Mephistopheles' Stout | Avery Brewing Company

903 Reviews
Mephistopheles' StoutMephistopheles' Stout

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Mephistopheles is the crafty shape shifter, the second fallen angel. Amazingly complex, coal black, velvety and liqueurish, this demon has a bouquet of vine-ripened grapes, anise and chocolate covered cherries with flavors of rum-soaked caramelized dark fruits and a double espresso finish. Cellarable for 10+ years.

Mephistopheles is the final installment of “The Demons of Ale” series.

Food pairing: We like Mephistopheles’ Stout with chocolate (60% cocoa or more), chocolate lava cake, flourless chocolate cake, tiramisu or traditional fruit cake made with rum-soaked fruits.

Malt Varieties:
Roasted Barley
Special B

Yeast Varieties:
Westmalle Belgian Ale

Hop Varieties:

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-06-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 903 | Ratings: 2,313
Photo of Gavage
2.46/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: pours a dark black color with a 1" head that lasted quite a while for a high alcohol bomb.

Smell: tons of brown sugar sweetness and strong alcohol.

Taste: alcohol is way up front, thick roasted malts, raisins, licorice, soft bitter dark chocolate tones, and loads (too much) brown sugar sweetness. This was way over the edge for a big stout and personally I did not find it enjoyable, neither did the wife. The alcohol dominates, and the sugary sweetness is too much. It did not improve as it warmed either.

Mouthfeel: heavy, smooth and syrupy throughout. The finish was long on the alcohol and annoying sweetness.

Drinkability: extremely slow sipper, and I can't call this one impressive as some have. This is a brew I would like to try 5 years down the road to see how it ages. This is not for me.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.45/5  rDev +8%

Poured from a bottle into a Fremont small snifter. 2012 vintage. Pours pitch black with a fine one finger brown head with great retention and lots of lacing. Rich aroma of dark toasted malt, chocolate, latte coffee, light vanilla. Flavor is semi-sweet dark toasted malt, cocoa chocolate, hints of anise and vanilla, dark coffee. Finish exhibits light cherry and slight hopping. Rich and boozy, but nicely balanced. Nice heavy, creamy body. It's hard to understand how this can taste so much like a quality liqueur at its lower (but still substantial for an ale) ABV. The deep, rich flavor is more than a match for the alcohol, but a few sips of this are still warming and inspire slow sipping. Glad to get back to this for a review, this may well have been my first introduction to a big ale many years ago, and it was both mind blowing and overwhelming at the time. One of the great big stouts, although I don't think it's barrel aged, it has a lot of the same characteristic depth of a barrel aged stout, without the woody flavors. It is quite boozy, its only real drawback, although one that seem unimportant as the glass is emptied. Perfect aperitif or dessert beer.

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Photo of aasher
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Mephistopheles is just beneath. Hes reaching out, to grab me."

This bottle is Batch 3, November 2007. This beer pours a full bodied midnight black in color with a slight khaki lacing. The aromas are smooth and well refined. It features smooth chocolates, a slight roast, mild sweetness, and is just really creamy. I don't detect any of the 16% at all. Great nose for a beer this old. The flavors featured are a lot of roasted malt with a Baltic like sweetness. You get plenty of dark chocolate with some dark fruits as well. There is slight alcohol but not nearly as much as I expected. It's really smooth and drinks very well for its size. It's a nice beer. At four plus years old, it's prime for drinking. It's a really nice, very big stout.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark pour like a stout should be. The head is small, brown and sticks to the side before going away.
Smells of coffee, cocao and some caramel. Alcohol breaks up the stickiness and sweetness. I can make out dark plum, raisin and perhaps a bit of anise.
Taste is fantastic. Combines all the aromas together nicely. Some spice creeps in before the finish. Alcohol makes surprise appearance at the end, a nice burn that is coated by the roasted left overs.
I like.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #5. Bottled December 2009. Poured in to brandy snifter.

A - Poured pitch black with almost no head.

S - A big alcohol presence up front accompanies rich milk chocolate, molasses and roasted malt aromas. Very sweet overall nose.

T - Massive sweetness up front with milk chocolate, molasses and roasted malts and dark caramel. A big alcohol presence helps cut through the massive sweetness. Lighter notes of char and licorice in the background.

M - Medium to full body. Light carbonation.

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Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has an alcohol filled aroma that also boasts of chocolate and black malts. It's got a lovely chocolate/coffee scent; very nice. The taste is really good. It's quite strong and very complex. It has a smooth coffee-like flavor that goes down slow and easy and finishes warm and sweet. It has a great roasted character as well. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer, despite the elevated abv.. It's smooth and flavorful, but also a slow sipper. Well done!

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Photo of Wasatch
4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Revisit: 24 Jan 16
12 oz. Bottle
Red Foil/Capped
Annual Release: Oct 2015
Batch No. 11
ABV 17.1%

Been A Long Time Coming!

Poured into a chalice a very nice black color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice small tan head, which leaves some very nice islands and sticky lacing behind. The nose is very nice malty, with some very nice chocolate/toffee notes, very nice vanilla note, dark fruits. The taste is very nice, malty, chocolate/toffee, very slight coffee note in there, some very nice vanilla sweetness, nice touch of dark fruits. Full Body, with a nice slightly dry/bitter finish, ABV is hidden very well, for a Impy it is pretty complex. Overall, this is an exceptional brew. Glad to have it available to me near by.

Bottled Nov 06, Batch 2, 16.03% ABV

Poured into a chalice a thick black color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger plus creamy thick tannish head, tons of sticky lacing throughout the drink. The nose is very malty, prunes, figs, dates, raisins, vanilla, oaked, toffee, chocolate, and some caramel. The taste is awesome, malty, sweet, oaky, nice touch of dark fruits, lots of toffee/chocolate/caramel. The first sip is sweet on the lips, with a good warming factor afterwards, the finish is sweet/slightly bitter. For a brew this high in alcohol, it is hidden very well. Medium body, very complex brew. Very drinkable, a truly awesome brew from Avery, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Am I a horder to drink the entire 12 ounce bottle to myself? This 2009 vintage has been sitting my cellar for almost four years, and I think that its time has come. No turning back now, here I go. On to the beer:

This beer is shiny and obsidian colored. The head on to is tanned and quickly drops and hugs around the rim of the glass. Replacing the lace are "legs", similar to what you would find with some wines. The aroma is very sweet and has some oxidation. There's a semi-sweet molasses note which hits before chocolate syrup, a kiss of cherry, and some of the alcohol make their marks.

Great taste! All the filling! There's a great balance between the strong base and the alcohol. I get the sensation of oak chips even though this beer hasn't been around oak. I also get lovely toasted coconut notes. Chocolate sauce adds the stout part. There's is some oxidation present, though it's like a wine. Despite the 16.83% alcohol by volume, it's gentle, cuts the sweet base, and works very well within the beer. It does provide a little heat. Yes, it is full bodied stuff with light carbonation, and within an hour the bottle is gone.

I like the diversity of strong ales which are being produced at this time, though sometimes you just need to go back to basics to get a great beer experience. Mephistopheles' Stout is just that, a basic strong stout without the whiskey barrels nor the single-day festival which stands near the summit of the best.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 5, bottled in December 2009.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, brown sugar and some black molasses. The flavor is very boozy. I get a lot of heavily roasted malt as well as some chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and black strap molasses. Everything you look for in a big, boozy stout is present in this beer. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of plaid75
2.18/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a dark brown hue with a two finger thick caramel head. Decent head retention and lacing.

The smell was extremely sweet with a strong alcohol presence. There were also traces of coffee.

The taste was sugary sweet. In fact much too sweet for my liking. I could tell there was quite a bit of complexity, but the excessive sweetness inhibited the full appreciation of this. I could detect, however, coffee, caramel, corn syrup. I could taste the sugar on my lips after I put the glass down.

The mouthfeel was full but the sweetness put this fullness over the edge. Not a good mouthfeel.

I had a hard time finishing this one - overly sweet and high ABV.

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Photo of biegaman
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It wouldn't matter if you were E.T. himself - there is no chance of seeing a finger - even a glowing one - on the other side of Mephistopheles Stout. I mean, all stouts are one shade or another of black but few are this invincibly black. This looks thick as tar; I think the walls in my house are thinner than this. And its thin halo is impressive considering the 15.92% ABV.

Likewise, even for a style with no shortage of luxuriant offerings, few are quite this burly and upholstered. The combination of clumps of melted dark chocolate, licorice puree, week-old espresso and all the ooey-gooey fudge known to man is decadent enough to mask nearly all of its titanic amount of alcohol.

The character of the oak barrel is easily perceivable in the taste; never mind vanilla or bourbon notes, the beer's bittersweet flavours are grounded in good old dry, splintering wood. The beer has all the qualities of a high-caliber RIS but also has the stiff reward of a shot of grappa. Notes of cream and burnt sugar are made more welcome with warmth.

I get the impression there's more flavour in there... buried somewhere beneath about 30 proof worth of booze. It's not that the alcohol is tasted outright - it's not - but there's no doubt more of that chocolaty, espresso-like flavour could be better appreciated if the alcohol percentage didn't start with the number 1. But I wouldn't want that distinguishing ouzo character compromised, it goes with the coffee-crusted blackcurrants.

I can't think of a better candidate for the cellar. This November 2008 (Batch 4) vintage has held up fantastically to this point (exactly 2 years since entering the bottle). Furthermore, I can think of only a few other beers that are as formidable, as grandiose, as sensual and as devilishly intoxicating as this that I'd want to serve to guests after dinner.

A beer with this much alcohol could probably be considered a fire hazard; if this doesn't get you drunk you don't know how to do it. That being said, it is undoubtedly a most gratifying, exquisite, knockout of a tipple that might be better described as a digestif and it's likely one of the more absorbing beers you'll try from Avery, or any American brewer for that matter.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled January 2006, Sampled March 2006
Pours with a rich, creamy-chocolate brown colored head that is initially two-fingers thick. The beer is simply midnight black in color. An interesting aroma; initially I get notes of dates and alcohol. There is a rich, malty, almost salty note; a sort of umami kind of notes that could perhaps evoke thoughts of soy sauce, though not really. When you go in for a good, long draught of the aroma your nose gets just a bit singed by hot alcohol notes. There are some hints of chocolate aromatics here, a definite roast-acidity & I have a feeling this is a bit too cold right now.

Thick, almost syrupy, no it definitely is syrupy. It is quite sweet, almost in a sugar-like fashion (as opposed to the richer malt derived sweetness found in many strong beers). The finish has a certain, almost astringent, and lightly hot alcoholic note, that is not really all that detracting, in fact it is almost needed to cut thought the sweetness. Definitely rich and decadent, in fact it is a malt bomb up front, it is not until the middle that a detracting, sugary sweetness takes hold. The finish has a lingering roast bitterness, as well as a hop derived bitterness. My impression up to this point is that this beer is too sweet, and that it seems like filtration has robbed this beer of a lot of complexity.

I am really surprise at how subtle the roast character is; it is definitely here, but is completely dominated by the sweetness. There is a touch of coffee ice-cream here, perhaps some chalky roasted malt, and a bit of burnt acidity in the finish. Put another way, there is a ton of roast character here, it just plays second fiddle to the sweet notes. Fairly drinkable for all its concentrated flavors and thickness, though I certainly won't be pounding this any time soon. In the end this beer ends up being a bit too cloying, after the first 4oz it becomes a chore, even a 12oz bottle of this is too much. I think there is some potential here; I can actually see this getting quite a bit better with age, what complexity this beer currently lacks, will be added to and made better by some years of aging and subtle oxidation. Even though this is filtered, with the alcohol this beer will age for quite some time; perhaps I will sample this vintage again in 5 years or so.

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Photo of wrightst
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mephistopheles, of course, is one of many names for the devil. The beer, a strong imperial stout, is a prince of darkness itself, allowing just enough light to escape to make it appear slightly brown in the glass. This stout gives a taste like it's high in alcohol, maybe 9% by taste. Not surprising, the deceiver is at work here. There is a strong malt aroma and taste, with sweetness first. A chocolatey goodness that can turn a sinner. There's no real hint of hops, as the alcohol gives the beer its bittering balance. Ah, yes, the alcohol. Mephistopheles checks in at 15.1% ABV, the strongest beer I have had yet, but it didn't feel like it. I typically don't like imperials because of the alcohol, and much prefer any that can hide it. This beer balances both realms. I found it to be quite angelic.
Drink Beer, Be Happy.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #4 12oz picked up a while back at Brewforia... Cheers to Rick for getting these new treats in. Poured into my Delirium goblet while entering in a few reviews from the weekend RIS tasting.

3 finger head... great retention surprisingly... big drapes of lite brown lacing.

Nose is cocoa... toffee... plummy esters... molasses... tawny port... no where nearly as sweet smelling as I was expecting.

Woah.. there is the sweetness.. the alcohol cuts through the thick maltiness pretty quickly leaving a long lingering melange of deep cocoa.. dark raisins.. sorta burnt caramel... molasses essence with a bit of char.... lite coffee.... acidity from the dark grains helps get rid of the sugars .. the body is thick but not as much as I was expecting.... lite small bubble carbonation is always there to clean things away leaving an easy :30 finish of raisins and coffee

Whew... There is ALOT left in my glass.... This is going to take a long while... Cool to have these locally finally.. I will buy them when I can afford them and cellar them for at least a couple of years before I open one again.


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Photo of tobelerone
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage purchased from the dusty shelves of Route 59 beverage in Nyack. Yeah that place (lol).

Jet black body with a very small cream-colored head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lace. Aroma smacks you in the face with booze after all this time; some chocolate, molasses, raisins, anise, roastiness, but alcohol fumes predominate.

Tastes pretty much the same; lots of booziness and heat remain; rum-soaked raisins, less chocolate and roast than the nose indicates. Something about this reminded me quite a bit of an overly strong, overly sweet and flat rum and coke. Syrupy but still a bit thin. Overall it's only medium-bodied and could use a bit more viscosity to support the heft of the booze. Carbonation was low but present. Sticky, somewhat oily mouthfeel with lingering sweetness and definite warming in the gut.

This was actually fairly unpleasant to drink. It's too boozy and sweet and lacks a lot of the more appealing flavors of the better big stouts. It left me asking myself, why? In the end I may have scored this one charitably; I can't see getting this again and it has raised doubts about the other super high ABV Avery beers in my cellar at the moment.

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Photo of Zorro
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled through BA johnnnniee and BEERFEST THE MOVIE BIF!! (Yeah you spell it that way.)

Jet black beer with a glass filling brown colored head.

Very aromatic beer from the moment you pop the cap. Sweet and aromatic lots of fig and licorice aroma. Chocolate vanilla coffee and a definite booziness. Coconut and berry aroma but I can't positively say it is black berry.

The flavor starts out sweet and bitter with a strong chocolate and coffee flavor and an alcohol burn. Fairly strong berry flavor the sweetness seems to enhance this. Pretty much stays sweet and bitter. Strong alcohol bite detracts from the beer flavor quite a bit here it is a little annoying and stronger than Kahlua liquor.

The mouthfeel is quite thick.

Tasty and interesting but best experienced in small doses. Like DFH WWS and some of the more extreme beers this is a little too intense for much more than about half a glass.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, 2007 Version,

A: Pours black with a soft tan head, good lace and head retention.

S: Smell is strong, heavy amounts of roast, coffee and chocolate.

T: Major mix of coffee and molasses, black malt and dark chocolate. Even at 2 years old though, the beer is still quite young, rough around the edges, definitely has some heat on the back end. Probably needs a couple more years to get really good.

M: The mouthfeel is outstanding. Thick, rich and creamy, full-bodied.

D: It's always interesting to try these really big stouts, defintely a sipper for me in the end.

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Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great beer. Very smooth and slightly syrupy and sugary. Notes of chocolate and molasses and oatmeal in aroma. Strong alcohol taste throughout. Pour was black in color with a tan head. Coffee and nuts with some dark fruit flavor as well. This is quite a complex and rewarding beer.

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Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's the other day.

The beer pours the expected blackish brown color with good (frothy) head retention and lacing. On the nose, I get a promient aroma of vanilla and licorise, coupled with some light coffee and dark chocolate. This beer smells as if it will be fairly sweet and boozy. Flavors do replicate the nose pretty well, and once again the most promient flavors I get are sweet licorise and dark chocolate. There is also a fair amout of hoppy bitterness in this beer, which helps to counter the sweetness somewhat. The alcohol is pretty noticeable in this beer, and it comes as no surprise to learn the abv. is in the 16% range. Mouthfeel is pretty full, with a long, drawn out finish. The beer almost tastes a bit tannic, which makes me think it would likely age well. Drinkability is OK, considering the abv., but the sweet licorise and noticeable alcohol make this very much a sipper.

An interesting beer, though I cannot imagine consuming an entire bomber of this stuff. This is definitely one to share with friends.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 2, 2006. Pours inky black with a very tightly beaded dark beige head. Looks rich. Tremendous amounts of licorice and dark fruit aromas. There is also a bit of cocoa and this is quite strong as well. definite smell of alcohol here. Equally intense in the mouth, but not quite as hot. Very fruity with rich almost port-like fruit as well as dark chocolate and licorice. Mouthcoating and strong, this is a sipper.

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Photo of Derek
3.81/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

OG 1.148, 16.03% ABV, Bottled Nov 2006, Batch 2.

A: Pours like black, well-used motor oil; dark tan head, no retention or lace.

S: REALLY big nose: dark chocolate, licorous, molases, brown sugar, tar.

T: Plenty of tar-like bitterness that's reminiscent of Old Rasputin (a little harsh). Alcohol is burning: port/sherry, dark rum (plenty of fermented sugar here!); black-strap molases, metallic/slightly-earthy hops. Palate bruising.

M: Really well-attenuated considering the strength, full body is still a little syrupy with hints of chalkyness. Roasted acidity is readily apparant.

D: It's a sipper, and a harsh one at that! Should this be compared to other 'double' stouts?

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a blackish body w/ slow dying one-finger head that is light brown colored. Roasted malts abound inthe aroma with a dry woodiness like oak and there are touches of molasses, bitter chocolate, toffee and black cherry as well as a touch of dark fruit. Very heavy, thick, creamy but flavors abound with a buttery stickiness - molasses, syrup, bitter chocolate, caramel, toffee and wood w/ hint of vanilla are all over. Not much of a hop or fruit flavor profile as malts are so intense they leave a cloying sweet sensation all over tongue. The high ABV is barely noticeable in the drink, although there is a "whiskeyish" finish that is crisp and strong. A well-designed brew you slowly sip on and savor.

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Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review # 666 seemed fitting for this beer. I had it in between St. Pat's Day and the Feast of St. Joseph, so I let evil rule for a day.
Appears a midnite black with a fluffy tan head that slowly fades. Blotchy film lacing, like little islands, are left around the glass.
Smell is of creamy sugar with rich chocolate, espresso, lactose, rich hops, and nuts. Perhaps one of the most complex beers I've smelled lately.
Taste is of caramel shot, sweet espresso topped with cocoa and drizzled with resinous hops.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sugary sweet, caramel, syrupy, cocoa filled, with hops in the mix. Slightly cloying and a bit too rich to handle but this is an excellent beer.
Drinkability - Sweet Mephistopholes(the one that fell after Lucifer), this sucker is very rich and very potent. Very enjoyable but it's a sipper for the most part.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours like molasses a five+ finger brown head that fades very slowly leaving a good lace. Pitch black color. Light-medium carbonation and very bodied. Sweet molasses nose. Flavor is sweet molasses, roasted caramel, roasted coffee aftertaste; warming, very high ABV is noticeable. Why is the really good stuff wicked expensive? $8.20 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA. Nov 06 batch.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle
Bottled Nov 2008
Batch 4

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a dark black color with a light tan head that leaves a ring of lace around the glass.

S- The aroma is a lot of coffee and booze, with some molasses, brown sugar, dark fruits and a lot of alcohol.

T- The taste features a lot of dark roasted malts, bitter coffee flavors, cocoa and a big warming effect in the finish from the high ABV.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This is a big ass beer and definitely shoud be a sipper. This is not a beer I would want to drink every night, but I did enjoy it for what it is and think it would be a fantastic beer to age.

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Mephistopheles' Stout from Avery Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 2,313 ratings.
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