Tree House Brewing Company

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English Sweet / Milk Stout
Ranked #3
Ranked #175
4.53 | pDev: 6.4%
Tree House Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
Notes: Impermanence is an imperial milk stout brewed with coffee, chocolate, and maple syrup. Below these additions lies a complex base of chocolate, caramel, and dark crystal malts. A kettle addition of lactose serves to amplify the decadence of this uniquely Tree House offering. Impermanence coats the tongue with flavors of sweet milk chocolate, dark amber maple syrup, and coffee ice cream. It's an incredible treat - a bona fide breakfast confections bonanza. It is an example of what is possible with careful selection of ingredients paired with focused brewing execution. Please enjoy it fresh and use it as an opportunity to reflect, give thanks, and enjoy in the company of others.
Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 463 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BeerBaronBear
4.29/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Impermanence is on the sweeter side of stouts - super rich, the maple comes through a lot, with a touch of coffee and a bunch of chocolate. It's got a thick, syrupy feel, but had enough of a malty base that it didn't feel like cough syrup. A tasty stout overall, but expect a lot of sweetness in this one, which may or may not be up your alley.

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Photo of Fieceheart
3.58/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The concept of inundating a brew with ingredients may work in the world of IPA, but it does not (IMO) in the world of stout. The balance is lost completely. This pours like sickly treacle or motor oil and its so heavy bodied it drinks like sludge. Way too sweet. Yes, imperial stouts almost always knock your socks off with strength, but usually there are some understated flavors that carry themselves gracefully... this lacks all nuance. Its too much. American brewers are often guilty of being overly ambitious and pushing their brews too far away from tradition... this is a perfect example of pushing a stout to the point of being un-drinkable, to where it no longer is beer... and in that regard, it is successful. This is an ice cream topping.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a: dark, jet silky black color that does not allow any light to penetrate. head is nothing more than a very thin tan film that forms around the edge of the glass

s: roasted malts, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cola, sticky syrup, maple syrup, sweet lactose. a touch of char, but mostly super-rich chocolate and roasted malts on the nose

t: roasted malts and a huge punch of maple syrup upfront. milk and dark chocolate behind that with some cocoa powder and hot chocolate. sweet marshmellows and dark sticky toffee. dark caramel and a touch of oak. a massive lactose sweetness as a backbone in here as well with some cola and more chocolate to close

m: sticky, heavy mouthfeel with low carbonation

o: intensely sweet milk stout here. not overbearing, but the sweetness is in your face. it's super-rich, and full of chocolate and roast. the maple in the flavor is a nice addition. very solid, for the style

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Photo of Tony210
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured very dark, impervious to light. Big maple aroma. Flavor is sweet, loads of maple, some chocolate, light coffee flavor on the finish. Creamy and fairly full bodied. Overall a good desert imperial stout.

500 ml bottle - thanks Adam
4.25 rating

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Photo of TomFoolery_x
4.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 oz can into a KBS snifter. Canned 12/19/19.

Pours very dark, some light still visible through the pour. Very small head, maybe the width of a pencil that fades quickly and leaves a tad bit of lacing. Smells of coffee, maple, roasted malt, slight notes of chocolate. Taste is other worldly. So much complexity. I get chocolate, coffee, and maple notes. The mouthfeel is decadent. One of my favorite beers to date with how thick and creamy it is. Overall, I think this is the best non-BA stout I’ve ever had.

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Photo of woodchipper
4.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16oz can dated 12/19/19 to a diagonally cut tumbler.
This is an extremely dark, black beer. You only get a hint of brown in the pour stream. A minimal suggestion of a head rings the glass even with an aggressive pour, and this despite what appears to be moderate carbonation. I think that has to do with the viscosity (see mouth feel below).
Maple and caramel hit the nose, but not super strong.
The taste is another matter. Complex and powerful flavors to analyze. It's sweet. All ingredients listed on the label present themselves one after another as if designed to take turns. 1-Chocolate, 2-Maple, 3- Caramel, 4- Coffee. The maple almost gives a barrel-aged impression, despite this not being aged. I could almost say there is an illusion of smoke.
Mouth feel is right up there with the taste- Like thinned maple syrup. If I could make this thicker by boiling it down I would put it on pancakes. Maybe that would be a waste of a fantastic beer, but it sounds kind of interesting right now.
As I pause in writing this my lips are sticking together.
I like bitter and dry stouts better than sweet ones, but for this one I will make an exception. Fantastic.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.31/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very nice. well-balanced beer. A bit too cloying for my taste but overall one of the better coffee, milk stouts that I've had. Alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming. Coffee character is what propels this beer to its heights.

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Photo of hopley
4.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle dated November, 2018, drank November, 2019. While cellared properly, this still didn't taste as smooth and sweet as it should...lesson learned - either TH stouts don't survive the test of time (even if no major adjuncts), the lactose doesn't age well, or something else. Either way, I'll definitely give this one another try and re-review as soon as I can grab a fresh can.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 10.23.19, opened 11.17.19

“It all goes away”

Motor oil black liquid, solid two finger creamy brown foam cap, diminishes to a pencil thin solid layer after five minutes, great lacings

Aroma of maple syrup,milk chocolate , fresh roasted coffee

taste is maple, coffee, sweet

smooth, low sudsing, sweetness lingers

great beer

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Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
4.54/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours our like motor oil. Almost no brown coloration. I figured an aggressive pour would be fine, but I guess I was incorrect. It yielded a huge head. Not expected. It's hard to tell with some stouts. Dark brown foam.

Nose is roasty coffee, chocolate, and some sweetness. Very pleasant, simple.

Taste The presence of maple right up front was not noticed on the nose. But hot damn, right there it is. Not hogging the spotlight however, it's quickly followed up by that deep roasty coffee and mild chocolate. It tastes like a cup of coffee perfectly sweetened up with maple instead of sugar. Balanced almost perfectly between flavor and sweetness.

Mouthfeel is fullbodied with mild carbonation. Most likely due to the involvement of the lactose. Smooth and rich. Not too sticky or cloying.

Another nice stout from Tree House. Showing their prowess as not only master crafters of IPAs but skilled makers of the dark stuff. Well done.

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Photo of mrbeer69
4.56/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've never been a stout fan... until now. The complexity of this beer was off the charts. Overwhelming chocolate flavor, with a beautiful undertone of maple syrup. This synergy of flavor made it perfect as a post-dinner beer. I felt like I was having dessert on a fluffy chocolate cloud, as I licked maple syrup off of my favorite model. Hints of vanilla permeated through my nostrils. A truly unique beer and a truly unique experience.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.56/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz Snulip glass canned on 10/23/19. Pours a very attractive near pitch black with a massive 3 finger head that leaves massive waves of lace as it slowly settles, truly gorgeous. 5

Smell is maple, cocoa nibs, coffee, vanilla beans, and some coconut. 4.5

Taste follows maple is most dominant with vanilla, cocoa, coffee, and coconut in the back end really something special. 4.5

Mouthfeel is pretty darn big, gentle carbonation, a touch dry, and at 9.2% extremely drinkable. This one is a standout. 4.75

Overall this is really impressive, I love what they do with NEIPAs but this is a world class stout. 4.5

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Photo of stevoj
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at share. WOW! Silky black pour, ring of brown head. Mellow aroma of chocolate and coffee. Taste brings some brown sugar sweetness, coffee, chocolate, perfectly blended, smooth. Light warmth.

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Photo of kevanb
4.34/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle, undated, poured into a Half Acre "occult" tulip glass. Enjoyed on 07.07.19, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a deep jet black color, thick, inky and oily with a khaki head that has little height and retention with great lacing. The aroma is nice, lots of maple, rich and decadent chocolate, nice coffee roast, dark grains, brownie batter and a touch of vanilla cream. The flavors are in line with the nose, crazy adjunct forward, rich and sweet maple, brownie batter chocolate, dark rich grains, a nice light coffee profile bridges the sweet with some roast and acidity while vanilla and caramel ensure this finishes with more sweetness. The mouthfeel is great, thick, creamy, heavy body that coats well and finishes easily.

Verdict: A nice adjunct forward milk stout from Tree House. Rich, decadent, creamy, it's got just about everything for a pastry stout but perhaps loses sight of the traditional characteristics of a milk stout.

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Photo of Gatch
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

No bottling date, which I imagine they do intentionally to keep people from storing this long term, as it states clearly on the bottle, “drink it fresh—do not cellar!” But, I picked this up at the brewery on June 13, 2019, so I’m not taking their advice! Still a knockout Stout. Massively sweet malt in the nose and some unique coffee aromas. The incredible malt bill and maple syrup really stand out in the flavor. You get the coffee and dark chocolate throughout in the background. A bit boozy and certainly on the sweet side with a properly heavy body/feel. Wish I saved this for eggs & bacon on a weekend morning!

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Photo of dafla67
4.71/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark black. Aroma is an awesome sweet smelling mix of chocolate, maple syrup & coffee. Tastes like the smell but add a charred/roasted flavor. Feel is sticky but a bit thinner than I expected. Overall an incredible stout.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.71/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

this is absurdly good, my favorite, i think hands down, of the three dark tree house rarities that my legendary brother procured and saved to share with me. i am a sucker for maple syrup, but the maple isnt what sets this apart, the quality and complexity of the base beer is. additives aside, this is a stunning and unique stout, propped up and accented just right by the lactose, which is so rarely the case, and with cool layering of the malts, roasty sure, but with deep cocoa and java and mocha notes in the grain too, which i think is why the cocoa and coffee that are added work so well. its not one flavor climax, its a series of increasingly powerful flavor climaxes through the whole drink. i get the coffee well ahead of the chocolate, and agree with the melted coffee ice cream descriptor they use, some bitterness absolutely, but a deep espresso crema richness as well, very multidimensional, and its with the grain, not above or against it. the chocolate aspect is a dark chocolate, and its there through the whole drink, rich as well, but also that organic dark high cacao bar chocolate with all the complexity and earthiness. the maple is exquisite in here, peaks in and out at different times, adds some velvety textural smoothness, and a continues mellow sweetness, as well as the essence of the maple tree itself, the flavor of the syrup comes through so well, its stunning really. a bigger feel but from the grain not the sweetness or the booze, which i love, and a long chocolate and maple linger. brilliant liquid, famous for a reason, and a treat to share with my brother around the campfire. maybe my favorite tree house beer i have ever had, and a beer of the year candidate for me this year for sure!

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Photo of Jwale73
4.27/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle purchased at the brewery on 7/6/2019 and served in a Spiegelau tulip at 50 degrees. Pours two shades shy of black with a fizzy, half-inch, mocha-colored head the sizzles and slowly disperses towards the edges. Decadent nose - huge notes of maple syrup, followed by coffee and chocolate. Taste consistent with nose; however, there's a charred quality that cuts the backbone and keeps the brew from being cloying. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a kiss of oiliness to the texture and a mild, even carbonation. Overall, quite delicious and drinkable.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.54/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving: Bottle
No date (Consumed Jul-10-2019)

Pours like used motor oil with a ruby-brown, rocky finger-and-a-half of head that drops to a healthy film leaving stringy lacing in its wake. Both the aroma and flavor are seamlessly in sync. Big, thick, dark and candy bar-like. The whole thing is about as chocolatified, roasticized and caramelicious as you can get. There is a smooth mocha body to both and the slightest hint at bigger stout flavors (roasty/molassesy), the lactose is there but more as a structure for the rest, I feel like this was one of the least milk sugary of the beers like this I've had. It is like drinking velvet, heavy and moderately carbonated, lingering multi-faceted finish. Wow.

This is a classic example of an excellently executed beer. Big but light on its feet, decadent but drinkable, sweet but not, bitter but not, multi-layered but very coherent, boozy but you'd never know it, gimmicky but still beer, etc. This is one of the few beers where after finishing it and finally taking a look at the marketing babble on the bottle I feel like they pretty much encapsulate it perfectly. Lots of brown sugar, molasses, chocolate and roast in aroma and flavor. It all comes through (like most of their beers do) in near perfect harmony. One thing I really like about this one (I am not the biggest "pastry stout" fan) is that as diabetes-inducing as it tastes, it has some really nice stout character and drinks more like a beer than a dessert. In a lot of ways this beer reminds me of an old-school imperial stout with the edges smoothed off by the lactose and random sweet adjuncts. At least that is how I feel at this particular time with this particular bottle.... Very well done, TH people!


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Photo of cbutova
4.43/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Motor oil black pour from the 500ml bottle to a small becher glass. The head is a deep cocoa tan hue and it shoots up to an inch with decent retention. A medium ring left at the edges leaves spotty lacing.

S- A large base of roast barley and chocolate with touches of maple and espresso. Dark, bitter and sweet suggestions and the balance is really quite nice between the base beer and the adjuncts.

T- What was suggested in the aroma of maple becomes a tsunami wave of maple on the taste buds. Initially it starts as the classic woodsy maple flavor before cascading into the maple sugar candies you would find at a good maple sugar producer. It pushes the limit and borders on too much without breaking the levy. Balance is provided by bright dark chocolate, espresso beans, medium-high sweetness and hints of toffee, cocoa powder and toasted nuts.

MF- Moderately thick bodied brew with a very silky and creamy texture. Carbonation comes in at a medium-low level and it all ends with a roasty bitterness.

Funny to have this just after a great American Solera maple stout and see the distinctly different but both excellent maple flavor profiles achieved. Tree House stouts are outshining the IPAs these days.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pouring thick black ribbons, it builds a tall, dense mocha head that slowly settles to a creamy blanket leaving camouflage lacing.

That maple! It's not upfront at first, favoring that classic, lightly nutty, lightly airy cocoa-like Tree House roast, but the maple quickly asserts itself, becoming more smoky and rich here than other TH stouts that feature the addition. Notes of bruleed brown sugar emerge as it evolves on the palate.

The full fluffy body has a semi-dry, semi-sticky finish. It's not overly sweet at all, but the sweetness it does have brings a bit of a vanilla character to it. I think a little more coffee earth, char and bitterness would have been the only thing that could improve this for me.

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Photo of Boto
4.68/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle: this one pours an inky, opaque dark brown color. There was a little bit of a dark tan head that dropped away quickly and left no lacing. Good nose. Mainly dark, bitter chocolate. Some roastiness and a hint of coffee. Maybe some maple. The taste is very good. Bitter dark chocolate, maple, faint coffee. A bit of lactose too. A creamy texture. A really excellent beer!

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Photo of scotorum
4.65/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Poured from the 16.9 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a; Opaque black with an inch and a half tan head which receded very slowly to thick surface foam and very dense lacing.

s: Black coffee, dark chocolate and maple syrup

t; Excellent if somewhat bitter combination of the three aromas, some throat burn and maple syrup on the bittersweet finish.

m: Medium, very good body and carbonation tingle.

o; Powerful tasting and lovely, though neither any lactose nor maple syrup does not seem to entirely offset the roasty malt and hops bitterness, which is a little more prominent than it could be. Still, seems like nitpicking to criticize this wonderful brew.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

16oz. capped bottle into Night Shift stemware.

This beer belongs on a magazine cover! Great mocha colored head with a dense, pitch black color. Huge lace and great head retention. Nose is mocha, chocolate, fudge, espresso and lightly roasted malt. Some brownie and a lactose creaminess in the back. Robust and flavorful but not overly complex. Beer opens maple syrup, coca cola, espresso, iced coffee and chocolate. More syrup and fudge in the middle with a touch of vanilla sweetness and a light coarse, roasted malt. End more chocolate and coke. Sweet, sticky, fudgey aftertaste. Body is full with low carbonation. Rich and velvety on the palate and goes down dense, slick and oily. Lingering, sticky aftertaste that lasts for days. A hint of booziness but not so much to disrupt the experience.

Really really good overall. Probably my favorite in the series.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is what I dream of when the words “breakfast stout” are raised. The look is pretty but the pour is low head, and there’s not much lacing, either. That said, the nose offers a chocolate milk and maple one two. The flavor, of anything, is more decadent, the sweetness rounding with dark chocolate tartness, coffee acidity and a general brightness I’ve never seen. This is a truly exceptional beer, and not one to miss.

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Impermanence from Tree House Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 463 ratings