Black Eye
Avery Brewing Company

Black EyeBlack Eye
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American Imperial Stout
4.43 | pDev: 8.58%
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Black EyeBlack Eye
Notes: Aged in Rum barrels.
Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 192 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Cubatobaco
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A forgotten bottle in the back of the cellar that drinks like a fresh BA Stout. After all of these years the rum barrel is as pronounced as day one. It wouldn't hurt to hold this back for a couple of years to mellow it out. For a Stout that is out of production, it sure makes its presence known. I hope they make this again. The rum barrel keeps this aged stout sweet while the body is full and viscous.

Great beer, Avery!

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black color. A bit of tan head.

Very strong. Lots of alcohol phenols. Rum, oak, chocolate, cocoa, figs, molasses, raisins, and dates.

Thick and boozy.

Fun to try, but very strong.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.83/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: Bottled June 27 2014. Production: 424 cases. Brown glass. Iconic Avery label. Gold foil covers the pry-off crown cap. 12 fl oz format.

18.82% ABV. "Stout aged in rum barrels."

Served chilled into a snifter.

HEAD: Gorgeous shining complexion. Dark khaki-tan colour. Not as creamy, soft-looking, or even robust as would be ideal; it's a bit thin. Recedes within 3 minutes (which is pretty damned impressive at ~19% ABV). Leaves no lacing as it recedes, but I can coax out some streaking brandy-like legs by tilting the glass.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque solid black. No yeast/lees visible within.

Appears aptly carbonated. Not a unique or special appearance for a rum barrel aged imperial stout, but certainly appealing.

AROMA: Boozy rum leaps out of the glass, evoking toasted coconut and sugarcane, but no rich white oak. The barrel character eclipses any aromatics from the base, drowning out any notes of dark malts and chocolate malts. I think I find some walnut and/or nougat?

Suggests a chewy boozy beast of an imperial stout with wanting intricacy and subtlety of execution but decent depth of flavour. Aromatic intensity is mild.

TASTE: Tannins and dry wooden tones are present from the get-go, making this imperial stout drink less than clean. Boozy throughout, making one wonder why Avery insists on skyrocketing these 12 fl oz releases through the roof; wouldn't this be better with less heat?

Rum barrel has soaked into the chocolate malts and dark malts at the heart of the beer, but it isn't a harmonious marriage of barrel and base. There isn't egregious clashing, but it lacks the neat cohesion of the best barrel aged imperial stouts and the flavours do seem to be fighting to see which can emerge as loudest. More subtlety and delicate execution would be nice, but it isn't imbalanced in spite of failing to amount to a true gestalt whole of a beer; it's neither too sweet nor too bitter. But the wood tannins are rough and distract from the more conventional imperial stout notes.

Speaking of which, this is pretty simply constructed. No roasted barley, no charred/burnt sugars, no barrel char, no subtle toasted coconut, no coffee or other adjuncts. In a style that includes some of the most intricate beers in the world, that's pretty disappointing.

TEXTURE: Awkwardly dry and rough on the palate at times, evoking stale dried-out wood in combination with the underwhelming barrel flavours. Overcarbonated. Hot and boozy. Heavy and thick on the palate, with a borderline syrupy feel. The chewiness is right for the style, and I don't mind the booze as much as many might, but the lack of a soft silky feel or adequate creaminess makes it less approachable than it could be. Definitely a filling mouthfeel. Not tailored specifically to the flavour profile. Fails to elevate the beer as a whole or to accentuate specific notes.

OVERALL: More drinkable than its ~19% ABV would lead one to expect but less drinkable than the best expressions of the style (and amost any "average" beer regardless of style conventions), Black Eye is a booze-ridden brew that suffers from a lack of seamless layering of barrel and base. Not a unique or special imperial stout, and the base is in serious need of work in terms of complexity and depth of flavour. I adore many of the beers in Avery's barrel aged series, but this is not amongst their strongest efforts by my estimation. I'll enjoy finishing the bottle, but boy am I thankful this rich beast of a beer isn't packaged in bigger format bottles; it'd be a chore at anything above 12 oz (and I find myself wishing I had company to share this with).

I'd like to see a gooey, chewy mouthfeel with more silky softness, as well as a flavour profile with more intricacy and depth of flavour in addition to a more appropriate choice of barrel. The strengths of rum barrels aren't explored here (which is surprising given Avery's control over rum barrels in beers like Rumpkin) and I continue to question Avery's obsession with hugely alcoholic beers.

C (2.83) / AVERAGE

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Photo of SamN
4.51/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Yowzas, 18%+. WIll it be a spciy meat-a-ball? No, thankfully. Boozy, but no choking heat. Sweet with touches of the vanilla and dark tropical fruits found in god-tier Zacapa 23 yr. Licorice? You betcha. Dark malts are more brandy like than your average stout malt-bill. So much in the nose, but I was too drunk to really pick em out. 2004 vintage.

Not brewed anymore, this was a one-off for Avery's barrel-aged series. Others include a tequila barrel beer, but if you see Mr Blackbeard staring you down from a dusty shelf, you buy it. This beer is fantastic, which is what Avery means in Mongolian. Awesome stuff.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with light brown head, plenty of lacing on glass
S: Huge rum, sweet dates, dark chocolate, roasty coffee, alcohol, raisin, vanilla
T: Bitter chocolate, sweet rum, milk chocolate, alcohol heat, oak, vanilla, maple, raisin, port, molasses
M: Lighter side of thick with plenty of residual sugars
O: Held up great with 3.5 years on it. Still tons of heat but it helps balance the sweetness. Would likely be even better with 3%-5% less abv

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Photo of darktronica
4.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A booze bomb, in the best sort of way. Still a gloriously hot mess after nearly two years of ageing in the bottle. Fudge, marshmallow, oak, fire, and spiced rum. More heat to it than some other Avery beers of similar strength, this one has a sharp edge that warns you to sip gently.

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Photo of Parmesan
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: pours a pitch black with a nice creamy khaki tan head.

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, some vanilla and spice from the rum.

Taste: Chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, vanilla and spice from the rum. Rum is there but not overpowering. Booze is there but not overpowering.

Feel: Really thick and creamy with light to medium carbonation.

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This should be fun. 15+ months of aging might do the trick. Let's find out. 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A - An aggressive pour produced a very impressive head. Chocolate mocha brown with tight bubbles on top of an absolutely black body. Amazing.

N - Massive chocolate. Massive. Vinson Massif. Massov Shawarma. Real real big. Underlying the chocolate I get the slightest bitter malt and some maple syrup. Can't wait.

T - Definitely boozy, but not 19% boozy. This is impressively done. I actually don't get much barrel character, perhaps some spice and vanilla, but not much more. The flavor is dominated by roasted malt and maple syrup. Definitely a sipper.

M - Extremely thick, decadently so. It's like a dark, rich sipping chocolate that warms your mouth and throat. I wish it weren't 12:45 in the morning so I could sip this over the next 2 hours.

O - Another impressive huge beer from Avery. Not sure if I like their stouts or sours better.

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Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.07/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Opened my bottle almost exactly a year after bottling. Still way too boozy. Cloyingly sweet. It does get better as it warms up. If only I had waited another 8-10 months.

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Photo of jbwimer
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It's Sunday night... Why not take one of these to the dome?

Pours black into the glass with a light peeking through the edges. Little head, and what remains is a tan film on top. No lacing, but legs for days. Like my girlfriend. Aroma is banging with a wealth of rum and vanilla tobacco with some cocoa and candied dark fruits in the mix. Flavor is more complex than I would have anticipated... Very sweet up front with vanilla, marshmallow, oak, then a wash of baker's chocolate, cocoa, and earthy oak on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-full with a lingering bitterness on the palate. Shocked at how well the booze is hidden at almost 19%... Well done, Avery. Well done. Wish I had a case of this so I could age it to infinity, and beyond.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pretty insane they avery can keep pulling off enormous beers like this one. impressive stuff, i think a second try at the widely infected black tot from a few years back. this one has no infection issues at all, and is one of the strongest beers out there right now. the rum barrel character is intense, as much of that as you can pack into a beer, and the base stout is a freak of nature as well, with so much body and dense dark grain character. not sure what yeasts they use to get it to this level of abv, but its astonishing that there is no yeast flavor or residuals to the beer hardly at all. burly black malt base with notes of burnt wood, licorice, and dark dried fruit, maybe some plums too. there is a mild spice from the rum and a lot of that raw cane sweetness still, there is enough sugar in here to get it up over 20% abv with some hectic yeast. the flavor experience is one of the longest in beer too, ashy rich chocolate malty base moving into the richness of the rum and the softness of the oak, before a slightly harsh alcohol sting comes in with a vanilla brown sugar finish. the alcohol is as intense as expected, but the flavor of the beer is so deep and complex it keeps me drinking it on the quick. glad i scored an extra bottle to lay down for awhile, i bet this one will evolve pretty nicely. one of a kind, thats for sure.

edit: seems sweeter the second time around. more time is needed!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.31/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Trappist Westveteren XII Trappist glass
From: Beer Advocate’s ucsbmullet
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A
Consumed: Jan. 5, 2015
Misc.: Batch No. 21; Bottled June 27, 2014; Gold foiling

Thanks Nick!

Poured an almost pitch black color with 1-to-2 fingers of rocky, tan head, which thinned out rather quickly. Very sporadic wet lacing spots on the sides of the glass. Below average retention. (Sight - 3.50)

Smelled chocolate, bourbon, crayon, toffee, caramel, chocolate syrup, wet cocoa, dark rich fudge and rum. Smells pretty smooth from the get-go and nowhere near 18.82 pct. ABV. (Smell - 4.25)

Taste was initially all over the place, but then settled down. Got chocolate malty syrup, followed by an immediate boozy wallop. That led to a warming finish all the way down my stomach. Other sips lead to caramel, toffee, crayon, faint coffee malts, chocolate milk, rum, slight bourbon and some smoky dark chocolate. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth, slightly warming finish. Alcohol is very well hidden. (Feel - 4.75)

Just a really good Imperial Stout. So damn smooth. All from Nick, but I’ve got it Uncle Jacob’s Stout, Black Eye and Tweak in that order. (Overall - 4.50)

4.31 | 96 | A

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle at Churchkey into a snifter glass. 4 oz. pours only allowed.

Deep dark walnut brown, perhaps a hint of red towards the edges, and served with a very minimal tan collar.

Bouquet is quite noticeable but hints with lots of spirit warmth. Interesting amount of dark nuts on this, mild creamy vanilla as well. It's a controlled heat but doesn't let much of the other characters show out.

Palate though just explodes nicely. This litteraly tastes like cherry brandy, mixed with lots of piping warm roast coffee. Classic black forest like cake body, silky and dense. Brandy like warmth and a hint of molasses, but not much rum character. Big sharp amounts of black licorice as well, and some tiny prickly like carbonation just to make things playful.

This is a real complex and full bodied brew, and one to take your time on. It also doesn't come off as a big boozy mess either, but definitely has that stomach big warmth. Great tasting big stout for sure.

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Photo of HopsintheSack
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a large 22oz snifter at refrigerator temperature. 12/16/14.

Pours dark brown and looks a bit thinner than I expected. Looking through the glass you can see through the thin edges of the beer, more brown than black to me, but still very dark. Small particles clumping together, nothing you can feel, but slightly visible. More carbonation than most beers of this high an ABV.

Smells boozy with hints of sweetness.

Taste is great. Boozy and big, which cuts through the sweetness that I find in most stouts over 13% or so. Slight chocolate flavors.

Feels like a nice strong ale in mouth feel. Thick, but not sticky or coating in anyway. I think thanks to the high ABV. May do good with some age, but it will be hard not to drink the second bottle I have before that time.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%

Insanity rears its beautiful and deviant head in beer form as the the Avery brewers take the lead in such caldering, manifestation and resurrection. Like mad science and witchery at hand, a taste emerges to topple that of stout and becomes its own black barley liqueur.

Its lavish and ominous onyx-like pour seems to crawl into the snifter on its own, no help required. Its opaque abyss casts a creamy espresso-like tarnish creme. With the nose hovering above, the senses are mesmerized with potent rum, devilish dark chocolate, espresso, dark dried fruit, soy and sherry wine for savory measure. With its inky sweetness overwhelming the palate, its booze laced sweetness is of black-strap molasses, burnt sugar and buckwheat honey.

As its sultry sweetness clings to every surface, crevice and tastebud inside the mouth, the most supple of sips paralyze the mouth as its outrageous booze spice saturates the palate in unapologetic fashion. The rum barrel, its caramels, its tannins and its vanillans become the catalyst to deliver the tawny port, sherry, and savory soy flavors past the fudgy sweetness.

An indefinite linger upon the palate and gullet ensures dessert-like delicacy, easily replacing any death-by-chocolate cake paired with espresso. Its hot, prickly and numbing spice finds favor with fans of fine cognac even though the ale drinks exceptionally smooth for something that's pushing forty-proof.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.34/5  rDev -2%

Bottle from trade. Thanks! Pours thick and pitch black with a one finger mocha brown head. Beautiful chocolatey malt aroma, sweet dark fruits, some boozy rum, a little roast, some vanilla and caramel. Mmmmm. Flavor is big sweet chocolatey malty goodness, sweet caramel, lots of big dark fruits, vanilla. There's a strange cardboard or metallic flavor on the finish that goes away quickly into a lingering marshmallow on the palate. Incredibly smooth for such a big beer, big and rich, low carbonation. The only thing really taking away from this is the strange twinge I get on the finish of this one. Overall very nice.

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Photo of Jonada
3.78/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottled June 27, 2014. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with 1 finger of a dark tan head that settles to a medium ring. Body is opaque.

Smell: Roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, spicy rum, booze and a bit of oak.

Taste: Big malt sweetness followed by roasted malt, rum, booze, toasted oak, bittersweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and super thick with medium carbonation. Sweet and super boozy finish with a bit of harsh alcohol burn as it goes down.

Overall: Lots of big flavors and barrel character, but quite a bit harsh as it stands right now. You definitely feel all of the 18.82%. A good beer now, but definitely could benefit from some age.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled June 27, 2014. Poured in a snifter, the beer is jet black, oily, and pours very thick. Trace halo of tan head. Aromas of rich bittersweet chocolate, heavy molasses, bitter roasted coffee, a heavy blast of boozy heat, earthy highlights, subtle wood char, and hints of vanilla. Flavors are heavy and rich molasses and bittersweet chocolate forward, with a solid cream highlight, and a blasting booze warmth in the backbone. Some earthy highlights, with a steady dose of char throughout to bring some edge to all of the richness. Slick, robust, full bodied, with a building warmth supporting a richly sweet and slightly charred aftertaste. The finish is slick, with a lingering, full bitter roast and boozy blend. Truly fantastic beer!

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Photo of Jjski
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Take some BCBS, age it rum barrels after bourbon and increase it malty sweetness & strength 25%.

It's fantastic, expensive [email protected]$ per twelve ounce, and very worth trying once.
The freshy today was great -and I'm cellaring the other. I liked it a lot more than Uncle Jacob's and a little more than BCBS. It's not overtly sticky sweet and has a gorgeous bitter rum finish. Carbonation holds strong in this viscous gravy of a beer. Pass the gravy, please.

If you are a flavor intensity junkie, like me: a must try with the rum elements.

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Photo of tchipharveyslake
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Black as night, with deep red tone on the edges. Smells of dark rum covered fruits. Cherry and vanilla. Alcohol on the nose. Slight roast coffe notes, and rum takes over, bitter at the end. A very nice ride from begining to end. Some warmness down the throat and a very nice finish. Very long and the warmness continue down the chest. Very good. I dont rate this over jacob, or the 2 pumpkin avery beers but very good

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Photo of ChristWill
5/5  rDev +12.9%

This is a real dark beer. You could watch a solar eclipse using this beer but you wouldn't see anything in the process.
There seem to be flavors of high quality coffee beans and maybe a touch of chocolate.
All I know is it is rich thick and delicious.
Can't wait to bust the other one I have a year from now and do it all over again. Until then black Eye I will miss you X-) lol

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Photo of floridadrift
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Booze bomb.

Friend said it burned when he swallowed but I am a man and this beer was just right. For 12.99, its your best buck for ABV. Any of the Avery series.

A: Black, a head that vanishes
S: Boozey
T: Alcoholic, sweet, raisin liquer, warming
M: perfectly smooth, not thin or thick
O: A champion beer

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.08/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled: 6/22/14. Production: 424 cases.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, dark fruit, spice, rum, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, spice, rum, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and wood bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice rum barrel aged characteristics all around, but this one is super hot and boozy at this time.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of trippytbta
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

A: pours dark brown almost black with almost no head

S: toffee and dark fruit. Raisin maybe plum

T: great malty, dark fruit, Toffee, marshmallow, and then alcohol! Great rum characteristics here. So good.

M: full body, has alcoholic heat and bite. Good carbonation

Overall: this might be the best rum BA I have had

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle.

A- Dark khaki lacing and head. Pitch black liquid looking like coffee. 4.5

S- Big on tobacco and oak. Bready, toasty and some solvent aroma. 4.25

T- Huge oaken flavors, vanilla, caramel, chocolate and tobacco. There's a lot of excellent flavor here. 4.5

M- Smoother than the ABV indicates. Incredibly sippable. Viscous and thick-bodied. I'm a fan. 4.5

Yup, I'm a fan. Damn good.

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Black Eye from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 192 ratings