Black Metal Imperial Stout | Jester King Brewery

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Black Metal Imperial StoutBlack Metal Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Jester King Brewery
Texas, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This version of Black Metal has been permanently supplanted by the farmhouse version -

Added by redraider2323 on 12-21-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 253 | Ratings: 582
Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
2.31/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I got this one in a trade with johnbjaeger. Thanks John for another awesome trade.

Poured for a 750ml into a snifter.

A thick looking pour, comes with tiny mocha looking head. Lively carbonation visible.

Smells of dark fruity sweetness and caramel.

Flavors are those a smokey chocolate/ licorice beer.

a light to medium body with an ok amount of carbonation.

Can you spell dissapointment (can you, Jeff?) it's spelled B L A C K M E T A L. It should be against some law to make a label this cool for such a crappy beer. This is the beer that did all the things Black Xantus gets blamed for. AVOID AT ALL COST.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.46/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Doopie brought this one out and pit it against Freetail's La Muerta for our Texas Shootout last night. Good times! Also, thanks to korguy and Masterski for providing a couple bottles of this stuff.

From a 750ml into a snifter
Note: Part of the Texas Shootout against Freetail La Muerta

APPEARANCE: Slowly foamed out upon opening, but poured just fine. Came out thick and black, yielding a two finger, medium-thick, noisy, fluffy, light mocha head with very good retention. Black body with some carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good wisp and ring. Only a ring remains until the end leaving no lacing down the glass. Thick black, but otherwise average.

SMELL: A mild nose of roasted malts, caramel malts, and some dark chocolate. Very noticeable licorice and leather, which remind me much of an English style porter or stout. Odd for an imperial stout for sure.

TASTE: Some smoky and roasted notes, cocoa powder, and then that licorice and leather from the nose again, which are quite up front. Sweet caramel and toffee, and a bit of spicy alcohol at the swallow. Strong and lingering aftertaste of licorice, leather, cocoa powder and some caramel sweetness. This reminds me mostly of an English stout/porter on gear. Not a fan, but not off-putting either.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Very creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers on the palate.

OVERALL: Not good. Not horrible or even off, but just not good. This seemed like a massive English stout as opposed to a massive Imperial stout, which isn’t surprising really, given the yeast and hop bill. I am certainly a fan of English stouts, but this steroid version just didn’t do it for me. In the Texas Shootout against Freetail La Muerta, this was the clear loser. I’m glad to have tried this, so thanks again korguy and Masterski, but I certainly won’t be looking for this one again.

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Photo of yourefragile
2.9/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

4 ozish sample at a Central PA BA gathering. Served from a bottle to a snifter.

I was very excited to try anything from Jester King, particularly this beer given the hype it has received. Sadly, sampled alongside Black Tuesday, random Dark Lord and Darkness, Dark Intrigue, Kate, Splinter Black, etc it failed to live up to expectations. Typical stoutish appearance of near opaque black with a quickly fading mocha head. Mildly thin in appearance.

Aroma is burnt and charred more than anything else. Some mild oak, chocolate, nuttiness and citrus hops. Ash and smoke dominate however in the nose; not exactly appealing.

Like the aroma, flavor is burnt, charred and raw. Body is ashy and roasty with less sweetness and malt than the nose. Citric hop bitterness randomly pops in the finish without little balance or integration with the body.

Ugh, I greatly appreciate whoever brought this to the tasting, but this was one of my biggest disappointments of the day. I finished about half of my sample before pouring out the rest; the char and roast was too much to handle. I can't wait to see what those that slagged Splinter Black say about this.

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Photo of ms11781
2.99/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a thick, viscous looking black with big beige colored head of creamy looking foam. Surprisingly, the head settles in at about a finger high and stays for quite a while. Spotty, wispy lacing is left on the glass. The head stands out though. I really can't say enough about the retention. If the lacing was a bit better this might be the best looking stout I've had.

The nose if full of big roasted malts. When the beer is chilled booze is a big component as well. As the beer warms some chocolate and subtle black licorice come out. The nose is pretty much straightforward with big roasted notes leading the way. There are some other characteristic but it's not all that complex.

The taste sort of falls flat. The roasted notes come across first but they are nowhere near as strong as the nose. That being said the roastiness is the dominant flavor. As soon as the roast fades each sip falls off considerably with light chocolate and a touch of some licorice. The chocolate and licorice are extremely weak and may only come through because there isn't anything else going on.

The mouthfeel is really big. Each sip is thick, viscous, slick and silky smooth. The mouthfeel is big and the carbonation is slow. Spot on for a really big stout.

Overall this beer was a bit disappointing. It looks and feels fantastic but the nose is a bit lacking and the flavor even more so. It's not a bad beer but it just doesn't stack up with other beers of the size and stature.

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Photo of bisonkron
3/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a- dark black in color, dark tan head, light carbonation. a few minutes of retention

s - smells of chocolate, a bit of toffee, lots of roasted notes. a bit of a boozy smell.

t- a bit of roasted malts, alcohol stands our fairly strong, toffee flavor is there but very faint. a bit of chocolate as well.

m - thick mouth feel, very creamy, light on the carbonation, decent mouth feel

o - overall, not a bad brew, was expecting more. not a ton of complexity, and probably several better options out there, at and below this price point. Wont be picking up anymore anytime soon.

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.1/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the standard pressure cap bottle into a Southampton snifter at low altitude. Thanks to ballmouse from personally importing this one from Texas.

A: Pours an opaque black with a two-finger creamy dark-tan head. Looks oily when swished around in the glass. No lacing to speak of.

S: Chocolate malts, oak, peat, very malty and some definite booze.

T: Oak up front with dark chocolate and heavily roasted malts to follow. It's not particularly balanced, and the finish is abrasively boozy considering the ABV.

M: Full-bodied, wet and sticky with alcohol burn on the finish. This could be much, much smoother.

D: I'm glad I had some friends with me to tackle this one. The booziness is very noticeable and there's no contrast to the oak and deeply roasted malts. I think Jester King made a good decision to retire this one.

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Photo of rcfunk
3.11/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

After all the buzz around this new brewery, I approach their beers with cautious enthusiasm. I tried Black Metal on draft at The HighBall two nights ago.

I was pretty underwhelmed by this offering. It had a distinctly stoutish aroma with notes of black malt and alcohol.

Despite the 10.40% ABV, the taste of alcohol was undetectable. I first attributed this to a chalky taste of what first thought would could be excessive use of black malt. I have been assured that black malt makes up 4% of the mash so this is clearly not the case. I now guess there may have been an abundance of yeast in the sample I tasted. Perhaps it was getting toward the bottom of the barrel so to speak.

Personally, I would like to taste a little more booze heat in this style of beer.

I dunno, it was pretty good, I guess. I may give it another shot sometime.

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Photo of HosP
3.14/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this from a very generous Fullobs! Poured into cbs snifter.

Pours thick, oily black. Very thin dark brown head. Left almost immediately though. Very little flavors in the smell, mostly roasted coffee notes. A little burnt hint to the smell. Unfortunately the taste follows suit. Very dull flavors. Nothing pops out at all. Some coffee notes, maybe some licorice. A little on the sweet side at first. Some bittering at the end. Very thick fullness body mouth feel. Low carbonation. Very heavy ris, not bad, just nothing to it. Still glad I got to try!

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Photo of eclipse54
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A capped 750 mL bottle won in turfy's "A Taste of Texas LIF!" Thanks a ton! Split into four tasting snifters and shared with friends; review is from notes taken on 09/30/2011.

A black body with minimal dark brown head. The body is opaque save for the surface and edges of the glass. Smells of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, a decent amount of alcohol, molasses, roasted malt, and sugar. Tastes of thick molasses, syrupy caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is thick, syrupy, rich, and finishes rather dry. Overall, a flavorful but dry, boozy, and sticky stout.

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Photo of chocosushi
3.2/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Duvel Tulip
A ~ Pours pitch black with a great cap of mocha colored head, quickly receding into a ring.

S ~ Big bouquet of roasty phenols and Chocolate covered raisins. Lush homemade caramel notes. Solid Nose.

T ~ Dark Chocolate follows through with cherries muddled in bourbon fading into dried fruit notes. Hints of spice. (Cassia & Pepper) Molasses notes are strong that don't work for me. Ashy wood notes on the back end that seem misplaced. Finish is heavy.

M ~ A beast that's hard to drink. Heat is pretty heavy. Balance is not key which is a huge disappointment. Sticky as well.

D ~ A decent stout at best. I wouldn't revisit. Let's hope with the farmhouse version they retooled things, because something just isn't right here. Needs major adjustment in terms of balance.

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Photo of youradhere
3.27/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

South Sound Tasting Notes

Pours an impressive black with ample dark brown head, large bubbles in the head make it look like I have an evil pancake on my beer! Smell is a bit of a letdown, chocolate and alcohol dominate, some burnt wood and slight anise follow. Taste is less exciting, just a smokey chocolate with some coffee added, it is almost too brash with the smokey char for me. Mouthfeel is fluffy and light with mild carbonation, medium bodied- too light for an RIS in my view of how the style should be. Overall not bad, just decent.

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Photo of Duff27
3.32/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours with a short dark mocha head, very little head retention. Nice alcohol legs with some lacing.

Mmm smells good. Sweet candy chocolate.

Kind of has a medicinal taste going on. Sweet like "molasses". Low on the roast end. Mild alcohol burn.

Medium mouthfeel, fizzy carbonation.

I don't know, it was alright. I wouldn't go as far as saying its gimmicky (the label is one of the best I've seen in awhile) but it didn't live up to expectation. Buyer beware.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.34/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle to a taster. No bottle date. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - No head. Viscous black. Some bubbles form after, which confuses me. Whatever.

Smell - Chocolate all over. Not a whole lot else.

Taste - Bitter chocolate and then some caramel. A nice bitterness develops with a good coffee roast. Hoppy bitter finish, but it's light.

Mouthfeel - Slick and not as viscous as it looks. Bitter finish is light, but rounds it out nicely.

Oveall - A little dull. Decent, but not necessarily much better than what my local brewery can make.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.34/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle opened on 5.7.14

A - Pours a dark brown with a fizzy dark brown head that fades fairly quickly.

S - Chocolate, tart cherry.

T - A touch of chocolate, but very tart, sour, cherry. Infected.

D - Tons of carbonation with a medium body.

O - First bottle was awesome. 4.25. This one is infected, but still drinkable.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.42/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle from HH84. Thanks! (This is the original, not the farmhouse, so it's about 9 months old I believe.)

A: Pure black like its namesake. Aggressive pour yields thin mocha lacing. Lacing sticks around, but the beer doesn't have much in the way of legs.

N: Brown sugar, heavily roasted malts. Dark chocolate/mocha coffee. Some licorice as it warms. Probably the most enjoyable part of the beer.

T: Intense roastiness, the kind you might find in pure espresso. Some chocolate and there's a bit of hop bitterness. There is a discernible sharpness from alcohol. Leaves a heavy coffee aftertaste which gives this a few more points in my book.

M: In between a dry stout and an RIS. This is pretty watery, so it loses quite a number of points here.

O: Don't dig this. Really pretty average stuff, and though I'd try the farmhouse version, I wouldn't expect much.

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Photo of champ103
3.43/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Flying Saucer in Houston. I have been looking forward to trying this.

A: Pours a pitch black color, basically opaque. A two finger tan head forms with good retention. Light sticky lace is left behind.
S: Subtle and soft in the nose. A soft aroma of roasted malt, coffee, and light chocolate.
T: There is a much bigger flavor. Big roasted malt and acrid coffee. Some bitter chocolate. A lingering oily hoppy bitterness as well.
M/D: A full body that is oily and sticky. Low on the carbonation. and creamy. A slow sipper. After a minute, the bitterness takes over and makes this hard for me to drink.

A nice imperial stout. The bitterness builds throughout and becomes to much for me to enjoy though. Worth a try, and I am glad Jester King has come out with this seasonal. Though I have had better versions.

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Photo of Florida9
3.43/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Unsurprisingly black in color. Forms a thick, crema, mocha colored head. Good retention and some light lacing.

S: The heavy aroma of virtually burnt and blackened malts, chocolate, and an odd scent reminiscent of melting plastic.

T: Much like the aroma, but with a little more complexity. Deep, dark, almost burnt malt, char, baking chocolate, a light smokiness, and a moderate bitterness.

M: Full bodied and dry, with a lower carbonation level.

D: I believe they took the "black" too far in this beer, with a heavy dose of charred malts dominating the aroma and flavor. Luckily I was able to try this beer at a tasting and didn't have the misfortune of having to endure an entire bottle on my own.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.51/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 9.1 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. I chose not to serve it in a snifter per the label intentionally. Reviewed live. Not paired with food. Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm as time went on (after all, how quickly can you quaff a 10.4% imperial stout?)

A: Pours a three finger beautiful tan colour head of great cream and thickness, and magnificent retention for the high ABV. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Chocolate, caramel, oats, roast (not as potent as I'd like, but at least it's present), and dark malts. A moderately strong aroma.

T: Rich chocolate, with some unexpected peat notes (perhaps best described as tones actually). Lots of caramel, with a dark malty base. I'd prefer roasted barley as the foundation, but instead it's a sort of mild note on the climax and towards the finish. No alcohol or yeast comes through. The chocolate could be richer. Some nice cream is present on the climax. It could really use more roasted barley; if it were prominent the beer would be a lot better. The oats come through on the finish. It's complex enough, but not as much as other beers in style. I don't get the hop bitterness per the label hardly at all. Balanced decently but not impressive. Built pretty well, but not in a unique or special way - especially compared to other beers in the style.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some cream but not enough. Surprisingly, it's too thin for the flavours. Should be more coarse and dry (again, a problem easily remedied by the addition of more roasted barley). Not too heavy on the palate.Decently handled overall, but certainly not without its flaws.

Dr: It hides its ABV quite well, and is very drinkable as a result. It's good, but not great. I'd happily try it on draught or nitro-draught, and it might age well. It's disappointing that they're retiring this one, but the sour version sounds more appealing anyway. I like it and it's enjoyable, but it's not fantastic.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks very much to my mate Aaron for bringing this back to Sydney from Texas on a recent trip. Big kudos.

Pours a gorgeously dark and sensuous black with a huge, but fine and believable head of mocha frothy brown. In fact, the head is a little too coarse-bubbled, and the body is surprisingly light; in actuality it's almost as though this beer tricked me into believing it was exceptional. It's still good enough, but it has missed a little something.

Nose is deep and roasted, but... oh, and I really wanted to love this beer—it's also a little flat and stilted, with a carbonic acidity rearing its head and providing a jolt of carbonated nothingness. There's a hint of banana to it, which suggests a touch of sugar in the brew, and overall, it stays light where it should be dark, complex and heavy.

Taste is decent, but very dull and generic. It has a strong roasted component, with a touch of dry earthiness, and very little sweetness. I almost like the dusty aridity of it; that sense that it's truly a stout and don't you dare deny it. But it doesn't have the purpose and drive to make me believe that. It's just dry and dark because it doesn't have the depth and complexity of its betters.

Feel is a little thin—it matches with the rest of the palate, but otherwise it's a bit dim.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good beer. But I'm starting to wonder if it's just a Good Beer From Texas. I wanted to believe that the insular nature of Texas meant that they were just keeping all the best American craft secrets to themselves. In fact, it seems like they're just providing decent but not phenomenal brews.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. First off, Jester King has some sweet labels and this one doesn’t dissappoint with a hard core dude dressed up like KISS grimacing at you. Pours a dark brown/black color with a mocha tan head. Coffee, tobacco, and roast meet the nose. Some lacing. Dark chocolate, roast coffee, slight smoke, and a touch of bitter sweet round out the flavors. Medium mouthfeel. Overall, it was solid, nothing too crazy good but decent.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured jet back withg ood carbonation and a nice tannish head

S: Espresso, bitter cocoa, roasted malts, booze stings the nostrils but not overly powerful

T: Roasted malts, liquid smoke, light cocoa, faded milk chocolate, some espresso with a very, very faint licorice stick tossed in for good measure

M: Big body

O: A pretty good representation of the style

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Photo of TATURBO
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Solid Black. Minimal Head

S: Very Inviting, Alcohol is borderline overpowering, Very Strong.

T: Kind Of Mediocre Roasty and chocolaty.

M: Medium Carbonation

O: Good, but not as awesome as the tasting group was expecting. Really Roasty, Kind of chocolatey. Really isn't a beer I'd hunt for. Bonus Points for cool label. Reminds me of King Diamond! Rocking! 3.5/5 IMO

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Photo of jegross2
3.59/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing the Black Metal Imperial Stout from Jester King Craft Brewery. I was not planning on drinking this beer, which is retired and no longer brewed, but in pulling out beers for a tasting tomorrow, I inadvertently dropped the bottle and "pssst'd" the cap. Thankfully no beer was lost, but a broken seal means that this one has to be consumed now (or it'll be flat later).
Score: 85

Bottle has "2013" imprinted on it, which I have to presume is the "best by" date (otherwise I received this bottle from the future). Served in a Dogfish Head snifter and enjoyed on 03/07/12. The label claims this beer is best enjoyed while reading the Necronomicon. I guess watching the Evil Dead will have to suffice as an alternative.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color, totally opaque. No light slices through this beer, though you can kind of tell that a very faint amount of light is trying to peek through at the very top of the beer. Pours two fingers of foamy milk chocolate colored head that kind of turns kind of creamy in appearance as it settles into a thin layer atop the glass (and ultimately into a ring around the glass). Above average lacing for a double digit ABV beer. Excellent retention. 5/5

Smell: Dark chocolate, cocoa powder and tons of roasted coffee. Some hops and a faint smokiness. Figs, a light amount of alcohol and an acidic coffee filter smell too. 3.5/5

Taste: Acidic, burnt coffee upfront. The coffee then subsidies into a dark chocolate residual flavor that provides a really pleasant balance to an otherwise aggressive first impression. There's definitely some dark cherry and dried fig (sweetness) on the midpalate, but these flavors do not linger or last for very long at all. There's a really raw, bitter chocolate finish. Really bitter-forward; this brew could use some dark fruit sweetness to balance out the bitterness. A roasted, but not burnt, coffee flavor grows throughout the beer as it layers. The 10% ABV is pretty well hidden. A solid, un-complex brew. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light carbonation. Feels a little bit thin for a 10% ABV Russian Imperial Stout. Smooth mouthfeel on the way down. Finishes bitter, dry and "chalky." 3.5/5

Overall: A gorgeous looking Russian Imperial Stout, but it's all downhill from there. Certainly a solid brew in the style, but it does not stand out in terms of aroma, flavor or mouthfeel. Not over priced at $10 a bottle, especially at 10% ABV, but Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout was much better, and you can get four 12 oz bottles of that for a couple of bucks more.

Recommendation: Definitely give this beer a whirl if you get a chance, but don't break a sweat seeking it out.

Pairings: Merk's Almond Swiss cheese spread.

Cost: $9.99 for a 750 ml.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Duff27 for bringing this brew!

poured into snifter.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 1 finger of brown head. Head drops to ring around glass. Spotty lace.

Smell: Roast malt and black licorice. Molasses, yeast, and booze.

Taste: Black licorice upfront and a mildly roasty malt profile. The beer has some earthy qualties like peat moss. Thie finish is quite intriquing not sure that I am a fan of it. It cloyingly sweet from the molasses notes and it has an ashtray quality to it.

Mouthfeel: Low end of medium bodied beer with high end of moderate carbonation. Bottom line a little overcarbonated and a little too thin on the body for the beer style.

Overall: This beer is hyped. It better than average, but thats where it stands in my book.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours a dark black with a ridiculous, nearly full glass of dark cola head. Very little lacing that resides immediately.

S- roasted malts, char,chocolate, pinesol.

T- chocolate, roasted/burnt malts, and pine.

M- medium body, high carbonation. Very effervescent from the bottle conditioning.

O- good RIS but was expecting more. Needs more than just roast and char, and the bubbly mouthfeel is different.

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Black Metal Imperial Stout from Jester King Brewery
4.11 out of 5 based on 582 ratings.
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