Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout | Terrapin Beer Company

Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial StoutTerrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout
Liked This Beer
3.89 w/ 183 ratings
Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial StoutTerrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Side project #9

Added by BeerSox on 12-14-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 183 |  Reviews: 139
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

 441 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

 412 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Terrapin Side Projects series are a breeding ground for tomorrow's styles. The Dark Side is another exemplary where Stout meets Belgium. And with a couple years in proper cellaring shows a terrific melded fruity-stout culmination with peak succulence.

The appearance shows the Stout design through and through, starting with a jet black color, total opaqness, and a solid tan head that eventually crumbles because of the gravity and alcohols. Moderate lacing lingers as the beer slowly fades.

Aromas also heavily favor the roast, deep cocoa, and dark coffee malts. Heavy sweetness makes me think of Extra / Royal Stouts. But the Belgian character makes a strong showing with heavy esters in the shape of grapes, plumbs, raisons, dates, and all those stone fruits, berries, and currants. This aroma is very complex, balanced, and varying.

Flavors do much the same as aromas, leading the way with the roasted barley, bitter cocoa, and French Roast taste. Fruitiness remind me of Chimay Blue but instead of ripe dark fruits, here the fruits are perhaps of the burnt variety: burnt currants, burnt cherries, roasted nuts and licorice.

The body is heavy and sweet from beginning 'til end. Though drying and warming in the finish, there remains a lot of residual sugars that linger indefinately on the mouth. The lack of transition to a rounded dry malty character in the end limits the beer experience and lessens the drinkability.

The Dark Side is a wonderful tasting beer. At times I thought that the roast character was too domineering, not allowing the Belgian influence to acheive the balance it deserves. And that heavy sweetness, primarily on the back end doesn't do what great Belgian Dark Strongs can- those seem to evaporate on the tongue in a cotton candy sort of way. This beer despirately needed the carbonation and attenuation to do this.

Thanks Ding!

 1,870 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a rather modest cap that leaves a few dots of lace here and there

Smell: Rum-soaked plums more than chocolate, but the stout aromas are in there complementing the fruit, along with a hint of candi sugar

Taste: Burnt charcoal and dark plum fruit, up front, with the addition of chocolate and a hint of banana at mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweet and fruity elements dominate as the Belgian yeast interplays with the malt

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: Doesn't quite hit it as a Belgian stout, but I did enjoy it; lacks the complexity and the mouthfeel I was expecting, however

Thanks, bobertkuekn, for the second look a couple of years later

 737 characters

Photo of oline73
3.85/5  rDev -1%
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.

 820 characters

Photo of mothman
3.31/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into Darkness snifter

pours 1/2 finger of tan brown head. Color is near black. Decent retention with some splattered lace.

Aroma: Roasted sharp malts. Chocolate. Very bitter. Maybe a hint of coffee. Nothing crazy.

Taste: Sharp roasted malts. Coffee and chocolate with some vanilla flavors. Earthy grassy hops. A bit better than the nose.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and bitter. Medium to full bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry and sweet.

Overall, nothing impressive. I was looking forward to this, but it was pretty bland. Some okay flavors but nothing to grab my attention.

 595 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been enjoying the Terrapin beers, and this is next in line. This one came with thanks to kwakwhore and kkipple.

A nice dark fluffy and thick head rises up to about a finger and fades at a medium pace at first, then the fading slows down. The color is essentially pitch black, but not super thick.

Nose brings some typical dark malts, plenty of roast, chocolate, a light Belgian malt like aroma, some sweetness, a little caramel and syrupy aromas, a touch of creamy oatmeal, and there is a little bitterness thanks to the roasty malts, and a little bit of some earthy grassy hops. Despite the dark malts, it has a light Belgian stout aroma too it, not a typical heavy American strong stout.

The taste is pretty fruity actually. Some nice dark fruits, a little juicy, Belgian yeast like flavors. Then of course there is plenty of stout flavors, a little roast, touch of creamy chocolate, little oatmeal. Very smooth and creamy. A little sweetness and touch of a boozy warming feel. Some light bitterness too, mostly I think from the roasty malts, not really any hops I can detect anymore. A slight caramel and fluffy nougat feel. Again not a heavy American stout, a nice lighter but tasty Belgian stout with an American accent. And all that it finishes with a long sticky feel, some sweetness but dries a bit, and some bitterness as well, again from the roast not hops. Lots of lingering dark malts too.

The mouth is semi thick but not very much so, smooth and creamy, and good carbonation for the style.

It has an OK drinkability for the style, a light boozy taste and warmth, some syrupy sweetness, and it definitely sticks all around the mouth giving it a thick feel and long lasting stickiness. It gets a little annoying how much it sticks to the mouth.

 1,765 characters

Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is very interesting concept putting a Belgian yeast strain in a imperial stout,it works well.Poured into a goblet black as night,no light showing thru this one,the name fits it well,a thinner mocha colored head atop.Aromas have just a slight yeasty spice to it,mainly dark roast and dark fruit,a hint of vanilla shows thru as well.Smooth and creamy feel just makes this beer go down so easy.Flavors are of dark fruit and dark roast coffee at the onset,there is a light spice imparted from the yeast but it doesnt get in the way.As the beer warms a little bit of a raw earthiness in the finsh.More imy stout than Belgian dark but either way I really liked it.

 663 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown into my goblet; rather short, cream-colored head with only a bit of lacing, and what was there was not terribly sticky.

The smell was nice--roasted malt, a bit of chocolate, and hints of Belgian yeast. I expected a bit more of the Belgian yeast presence, but while there were a few esters, not nearly as much as I would expect from something labeled a Belgian stout. Overall, the lack of yeastiness was somewhat made up for by the fact that I was a fan of the malt profile. The taste was very similar, with the yeast not coming out much at all until the brew was verging on room temperature.

The mouthfeel was fairly light for the style, and there wasn't too much of an alcohol presence. Drinkability was nice, as the flavor continued to develop, but wasn't terribly complex. Overall, a nice addition to the Side Project series.

 856 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of dark brown head on top of a black body with absolutely no light showing through. The foam collapses quickly and leaves just a little bit of lace on the glass.

S - A dark aroma of chocolate and espresso with some light notes of burnt caramel, smoke, and tobacco. I don't get much yeast, Belgian or otherwise, just a hint of pepper and no hop character.

T - Surprisingly, there is relatively little roasted character up front, instead it is all dark caramel and toffee malt along with some molasses and cola character. The Belgian yeast that was so conspicuously absent from the aroma makes its first appearance here with spicy notes of clove and cinnamon as well as a hint of red apple and pear. The roasted malts kick in hard for the finish with lots of chocolate and molasses balanced by light hop and moderate malt bitterness as well as a hint of coffee. Lingering flavors of smoke and molasses never quite approach the tobacco-like quality hinted at in the aroma.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - This is about what I would expect for a "Belgian style Imperial Stout"; big, sweet, and dominated by chocolate and dark caramel flavors. Like many other Belgian Stouts, the yeast character never really manages to show through, instead making its Belgian nature known through the intense layers of caramel character and the emphasis placed on chocolate rather than coffee in the roasted grain. It is not a bad beer, I certainly didn't mind drinking it, but its drinkability suffers from a huge amount of unbalanced sweetness in the finish. This is another all to common feature of the "style"; there is just too much caramel and chocolate malt character that is left hanging without any significant hop or roasted grain bitterness to balance it out. If it finished dryer it would be a much more "digestable" beer and it might also allow more of the underlying malt and yeast complexity to shine through.

 1,978 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of Kegatron
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of billab914
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. Poured black in color with a moderate creamy tan head to it. The head faded to a thin ring around the edges of the glass and left a bit of lacing on the sides.

The aroma shows some roasty and chocolate characteristics. It has a bit of a fruity, almost tart flavor I assume is from the Belgian yeast. It's very smooth with some nice flavors. The aroma feels a bit lighter then a lot of stouts, but still pretty flavorful.

The taste has a very smooth roasty and chocolaty flavor to it. It definitely has a Belgian yeast presence to it that is different then any other stout I've had. It's a smooth, almost fruity flavor that has a bit of a tartness to it as well. The finish shows more of a chocolate flavor and a dry bitterness. The Belgian yeast really adds something interesting to the beer and it mixes with the stout flavors pretty nicely.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and carbonation is moderate. It has a bit of a creamy mouthfeel to it as well. Drinkability is good, it's a interesting and good tasting beer. It was a nice twist on the style with some good flavors not typically found in a stout.

 1,161 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Well, it certainly looks black! Capped with a long-lasting, tan-colored foam layer leaving craggy-looking lace on the way down.

Smell: Roasty, malty nose smelling of robust coffee, blackened barley, hunks of unsweetened chocolate, alcohol-soaked plums and a hint of spice.

Taste: Roasted malts with a taste of chilled coffee and bittersweet chocolate liqueur and charred barley. Dark fruitiness tasting of plums. Faintest hint of spicy phenols peeking out from underneath the deep maltiness. Moderate bitterness coming from the hops and richly roasted malts. Slight pinch of warming alcohol in the roasty, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A tasty Imperial Stout, for sure, but I don't get too much of the Belgian character coming through, certainly not as much as others like Weyerbacher Thirteen or 5 Seasons Westside's Thor. Which, to be honest, is just fine by me!

 961 characters

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark."

--Pink Floyd

Not quite deep space black... more like roasted coffee bean brown with sepia highlights. A standard pour produced almost three fingers of pale caramel colored foam that is more American than Belgian. Pretty good looking lace results in a solid appearance from top to bottom.

The nose features roasted malt, dark fruit and a clove-like spiciness born of Trappist ale yeast. Going on the aroma alone, TDSBSIS is as much Belgian stout as BSDA. This should be good beer and has an outside chance to be the best Side Project offering yet.

The Dark Side is definitely quality ale and is at least as good as Monk's Revenge Belgian IPA and Gamma Ray Wheatwine. Then again, Trappist yeast makes just about anything better. Terrapin still deserves credit for building a humdinger of a beer around it.

It's more BSDA than big stout on the taste buds. Bittersweet chocolate and black coffee notes are appreciated, but they're subservient to a ripe figs soaked in Sambuca and dark caramel fruitiness. Black malt is especially prominent, as is a warm zing of clove spiciness. This stuff is sneakily complex and is disappearing like nobody's business.

As expected, and like the head, the mouthfeel is American big beer through and through. It's too much to expect Georgians to reproduce the best that Belgium has to offer. On further reflection, the beer is a little light for the style and ABV, with barely enough bubbles to keep things inflated.

Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout Side Project Vol. 9 is one of the three best in the series so far. If the brewery is looking to select some of these for regular or seasonal release, this wouldn't be a bad way to go. My advice: grab a few bombers if they're still available. Thanks Mavajo.

 1,838 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had the pleasure of being able to try this one on tap the other day at Barleys. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/27/2010.

The pour was black, dark as night with a two finger head of tan foam that crept up the side of the glass. Great staying power led to a really nice and well shaped rocky crown that itself hung around for several minutes. Rich chocolate laden aroma fills the air. Coffee, some dark fruits, touches of molasses and leather. Very thick and well done. Warming brings out more molasses and rich caramel aromas now. As I reach in and take a sip, warming, soothing cocoa then runs across the palate. Really just wonderfully done I have to admit. Silky smooth with a great elegance to it. Rich chocolate, hints of vanilla and coffee running wild throughout the profile. As it warms it tends to turn sweeter and more chocolaty as the rich, and powerful flavor settles back any abv issues.

Overall this is easily one of my favorite of the side projects to date. Really just a stunning example of the style. I would have no issue at all with trying this one again any day

 1,123 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass.

a - Pours a very dark brown brown with less than an inch of lighter brown foam that disappears quickly. Small about of carbonation evident.

s - Smells of coffee, malts, and fruit.Also a hint of alocohol. Not too strong of a smell here.

t - Strong coffee taste is what jumps out first. Also some tastes of roasted and chocolate malts, some fruit, and a hint of alcohol. Bit of a bitter aftertaste.

m - Medmium body, but lighter than it looks or I thought it would be. Little carbonation and pretty smooth.

d - I thought this was a decent dark ale. The smell is no where near as strong as the taste and if you like strong coffee tasting dark ales that are not too heavy, you would probably enjoy this.

 751 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Paul for sending me this one in the Canned BIF.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a short lived tan head.

S: The nose has some nice Belgian yeasty esters providing a bit of fruitiness and perhaps even some banana? Seems a bit odd, but nice none-the-less. Sweet chocolate and just a hint of roasted malts.

T: A pretty nice translation from the nose to the palate. Chocolate, bananas, slight roast and just a hint of dark fruits. A nice sweetness, but not overwhelming.

M: The body is medium with a low carbonation, but appropriate for the beer.

D: Not a bad beer at all. This is the second of these Side Projects I've had and both have been quite enjoyable.

 676 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into DFH snifter.

A- Pours a nice heavy black that frays into a rich mahogany on the edges. Mostly opaque, but a glimmer of light manages to shine through.

S- Heavy percentage of roasted malt, with a fairly strong hint of coffee pushing its way forward.

T- Similar to the smell, with the coffee imposing more of its will than before. Hints of sarker fruits, primarily plum and fig. Not as complex as other imperial stouts, but its simplicity is handled well, leaving an overall positive taste experience.

M- Body is not too heavy, not too light; works well with its relative lack of complexity. Very smooth, with just the right amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, the simplistic taste, smoothness, and nice body make for a rather drinkable and enjoyable stout.

 771 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev +8%
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.

 815 characters

Photo of stakem
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 2/15/10.

Pours a dark brown nearly black in color with two fingers of darkly tanned head. Nice amount of lace along the glass. Aroma of dark kilned grains and a bit of citrus. Minor amount of Belgian yeast characteristic. Taste is a nice contrast of bitter burnt grain to malty sweetness. Little bit of coffee character an warming alcohol presence. Medium feel and a moderate to low amount of carbonation. Very drinkable. As it warms a little bit of the citrus hops is made known in the finish.

 519 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout from Terrapin Beer Company
Beer rating: 68.9% out of 100 with 183 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.