The Nothing | Smog City Brewing

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The NothingThe Nothing
The NothingThe Nothing

Brewed by:
Smog City Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
You hold in your hand a beer so dark, so rich, you may lose yourself as you fall into the never-ending depths of temptation. The Nothing exists to be the most decadent dark Chocolate Imperial Stout. You have met your greatest foe. Now defeat it.

Darkly roasted chocolate malts are combined with 2 types of cacao nibs creating a balance between subtle chocolate cake decadence and residual malt sweetness to pull you deeper into the complexity of The Nothing.

Don't be afraid of the dark.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 203
Photo of beergoot
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep-space black body; very thick, sticky and creamy light tan head; webs of clinging foam adhering to the glass. Heavy scent of charred grain; cocoa powder. Bold roasted grain flavors infused with milk chocolate and cocoa; husky bitterness balances the deep sweetness. Heavy body; chewy and oily with a silky depth; warm and luxurious residual sugar heft; partly sweet, partly dry on the palate.

This beer is packed with rich and delectable dark grain goodness. Thick and chewy mouthfeel with warm and inviting flavors, coating the palate with lingering notes of chocolate and cocoa with a fantastic offsetting bitterness for balance. Deep, rich, and complex.

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Photo of alexanderc994
4.9/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours very dark with little head retention. Smells of chocolate with notes of orange liqueur, cherries, oak, and coffee. Appears to have a rich viscosity. Tastes of dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans, with a lot of sweetness from the malt and rich mouthfeel. Moderately high carbonation and slightly astringent. Overall, very well balance and easy to drink. I would pair this beer with: creme brûlée; grilled hangar steak; smoked brisket; babaganoush; sautéed mushrooms.

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Photo of mactrail
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark foam on this beer, brown, really. An amber edge on the dark brew in the Piraat tulip. Thick and viscuous as you sip. Sweet and hugely malty. Aroma of cocoa. Very hot with alcohol, which seems to emphasize the sharp edge of acidity.

Lots of very dark malt, burnt toast, and some caramel. Piney hops and bitter orange. The finish is all bitter chocolate. From the 500 ml bottle.

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Photo of crimsonfloyd
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with brown edge on the our, pure black in the glass. Quarter inch of light brown head. Smell is fairly moderate; smells of chocolate brownie and cinnamon. The taste, on the other hand, is very strong, with flavors of tobacco, charcoal, and of course chocolate. There's a bit of a minty finish. Mouthfeel is appropriately thick and syrupy.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into my Magnify 16 oz snulip glass vintage 2017. Pours near pitch black with a massive two inch mocha head that leaves behind spotty patches of lace as it slowly settles into a thin layer of khaki bubbles.

Smell is deep dark chocolate fudge, roasted expresso, vanilla bean, oak, and a hint of leather.

Taste follows luscious savory dark chocolate, dry coffee beans, oaked vanilla, and once again just a subtle hit of leather.

Mouthfeel is chewy and creamy, very carbonated for what it is, slightly dry, and very approachable.

Overall this is one dimensional yes, but in a the best way possible. Very good, reminds me of Chocolate Yeti. Thanks @Lingenbrau for this amazing Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black color with dark brown head. Aroma has some milk chocolate and cocoa drink. Taste is a bit ashy with burnt malt notes, dark malt, a bit weird on the finish with stale cacao notes. Medium body, soft carbonation. Decent stout but not something to remember.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black color with a small tan head. No lacing to speak of.
Chocolate aroma, booze.
Big chocolate taste, like eating a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Some coffee. A bit of char.
Nice balancing act between sweetness and bitterness.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Review from notes. 500ml bottle, vintage 2017.

Poured black with almost no head. Smell was fairly bland -- a little coffee, something malty, not a whole lot else.

Taste was a little burnt coffee, some chocolate, a little bready.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. It's good, but just good. Didn't compare to Founders Breakfast Stout, which my wife was drinking at the time.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer gets better each year. Pours a clean pitch black with a tan head that fades. Minimal lacing. Smells of dark chocolate and roasted malt, with a hint of alcohol. Tastes very much the same, but dominated by chocolate! Feel is smooth, slick, creamy and coats the mouth. A tad bitter, and a bit more alcoholic than expected for 9.3%. overall, this is an outstanding double chocolate stout and you get almost exactly what you would expect. Cheers!

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Photo of fishyakLA
4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just finished a bottle purchased at Whole Foods. After finishing it with my son, we next opened up a one year old AleSmith Speedway Stout. And the win goes to The Nothing. The Nothing has this incredibly long finish and that is a good thing. I usually agree with other reviewers. But after looking below, not this time. I do not find this beer to be over carbonated. I understand some comments about a lighter mouthfeel than many stouts, but that made this beer very drinkable. Aroma is mild, but the taste is not. The coffee like element is more restrained. DARK chocolate, roasted malt and vanilla predominate and in pretty good balance. I will get another bottle and keep it around for aging. I'd rate this one higher than the current concensus of 89. It deserves to be in the 90's.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.07/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This was extremely bitter with an ashy taste and a ton of chocolate, as advertised. Over-carbonated, making it difficult to drink. Very sweet but the bitterness was over the top.

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Photo of yung_peli
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black, 2 finger mocha head, decent retention
AR: Dark chocolate, roasted malt, hints of coffee
T: Follows nose, roasted malt plays forefront, malt bitterness on the finish
M: Medium body, medium carbonation, creamy

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Photo of jakecattleco
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into a tulip glass. Not much I could detect other than bitter chocolate. Kinda felt like the beer was fairly one-dimensional. Need something else from Smog City, this didn't convey their ability to my palate.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: A lot of chocolate and cocoa in the aroma with some coffee notes. A medium amount of floral alcohol notes. Nothing in the way of hops.

A: A jet black beer with deep garnet highlights on the edge. The espresso colored head is made compact fine bubbles and quickly settles to a thin ring around the glass.

T: Deep, rich chocolate flavor with a bit of coffee and a touch of smoke. There is also a slight charcoal-like dark malt character. A medium amount of malt sweetness against a medium-low hop bitterness making for a balance that is slight sweet. The finish is somewhat sweet with a chocolate malt aftertaste.

M: A full bodied beer with a bit of slickness like an oatmeal stout. There is a moderate amount of carbonation.

O: An impressive chocolate dominated imperial stout.

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Photo of BenwayPHD
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with a fairly thin mocha head. The nose is mostly booze and chocolate. There us very little malt or roast detectable. This is a mild bummer, but since it is still a pleasant smell, I did not deduct much. The taste is similar. It is mostly chocilate. It has some drown prune flavors that I expect in a stout, but not much else. The mouthfeel is good. This beer is fine, really nice actually. I, personally, would label it a porter. It just doesn't hit the stout notes I have grown to expect.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap.

Look: deep brown, hint of red around the edges, with a light brown creamy head.

Smell: chocolate, coffee, roast, mild cherry.

Taste: very toasty, but without strong bitterness. Dark chocolate, hint sof vanilla, maple.

Feel: medium, a bit sudsy. Barely dry.

Overall: very solid non-BA, non-adjunct stout.

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Photo of Alpha309
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewery

Pours very opaque. Black at the edges. No head.

Chocolate an toffee nose with a hint of coffee.

Very chocolate flavor with strong coffee as well. Slightly burnt in flavor.

Very heavy and sticky.

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Photo of cbenson
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium-viscosity dark amber with an aggressive copper head that has a long retention. Smells of warm alcohol and bready malts.

Taste of sweet rum and dark fruits with a chocolaty and slightly hoppy aftertaste. The body is thick and mousse-like. Overall I'd say it tastes like a coffee rum cocktail. It has complex dark fruit flavors but they're masked by alcohol flavor and malts. The texture was the best part for me.

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Photo of Brolo75
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with a tan colored head, some slight lacing, no head retention, no carbonation, looks like motor oil.

A: Dark freshly ground roasted coffee, hints of dark fruits like plums, raisins, figs, dates, not getting any chocolate, coffee and dark fruits but mostly coffee.

T: Dark freshly ground roasted coffee, dark fruits, finish is dry, aftertaste is of dark bitter chocolate, roasted malts, very tasty, alcohol does come through on the flavor.

M: Full, smooth, creamy mouthfeel, good amount of carbonation, dry finish, there is some heat from the alcohol.

O: If you love dark coffee then you must have this beer, full flavored, big mouthfeel. I do wish that it had more chocolate in it, but this is a great beer overall. I have one more that I'm going to cellar and try it in a year, it should improve with age.

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Photo of maxifunk777
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This beer has one major problem the number of great beers of similar ilk.
Tastes of coffee and more coffee then more coffee. Very dark produces way more head than expect of 10% beer. It reminded me of a noon-barrel aged age version of so many of the more popular coffee stouts out there. Tastes of zero chocolate to me was really hoping for a strong chocolate taste it was decent but doubt I would get again. But it does deserve a try.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Smog City and I was pretty impressed. Beautiful dark chocolate pour, average RIS aroma, but above average RIS taste. A well crafted beer that beats many RIS stouts from many more well known companies. Nicely done, Smog City.

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Photo of sittinggc
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is my first official review on BA!

This is my first Smog City beer, and I gotta say it was awesome.
Though this beer is boozy, it is very drinkable. Tastes of dark chocolate and dark fruit. One of the better chocolate stouts I've had.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage. 500ml bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a rich, 1 finger mocha colored head with moderate retention. Beer is pitch black and very viscous. Lacing is layered and thick with excellent stick and oily, slick legs. Pretty nice.

Nose is liquorice, lactose, chocolate, roast, and a slight bit of stale coffee. Moderately aromatic. Average.

Opens iced coffee, dark chocolate and smoke. Liquorice, milk chocolate and big roasty notes in the middle with a slightly boozy and grainy roasted coffee finish. For a coffee dubbed "double chocolate", there sure isn't a lot of chocolate. Aftertaste is bitter coffee beans and a bit of ashiness.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Slick and chewy on the palate and warm and a bit dry going down. Finishes messy with a lingering, filmy aftertaste. Real drinkable. Very smooth for 10%.

The packaging on this beer is tremendous... which for some reason, made me think the beer inside would be also... it was not. It's just average. This is heavy on the coffee and roast and light on the sweet and dark fruit notes. That imbalance is not really my thing.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: a rich, silky black color. very very small amount of light penetrating. 2 finger frothy tan head that looks like the surface of the moon (i've been there, trust me)

s: upfront is tonsss of roasted malts, a lovely smooth dark chocolate note, burnt caramel, the faintest hint of berries, and a faint smokey aroma

t: chocolate right away. a mixture of rich, silky milk chocolate and delicious bitter dark chocolate. we fade to some sweet caramel, figs and raisins. theres a slightly lactose-esq sweetness in here, though i don't believe there is any actual lactose in her. we then are treated to some lovely toasted malts that lend a nice mixture of dark sweetness and toasty bitterness. finishes with silky milk chocolate and a hint of alcohol

m: rich and silky. extremely silky. mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium with a surprising amount of carbonation (which really helps the dark fruits pop in a lovely way)

o: its a luxurious, silky beer. Smog City really knows their Porters and Stouts. this beer is a great drinker that utilizes chocolate in such a nice way in combination with the roasted malts. a real treat. my only criticism would be i could lose the alcohol flavors towards the end of the mouth. still, really really good beer

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Photo of pkalix
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

very bitter. chocolate, roasted malts. slightly bitter sweet. amateur. certainly not worth the $11 for the pint. someone else mentioned the "tinny" taste, and it's in the smell too. aftertaste isn't all bad. i'm left the roasted malt, kind of leathery..... looks beautiful on the pour, though! nice on the sides if not a little thin. wont stick to the glass at all.... if you're wondering what i'm comparing it to: Rogue Double Chocolate, Samuel Smith's Chocolate, MOGLI (the BEST) and that Double Chocolate from England with the purple label.... this one just tastes amateurish.... has potential, but not great.

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The Nothing from Smog City Brewing
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 203 ratings