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

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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.

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Reviews: 139 | Ratings: 183
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 5/17/2010. Bottle thanks to Tsotsi. Pours black with a small dark tan head. Aroma of chocolate, lactose, sweet roasted malt. Flavor also of sweet chocolate and lactose with some roasted, charred malt notes in the finish. Very drinkable and I really enjoyed the smooth, milky mouthfeel. Great foreign stout from Terrapin!

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Photo of babaracas
3.52/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nearly opaque very dark brown with bubbly insta-fade dark brown head, couple dots of lace. Smell: chocolate, roasted grain, dark fruits, and a lot of diacetyl which covers up some faint pear and apple. Taste: unfiltered apple juice, mild roast, dark chocolate, earthy hopping, a little anise, mild booze. It's decent but I wouldn't say it's great as either a BSDA or an IS.

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Photo of portia99
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle generously broken out by jlindros at his hosted imperial stout tasting. Shared with several BA's. Poured into a Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary snifter.

A - Clear, somewhat thin, very dark brown color. No head whatsoever...can be roused with a vigorous swirl, but disappears quickly. Thin brown collar with no lacing.

S - Licorice with some chocolate, some green and vegetable aromas mixed in. Not really getting much else and definitely not getting any Belgian yeast character out of this.

T - Licorice, a bit smokey, dark roasty flavors, some creamy milk chocolate, a bit of coffee, some caramel and molasses.

M - A bit on the thin side, creamy smooth with a lower carbonation level.

D - Wouldn't call this anywhere near a favorite Impy Stout but it goes down very easily. No alcohol can be detected. It's an interesting interpretation of the style - not outstanding, but not bad either. Worth a try, but not to the point of needing to go out your way for either.

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Photo of Neffbeer
3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle that I picked up at TJ's last fall. Poured into my Portsmouth brewery tulip.

A: Big frothy tan head that hangs around for awhile. Some nice peaks and lacing.

S: Chocolate and coffee, a hint of caramel apple. Surprisingly not much of a belgian yeast presence in the nose.

T: Dark chocolate, coffee, some apple/fruit, and toasted bread. Finishes dry.

M: Medium body with high carbonation.

D: Not a bad brew, but not something I would bother picking up again.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the Mad Mex pours a pitch balck hue with a creamy tan head, thin even speckled layes of lacing. Aroma has a black patent malt dark chocolate mild booziness, even a touch of anise hidden in their with some dark fruits. Flavor more dark fruit hints of cocoa more soothing alcohol burn, defiinitely not overpowering. A molasses and brown sugar collision that remains balanced with some herbal hops and spicy yeast combo. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied efferevescent well choreographed carbonation level, nothing cloying did I mention this was a 12 ounce pour. Drinkability some rough spots but overall an enjoyable experience, will definitely age well if you have any big bottles hanging around.

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Photo of tchaos
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Palm tulip. Picked up at the local Whole Foods.

A - Pours dark black/brown, but noticeably more deep brown in the light. Yielded a one-finger mocha head that dissipated rather quickly. Very little to no lacing.

S - Needs a bit of time to open and release any volatiles. Roasted malt characteristics and very light alcohol are present.

T - Mild oak and plum at the start gives way to caramel in the middle. Follwed by not unpleasant alcohol, and a very long, lingering coffee finish.

M - Very smooth, with moderate carbonation. More carbonation than I was expecting, likely because it would be classifies as a Belgian Specialty Ale vs an RIS.

D - A sipper, not a quaffer. The late alcohol and long finish would be spoiled by consuming too quickly. One of the better Terrapin Side Projects.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. No date or info.

I got a bottle of this from Rochefort10NH (thanks Keith!) then another from Onenote81 (thanks Jon!) before I removed it from my wants. Glad it's good!

A - Clear on the pour, it's totally black in the glass, worthy of the awesome name. A low tan head has little retention and a little lace.

S - Milk chocolate and oak are present right away. Belgian yeast adds a slight funk to the smooth roasted malts. A very light coffee infusion on the finish.

T - Belgian yeast comes through a lot more full in the flavor and adds slight fruity nuances to the rich milk chocolate and coffee taste. Very nice.

M - Medium-full bodied and smooth with a low carbonation feel and silky swallow. It goes down nicely.

D - A sipping beer with a great flavor and nice feel, it's splendid. A good bottle from one of my favorite southern Breweries! This would be great in the dead of winter.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black licorice to black with a frothy caramel colored head. Average head retention. 4.0
S: Black licorice, sweet caramel, roasted grains. Nice. 4.0
T: Black licorice, sweet malts, heavily roasted coffee grounds. Light amounts of grassy malts and herbal notes (chamomile?). 4.0
M: Thick, yet drying mouthfeel. Licorice flavor lingers in the mouth. 3.5

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Photo of claspada
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aromas are centered around roasted malts combined with dark fruits and earthy herbal hopping. Chocolate and coffee; some mild fruity yeast is there as well.

The tastes begin with roasted malts, then some chocolate, coffee and fruity Belgian yeast character comes through. Still, the flavor is pleasant but not overly complex. Fruity yeast esters accent along with earthy, herbal, grassy hops.

Mouthfeel was a lot less carbonated than I was expecting for a Belgian yeast-fermented beer. The low-medium carbonation gives a slightly tacky/syrupy mouthfeel. Body is medium-full with a dark malty-chocolate aftertaste.

Overall this is a good, drinkable brew. I feel like a broken record when I am reviewing Terrapin beers but they just make good beers, period.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is black with a thin brown head that leaves a little lacing on the glass.

Aroma is weak but kind of smells like coffee and sugar.

Beer is medium body, not a lot of Belgian yeast character in here and there is a strong bitterness at the back from the yeast character, I assume. Its a little sweet up front but overall its just OK.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.52/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

bottle into my Narke tulip...Pours a light black, the head is light tan as well, light carbonation, a head of about half a finger that is gone right away, no lacing...The aroma and taste are both very light and almost boring. Light coffee, a little sweet, just blah. Light feel on the mouth, but this is decently drinkable. I crushed a bottle my self pretty quickly.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.41/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to craytonic for this one

Pours black in color with a nice finger of head that dies down to some thin bubbles.

The flavor starts with a burst of fingernail polish and pine hops. A sweet and messy mix of random stout aromas underneath. Blah.

The flavor is milk chocolate and floral hoppiness. Raisin sweetness. Not much booze compared to the nose. Some quad-like characteristics on top of the base stout flavor. An improvement on the nose, but not really noteworthy.

The body is medium to full and carbonation is high but soft. Nice.

Overall, this beer turned me off at first but became much more tolerable after a few ounces. I probably wouldn't want it again, but I did enjoy this bottle.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a light brown head. In the aroma, sweet coffee and a Belgian like yeast. In the taste, dry coffee, sweet Belgian sugar and yeast, and almost licorice like. A smooth and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a dry licorice and alcohol aftertaste. Nice flavor and smooth, however a bit boozy in the aftertaste.

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Photo of maximum12
3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the finest trader in the Sunshine State, Mr. Moose3285, for sending a bottle of this north in a recent trade.

Pours a routine, dark-cape black, no light even leaking around the edges. Smells nice, Belgian, coffee, sweets.

Well, my wife is gushing about her half of the bomber & frankly, this may be one of those rare instances where we disagree. Slice of coffee, rallies of sweetness, dollops of sugar, touch of lactose. A little thin for either a big stout of a strong dark ale, whichever way you slice the language of beer.

Decent enough beer, certainly a brew I can sit & mindlessly sip as my Twins get pounded by the Sox. But I think I'll wander upstairs & see if my wife wants the rest of it...better to put these things where they are truly appreciated.

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

a: Its a stout, black body with a thick, foamy brown head.

s: On mild side overall and the Belgian quality is difficult to discern. I got plenty of roast that was largely characterless with hints of chocolate and boozy fruit.

t: Lots of roasty/toasty malt that is tasty but not all that complex. The finish tastes of char and this is when the Belgian yeast kicks in, just as a fairly subdued tingle though.

m: Big bodied, both creamy and chewy with active, foamy carbonation.

d: Weyerbacher XIII set the bar pretty high and this just doen't quite measure up. I enjoyed it overall, I just wish there had been a stronger "Belgian" presence.

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

I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of this in a trade with thagr81us down in South Carolina. I poured it into a DFH pint glass. It poured an oily midnight black with a foamy khaki head, which dissipated within a minute or two. The smell was interesting. It was very, very oaky and was definitely heavy on the malt. There is a roasted aroma to accompany the oak. It's intriguing for an "imperial stout", which is classified as a Dark Belgian? The taste mirrors the aromas. It's very malty and oaky. If I didn't know better I'd say it tastes oak barrel aged. The mouthfeel is very smooth and I'd say it's a medium bodied stout. It does have good flavor and smells good. It's definitely an interesting beer. I wish I could try it again, with some friends to get their opinions. I just can't get over how oaky it is in its overall presentation. It's one I'll think about for awhile.

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Photo of Schmaltzy
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured dark black with a decent 1 finger tan/brown head that faded to a thin ring leaving light lacing and legs.

S- Definate roasted malt with hints of both milk and dark chocolate, a little soy sauce, some light hops and belgian yeast/bread.

T- Again roasted malt with both milk and dark chocolate, slight soy sauce, I also get a slight bitterness which I am guessing is the minute hop presence which adds a slight earthy hop taste, this could also be in part to the belgian yeast that is added which finishes with a slight breadiness. Not much, not complex, other than the belgian yeast.

M- Carbonation is present and mouthfeel was medium/heavy, was hoping for heavier mouthfeel but it was still smooth and alcohol was hidden well.

D- Easy drinking stout, finished the bomber rather easily. The belgian yeast provided some interesting characteristics to this beer but I just wish that it had a little more complexity to it.

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Photo of SiepJones
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a dark, roasted brown, so dark in fact it makes the beer look black. No head on the pour but some chocolate brown bubbles float around the rim of the glass.

S: A strong roasted malt hit the nose like a fresh cup of coffee. The Belgian yeasts add a slight tingle to the finish.

T: Roasted malt is the predominant flavor of this beer with subtle hints of dark fruit, a light sweet yeast, and some smokiness.

M: The mouth is very well balanced in that it is not overly carbonated and has an almost creamy feel. There is a slight alcohol nip (not strong enough to be a bite) at the end.

D: This is a very drinkable beer for 8.5% ABV, good flavor and mouth while the alcohol is pretty well hidden. If you like a "bigger" beer you will have no problem with this one.

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Photo of pitasoup
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: pours jet black with thin white head.

S: Belgian yeasts, slight coffee and spices. Very little hops smells.

T: Bitterness from hops still present. Soysauce like body, not much here - black malts.

M: thick to the taste but finishes clean.

D: It was difficult to finish my 1/3 of the bomber.

Sampled in July '10.

I remember a fresh version of this being much tastier and hoppier. Right now, this is a muddled mess, a token stout, too thick on the mouthfeel, with its only saving grace being the belgian yeast. I suppose it is true to the style and could possibly even out with age, but at the moment, it is not good.

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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.

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

Had from a 22oz bottle at Issac Newton's in Newtown PA. Pours a dark...mostly black color with pretty much no light coming through, especially when fully poured. A small tan colored head arrises and dissipates relatively quickly.

Aroma is pretty much your basic "belgian" style stout. The coffee notes are there, but the fruit notes are more prominant. Roasted malts and no real booze notes to speak of.

Flavor, again...follows the style well. Lot's of sweet ripe to over-ripe fruits...and of course the strong coffee flavors that come along with stouts. Only slight hops provide a nice a transition from sweet to mild hops. Medium body, mildly carbonated, and very low booze is noticable. A rather nice drinker, and I definitely enjoyed it!

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Photo of oregonskibum
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a goblet.

A: Color is black with just faint notes of brown along the edges. Pours with a very thin, fizzy tan head. Disappears quickly, leaving a flat cola look with only a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Smell starts with roasted malts. Earthy, almost musty. Some dark fruits, a little sweetness.

T: Taste is dominated my roasted malts. Some faint chococate or coffee notes, more ripe dark fruits. Still seems a little musty with some smokey notes. Finish is smooth with no noticable heat. Finishes with malty chocolate notes.

M: Medium body with high carbonation, somewhat dry.

D: It was smooth and easy to drink, although I wouldn't search this out again.

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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.

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Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout from Terrapin Beer Company
3.89 out of 5 based on 183 ratings.
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