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 Ryan011235
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 7/5/10

Many thanks to PDXHops

Dark brown in color, settling black in the glass. 1/2 inch of milk chocolate colored foam is fed from rising bubbles but doesn't retain more than a skim & a patch of bubbles. In fact all foam disappears save a ring. No lace.

This actually smalls dark. Heavily roasted dark malts: brown sugar & molasses; a faint hint of coffee as well. It has a nice spice note, presumably from the Belgian yeast. Though not exactly boozy, I swear it has an aroma of spiced rum.

The taste is an interesting mash-up of roasted malts, sugary sweetness & boozy spice. Much sweeter than I had guessed brown sugar, chocolate & molasses are in abundance. Roasted undertones seems pushed to the back. As with the nose, there is a distinct spiced rum note; it's an interesting addition. Briefly dries out toward the finish with a slight earthy hop bitterness.

Full bodied with ambitious carbonation; zesty enough to keep the spices at the foreground. Sticky sweetness with a spot of grittiness. Sugary residuals linger with spices & a mild bitterness.

Maybe a tad sweeter than I prefer. The density deems it a sipper; the carbonation makes it a little too easy to drink. Plenty enjoyable, this is quite the interesting brew. On the second pour (not too mention a warmer temperature) I've noticed that the roasted & sweet flavors have become better balanced. I enjoyed this one more the warmer it got.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Bhalter8 for providing this beer. Great trading partner, great guy.

One finger of tan foamy head. No light gets through this dark beer. Deep brown and almost black.
No lacing to speak of.

Aroma is of licorice, dark roast malt.

Flavor certainly has the licorice flavor, light smoke and plenty of dark roast malt. Behind this is plenty of light fruit. Interesting getting some peach. There is also a Swiss milk chocolate flavor that is very smooth. I really enjoy this.

Smooth mouth feel, slight carbonation. Really nice.

I really enjoyed this more than I thought. Not as much Belgian influence as I suspected. I assume the licorice is part of this.

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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.

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Photo of cbros
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type- 22 ounce bomber poured into a chalice.

A- Pours a jet black color with a small one finger tan lace. Overall a good looking beer.

S- I am picking up the roasted malt notes right off the bat. There are also hints of coffee and chocolate. A nice smelling beer.

T- I am picking up roasted malt and hints of coffee and chocolate flavors that were present in the smell. There is a somewhat bitter start through finish to this beer. I am also picking up an alcohol flavor that helps finish the taste off.

A good tasting beer that I am glad to have saved for this long. Terrapin is consistently puttiong out top notch brews. Props to them for this beer and I can't wait to try other offerings from them.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this from my buddy JohnQVegas-- but that one will be saved for another day... EMott09 brought this one over to share...
Reviewed from dictated notes during my "Clean out my cellar weekend."

Looks great. Deep dark brown, nice rocky tan/beige head with good retention and sticky lacing. There are reddish hints to this beer.

Putting my nose deep in the glass I pick up peaches? apricots? some light fruit that seems wildly out-of-place, yet it fits right in! There are some dark fruits notes hiding behind the roasty chocolatey malts... like chocolate covered fruits. It isn't deep dark cocoa, but a cocoa mixed with fruit. The slightest hint of coffee seems to be a part of the bitterness.

The body is nice and thick. Excellent carbonation. Just a slight hint of alcohol warmth on the finish is amazing. Taste would get a 4.25 if possible-- but I'll round up here.

I'm glad I have a bomber of this for myself. I can easily drink the entire thing on my own!

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Photo of argock
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA) for $7.59.

A: Very dark brown, nearly black, with ruby edges and short, tan head that fades quickly and leaves only a few spots of lace.

S: Nice roasted malt aromas combined with dark fruits and earthy herbal hopping. Chocolate and coffee aromas also come through. Some mild fruity yeast is there as well.

T: Roasted malt governs the flavor, but more chocolate, coffee, and fruity Belgian yeast character comes through than is present in the aroma. Still, the flavor is pleasant but not overly complex. Fruity yeast esters accent along with earthy, herbal, grassy hops. Definitely an enjoyable brew.

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

D: A good, drinkable brew. I hate to say it, but I tasted Weyerbacher Tiny witin the last week, and for the flavor, aroma, and the price, it has Terrapin Dark Side beat by a sizeable margin.

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Photo of BlackBearForge
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Terrapin's The Dark Side is exactly that in the glass, a deep dark opaque brownish black with the barest hint of ruby highlights around the edge. A a creamy head of chocolate brown foam falls within a few moments leaving nice sheets of slippery lacing which slides back down the glass.

The aroma has a strong scent of somewhat spicy darkly roasted grains, dark chocolate and coffee.

The flavor follows the nose closely with a mouth watering blend of the dark roasted chocolatey malt and slightly bitter dark roasted grains, coffee, caramel and a background spiciness from the Belgian yeast strain. Bitterness is low but the finish is nicely dry after an initial chocolate malt sweetness. Alcohol is invisible as a flavor but is felt as a mild warmth/burn on the tongue and back of the mouth.

I'm liking the mouthfeel, it seems nicely centered between medium and heavy, nicely creamy and smooth as buttered silk.

I find most big dark roasted ales very drinkable, I tend to drink them like smaller beers rather than sipping them and The Dark Side is no exception. If I hadn't split this bomber with my wife I could easily drink the whole bottle myself!

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

A: Motor Oil Black with a thin tan head

S: Malty. Dark Chocolate, Prunes, Black Cherries/Dark fruits. slight smoke.

T: Tastes alot like chocolate covered cherries at first but that leads into roasted malt notes. hints of Dark Candy Sugar and Smoke. More on the sweet side of things.

MF: slick and creamy with a slight carbonation tingle followed by a alcohol warmth.

D: Not my favorite Imperial Stout and not my favorite Belgian Ale, But still very enjoyable and pleasant. If you like hard hitting stouts with unique attributes then you will enjoy this beer.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep dark black with a thin tan head on top. No retention, no lace. Big scents of roasted malts, cocoa, wine, and a bit of char. The mouth is smooth but a little thin at times. Nice chocolatey flavors right away, some vinous grapes, and a little yeast on the finish. This is a good stout. Not sure the styling is correct here, but no matter. Good beer.

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Photo of dtivp
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown with a slight tan head ans some lacing.

Aroma of burnt grain, oak and strong coffee.

Taste starts sweet dark fruits then the dark chocolate,coffee and the burnt malt kicks in.

Smooth medium body with light carbonation.

This is a very nice beer, that is as close to a stout as you can get and still be classified a dark ale. This was very enjoyable and I hope Terrapin would consider brewing again.

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

Thanks to gford217 for this foil-wrapped bomber.

A: The stout (and I'll stick with stout over BSDA) is a dark black color that shows off red highlights at the narrowest part of the base. A finger and a half of head has left a few spare legs of lace.

S: The nose is yeasty sweet. You know how Belgian yeast strains impart a dark fruity zing that doesn't skimp on candi sugars to the point that it crowds out everything else including the stout component? That's what this one does. Oh yeah, and it's a little roasty.

T: I'm sold on stout until the first sip. The yeast has kicked the stout side's ass. In place of roasted flavors, candi sugars and dark figgy/raisiny fruits pop up. Behind the intense sweetness, roasted malts hang around, chocolatey and burnt. More sweetness returns on the backside, a juicy finish.

M: The stout works both angles admirably, showcasing roasted malts and an abundance of yeast. One of the better, more coalesced Belgian-style stouts.

D: The ale doesn't feel like 8.5% until you are half way through the bomber. From that point on, it seems very heavy. One of the first stouts to really nail the Belgo crossover.

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

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm black malt scent with some fruity Belgian notes. It's not overly fruity and it does have a stiff black malt earthiness. The taste is much the same. It's dominated with black malts and a touch of chocolate malt sweetness. The yeast gives off a subtle character, but it goes down smooth with a bit of warmth in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a solid offering, but nothing exceptional.

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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

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber bottle into a tall beer glass. Dark as night with minimal head. Strong malt, dark-semi sweet chocolate scents. Heavy, chewy semi- sweet cocoa flavor. Rich, smooth coffee flavors. No real hop profile can be detected under the malts. Mouthfeel is heavy and sort of oily. Drinkability I would say is limited to a sipper.

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Photo of Buebie
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of gford217.

Poured from a gold tin wrapped brown bomber into a pub glass. A building 2 inch head forms up, starting slowly and growing like an add water sponge toy to the full 2 inches. Dark brown head, like Dark Lord dark brown. As it poured it seemed consistent of an inky thick syrup like brew. Almost 10 minutes have passed now and retention is great. A thick collar with a frothy cap.
Black as a moonless night with no light penetration.

Aroma of toasted oak and charred grain mostly, as well as semi sweet malt, molasses, bakers chocolate, mild alcohol and also mild grains. But mostly thick chocolate and molasses with an almost barrel aged like boozy toasted wood smell. This thing smells great, really a treat to continuously pull air from through the nostrils. I haven't had a sip yet I'm enjoying the aroma so much.

Mouthfeel is badass! Thick and creamy, a slick feel across the pallet. This thing screams RIS, but its not an ale, REmarkable!

Taste starts out fairly sweet, with a mild malted milk ball/ chocolate nugent flavor. A bit of dark fruit and a touch of cane sugar flavor present. Mild molasses, as well as a spicy flavor. A faint touch of alcohol. At the swallow a toasty oak flavor detected in aroma becomes present in taste as well as bittering chocolate grains. Now Belgian yeast flavors are a little more noticeable providing me with the relief in knowing this is not an ris, but follows some Belgian style characteristics. The snap crackle pop crispness is now present. Along with a a faint cry of something I cant quite lay my finger on, but I know I've tasted before in other Belgian beers.
This finishes with a roasty bittering dark chocolate flavor, mild candy sweetness and a touch of hop bitters. More earthy and spicy then pungent floral citrussy flavors.

A terrific beer that I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you so much Grant for this awesome beer!

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Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to gford217 for this one.

22oz. Bomber
Gold Foil

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy light tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some chocolate, toffee, and some dark fruits. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, a nice touch of the dark stuff. Medium body. Drinkable, not a bad brew at all, tasty.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

You can see through the pour, but the dark cola color becomes opaque sitting in the glass with a loose foamy tan head that fades slowly leaving sheets of Belgian lacing. The smell is a slightly sweet lactic chalky NECCO malted chocolate. Full flavored, the taste follows closely to the nose with more milkiness. Just the right amount of carbonation, the mouth feel is smooth and medium bodied that adds nicely to the drinkability. The 8.5% ABV will get you there but it's well integrated. Many thanks to drunkmonk for this crazy extra!!

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Photo of weeare138
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears a dark brown, nearing an opaque black and a small tan head that quickly fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of obvious espresso, cocoa, caramel, marshmallows, roasted cashews, vanilla, graham crackers...damn, this is the perfect compliment to take camping. Dad, break this mofo out when junior starts firing up the smores. Have him pass you one of those melted bitches and take a swig of this liquid goodness as a wash-down. Ohhh, yeah...thank me now, or later, pops. I made the correct call. You can even break it open while you're finishing the trout you just caught for sustanance. Nice digestif.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, and complex with some fruitiness lingering.

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Photo of jmhart
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22 oz from Hop City, poured into a 7 oz pilsner glass.

A - Pours thick and black with an insignificant head. Appears nearly flat.

S - Strong coffee, with hints of malt and toasted nuts.

T - Coffee first, followed by dark fruits. If you let it linger on your tongue it leaves a very bitter aftertaste, but this bitterness isn't noticeable if you don't let it linger. .

M - Much lighter than it appears with a medium body and lacks creaminess that would be expected from it's appearance.

D - Appearance, smell, and initial taste were impressive, but personally I'm disappointed by the bitterness in the finish.

Overall: I enjoyed this one time, but will not purchase it again.

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Photo of CBlack85
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter

Pours nearly jet black, and very heavy looking. A fairly vigorous pour produced a small, dense, creamy, dark tan colored head. Poor head retention, I guess due to the high alcohol; and moderate lacing.

The nose is rich and chocolatey with fair amounts of coffee, roasted malts, raisins, and a slightly yeasty character. For the most part this smells like a very nice big stout with only the slightest hint that belgian yeast was used.

The taste follows closely with the nose. Lots of chocolate and roasty characteristics. Some sweet fruits are present, but not as noticable as in the nose. The alcohol is well masked, but seems to become more noticable, pleasantly so, as the beer warms. There is also a slight bitterness in the finish that is interesting. I can detect only the slightest amount of belgian character in this beer, if I was not aware of its presence before I started drinking, I may have never noticed it at all. Medium bodied with just a little more carbination than I like to see in a stout. Despite the overall "bigness" of the beer, it is quite drinkable.

Overall this seems to be a very well done Imperial Stout with a just a hint of Belgian yeast character. Quite enjoyable

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Photo of homebrew311
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra from Sebletitje. Thanks a bunch! I've never tried a Belgian Imperial Stout, so I am quite interested in what I am about to taste.

A: pours like a typical imperial stout... black, opaque, some white head, no retention.

S: the nose is interesting, an intense roasted malt profile has a dominant presence on the front, lots of chocolate and coffee, then I pick up some of the fruity notes that I am familiar with from Belgian style beers. I'm not entirely sure of what I think about these two opposing profiles together, but it is quite intriguing.

T: Whoa... the palate throws me for a loop. It drinks more like a Belgian Dark ale with lots of grapes, candied sugar etc... but is then followed by the roasty profile that dominated the nose. This beer has two distinct and separate flavors and the finish is all imperial stout. The flavors seem to combat each other a little bit.. I like all the flavors but they fail to meld. In other words, there is no balance.

MF: thick and creamy, nice imperial stout body, chewy mouthfeel

D: I'm torn about this beer. Like I said, all the flavors are nice, but it seems to be two flavors that contradict each other. The end result is confusing to the palate. I would drink it again but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of backfat
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks to my buddy Seth for bringing this one back from Georgia!
pours a murky black with a one finger light cinnamon head that dissipates quickly. impenetrable. way too cold to start even think about drinking. his fridge was apparently set to 4 degrees. i get bitter chocolate on the nose and subtle dark fruits. the tart Belgium yeast comes out as it warms. thick but a tad watery with an odd creaminess like ice cream. i guess i would describe it as viscously slick? i like it. slightly smokey with raisins and mostly coffee. roasted malt faintly on the tongue with a short, light bitter pinch as it ends.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bocktown tonight. Served in a 12 oz snifter.

A- Body is a nearly opaque dark brown/nearly black hue that is served with a nice 2 finger or so light brown foamy head. Head eventually fades to 1 finger but has perfect retention from there. Plenty of lacing lacing left all the way down the glass.

S- Nose is wonderful. A big roasted malt aroma balances well with light toffee, caramel, and vanilla aromas...smells like a coffee house.

T- Taste is similar to the smell. The roasted malt and coffee tones seems to be the main character all the way through but sweet accents of caramel;, molasses, vanilla, and toffee balance with it well. Finish is similar to initial flavor and a minimal impression of the whole profile lingers on the palate.

M- Medium carbonation and a heavy body that is thick and pretty creamy.

D- This follows the profile of a nice espresso stout very well. Not so sure about a Belgian Stout-but this is still a nice, very well executed brew. ABV is nearly undetectable as well. Would like to have this again.

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Photo of nickd717
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber from Chip's in Kill Devil Hills.

Nice appearance: black in color with a large tan head.

Aroma is excellent with roast, chocolate, and coffee.

Flavor is very intense and enjoyable. Rich dark and milk chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and slight Belgian yeast.

Palate is slightly above average, smooth and fairly full with a good carbonation level.

This is really an excellent beer. As far as Belgian-style imperial stouts go, I like Midnight Sun Sloth better, but this is a very good one.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.34/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I really enjoy Belgian Strong Dark Ales, I really enjoy Imperial Stouts. Cannot go wrong with the combo here however I say take more black malt out and just make it a Belgian strong ale, why confuse the two in the name. Different? yes - great? No. I was glad at least it shows up on the site as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Due to it not actually being in the category of Imperial Stout on this site, I have to rate it a little differently.

Poured a dark black with a nice camouflage tan head. Smell of Belgian yeast strain, dough, dark roasted malts, dark fruit, sweetness.

Taste was very similar to flavor. Play between the belgian yeast and the dark roasted malts create a dark fruity cherry flavor which is definitely pleasant, mixed with caramelized sugars and some ash. There is a slightly ashy taste attributable to the black patent malt in here. As this beer warmed up, the chocolate flavors became much more prominent. I would recommend serving around 50 degrees plus.

A relatively drinkable Imperial Stout, but since this actually falls into the category of Belgian Strong Dark Ale, I pulled it down a little on the drink-ability scale as I believe Belgian Strong Dark Ales to be one of my more favored styles and more drinkable than this particular beer.

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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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