Morning Wood | Big Wood Brewery

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Morning WoodMorning Wood

Brewed by:
Big Wood Brewery
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
50 IBU

Added by MBrausen on 02-03-2012

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Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 225
Photo of MBrausen
1.78/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A. Pours a merky black color, 2mm head, no lacing, quickly resets to a thin layer.

S. Smells of light coffee, hops, and lots of spices.

T. Tastes of overbearing spices, mild coffee if any. Just super strong spices. Maybe this would be better at a warmer temp, but at about 35 degrees, this is all spice.

M. Medium body, heavy carbonation, light and watery feel.

O. This beer was too much for me. The spice factor was over done by a mile. I had to pour this out. Just too much for me to pick out any quality flavors.

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Photo of alphagnome
2.3/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Pitch black body and crowned by the weakest head I have ever seen - it had all but vanished within seconds of pouring. Mild sediment is noticable. No lacing.

What aroma? Faint notes of coffee and chocolate can be found if you're willing to invest the time and effort.

About as lifeless as aroma. Coffee is the only real flavors, and it's a decent flavor, I just wish it was more vibrant, richer. Cola towards the end. Light bitterness. Unfortunate aftertaste.

Thin and watery. No detectable carbonation.

I love coffee. I love beer. Should be a match made in heaven, right? Unfortunately it falls short of good in every aspect. I grabbed this in Minnesota, where Surly is available, and I find myself regretting the decision... I should have just stuck with Surly's Coffee Bender - You should too.

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Photo of Hop-Droppen-Roll
2.78/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Poured shortly after 9am on a Sunday, as is customary for coffee stouts.

Can says 'malt beverage with coffee added' - that's a turn off. Did I buy a malt beverage? I wanted a beer.

Pours a typical coffee stout not-quite-jet-black, I'll call this hue Super German Chocolate. Good 3 finger head that doesn't last terribly long. Leaves good lacing. Typical coffee stout notes of dark roasted coffee beans and cocoa on the nose. It's a little bitter, and tastes of dark coffee as you may expect. It's tongue-pricklingly fizzy, mouthfeel isn't fantastic.

Overall, not remarkable.

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Photo of Bravak
3/5  rDev -15.5%

A - deep mahogany - bordering on chocolate. Thin head that dissipated and left very little lacing.

S - Sweet coffee - like a Super America instant latte

T - Sweet versus roast up front with a taste that reminds me of cold, sweet coffee drinks from a bottle. light carbonation. Pleasant tasting, but lacking any oomph or traditional stout character.

M - Medium mouth feel with a watery/thin finish. More like a dark ale than a stout.

Overall - OK, but lacking something and nothing stout-like stands out.

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Photo of Stevedore
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

16oz "pounder" can shared with a friend yesterday; poured into my FFF teku glass today 6/2/2013.

Aroma: Straight up cold-pressed black coffee just like when I homebrew a coffee stout. The nose itself is kind of weak, and is nothing particularly special. I don't detect much malt presence or hoppiness here at all. (3)

Colour: Dark cola brown, minimal head, minimal lacing. Thoroughly average looking stout. (3)

Flavour: Straight up black coffee bitterness plus the underlying roast malts which are kind of hard to detect under the coffee. Its an OK tasting beer but rather disappointing that it is so one dimensional. I might as well drink hot coffee in the morning instead. (3)

Mouthfeel: Thinner side of medium body, well carbonated, aftertaste is black coffee bitterness, the finish is like black coffee. Ehh. (3)

Overall: Just not quite what I expect from coffee stouts. Its just a very, very heavy cold black coffee with a bit of malt and alcohol in it. I don't expect these to be complex beers but this one would really benefit from having more malt and hops backbone to it all. (3)

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Photo of budgood1
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

16 ounce can.

pours out a opaque dark brown with reddish tints. smallish tan head. some clingy lace. aroma of dark roasted malts and coffee, accented by some dark chocolate and nougat complimented with some earthy hoppiness. nice nose on this one. the taste profile suggests a layered, nuanced and balanced conglomeration of burnt maltiness, with a relatively timid dark roast espresso charge. this is definitley not a coffee bomb or an overly rich stout. hopping shows off a bit of earthy herbalness and some NW pineyness. i find the overall body of this brew a bit too much on the lighter side, almost lagerish. mouthfeel is overly smooth and seemingly watery. drinkability is's easily approachable, not over the top in any way, but uninspired.

overall, i would say this misses the mark for me. my preference for coffee stouts is something bigger and badder than this offering. that said, this isn't a bad rendition of the style, just a restrained one. but it did seem sort of appropriate on a cool and blustery spring day.

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Photo of morimech
3.31/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black stout with a large tan head that had great retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass.

Mild coffee aroma with slight hints of roast and cocoa.

Rather mild flavor. Mild coffee flavor combines with a timid stout to produce a rather lackluster beer. No off flavors but not assertive enough either.

Light body that feels thin. Decent carbonation.

Just an OK beer. At the price they are charging, it needs to be a much better beer. It does not compete with Redband Stout which is $3-$4 cheaper. Attractive packaging.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.31/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz pour with a 2 finger tan head

coffee forward stout with a disappointingly watery mouthfeel. coffee beans, bitter herbal hops, sweet roasty malt. a little hard water aftertaste buy otherwise it's tasty.

simple brew, with good flavors. a little creamier and it would be a favorite.

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Photo of Bluegrass49
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

1 pint can. Poured a rich brown with a minimal head, lacking carbonation. Taste was rather weak for a stout, but drinkable. Will do in a pinch...price was right. Coffee taste was there if you thought about it hard enough.

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Photo of Ri0
3.37/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into snifter. Thanks Nick!

A - Looks like coffee with a tan 2 finger head that fades into a nice collar. I have plenty of webbed lacing on my glass.

S - Fresh coffee beans and roasted malts with hints of wood.

T - Bitter coffee and roasted malt with some woodiness. A bit of cola flavor to it. I can't detect much else from this. Wish it had some oatmeal and chocolate to add to the depth of the stout.

M - Thin body and a bit harsh. Should be more creamy. Carbonation was nice.

O - I have a hard time calling this beer a stout. It has the consistency of a brown ale. It wasn't bad, but lacked characteristics that I look for in a stout.

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Photo of marieli
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Draft. Not sure of temp. Started on cool side but warmed up some over 30 minutes or so. Appearance was dark brown. No head. Maybe it was the bartender's doing. A mild aroma. A slight coffee taste. Same with flavor. Mild. Not completely stout-like. Mouthfeel on thin side. Not bad but not necessarily good. Wouldn't reach for this as a stout and would rather have a porter or brown ale based on my overall reaction to this beer.

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Photo of bbtkd
3.39/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big Wood Morning Wood Coffee Stout, ironically lots of head. Has 5.5% ABV, 35 IBU. Pours thin and dark, with lots of head, excellent lacing. Smell is slight coffee. Taste is....not much of anything, slight coffee if you look for it. No bitterness, thin mouthfeel. Overall it is inoffensive, which is not always bad if you like stouts but don't like them bitter. It could be passed off as a porter - which in my admittedly limited experience have less flavor than stouts.

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Photo of PauI
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%

Morning Wood is like a guerrilla coffee attack. You sit down to a midnight glass and take a sip, expecting a stout brew, and instead your taste buds are skewered by a charred, defiant, coffee resistance - in a good way, if you're into that sort of thing. Someone put a double shot o' joe into your beer. You're mad and bewildered, but not mad enough to do anything about it, in your bewilderment. A tasty coup.

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Photo of jwc215
3.49/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown to black with a head that descends to a wispy thin, vanishing, cover. Minimal lacing sticks.

The smell is of roasted iced coffee with a hint of oatmeal, toffee and earthy tones.

The taste is of iced coffee with dark malt and some roast in the finish.

It's medium bodied with mild carbonation.

It's pretty much iced coffee with a decent stout backing.

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Photo of Mdog
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black, good head.

Smell: Black coffee, pretty low strength aroma.

Taste: Coffee roast, mild chocolate, mild sweetness. Coffee is integrated vs. overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Pretty heavy feel for 5.5% abv.

Overall: Picked up a can to give this one a try. Coffee-infused beers can sometimes hit a little too hard with the coffee, but this one seems to rely more on the malt to bring out the coffee flavors. The flavor is fine, but not a standout.

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Photo of afinepilsner
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

16oz can

Morning Wood was black in color with red highlights when held to a light. It had a thick light brown head with good retention and lacing. The smell was coffee and malt. The taste was roasted grain and coffee. It has a long, lightly bitter, and coffee flavored finish. The mouthfeel was good, with a full body and moderate carbonation. Overall Morning Wood was an above average stout, but not something I would go out of my way to try.

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Photo of BigBry
3.54/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

One of a four-pack of 16 ounce cans, from my last trip to Minnesota.

Poured dark brown (basically black) with reddish tints. Small tan head, looked good to start but did fade away, leaving some thin lace. Aromas of dark and bitter roasted coffee, slightly malty, dark chocolate. Slight earthy hops in the smell, that was even more prominent in the flavor. Well balanced mix of burnt or charred malt and coffee beans, and the herbal hops. Not overpowering espresso bitterness, but enough to enhance the stout flavor. Body is a bit thin compared to some really heavy, rich stouts, but still a full and smooth mouth feel.
Good drinkability, flavorful but not too strong.
An enjoyable coffee stout on this cool December evening (and another can for the collection).

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Photo of yamar68
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My first offering from Big Wood...

Sure does look nice - pitch fucking black with a healthy finger of mocha brown froth which laces consistently... so far so good.

Chocolate, coffee... chocolate & coffee... some vanilla bean notes, fresh cream, nothing too exciting but it's inviting nonetheless.

Creamy mouthfeel carries flavors of mild chocolate, cheap bitter coffee, brown ale flavors, really tame... the bite from the coffee tends to linger.

Super sessionable, super simple... doesn't inspire what the name might suggest though.

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Photo of jera1350
3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Deep brown color with a tall fluffy head of light brown foam. Plenty of lacing comes from that foamy head.

Vanilla, cocoa and light mocha in the nose.

Very light and has a touch of a watered down flavor. Coffee flavor in the background that lends to a bitterness. Plenty of noticeable hop flavor to add to the bitterness. Mild chocolate and vanilla in there also.

Has the body of a cup of coffee. Even at 5%, still too thin. Very dry finish.

A highly drinkable beer with lots of flavor to go with it. If I wasn't told this was brewed with coffee, I would have guessed it came from the malt bill because it's so light. The body and lack of coffee are this beers weakness, but it's still good overall. $11 for a four pack of 16 oz. cans though is too high a price tag in my opinion.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.76/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Black at first glance but really dark brown when held up to the light. Looks to have pretty good clarity. The pour resulted in one finger tan head that has no dissipated to a thin bubbly film leaving an etch of lacing around the rim of the nonic pint glass.

Aroma: Cold coffee and cream. Just a hint of roasty character but otherwise clean.

Taste: Sort of plain but not bad. The added coffee is evident right away but is not overdone. It adds that nice almost sweet iced coffee flavor without any of the burnt or bitter character (or stale flavor for that matter). Underneath that is some toffee malt presence and just a hint of bitterness that stays through the aftertaste. Finish is smooth. 5.5% ABV almost seems like a stretch but it's a good beer to keep a palate that's used to bigger beers in check.

Mouthfeel: I'm not sure what I was expecting but a watery effervescence attack surprised me at first. After swirling the beer aggressively to bring the carbonation level down the body became a little heavier, resting between thin and medium. Decently smooth, easy drinking, and refreshing.

Final Thoughts: I'm not sure why low ABV coffee beers are so popular right now. Big Wood is now the second brewery near me to can this concoction (the other is Surly and their Coffee Bender). The style has its merits but there is really no way to tell one from the next. Would I drink it again? I enjoyed it but wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.79/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed on draft at the 2012 Autumn Brew Review. From notes.

"2011 ABR Winner for Best Beer"

Pours a rich dark chocolaty brown/black with a thin skein of mocha head.

Smells of espresso, chocolaty infused oatmeal and roasted malts. Taste is robust coffee, French roasted, dark and semisweet chocolates, dark roasted malts and oatmeal. Medium velvety body. This is a delicious coffe stout that would be as tasty for breakfast as it would be any time of day. As far as I know Big Wood isn't Bottling/canning quite yet. Soon? Can't wait for it to arrive in bottle shops.

Update 3/2013. Finally available in cans, so I grabbed a 4 pack. Right away: Disappointed. This isn't the same beer I remember from ABR, which did indeed win best of show, an accolade that is printed prominently on the packaging. A meager, thin body is what is coming out of the can. Where did all the flavor go? This is coffee, coffee, coffee, no layers or complexity. Downgraded from 4.48. People will think the attendees of ABR are slightly nuts for picking this as best in show..

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Photo of Bear1964
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a Pint can into a Pint glass, jet black with a small creamy head which left solid lace rings as things went on. It has a sweet smell like a sweet/milk stout with hints of coffee followed by a chocolate candy whiff at the end...nice really. Taste was sweet coffee with a dark roast background and a little dark chocolate mixed in, smooth and creamy mouthfeel makes it work well together as an American Stout with coffee flavor...Overall I think this is a solid offering and I'm glad I picked it up...also very happy I have 3 more Pints to enjoy later. I like Stouts and Porters a lot and when I find a solid one I have no problem saying so...4 Pints at $ 9.50...count me in!

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Photo of zeledonia
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Another new Twin Cities brewery. Meant to try this on draft, but now that it's in cans, that makes things easier. Tasted 3 March 2013, reviewed from notes.

Pours black, with coffee brown at the edges. Two big fingers of medium tan head, dense and pillowy. Great retention, solid lacing, and a thick cap that lasts throughout. Impressive.

Smell is all about the coffee, to the point that I wonder where the stout is. But fortunately it's good coffee, roasty and woody, but soft, and without the sharpness of over-roast that many coffee beers have.

Taste is pleasant, and close to being really good, but it drifts out just when I'm wanting more. Starts out with the upper half of the flavor of coffee, lacking the rich undertones that I hoped the stout would give it. Then it fades to a soft char bitterness, that's the main stout element I'm finding in this beer.

Mouthfeel is really good. Chewy for such a low-ABV stout, light but full in the mouth. Carbonation puffs it up even more and helps the flavors dance. It's almost too much, but backs off right when I need it to.

A pretty solid coffee stout. Unfortunately, the taste is the low point, and it's hard for a beer to be really impressive when there's so little of the style in the flavor of the beer. But I'd still drink another one (or three).

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I should feel so lucky. I got a discounted 4 pack because of a store mistake. Woot.

Appearance : Pours a jet black color out of the can, straight into the pilsner glass retaining its color but showing some brownish hues as well. The color as it sits is a chocolate muddy black-brown. It's beautiful. The head is tightly knit although I wouldn't call it creamy, it's more bubbly. It's about 2 fingers at my measurement and recedes within a couple minutes' time. It leaves wisps of lacing on the glass as it descends.

Aroma : Roast coffee in a big way. Foldgers - look out. Beyond the medium roast ground coffee there is a slight hint of bakers chocolate and vanilla extract. By and large, mostly coffee grounds - like opening a big can.

Taste : This is a breakfast beer if I've ever had one. Large malty body with coffee grounds and roasted coffee bean. Medium-dark roast with some oily flavor from the depth of the bean. It's really not like drinking beer, it's like drinking a fluffy, creamy coffee. The finish is of roasted coffee and I'm actually getting coffee breath from this beer.

Mouthfeel : Creamy, fluffy, full bodied. Very nice, much like the froth on a cappuccino. It ends roasted and semi-dry.

Overall : Coffee. If you like coffee, you'll love this beer. If you're a beer lover, which if you're here you are, you can substitute this for your morning drink. It will give you a jolt and also coffee breath. It's probably one of the more unique stouts I've had, although it's pretty linear focusing ONLY on roast coffee. I'll have the other three for breakfast when I need a jolt (tee-hee).

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Photo of MattyG85
3.94/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a Surly tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of light tan head which recede into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: A roasty and toasty coffee bean infused aroma. Dark roasted malts with good hints of bitter dark coffee beans and oats. Hints of chocolate, cream, vanilla, grains, caramel, toffee, nuts, and biscuit. Some earthy hops with hints of grass. Aroma isn't big but the coffee is pretty noticeable and the sweetness is balanced. Solid smell.

Taste: Similar to the aroma, but not as strong with the coffee. Dark roasted malts with a taste of coffee beans, oatmeal, and chocolate. Also some notes of vanilla, cream, caramel, toffee, wheat grains, biscuit, and nuts. Fairly earthy with a solid presence of grassy hops. Fairly laid back taste for a coffee stout but the balance is solid.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and pretty drying on the finish.

Overall: A decent beer overall, but could of been stronger with the coffee flavor. The body is thin too even for a small stout. The dry bitter roast is nice though.

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Morning Wood from Big Wood Brewery
3.55 out of 5 based on 225 ratings.
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