Avery Brewing Company

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Stout - American Imperial
4.11 | pDev: 8.03%
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Barrel-aged imperial stout brewed with cacao nibs, Mexican vanilla beans, Madagascar vanilla beans red black & brown chipotle chiles, Ancho chiles, Pasila chiles, and Ceylon cinnamon.
Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 167 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense and slightly rocky finger of light tan head which fades to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: On the nose there's a lot of chocolate and chili notes with some hints of barrel.
T: Taste is a good amount of chocolate up front along with some peppery heat, vanilla and cinnamon come in along with some oak. On the finish it's more of the same.
M: This beer is on the heavier side of medium with a creamy feel on the palate. Carbonation is adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is an awesome beer. Great flavors and complexity with a good amount of balance. The peppers are there but they don't bring a ton of heat to the party. I'd like to see this one make another appearance.

Dec 07, 2020
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a foil-wrapped 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Dark, dark mahogany brown pour. Nearly black. Thin off-white head leaves a thin rim of lacing.

S: Booze. Pure booze... bourbon with vanilla and a bit of spice.

T.F: Bittersweet roasted malts and burned sugars. Boozy... strong bourbon and vanilla notes. Still some heat from the chilis... and a bit of smokiness. Spice and cinnamon. Dark chocolate and faint espresso. Warming... ABV only partly hidden. Medium bodied. Sticky on the tongue with decent carbonation.

O: A boozy but tasty BA stout, and the chilis still come through even at 4 years in the cellar. A nice dessert sipper... wouldn't want a steady diet of this but it's a fun beer for a special occasion.

May 06, 2020
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled 5/19/16; drank 6/10/16 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque dark brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small tan head; a curtain of lace.

Banana, rich milk chocolate & spiced apple cider notes in the nose.

Smooth, thick mouthfeel.

Banana, milk chocolate & rich vanilla flavors up front; booze heat notes on the finish. Cinnamon bite settled on my lips over the course of the quaff.

A bit too hot, but this is a complex, rich monster. Too bad I didn't grab a 2nd bottle to lay down...

Jan 01, 2020
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.99/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Bottling date is 'MAY 19 2016'. Gold foil wrapped cap.
Dark brown colored body, with mahogany back lit highlights. One finger of light tan head quickly fizzes away, but the surface remains active with rising bubbles. No lacing sticks on the glass.
Aroma of dark roasted malts, with dark chocolate, lighter whiffs of vanilla, and cinnamon. No clear chiles smell.
Taste does have a minor burn from the chiles, along with dark roasted malts. Bourbon barrel wrapped chocolate and cinnamon, with a light, sweet vanilla addition. Not much of an aftertaste, other than the bourbon barrel alcohol and the chiles burn.
Less than medium weight mouth feel. Good carbonation.
Displays all the ingredients but not real deep nor expressive. Thinner mouth feel allows the beer to slip away and down the throat. Provides a very visual rising bubble surface show. Higher ABV% is hidden.

May 31, 2019
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Parmesan from Colorado

3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L:. Pours a pitch black oil color with no head and no lacing.

S:. Strong hint of bourbon, a bit of roasted pepper, cinnamon and vanilla some roasted malt. Smells boozy.

T:. Strong notes of bourbon, the booze is noticeable, vanilla, cinnamon, a hint of heat from the pepper.

F:. Body is a little thinner than I would expect.

May 09, 2019
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Just over two years old at time of consumption.

A: Motor oil black. Beige head settles after a time and leaves broad but thin and delicate rings of lacing on the glass.

S: Fudge and blackstrap molasses, roasty, woody bourbon barrel. Blanket of vanilla. Brownie batter. Chilis tickle the nostrils.

T: Brownie batter, fudgey, chocolate, roasty. Freshly sliced chiles butt in in a big way. Corny bourbon and a mild oaky tannin. Vanilla envelopes everything. Cinnamon middle to end. Finishes with a tingling but soft chile heat.

M: Thick and rich mouth. Decadent, creamy as melted milk chocolate. Hefty but lithe. Prickling carbination.

O: No hint at all as to its nearly 14% abv. Drinks pretty easily, considering. The chilis are actually coming on quite strong at this point. The heat isn't that bad, but the pepper flavor itself is a major contributor. It becomes the focal point of the beer, a bit at the expense of the rest. Not bad, just a little imbalanced.

Jul 08, 2018
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TexasBadger1954 from Texas

4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well balanced. A real tingle on the tongue which I presume has to come from the chiles. However, the flavor is not hot or overly peppery. Though the beer is brewed with vanilla, I didn't find it offensive as is true in so many stouts that have vanilla added.

May 13, 2018
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emyers from Illinois

3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2016. From bottle poured into snifter.

Near black with thin light brown head.

Cacao leads off in the nose with chiles and cinnamon prominent as well. Not getting much if any bourbon.

Taste is dominated by cacao and vanilla with cinnamon and chile on the finish. Still not getting much bourbon barrel character. Chile is pretty subdued, just warms the palate a touch - by no means does this come off as overly spicy. Finishes sweet.

Very low carbonation. Light side of medium-bodied.

Very good Mexican chocolate style stout, but overall lacks the balance of the best examples of the style and there just isn’t much bourbon barrel presence.

Feb 05, 2018
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mschrei from Illinois

4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured one day short of 19 months old. Mild head, slight lacing. Smell is roasty malt, barrel, chocolate, vanilla, slight burn of spice and pepper. Taste is roasty malt, chocolate, and quite a bit of peppery heat. Pretty good balance, not too thin, slight oiliness. Glad I let it sit for a while, probably would have been too hot for me fresh.

Dec 19, 2017
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CHickman from New York

4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled May 19, 2016 (No.37 in the Avery barrel-aged series), it pours pitch black color with a foamy 2 finger thick tan head that was full of bubbles of all sizes that faded on the fast side with crackling and hissing noises jumping out of the glass as the head faded to nothing, leaving minimal spotty lacing.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, cut up chili peppers, brown sugar, toasted grains, chocolate, cocoa powder, burnt coffee grinds and churros. Pretty much smells like all the ingredients listed on the bottle, and does of fine job of covering up the booze while letting all the complexities work well together.

The heat kicks in from the first sip but is a nice accent and not a burning sensation, adding to the flavor profile while allowing the chocolate and roasted malts to keep a firm base. Like the nose this includes bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon, molasses, chili peppers, toffee, cocoa powder, brown sugar, toasted grains, chocolate, metallic notes, burnt coffee grinds, piney hops, floral notes and churros. Smoky accents add to the complexities and help mask the ABV, but I'm surprised at how smooth this is with this list of ingredients on the label: "Brewed with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, malted wheat, imported specialty Belgian malted barley, cocao nibs, Mexican vanilla beans, Madagascar vanilla beans, red, black and brown Chipotle chiles, Ancho chiles, Pasilla chiles, Ceylon cinnamon and yeast." A notch below Westbrook Mexican Cake and Prairie Bomb!, but this is a really good imperial stout.

Nov 26, 2017
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Never shying away from a challenge, the brewers at Avery take on the Mexican hot chocolate spice, sweetness and chocolate flavors with generous additions of ancho, pasila and chipotle peppers along with healthy dose of cinnamon. Layered all onto an absurdly imperial stout base for sweetness and body. Cocoa and bourbon only add to the beer’s mystique.

Ominously dark garnet with strongly saturated threads of brown and black, Xolotl is Avery’s 37th Barrel-Aged Series beer and one that billows over with decadent brown sugar, molasses and cola sweet scents. Nearly still, the low lying carbonation allows the first sip to latch onto the front of the tongue with reckless sweetness that’s woven with light chocolate, toffee and dark fruit.

The richness continues on the middle palate as the full saturation of the tastebuds completes with all things molasses, sorghum, brown sugar and cola nut. Burnt toast, coffee and an overall soiled character provides and earthen charm to complement the lasting sugars. Cinnamon and chili peppers all work to balance the sweetness in the absence of any strong hop presence. Its strong taste of whisky, oak and vanilla pull from the barrels and offer their own set of woodsy complexities.

Full, sweet and mildly lumbering, the decadence of the ale renders it to a slow, savory, sipping affair, one that’s meant to enjoy like cognac, port or fine sherry wines. Numbing alcohol is soothed with a long vanilla creaminess as the sweetness trails long and full leaving that sweet tooth fully satisfied.

Nov 04, 2017
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Treyliff from West Virginia

3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass
Bottled 5/19/16

A- pours deep black in color with a thin foamy khaki colored head that reduces to a ring around the edges of the glass

S- lots of bakers chocolate and confectioner sugar up front, almost pastry-like. Undertones of pepper skin, cinnamon and vanilla cream. The bourbon is subtle but noticeable

T- very chocolaty up front with a cake-like emphasis, followed by vanilla whipping cream. Mid-palate brings out notes of cinnamon and pepper skin. The finish brings out subtle bourbon barrel notes and lingers of cocoa and pepper burn

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a creamy finish, pepper burn on the linger

O- sweet cocoa dominates the other adjuncts, its good but needs more barrel character

Sep 19, 2017
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a goblet, bottled 5/19/16, so almost a year old.

black body with brown hues. head is a bit on the fizzy side, disappears quickly to just a ring, after about 15 mins, that vanishes too.

aroma is mostly bourbon, but not overly so, none of the other flavors mentioned come through.

there is an alcohol burn from the bourbon, and you can feel the heat from the chile. No cacao or vanilla. Cinnamon may be there, but it gets lost in the burn,

Mouth is a touch below medium. finish is heat.

overall, it tastes okay, but I was expecting so much more. Other Avery high octane offerings are so much better.

May 07, 2017
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sposter4 from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thin tawny colored head that disapates quickly. smells is Vanilla and barrel. Taste is similar but rounds out with dark chocolate and a hint of spice and smoke. Could be a little thicker but overall good stout

Mar 22, 2017
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morimech from Minnesota

3.76/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled May 19, 2016. Very dark black color but with an odd, fizzy carbonation like soda. A finger of head forms and settles to a thin film. A little bit of lacing is left down the glass. Aroma of oak, alcohol, bourbon, vanilla, earth, and chiles. This stout is still contains a lot of alcohol heat. I love the chile heat. Does it really work with a stout with this much alcohol heat however, not so much. Nice earthy chile flavor as well. The vanilla and cinnamon are a bit muted. There is also a little bit of bourbon flavor. This beer is dominated by the adjuncts as I am not picking much from the base stout. Surprisingly the carbonation is not out of control or it all dissipated during the pour. Nice smooth texture to go along with the large body. Nice feel. Obvious why this beer is still sitting on the shelf almost a year latter. Definitely not worth the price of admission.

Mar 06, 2017
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cbutova from Massachusetts

3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Motor oil black pour from the 12oz bottle into a tulip. A tiny ring forms at the edges but never really a true head; it has a light tan hue. Maybe a few small spots of lacing.

S- Chilies, deep dark cocoa, roasted barley and vanilla sweetness. The whiskey is a bit subtle but oak, peppery Bourbon and that oaky vanilla feel come to mind. Considering the ABV and the recipe very subtle.

T- Opens up a bit more here. The initial sip brings a massive wave of vanilla from both the added beans and the degraded Bourbon barrel. A true vanilla bean flavor throughout. This joins a rich chocolate profile, roasted barley and cocoa powder to make a true dessert flavor. The chilies round it out with some toasted veggie flavors and a hint of heat. A hint of earthy cinnamon but not much, well balanced.

MF- A thick body that has a fairly low amount of carbonation. The texture is oily and just a bit frothy-foamy. Ends with warmth from the alcohol and a bit of chili heat.

Somewhat tame for the Avery beastly stout series and considering the added ingredients the flavor profile is somewhat unexpected. The vanilla takes over the brew with cocoa, Bourbon barrel and chilies in that general order. Good but not one of their best.

Mar 01, 2017
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57md from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark brown with just under a half finger of head. The nose has a trace of pepper heat and a trace of sweet as well. The heat in the flavor is just at the right level but the bourbon notes are hard to find - the latter point was a bit of a disappointment.

Feb 19, 2017
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color and impenetrable to light. A fingernail of brown surrounds the rim. I smell chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, and sweet bourbon. I'm tasting bourbon, then cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, and dark roasted barley. The mouth provides a bit of heat from the chiles and warmth from the bourbon.

Jan 14, 2017
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Alieniloquium from Florida

2.5/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle. Black body with no head. Smells of alcohol and cinnamon. Sweet with a little chocolate. Tastes boozy. Cinnamon. Heavily sweet. A little bit of chocolate hidden by alcohol. Rough and tough to drink. This is too much.

Jan 03, 2017
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ccg from Virginia

4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Great head retention. It immediately starts lacing the glass as it settles Dense and dark. Thick legs. A little bit of carbonation is visible bubbling up from just below the surface.
Various notes in the smell are well-integrated, if subtle. The first thing noticeable is the bourbon-barrel oaky sweetness combined with chocolate and vanilla. I'd say the chocolate is stronger than the vanilla. Next is the chiles. Behind that is a hint of cinnamon.
The flavor is pretty similar. It's surprisingly subtle for all the various notes competing for attention. It's also surprisingly subtle for an Avery barrel-aged release. I love Avery's barrel-aged beers, so I don't mean this in a negative way, but they usually smack you in the face with strong flavors and tons of booze. This one is different. 13.7% is also a low ABV for Avery.
It feels smooth and slick and a little bit oily. It's also slightly, just slightly, on the thin side. Part of that might be my own expectations. I wasn't necessarily expecting a chocolate/cinnamon milkshake like Westbrook Mexican Cake, it feels like the base beer was not as dense as some of the other stouts that Avery puts into barrels.
I'm not blown away in the same way that I was with Avery's Callipygian or the original Tweak, but I appreciate that this beer may have more subtlety and balance that those.

Dec 07, 2016
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spoony from Colorado

4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 355 ml bottle (bottled May 19, 2016) to a snifter. Reviewed from notes dated November 28, 2016.

A-The beer looks thin coming out of the bottle and somewhat flat. A short, brown head fades immediately and leaves no lacing on the glass. The beer is opaque and nearly black. Uninspiring.

S-The aroma is much better than the appearance. I sniff roasted coffee beans, bakers chocolate, a lot of cinnamon, some caramel, lots of vanilla, and hints of fruity alcohol. The chilis have fallen off a bit on this bottle, but there is still a little tickle of heat, especially as the beer nears room temperature.

T-The taste mostly follows the smell. Lots of cinnamon spice, vanilla, and caramel. The beer is pretty sweet and the cinnamon doesn't do much to dry it out on the palate. I am not picking up much pepper flavor or heat, but I can feel just a little hint in the back of each swallow. Alcohol is well hidden.

M-The beer is on the thin side, especially for Avery. Carbonation is chunky.

O-Avery's entry into the spiced/chili/chocolate BA stout isn't quite as good as I would have hoped, mostly because of the thin mouthfeel, but this is still a tasty beer. I would like to have tasted it fresh when the chilis were at full strength.

Dec 04, 2016
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smatthis49 from Texas

4.64/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer was absolutely delicious.

Looks the part, appropriate head. Complex and pleasant smell and taste. Love the hints of spice and vanilla. This is my favorite style of beer, and is among my favorites.

Oct 20, 2016
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

these types of beers are becoming increasingly common, but leave it to avery to make one that stands well out from the crowd in terms of both flavor and quality, this is enormously delicious, and i do not regret the price i paid for it, this is an expensive series, but you get what you pay for every single time! the chili is strong and even smoky on the nose, not what i expected, and i was surprised how well the heat was tamed down in the flavor compared to how it smells. just a little back of the throat warmth, coated by the sweet and sticky viscous liquid sliding down, but the peppers add a lot to this without defining it, a great use of them. the vanilla is strong and near overdone, but it works with the heavy bitter roast in here and the earthy bitterness of the chocolate, which really comes out as this warms up. its impressive how much the alcohol strength is covered up, and the chocolate fudge textured body of this is really pretty cool. the cinnamon seems to be the unifying element here, lively in the nose and subtle in the flavor, but it works so well with each element individually and on the whole, usually an ingredient i am wary of in beer, but its amazing in this one. huge brew though, and sharing this small bottle with two others was about the right amount for me. shockingly good, avery is the king of these huge stouts, and this is a great testament to that. loved it, dont let the chili peppers turn you off!

Oct 06, 2016
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Mongrel from Maryland

4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer doesn't drink nearly as big as the ABV would lead you to believe. A little on the thin side actually. Initially the flavor profile is a bit muddled, with earthy spice dominating. Then the bourbon makes itself known, along with dark chocolate and cinnamon. Becomes a little more cohesive and nuanced as the beer settles. Much more chocolate and sugar come out too. I really dig the level of spice.

Sep 30, 2016
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kalosjakar from Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown/black (not inky), small light tan head.

Aroma: bourbon, barrel notes, vanilla, a bit of alcohol, faint roast at the end.

Taste: I get a bitter roastiness up front which turns into a slight burn from the chiles, vanilla rounds it off, calming the burn from the peppers. bourbon and cinnamon also at the end.

Feel: medium with some chew on it.

Sep 28, 2016
Xolotl from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 167 ratings