Perennial Artisan Ales

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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #48
Ranked #165
4.5 | pDev: 7.56%
Perennial Artisan Ales
Missouri, United States
Notes: *ABV varies by year*

An Imperial Stout brewed with ancho chili peppers, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks. Pouring deep brown with a thick head, this beer has a complex body with a delicious lingering roastiness. Abraxas is brewed with unique ingredients intended to challenge and excite the palate. It may be enjoyed right away or allowed to age in the bottle. Vertical tastings are encouraged.
Reviews: 458 | Ratings: 3,046 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #62 (Mar 2012):

LOOK: Black, dense brown head

SMELL: Unsweetened chocolate, soft charcoal, mild chili peppers, cinnamon, plum pudding, figs, espresso

TASTE: Cinnamon, light molasses, silky, full body, mild chili warmth, dense chocolate, burnt raisins, French roast coffee, charred bread crust, warming alcohol, sweet roasty finish

A heavy name for a heavy beer. Sometimes beer can be so serious and deep that you can get lost as it unfolds with each sip. Complexity meets drinkability with a dull warning of strength. It is beers of this character that further forge what American beer is and represent the intentions of craft brewers. Search this beauty out.

Jan 17, 2013
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Jason from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev 0%

Feb 11, 2012
More User Reviews:
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gaining inspirations from ancient central America; the sweet, savory, and spicy taste of mole gives this 1-year cellared stout as much meldedness as it does complexity.

Starting off with a mimicry of espresso- the dark black beer has a gaze of cloudiness cast over it and hardly allows any depth of clarity. Capped by a sandy-tan steadfast head, the foam slowly collapses back into the beer until its dainty froth circles the glass in even more espresso-like fashion. Relatively low on retention, the beer speckles the glass with pockets of sticky foam.

A strong foundation of bold-roast coffee, cocoa-rich chocolates, brown sugar, molasses, and campfire roast set the tone for certain stout-like aromas. But its the peppery scent of undeniable cinnamon and the twinge of capsacin that tantalize the nose with complements of black jellybeans and mild vegetal pepper fruit that poke through the malts

Similar to its scent- the bold richness of creamy malts coat the early palate with the sweetness of burnt sugars and malted milk (milkshake). Saturated tastes of bittersweet chocolate is exacerbated with true dry cocoa additions. Just when its middle palate release light fruit and spice of grape, cherry, and aniseed; the sultry spices of pepper and cinnamon come on and extend into the finish. Warm, fruity, spicy, and roasty- the beer keeps rewarding the palate into an indefinite finish.

Undoubted is the beer's full body. The roast is wrapped around a malty center of residual sweetness, heavy cream malt, and marshmallowy carbonation. But as the beer slowly releases its sugars and carbonation, the onset of spice, warmth, and supple dryness keeps the beer developing deep within a savory and extended finish.

The Mexican inspired stout would make the Aztecs proud- as this beer has certainly earned respect among the best that today's craft beer world offers. The beer is meticulously balanced and doesn't shy away from powerful complexities in addition. It's beautiful in its recipe design, brewer execution, and courage.

Mar 26, 2013
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Suds_Suds from Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%

A beer that changed my life when I first had it. Beautiful balance of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and chili heat.

Aug 21, 2014
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SpeedwayJim from New York

4.52/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black with a dark, fluffy mocha colored head with good retention. Beer is pitch black. Lacing is thick but sparse with oily legs. Real menacing look brew.

Nose is mint, chocolate, fudge, and cocoa. Vanilla beans smooth out the experience while a touch of spice tickles the nose. Very deep and rich. Moderately aromatic. Solid.

Opens cocoa, cinnamon spice, chocolate, and fudge. Vanilla beans add even more sweetness towards the middle. Some heat comes in towards the end amidst more fudge and milk and dark chocolate sweetness. Chili peppers in the end with a heated, sweet, cinnamon finish. Great complexity, very unique, and really well integrated.

Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Oily, slick, and rich in the mouth and goes down messy, smooth, and thick. Messy finish with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Couldn't ask for more.

I haven't been a fan of a lot of Perennial's beers and in fact, I feel they're a bit over-rated overall. However, Abraxas is a revelation. The flavor has great balance and complexity, the feel is incredible, and the look and nose are spot on. I wish I'd picked up a lot more of these when I had the chance.

Jun 19, 2013
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.75/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep black pour, used motor oil, midnight black, all those usual descriptors, 1/3" tan head on it, small bubbles. Aroma heavy on the roast, a mild amount of peppers and cinnamon on top of it, you've had this beer before in other regions, Stone, Cigar City etc. . .

Taste, good hits with the roast first and foremost, not acrid, not overly sweet, brings the heat pepper wise but with enough two row and black roasted malt to hold its own and not let the spice dominate. Cinnamon in a decent proportion in the mouth feel. Really one of those midwest pour kinds of beers, after around 4oz I'm kind of hitting the point of diminishing returns. A share beer.

Carbonation well done and subdued to allow for different adjuncts to come out. Alcohol noticeable, but not soul crushing. Decent chocolate and cocoa presence.

A good beer, but plenty of easier, more accessible beers doing the same thing as this one.

Dec 12, 2016
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EMB1960 from North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, is all I can say.

Feb 18, 2015
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DeepJello from Oregon

4.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 11/2014. Poured into a over sized tulip. Served slightly chilled.

A - Pitch Black with a mocha/hazelnut head. Sticky/heavy foam, leaving some beautiful lace half way through the glass.

S - Rich milk chocolate, vanilla, smoked toffee with some chili/alcohol notes. The ancho chili smell is a little off putting.

T - Taste is pretty similar to the smell. Huge Chocolate Malts, Toffee. The back end of this beer is pretty superb. The chilies are present (heat), cinnamon blending in perfectly in the finish. Then the 10% ABV becomes very apparent, once I exhaled. Lingering heat (chilies) which continues to build over the course of the beer. Excellent!

M - The body was moderate to thick motor oil. Rich chocolate with lingering and excelling heat from the chilies. Very Hot (alcohol).

O - It's a crazy beer. The chili aspect was a nice curve ball, from the smell/nose and lingering long after I took a drink. The body/flavors/alcohol compliments each other so well. I can't wait to try my other bottle in a year or two and see how this beast changes.

Jan 09, 2015
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wulfie85 from California

4.81/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely excellent beer. The cinnamon, vanilla, and cacao comes through well with just a little heat from the chiles. The aromas of vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon are great as well

May 08, 2016
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LloydDobler from Indiana

4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into snifter

This was my first own personal "whale". What better time to review it than as my first beer of the year.

The top popped with the quietest hiss. So excited about this that I sniffed the mouth of the bottle before pouring(almost took a sip, and maybe I did)... A gluggy pour that filled half of the glass left a 1/2" of quickly dissipating brown head gyrating on top of a black pool. Sweet and spicy nose left me ready to dive in. Taste is straight fudge with a peppery POP! I was expecting the spice to have mellowed after a year+ in the bottle, but it was there in force. Nice med-thick, slick feel with minimal carbonation(almost perfect for the style). Heat creeps in, and just compounds on the palate with each sip. This gets WAY better as it warms. It gives way to some of the flavors that were overpowered by the spice, like vanilla. Great beer, but not mind blowing. Along the lines of BOMB! and Imperial Blud, but I would have to side-by-side to pick out my favorite.

Jan 05, 2016
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barleywinefiend from Washington

4.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured a big black body with good carbonation leaving a moderate brown cap which quikly fades leaving some bubbles and spotty lacing

5: Big cinnamon and anchos smothered by chocolate, roasted malt.

T: Taste follows the nose very well. Big cinnamon meets chiles but everything seemed to play second fiddle to the chiles and spice. It provides an initial zing or spiciness which is nice, it lingers from start to finish. It provides a nice heat which smothers the alcohol heat. The chocolate and roasted base is nice and helps keep the beer in check. This one is a little to spicey for my taste. The finish is rather creamy, spicey, sweet and decadent.

M: Full bodied, well carbonated. The spice and heat really coats the palate providing some staying power. Awesome.

O: Good. I do prefer the BA version better because it seemed to hide the chiles a but more

Mar 30, 2013
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DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Bottled 11/2015.

3.75 A: Black color. One finger of light brown creamy head. Retention is about what you'd expect from a beer this big and a few wisps of lacing are left.

4.0 S: Quite sweet overall. It starts and finishes with dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. Slight vegetal pepper from the anchos which meshes well with the cinnamon and vanilla. Just a touch of dark roast coffee with stronger molasses and caramel. Supple roastiness that falls behind the chocolate sweetness. It's a bit more mellow than I was expecting, but it's still pretty good.

4.0 T: Despite the nose having just hints of coffee in it, the taste is a borderline coffee bomb. Again the chiles, cinnamon, and vanilla are mellow and complementary. Just a touch of heat is realized. Sweet chocolate would be the dominant flavor if the coffee wasn't so abundant. Moderately sweet throughout but with a roasty bitter finish. Again, this is good, but the flavors aren't as impressive as the reputation might suggest.

3.75 M: Lighter heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Mild-moderate creaminess and a mild heat that builds some momentum as it is consumed.

4.0 D: It's a good beer, but I was expecting quite a bit more. Honestly, it doesn't hold a candle to the regular Speedway Stout that I had a couple nights ago. This mixed with the fact that this costs a ton more and is infinitely harder to get a bottle of makes me okay if I never have this again.

Jan 29, 2016
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teromous from Virginia

4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On the right side of the label, it says: "Bottled 2017"

Appearance: The body is black and it is headless. The beer has a very thin brown ring. No head or lacing.

Aroma: There is a nice cinnamon aroma with a spiciness that burns the nose. There is a bit of a chocolate aroma but it tends to get lost in the cinnamon. It smells a lot like an Atomic Fireball.

Taste: Up front there is a lot of cinnamon and a very nice toasty flavor with a bit of a burnt caramel taste. It honestly tastes just like a cinnamon roll. After a while, when the palate starts to become more adjusted to the bombardment of cinnamon, a nice chocolatey flavor starts to emerge with hints of coffee.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel of this beer is truly its highlight. It is smooth, thick, and full bodied. It has this decadent texture that really lays a solid foundation for this beer. It's perfect.

Overall: It really takes a while for this beer to open up and give everything that it has to offer. A small portion of that might be attributed to warming but an even greater part of that has to do with how the palate adjusts to the cinnamon. There is this nice underbelly of flavor that gives off a touch of roasted coffee and chocolate. When that comes out the beer really starts to shine. While the bottle for this beer is large and the alcohol volume is also high, I would recommend that if you share this bottle with others that you take this into consideration. If you are drinking it on your own then you are in for a wealth of flavors that you don't get tired of drinking. I would both highly recommend this beer and drink it again.

Dec 09, 2017
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jonandhisflask from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev 0%

one year cellared

Pours Deep black, with mocha head, light head retension, silky as it hits the glass.
Mocha head melts away, leaves some legs on the glass.

Aroma: At first this was Chilled to the max and i got an Irony metallic nose up front, after this sat for a half hour, i was able to get The bold cocoa, Deep espresso roast, Brown sugar, Cinnamon and a hint of the Chile ... very sweet molasses and cinnamon come through after a few swirls.

Taste: Almost identical to the Aroma, Great Dark chocolate, Cocoa, Sweet molasses, a hint of the chile right before the cinnamon takes over ending on a combination of cinnamon and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Very viscous, coats the mouth with the first initial drink, creamy, almost like a melted malt. full bodied finishes with a hint of dryness.

Overall: This beer is very balanced for what it has going on, im guessing this beer fresh might be a little over spiced, id like to have this fresh at some point to see if theres more Chile heat. this beer is great , i will be seeking more in the future.

Sep 22, 2014
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corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pitch black and completely opaque with a one finger mocha head that immediately fades into a thin ring. Minimal spotty lacing left behind. Nice color but this beer has poor head retention and lacks lacing.

Slightly spicy, roasted dark malt aroma with silky dessert-like sweetness and a zesty pepper presence. Lots of cinnamon and chili pepper in the nose along with faint vanilla bean. Decent amour of robust dark malt with coffee bean, burnt sugar, toast and oatmeal. Luscious silky chocolate character with cocoa bean, bakers chocolate, caramel, toffee and moist chocolate cake. Smells pretty good with a nice balance of spice, peppers, roast and sweeter malt. Was expecting more pepper but there's a decent amount of chocolate and cinnamon.

Fuller end of medium body with a blast of spicy cinnamon and a zesty pepper kick that lingers throughout. The cinnamon is really, really strong and along with the chili dominates the palate. Underneath, there is a complex malt bill with robust dark roast and dessert-like chocolate sweetness. Cocoa really comes through as it warms with fudge and molasses sweetness. Slightly burnt tasting but not acrid with coffee, charred toast, oatmeal and subtle smoke. Smoked peppers are strong and cinnamon is a bit overpowering. chocolate malts balance things out with some dessert/cake sweetness, licorice and caramel. Nice beer but the spices are a bit strong for my preference, making this beer slightly one dimensional. My palate adjusted to the heat/peppers after a while and I'm really enjoying those flavors.

Dec 12, 2015
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TheBrewsky from California

4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 750 mL bottle into 20oz imperial snifter. Bottled 11/21/17.

Look: Pours pitch black, and has appearance similar to that of pouring motor oil. As the beer sits in the glass collectively, it is still pitch black. From a fairly non-vigorous pour, I achieved about 3 fingers worth of a chestnut-dark tan head, which dissipated rapidly. There is a bubbly ring that remains around the edge of the glass, but not much residual lacing.

Smell:Cinnamon is upfront, with a little bit of a sugary backbone which reminds be of a churro. Apart from cinnamon, I can pick up on some roasted malts, chocolate, a little vanilla and some coffee-ish smell. Knowing that ancho chili peppers are in the beer, the more I get a nose on it, the more I am able to detect a peppery smell that distinguishes itself from the cinnamon. Damn, what a great smelling stout.

Taste: Follows the nose, with a slight more emphasis on peppers than the nose leads on. Upfront, loads of cinnamon flavor is present. Chocolate from the cacao nibs is evident as well. The ancho chili taste is detected as I drink the beer, and as it goes down. There is a heat to the beer that is without a doubt from the peppers. The heat isn't overly done though, and I would not call it spicy. Everything is well blended, with no astringent tastes. I would say though that for someone who isn't a fan of cinnamon, this probably won't be the stout for you, since cinnamon takes center stage. I love cinnamon, so no wonder I am loving this beer. Booze is completely masked.

Feel: Really nice and thick viscosity to this beer, which is typical in Perennial's stouts. The beer has a heavy feeling on the tongue with a medium embodiment. Leaves a sticky residue coating on your tongue. Carbonation is very low. Very easy drinking.

Overall: This beer did not disappoint. I have been wanting to try it for a while now, and it has met all my expectations. The flavors are bold, but blend exceptionally well. The cinnamon is forward, but the chocolate and ancho chili somehow pull it back to a more blended tone. This is an exceptional beer, and one I am very glad to finally have tried. As always, I am grateful to have tried. I look forward to the next release. Cheers!

Apr 08, 2018
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jdub11 from Indiana

4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

ranking for '17, poor dark chocolate color with faint smells of cinnamon and vanilla. From the bottle the cinnamon is less intense than on tap with sweetness from chocolate and vanilla tastes. Great mouthfeel with slight coating texture.

Dec 12, 2017
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John_M from Oregon

4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the E9 last night. Served in an 8 ounce tulip.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and lacing. The beer is a bit thick and viscous looking, something that was replicated on the palate. On the nose, I pick up a lot of dark chocolate and vanilla, along with a hint of chili pepper as well. On the nose, this beer is so rich and sweet, it's almost too much. Granted, the noticeable heat from the ancho chiles, and the considerable spice help to counter that sweetness somewhat, but even so, it's hard to imagine drinking a whole lot of this at a sitting. Mouthfeel is soft, smooth, full and very long. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, but even so, the combination of high alcohol and considerable sweetness wear out the palate pretty quickly.

An impressive beer, no doubt, but the richness was almost too much of a good thing. Even so, this is a delicious beer, and one I was happy to try at long last.

Dec 28, 2014
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch-black color, with about a finger's worth of tan-shaded head. Retention is quite good, and the texture retains an evenness that caps the body off quite well. No lacing is really left behind.

The first thing I notice from the aroma is how much of the cinnamon comes through. It's a very vivid note that captures its nuances well beyond just being 2 tons of bitter spice (and goodness knows I've had too many pumpkin ales to know that sensation...) Chocolate and vanilla lurk just beneath that, along with the sweet yet roasty stout base. I don't seem to pick up much chili peppers, but the little I do get is better than getting nothing at all. I'm really impressed by how the nose comes across, especially considering I'm not always a fan of cinnamon in my beer...

...and to nobody's surprise, cinnamon dominates the flavor profile. Yet it doesn't bother me here compared with the legions of mediocre, over-spiced pumpkin ales. Mainly because the base stout can hold its own beautifully, offering notes of graham cracker, molasses, vanilla, mild roast, and hazelnut coffee. It finishes with a nice aftertaste of chocolate. The mild chili pepper aspect isn't worth complaining about since that can go horribly awry in a beer (and it does offer a tiny prickle on the mouthfeel that ends up benefiting the whole package). This is superbly balanced and delicate - an even more amazing feat considering the complexity and all the different additions.

It feels thick and viscous on the palate, creating a good canvas for the flavors to work their magic. It's so wonderfully luscious and velvety, not allowing a morsel of the immense 11.5% alcohol to be perceived in any manner. After the swallow, the slightest twinge of chili pepper heat appears, helping to dry the palate out without punishing it with excess spiciness. Carbonation is low.

I always like to be that asshole that whines "OVERHYPED AND OVERPRICED HYUK HYUK" whenever I review a hyped beer. I'm not going to be that asshole today, because this rocks. This is one of the better "Mexican hot chocolate" stouts I've had, that's for sure.

PS: I won't hold this beer's $25+ price point against it, considering Perennial's typically high prices. I'd even suggest it's worth the price, which is really saying something.

4.4/5: As masterful as Carlos Santana's guitar playing

Dec 25, 2018
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Desp59 from Pennsylvania

3.49/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big stout share. Huna blew ir away.

Feb 05, 2015
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Fargrow from Michigan

4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this a while after trying Double Barrel Hunahpu's and I have to say that I liked this more. With so much going on, maybe the DBH didn't need the barrel. This was a fantastic cinnamon roll with raisins in liquid form. Bursting with decadent dessert flavor. Truly great beer.

Sep 14, 2015
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bouncepass from California

3.45/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Jan 02, 2016
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EROCK75 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%

May 13, 2013
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crobinso from Colorado

4.5/5  rDev 0%

Jan 12, 2014
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mhenson42 from Texas

4.5/5  rDev 0%

Jan 03, 2013
Abraxas from Perennial Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 3046 ratings