Imperial Biscotti Break Natale - Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top | Evil Twin Brewing

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Imperial Biscotti Break Natale - Pretty Please With A Cherry On TopImperial Biscotti Break Natale - Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top

Brewed by:
Evil Twin Brewing
New York, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BlastBeats on 10-12-2013

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Reviews: 125 | Ratings: 970
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this is a nice twist on the original biscotti break, with the cherries added. they do a nice job of picking up on the dark chocolate notes in the malt, and of giving the finish a little tang. very michigan cherry, tart and sweet at the same time, dark red, and perfect for the richness of this brew. nutty and dark like it always is, the cherries add a little fruitiness to the nose that makes this distinct. the booze seems a little more exposed aromatically than i remember it being in the base beer, but it seems appropriate this time of year. the cherries are an accent in the flavor, still well behind the memorable almond milky dark chocolate roasty boozy viscous semisweet base beer, but they add quite a bit to the finish, where the body of the beer seems to get a little thinner (which i welcome), and which seems to get more amplified as the beer warms up. definitely appropriate for the holidays, but share this one, there is a lot of beer in this bottle!

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Photo of metter98
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a half finger high dark tan head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of dark bittersweet chocolate are present in the nose along with some hints of sour cherries.
T: The taste follows the smell and has flavors of bitter chocolates along with notes of roasted malts and hints of sour cherries. Only faint bits of alcohol are perceptible.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer drinks a little more than an American Double/Imperial Stout compared to an American Porter given its fuller body and richness of the flavors but is still extremely easy to drink considering its strength as it hides its alcohol very well.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

When "incredible" isn't enough, just add fruit! Riding on the coattails of lush and lavish Imperial Biscotti Break, its chocolaty taste and rich malty body isn't only balanced by coffee-type bitterness and roast, but now also that of cherry tartness.

But much like the regular Imperial Stout, Natale opens with the darkest of dark brown hues, the beer nearly allows its mocha color to command the appearance, over that of stout. The dark ale allows for a quick rise of light tan foam to cap the beer confidently and withstanding retention. Well laced and ring defined, the heady froth clings to the glass like milkshake.

Its depth of aromas are a seamless medley of dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and a sideswipe of tart cherry. While its burnt caramel, vanilla and heavy cream scent wraps around the roast contributions, its fruit infusion takes on the proportion of chocolate covered cherries, glaze and all. Finishing with a touch of hazelnut and bourbon-tinged alcohol, its scent is complex and irresistible.

Its dense and full flavor leads with all-things-mocha: bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee and all the vanilla and "cookies-and-cream" notes to pull the stout to the dessert side of the table. But its middle palate introduces the cherry flavor that provides extra acidity to balance its sweetness for greater complexity and counter-taste. Again, the taste of chocolate covered cherries are further reinforced as the dark ale dives deep into a bourbon and chocolate infusion that's common in Kentucky bourbon ball candies.

The beer's texture plays on the palate like velvet. Dense, rich and certainly full bodied, its middle is marshmallow and its finish is bourbony-warm and malty-dry with coffee-type bitterness and the acidic pang of tart cherry.

Can there be such thing as too much complexity? While the standard Biscotti is flawless in its simplicity, the addition of cherry to the mix adds balance but it also distracts from the purity of the stout. Its a great variation that's certainly welcome in my glass, its a shame that the standard version came along first.

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Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a sturdy, though modest, mocha head; plenty of lacing is left behind

Smell: Dark chocolate, almonds, caramel and a cherry on top

Taste: The chocolate flavors arrive at the outset and set the tone throughout with the cherry flavor building quickly and lingering throughout; the caramel and almond flavors develop, after the swallow, with the almond, in particular, adding complexity; the cherry flavor, that is so prominent, is neither sweet nor tart but really tastes natural; the alcohol is particularly well hidden

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Having just re-visited the IBB last night, I am amazed at how different this beer tastes (and I note that it is called an Imperial Porter rather than an Imperial Stout); this beer hides the alcohol much better, has more complexity and I just love the cherry on top

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Photo of jlindros
3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Split with rudzud.

Nice super dark cocoa colored creamy thick 1/2 finger head but fades pretty quickly, little lacing long legs, pitch black beer thick with no legs.

Nose is nice but lacking cherry, dark malts all over the place, super dark malts, choc and dark cocoa, little caramel, mild toffee and nutty like biscotti, mild vanilla, there but not a lot, even looking for it I still get no cherry.

Taste starts heavy, dark malts galore, luscious choc, creamy with heavy thick choc, little nutty note, little toffee, and even a little vanilla. Little warming booze comes through, then finally a cherry flavor, fleshy plump cherry with juicy fruity flavor, but again not a ton. Cocoa flakes come back in with mild roast and coffee, chewy malts and little fudgey. Hint of bitterness, with touch of hops. Long sticky finish with more bitterness, more dark choc and chewy malts, no more cherry.

Mouth is fuller bod, creamy rich chewy, nice creamy carb, just a bit of warming booze.

Overall good but not great, very little cherry, even seems to have detracted from the original.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours dense pitch black color with a 2 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, tart cherry, toast, dark bread, fudge, vanilla, light nuttiness, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, coffee, and light-moderate tart cherry notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, fudge, toast, dark bread, vanilla, light nuttiness, light tart cherry, and roasted earthiness. Light cherry tartness/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, fudge, toast, dark bread, vanilla, light nuttiness, light tart cherry, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt, coffee, and light-moderate tart cherry flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent imperial coffee porter! All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/roasted malt, coffee, and light-moderate cherry flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of chinchill
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from a Belgian snifter.
Pours dark red-brown, looking near black and opaque in the glass. Ruby edges with lighting. Minimal head but some spotty lacing.

Aroma: cherry syrup and black bread with a hint of hops.

Flavor: bittersweet with fairly high levels of both balancing each other but nonetheless separable. Mildly tart too. Moderate cherry flavor. Loads of dark roasted grains and black bread.

Feel: full and smooth. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appeared much like its counterparts, dark brown-black with a half inch of chocolaty brown head that retained as a thick ringlet, lacing the glass sporadically. Dark roasty malts in the aroma, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, lighter notes of dark fruits / cherries. More malty goodness in the taste, roasty, slightly charred, ground coffee, mid-palate bringing in flavors of almond and maraschino cherry, with a tamed sweetness. Tasty. Medium-full body, with the higher ABV well-hidden, making drinkability quite easy.

I liked this much better than the regular Imperial Biscotti Break, but not as much as the regular, which may be my favorite Evil Twin brew.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was on tap at Hunger N Thirst, served chilled in a snifter during the Christmas event.

The color is black opaque with thin tan cap. The smell is very fragrant with dark roast coffee and slight fruity yeast with a moderate amount of alcohol, gentle dried fruit sweetness in the smell. The texture is rich with malt and full with mild spice and moderately high in carbonation for the style with relatively high alcohol but not excessive considering its strength it is pretty gentle on the palate for being so big.

The taste is great is is thick but not syrupy it has a fruity and roasty combination of malt and cherry with light almond-like nuttiness and subtle cocoa with mild burnt malt and light alcohol in the finish. Overall I was pleased to try this and would recommend it to those who enjoy a big malty roasty ale, it is sweet but the cherry adds more in the way of acidity than pure sweet fruit it is drinkable, almost dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of russpowell
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours ebony with a pinky of cocoa colored head, stays effervescent throughout, decent lacing & above average head retention

S: Cocoa, carob,

T: Follows the nose, some black cherry as well up front. Cherry starts to sour as this warms, a little fig & prune as well, some chocolate nibbling at the edges, growing stronger, some biscotti sneaks in late. Finishes dry with chocolate, a little sour cherry, & more biscotti

MF: Fairly thick, slight carbonation

Pretty good, but not world changing by any means, a bit slow to drink, flavor really picked up the warmer it got

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Photo of mdfb79
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 11/25/13 notes. 8 oz. pour of this on tap at The Jeffrey in NYC, served in a flute-like glass.

a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Less head and doesn't look at thick as the normal IBB, but looks very good.

s - Smells of roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, vanilla, toasted malts, cream, light coffee, light burnt malts, and light dark fruits. Cherries are extremely light in the end. Less coffee than the normal IBB. Very good, but not as good as the IBB smell IMO.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, sweet milk chocolate, cream, vanilla, cherries and sweet dark fruity malts, oak, bready malts, toasted malts, burnt malts, and light coffee. The taste definitely has a little more cherries and fruit to it as it warms, though it still isn't a ton. I actually like the taste slightly better than the taste of the IBB as it is very similar, with a little cherry to it.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Body hides the alcohol well and is pretty smooth, though a little thinner and a little less creamy than the body of IBB.

o - Overall I compared this a lot to IBB as that is easy to find and cheaper and honestly, it is also better. Don't get me wrong, this is a good beer, but IMO it doesn't smell as good and the mouthfeel is not as great as the IBB. Splitting hairs on two great beers here, but considering the money I dished out for this, I would definitely go with the normal IBB next time.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is a deep dark brown, nearing black, with an oily beige head that clings to the walls of the snifter. Aromas of roast, chocolate, coffee, cherry, fudge, dark fruit. Less of the biscotti comes through in this version. Cherry character with a robust malt profile. Thick and rich with a healthy amount of chocolate. Cherry sweetness with chocolates, like a gourmet candy bar. Not up to the level of Imperial Biscotti Break. Still, tasty.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black with a decent khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Chocolate and nuttiness. A little bit of cherry. Some coffee.

Taste - Strong cherry and chocolate. Bitter chocolate and coffee. Very nutty.

Mouthfeel - Bitter. Astringent. Medium body.

Overall - Not an improvement on Biscotti Break. Disappointing, but decent.

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Photo of stakem
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into an over-sized snifter. The brew is black in color with a dark brown head that holds in a half finger around the wall of the glass. A swirl releases some carb that composes a head that fades leaving spots of lacing effect.

The aroma is roasty with char, anise and chocolate. A hint of earth, minerals and fruity to citrus hop inclusion is also present with a bit of coffee present under the earth and char of the grain. As it warms up, it gets a slightly medicinal fruity aspect that peaks through.

The flavor is roasty with char and earth and bitter chocolate almost with suggestions of strong coffee with a hint of citrus-like coffee beans and minerals. A soft amount of almond-like nuttiness is felt into the finish. A fruity alcohol inclusion hardly has any cherry flavor other than a bit of that faint pitty over-ripe cherry taste in the finish which gets slightly medicinal as it warms.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. I loved the base brew and honestly im just not digging this iteration. The cherry doesnt really stand out that much and the not so desirable attributes are characterized more so than the enjoyable parts. Strange to see a one-off with simply just a cherry addition drag the base beer down a couple levels instead of make it better. I would take the normal imperial biscotti version over this all day.

 1,379 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Acton Wine
Inky black color with a small frothy tan head that persists. Rich brown sugary chocolate and roast with plenty of tart fruit to go around. Very interesting mingling of flavors, very well done.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - nice dark body, trace highlights. Creamy, dark khaki head. Nice retention, low lace.

S - hot chocolate mix, touch of cherry, soft bourbon booze, toast. Surprisingly light.

T - booze, cocoa nibs, cherry cordials. The cherry flavor and the sharp booze come off a little like Dimetapp. Roasted malts as it warms; toast, bread crust and a touch of bitter char.

M - smooth, medium-light frame.

O - not a bad porter. Shade boozy for the style, but nice complexity and mouthfeel.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

When pouring, the liquid flows with a dark walnut brown and barely makes half a finger tall of dark tan/mocha head. A little bit of a whispy top, but it disappears quite quickly leaving a pencil thin collar. Some slight viscosity and oily appearances and very dark.

Fruit cherry angle on first whiff is apparent, but return visits bring out more. Dense biscuit and cookie, with light charring roast flavor.

Palate comes through quite varied. Biscuit dark and hints of chocolate bitterness on first sip fill the mid palate. Slight cherry washes over on the swallow, with the smallest hint of tartness. The cherries quickly fade to a crackery dryness and lingering dark roasted coffee. Lots of biscuit like action on this, particularly on the aftertaste, some cherry quality does peak through slightly. The mouthfeel is the only thing lacking but not terribly. Has nice porter lightness, but it's just a hint of fizzy quality.

Overall a very fun and enjoyable beer from Evil Twin. It's not a Bourbon County Cherry killer, but it's a much easier drinking one for sure.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to snifter.

A - Black with a thin layer of light brown head.

S - Very sweet. Chocolate, hazelnut, tart cherry, brown sugar.

T - Sweet caramel, milk chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla and almond. The tart cherry flavour is present but very much in the background.

M - Full body, light carbonation.

O - This was disappointing after how good the regular Biscotti Break was. Overly sweet.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours a very dark, nearly opaque mahogany brown with a half finger fine light brown head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of toasted malt and chocolate with hints of vanilla, very similar to the regular Biscotti Break. Flavor is sweet toasted malt, mild chocolate, vanilla and a perfect light touch of cherry juice in the finish with has a slight hop bitterness. Medium bodied with a pleasant creaminess; nice mouth feel. The Biscotti Break family of porter/stouts has been consistently great tasting and this one keep up the tradition. I had some trepidation with this variant because I'm not a fan of sour flavors in stouts or porters, but other than a mild and well supported tartness, the cherry in this was well balanced by the chocolate flavors. Impossibly well covered ABV, requiring careful sipping because this is as tasty, but not as cloying as a chocolate covered cherry.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a very nice black color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice one-finger thick/creamy one-finger tan head, which leaves some very nice thick small islands and sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some very nice chocolate/toffee notes, with some slight cherry tartness, some vanilla notes. The taste is very nice malty, chocolate/toffee, cherry's, vanilla. Full Body, ABV hidden very well. Overall, this is a very nice brew, the best I've had so far from ET. Highly Recommended!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

Pours a deep, dark brown, almost and basically black. Half inch head settles quickly to a film on top of the beer. The lacing clings to the glass well.

Smells like dark, strong chocolate, a little bit of coffee, and an unmistakable tart fruit scent that must be cherries.

Tastes include dark chocolate, molasses, bitter espresso, tart, juicy cherries, and vanilla. Decadent. Wish the cherries were a bit more at the forefront but this is still quite good.

Full, thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Gloopy. Low carbonation.

A most excellent IBB variation.

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Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the bier stein the other day.

The beer pours a somewhat murky blackish brown color with attractive, creamy head retention and good lacing. The nose is pretty typical biscotti break, as I pick up vanilla, chocolate milk shake, light coffee, nougat and a hint of cherry. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, and if anything, I'm picking up less cherry on the palate than I do on the nose. Mouthfeel is soft and fairly creamy and full, with a long, drawn out finish. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, giving one the foolish impression that they could drink a lot of it (cost, rather than abv., is probably more of an inhibiting factor in this beer).

Excellent beer, but I'm wondering if the release of this beer is more of a marketing ploy than anything else. It really doesn't seem to taste that much different from the regular version of this beer, and while that's fine, I guess I just don't see the point.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very nice beer, even if the flavors are a little different. My overall take here is of dry Scandanavian licorice complemented by cherries- which my wife thinks is a bit like cough syrup, but I like. Don't get her wrong, she doesn't mean overly sweet and medicinal, just that the licorice and cherry combo reminds her of those flavors. Not me, and everything mellows and harmonizes a bit as the beer opens up as it breathes. It ends up becoming downright silky, with a persistent fruity cherry background and roasty licorice and malt notes throughout. Quite pleasant.

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Photo of dar482
4.71/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a thick black color with a mocha colored head.

The aroma has tons of coffee, chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, and a nuttiness.

The flavor follows dark chocolate covered cherry. Vanilla, a hazelnut/almond nuttiness. A bit of coffee flavor. The cherry note is bright, but hidden in there and not too forward. There's a bit of that liqueur chocolate cherry.

There's a thick creamy mouthfeel.

This really is an exceptional beer. It actually is better than the regular version. The cherry is a beautiful compliment to this sweet and luscious beer.

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Photo of rudzud
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Split with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a very nice dark brown nearly black hue with a thin half finger mocha head that fades to leave light lacing/legs with a thin halo.

S - Aromas of chocolate and dark malts, not much in the way of vanilla or nut, maybe a flash of cherry and that's being generous.

T - Taste is moss of the rich chocolate and roasted malts along with a faint coffee until oh hi there, it's a medicinal red cherry flavor. There is a light nuttiness mingling in with it along with some solid booze. Wish the cherry tasted more real, the almond nuttiness is nice though.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, not quite as creamy as I'd like this to be.

O - Overall I was quite underwhelmed by this beer. Really felt it was a syrup step back from the great base beer.

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Imperial Biscotti Break Natale - Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top from Evil Twin Brewing
4.12 out of 5 based on 970 ratings.
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