Happy Ending Imperial Stout | SweetWater Brewing Company

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Happy Ending Imperial StoutHappy Ending Imperial Stout
Very Good
1,130 Ratings
Happy Ending Imperial StoutHappy Ending Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,130 |  Reviews: 426
Reviews by elgiacomo:
Photo of elgiacomo
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, best by Dec 31, 2010. Pours very dark brown to black with some red highlights. Starts with a large two-finger foamy brown head, leaves rings of foamy lacing, reduces to a weak cap and a ring.

First whiff was quite a surprise, very hoppy for an imperial stout. Citrus, pine, everything is there plus a healthy dose of dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and toffee one would expect from the style. The latter aromas really take center stage as the beer warms.

Flavor starts with rich chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee, a bit of dark fruit, suddenly moving into a blast of bitter hops. Long bittersweet finish. Alcohol becomes prominent toward the end of the glass.

Mouthfeel is high in carbonation, prickly, the body is a bit thin.

Overall, the beer does seem to fall apart in the bottom third in pretty much all departments. Still, it's quite interesting, especially fresh with the hops really kickin'. Even though it only has a one-year best by date, I do plan on aging some out of curiosity to see what happens after the hops are toned down.

Pretty good stuff overall, could use a fuller body and less prickly mouthfeel.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Smakawhat
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Classic dark walnut brown to black body, and totally opaque. Thick whipped up mocha head, hits nearly three fingers with big smooth top and retention, some light lacing, and huge staying power. Big, controlled, aggressive, and large. Real nice looker.

Sweet fruit hop like sense and a bit of malt char. Hints towards a sweetened plum and cherry but moves to enough roast to bring some real charring character along with it. Comes off with a bit of fleshy tone as well, almost juiced. Light hints of smoke as well, real nice.

A real interesting palate. Hits with classic charring and roast, big and classic to imperial stout with thick roast body. Finish is really impressive, wonderful notes of penny candy and sweetness. Hits with lots of fruit and a big dry licorice notes that come throughout the body. Simple bodied, with a nice almost cascadian dark fruit quality that really coats with some oily sheen. The sweetness comes with some real unexpected character, peppermint, white sugar with a good controlled juiced hop bitterness of wood and spice.

This is a real neat Imperial stout, very impressive. Not wizz bang bowl you over, but very memorable.

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Photo of ilikebeer03
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a dark black with a finger of tan head. really good retention an lacing.

S: dank hops dominate the nose, likely simcoe. slight bitter chocolate.

T: hops upfront. dank, cirtusy, piney hops. followed by a bit of smoke and dark, roasted malts.

M: decent mouth. more like that of an ipa...light and crsip.

O: a really interesting, unique take on imperial stout...i feel like its more like an imperial black ipa.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to J2Brew2 for sending me this one!

Pours a pitch black color with a 1 inch khaki head made up of tiny bubbles. Good rings of lace on the drink down. Smells of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and herbal hops. Tastes of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, with very minor hop essence. There is a bit of an acidic/tangy flavor on the tongue after each sip. A tiny bit of alcohol burn in the throat. Mouthfeel is very carbonated with a prickly sensation in the throat after each swallow. A little too much carbonation for this beer style. Overall, this is a pretty good stout that suffers a little from the acidic/tangy taste and the over carbonation.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to - damn, not sure - Photekut, maybe? This is what happens after too many trades. Anyways, served in my brand new Pisgah pint glass, which definitely was from Photekut! Best before 12/31/09.

A - Dark, dark, slightly translucent brown, with a one finger dark mocha foam that lives some solid lacing after slowly dissipating. It's pretty solid, but nothing spectacular.

S - Surprising amount of citrus, floral, and dank earthy hop notes. There's also some chocolate, Whopper's malt balls, and a hint of umami and soy that I don't totally enjoy. The smell is quite potent, and while busy it actually works surprisingly well.

T - Starts with the sweet citrus hoppiness then quickly morphs into bittersweet chocolate and burnt malt/espresso bitterness at the back end. Again, it's pretty good and I do like the dry-hopping, but it's not mind-blowing.

M - Medium bodied, almost porter viscosity. Very creamy, but with moderate carbonation that has just the right amount of tingle to it. Lots of residual stickiness. It should probably be a little denser.

D - It didn't take me long to down 12oz of this one. The aftertaste has only mild bitterness, moderate carbonation, and the texture lends itself to bigger sips. There's something intangible that just made this brew easy to drink.

Definitely recommended to fans of hoppier stouts.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sweetwater in my mind is a very underrated brewery maybe because its in the south and doesnt have the largest ditribution area?I dont know.This brew poured into a standard pint glass a jet black with a nice tight formed dark mocha colored head that left broken lace behind as it settled pretty quickly.Awesome aromas very fruity with notes of bitter chocolate,coffee,and some wood underneath,it seems to go downhill from there a little.Really thin for a RIS in my mind no chewey big mouthfeel here it glides down effortlessly wich is good for alot of beers but in my opinion not this style,flavors have alot of RIS qualities but are muted a little.Dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate are there with some dark fruit but its not real firm,one thing I like is a nice leafy hop profile in the finish wich was the high water mark for me.Man it started out great but just didnt have the goods to be stellar,all in all decent.

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Photo of Hoppin_mad
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of ExtraStout
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Thick and black. Big ol’ dark mocha head. Killer lacing.

S: First thing that hits me is the hops. Earthy, dank and spicy. Then it's milky toffee and powdered chocolate.

T: The flavors develop as dark and bitter chocolate with a huge dose of the dank hops noted in the aroma. Coffee comes in to play in the finish. I like the way the flavors play off the bouquet.

M: Way too thin for the thick syrupy pour I got. Meek carbonation and a skinny body.

D: Excellent. No sign of the 9% ABV. This beer is downright quaffable.

Overall: Sweetwater entices me with this my first glimpse at their offerings. The amazing hop flavor on this beer is by far its best feature. Pleasantly strong in the nose, the hops bring a subdued bitterness and pack a huge punch in the flavor department. Apparently some people are turned off by this in their RIS's, but I'd call it pretty friggin' awesome in this one!

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Photo of Marklaker
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to boonecal for bringing this back from Atlanta for me. I shared this with zoso1967 and BuckyFresh on 2/5/11 while we were brewing up some tasty beer of our own.

Happy Ending pours very dark brown, as close to black as possible, with a medium mocha-cream one-finger head into a snifter. The lacing is quite nice, with fine, splashy, intricate patterns forming on the sides of my glass.

Holy citrus hops! This is by far the hoppiest Imperial Stout that I've smelled. I pick up plenty of sweet orange and lime mixed in with roasted malts, but really the sweet fruitiness dominates. I also can smell some darker fruit hints of cherry and plum in the bouquet. There are also some honey and toasty aromas hiding in there. This must have been dry-hopped like crazy to achieved that aroma. Very unique.

Roasted malt flavors balance out hops a lot better than in the smell. That roastiness actually dominates the taste, but the citrus and tropical fruit flavors still nudge their way into the profile. A little milk chocolate blends with the roasted malts and citrus, while the darker fruit flavors linger in the background.

The mouthfeel is light for the style, especially at the outset of each sip. It is not as bold and coating as I like from an Imperial Stout, but the feel is nicely roasty and biting from the malts and hops, though.

Happy Ending was enjoyably drinkable and very different from other Imperial Stouts that I have had. It was quite a bit hoppier, sweeter, and lighter. Frankly, it was a weird combination of qualities for the style, but I appreciate its originality.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber poured into Parish Tulip.

Looks great with a 1 finger off white head. Smells pretty hoppy with lots of roast. Taste is more of the smoke and roasted coffee. A lot more than I was expecting. It has a medium mouthfeel with equal if not a little more carbonation. Overall, it was different than I was expecting, but I was a pleasant surprise. A nice, and unique take on the style.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #40 (May 2010):

Dark appearance dons a tan lacing that keeps dropping rings on the glass. The aroma is a mix of sweet floral hop victory and spice-laced burnt sugar. Thick, muscular malt body flexes and gives a smoothness to think about. Spicy hops tingle the taste buds as the roasty malt digs in with a burnt sugar and grilled bread flavor. Alcohol is no secret, nor does it want to be, with a growing warmth that pleases by providing some balance. Hop flavor engulfs all of this with layers of complexity that take a whole bottle to unfold in a timely fashion.

From start to finish, this beer shines--seriously a great brew with a drinkability that's uncommon in bigger beers.

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Photo of bdkucharski
2/5  rDev -49%

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a deep, viscous black with a wisp of dark tan head that becomes a ring quickly. Spotty lacing on the glass and no light getting through. Aromas of deeply roasted, sweet malt alongside a intermingling of chocolate, coffee and vinous notes. Caramel hints as well as some fig and raisin accents. Mild smoke and nut with hops in the background.

First sip brings a bid roasted dark malt flavor upfront with a slight smoky edge. Chocolate, caramel and coffee intertwine with a touch of vinous fruit flavor as well. Flows down with some solid bitterness and a touch of hops. Mellow raisin accents round out this one. Not a bad imperial stout, but not one of my top picks either.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a rich deepness to it, sort of smooth as well. For an imperial stout this ends up going down rather easily. Overall, a tasty brew that I'm glad to have had the chance to sample, but won't go crazy seeking out again.

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Photo of blitz134
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked this up. It was nicely chilled by the time I got home since I have no heat in my truck at the moment...

Pours absolutely jet black. Expresso colored head on top, a quarter inch thick to start with and finished with a thin layer and a ring around the glass. Nice Belgian lace as I drink this one down.

Aroma is strong with hops, grapefruits and other citrus and a touch of pine sap. It almost overwhelms the aroma. A little dark chocolate and toffee underneath. I'm not usually a huge fan of overly hopped stouts, so we'll see how this one goes (although I've had it before...on tap though...this seems different).

Dark toasted malts come through with chocolate. The hops are pretty overwhelming again and the citrus and grapefruit finish this out after the swallow. The flavor is good, but there are a lot of American hops in this, although it isn't all that bitter, neither from hops or dark malts. I personally think the hops cover up a lot of the subtleties I remember when having this on tap. I'm knocking this down a bit on the flavor. While I know its not supposed to be exactly to the RIS style, this seems too much like drinking a pale ale or something. The toasted parts of this beer just fail to come through. I'm a hophead, but not in my stouts please, unless its subtle.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, slightly oily actually. Not creamy like some stouts. Low carbonation is right for the style. Flavor coats the mouth okay but this one washes away fairly quickly.

Good drinkability. No alcohol hints at all...none. This one goes down super easy though, really smooth. I have a feeling that given some time this beer will really stand out. I know there are some good toasted notes in this one, they just can't come out yet.

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Photo of Jimbo62
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of TheAdamConners
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of marvin213
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black like night with a dark brown head, it levelly laces my Sweetwater pint glass. Hops leaving lacing with a color as dark as the pitch, only the froth's dissipation before I pull this up presents a problem.

The aroma is malty and hoppy. Sweet like candied balls and bitter like aspirin with a headache, things are looking better. It's a hop stout.

Bitter like the smell, hops dominate this freshly poured stout. It's reminiscent of GI Night Stalker as the hops pierce thru the stout in the making. Just as a chocolate glaze suitably complements a donut, this hop stout is balanced like a ballerina.

The hops really dance--a bittering dance--on the tongue, as malted sweetness coats the palate. It's a chocolate beer without going dessert. The aftertaste is lip-smacking good. After instinctively calling it "exceptional," I'm going with the 5!

It's neat enough--core principles of Sweetwater marketing at work here--that it's worth always having around for the unexpected beer advocate visit AND to enjoy with frequency. Unlike the greatest of stouts, however, I don't see considering two consecutive. It is, nonetheless, an impressive beverage.

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Photo of Jared14
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Jcorn
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of iemailjack
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of petewheeler
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of anjah
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Swingtop liter bottle pours dark, oily, and opaque. Large cocoa hued head retains well and has some garnet fringes. Sticky patch lacing.

Aroma of nutty malts, a hint of chocolate, grassy hops, and some fruity red apples.

Silky smooth mouthfeel is full bodied with a low medium carbonation.

Taste has some bitter dark roasty maltiness, a hint of citrusy and grassy hops, nuttiness, red apples, and faint notes of coffee and dark chocolate.

A solid impy stout that I've had in the cellar for several months. Wish I had another.

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Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 1,130 ratings