Happy Ending Imperial Stout
SweetWater Brewing Company

Happy Ending Imperial StoutHappy Ending Imperial Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #2,341
Ranked #12,653
3.94 | pDev: 11.68%
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States
Very Good
Happy Ending Imperial StoutHappy Ending Imperial Stout
Reviews: 429 | Ratings: 1,134 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Unknown vintage; drank 7/21/15 @ Village Inn.

Brown/black appearance.

Tan nitro head; frothy lace. Peanut butter & milk chocolate notes in the nose. Smooth, medium thick mouthfeel. Peanut butter & milk chocolate flavors; no booze heat. A drinkable Reese's Peanut Butter Cup; not subtle but enjoyable.

Apr 01, 2019
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tobelerone from New Jersey

3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 vintage, surprisingly satisfying imperial stout with an assertively hoppy character. Never had this fresh but this three year old bottle coalesces very well, bitterness buffered by a faint sweetness and a robust malt flavor.

Feb 22, 2019
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Black pour, thick, light does not penetrate this one, good 3/4" brown head on top of the black liquid. Aroma was of chocolate heavily roasted malt. Appears to be no adjunct going into this judging from the smell.

Taste, more roasted malt, not acrid or super bitter, around 70 ibu that has melded well with the rest of the beer after a few years in the cellar. Still finished dry. The alcohol was hid ok, close to average. Any chocolate feels are from the barley and of the unsweetened impression set. Feels like they went with chinook and cascade hops here for the bitterness. Its a decent beer and I don't think someone who is big into stouts is going to hate on this one. Middle of the road to slightly better consistently when I've had this a few times.

Apr 10, 2018
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am really starting to see progress in the eradication of The Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, plus as an unexpected bonus, I am able to do a number of brewery horizontals, some more extensive than others. This beer marks the beginning of one such occasion with three more of SweetWater's beers to follow.

From the bottle: "Bottle Conditioned for Fresher Taste"; "Put a Smile on Your Face!"; "Don't Float the Mainstream!"; "An impressive thick-headed specimen of an Imperial Stout."; "This stiffy is dry hopped to the rim with centennial [sic] and cascade [sic] hops, delivering a face full of 69 IBU's, resulting in an explosive finish."; "It put a smile on Kirfabulous's face!"

I was not smiling since this is the kind of adolescent nonsense that led to the Brewers' Association calling for censorship, which I do not agree with either. I bought this a while back, but I might not be so quick to do so now. If the flip side of free speech is censorship, I would prefer to vote with my wallet & pass up this beer in favor of others in the style.

I Pop!ped the cap & I have to cop to needing to hold myself in check in order to perform a gentle pour. It was marked as bottle-conditioned, which really required such a pour, no matter how angry I might be. Once sufficiently decanted, a vigorous in-glass swirl raised two fingers of dense, rocky, deep-brown head with decent retention, leaving behind nice lacing in its wake. Color was solidly Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose had a sharpness of treacle and Geritol along with coffee, smoke, baker's chocolate & a light mintiness. Hmmm. Mouthfeel was big, thick, dense & simply a dollop having been dropped onto my tongue. I allowed it to roll around and warm slightly to better gauge its flavor. It had a medicinal sharpness that was very reminiscent of the time that I tasted my grandparents' Geritol as a kid. It was not helped by that taste of treacle which only compounded the sharpness. Phew. I looked at this site's style description, but this was neither infused with anything nor cleaner in flavor. In fact, this struck me as not clean at all. There were a lot of clashing, discordant tastes that added up to less than a good time. Finish was dry, but that was more a result of its ABV than anything else. I'm sorry, but I am doomed to be an outlier on this one.

May 02, 2017
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GStone899 from Minnesota

3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is black with moderate khaki colored head. Lots of lacing. Smell is roasted malts, cocoa and a bit of coffee. Taste is definite cocoa nibs with a roasted medium darkness coffee. Solid beer but I wish this had a deeper body. Flavor leaves you wanting another sip and hoping for a bigger punch that never comes. I love stouts n this is solid but there are better ones. Would love to try this on tap though. Beer is much better as it warms. My advice is drink this one at close to room temp.

Aug 22, 2016
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TX-Badger from Texas

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown almost black color with khaki colored head. Roasted malt, raw cocoa powder, and some light toast on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied, and a little rough around the edges. Finishes with more raw cocoa powder and roast.

Apr 12, 2016
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ksimons from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A-black in color with two fingers worth of tan colored head

S-roasted malt aroma with chocolate and dark coffee

T-taste is similar to the smell with a roasted malt backbone, chocolate, roasted coffee, and earthy hops

M-medium body, a bit on the thin side for the style, light carbonation

Overall a bit too light in the body for me, overall there are better offerings out there

Mar 02, 2016
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The look of this beer is bang-on - opaque black in color, the head is tan-colored, with the latter having a creamy texture and good retention (though not much lacing is left behind). Aroma wise, it's closer to a classic RIS than an American-style imperial stout. Hops are evident with pleasant piny tones lacking harshness, and it also features assertive notes of smoke, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. I even get some faint stone fruit and umami. An interesting and complex nose, and the flavor profile follows it fairly closely. It starts off with some piny and even citrusy hops, fading into a roasty/coffee-esque middle. Its finish shows a return of the citrusy and stone fruit flavors. This is enjoyably balanced very well, but the general lack of malt nuance keeps it just out of 4 range. I also find the feel slightly thin, but the mouth-filling carbonation and creamy texture compensates. Drinkability is nice and steady - not a chugger, yet hardly a chore. I really like this stout's tendency to show off a hoppy flavor without coming off harshly, though I am missing some complexity. Still, I'll gladly have and buy this again.

3.89/5: Nicely integrated hoppiness in a stout makes me quite happy indeed

Feb 24, 2016
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John44 from Alabama

4.78/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Maybe my favorite imperial stout. It just hits the sweet spot for me for whatever reason. I've enjoyed it on draft and from the bottle. Definitely better on draft, but still nice from the bottle.

Feb 21, 2016
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ommegangpbr from New York

3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A little thin for me, given the style. I don't know if this is a thin batch, given what other people have had to say about this beer. The flavor is roasted sweetened coffee stuff. The alcohol content is actually pretty well hidden. Given other things I've had from this brewery I was expecting a more pronounced hoppy experience; the hops are there but the stout flavors balance it more than I anticipated. Still, I would get this again.

Jan 30, 2016
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BigGold from Mississippi

3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First had poured from 12-oz. bottle, stamped best if enjoyed by "12/17/16," into faceted mug. Pushing the taste(less) envelope with the name and label, this is a big but unsophisticated beer.

Jan 14, 2016
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Invinciblejets from South Carolina

3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Jet black bubbly tan head.

S: Odd hoppy a bit roasty some green peppers maybe??

T: Roasted malts some chocolate a bit of those sweet vegetal peppers end with a nice coffee taste

F: A bit light mouth fell could be heavier but suit the flavor profile well.

O: A decent stout I've certainly had worse. Very very drinkable!

Jan 11, 2016
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FBGordon from Florida

3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured on draft into an Irish pink glass.

A: Pours a dark chocolate, almost black with a frothy khaki head that laces nicely throughout.

S: Notes of coffee and roast, a touch of hops in the nose and a little booze.

T: Taste is a very straightforward and well-balanced array of coffee, toast and chocolate.

M: A little thin through the middle for my tastes on an Imperial Stout, it nonetheless is a palatable beer; the thick head adds to the carbonation, scrubbing the palate nicely which prevents and roasty acidity from settling in.

O: Overall not bad, with such a solid ABV and being a Dbl/Imp Stout I expected a little more waistline for this beer. I recommend it for stout drinkers in warmer weather since it's a little lighter in the body.

Nov 16, 2015
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Dustin_Sallitt from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My first offering from Sweetwater. The smell is prominently milk chocolate, with some fruity hops coming through as well. The taste is fantastic, with a chocolate potency taking center stage with notes of cherry, berry, some roast, and some sweetness shining through. Reminds me of a chocolate covered berry, in milkshake form. The body is pretty good, nice and creamy, could be thicker but certainly nice where it is.

Oct 07, 2015
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MUTINY from Virginia

4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a truly opaque, dense-looking black with 1 1/2" khaki head that recedes at a laid-back pace. Retention is good, lacing is stellar.

S: Incredible! Semi-sweet chocolate comes up to engulf the olfactory senses, followed by toasty almond & hazelnut notes. Little hints of candied fruit (cherry, raspberry) are swimming underneath, with just a subtle warm booze note to cap things off. The fruit & booze come more in to play as it warms. I could smell this all day!

T: Leads in with chocolate covered cherry suggestive of an underripe sweetness. Mid palate comes into focus with roasty black coffee notes & just a touch of the hazelnut from the nose. It finishes with a brilliant bitter counterpoint, chocolate & more significant booziness. It's deep & beguiling, yet thoroughly drinkable.

M: Low-to-moderate carb married to a rich, creamy, yet somewhat light malt body. There's a slightly unpleasant chalkiness that lingers.

O: My first dark beer from Sweetwater & truly a pleasant surprise. I'd long thought of them as mostly Lager & APA/IPA specialists, but this stellar brew has completely changed my tune.

Jul 26, 2015
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costanzo_mike from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black color with a graham cracker colored head which dissipates quickly. Some chocolate, malt on the nose. Sweet on the taste but malt is more prominent. Medium body with carbonation.

Jul 25, 2015
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Hootie159 from Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thin graham cracker head. Dissipates but sticks at the edges. Sweet smell, not much toasted malt on the nose. Taste like it smells and is a little buttery. Carbonation present, a little more watery than smooth. Decent stout but better options available.

Jul 25, 2015
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KYGunner from Kentucky

3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light chocolate syrup mixes with charred coffee roast, molasses and barley malt. This has a nice hoppy pine to level things out. It drinks a little thin for 9% but at $6 a bomber I can look the other way.

Jun 15, 2015
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste is cocoa, vanilla, sugar cane, and roasted malt. Beer falls on the sweeter side for the style. Would make a delicious dessert beer with the sugar cane being pronounced at times. One of my favorites from the brewery.

May 23, 2015
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superspak from North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, best before 1/20/2016. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus zest, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and moderate citrus/piney hop notes; with good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus zest, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Fair amount or pine/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, grapefruit, citrus zest, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roasted malt and moderate citrus/piney hop flavors; with a good roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; wit ha very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a very nice American imperial stout. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roasted malt and moderate citrus/piney hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

May 16, 2015
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ArchimedesSox from Georgia

4.36/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, opaque, thick brown head that hangs around, really good lacing

S: Floral hops upfront, upon closer examination I get the chocolatey malts, pretty full nose

T: Nice hop backbone up front, the sweet, chocolate, coffee malts come in next and leave a coffee aftertaste

M: Medium to full, velvety feel

O: Man I really like this. It has a larger hop presence than all the other stouts that Ive had but I really like it. Really great beer.

May 04, 2015
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DeanMoriarty from California

4.39/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22oz bomber in a trade with kestrel. Poured into a stemmed tulip glass.

Pours pitch black with a fat tan head that lingers for a few sips leaving coats of lacing from start to finish. Tons of Simcoe and Cascade in the aroma - everyone claims West Coast style - this one actually delivers, some toasted malt and sweet esters balance this one nicely. Aroma carries over into the flavor - such an amazing hop profile that is balanced perfectly with the malt bill - makes you scratch your head why this is a wax dipped bottle - do not cellar this one - drink fresh! Mouthfeel is appropriate for the style - medium bodied, appropriate carbonation with a somewhat dry finish, making you want to go back for another sip with each gulp.

Don't let the wax dip mislead you - do not cellar this one - drink fresh to enjoy the hoppy goodness!

Apr 25, 2015
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AndrewMichael from Virginia

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in a snifter. Best if enjoyed by 01/20/16. Well balanced with stout flavor up front with a little bitterness on the finish. Smooth for an imperial at 9% abv.

Apr 24, 2015
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larryarms847 from Illinois

3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thick and jet black with a frothy finger of light khaki foam that sticks.

Coffee, light raisin/dark fruit, subtle chocolate, citrus, and light roastiness.

The raisin/dark fruit definitely stands out more in the flavor, as does the citrus. The chocolate, coffee, roasted malt is a tad subdued, but still present.

Heavy-bodied, light-medium carbonation, sticky, chewy, nice.

Overall, I was much more impressed with this than I anticipated, and the $4.99 price tag doesn't hurt!

Apr 18, 2015
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ThaneMcC from Germany

4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a solid dark brown with fair amount of tan head and good lacing. Aroma of floral hops,citrusy, roast malts. Sweet malt forward, nice citrus/floral hop bit mid note, hint of coffee, cocoa, smokey with dry, clean finish. Mouthfeel is a bitt thin for a stout, with a good amount of carbonation (unexpected for the style, but not unpleasant).
Overall, I rather enjoyed this stout - had characteristics of all my favorite beers - RIS + stout + black IPA - a reasonably priced and delicious beer.
I would definitely purchase again.

Apr 17, 2015
Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1134 ratings