Luscious | The Alchemist

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Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-09-2011

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Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 514
Photo of MasterSki
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from AshleyMiller. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - Generous mocha foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and spotty lacework. Near-black body with ruby-brown glints at the edge of the glass.

S - A superb blend of oaky vanilla, anise, dark chocolate, roast, biscuit, caramel, and dark fruit. No discernible alcohol, and extremely well-integrated.

T - Again, it's a wonderful mix of dark chocolate, licorice, biscuit, roasted malts, vanilla, dark fruits, and oak. Perfect balance of sweetness, roast, and bitterness.

M - Smooth, chewy, melted chocolate texture, with a bit of roast and oaky dryness in the finish. No alcohol presence at all.

D - This is one of those beers where the descriptors seem similar to many other beers of the style, but someone the balance and integration of flavors takes things to a completely different level. It's as if John Kimmich knew exactly how much of each flavor I'd want in this beer and tailored things exactly to my specifications. I could easily drink 22oz of this on my own.

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Photo of birchstick
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black color without much of a head on it. Nose is a beautiful mix of dark and milk chocolates, cocoa, and dark fruits - pretty solid aromas on it. The taste starts off with milk chocolate malts that hold strong for the first half of the palate. These move on to dark fruits. The fruits are quickly pushed aside by a nice mixture of roasted malts/coffee and dark chocolates. Very rich and full of flavor - solid tasting stout. Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Overall, this is a great chocolaty, roasted malt RIS. Really glad I got to try this and very much recommend it.

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Photo of stoutluvr420
4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head. Good retention and some nice lacing on the way down. The nose carries a nice dose of bourbon and oak with a bit of vanilla-hops in the background. Touch of bittersweet chocolate and leather as well. Flavor is toasty and hoppy along with awesome dark chocolate and molasses notes and a good amount of booze to go alongside the barrel character. Body is medium-heavy with average carbonation. Pretty good, but I'd really like to see how this one ages.

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Photo of jegross2
3.96/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewing Luscious from the Alchemist out of Vermont. The Alchemist is best and primarily known for their flagship double IPA, Heady Topper. The genesis of this beer is detailed on the back of the beer label:

"On the evening of August 28th, 2011, I witnessed the destruction of The Alchemist Pub and Brewery. Moments before the flood waters rolled across the dining room floor, I could hear my tanks bobbing against the floor from underneath my feet. 18 tanks of beer were poured down the drain, two survived. Through an unprecedented collaboration of Vermont brewers, I am pleased to offer you a one-of-a-kind beer release."

Score: 86

2011 vintage bottle served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 06/06/12. A huge thank you to Nick for bringing this to our tasting, and another thank you to Brian for sharing a pour of this with me at Dark Lord Day.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a finger of creamy milk chocolate colored head that slowly recedes. Amazing lacing and retention. 5/5

Smell: Milk chocolate, cherry, "musty oak," honey and brown sugary molasses. 4/5

Taste: Cherry covered chocolate, burnt brown sugar, and licorice. Not very complex. Reminds me of aged expedition sans hops. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Over-carbonated, fizzy mouthfeel that finishes mildly sweet. 3/5

Overall: A solid tasting, but incredibly overrated beer that I found to be over-carbonated. Glad to have had the chance to try this beer, but it is not one I will be seeking out again in the future.

Recommendation: In terms of rare beer ticks, this is one I'd suggest forgoing for something better.

Pairings: Brownies.

Cost: $20 for a 22 oz bottle.

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Photo of papat444
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at the release last September.

Poured from a 22oz. bottle and split with my wife.

Appearance: Pours an almost black body with a thin head to start but really expands as the pour continues filling half the glass with an intensely brown head that has an awesome cascading effect.

Smell: Figs, oatmeal cookies, really intense chocolate, some coffee and dates.

Taste: Sweet coffee, dark chocolate, coffee liqueur, rum balls, raisin cookies, dates, nutty and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation with a real full feel that is not heavy at all.

Overall: I cannot believe this is 11%. Could have had the whole bottle to myself no problems. Hope they redo this one because if not, i'm gonna miss it!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5



A: Black as ink with an enormous mocha head that exhibits great retention and leaves much lacing on the glass as it recedes. Stunning appearance for the style.

S: Roasty with notes of molasses and licorice. Restrained dark fruit notes are redolent of plum, grape, and raisin. Smells like bittersweet dark chocolate fudge with accompanying oak and vanilla.

T: Rich bittersweet dark chocolate with light brown sugar, licorice, and a firm molasses presence. The beer is lightly oaky with a moderate earthy bitterness. The roasted malt presence is firm but doesn't dominate. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M: Full body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is full, sticky, silky, and chewy.

Overall: A great Imperial Stout. It reminds me of Abyss 2007 in its prime.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.26/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a big creamy dark brown head that is lasting leaving a thick sludge down the glass.

Smells of milk chocolate, some roasted malts with a kiss of alcohol heat.

Flavor is heavy on the cocoa and especially dark fruits. A little bit of vanilla and the slightest smoky notes come out too as warmed.

Rich and dare I say lusciously creamy mouthfeel brings it all together. Carbonation levels are medium to low overall, but on the higher side for big stouts.

A very good beer although I wish the sweetness were dialed back just a touch. Still the mouthfeel brought all the flavors together and made it better than the sum of its parts.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.27/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At the time of this review, this is #19 on the "Top Beers - Russian Imperial Stout" list on Shared by yourefragile, Thanks!

Beer is black with nearly no head, small tan / brown bubbles, low lacing, low retention, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet and a little molasses and some booze.

Beer is light in body and hides the alcohol really well. It is sweet and a nice with a great finish. I'd have it again for sure.

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Photo of largadeer
4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, David.

Pitch black viscous body with a tall lasting head. Initially over-carbonated, but some vigorous swirling takes care of that.

Big dark chocolate aroma backed by a small note of char. Oak and vanilla follow, and dark fruit comes out more as it warms. Slightly vinous.

The palate is heavy on cocoa, roasted malt and dark fruit, with a gentle oak presence that lends a touch of vanilla. The mouthfeel is incredible - full and silky bordering on creamy, but without excessive sweetness. There's a note of char toward the finish and a touch of booze, but overall this is remarkably balanced and mellow. Truly excellent stuff.

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Photo of Hopstamon
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a nice snifter.
This is a fantastic rendition of a imperial stout. I'm happy that I got a hold of a bottle of this after the vicious flood.
Pours out a nice dark lovefest with a tan head. The juicy malt flavors abound and a hint of vanilla and oak-e-ness slide onto my tongue in an everlasting triumph of rightesness. I am sipping this snifter quicker than I thought, and am absorbing the boozy punch of this fine concoction as a sponge in a pool of water.
Me likey... If you can get a hold of this limited brew... do it.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.07/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to yourefragile for sharing this bottle. Served in a snifter. Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head. Good retention and some nice lacing on the way down. The nose carries a nice dose of bourbon and oak with a bit of vanilla in the background. Touch of milk chocolate as well. The flavor falls off from there with a decent amount of booze to go alongside the barrel character. Body is medium with average carbonation. Pretty good, but the flavor could have used as much depth as the nose.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am a big fan of the Alchemist Heady Topper, so I had to try this one! Poured from 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a dark black color with a finger of tan-chocolate frothy head. The head fades down slowly leaving behind some good lacing throughout. Aroma is a mix of dark roasted chocolate malts with a touch of burnt malt, sweetness, and a touch of caramel. The flavor starts off with some roasted chocolate malts with some sweet dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, and oak. Through the middle, some more oak and burnt flavor comes through with some more dark fruit and a touch of booze. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate, oak, vanilla, caramel, and a bit of booze. Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a warming finish. Dangerously drinkable. Really nice balance with some nice sweetness from the dark fruit that goes well with the big and roasty malt body!

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black color with a finger of tan-chocolate frothy head. The head fades down slowly leaving behind some good lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of dark roasted chocolate malts with a touch of burnt malt, sweetness, and a touch of caramel.

T - Starts off with some roasted chocolate malts with some sweet dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, and oak. Through the middle, some more oak and burnt flavor comes through with some more dark fruit and a touch of booze. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate, oak, vanilla, caramel, and a bit of booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice balance with some nice sweetness from the dark fruit that goes well with the big body and other flavors.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black, such a viscous ooze, tan head, leaves to tan ring. Lots of cling.

S - Soy and cocoa out the gate, sweet malt is making my mouth water.

T - Fuck! Creamy loads of thick chocolate, small anise, small soy, lingering milk chocolate/hot chocolate/chocolate chip cookies. I am in love.

M - Heavy body, great carb, wonderful balance. So creamy.

D - Dangerous. So good I have to slow myself down. Oh, yeah, I am having the whole thing!

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Photo of cavedave
4.56/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Has the perfect appearance for a RIS, almost black, thick like motor oil, three finger, light brown, lathery head, and eventually a panoply of leggy sheets of lace and a lasting cap.

Chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee beans, toasted bread, molasses, hints of herbal bitter, and spicy alcohol in a medium strength aroma make for a delectable bouquet.

This beer has a well blended, medium/strong taste. It starts with alcohol spice holding hands with roasty grain, semi sweet chocolate, dark caramel, candi sweet, and finally some herbal bitter and deeper roastiness join in to dry it perfectly. Please don't think the alcohol of this makes it hot, it doesn't, or that it is cloyingly sweet, it isn't, or that it has a real roasty bitter, it doesn't. As it reaches room temp underflavors, most notably lightest hints of licorice, dance in on tip toe to highlight the simple complexity of this masterpiece. It is a rich and perfectly balanced blend of wonderful flavors that create an exceptionally delicious taste.

As usual with JK's beers the mouthfeel is perfect, here a creamy, low carb. easy on the palate, super clean, fantastic finish beer of extreme drinkability.

How folks can posit this beer will improve with time is hard to fathom, as it is about as good now as an RIS can hope to be. A touch more roast and a bit stronger aroma would have made this an all 5 beer. Unlikely you will run across this future whitest of whales, but if you do you are in for a staggeringly delicious treat. Highest recommendation.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review adapted from notes taken 11/13/11

Appearance: Pours heavy and black, with a tan head - average lacing

Smell: Beautifully burnt, sweet, and roasty - chocolate and coffee everywhere - some burnt bitterness well-balanced with some malty sweetness - very, very nice

Taste: Somewhat ridiculous, in a very good way - tons of chocolate, coffee, burnt bitterness - stupidly balanced - so, so roasty - mocha - some slight alcohol - some sugar, some dark fruits - good, but a little rough, will likely become magical with age

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth, full and heavy body, nice carbonation

Overall: So much potential

This beer is already great, and I am sure it is only going to get better. I feel very lucky that I was in Waterbury during this beer release. And I am happy that I have another bottle of this cellaring (probably for a few years).

Update: Drinking a bottle in November, 2013

Holy crap. This has matured into a sate of epic. It's a beauty, with some epic malts. Updated the appearance from 4.00 to 4.50 and the taste to 4.75. I still have two more bottles of this, I wouldn't be shocked if the upward trajectory continues.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Luscious pours black into the glass with a big, creamy tan head on top. The foam dissolves very slowly leaving behind a coating of lace on the glass.

The aroma isn't as strong as I thought it would be. Notes of roasted malt, molasses, dark fruit (cherry) and alcohol.

Each sip of this full bodied beer is very smooth and creamy, slightly oily with low carbonation. The flavor is rich and malty with a bitter finish. Roasted malt, chocolate, toffee, oak, smoke and dark fruit are followed by a pine bitterness. A touch of alcohol heat appears at the end. Once gone the chocolate and pine lingers on the palate.

Wow! This is very tasty and easy to drink. You'd almost not know it's an 11% beer.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was extremely happy to see this bottle show up in a trade with GoGriz a while back. Love their Heady Topper, so was stoked to see what this brewery could do with my favorite style. Thanks again for the trade man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Hell or High Water Series
Vintage: 2011

APPEARANCE: Thick, sludgy, motor oil pour yields a two finger, thick, tight, mocha colored head with great retention. Just a nasty black pour on this one. Pitch black body with medium carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good cap and sticks to the sides of the glass. Splotchy wisp and a thick ring remain all the way and leave some dots of lacing down the glass. Looks killer.

SMELL: Big, impressive nose. Roasted and smoky malts with plenty of dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Some burnt malt aromas, but the cocoa and roasted chocolate isn’t to be outdone. A touch of citrusy hops try to push their way through, but this is all about the big roasted and chocolate aromas. Great stuff.

TASTE: Roasted and burnt malts with some smoky notes in there. Lots of cocoa and dark, butter chocolate and some booze near the finish. Sweet cream and a little vanilla through the middle leading into a big and persistent aftertaste of roasted and charred malts, cocoa powder, bitter chocolate and a touch of boozy port for good measure. Complex, bold, and very enjoyable. Lovely.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation on the palate. Very, very creamy smooth, silky and oily even, goes down smooth with a light scratch at the swallow and finishes rather mouth-coating. A touch of heat lingers, but not much.

OVERALL: Just awesome stuff. The feel needs just a touch more weight and the heat could mellow out just slightly, but otherwise, this is a top notch imperial stout. With lots of wonderful aromas and flavor, a menacing look and a super smooth, silky feel, this one will not disappoint even the most critical stout fan. I certainly couldn’t get enough of it. Thanks again for the trade on this GoGriz. I’d love to drink this again at some point. If you’re doing a tasting with this one involved, make sure she bats cleanup. Highly recommended.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.34/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to ICCULIS for this bottle! Thanks Jim!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: dark black beer with medium brown head that pours to nice small cap of head. Thick lacing.

Smell: roasty and sweet malts. charred wood and earthy. Dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, molasses and tobacco also noted.

Taste: Semi-sweet milk chocolate, charred wood and vanilla. Mild smoke and earthy. Might even be getting a hint of dark fruit. Caramel sweetness is there as well.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low carbonation. carbonated perfectly. Silky and creamy. Rediculous how drinkable this beer is; it super smooth.

Overall: Fantastic RIS. Great story too. Too bad that only 700 bottles survived. Grab it if you can! I would drink this over a Dark Lord any day! Its a great RIS.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.81/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jon for this one. Capped bomber poured into a Hill Farmstead snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Beer pours dense and black with a .5 finger mocha colored head with great retention. Spotty lace with little cling but thick, oily legs that really stick around. Beautiful beer.

Nose is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and cocoa. Simple but aromatic and clean. Decent.

Beer opens roasted and smoked malt, chocolate, brownie, and cocoa powder. Some creamy hop flavors at the middle. More vanilla and chocolate. Finishes cocoa and chocolate with a sweet soy sauce and fudge finish. Luscious perfectly describes this one.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily, filmy, and silky in the mouth and super smooth going down. Finishes slightly accented with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Perfect.

While all other aspects of this beer need a bit of work, the mouthfeel really pulls this one through to a totally different level. One of the smoothest and silkiest imperial stouts I've ever come across. Best to lay this one down for a little while to hope the flavors continue to develop a touch.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a simply beautiful pitch black, very thick. A creamy frothy brownish/dark tan head majestically crowns the beer and refuses to dissipate. Smells of deep dark chocolate, overly roasted malts, and booze dominate a great nose. First sip is milkshake creamy rich to the amazing point of being chewy. Bitterness from the strong coffee and dark chocolate is amazing but just a tad chalky. Along with the heavily roasted coffee and malts there is a pleasant dark ripe fruit note that is coupled with a slight splash of vanilla adding to an amazing complexity. Luscious also has a great and unique story that exemplifies the VT brewing community after a natural disaster wiped out the brewery’s well established brewpub. Mouthfeel is world class. The beer is world class too. WoW!

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Split the bomber with angrybabboon.

Appearance: Pitch black. Some deep red hues at edges when held to direct light. Head is rich crema. Fluffy, creamy, and it lingers in a small ring throughout the drinking process. Very still, sits there and looks sexy. Minimal carbonation.

Smell: Cocoa, burnt malts, chocolate malts. Some char and tobacco. Lots of cocoa. Slight minerality lingers in the back. Some sweetness. Lots of burnt and roasted malts. Stale coffee and fresh espresso. Malts are off the chain. Loads of depth, but all in good measure. Balance is insane. Slight citrus hop notes flit through the back.

Taste: Cocoa. Burnt malts and bakers' chocolate. Minerality runs through the back.Nice dose of roasted malts. Some caramel sweetness. Some milk chocolate after the beer warms a bit. The malts blend well with the faint touch of rocks and earth. Citrus lingers somewhere in the back. Sweet, roasted, and rocky all in good measure.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full without crossing the line to syrupy. Just enough carbonation to hold things together and give it some lift. Clean on the finish. So smooth it's silly.

Overall: Easily one of the best English takes on the style. The hints of minerality really make this beer shine. Loads of malts and with a well-hidden ABV, it's scary drinkable. Very glad to have this in the collection.

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Photo of StevenGlansburg
4.82/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black color with a deep brown, thick and heavy looking head. Swirling the glass brings out rich milk chocolate and some roastyness. There is am underlying, slightly sweet element similiar to that of licorice. It tastes great, coffee and dark chocolate take the front seat along with cocoa. There are also very well intergrated hop flavors that work great with the other flavors. Mouthfeel is very rich, it coats the mouth wonderfully. Good, subtle hop bitterness and perfect carbonation.

Overall great beer. It's unfortunate I only got 2 bottles. Can't wait to see what some age does to this.

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Photo of BeerMaverick
4.32/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black beer that looks similar to motor oil. Brown 1/2" head that lasts throughout most of the session. A good amount of lace is splayed around the Alchemist pint glass.

S - Strong coffee bean aroma from the copious amounts of roasted malts. Chocolate is a major player here as well along with some wisps of caramel.

T - The aroma doesn't lie...this RIS has anything that one could ask for. Plenty of coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, and a faint maltiness to fill in the gaps. The hops aren't directly detectable, but their presence is felt from their contribution to balancing this beer perfectly.

M - The coffee and chocolate notes last after each sip...and that is all that's needed.

O - This is a top-notch representation of this style and I wish I could attain/afford more of it, but unfortunately only 700 bottles were saved from the Alchemist flood that destroyed the pub and brewery.

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Photo of Treebs
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle served a Deschutes snifter. Big thanks to Gushue3 (Mike) for this bottle.

A: Pours a very dark, viscous black color with a great solid brown, 2 finger head. Great retention throughout the whole drink and leaves great sticky lace.

S: Wonderful smells are wafting out of my glass. Dark fruits, boozy licorice, dark chocolate and a nice vanilla sweetness.

T: Coffee grounds, dark chocolate and subtle stone fruits all appear up front. As the beer warms the bready malts and subtle roast start to show their form and it becomes more creamy. There is a slight heat on the finish that blends with a sugary vanilla sweetness.

M: Heavy bodied and creamy. Great coating chocolate and creamy finish. Subtle carbonation.

O: This was a delicious beer. The malt bill really gave it a creamy and roasted feel that played really nicely with the sweet chocolate flavors.

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Luscious from The Alchemist
4.43 out of 5 based on 514 ratings.
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