Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout | SweetWater Brewing Company

very good
424 Reviews
Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial StoutSweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rajendra82 on 08-26-2004

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Reviews: 424 | Ratings: 1,119
Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear pitch black in color with moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some very faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy dark mocha head that slowly reduces to a half finger thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer and a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to heavy amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, roasted malts, and herbal hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of roasted malts and roasted coffee. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of bittersweet chocolate but with little to no sweetness associated. Finally there is a light flavor of earthy and herbal hops which imparts a light amount of bitterness. Overall there is a moderate amount of lingering roasty bitterness that slowly fades away.

M: Full bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Maybe a touch more carbonated than I would have expected for the style but otherwise a very enjoyable stout. Pretty easy to drink with well hidden alcohol. Nice roasty flavors with just enough comolexity.

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Photo of Jfn
4.64/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had from 12 oz bottle and enjoyed this unique stout. Quality stout that leans more hoppy but still has provides enough chocolate flavors to satisfy typical stout tastes. Unless you read the bottle you'd never know it's high octane at 9%

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of chocolate and hops. Taste is surprisingly hoppy, some chocolate, a bit of sweetness, alcohol is well hidden. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

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Photo of JDW4195
2.76/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This isn't a stout by any stretch of the imagination. Black IPA, possibly. There's absolutely no trace of coffee, chocolate, barley or any of the other ingredients you would expect in a stout. If there were any of the above, the hops would easily overpower any other flavor. Hop-heads...you'll love it. Stout Drinkers....don't waste your money.

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Photo of ZBowden
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark pitch black dark brown head, smells hoppy chocolatey, tastes chocolatey toasted malts slight hops slight booze, smooth mouthfeel, lasting finish.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
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 Gtwreck45
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - black, not even seeing light at the corners. More head that I'm used to seeing for stouts, decent lacing
S - hops, IPA-like
T - more hops, with some coia-ish taste (but not sweet)
M - quite highly carbonated for a stout
O - compares more closely with black IPAs than any stouts I've had. Sweetwater is hop-heavy on a lot of things they do, and this is no exception. This is not a stout to have as an accompaniment to a rich dessert

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Photo of ilikebeer03
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
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 Keene
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 release. This big-bodied Impy is as black as they come. A thick, inky pour releases a persistent head the color of wet sand. Pungent and somewhat dank hop aromas greet your nostrils immediately (thanks, Simcoe), promising to disappoint anyone looking for a malt-heavy chocolate bomb of a beer. With that said, this year's dry hopped Happy Ending is well-balanced to the taste. Licorice, black bread and coffee meld nicely with pine, black currant and a mild degree of spiciness. A prickle of carbonation and a bitter finish complete the experience. Definitely an American take on the style.

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Photo of rudzud
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to JLindros for sharing, 2014 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice oily black hue with a thin mocha head that leaves light suds.

S - Aromas of sweet malts, light dark fruit, caramel, light chocolate, faint char.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, light char, sweet malts, dark fruit, caramel, milk chocolate, faint roast. Pleasant.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly creamy, still, a bit heavy on the carbonation, lightly thin.

O - Overall, the stout wasn't bad, just not quite as chocolatey as I'd like. Could be worse though.

Serving Type: Bottle

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Photo of jlindros
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2014 vintage thanks to itsme_timd (Reddit), shared with rudzud.

Small creamy darker barely covering head that fades quite quickly, great legs, pitch black beer.

Nose very malty, lots of sweet brown malts, sweet biscuity toffee and candy like almost brown sugar, some dark candied raisins, mild mild cocoa and black like malt, touch of a caramel fudge, faint roast and coffee syrup.

Taste brings more sweet brown malts, more biscuity toffee, faint candied raisin and fruity slight tangy, with more fig like fruit. A slight spicy earthy hop, fair bitterness, faint pine too. Little fudgey like brownie on the back end, raisin and fig too. Finish is fair bitterness with mild earthy spicy hop, more fudgey brownie, some light raisin and fig, little brown malt.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, decent carb, booze hidden well at least.

Overall meh.

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22OZ bomber into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a malt and sweet coffee aroma.
Appearance- Coffee black beer with a very small tan head
Taste- Definitely taste the malt, with a sweet fruit backdrop; very tasty
Palate- Full bodied beer with medium carbonation, has a dry finish.
Overall- My favorite Sweetwater offering.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweetwater Happy Ending has a thin-to-medium, beige head, and an extremely dark brown appearance, with a thin lacing sheen left on the glass. The aroma is a mix of sweet, citrus fruity, somewhat piney, hop oils, and dark-roasted, licorice malt. Taste is of dark-roasted, almost charred barley malt, black cherry, licorice, pine, some citrus pith, black-strap molasses, and mellow bitterness. Mouthfeel is heavy and syrupy, and Sweetwater Happy Ending finishes semi-wet and surprisingly drinkable.


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Photo of rangerred
4.21/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours pitch black with a very thick one finger dark tan head. Absolutely excellent head retention considering the strength along with a thick ring of lacing all the way around the glass.

Aroma is a little lighter on the roast compared to other RIS and has more in the way of dark fruits and some pine from the hops. Tree bark, wet earth, and moss round out the aroma.

The flavor has a mix of pine and tree bark/wet earth up front followed by just a touch of dark fruit. Hops are more prevalent here compared to some other examples of the style. Roast is present but it is in the background and remains restrained. Very light coffee notes along with pretty high bitterness. Sweetness is kept in check with almost not hint of the alcohol whatsoever.

Overall, a very drinkable imperial stout with hops that really push the boundaries for the style. Extremely drinkable and a very nice beer from Sweetwater.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage, with black wax topping. Poured in a snifter, the beer is a jet black coloring, with a light tan, frothy, foamy head, around half an inch. Nose of heavy hops forward, with cannibus, grass, and piney notes, followed by roasted notes, hints of charcoal and bitter coffee, solid earthy notes, and subtle chocolate highlights. Surprisingly hop heavy for the style. Flavors are heavily roasted forward, with a strong earthy tone, highlighted by dry, spiced hops characteristics of grass, pepper, cannibus, evergreen, and cedar. There are some woody notes, as well, and a touch of heavily roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Heavy palate. The body is robust, but dry, as well. Interesting feel while you drink. The aftertaste is more of the charcoal and evergreen than anything else, with a solid smoke, earthy, and dry hopped character. The finish is slick and dry, leaving a surprisingly little amount of anything on your tongue.

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Photo of Ya_Boy_Uneek
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is by far one of my favorite winter beers. My wife hates it, even better then. I love this beer, its rich, thick and grassy. It reminds me of the smells of fresh cut wet grass. Its smelly in all the right ways. Its dark and beautiful in a tall beer glass. The lacing is thick and sticky. I love this beer to the point, I bought every six pack of it in my town, and then drove to another town to get more. After my lovely 3 months with this beer, I can say, it is one of my favs.

If you love dark, rich, unique beers, give this a try during the season its out. Its not a typical Imperial stout, but its well worth a try.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - The stout poured black into a pint glass with a 3/4inch mocha head. Lacing was left as the foam receded.

Smell - The aroma was largely composed of coffee with a hint of sweetness lingering in the background. The aroma leads me to believe this might be mildly sweet.

Taste - On the initial taste, I note burnt malts, coffee, cola, and a gentle measure of carbonation. The sweetness I expected really never comes through, leading me to label this a mild imperial stout. What is striking about the aftertaste is the burnt sugar that lingers on the back of the tongue. Though no incredibly potent, the taste has some staying power.

Mouthfeel - The tiny bubbles in the carbonation remind me of a nitro stout. It is smooth and creamy going down, but I would hardly label it as being thick.

Overall - I have been wanting to try this one for a while and was not bowled over by it. A nice stout, but nowhere near the top of my list.

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Photo of Rbroccoli
4.46/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: Bottle poured into pint glass.

Picked up from Kendrick Spirits in Florence, Alabama

I waited for the beer to warm to room temperature before drinking.

Appearance: DARK. Like really really dark. I took my bicycle headlight (as bright as a car's high beam) to the glass and the light still didn't come remotely close to penetrating. Beautiful beer. Espresso colored. About 2 fingers of cappuccino colored head, dissipated to leave behind a sticky lacing. No lacing as the beer drinks though, only remains where the head was.

Smell- Roasted malts, syrup, subtle coffee beans, a hint of brown sugar, warm alcohol

Taste- Smokiness, oak, malted barley, espresso bean accompanied by smooth high percentage dark chocolate. Some nuttiness and even toasted marshmallow. Warm alcohol finish with some booziness. The dark chocolate sticks to your palate. The build up is reminiscent of rocky road ice cream.

Mouthfeel- Fairly viscous. Subtle carbonation while not prickly. Very satisfying. Ideal for an Imperial Stout.

Overall- Surprising result from Sweetwater Brewery. While all of their beers aren't bad, I've had a hard time finding an offering from them worth raving about. Happy Ending is it. This could easily be their flagship seasonal beer.

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Photo of Mojo
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle -> New Belgium globe

A - opaque black with a large caramel colored head, average retention, and good lacing.

S - chocolate and molasses

T - earthy with sweet chocolate, molasses, and a generous helping of hops. The finish is roasted nuts and coffee. Not much aftertaste and the alcohol is well hidden.

M - thinner than I expected.

O - good but not great.

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Photo of RWLawman
3.47/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Opaque black with thin head and spotted lacing left behind.

S - Hops are immediately obvious, with some roasted malts and coffee hidden in the background.

T - Pretty much follows the nose. A little bit of cocoa nibs in there as well, but this one is mostly hops, malts, and coffee. Hops stand out to me more than anything, probably because I'm not a huge fan of a heavy hop presence in my stouts.

M - Medium-bodied, with a prickly touch, but a sticky finish. Not bad.

O - For a heavily hopped stout, this wasn't all that bad. Drinkable, at least. I usually end up pouring a heavily hopped stout down the drain, but this one was enjoyable enough to finish.

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Photo of richj1970
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

A - This beer pours black with less than an inch of cocoa colored head.

S - The smell has some dark chocolate and cocoa. I also get a molasses aroma and some grassy hops.

T - I taste a little of the dark chocolate. I also taste some bitter cocoa and some hops that provide a mildly bitter finish.

M - Full

O - It is good but a little bitter for my liking. I prefer chocolatey or coffee flavors to bitterness in my stouts. I like it, but it is not a favorite.

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Photo of JamesStreet
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into snifter at about 55-58 degrees
A - nice black licorice color with surprisingly thick tan head. Good-lasting lacing
S - not so bad but not what I was expecting. Lots of piney hop aroma. Pretty hop forward
T - again, the hop profile dominates with subtle notes of roasty, nutty malt.
M - very light on the tongue, almost slick. Hop bite lingers awhile on the tongue.
O - this smells, tastes and feels more like a black IPA than an ImpStout. Not a bad beer, but really not a top of the line Black IPA either.

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Photo of banglin
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: rich dark brown to black color. Very good lacing.

S: strong roasted malts aroma

T: strong dark chocolate flavors along with the roasted malts flavor. Lacks the imperial stout flavor I have come to appreciate in other imperial stouts.

M: not as thick as I would have liked from an Imperial Stout, but not too thing. Carbonation is good.

O: it is a good beer but lacks many of the characteristics of imperial stouts that I grown to love an crave.

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Photo of guityler83
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013, vintage, 22oz, black wax

A: From the 22oz bottle to a snifter glass the beer poured a thick two finger head made of fine bubbles. Tan color with a light brown hue, as the foam fell it got chunkier and left spots on the side of the glass. Great retention. The resting layer of foam held for minutes. The black opaque liquid has no light shining through. Legs I can't determine.. the foam is getting in the way when swirled.

S: Roast and bakers chocolate upfront. Moderate pine hop aroma comes off very dark, dank. Slight noble earthy hop character also. Caramel and sweet raisins detected when it warmed up a bit.

T: Dark chocolate bitterness with the pine is an interesting combo. Some boozyness comes through in the flavor. Caramel, toffee and toasted bread crust flavors in the middle. Roasty, a hint of smoke, and more cocoa flavors. Fairly refreshing with the hop flavor as it warms up.. interesting.

M: Carbonation is moderate, higher then I'm used to in this style. Body is large and thick feeling. A tad bit of astringency and alcohol warming.

O: Boarders on a imperial black IPA with more roast and chocolate flavor. The hop flavor is nice compliments the beer well overall, however some of the harsher flavors I would have liked to drop out with a year of age.

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Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 1,119 ratings.
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