Black Tot | Avery Brewing Company

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Black TotBlack Tot

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.08%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Oxymoron on 09-10-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 177
Photo of jlindros
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark fluffy fizzy head, pitch black beer.

Nose fluffy marshmallow, earthy cardboard notes, funky aged malt, mild fudgey cocoa, etc.

Taste sweet fluffy candy malt, nougat and fudgey cocoa, little earthy, candy chewy fudgey cocoa. Little acrid roast notes, etc.

Mouth is med bod, some warming booze, lighter carb.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Properly cellared bottle poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black with a thin brown head that dissipates to a ring around the glass; no visible carbonation nor lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, molasses, a hint of rum and dark cherry. Flavor starts with cark toasted malt, coffee and chocolate and goes south after that, with a metallic sourness ending in acerbic bitterness. Medium bodied with little carbonation. After the aroma on opening, I thought I had dodged the bullet, but this does taste like a soured stout. Smells good and the initial taste indicates a good dark imperial stout, but the finish is not good. Oh, well. Avery has never failed me before; I'll open something else.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.69/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to JMBSH for this bottle!

I've heard rumblings about infection, but I decided to pull the trigger anyway. This stuff pours a straight obsidian topped by a half-finger of tan foam. The nose comprises tart black cherry and galvanized steel surrounded by a sea of roasted malts, chocolate syrup, and boozy molasses. The taste leads with the black cherry and a hint of the metal and sticks with this formula for the duration. It's a true shame, especially since I can taste the real desired result beneath: there's roast, chocolate, molasses, and a boozy caramel-ness, the makings of a truly delicious rum-barreled stout. Unfortunately that glimpse I get is rather fleeting, as the infection races toward my tastebuds like rage zombies. The body is a light hefty, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a chewy feel. Overall, what could have been exceptional was marred by the infection. Worse, the infection didn't make a tasty sour stout. Just a mess. Oh well, worth a shot...

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Photo of drabmuh
2.71/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I've had this beer twice and I can say without question that this beer is garbage, undrinkable garbage. Beer is black with a brown head, no retention, moderate carbonation.

Aroma is metallic and sour with a mild roast.

Beer is metallic, very metallic...strong sour almost soy sauce. I've given it more of a chance that it deserved...never again.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.3/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Bottle (2010)

Adam Avery's First Barrel-Aged Dinner
Stone Brew co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 2.5 years)

Nearly black with a small dark brown head that leaves oily residue and thin stream of lace down the glass. This isn't a particularly heavy or substantial looking stout.

Pleasant enough aroma--the roasted malt and some licorice are the most distinct attributes, along with a little dark fruit (black cherry?) character. There's a bit of a wood character as well. Probably the best aspect of the beer.

The flavor, however, just isn't right. It's incredibly sour, but in an overly unpleasant way. A harsh, biting, unpleasant sourness dominates the roast, dark fruit, and wood characteristics found in the aroma.

Thin bodied for the style with relatively low carbonation.

I didn't/couldn't drink much of this. This was quite terrible.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out an opaque, dark brown body with a very thin, khaki-colored head.

Smell: A malty nose with notes of nutty, crunchy oats, semi-sweet chocolate, light coffee-scented roasted malts, and a flutter of booze, though not particularly rum based, and a touch of dark fruits.

Taste: A stronger, more pronounced chocolate taste than implied by the aroma, like a cupcake frosting. Sound sweetness. A spoon of oatmeal with a little bitty splash of rum stirred in. Moist prunes. Some earthy touches, with a hint of bitterness. Hint of whole black peppercorn. Dry, warming, choco-roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation. Some smooth slickness on the tongue.

Overall: Good, not great. Bare in mind these were from some old, old notes. So, either this bottle dodged the sour bullet or I caught it before the "Tot Taint", as I hear it's called, took hold. Either way, it was good enough, though I didn't get much rum-character out of it at the time.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to GRG1313 for this beer. Cheers! Bottled early 2010 with 315 cases produced.

Appearance – Pours into my tulip with a dark black color. About a finger of nice mocha colored head is achieved with a normal pour. The head sticks around for a while then leaves a nice coating of lacing.

Smell – A robust aroma of roasted malts, vanilla, oak, slight rum, and dark fruits. There is just a hint of tartness on the nose.

Taste – I didn’t read any reviews before drinking this beer and didn’t know some had experienced it going a bit sour. To be honest, I rather enjoyed the beer with a hint of tartness. This is not Abyss ’09 infected, but a balanced tartness. Thinking about it, this reminds me a bit of Tart of Darkness. The taste starts out with the aforementioned roasted malts and vanilla, but then a twang of tartness comes in midway, and lastly the beer ends with chocolate, oak, and rum.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, decent carbonation.

Overall – I realize this beer was not meant to be a sour stout, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t drink the whole bottle. The alcohol was well hidden, and I personally think the slight tartness made this more enjoyable of a beer for me (than the beer in its original form which might have been just too heavy). If you go into the beer expecting it to be a sour stout, and like that style, I think you will enjoy this.

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Photo of kkrez
4.6/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pre-soured black tot, from notes:

For the 3rd release they created a thick and chewy oatmeal stout and threw it into Gosling’s Rum barrels to age.

This beer pours an inky black with a tan head.

Aroma is of roasted malt, anise, vanilla, rum and alcohol.

Taste is of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, bourbon/rum flavors, black licorice, and dark chocolate.

The mouthfeel is the epitome of “chewiness.”

Shame this one soured. It was heavenly. Soured version still nice, just not intentional

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Photo of claytong
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - black rum in color. pretty much no head. not much retention or lacing.

smell - booze that i might be able to get some rum off of, oak, vanilla, dark malts

taste - follows the nose, with less booze and more dark malts and oak. also getting a bit of spice and grainyness.

mouthfeel - medium body (was hoping for more), light carbonation but not bad compared to what the appearance. no cloying, minor burn (rather nice).

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.3/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to shrek086 for sending me this one!

Bottled 1/13/10.

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on the top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, dark fruits, vanilla, rum, and wood. Taste is super sour at first with dark roasted malt, sour dark fruits, vanilla, rum, and wood on the aftertaste. The sourness is quite puckering and I think there is some sort of infection. The beer is not completely undrinkable, as more normal flavors come about after the sourness but it's definitely a drainpour. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation but paired with the taste it's pretty bad. Overall, this is a pretty bad beer only because of the infection issue that ruins the taste. The rest of the aspects on this one are pretty good. Oh well.

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Photo of brew3crew
3.39/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Part of an epic tasting at jackie o's with brad and Co.

A-black in color with a tan head that retains for a few seconds
S-a little off. Funky smelling with a little bit of liqur
T-very smooth with a little sour aftertast. Can't really taste the barrel aging at all
M-medium body and a smooth aftertaste.
O-decent but may be infected

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Photo of nrbw23
3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a dark brown color with a very little tan head. Head doesn't have much retention and not to much lacing.

A- Smell is rum barrels, oak, vanilla, roasted malts and a bit of booze.

T- Pretty much follows the nose. Very roasted oats, boozy and a touch of chocolate.

M- Medium in body and on the lower side of medium in carbonation.

D- I found this ok to drink. I didn't pick up any of the sour notes that others have stated.

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Photo of zeff80
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark black color with a small, tan head of foam. It left some sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt, chocolate and some light rum notes.

T - Good chocolate flavor with some burnt molasses flavors. Rum flavor is very muted.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a really good and really interesting Imperial Stout. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of GatheringBrews
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, rich brown. Not a ton of head, but with some aggressive pouring, a decent half finger head is there that releases to a thin layer and nice lacing.

Aroma is definitely rum barrel, dark malts, dark sugars and subtle sweetness.

Tastes excellent. Slightly sweet and malty with great characters of the barrel... touch of smoke, rum, molasses.

Finishes without any real aftertaste, just a bit of sweetness.

Overall, excellent beer and no issues.

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Photo of corby112
3.94/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark chocolate brown/eggplant color that is almost pitch black and completely opaque. Even when held to a light source there is no semblance of lighter color. Thin coffee colored head that very quickly fades into a minimal ring.

Complex aroma with lots of roasty malt notes balanced by the earthy oak tones and sweet rum/liquor presence. Hints of chocolate malt, toffee, molasses, oatmeal, roasted coffee bean, licorice and toast. I'm really surprised how the stout element of the base beer have held up in the nose. Slightly vinous with subtle oak and vanilla notes. Hopefully the flavor holds up t the aroma and is not a complete rum bomb.

I have heard that this beer might be infected but I guess got lucky because I'm not picking that up at all. Maybe some slight oxidation but nothing too noticeable. Much to my pleasant surprise the balance noticed in the aroma comes through in the flavor. Complex and well balanced with the rum barrel aging complimenting the oatmeal stout flavor rather than completely overpowering it. Plenty of roasty malt notes with hints of chocolate, oatmeal, toffee, nut and licorice. Only slight tannis but still vinous with hints of grape and other dark berries. Also, there is a nice sweet rum presence as well as some slight vanilla. Slightly dry finish with some nice alcohol warmth.

I was very excited about this beer because it was complex, well balanced and most of all not infected.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.39/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled Jan 13, 2010, just like all the rest.

12oz. bottle served cool into a goblet.

Even with a pour straight down the middle, Black Tot is a beer completely lacking in head. The beer is basically black but nothing much to look at.

Aroma is rich and roasty with a definate influence from the rum barrels. It has a nice sweet booziness that seems like it will work well with the imperial stout.

Unfortunately, the rumors are true: this beer is badly infected. Upon first sip, I get initial sweetness followed by a strong sour/tart cherry flavor that is definately off. It's really a shame because it would probably a pretty strong beer if it weren't for that sour getting in the way.

Mouthfeel is pretty full in body and low in carbonation which is just how I like my imperial stouts.

Overall a disappointment, not only because of the infection but also because of the high price. I'm willing to let it slide though because Avery rarely gets anything wrong.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased in Columbus a few months ago. I've put it off because I heard it was infected, which is obviously a bad tactic as it's not gonna get better. But anyway it's open now. The beer pours a dark murky brown with a few fingers of gorgeous mocha colored foam.

I don't get any off aromas, just strong roasted malts and a little rum. Maybe some smoke in there too, this smells solid to me. It's not until I taste it that I get some odd acidic notes, but they're really not too objectionable. Not as off-tasting as BA Imperial Stout Trooper was, at least there's a lot of the base beer coming through flavor-wise. Rich roasted malts, a little mocha, maybe a little more coffee, and some light ethanol. With a slightly twangy bite in the aftertaste, which is the only possible detractor.

Heavier bodied than your usual RIS, not too thick but decently coating and creamy feeling. Better than expected.

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Photo of drumrboy22
2.38/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Lost Abbey tulip. Beer was black in color, with a one-finger, dark brown head that quickly fades away. Very light carbonation and thin streaks of lacing around the glass.

Aroma was coffee, oats, malt, cocoa, some souring present, but not bad.

Taste was tart. The tartness overpowers everything else in the beer. Sour cherries. I thought there was some hope for this beer, but I'm out. This is a big letdown for me. The infection has taken over and it's a shame.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this a while back from Celeriac... Thanks Max.. shared with the peeps... and if there was an infection, it was very very minor.

Pours with a thin tan head.. no real lacing... ehhh.... okay... not great.

Roasty nose with hints of wood and cinnamon.. I get "rum", but have a hard time describing it other than "rum".

Flavor has some great dry cocoa and a pretty pronounced toasted malt presence... the traditional stout components are pretty minor really... descent dark dry dark malt and that is pretty much it... the rest of this beer is balanced nicely on the barrel and the background booze... there is a minor sour cherry presence, but I may be making it up.. Body is a tad light for the style, but the carbonation seemed to still be in play.

Nice... Glad we caught this before the bugs took hold... I would love to see this again with no hints of infection.

Thanks again Max... this was a surprising hit.


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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken after a noninfected bottle right around release--so maybe there hadn't been time.

Pours black with a thin, lastig mocha head. Nose brigs dark rum, spice, toasted malt, chocate, and a bit of coffee. Taste brings a bit of booze with those characteristics and isn't as complex as I would have hoped from the nose. Feel is nice and he rum flavors work a bit better to hide the alcohol. Drinks quite well and i am glad that I cracked my bottle early.

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Photo of Stigs
3.01/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

why not? 12oz bottle, served in a small tulip

A - solid two fingers of frothy, dark khaki foam sits on top of a near-black beer. just a faint dark ruby twinge of light fights through. spotty yet sticky lacing already.

S - roasted malts, some dark chocolate and a definite sourness/infection thing going on. not completely off-putting here, like an intentionally soured porter.

T - immediately, a distinct lactic tartness - overtones by dark roasted malts take over the mouth. though not entirely disgusting, its obvious this isnt what the brewer intended. fighting through this all is some bourbon sour-mash, and milk chocolate.

M - thin bodied, obviously cut into by whatever bug has gotten into these bottles. sticky, hairy mouthfeel with bits of bitter roastyness struggling to get through the bug.

D - not completely spoiled, though I would give a lot to sample this beer in its intended state. still, one of those amazingly awkward examples of an infected beer gone (not completely) bad. i have no problem drinking at least half of this bottle.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
1.76/5  rDev -51.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Been holding onto this one for a while amidst reports of the entire batch being infected... I guess we'll see. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point Snifter.

A: Pours a viscous, heavy .25 finger mocha head that dissipates as quickly as it rises. No retention. Beer is an appropriate, motor oil-black. Lacing is patchy and with good stick.

S: Barrel's are detectable amidst a strong, metallic prune and raisin. Subtle chocolate in the back along with the slightest bit of tartness that tickles the nose and warns of what's to come.

T: As soon as this brew hits my tongue, there's an overwhelming wave of tartness so sour I can barely pick out anything. This one is definitely infected. Alcohol is super abrasive but not boozy and all I really get is sour cherries from beginning to end. Finish has just a slightest bit of roastiness but I can't focus on as I just wanna get this one down and out of my mouth. Aftertaste is tart and bitter.

M: Medium bodied, much more carbonated than it lets on, and abrasive and coarse in the mouth. Finish is sticky and resiny and aftertaste lingers on and on.

D: The most god awful, atrocious, beer that I've had to date. Every sip... and there were only 3 of them before this one hit the drain... was a struggle to get down. Incredibly hard to review because I so scared to have another taste! Couldn't pay me enough to try this one again. Avoid at all costs!!!

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Photo of Jwale73
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle courtesy of hoppymcgee. Bottled January 13, 2010. Served in my Old Stock tulip. Pours pitch black with zero light penetration. Head was half an inch, loose and khaki-colored and quickly dispersed from the center out the shoulders, forming a thick frothy band around the edges. Spots and strands of delciate lacing formed on the tilt side of the glass during the tasting. Nose reveals, tart, slightly acidic fruit (maybe cherries), caramel, followed by booze, on a malty backbone. Taste follows nose - barrel aging is well hidden, and missing some of the flaked oat quality usually present in an oatmeal stout. Finish leaves a pleasant, light, lingering buttery flavor between quaffs. Mouthfeel is medium-light, perhaps a little thin, with a carbonation that lightly asserts itself towards the back of the tongue. Very little alcohol heat, despite the 10% abv. I know there has been talk of infection with this brew, and the tart fruit is probably an indicator; however, I have to say that I found this beer to be a pleasant sipper with a fair amount of complexity.

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Photo of Hepneck
4.57/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a beer that is made to be savored slowly as it rewards the drinker with new dimensions as it warms and opens up. Aroma- Equal parts toasted malt and coffee, with a hint of rum sweetness. Appearance-This beer pours as dark as the pitch that would have been used on the label's ship! Pours slightly thick with a small amount of dark tan head, and very fine-sized carbonation bubbles. Pours a dark mahogany color. The beer has a very similar taste to rom cremat (a great Spanish rum drink), though the coffee flavor is much more subdued and there is no lemon in the flavor). There is the slight sweetness that you would expect from an imperial stout. Hints of raisin turn to plum as the beer warms. There is no hint of vanilla other than that that is carried in the rum. There is also a very pleasant, slight alcohol burn at the end. Palate-Full-bodied does not even begin to explain this beer. It is thick, but not sticky, with a slight oiliness. The carbonation is slightly flat, so the carbonation does not interfere with being able to taste the depths of this beer. The beer has a long finish with a slight alcohol burn that is very pleasant. Black Tot exceeded my expectations (which were very high) and is a standout experimental imperial stout. I have recommend this beer to anyone that can get their hands on it. Indeed, my only complaint is that this is a one-off from Avery. This is a mistake that should be rectified as this would make a great seasonal release.

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Photo of billshmeinke
1.59/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Poured into a Bruery tulip.

Pitch black body with a dark beige half finger head that dies down to a ring of foam and wispy layers of foam on top. Some lacing left behind.

Smells of chocolate and rum spices. Then a touch of lactic sourness. Uh oh, not a good sign.

The taste confirms the smell plenty of lactic sourness bordering champagne like sour grapes which may sound tasty, but no that's definitely not how I would describe this brew. An unintentional sour mess. If you own one drink it ASAP. I'm not sure if it will help though, because it is already gone very south.

Chalky and sour. Thin. Clearly infected. Pretty gross.

Drain pour. Come on Avery you guys are big enough to stop these kind of quality control issues. Big fail.

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Black Tot from Avery Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 177 ratings.
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