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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 424 | Ratings: 1,119
Photo of paco1029384756
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany color with a short tan head leaving a thick ring of lacing.

Scent of hops, sweet dark fruits, sugars, chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. A great example of a hoppy Imperial Stout.

Taste of grassy hops, chocolate, roasted malts, smoke, and coffee. Finishes with earthy and grassy flavors with some roasted malts, tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied and thin for the style.

Very drinkable and not harsh on the palate, this is one quality Imperial Stout.

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Photo of daythree16
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Chocolate brown/black in color with a very small head.

Wow! This thing smells totally unlike any other RIS I've ever encountered. Super grassy hop aromas with just a touch of roasted malt. However,...the taste has much more of a roasted malt and chocolatey finish than the smell would suggest. Still a lot of hop flavor though. This one definitely doesn't adhere to one particular style. It's almost like the love child of an IPA and a RIS.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Drinkability is pretty good considering the flavor combinations that make this the unique beer that it is. The label doesn't lie. It's definitely one hopped-up stout.

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Photo of whiplash3825
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hard pour yielded a completely opaque black brew with a two-finger brown head that reduces to a lingering small cap and moderate lacing.

Pretty nice in the nose although kinda weak. Chocolate and dark fruit (especially raisin)along with an ample grapefruit-y hops smell.

Tastes good, but the hops seems to slightly overpower the other flavors... alcohol is noticable but maybe not as much as you'd expect. Very bitter aftertaste of grapefruit rind.

Mouthfeel seems way to thin for the robustness.

Drinkability is good for what it is IMO, but this one put the whammy on me. Four put me out for 10 hours! Maybe a better name would be "Sweet Dreams."

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Photo of khiasmus
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

He has the distinct feeling of being followed. Though there is nothing to be heard save the wind rustling the leaves, some sort of sense causes the hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end. He quickens his pace and glances around.
The road is far too dark to be out alone, and oak trees lining the road cast sinister shadows by the light of the moon. A street lamp glows dimly through the fog up ahead, casting dim tan glow that seems to settle atop the blackness. A couple of minutes, and it is behind him, leaving only the dense black and a faint brown when he turns around, anxious to spot something, anything, that could give him a reason for his growing sense of dread.
The road widens a bit, and the oak trees move away from the road. The wind quickens, and he no longer feels as enclosed. Fir trees dapple the side of the road now, and the aroma wafts over him. There's just a bit of sweetness, some sort of dark roasted grain aroma, but the main event is the resiny, hoppy aroma. "strange." He thinks to himself. "far more hoppy and resiny than I expected. Like a typical RIS hiding behind loads of hops."
"What am I thinking? Is my mind going, this soon?"
"Oh, but the flavor... the resin-hops of a well balanced double IPA, with the strong roast character and immense malty-sweetness of a well-balanced RIS.... I wonder how this would taste in a couple of years?"
"Creamy and smooth, though not quite as thick as would be expected for the immense flavor. A dry, hop-bitter finish with a hint of coffee. Very well done."
Suddenly he is wrested out of the dreamlike memory by the realization that his footsteps have an echo. He stops, and a step-trip-stop can be heard, not twenty feet behind.
His shaking hands reach inside his coat pocket, feeling for the scroll. "still there." He snaps his jacket securely, and turns toward the field on his right.
Taking a deep breath and glancing back towards the now far-off street lamp, he sees a dark silhouette against the sky.
He begins to run.

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Photo of prsguitarsr4me
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jophish17 for sending this as an extra in a trade. Pours real dark with a decent chocolatey head. Smell is sweet and fruity - not very outgoing. Taste is good - also not very outgoing, but nice flavors. Some chocolate and smooth roasted malts. Feel is nice and creamy, and the general blend is good. Glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of glid02
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 version out of a 1L bottle tried in Jan. of 2009.

Pours black with dark brown highlights. Head is one-finger of light brown foam that recedes into a wispy layer on top. Not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells of roasted malts and chocolate. There's a massive difference in the fresh version as there's almost no hop aroma, however the smells that I'm getting aren't very clean.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malts and light chocolate flavors are built of a backbone of sweet malt and molasses. Again, as with the smell it just doesn't taste very clean - all of the flavors seem to run into each other instead of working with each other.

Mouthfeel is good. The carbonation is a bit on the low side, but it's got a good thickness and goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good - I had some help finishing off the 1L bottle and I needed it as I wouldn't have enjoyed finishing it myself.

Overall it seems like the stopper may have let a bit too much air in over the last year, I'd be interested to see how the 12 oz bottles compare. I will say that I blended half a bottle of this years with the 2008 version and it gave me the best of both worlds - a mildly hoppy nose with a better maltiness and likewise in the flavor.

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Photo of jimsimply
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Had this at Taco Mac last eve, newly arrived on draught.

A: Dark--like winter-night-in-Siberia dark. Head is full, a finger or so, and the lacing is prominent but short-lived.

S: More hoppy than I expected, and unbalanced by the expected maltiness of an RIS, that's disturbing. There's a strong citrus note, some spice too (clove, maybe?).

MF/T: It's light in the mouth, much too light for an RIS. Next to none of the thick chewiness that Some coffee or caramel there, and I taste black licorice too. The hops are here, too, with more bitterness than I normally want in a stout. It gives you plenty of flavor, but none of the warmth.

D: Very drinkable. The high alcohol, not offset by the heavy feel and flavor, might make for a long night without the attending drinking enjoyment.

Overall, I liked the beer, and would drink it again. It just wasn't what I expected from an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of seniorcleaver
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown almost black. Nice tan head.

S - Coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits, with lots of finishing hops.

T - Sweet dark and malty with huge amounts of citrus from finishing hops. Not to bitter, but maybe too much citrus.

M - Full bodied and silky. Medium to light carbonation. Almost no alcohol presence.

D - This beer is pretty drinkable. At 9% this beer goes down a little too easy, possible leading to a really good time!

I think this beer would be better fresh than aged for a year or more unlike most Imperial Stouts. I think I'm going to cellar a bottle or two anyway. Overall, this is a very drinkable Imperial Stout.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from unclejedi courtesy of the LittleGuy BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, some dark fruit and some hops.

T: The taste is malty but not as thick as most in the style nor is it overly sweet, with flavors of dark chocolate, dark fruit, coffee and some smokiness. There's a significant hops presence especially given the style of beer and the fact that I've had stored for well over a year. There's no trace of the alcohol. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style, I'm regretting not drinking this beer fresh but it's still a good one to drink for a while if you're in the mood for the style and you want something strong but not over-powering.

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Photo of prototypic
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to lightindarkness for this one.

Appearance: It's a very dark brown color that's bordering on jet black. Not a speck of light getting through this one. It features a very nice darker mocha colored head that stands two fingers tall. It stuck around quite a while and left a nice web of lace on the glass.

Smell: The nose is not as strong as I'd hoped, but it's still good. It's primarily a nice, equalized mix of chocolate and roasted malts. There's a nice roasted coffee aroma that complements its malt character well. There's a slight whiff of hops, but it's not much. I am pleased to note their presence though. Alcohol is very lightly noticeable. A little more muscle and this would be damn impressive.

Taste: Initially, chocolate and roasted malts kick it off. It tastes like the chocolate variety is the more prominent of the two. A bit more roasted malt would be nice. It does feature a nice coffee flavor that's much more pronounced than the nose suggested. It's interesting in that it has a distinct raisin-y flavor. It's not strong, but is easily noted. Hops are faint, but add a little character. Alcohol is blended well for a 9% beer. It finishes sweet and a little bittersweet. It's good, but something about it seems a little out of balance.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Perhaps the balance deficiency is attributed to the way too thin feel. It could use a lot more body. It's got a semi-smooth texture, but a thicker body would improve it a great deal. Drinkability is above average. But, I'm good with a single bottle. There's too many far superior stouts out there to spend too much time on this one.

Well, I wouldn't exactly call this a "Happy Ending." It's a pretty good beer, but seems somewhat out of whack given it's anorexic body. Way too thin. Something about it is a just a little off. But, it's certainly worth picking up, even if it's only once. Glad I had the opportunity to try it.

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Photo of Brad007
4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade with Ding and consumed on 12/6/08.

Pours a pitch black color with a brown head.

Aroma is full of creamy chocolate and roasted coffee in the nose.

Taste is strong and smooth with rich chocolate, dark fruit and roasted coffee notes.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full of bitter coffee and chocolate that linger. Only a bit of alcohol heat is visible.

A very nice take on the style. Definitely a sipping beer and with some aging, this will really mellow over time. I split this beer with a good friend of mine. Good stuff.

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Photo of Goliath
3.51/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 liter swing top bottle number 1822 of 3000

Pours black and completely opaque with a beautiful one inch brown head on top. Decent retention and some soft lacing.

The aroma is ok. Big chocolate notes, both milk and dark. A fading hop presence adds an earthiness as well. Some raw grain, cocoa, and even a little burnt malt.

The taste is ok. Some nice roasty malts giving mostly a chocolate tone, but a bit of a bitter coffee can be found as well. The grainy tones in this beer are reminiscient of hay. Again, a dying hop presence is here adding a bit of earthiness and spice. I'm curious what it was like when it was closer to fresh.

Mouthfeel is pushing full bodied and is lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is fairly high. It's a decent beer and has fairly pleasing flavors. The alcohol is definitely well masked. Not too bad.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into my Sweetwater pint glass, pours a pretty solid black, with a nice tan head with good staying power, lacing in strings and spots. The aroma is relatively mild, some good roasted malts in espresso, chocolate and molasses tones.

Tastes fairly dark and roasted, good espressos and burnt malt, a bit aggressive without being menacing, some nice soft chocolates, some fruits even, with a nice more than medium body and fairly creamy feel. A tab too carbonated maybe, but otherwise quite enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of everetends
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 liter swingtop bottle with almost a year of age on it. Served up in pint glasses. Finally got some help with this one so I didn't have to tackle it all on my own. 1 liter of RIS sounds like a chore on my own.

A: Pours a super dark black. As my buddy said, "This is a pretty damn black and opaque beer, no light is getting through". A vigourous pour will yield huge, dark tan head. So pour with ease and care or the glass will be nothing but head. the head has really good staying power but has almost zero stickiness to it. For so much head, it seems it would leave some nice lacing. That is my only complaint in this category.

S: Smell is of some really heavily roasted malts first and foremost. The malts really come through. Decent dark coffee presence is there along with some dark chocolate. There is also a heavy booze smell coming in as well. The booze is a bit strong.

T: Taste follows the nose almost perfectly. Starts off with some heavily roasted malt. Bitter hops mix nicely with the coffee flavors making a decent bitter dark coffee flavor. Chocolate is there but not too impressive. Once again, heavy booze that is almost a turn off.

M: Medium to full in body, has a bit of thickness to it. ABV burn on the palate and throat, a bit too much of a burn. Carbonation is bit too high, but it does ease the heaviness a bit. Lots of booze on the aftertaste.

D: Overall, this is a pretty basic RIS. Doesn't appear they wanted to get too experimental on this one. This is still a very solid brew that has some good points, like the malts are damn near perfectly roasted. Decent brew that was enjoyable and a good choice on the holidays to share with some buddies, it didn't disappoint.

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Photo of JoeMayo
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a pitch black with a one-finger, fluffy tan head. The head sticks around for a while, but leaves no lacing behind.

S- Nice malty nose. Notes of smoke and caramel/toffee. A slight bitter hop aroma is detected.

T- Slightly disappointing. A very unblananced, bitter stout. It lacks the sweetness and/or creaminess of a good RIS. Burned barley and dark malt dominate the flavor. Very heavy malty flavors, but minimal complexity behind them. Smokey, burned notes come through, with a slight bitter espresso flavor. Mild hop bitterness as well.

M- Decent body with a dry finish and slightly nutty texture.

D- The alcohol is well-hidden, but overall, this one's kinda hard to get through. It took me well over an hour to finish half of a 1L swingtop. I kinda wish I had another to age. This would do well with a couple years on it.

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Photo of orcasteve
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into my duvel tulip glass, poured a thick black with a heavy tan head that fades to a thin tan rim around the glass, the smell is sweet and a rush of alchoal. the tast is bitter hops and coffiee blended with silkey dark choclate in the begining, the middle gets a tuch smokie and has a bone dry mouthfeal to it, the end flavor is a tuch sweet almost like toffiee or carmel then a wave of dry citrusy hops rush in and you are left with a bitter dark baking chocalet and alchoal flavor, this one is quite good indeed. i wish i had more than the one bottle i traded for

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Photo of Likeburning
3.92/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
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 GilGarp
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rnorgart for the trade that included this one!

Best before 12/31/08.

Pours from a 12oz. bottle into a globe glass with no head even after trying to provoke it with a vigorous pour. Black in color without even a hint of transparancy around the edges.

Aroma is nice and chocolately with a bit of hops.

Flavor is rich in roasted malt, chocolate malt, and coffee. It has a nice smoothness like an oatmeal stout. Good bitterness there to balance out the huge malt backbone.

Mouthfeel is good with nice smooth mouth-coating texture. I like that it is low in carbonation. Drinkability is also very good for something of such high alcohol. It's best enjoyed slowly so it can warm gradually and release subtle flavors.

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Photo of iconoklaztor
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pick this up from a BIF...thanks Brewfan

Pours a nice black with a head that quickly went away. Its decent. Its a little sweet but has a slight card board flavor! The finish is a little thin but its still a decent IMPY. I'd drink it everynow and again but wouldnt seek it out! However, its still a nice treat to mix up in there from time to time!

Overall, its decent. I wouldnt die if I never had it again but its still decent!

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Photo of Vancer
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Happy Ending? A happy start to a nice day, courtacy of brentk56 via trade - THANKS again.

Poured a coal black with almost no head - no surprise with the kick ass 9% smacking me.

Smells and tastes like a black ale on hop steroids, sharp, crisp and cutting. The malty b ackbone is there, but struggling to make itself known. The booze is nowhere to be seen, but damn, sure to be felt by bottle end.

Classy brew.

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Photo of kasper
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by 12/31/08

A: nearly black, opaque, finger and half creamy, foamy chocolate milk colored head that leaves sheets of lacing

S: chocolate covered malt balls, earthy hops, and smoked meat.

T: malty, roasty, smokey and bitter.

M: medium to full bodied, prickly carbonation, slippery

D: interesting aromas and taste, but not necessarily my bag. there's a lacking in complexity up front on the taste that kind of ruins it for me. but it's still a solid stout that masks the abv well.

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Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
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!

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Photo of Crosling
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1.0 L swingtop. Dark brown color with a very light head (for an Imperial Stout.) The head and color should be darker, hurting its score. Nose shows some dark fruit and dark chocolate hints, but it's very light overall. Flavor is well balanced, quite hoppy with some citrus notes. Also, notes of cherry and blackberry, with some other hints of roast and chocolate. Not a complex beer, but it's fairly enjoyable.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.32/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at cellar temp from a 12 oz bottle into a Maudite snifter.

Delectable pour, extremely dark ruby/garnet and crystal clear (not inky or opaque), nice 3/4 inch dark-tan-colored head, leaves lots of sticky lacing all the way down. A beautiful looking beer.

Aroma is strong with yeast aromas, banana and Band-Aid--mmm, good. (Not.) Their house yeast, or fermenation temps? Besides phenolic, also some fusel alcoholic aroma, utterly dominating what ought to be a roasty or chocolately nose. No hints of malt that I can pick up, unfortunately.

Flavor is flat as well, with some smoke, some fruitiness, dominated by plenty of cola flavor. Not that bad, but weak in character. The nose hurts more than the flavor.

Mouthfeel is thin, insufficient sweetness, body, slickness, bitterness, everything. This poor beer just can't make it into the top tier.

At the end of the day, it's not that bad. But in my opinion, Imperial Stout is a special tier of beer, and either you have a winner or you should not bother trying. Happy Ending is a decent beer (worth drinking if it's your local beer) competing against the best beers in the world.

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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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