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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 424 | Ratings: 1,119
Photo of MUTINY
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a truly opaque, dense-looking black with 1 1/2" khaki head that recedes at a laid-back pace. Retention is good, lacing is stellar.

S: Incredible! Semi-sweet chocolate comes up to engulf the olfactory senses, followed by toasty almond & hazelnut notes. Little hints of candied fruit (cherry, raspberry) are swimming underneath, with just a subtle warm booze note to cap things off. The fruit & booze come more in to play as it warms. I could smell this all day!

T: Leads in with chocolate covered cherry suggestive of an underripe sweetness. Mid palate comes into focus with roasty black coffee notes & just a touch of the hazelnut from the nose. It finishes with a brilliant bitter counterpoint, chocolate & more significant booziness. It's deep & beguiling, yet thoroughly drinkable.

M: Low-to-moderate carb married to a rich, creamy, yet somewhat light malt body. There's a slightly unpleasant chalkiness that lingers.

O: My first dark beer from Sweetwater & truly a pleasant surprise. I'd long thought of them as mostly Lager & APA/IPA specialists, but this stellar brew has completely changed my tune.

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Photo of costanzo_mike
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black color with a graham cracker colored head which dissipates quickly. Some chocolate, malt on the nose. Sweet on the taste but malt is more prominent. Medium body with carbonation.

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Photo of Hootie159
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light chocolate syrup mixes with charred coffee roast, molasses and barley malt. This has a nice hoppy pine to level things out. It drinks a little thin for 9% but at $6 a bomber I can look the other way.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste is cocoa, vanilla, sugar cane, and roasted malt. Beer falls on the sweeter side for the style. Would make a delicious dessert beer with the sugar cane being pronounced at times. One of my favorites from the brewery.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, best before 1/20/2016. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus zest, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and moderate citrus/piney hop notes; with good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus zest, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Fair amount or pine/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, grapefruit, citrus zest, light pine, and floral/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roasted malt and moderate citrus/piney hop flavors; with a good roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; wit ha very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a very nice American imperial stout. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roasted malt and moderate citrus/piney hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ArchimedesSox
4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, opaque, thick brown head that hangs around, really good lacing

S: Floral hops upfront, upon closer examination I get the chocolatey malts, pretty full nose

T: Nice hop backbone up front, the sweet, chocolate, coffee malts come in next and leave a coffee aftertaste

M: Medium to full, velvety feel

O: Man I really like this. It has a larger hop presence than all the other stouts that Ive had but I really like it. Really great beer.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.39/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22oz bomber in a trade with kestrel. Poured into a stemmed tulip glass.

Pours pitch black with a fat tan head that lingers for a few sips leaving coats of lacing from start to finish. Tons of Simcoe and Cascade in the aroma - everyone claims West Coast style - this one actually delivers, some toasted malt and sweet esters balance this one nicely. Aroma carries over into the flavor - such an amazing hop profile that is balanced perfectly with the malt bill - makes you scratch your head why this is a wax dipped bottle - do not cellar this one - drink fresh! Mouthfeel is appropriate for the style - medium bodied, appropriate carbonation with a somewhat dry finish, making you want to go back for another sip with each gulp.

Don't let the wax dip mislead you - do not cellar this one - drink fresh to enjoy the hoppy goodness!

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

12 oz bottle poured in a snifter. Best if enjoyed by 01/20/16. Well balanced with stout flavor up front with a little bitterness on the finish. Smooth for an imperial at 9% abv.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
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!

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a solid dark brown with fair amount of tan head and good lacing. Aroma of floral hops,citrusy, roast malts. Sweet malt forward, nice citrus/floral hop bit mid note, hint of coffee, cocoa, smokey with dry, clean finish. Mouthfeel is a bitt thin for a stout, with a good amount of carbonation (unexpected for the style, but not unpleasant).
Overall, I rather enjoyed this stout - had characteristics of all my favorite beers - RIS + stout + black IPA - a reasonably priced and delicious beer.
I would definitely purchase again.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to taster glass.

A: Dark black with a tan one finger head that lingered. Thick lacing.

S: Cocoa, malts, caramel and a touch of coffee.

T: Sweet, very smooth and robust with a light bitterness at the finish. The cocoa and chocolate malts really pop with some caramel action in the background. This was a nice surprise.

M: Medium with medium to heavy (chewy) mouthfeel. Nice.

O: I would drink this on a regular basis if and when I can find more. A damn fine stout. Well done.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.31/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Bottle dated enjoy by 1/2016:
This beer seemed more like a porter to me (I know the lines are quite blurry, but on my scale, this is a porter). Nice medium tan head, little soapy, but somewhat sustaining also. Nose is a tad smokey, like artificial bacon flavor, with some typical roasted notes underneath (coffee, tobacco), but not appropriate for an imperial stout.

The taste, thankfully is less "cured meat" than the smell, but some of it is still there in a colder beer. I waited for the beer to warm before continuing, and a bitterness grew - grassy and resinous and dry. However, the more predominant tastes are tartly bitter lemon notes against a weak bitter coffee backbone. This is what makes me think porter more than stout. Add to this a rather thin mouthfeel (moderate carbonation), and it doesn't fit the proposed style, to me.

Even if I ignore style and look at this as a porter, I'm not sure I'd adjust my ratings much... maybe a tenth higher. This is definitely not a beer for me, as reflected by overall. I am a little confused by the high overall ratings to wonder if my bottle is off. I will probably try this again to verify my rating if the right situation arises, but with so many other options out there, I'm not sure that situation will ever arise.

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Photo of dar482
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The aroma has milk chocolate, lots of hoppiness, with a touch of cocoa and coffee, along with some caramel sweetness.

The flavor follows with that hoppiness. Up front, milk chocolate, medium roasted malt, cocoa, then onto woodiness, herbal of the hops. The mouthfeel is medium minus and slightly lacking on the back end of flavor.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
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 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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Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout from SweetWater Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 1,119 ratings.
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