.79/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Served in my 2015 GTMW glass at the last day of New Glarus Wild Peach release.

Generously shared by The " Woodchopper"

This beauty pours out just the way you love: black as night, and a nice viscosity.nice tan head rimming the glass.

Ooh, nice heavy booze aroma, setting you up for your first taste of awesomeness.taste is great, a little sweetness, chocolately, not overly chewy, just right on the mouthfeel.

This would be great in a year, but so hard to resist drinking them now!

 485 characters

Assassin Imperial Stout from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
4.57 out of 5 based on 1,049 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!