The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout
Terrapin Beer Company

The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial StoutThe Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout
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Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
3.9 | pDev: 9.49%
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial StoutThe Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout
Notes: Side project #9
Reviews: 139 | Ratings: 183 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of bigfnjoe
bigfnjoe from Pennsylvania

3.14/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber into a Victory tulip

A- pours black with a one finger brown head that quickly fades away to nothingness. Well, that was underwhelming.

S- lights hints of cocoa and soy sauce in the aroma. Not a huge fan

T- very light cocoa, slight Belgian sweetness as well. Meh

M- medium bodied on the thicker side of the spectrum

O- not...great, and I can't imagine that drinking it fresh would have made much of a difference

Feb 12, 2013
Photo of oline73
oline73 from Maryland

3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at the November Baltimore BA tasting. Served from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours almost black in color with hardly any head at all.

Smell: Just a bit sweet with a note that reminds me of tomatoes. I'm getting some malt that adds dark fruit and some roast. Just a bit warm from the alcohol.

Taste: Sweet and malty up front. I'm getting some molasses and dark fruit. The sweetness is balanced out nicely by the roasted malt. The age has smoothed this beer out nicely. The finish is sweet and malty.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the syrupy side of medium with lots of smooth, tingly carbonation. The finish has just a touch of dryness to it.

Overall: This is a very smooth beer at this point. I really enjoyed the molasses note and thought this beer was quite easy to drink.

Nov 17, 2012
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axeman9182 from New Jersey

3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, chilled down from cellar temperature and poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Terrapin's The Dark Side Belgian Imperial Stout pours jet black, with just barely two fingers of mocha colored foam crowning the beer.Head retention is alright, but there's just a light ring of lacing left at the top of the glass. The nose has lots of bitter dark chocolate, as well as a supporting aroma of raisins. The flavor starts out much the same, with a strong dry cocoa presence. From there a bit of oxidation comes into play, bothmoe pleasant, sherry notes, as well as some more cardboard-like impressions.The subtle dark fruit notes make their way in for the close. It's not just raisin this time though, as figs are also appreciable. The mouthfeel, while still on the full end of the spectrum isn't quite as viscous as many other imperial stouts. This perception may at least in part be due to the higher than normal carbonation, which nonetheless has a creamy feel to it that's a welcome departure for the norm. I have to say, I didn't expect The Dark Side to have held up this well for three years. Judging by the oxidation, I'd say this beer's probably already peaked, though it's still drinking very nicely right now.

Nov 12, 2012
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from brentk56, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid black with a huge tan head that Slowly subsides and leaves lots of stickies. The aroma is not what I expected, lots of caramel, chocolate, earth, and dark fruits, not much roast or Belgian yeast inspired esters. The flavor compensates with a bit of roast coffee and chocolate up front. Some caramel and dark cherries and raisins round out the flavor nicely but still not much in the way of Belgian inspiration. Medium to thick body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet creamy tart fruity type mouthfeel. This is a nice stout, it has a foreign extra meets quad kind of feel to it. The Belgian influence is subtle, but it works. This was probably a little better when fresh, I wish I hadn't lost this one in the back of the stack.

Jul 19, 2012
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Dope from Massachusetts

4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A pitch-black pour with a small but thick light brown head. Fades somewhat slowly, leaving decent lacing.

S: Wonderful fruity yeast smell with lots of banana in particular. As it warms, dark fruit like cherry, fig and raisin override. Roasted malt pokes through with some bitter char, coffee and chocolate.

T: Loaded with fruit up front. Again, raisins, figs, cherries, maybe apricot and grape? Hints of banana. The roasted malt kicks in in the middle with some coffee and chocolate mainly. Bitter char, earth and some toffee lingers in the aftertaste with just hints of the fruits. Bits of spices here and there as well.

M: Medium bodied, silky smooth.

O: Not a TON of belgian yeast but the fruitiness is quite prominent. Mainly like a super fruity RIS than a belgian stout but not every beer fits nicely into a category either. Unique and tasty.

May 10, 2012
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bamadog from Ohio

4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade some time ago, no idea when as I never kept track of that kind of thing, but I kind of wish I did so I could thank whomever it was. I cracked this bad boy and snuck a whiff from the bottle and was very pleased and impressed. Review is from notes taken on 5/9/2012 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour looks nice and viscous as it hits the glass and the body is deepest, darkest brown like freshly brewed coffee stirred with motor oil; starts with a 1/2 finger dark tan head that fades pretty quickly to nothing but a thin and incomplete skim; body is, of course, entirely opaque; a few random spots and swaths of lacing left behind.

Smell: Tons of chocolate, and it ranges from syrupy sweet to some bittersweet baker's chocolate; lots of roast coffee scents and a strong hint of some dark and very ripe fruits. I can't wait.

Taste: Hmmm... not quite as good as the nose led me to believe, but it's still very good; lots of chocolate as the nose shows, but it's a very creamy, almost milky, chocolate; the earthy and bitter roastiness takes a backseat to the creaminess, but it's present; the fruitiness is also present -- raisin and/or fig-like flavors; touch of alcohol, but to be expected in something that is approaching the 9% mark.

Mouthfeel: About what I expected based upon the pour -- fairly viscous, but as mentioned in the taste, it's a smooth and creamy thick, and reminiscent of a milkshake; grit is left all over the teeth, and there is a thick coating covering the palate; belly is left a little warm.

Overall: A very solid beer, with the smell being the best part about it. Terrapin has never let me down; and I know that Founders won the bracket a couple of years ago, but Terrapin would be in my final four.

May 10, 2012
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kylehay2004 from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two finger dark tan head with good retention and nice lacing on a near jet black body. Very nice dark fruit and molasses aroma with a burnt toast. Very flavorful with about as strong of a fig and apricot flavor as I have had with an additional mild chocolate and coffee note in tr middle. Otherwise it is dark fruit from start to finish. Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Overall very flavorful and more drinkable than I thought.

Mar 25, 2012
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rapidsequence from Virginia

4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. I think Chris brought this for me. Its 2 or so years old I think.

Appearance: Black, but not thick and dark. Slightly red around the edges. Light brown head with poor retention. Spotty lacing.

Smell: This beer has a great combination of chocolatey malt and dark fruit. Belgian yeast notes are very understated. If I didn't know it was a Belgian stout, I'd probably just think it was a nicely dark fruity stout. Anyway, more stout than BSDA, but good.

Taste: I really like this. The two styles combine so well that its hard to separate the parts. Again, like a rich, malty, chocolatey, and slightly roasty stout with underlying dark fruit. The finish does have some spicy and yeasty flavors that clearly make this "Belgian" tasting. Just really, really delicious.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation for a BSDA, but very well done for a Belgian style stout-- soft and creamy. Feels pretty big for 8.5%.

Overall: An excellent Belgian stout. It avoids the "too roasty" problem these beers often have. A hybrid that quietly combines two styles without being too obvious about it. Well done.

Feb 09, 2012
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cwguy5 from North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 8.24.11. Poured from bottle into McChouffe goblet.

A - deep brown almost black with thin brown head; low retention; no lacing
S - sweetish with dark roast, maple
T - sweet at first then increasingly roasty; some yeasty, bready action then sweet herbal honey finish
M - low carbonation; smooth mouthfeel; short, sweet linger
D - very good overall; great mouthfeel; on the sweet side but balanced pretty well; i could finish a bomber of this easily

Sep 11, 2011
Photo of CurtisLoew
CurtisLoew from Wisconsin

3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown/black color. Decent sized light brown head, quickly fades into a thin film.

Smells just like what it is, kinda like a belgian strong dark and kinda like a stout.

Taste more like a belgian strong dark than a stout. Get some raisins, chocolate, dark fruits.

Mouthfeel is a little too thin for my liking. Starts out sharp but smooths out as it warms.

Overall, good beer. It was definitely interesting, and a good take on the style I thought.

Sep 10, 2011
Photo of marvin213
marvin213 from North Carolina

2.78/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Rarely does a well made beer take a hit for looks, but the thin head on this thin pour actually seems to struggle to form before it quickly vanishes. It's black, but the carbonation seems weird. The bubbling suggests mor Dr. Pepper or A&W Root Beer than Belgian Strong Dark.

I'll admit I grabbed this from the back of the fridge--typically the coldest part--but I smell very little dark fruit. I mean I smell and sniff REALLY hard and I get maybe a LITTLE dark fruit. A fig or a plum. No Belgian yeast.

I'm not so sure about this "Belgian stout" style, but I didn't really expect something so plain with what appears as a one-off "dark sider." It's so plain. In a way, it actually tastes like the root beer it so resembled! Just a bit of alcohol zing and warmth proves otherwise. A bit of raisin and dark fruit travel a fermentation whose sole "Belgian" influence seems nothing more than carbonation--it imparts basically nothing to smell or to taste. Though the beer feels all right, this overriding non-Belgianness is disappointing.

Aug 07, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
AdamBear from Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark brown, almost black with a thin light tan head that fades

S-smells like really dark roasted coffee malts with a small hint of bubble gum. smells woody, good strength

T-comes in with a dark roasted burnt flavor. the burnt flavor is really strong. doesn't have the coffee or chocolate flavors that stouts have. also doesn't have the belgian flavors that belgians have. there's a smoked wood flavor that makes up the after-taste.

M-light bodied for a stout.light carbonation with a dry finish

O-the more i drink it the more i like it. its not particularly great for any style, but its definitely not a bad beer. i don't think its fair that terrapin labels this as a stout and it gets categorized as a BDSA?? in my opinion, the tastes are closest to a foreign/export stout more so than anything. it definitely tasty in its own way but its not something i'll be needing to buy ever again. i was perfectly happy to share this bomber

Jun 12, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours out nice and thick black looking. The head was pretty lively. The lacing was pretty good along the glass too. The smell of the beer has a nice aroma to it, it's a good mix of yeast and roasted malts. The taste of the beer has a pretty good chocolatey taste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite good. Overall it's was a nice stout. Probably wouldn't need to have it again but glad I tried it.

Jun 11, 2011
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BeerDawgs from Georgia

3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bomber picked up at Total Wine in Columbia.

A - Dark! Dark! Dark! Nice tan head, with just a little bit of sticky lace on the glass

A - Sweet malts and dark fruit. Brown sugar maybe. Also getting a good boozy whiff

T - Wow, lots of chocolate. Dark fruits up front and chocolate in the middle and ending. Also, has a boozy kick in the end.

M - Very thin body. Low carbonation. Well balanced.

O - This one is very tasty, but a litte too boozy. One is enough at a time. Alot more chocolate than the Moo-Hoo in my opinion. The belgian yeast adds a nice touch.

May 23, 2011
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Shumania from Virginia

3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been in the cellar for a while. I believe this is from 2009. No date on the bottle. Poured into a snifter.

a: black with a small brown head.

s: some chocolate malt with dark fruit in the background.

t: The chocolate and dark fruit switch places from the smell. The dark fruit comes out first with raison, fig, and maybe a little cherry. It finishes with a light bittersweet chcolate.

m: It is a tad thin. If this was a little fullier, it would be really enjoyable.

Very solid beer. It is an interesting mix of a stout and belgian dark strong ale.

May 23, 2011
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MarkIntihar from Michigan

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up as an extra from mondegreen. Thanks James!

Enjoyed from my Anderson Valley snifter.

A - Pours very dark brown with very little tan head and retention only around the edges.

S - Mostly dark fruits. Perhaps a bit of coffee/dark chocolate. Some hints of toffee as well.

T - Follows pretty consistently with the nose. Mostly dark fruits, but more coffee/dark chocolate than the smell.

M - Not overly carbonated and very smooth. Coats the throat very nicely even though it is somewhat thin.

O - Overall a well done beer. I don't typically enjoy Belgian style stouts all that much but this was solid.

May 18, 2011
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BrewCrew2010 from Mississippi

3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, almost black body, with a thin tan head that disappears quickly. No lacing.

S: A complex, but mellow aroma of chocolate malts, Belgian yeast, dark fruits, & spices.

T: Taste follows the nose very well. Upfront flavor of dark fruits with a slight sour funk. Middle flavor is licorice, raisins, Belgian yeast, & spices. Finishes dry with bitter sweet chocolate malt flavor.

M: Light body for the style, but a full flavor; light carbonation.

O: Nice beer, but I don't think it's anything amazing. I would only want one of these at a time.

Apr 28, 2011
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sitarist from Ohio

4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque and next to black in color. Head was less than half an inch, and fell quickly to a coral colored ring with spots of lacing. I poured vigorously on the 2nd glass, and received a much thicker head.

The first whiff reminds me of a banana split(vanilla, chocolate syrup, fruits, nuts), as it warms I'm getting plums, coco, licorice, raisins, dried tropical fruits, and bitter sweet chocolate.

Coco, bitter sweet chocolate, and plums carry over from the nose; with hints of walnuts, and a slight smokiness.

Not thick, but full bodied.

A very nice beer that seems to be aging well. Complex, and balanced it is still easy to drink.

Apr 14, 2011
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biglite351 from Pennsylvania

3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - black to the edge with a very tight tall tan head.

S - Dried fruit, raisin, chocolate, yeast, malt. A lot going on but it is rather mild overall.

T - Raisins, sweet malts, chocolate, candy licorice and maybe just a slight hint of smoke.

M - mild coating with a nice tingle on the sides.of tongue and back of throat.

O - I could have a couple of these.

Apr 03, 2011
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ColdPoncho from Ohio

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes, 10-13-10

A - dark blackish reddish body, little to no head.

S - dark stone fruits and raisins, chocolatey malts

T - Licorice, bitter dryness. not great balance with nose, but good.

M - not very thick

O (D) - Interesting and warming, not bad, not great.

Mar 27, 2011
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wedge from North Carolina

3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one for xmas '09...

Pitch black with a creamy tan ring on top. Dark, rich aroma - purple fruit, chocolate, caramel, and a touch of licorice. Sweet roasted malt flavors...chocolate, coffee, prune, plum. Less upfront dark fruitiness than the smell. The sweet mocha-like aftertaste pretty much covers up any alcohol. Medium-plus body and creamy. Tasty!

Mar 23, 2011
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cosmicevan from New York

3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to tpd975 for the great trade!

a - poured into my maudite was a deep purple, almost brown. there was a thin frothy head, but nothing like what i look for in a traditional BSDA, but the label calls it a belgian imperial stout.

s - strong complex blend of spicey raisins, plums, chocolate, and a tangy beef jerky / pepperoni type of smell.

t - oh wow. again a complex medley of chocolate and dark fruits with a tangy almost jerky type of spicing. alc is also present in the taste.

m - medium bodied and filling. dark and powerful with a vibrant tang.

o - something different for sure. cool as a side project, not something i'd look for in the regular lineup. alc warms quickly, but is not too in your face. overall seems like an imperial stout crossed with a belgian strong dark ale.

Mar 21, 2011
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mondegreen from Georgia

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz into a Founders Tulip. #9 in the Side Project Series. Aged 14 months in my cellar.

Pours pitch black with a nice tan foam cap. No light comes through this one. Plenty of lacing.

Aromas of belgian yeast live in the background on this one. Sweet roasted malts upfront, with a lovely wood element.

This beer is definitely more on the stout side of things. The Belgian yeast provides a touch of dark fruit, but mostly it's a slightly sweet imperial stout. Wood comes through in the flavor, too - which is odd because this isn't wood aged.

Mouth is medium full. Usually, Belgian style stouts come out way too watery, but not here. Mouthfeel is a stron point of the brew.

Drinks very well. Overall, this beer comes out a nice blend of BSDA and Stout, and is one of the best Belgian Style Stouts I've had. It's also the 2nd best Terrapin side project to this point, IMO - behind #12.

Feb 19, 2011
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JayQue from Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is more of a stout than a BSDA. Roasted malts, hints of coffee and chocolate, fairly rich.

Poured into a plastic Tastes Unlimited pint glass. Really dense, dark color with a medium size light brown head. Some lacing on the glass (would have been more with a real glass).

Aroma is stout....roasted malts, chocolate and coffee...with the malts most dominant.

Taste included a little Belgian yeasts but still primarily a stout.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy...Smooth, no hint of the 8.50 abv.

Drinkability is pretty good, a smooth, rich stout with some Belgian overtones. Not great, but pretty enjoyable.

Feb 05, 2011
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kels from Virginia

3.14/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours darkest chocolate brown, almost black, with a nice ruby highlight throughout. The initial 1/2 finger of cocoa-brown head fades quickly to a swirly skim with some lace swathing the walls of the glass.

Smell is a little metallic, almost bloody, with roasted malts and a little wood, even though I'm pretty sure it's not barrel aged.

Interesting flavors happen. There's a chocolate malt roasty creaminess meets a yeasty, chewy prune stickiness. That metallic iron presence still comes through from the nose to the taste, and the alcohol doesn't even try to hide itself. Feel is moderate to thin, and the beer leaves an overall film across the palate.

Drinkability could be higher if the flavors would play more nicely together. Maybe that bloody iron could sit one out and the alcohol could cool down a bit.

Feb 01, 2011
The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout from Terrapin Beer Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 183 ratings