Velvet Glove | Iron Fist Brewing Company

very good
101 Reviews
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Velvet GloveVelvet Glove

Brewed by:
Iron Fist Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
You know the expression, "A Velvet Glove and an Iron Fist"? It was coined to refer to a regime that used a soft exterior to hide its punishingly unforgiving nature. This seems an apt description for our Velvet Glove. Its placid appearance and unparalleled smoothness hide the truth; this is one fiendishly strong stout. Rich, chocolaty espresso dominates the flavor profile, with a velvety smooth texture that will haunt your senses.

Added by Sideswipe on 01-15-2011

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Reviews: 101 | Ratings: 347
Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some very dark cola brown + dark amber highlights. The beer has a half finger tall creamy dark tan head that reduces to a large patch of very thin film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted dark malts with some hints of vanilla, cocoa, and coffee.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of roasted dark malts with some light to moderate notes of chocolate and dark fruit sweetness (hints of raisin). There are some hints of vanilla and coffee. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish that lingers slightly.

M: Medium to full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: This has some nice flavors with a decent amount of complexity and it pretty enjoyable - alcohol is well hidden. Fairly easy to drink but a nice sipping beer.

Thanks to my wife for bringing this one back from her business trip to the LA area.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.74/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours a viscous black. Small khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Whoa. Lots of red wine fruity aromas. Deep chocolate. Vanilla. Impressive.

Taste - The fruitiness is a little too strong. A bit oxidized. Chocolatey. Finishes with a bit of sherry.

Mouthfeel - Thick. A little chewy. Low carbonation.

Overall - Seems like a red wine barrel, but it's not. Just a little too strong on some of those flavors.

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Photo of kemoarps
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a good stout black. Pillowy head that fades to the point of disappearance. Looks like a good stout?

The nose is sweet and creamy with a caramel aspect and roasty black malts. Smells really enticing. Theres almost a little green on the finish.

guess what... this tastes really good as well. Starts off sweet and velvety, chocolaty. Some other stuff I can't quite put my finger on.

Smoothe. Deliciousness. The alcohol doesn't really come through, until it does. Smoothe and masked initially, but on the finish/aftertaste it gets a little warm.

I really like this quite a bit. Really glad my sister brought it up with her from LA. thanks Durf!!

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Photo of Immortale25
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours an intensely opaque black color with a 3/4 inch brown head (from a heavy pour) that retains nicely before sliding down to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Random sticky clots of surface foam.

S- Sweet vanilla-like aroma with notes of milk chocolate, coffee and caramel.

T- Dark roasted malts with a metallic twang and sweet finish. Alcohol is high but deceivingly so. Plenty of chocolate notes with not as much coffee as the aroma. Raisin aftertaste. Hops come through as the beer warms.

M- Not as creamy as the label describes. The body is actually slightly on the thin side for the style. Medium carbonation.

O- Very drinkable, but there are definitely better imperial stouts out there.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to the BA who sent me this one as an extra in a past trade! Served from bottle into a New Belgium globe. Poured a massively dark brown (basically black) with a one finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, bread, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, sweet alcohol, and sublte earth. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. The balanced flavor on this one was quite nice on this one and very inviting. Nice notes of dark chocolate and dark fruit going on here that made it quite easy to drink this one in large gulps without even noticing the alcohol content at all. The aroma was quite nice as well and very well balanced. Went into this one not really knowing what to expect and ending up being quite surprised overall. Well done on this one guys.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a half a growler of this filled by my good friend Passow at The Wine Spot where he works. We split a bottle of this about a month back as well and I really liked it, so when he told me they had it on-tap I had to swing by and get some. Poured into my snifter, this beer is a very solid dark brown, almost black color with a tan head that is about 1/2 inch thick when poured. Quickly settles to a thin ring lining the inside of the glass. Not much lacing unfortunately. Aromas of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and perhaps a hint of dark fruit. Has a sweet, slightly roasted caramel, malt sweetness upfront that gives way to chocolate sweetness and is rounded out with some nice black coffee bitterness on the back end. Also the taste of alcohol is present, but not overly bearing at all. The flavors certainly blend well as the beer sits and warms up a bit. Has a slightly crisp, smooth and creamy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. I wish the aftertaste and finish were a bit stronger and lingered more though. Becomes quite easy to drink in the way good beer ought to be, especially as it sits and warms up a bit. Certainly worth a try. I'd drink this again, but there is room for improvement with this beer.


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Photo of Jree261
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours black and opaque out of the bottle with a brown-dark brown foam.

Smell: Heavy milk chocolate and coffee with more subtle butterscotch.

Taste: Dark chocolate, rich coffee flavors to match the aroma and coloring.

Mouthfeel: Not as heavy as I would have expected from everything else going into it. Still a full bodied hefty dessert style stout that feels like its 9 percent ABV but it also has a softness on the palette that rounds the beer out nicely.

Overall: If I have any type of complaint about this beer it's that the finish ends too quickly after the strength and power that the beer has throughout the rest of the tasting process. Excellent beer that would go well with chocolate or blue cheese or on its own.

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Photo of pkalix
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured a beautiful black, huge delicious nestle chocolate milk head. awesome!
smell is beautiful chocolate, some fruits, some earthiness.
taste is the same. roasted malts with the chocolate and fruits. almost a warming hint of the 9% alcohol.
overall, decent, but feels thin in flavor at the end. still a great flavor and a nice abv. i have another from this brewery i am eager to try. the pour, the appearance, the aroma is all great but the taste just doesnt carry it through. still a great brew. i'd do this one again...

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.26/5  rDev -17%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a perfect pint.

2.0 A: Black color. Aggressive pour gave just a touch of head that didn't last long.

3.5 S: This one has a strong cherry vibe going on. Chocolate covered cherries to be exact. Formitable roastiness, notes of coffee, molasses, and caramel. Smells like a prototypical stout except for the emphasis on cherry and chocolate. There's also some mineral aroma in this, like in an English stout.

3.25 T: Taste is much like the nose. Chocolate and cherry are the focus with coffee, molasses, caramel, and rich neutral maltiness. Moderate roastiness with a light acridity. Overall, not bad, but nothing special.

3.5 M: Heavier body. Carbonation is far too low. Otherwise, this has a very nice velvety viscousness to it. With proper carbonation, this could easily be a 5.0 here.

3.25 D: Decent attempt. With more carbonation, I could see this being a pretty good beer. However, this is too pricey at $10 for the 750ml.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'll start off by saying that after 3 days of visiting SoCal microbrews recently, Iron Fist has suddenly jumped into my sights as a seriously good brewery. All-round amazing stuff from what I assume is the youngest commercial brewer in the country.

I had the Velvet Glove on nitro as recommended by my brother (this is his favorite beer). I have to say, the beer is aptly named. With the nitro pour, it is the smoothest mouthfeel I've ever had on a beer. Dark, mostly opague, as expected from an Imperial Stout. What was surprising was the balance and not-overwhelming dark malts. I really enjoyed the intial taste/mouthfeel, which is sometimes a bit over-the-top with this style. The complexity of the malt came later, and with almost no bitter aftertaste like I was expecting. I think some would say the beer is a bit "soft", but personnally I think the softness with complexity is admirable in a beer this big and with the amount of roasted malts.

A great beer.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle – FW snifter glass

A: Pours a dark muddy brown that collects much darker in the glass. Raven-like with a deep maroon edge to it. Thin brown paper bag rim with tiny bubbles of fizz that settle out to a thin collar. Some weak squiggles of lace.

S: Aromas offer up a great blend of dark and semi-sweet chocolates. I get lots of dark roasted grains with some earthy minerals and dark fruits. Fig, plum, and currants. Super chocolaty like brownie batter with a bit of marshmallow mixed in and a light trailer of soft espresso notes. Really great nose.

T: Tastes of dark chocolate truffles with complimenting notes of dark fruits and dried cherries. Deliciously sweet with loads of dark roasted grains, some toasted oats, and a restrained espresso bean note. There is a very earthy component with a nice moderate hoppy bitterness. Has a bit of smoky charcoal in the finish with some dark molasses and a slight umami thing going on in the aftertaste. Creeper alcohol remains well hidden all throughout. Really nice balance of flavors. Not quite as good as the nose indicates but definitely tasty stuff.

M: Velvety smooth mouth feel. A real highlight to the overall beer. Somewhat thicker body with ample carbonation gives a much lighter feel. A slight bitter hop pucker with an oily slick finish on the palate.

D: This is a really nice Imperial Stout and my favorite offering at Iron Fist. Should be a sipper yet has some great drinkability. Reminds me of something you would find coming out of CCB with the deep rich roast flavors and silky smooth mouth feel. One I like to include as trade extras.


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Photo of kawilliams81
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a AleSmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- Pours a thin black, with a 2 finger light tan head. Sporadic blotches remain on the glass.

S- Dark chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, some roast.

T- Dark chocolate, roast, coffee, some ash, semi-sweet dark fruits and some bitterness.

M- Medium body and carbonation. A little thin, but has a nice slick feel and is very drinkable.

O- Good RIS. Again, a little thin but has very good flavors and aromas that make up for the mouth feel.

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tasting glass. It poured close to black in color with a thin tan head to it. Pretty nice looking beer overall.

In the aroma I get notes of dark chocolate, smoke and a little caramel. I really like the smoke to it. Very nice aroma to it overall.

In the taste it shows a little more chocolate and a little less of the smoke. Some darker, roasted malts come out in the finish. The chocolate flavors are very nice in it.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate for the style. Overall, it was a very solid beer of the style. The flavors all came together very nicely. I liked the little bit of smoke I got in it as well.

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Photo of harrymel
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled: unk
Pours velvety ink black with a fine, mocha sheet. Smells cocoa, leather, hints of resin hops, dark nougat, some figs, raisin. Nice nose. Flavor carries the earthy, oily flavors of leather and good amounts of dark chocolate, raisins, graham, soil, wood and some bitterness. Full bodied with light, fine carb and a semi dry finish. Good beer, worth drinking if you’re in the area, but not something I would seek out strongly. A good sub for me in my neck of the woods is a year old Ten FIDY.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head that stayed around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, it smells like roasted malt, dark fruit, espresso, bittersweet chocolate and some burnt/charred malt. Taste is mostly just like the aroma but the flavors seem stronger in comparison, and there's also the addition of some anise. There's a nice balance between the sweet and bitter flavors in this stout. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy with good carbonation. This is the first Iron Fist beer I've had (since I think they're new to Ohio), and I thought it was good. I'll have to pick up some of their other brews now. $9.99 a bottle.

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Photo of DirtyBikeBrewing
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer when I was in San Diego for Comic con. It was really high abv and it tasted like adult chocolate milk. Great beer overall. I would totally recommend that everyone give it a try. It goes down smooth but it packs a punch.

A - Poured super black.

S - Smelled of chocolate and smoky coffee

T - smokey chocolate and vanilla

M - Great mouthfeel. Full body beer.

O - Great stout. Next time I'm in San Diego I'm going bring back a couple of bottles.

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Photo of bump8628
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle served in a snifter. Pours black with a dark khaki head that completely disappears in a few minutes. Dark fruit heavy with fig and raisin notes almost taking precedence over the roasted flavors. Dark malts come out more as it warms - espresso, char, and even a hint of smoke on the finish. A bit hot in terms of alcohol even considering the ABV. Flavors are nice, just a bit disjointed. I guess with the number of imperial stouts on the market my bar has been raised.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours opaque black with a finger of fine, medium brown head with good retention and nice lacing. Rich aroma of roasted malt, chocolate and a hint of dark fruit. Flavor is initially sweet with light and dark fruit elements, with roasted malt and chocolate developing then finishing with roasted and charred malt. The flavors are not as intense as the aroma, but I liked the flavor progression and enjoyed this imperial stout. Smooth medium to heavy bodied with pleasant creaminess. A little on the sweet side for an imperial stout, but that works well for me.

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Photo of beagle75
2.73/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tasting glass.

A: Opaque black color with less than one finger of beige foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Spirituous chocolate liqueur exhibits malt in a very refined state. Dark fruit is also featured prominently, with a vinous quality suggestive of earthy Merlot.

T: Begins sweet, with early fruit that is dark but over-ripe and even cheesy. Acidity is intermediate in intensity but brief in duration, as husky roasted malt emerges into the middle along with vitamin-tincture minerality. Roast turns to burnt malt toward the finish, which ends with a boozy, drying, and scorched bitter pall.

M: Medium to thick viscosity, syrupy on the palate, with medium carbonation.

D/O: This imperial stout represents a clumsy attempt at the style, effectively cultivating a handful of appropriate qualities but then utterly failing in the effort to weave them together. Dark grain goes overboard, leaving the palate a scorched wasteland where burnt flavors linger cloyingly. The smell is pleasant by comparison, with chocolate and booze featured in decadent, dessert-like combination.

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Photo of DM1293
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My word.

Appearance - Poured an incredibly dark coloration, with a thin but lasting head. Hardly any light could pierce this dark concoction.

Smell - Lovely notes of chocolate and coffee, with the typical malty roast accompanying it. Smelled delicious.

Taste - Personally? I'd rate this a touch higher but this feels like an interpretation spot. I asked others who were trying this beer alongside me, and some said it should be less carbonated, I felt like it should be a little more carbonated, to bring the flavors a little more liveliness.

Whats here however is still really dang tasty. Really good chocolately-sweet taste, coffee and roasted malts in the body to bring a little bitterness in and round it out. REALLY balanced, and the finish isn't bitter at all.

Mouthfeel - Nice and creamy. Even without that little extra carbonation, the mouthfeel is grand.

Overall - It blows every other stout I've had so far away. I asked about the price, and around here it clocks in at $12 bucks. The price of admission to try this is high; but I'm extremely curious how this would play off of a nitro tap now.

In my opinion, still worth every penny of that $12, and makes me curious how their other stuff holds up too...

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What? ANOTHER San Diego regional brewery? My buddy loves stouts, so finding this as a new arrival at Stefano's made his mouth water. Coming out of the 750 ml format and shared with me, on to the beer:

This is obsidian colored nectar. Not much of a large head forms on top. Dots of lace hit and linger on the glass. You never know what you're going to get in a strong stout, but the nose, while soft, is pleasant to smell. It's singular, but who doesn't like the smell of milk chocolate powder?

It's a deceiving beer. The beer is listed at 9% ABV, yet it features the characters of a beer that's around 6%. that's not an entirely bad thing though. Soft licorice hits, followed by powdery chocolate and cocoa flavors, mocha follows. There also seems to be a "minty" note. The beer is medium bodied, on thee smooth side, with the alcohol hidden well.

In some markets, Velvet Glove would be placed near the summit among strong stouts. In an already crowded market in Southern California, this may get overlooked as a quality beer, which it is. It's my first from Iron Fist, and this should (slowly) jumpstart the engine for trying other Iron Fist beers.

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Photo of Philousa
2.65/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours an inky abysmal black with a good amount considering the ABV) of tan head around the rim and a thin layer over the top. Some soapy bubbles stick to the glass. The first thing I notice is a weird CO2 smell. Maybe it's not CO2, but it definitely smells like a gas or something similar. Dark chocolate and thick caramel are in there somewhere. Milk chocolate sums the taste up well. It's chocolatey and smooth. Some nuttiness, easily drinkable. Hints of vanilla. Lingering bitterness is mild, especially considering the ABV. Smooth and creamy, the mouthfeel is flirting with watery. Dry finish.

This was one weird beer. It was borderline watery and didn't show its ABV at all. very chocolatey without any alcohol burn. This is all fine, but the gassy smell really put me off. Hopefully I had a bad batch because it's really distracting.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recommended by my fellow beer enthusiast at the local BevMO.

The huge bottle is somewhat daunting, since I knew I would be drinking this by myself.

There is some brown in the pour, but otherwise, a black beer with no light passing through. A dense milk chocolate head leaves some lacing and is still floating when I finished the snifter.

Smell is big on chocolate and coffee beans. There is a hint of what could be anise, or could be booze, and some currant and roasted malt as it warms.

Taste is a little less complex, 60% cacao, roasted malt, hint of raisin and coffee.

The texture has a tiny bite to it, but otherwise, chewy and smooth.

While not quite velvety as the name, the iron fist is in there. This packs a punch, pretty good all around.


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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Iron Fist Brewing Company in Vista, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and coffee. Taste is of dark roasted malt and some chocolate chip cookie dough flavors. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good stout with some nice aromas and flavors.

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Photo of n2185
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours black with a finger of tan head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of roasted malts with sweet cocoa notes. Some peat and char notes toward the finish.

T: lots of roasted malts with semi-sweet chocolate, smoke, chqr, and peat. The finish is slightly bitter with no alcohol burn.

M: thick body with medium carbonation, this beer isn't creamy, but is nicely carbonated.

O: a decent stout overall, though it doesn't stand out from the crowd much.

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Velvet Glove from Iron Fist Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 347 ratings.
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