Clare's Thirsty Ale
Haymarket Beer Co. Pub & Brewery

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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #47
Ranked #196
4.54 | pDev: 6.83%
Haymarket Beer Co. Pub & Brewery
Illinois, United States
Notes: An Imperial Stout aged for 13 months in Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels on Raspberries.

2014 - Aged 1 year in Woodford Reserve barrels.
Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 315 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.29/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Poured into a sampler, the beer was a murky deep black color with a dark tan head.

Smell - Raspberries were strong in the nose, paired with a definite bourbon presence.

Taste - Raspberry is tough to capture in a beer. The raspberry seemed fresh, without overdoing it or making it seem artificial. The sweetness is balanced by roasted malts and a little bourbon sting. The finish was slightly warming, though never overly sweet.

Mouthfeel - Before there were slushies with gobs of fruit puree, Haymarket made a nice thick stout with fruit.

Overall - I enjoyed this beer as the raspberries were well presented.

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Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a finger of mocha head.
Smells of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla, light barrel.
Taste is dark chocolate, huge fresh raspberry, vanilla, barrel, dark fruits.
Full enough body, good carb levels.
Overall an excellent fruited stout!

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Photo of dukeandduke
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

5/2/19 (Chicago): $12.47 12 oz. can prepaid purchase for January 2019 Haymarket brewery release, canned 12/28/18 and poured into snifter. Black pour, carbonation prevalent, tax head quickly dissipates living fine lacing. This release is 12% abv and labeled a barrel aged stout with raspberries. Raspberry aroma strong, nice balance with bourbon, overall sweet aroma. Taste mirrors aroma, raspberries are excellent, well blended taste with offsetting mellow but strong bourbon taste and roasted malt, tart cherry in the mix. Outstanding Stout! Slight fizzy carbonation, somewhat thin texture for a stout, nice and easy smooth drinking. Glad I poured this on a cold and rainy May Chicago evening.

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dukeandduke from Illinois, May 03, 2019
Photo of pmarlowe
4.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2018 vintage (Jan 2019 release).

A: Pours a viscous black with a finger of dark brown, dense, foamy head. Excellent retention and some lines of lacing.

S: Dark cocoa and raspberry, cinnamon, bourbon, and oak, mild roastiness and a hint of anise. Very appealing and well balanced.

T: Raspberry is a bit more prominent, with cocoa powder, sweet dark molasses, and hefty roastiness. Finishes with moderate puckering tannic sensation. The roast, tannins, and sweetness are a little too prominent and throw it out of balance.

M: Full bodied, thick, with mild carbonation. Very mild alcohol warmth.

O: Smells great but the taste is not as well balanced and so drinkability suffers.

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pmarlowe from Virginia, Apr 16, 2019
Photo of FBarber
4.46/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a shiny pitch black color. Thick velvety dark mocha colored head dissipates slowly and only partially. A good 1/4 inch of velvety foam remains on the beer. Thick, viscous almost fudgy when poured into the glass.

Aroma has notes of dark roasted malts, tobacco ash, hints of tart raspberry giving way to a warming bourbon and oak aroma. Notes of vanilla, dark fruits and some light earthy pine hop notes.

Taste has notes of dark roasted malts, a light tart fresh raspberry flavor with some piney hoppy notes on the back end. As the beer is consumed you get the bourbon, oak, charred oak and vanilla notes coming through as they warm the palate. the barrel character here is well balanced within the beer profile overall.

Feel is thick, fudgey, and incredibly smooth. Very mild carbonation - just enough to keep it from coming across as still. Semi-dry finish.

Overall this is about as good as a fruited stout can get - absolutely lovely beer.

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FBarber from Illinois, Apr 14, 2019
Photo of Vidblain
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm not generally one for fruited stouts - adjuncts in stouts should be restricted to vanilla, cinnamon, coffee, nuts, and whatever that isn't a fruit. But, Clare's Thirsty Ale was on the top 250 for years, so I had to try it.

Usually berry adjuncts come across as medicinal to me, except in sours - but this seems to be something of an exception. The raspberry is pungently present in the nose, but somehow does not have either a syrupy or astringent presence in the taste notes or mouth feel. There's also very low acidity to the berry, which is impressive - raspberry almost always imparts just a bit of acidity. Not so here, which is nice. The beer is fairly creamy in mouth feel, with loads of chocolate, and is quite smooth. No small feat for such a high ABV. There's definitely heat to the beer - I drank this on an empty stomach and found myself stumbling a bit. Oops. Still, not booze to the taste, just a bit of heat in the chest.

I see exactly why this beer is so respected. I think I actually prefer it over Jam the Radar, particularly as regards format. Pretty impressive.

Thank you to Franfab, who provided me with this can in the Newbies Winter Blues BIF!

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Vidblain from Minnesota, Mar 08, 2019
Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an effervescent jet black with on finger of caramel colored head. So-so head retention & lacing, plenty of viscosity

S: Chocolate, rapsberries, figs. fades a touch once warm. Boozeyness then surfaces

T: Raspberry & dark chcoclate, raisins, roastyness & barrel dryness up front. More dark chococlate, barrel dryness & raspberry as this warms,a little raisin as well. Finishes with rapberry sweetness & tartness, a touch of breacing booze & barrel dryness, plus plenty of dark chococolate

MF: Fairly chewy, moderate carbonation

Pretty darn drinkable for the style & ABV, but enough heft to command respect

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russpowell from Arkansas, Feb 11, 2019
Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tan head. Black color. 2018 vintage.

Raspberry tootsie pop dipped in bourbon. Fudgy with raspberries and other berries showing. Light tartness, but not anything that makes it not stout like. On point with backyard and bramble rye. Full bodied. Really enjoyable.

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mothman from Minnesota, Nov 24, 2018
Photo of Treyliff
4.34/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

32oz growler poured into a snifter

Pours deep black in color with a creamy khaki head that has decent retention. Smells of raspberry laced fudge, dark chocolate, caramel & vanilla. Taste follows the aroma, but the raspberry isn't as strong. It manages to pop through notes of dark chocolate with some jam-like notes. The finish brings out a hint of peppery rye and oak. Medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation, creamy mouthfeel and finish.

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Feb 06, 2018
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.34/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

been looking forward to trying this one for a long time and am stoked to have finally gotten the chance. this is a really neat and sort of unexpected beer, strange to name a strong barrel aged stout thirsty ale, like it implies easy drinking or high volume beer or something, but this is anything but, and it would take a special kind of thirst to want to drink a ton of this one. a rye whiskey barrel aged imperial stout with raspberries, and a wonderful one at that. i go back and forth on the fruited stouts, sometimes they get way too sweet and candy-like with the chocolate in the malt and the fruit sugars, but the raspberries are as tart as they are sweet in this, so while it has some residual sugar and raspberry jam qualities, its also really natural tasting, clean, and fairly acidic from their tartness. its amazing how forward the fruit is in such a dense strong dark beer. sure there is still plenty of dark malt in here, its intensely roasty with a coffee quality to it, and there is some barrel char and earthy wet wood as well, but the summery brightness of the berries lightens it all up and really defines this beer for me. rye is a smart choice for barrels too, its less sweet in this manifestation than bourbon would have been, and the dense slightly spicy rye character makes the grain base seem particularly interesting to me. light vanilla too, but it isnt desserty so much. dark cocoa, a little bitterness, and whiskey, along with old school raspberry jam in the finish, its just delicious and about as well done as something like this could be. this reminds me of an excellent raspberry stout i had from hardywood park a few years back but with the barrel, but other than that beer, quite original. worth the hype!

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Photo of gcamparone
4.69/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks Ryan for sharing a mini growler of this liquid. Poured into a tulip.

Aromas are luscious raspberry-chocolate, vanilla-bourbon. On the tongue is just straight silky semisweet chocolate covered raspberries that are ever present but delicately subtle. Easy, silky body, very thick and rich.

This might be the best raspberry stout I've ever had.. kills BYR.

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gcamparone from Rhode Island, Sep 16, 2017
Photo of ragnar3
4.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage (Woodford Reserve barrels) - very nice incorporation of the base stout, raspberry and barrel notes. The raspberry adds a nice sweetness and jammy notes to a really well done BA stout.

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Photo of Gambyt20
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Always tough to balance fruits with barrel aged flavor but this one is harmonious. Huge fan of rye barrel flavors already so this templeton barrel is right up my alley though I am not a huge raspberry fan. However this works. Nose is literally a chocolate covered raspberries with subtle sweet rye barrel notes. Dessert beer start with a little booze barrel on the finish. Great beer.

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Gambyt20 from Illinois, May 14, 2017
Photo of lupercmda
4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black thick beer poured into a snifter. Minimal carbonation. Lots of chocolate raspberry on the nose. Bourbon followed by the sourness of the raspberry but wonderful balance. A little thin on the mouthfeel but minimally

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lupercmda from North Carolina, Mar 01, 2017
Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Glad I tracked down a growler of this!!! This turned out to be as good as everybody says! Hard to get! They need to bottle this beautiful Rick chocolate and raspberry BA stout!

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Photo of rabbott2
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 on draft December 2016

Look - medium thickness with minimal head

Smell - straight raspberries and chocolate. Very little barrel
Taste - heavy raspberries. Very sweet, however, the chocolate mixes in nicely too. minimal barrel

Feel - below average thickness

Overall - an overall excellent beer, however, the "Baby Backyard" ratings seem a bit off to me because there is almost no barrel presence and the berry flavor are overly potent. That said, it's still an excellent beer, but I'm not willing to crown it at this point.

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rabbott2 from Illinois, Jan 31, 2017
Photo of Fireman_RK
4.79/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours a thick onyx and mocha stream with a 1cm sandy head and moderate lacing
S: Dark chocolate covered raspberries
T: Incredibly decadent - silky milk chocolate, cacao nibs, and ripe raspberries burst on the palate; the barrel is well integrated and provides a substantive base for the beer
F: Medium thickness with a velvety/smooth mouthfeel and ample carb
O: Man, this is dessert in a glass and well executed. While the caliber of beer is on par with Backyard Rye, I'm not sure I fully agree with the comparisons given the different fruits/flavors. Nevertheless, this is an elite stout and probably the best raspberry stout I've ever had. Absolutely worth seeking out - hope they offer this for growler fills again in the near future. Cheers, Haymarket!

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Fireman_RK from North Carolina, Jan 31, 2017
Photo of mschrei
4.66/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 32 oz growler into a snifter. Mild carbonation, dark brown with slight ruby edging. Big berry notes on the smell with mild barrel presence. Berry on the forefront of the taste, barrel is very mild. Smooth syrupy feel, alcohol is disguised well. Exceptional beer.

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mschrei from Illinois, Jan 29, 2017
Photo of rodmanfor3
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is like a sweeter version of Backyard Rye. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night at a recent tasting. Certainly worth trying or seeking out if you are into fruited chocolate truffle flavors in your stouts.

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rodmanfor3 from Vermont, Jan 16, 2017
Photo of Chuckdiesel24
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had a 10 oz pour straight from the tap yesterday. Looks like a standard BA stout with minimal head and pitch black. I can tell the base is a very solid BA stout, adjunct aside. This one isn't heavy on the barrel, and I don't love the idea of raspberry but it goes great this beer.

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Photo of SeanBond
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Haymarket is the type of place that I assume existed more commonly before the craft beer boom; a place that makes awesome beer, but somehow manages to stay under the radar (possibly due to how close it is to Au Cheval and every other trendy restaurant in the area).

Seeing this beer on tap necessitated a trip to Haymarket, since it's rare to get a chance to try the stuff. Pours a beautiful dark brown with just a hint of red from the raspberries (think of a beer mixed with wine). The nose is similarly fudgy with berries.

Really the only bad thing I have to say about this beer is that I wish it were a thicker beer. The taste itself is delicious, with LOTS of raspberry flavor for a beer this big, and the barrel treatment serves only to round it all out. Honestly, I'm not sure a thicker mouthfeel would help, because a large part of the appeal is just how much raspberry you get on the front end (which may be lost if the beer were thicker).

I'm not sure this is the "best" BA stout with fruit as an adjunct, but I think it may do the best at actually portraying a berry flavor. This is like a chocolate stout mixed with jam. Awesome, and right behind the absolutely glorious 22 month BA Indignant, my favorite Haymarket beer.

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SeanBond from Illinois, May 26, 2016
Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.34/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge raspberry, fresh dark chocolate, cocoa, light roast, sweet, some bourbon

Unlike the fruited bcbs variants, the fruit is super up front and not really integrated.

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Rimbimhoot from Illinois, May 26, 2016
Photo of The_Beer_Shark
4.96/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Phenomenal brew right here. Was lucky to get a howler of this divine beer. The fruit plays so well with everything. They need to bottle this beer someday please!!!

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.95/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Huge raspberry nose jumping out of the glass. Tastes like chocolate dipped raspberry. There are vanilla and oak notes as well as some balance from the bourbon. The raspberry really shines here.

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PHBoiler from Illinois, Jan 18, 2016
Photo of JMFP
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally got to tick this brew, during Haymarket's 5th Anniversary Party (I flew out to Chicago, from Delaware), just for the chance to try this legend. And it did not disappoint! Rich, lush, velvety, full-bodied chocolate raspberry stout, with excellent depth, body, and mouthfeel. And I got to meet Clare & Pete as well. Fabulous experience. If you like chocolate and raspberry in your stout, this is the best one out there, so go get some!

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JMFP from Delaware, Jan 16, 2016
Clare's Thirsty Ale from Haymarket Beer Co. Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 315 ratings