Black Tot | Avery Brewing Company

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Black TotBlack Tot
177 Ratings
Black TotBlack Tot

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 177 |  Reviews: 117
Reviews by wchesak:
Photo of wchesak
3.16/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

all this infected talk has me bring out one to taste
bottle Jan 15 2010
poured into a Spiegelau tulip glass

A - very black, decent tan head, leave nice thick ring around glass, short strands of lace already

S - stale coffee, dry oatmeal, sour cherries, bit of booze and oak (may be on brink of shitting the bed)

T - chocolate malt backbone, with some sour cherry undertones, bit of caramelly rumness to it, stale coffee in the very back that lingers with the sour cherry (think i caught this early)

M - thick, not syrupy, medium carbonated, bit prickly but rather smooth

D - this on the border of infection, even so its a good beer, wish i had at its peak level, still have one more bottle in cellar, hate the fact I might have 9 dollars of wasted beer there

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More User Reviews:
Photo of brownbeer
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this a few times and really enjoyed it. In the wake of all the infection talk I decided to open another.

I poured it pretty hard into a snifter and eventually a creamy brown head emerges from the blackness. Though, it was short lived.

The nose is pretty much as I remember it. It's filled with chocolate chip cookies, roast, and oats. Nice.

But yeah, as soon as it hits my tongue I can tell that somethin' just ain't right. It's brought on an awkward, sort of cherry flavored, acidity that takes over until the finish. When it still ends with chocolate and roasty goodness. The rum and vanilla flavors come out as it warms.

I'm not sure where it's going, but at least when I drank it, it tasted weird but not all bad. That's a shame... Sort of.

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Photo of jcruiser
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A-Nice and black. Poured in 6 white china coffee cups at a condo in Breckenridge. Looked just like coffee.

S-Of rum and malt.

T-nice rich rum taste. Hopefully this will fade somewhat after some time in the cellar as it is too in your face right now

M-great mouthfeel with plenty of body

D-we split one amongst 6 people. i planned on drinking one of the other two that I bought by myself. That probably won't happen since one of them spontaneously exploded in the middle of the night sitting on the dresser.

I am going to save the other one if I can get it home without it popping too. The uniform pieces of glass give me the idea that some additional fermentation was going on. I will beer mail Adam and find out if anyone else has had this problem.


Steve from the brewery offered to replace the broken bottle at the brewery. We went to Boulder since we were in Breckenridge and had time before an early evening flight out of Denver. Man the place has changed. The tap room is a far cry from the last time we were at the brewery 3 1/2 years ago. The cask conditioned Hog Heaven that I had there is the best beer I have had in the last 12 months!

A shout out to Avery and their customer service. These guys still remember how to extend courtesy and how to communicate with their customers.

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Photo of warnerry
2.75/5  rDev -23.6%

Photo of Beaver13
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, bottle 1/15/10. Pours a dark black with a smallish creamy brown head that quickly diminishes to a thin collar that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is bitter chocolate malts, grains and some rum. As it warms more dark fruits and sweet chocolate and rum cake come out.

The flavor is sweet milky chocolate with some decent bitterness in the finish to balance. The alcohol is well hidden. I do get the odd rum notes in the aftertaste. As it warms, the sweetness starts to dominate. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with creamy carbonation.

Overall, a solid imperial stout. It's well balanced and the rum is definitely interesting (and not at all overwhelming coming from a non rum lover). I was very relieved to notice no sourness in my bottle. It's been kept in a cold refrigerator since purchase.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown to black with a cream-colored head. The aroma is bourbon and chocolate. The flavor is bourbon, alcohol and chocolate. The alcohol is pretty hot but not overpowering. Low carbonation and a thick mouthfeel. A very good barrel-aged beer.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.3/5  rDev -36.1%
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 boatshoes
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was lucky enough to score a few of these through trade and when they happened to make their way out to Ohio. Just had my first bottle.

Appearance- Pours the typical opaque black out of the bottle but with a very minimal sheeting of brown head coming off of a very aggressive pour. Head dies back almost immediately to a small ring around the edges.

Smell- Some rich flavors from the rum barrel initially evident with lots of vanilla and coconut coming through for me in particular. A healthy does of roasted malt as well but also a slightly unsettling punch of alcohol bite at the end.

Taste- Starts off with lots of dark malt and some bitter chocolate. Mixed in quite nicely are the vanilla and coconut and a slight dark fruitiness as well that I would attribute to the rum. Just a bit of tobacco and wood as well. However, finishes at the end with some hot alcohol that was picked up on in the nose.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- I felt that the mouthfeel turned out to be the low point of this beer. It was quite thin even for the style, with the minimal carbonation and hot alcohol on the finish further thinning out the beer. Drinkability was decent for the style but some age might take the hotness of this one a bit.

Overall, a decent barrel aged offering and I like the slight fruitiness lent from the run barrel. However, the mouthfeel was quite thin and the beer a bit hot overall. I'm torn on aging this though because it seems like the fruit flavors from the barrel aging may diminish with time as well.

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Photo of acurtis
3.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GilGarp
3.39/5  rDev -5.8%
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 Stigs
3.01/5  rDev -16.4%
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 Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a great soapy white foamy head. Some roast aroma. A blend of the sour and the sweet, through Rum flavours. Rum is not overally sweet, therefore you are getting mostly the sourish. I appreciate that I am gettting, it is more than average mouthfeel, oatmeal.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
1.76/5  rDev -51.1%
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 Photekut
2.25/5  rDev -37.5%

Photo of prototypic
2.74/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Black Tot pours a dark, onyx color. Black, indeed. No light's getting through as far as I can tell. A soft, modest head sits on top. It's mocha colored, and rises to just under a finger in depth. Retention was very short, and lacing was thin.

The nose is not good. I've heard the rumors of bottles being infected recently. The nose is consistent with that. It smells acidic, tart, and a little vinegar like. Not a good thing for a barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stout. Not good at all. There are some decent chocolate and roasted malt notes. Coffee certainly cuts through, as well. I suspect this stuff smelled nice right out of the gate. It just smells a little tainted, if you will.

The flavor is not very good. It's far from horrendous, but it's not good. It does have an acidic, tart flavor that strongly suggests infection. Frankly, it's kind of interesting. Not great, but definitely interesting. There are some chocolate and roasted malt undertones. I am getting a little roasted coffee, as well. I can't say that all the flavors work very well together, but it's not disgusting by any stretch. Ultimately, the tart/sour flavor carries the day, and is a little too much. But, for a beer that's likely infected, it somehow manages to be a little better than I expected.

Black Tot has a medium body. Carbonation is light, and it does have a smooth feel. This is easily the strongest feature at this point. Drinkability is not very good. Eh, it's interesting for a bit. But it gets old relatively quick. I'm debating on whether or not I'll finish the bottle.

The present state of Black Tot is a shame. For what it's worth, I believe this bottle is infected. It has all the bells and whistles. It's too bad. I bet this was pretty good stuff before it started degrading. I feel pretty confident suggesting that you skip any bottles you see out there. Yeah, some may not be infected, but at $9.00 per 12 oz. bottle, that's a big risk to take. Too big, if you ask me.

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Photo of Desaparecido
5/5  rDev +38.9%

Photo of hooliganlife
2.17/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

pours dark black with a light cocoa head. disappears quickly leaving light lacing

very subtle on the nose. light hints of molasses, dark fruits, rum, candied cherries, coffee, and chocolate. a bit complex but again, very subtle all around

lots of charcoal, lots of sour lactic vinegar flavor, no rum. this is sucks. is this a wild ale stout? AWFUL!

very thick, chewy and a bit grainy. amazing body. gums burn a bit from the booze.

i have another and i am bummed at $8 a pop, i expect more. i am NOT looking forward to my next. i wish i had cracked this open sooner. i had to pour it.

this was an amazing idea for a stout, and i heard tons of praise when fresh. oh well...

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Photo of kkrez
4.6/5  rDev +27.8%
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 nickd717
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle ordered online from The Wine & Cheese Place. If you don't think I'm a sucker for a -bal aged imperial stout, you don't know me. I am.

Pours nearly black with a small tan head that leaves great foam.

Aroma is roast, chocolate, rum, coconut, and wood. Maybe some fruity notes too.

Flavor is pretty nice, with rum, dark fruits (maybe prune and plum), coconut, vanilla, and a little chocolate. Some tannins in there from the -bals. A touch of alcohol as well.

Medium body for the style with a smooth palate. Appropriate carbonation level.

Solid imperial stout overall, with good drinkability.

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Photo of heliosphann
3.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle shared by fellow BA infestaxion. Thanks Daive! Served in my sweet Ithaca Tulip.

A: Pours with very little if any head. What's left is mocha, and makes a ring around the glass. Appears a dense black in the glass, but upon closer inspection there's a slight reddish brown on the fringe. Lacing is average and a little oily.

S: Roasted coffee and malts, with a tinge of run and oak from the barrels. There's also some chocolate, a hint of vanilla and some earthy notes.

T: The rum comes across right at the first sip, a little too much in fact. There's also some wood and tart cherries in the mix. The base oatmeal stout seems to be very almost gone, with only a small amount of chocolate and roastiness leftover. Slightly sour and a little off tasting.

M: Medium/light bodied. Comes across very thin, most likely due to the barrel aging as an Imperial Oatmeal Stout should have some good thickness.

D: The 10% ABV is not overly in your face, but it's definitely there. Mostly due to the rum. The half-bottle I had of this was more than plenty.

Mark this one up as another disappointment in Avery's Barrel-Aged Series. I would really love to try the base beer that they used, as it was probably far superior than this version.

***Update*** Apparently quite a few people are reporting Black Tots being infected. The bottle I tasted very well could have been in the early stages of infection. I have one left and will revisit soon.

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Photo of hiphopj5
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +11.1%
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 GarrisWH
4.28/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours an opaque, borderline black/deep brown with one finger of creamy, tan head. Retains a nice cap and leaves some good lacing behind.

S - Dark, roasted malts with coffee and dark fruitiness coming through. The rum is pretty pronounced in the aroma which lends a somewhat boozy quality, unsurprisingly...

T - Rich, roasty dark malts up front with noticeable coffee, chocolate and dried, dark fruit(prune/raisin) flavors. Some caramel and molasses flavors are also present as well as a touch of woodiness from the barrels. The finish brings a touch of heat and a bit of the sweet rum flavor. The rum flavors really go well with the roasted malts and add a nice touch without overpowering.

M - Full bodied, rich, and smooth with mellow carbonation.

D - Another well-done barrel-aged offering from Avery. Delicious combination of flavors with a nicely hidden ABV. The rum character is pronounced without dominating and ends up being a great match for the imperial stout. I will definitely have to get my hands on a few more of these.

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Photo of icetrauma
4.04/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the bottle into a pint glass.

Appeared a deep black with very little dark tan head.

Smelled of dark roast malt with nuances of oak and vanilla.

Taste started off with a slight hint of anice immediately followed by oak, vanilla and chocolate. Finished off with the dark roast malt finish.

Mouth feel was good. Not to thin and not as thick as it poured.

Very good beer. After every drink I kept on looking into the glass and could not believe the depth of flavors coming from this brew. Good job Avery.

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Black Tot from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.6 out of 5 with 177 ratings