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 deadonhisfeet
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. The pour is extremely dark with very little (if any) light getting through. It sports about 2 fingers of rocky tan had. Good retention. Nice lacing. The beer has a very strong hop aroma for this style. I get a nose of citrusy hops and roasted malt that make me think of espresso and lemon. I also detect a faint, sweet, toffee-like odor as well.

Medium body, firm feel, and a very dry, hoppy flavor. Just a kiss of malt up front before lemony hops rush in and scour the palate. Flavor is a little acrid at mid-palate, as some late-arriving roastiness mixes with those hops in a way I don't find terriby pleasing. Still, it's brief and the finish is pleasant, dry, and lingering.

I'm not really sure how to rate this beer. I don't dislike it, but I don't particularly like it either. My primary criticism is that it's an Imperial Stout that tastes more like an Imperial IPA. I like Imperial Stouts for the rich, sweet and roasty flavors. If I want an Imperial IPA, I'll just grab an Imperial IPA. Tasty beer, but not one I'd reach for again.

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

A-Pours black with small amount of brown foam. Not much foam retention.

S-Smells slightly smoky with a hint of coffee.

T-Coffee also present in the taste, with a small bit of chocolate, malt and a carbonated, hoppy finish.

M-Smooth and alcohol is masked well. Not as heavy or filling as you would think looking at it.

Overall-Flavors of the beer complement each other well. Very unique beer that I enjoy. Only available January-March and should be in your winter seasonal selections. Purchased at local Kroger for $10.99 a six pack.

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Photo of tmm313
4.79/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Mainly pitch black, but has a little red, too. Poured a huge, super creamy, tan, 3 finger head. Excellent lacing.

S- HUGE floral, tropical fruit and grapefruit! Took me completely by surprise! When you really dig in, you get some nuttiness and a little pine. If blindfolded, there is nothing about the smell that would suggest stout. One of the best smelling beers I've ever had.

T- Big floral/tropical fruits over coffee and roasted malts hit first. Grapefruit washes through next, followed by dark chocolate, earthy hop spices, and pine. Aftertaste is a mix of pine, rind, and spice. Awesome.

M- Medium body. Super creamy on the tongue with nice, oily residue. Medium lingering citrus and pine bitterness.

O- What in the hell just happened?! This thing says "American Double / Imperial Stout" on its BA page, but it is much more IPA than Stout! No wonder the best if enjoyed by date is only a year away; this thing is loaded with hops! Its probably best defined as a Black IPA. Huge flavors! Fantastic, no matter the category confusion!

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Photo of IcanBENCHurCAT
4.95/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Jet black with a tan head that dissipates. Good lacing around the glass. Slight alcohol aroma, not overpowering.

S - Hop-Forward. Slight aromas of maltiness and coffee.

T - Aggressively hoppy, with roasty aftertaste. Mildly sweet, but mostly strong hop bitterness upfront. Warm alcohol taste is present, but not solventy.

M - Somewhat thin for a stout. Good carbonation level.

Overall, I love this Imperial Russian Stout. Not as sweet or full or malty as some other varieties I've had, but this category has a lot of room for complex, American-style hop-forward beers. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Zach136
4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into Belgian snifter-tulipy glass

A - Pitch black, semi lasting beige head, solid lacing.

S - Huge tropical hop nose with support from pine and roasted coffee.

T - Pine and roast one together to give the brew some of the typical Motor oil character but a nice citrus sweetness balances it out nicely

M - fairly dry and light bodies for an Impy stout

O- once you overlook the terrible packaging this brew is pretty tasty.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pretty darned black. Tan, thick bubbled head, leaves to ring pretty quickly. Not much spotty lace.

S - Light cocoa, choc chip cookies, some soy in there.

T - Robust flavor, all smell attributes and some roasty coffee type tastes.

M - Medium to full body, good carb, fair balance.

D - Big beer. Good to try. One is enough.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

thanks to OlavZipser for sending this extra my way. shared with the mrs out of 2 hunahpu snifters. bottle is dated best by 1/3/2014 (yesterday - oops).

a - brew poured the typical deep dark as night black with a nice stouty mocha tan head that could be rebuilt with a swirl of the glass. spotty lacing and the head didn't hang out long.

s - nose is bakers chocolate roast. quite nice and appetizing. there seems to be some hopping on the finish which adds a layer of citrus to the nose.

t - as the nose advertised, a hoppy stout. good roast and nice chocolate notes with some earthy grain and big citrus on the finish. somewhat reminiscent of darkness.

m - smooth and easy drinking stout, the 9% invisible.

o - overall, hitting the spot just right for an afternoon stout on a snowy wintery day. missing the best by date by a day didn't seem to hurt this at all - would love to try it fresh, but really enjoyed it today. don't really understand some of the lackluster reviews. would definitely have this beer again (and again and again) - i'm a fan!

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up in Atlanta in August of 2013.

Poured into a snifter.

A- The beer is pitch black in color with a tan, khaki head that forms two fingers thick over the liquid. The head dissipates quickly but leaves a beautiful, abundant lacing all over the snifter.

S- Spicy, resinous hops overpower the nose. Some roasted malts emerge beneath the hops. There's hints of booze, but mostly it's well-disguised here.

T- Very hop forward, with characteristics you'd expect from an American Strong Ale: spicy rye, resinous, and slightly bitter. Hardly reminiscent of a stout.

O- The beer is indeed tasty, but it is bitter, hoppy and has very little that suggests a stout. It's a good beer, but a bit misleading in calling itself a stout.

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Photo of Brabander
4.11/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I got this bottle in an in person trade a week ago with Josiah...thanks buddy! Poured in my Struise glass this beer looks very nice. Pitch black fluid and a big head, a bit lightbrown. Good smell and taste. The spices are far away in this beer. Smooth beer!

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Photo of Resuin
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. This is a black waxed, 2013 bottle.

Appearance: Pours an opaque black and leaves a finger of tan/light brown head which lingers a bit before slowly fading to a rim around the glass.

Smell: Molasses, roasted malts, caramel, cocoa, definitely plenty of hops presence as well. Mild coffee, vanilla, and dark fruits are also in the background.

Taste: Roasted malts, cocoa, mild vanilla. Light, smooth flavor, very high drinkability. Some mild hops balance out the mild sweetness of the cocoa flavors. Alcohol is hardly present at all - impressive for a 9% ABV brew.

Mouth-feel: Medium carbonation with a surprisingly light body, especially for the style. Finish is smooth and slightly creamy.

Overall: Different than expected. Very light body and well balanced flavors make this a nice, refreshing "imperial" stout. Nice cocoa flavors and roasted malts make up the majority of the profile. This is a simple and tasty brew. Definitely well-crafted. Nothing in here to complain about.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 bottle:

pours a thick jet black with a finger of creamy dark brown head, slow dissipation. aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roasted grains, licorice, molasses.
the flavor is a charred bitterness up front followed by sweet chocolatey malt flavor, then finishes with a nutty/oak flavor. body is a bit thin for the style, medium in body with low carbonation.

this is a nice stout.. a lot lighter than most of the imperial stouts i've been drinking lately.. both in alcohol and bodywise. even the flavor is a lot more subtle and muted.

not a bad beer by any means, but i would put it between an imperial stout and a regular stout.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black with a nice thick and foamy dark tan two-finger head that retains well

S- roasted graininess up front with notes of chocolate and toffee, just a hint of coffee and some earthy notes to close out the aroma

T- lots of dark fruit notes; fig, raisin, prune. Eventually gives way to sweet and malty chocolate with some coffee notes, the finish is slightly tangy with more dark prune/fig flavors, dry and earthy to close it out

M- medium-heavy body, super creamy mouthfeel leads to a silky finish, just a touch if warmth on the finish

O- a nice change of pace from a typical double stout, with what seems to be more dark fruit emphasis, rather than straight chocolate/coffee, pretty easy to drink as well given its 9%.

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Photo of BB1313
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Best if enjoyed before 1/9/14. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with a khaki head and it leaves nice lacing and retention. The aromas are full of orange peel and citrus. I'm confused because it smells like an old IPA. Caramel malts in the mix. It doesn't seem to have any stout qualities. If I was blindfolded, I wouldn't have guessed it was an Imperial Stout at all. The confusion carries on to the flavors. Tons of orange. There's some roasty malts in the mix. Not much chocolate or cocoa. Subtle bitterness. Finishes dry. Very weird for the style. Mouthfeel is nice. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied; moderate carbonation. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

This isn't a bad beer at all, but it just doesn't remind me of a stout at all. It's a really weird interpretation of the style.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle with black wax over cap. 2013 release.

Pours straight black, off white thick head. Good head retention. Roasted aroma, with hops mixed in. Same with the taste, definitely a hoppy stout. Good balance of the strong bold flavors. Lingering bitter dry aftertaste. Could be thicker, but good smooth carbonation level.

I hate to sound old or like a tight ass, but like Clown Shoes, these guys should maybe ease up on the cheesy dick- joke puns, as their beer is good and I think would come off more seriously.

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Photo of uscgsc22
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is my 3rd favorite beer It is great in the bottle or on tap.

You really have to try this one beer. It's a very flavorful beer which everyone loves.

Pro's= its between $11 to $12 for a 6 pack.

Con's = Once a year :(

Sweet Water Brewing Company!!!

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Photo of Lemke10
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pours a dark brown/black color with a slight brown head. The aroma is slightly robust with a bit of hops as well. The taste is smooth and has reasonably good robust flavors. There are lots of toasted, roasted malts with hints of coffee and toffee. Leaves a slight bitter happy ending!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle of the 2010 vintage pours a viscous black with a small cap of dark brown head. Comparable to TenFidy on the viscosity/darkness/head color. Bonus points for the name and the old asian lady label.

Nose is Hershey's syrup, burning caramel and perhaps some nutty yeast. Hops have pretty much all faded from the aroma at this point.

Still has a fair amount of bitterness to it though. It is a little smoother than fresh with more of the malty chocolate coming out. I prefer it with a few years on it, it is too hoppy for me when fresh. Some coffee as it warms Mouthfeel is not as rich and creamy as I initially thought when pouring it. It still has some leafy green flavors from the hops, gives it a touch of vegetal character. Pretty good, I do think I will continue putting these in the ol' cellar when I get the opportunity.

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Photo of fostah
4.16/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Moat Mountain pint glass.

Midnight in the mountains black, with an inch o khaki colored head that leaves pretty solid rings as the beer disappears. Citrusy hops and dark chocolate in the nose, with some underlying alcohol.

Wow. That's good. Light roast coffee beans, milk chocolate, and bitter dark chocolate first. That coffee bitter lingers, even after the the chocolate flavor washes away. Light hops, not nearly as overpowering as I feared from the initial aroma. Alcohol creeps up slowly, and at 9%, it's hidden pretty well.

A nice little (err... big) beer.

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Photo of suspect
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle courtesy of Bulbman into a Real Ale snifter.

A: Thick, viscous pour. Aggressive into the glass leads to a sneaky 2 finger head that fades back down fighting every inch of the way leaving sticky lacing clinging to the sides and a solid ring around the outside as well as a nifty swirly pool of wispy foam on top.

S: Smells of roasted dark malts, mild coffee, bittering hops and a nice bready yeast aroma to bring home the very well balanced and blended nose. A touch of alcohol in the smell lets you know it means business but there's also some party. It's like an aroma-mullet.

T: Beautiful blend of the aforementioned smells with the coffee coming out a bit more and the alcohol fading back.

M: Buttery mouthfeel, premium mouth coating and the abv warms the mouth and the belly nicely.

O: A superb beer. Put on par with Expedition Stout and Founders Imperial. Very well done and likely to improve with time.

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Photo of pschul4
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

A- Pours a very deep brown with a 1" khaki head that leaves bunches of lacing

S- Oh god I'm getting lots of black licorice... Do not like black licorice...

T- There are 2 flavors going on here. 1) roasted malts, very good. 2) Black licorice, gag me. Hopefully some other flavors will prevail as it warms

M- Nice and smooth, so nice

O- If this didn't have the black licorice I'd love it. Don't like black licorice though so blech

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Photo of barczar
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque onyx with a frothy one inch tan head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of lacing.

Licorice, chocolate, roast malt, tar, and hints of dark fruit form the initial aroma. Seems fairly sweet. Chocolate and nutty, buttery toffee dominate in the end. Coffee grounds add complexity.

Flavor reveals deep notes of chocolate, becoming roasty and slightly charred mid palate, with a slightly acrid, coffee bitter, nutty finish. Dark cherry and berry notes surface early, but are accompanied by a slightly off, plastic flavor. Notes of grapefruit become evident in subsequent sips, along with char at the finish. Fairly sweet, overall.

Body is light, almost watery, with moderate carbonation and alcohol warmth.

The aroma is incredible, but slight off flavors hurt the overall experience. Body is also too thin. Could use more malt backbone.

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Photo of pcguitarwzrd
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into chilled mug. I like stouts colder than is usually recommended. Happy Superbowl Sunday!

A: Black as night, thick as motor oil, monster head of coffee-colored foam that is remarkably persistent for the ABV. Off to a good start.

S: Big hop aroma, especially for a stout. They weren't kidding about the dry-hopping.

T: Hops jump right up, followed by the intense espresso/dark chocolate you'd expect, then more hops at the end and a little boozy warmth. The hops are not as overwhelming as in the aroma, but nevertheless this is probably the hoppiest stout I've ever tasted. It's interesting that pretty much all the bitterness in this beer comes from the hops, not the black malt. I think my taste buds are a little confused by this.

M: not as heavy as some IS I have had, but certainly full-bodied. Definitely a drier finish due to the hops and ABV.

O: a very interesting take on the style. It breaks a lot of rules, but not in a bad way. Not my favorite IS ever, but I certainly won't regret buying the sixpack.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

'12 vintage, poured into a stemless wine glass

A- pours black with a one finger brown head. Par for the course

S- whoa, a huge blast of dank, piney hops smashes you from the getgo. Awesome stuff!

T- piney hops and a nice bit of chocolate. Not exactly like an Andes mint, but kinda close. Chocolate covered pine needles, I guess

M- huge body, which is what helps it stand apart from your run of the mill black IPA

O- this is a great beer. Sweetwater doesn't dip their toe into stouts too often, but this one is a definite winner

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Photo of BeerZack
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 Review- Black with a foamy one-finger of light-brown head. Smells of sweet coffee with cream and woodsy hops at the same time, hints of chocolate. Unfortunately, I don't get much flavor here. On first taste, it seems like I'm waiting for the flavor impression, but all I get is a grip of hops before a bitter finish. As it warms I get more roasted barley flavor up front and can maybe pick up some cola-like flavors also. I get a little cola in the nose once it has warmed as well. I like the hop flavor and balance of bitterness in this beer, but it does leave me wanting a bit more in malt flavor.

2008 Review- Completely black, but looks a little thin on the pour. Dark tan and khaki head that sticks to the glass a bit.

Deep dark fruitiness with a definite salty edge to it. Bacon fat maybe; smoked meat of some sort for sure. Slightly astringent, not quite smoked though. Gets better as it warms, some vanilla comes out, kinda oaky vanilla and the smoked meat edge fades.

Earthy and meaty chocolatiness; Mexican mole. Deep fruitiness, but dry and not too sweet at all. Some vanilla in the flavor, again, coming out more as it sits awhile.

Pretty light for a RIS, but not quite watery due to the soft and creamy carbonation. This beer was initially off-putting, but became more drinkable as it sat and warmed up.

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Photo of mattkoon
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured out of a 22oz bottle. this one is black and opaque. it smells a bit more hoppy than other stouts that i have had...re minds me of a black ipa. the taste however is more stout than ipa. the finish is a lot less bitter than an ipa....but taking the hoppiness out of the equation, this is a good stout and the hops is just an interesting twist. happy ending imperial stout is solid... ill put it up there with other good stouts ive had.

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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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