Happy Ending Imperial Stout
SweetWater Brewing Company

Happy Ending Imperial StoutHappy Ending Imperial Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #2,098
Ranked #10,857
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
Reviews by jnjander:
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jnjander from Georgia

4/5  rDev +1.5%

Jan 28, 2012
More User Reviews:
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MasterSki from Canada

4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Apr 08, 2009
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

Mar 23, 2011
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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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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

Jan 27, 2015
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ilikebeer03 from Texas

3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Jan 19, 2015
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Gagnonsux from Texas

3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Feb 27, 2015
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CoolJosh from Pennsylvania

2.82/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1L Swing cap bottle, courtesy of Gford270. Poured into a pint glass. The appearance is awesome, this looks like a great RIS. Pitch black body with no visibility through and a nice lighter khaki with some spotty lacing.

The smell is very disappointing in and that it is very light. Very smokey and roasted malt scents. Some toasted chocolate and a semi salty scent. It just doesn't pop you in the nose like a good RIS normally does.

The taste is on par with the scent. Sort of bland, very light and very roasted. Actually very very roasted. A slight bitter chocolate taste develops from the roasts. Unfortunately there is no malt sweetness to this beer, which causes a lack of flavor and creates a one dimensional take on the style. Not impressed.

Sep 12, 2009
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richkrull from Wisconsin

4.2/5  rDev +6.6%

Sep 30, 2014
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oldedog from South Carolina

4/5  rDev +1.5%

Apr 07, 2014
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JamesBondGA from Georgia

4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Feb 27, 2016
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with a prodigious head that laces that glass nicely

Smell: Citrus fruit dominates, with burnt black bread elements underneath

Taste: Opens with a molasses and char element that is quickly joined and subsumed by the citrus; after the swallow, some chocolate kicks in to add some balance; surprisingly fruity for the style

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; not nearly full enough for the style

Drinkability: I really didn't care for the combination of the hops and the charred molasses flavors in this brew; seems like it goes a bit overboard in multiple directions

Feb 19, 2008
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Likeburning from Tennessee

3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased by a friend of mine at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville. #2899 of 3000 for this run. This dark chocolaty stout's aroma roared out of the grolsch-style flip-top like the scent of a warm fire being lit for the first time since last winter and I was immediately put in a happy place. The brown foamy head actually looked like chocolate. This was a wonderful stout, but (and I hate to say "but") being tasted next to the Yeti Oak Aged Imperial Stout, there was no comparison. I kind of wished I saved the Yeti for later instead of doing the side-by-side. I blame no one but myself.

Oct 21, 2008
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bklyn1rr from Georgia

4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great color, smell, and no strong after taste. I really enjoy drinking this beer; especially when compared to other popular stouts. The name alone helps with the enjoyment of the brew. Please advise if you have one that compares to this and within the same price range.

On to the next one!

Apr 09, 2011
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richj1970 from Alabama

3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours midnight black with one finger beige to tan colored head. Lots of sticky lacing.

S: A bit of bitter chocolate and roasted malts with plenty of grassy hops.

T: Up front bitterness from hops combined with the roasted malts. Maybe a bit of coffee flavors.

M: A bit thin but nicely carbonated. A little dry on the finish.

O: Interesting twist on an imperial stout. The hop bite is enjoyable. I could have used a touch more sweetness but otherwise nice job.

Mar 20, 2014
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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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DrJay from Texas

3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of JBIF from mikesgroove. Thanks!
This one was very dark brown with ruby highlights and brownish edges topped by a thin skim of fine, tan bubbles. It had good head retention, left some spotty lace on the glass, and looked quite viscous during the pour. The aroma had lots of toffee with a bit of roast, caramel, chocolate and licorice. Bitterness was solid, but balanced on the low side compared to the malt sweetness. The qualities in the aroma carried over to the flavour, plus there was a bit of citrusy hop. The finish was mostly toffee and chocolate. Medium/full bodied with low carbonation made up of very fine bubbles. Light warmth and a little bit of astringent dryness. Quite drinkable with well hidden alcohol. Roast was a little on the low side though.

Jan 18, 2008
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bamadog from Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Jeff who did another one of his infamous cross country treks and picked me up a six pack of this offering over the course of his travels. Pour is from the bottle to a snifter and the review is from notes taken on 1/11/10.

Appearance: Pour is darkest brown/near black; starts with a one finger dark tan, creamy looking head that fades quickly to an island of bubbles on the side; body is opaque and there are thin rings of lacing left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Whoa - very hop forward, so hop forward in fact that I take a look at the bottle and see that it states: "Happy Ending is a huge dry hopped stiffy..." They nailed it if they were going for that, as the hops dominate the scent and behind that there is a more moderate burnt/roasty maltiness and an even more subtle chocolate scent.

Taste: Much like the smell, very much hop forward in the flavor as well -- it's a little grassy and metallic, but still very nice overall for a hopped up stout; once the strong hoppiness dissipates in the mouth a bit, the roastiness creeps in and makes it a bit more "stoutish" and in the far back, the subtle chocolate sneaks in as well and it's semi-sweet.

Mouthfeel: Body is moderately thick, but thinner than a lot of other Imperial Stouts out there; a nice coating is left on the roof of the mouth and the belly is left warm (probably from the 9% ABV).

Drinkability: Not bad, the hoppiness in a stout isn't really my personal preference, but knowing that it is what the brewers were going for, they nailed it and it's still very solid; I think I'm going to let the other five sit for about a year and see if the hops fade out of it a bit.

Jan 12, 2010
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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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BigGingDrinker from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +1.5%

May 26, 2014
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mbmiche from Illinois

3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Feb 14, 2015
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Viggo from Canada

4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to grub for sharing this one, in the 1 liter foiled swingtop bottle. Bottle # 1283/3000.

Pours black, some dark red in the edges, huge brown head forms, tons of lacing, solid retention, looks like an imperial stout! Smell is nice, very hoppy, some floral and grapefruit, pine and burnt sugar, toffee, chocolate, cream, roast, pretty nice. Taste is chocolate and roast, toffee, floral hops, caramelized sugar, bitter dark chocolate, alcohol, dark fruits in the finish with a lacto sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, very smooth. Pretty nice imperial stout, very hoppy and I'd like to try this with some age on it. Thanks Russ!

Jul 29, 2008
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eerbayman from South Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Feb 26, 2012
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gentlystewed from Georgia

4.65/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love the name, love the brewery, thus had to give it a try.

Poured this one into proper pint glass.

Darker then dark in appearance--laser beams and 50 caliber tracer rounds could not penetrate this level of blackness. The head is light chocolate brown and sinks down fast but never leaves.
The aroma is pure West Coast hop explosion. If I were to try this blind folded I'd swear it was a really good IPA. Somewhere in this glass I detect some barley malt and sweetness, but it's smothered with citrus and piney hops.

The hop bitterness dominates unlike any other stout I've encountered before but the roasted barley malt, chocolate and coffee flavors are still there and present themselves boldly.

The mouthfeel is velvet smooth, with spot-on carbonation.

Overall this is one of the best stouts I've ever had--and my expectations were high with this brewery.
Warning: Given the 9% ABV, Do not drink this beer while operating heavy machinery, preforming brain surgery, walking a tight-rope or doing long division.

Jan 07, 2012
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1424IpA from California

3/5  rDev -23.9%

Jun 20, 2014
Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1134 ratings