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.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 177 |  Reviews: 117
Photo of TonyTalon
1.25/5  rDev -65.5%

Photo of waltonc
1.5/5  rDev -58.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer used to be good. Now it's infected, sour, and therefore undrinkable, even though it's only been a few months since its release. No point in describing any other characteristics of it, as it's a drainpour. A shame, as it was quite good when first released.

5/20/10 Update: had a chance to try a sample from someone else's bottle last weekend and it was still quite tasty. Had another of my own bottles last night and it was again sour. So seems like not all the bottles are infected.

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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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Photo of brdc
1.7/5  rDev -53%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Thanks cosmohophead for this one. From notes.

Small capped bottle, poured into a snifter.
I read a lot about infection, and sure some bottles might be, but this one was not. I actually think some infections might have had a different cause for the taste.
Dark brown beer, dark tan head, average to slightly above average retention.
The aroma shows an excessive amount of rum. There are notes of roasted malts, chocolate, some dark fruits, but the rum is overwhelming. I actually got myself a small pour of rum (which I do not like) to compare, as initially I could not identify the things I did not like.
Nearly full bodied, on the palate, the rum is rampant again. Too hot, too boozy, and all other stout like notes are just buried under the rum unpleasantness, which did not blend well at all.
I tried, as I usually like Avery, but this one was a drainpour. Really bad.

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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 Jeffo
1.84/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Recieved this as a very generous extra from belgbeerdrinker. Cheers!

From a bottle into a snifter

Note: There are reports that the recent batch is infected. Here's hoping for the best.

APPEARANCE: Pours a dark brown and sits almost black in the glass. Could be a little darker perhaps. Easy to see through the body of this brew. Pour yields a one finger, light brown head that quickly fades to a wisp and a ring. A ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: A nice, bold nose on this one. Some roasted malts, but more rum, vanilla from the barrels, and some dark cherries. Perhaps some wood in there, but the rum and vanilla are more dominant. A nice nose with a noticeable barrel presence, though the dark cherries makes me a little worried.

TASTE: And there you have it. Flavors of rum and a very sour tartness. Obviously off. Sour tart cherries dominate this brew. Too bad. Not horrible, but simply way off. I drank about half the glass until it just wasn't worth it any more.

PALATE: Thin body and way over carbonated. Sticky and sour. Pretty nasty really.

OVERALL: It was a shot in the dark. I was looking forward to trying this ever since it arrived at my parents' house, but you win some and lose some I guess. Some people might take issue with leaving a review of an infected beer stand, but I'm reviewing what the brewery produced, not what they meant to produce. Let's hope next year's batch turns out better, and I'll be glad to have some of what the brewers intended and edit the review accordingly. Thanks again for the awesome trade belgebeerdrinker!

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Photo of koflaherty
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of jophish17
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of jampics2
2.08/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12oz bottle into a snifter, consumed on 5/8/10. Had this a few months ago and forgot to rate it. I remember the rum barrel lending some interesting tastes to the mix, but now I hear of an infection so I had to put this bottle down.

Dark black, opaque with a small tan head that fades away into an oatmeal colored ring. No real lace, just a ring. Looks like a great stout!

Smell is dark malt with a hint of rum and a touch of sourness. Roasted malt and some dark fruit as well.

So, this was an audio review on my iphone's voice memo, and at this point I say "Oh dude, taste is fucked". Burned malt, vinegar, and some weird wild stuff. Almost metallic.

Body is OK but carb is distracting and metallic sensation seems to have something to do with the feel.

If drinkability was drainpourability, this would be a 5 because that's where it went. But, since it is drinkability, it's a 1. Walk the plank matie.

OK, so this was a good beer before I reviewed it, now it isn't so great. In fact, it's undrinkable IMO. But, what's really cool is Adam Avery's offer to make this right. He's a great guy, perhaps the best in beer on a personal level, but also just a kick-ass business man who stands behind his products. Cheers to you Mr. Avery for doing the right thing. And hopefully this beer, or something along the same lines, comes back w/o the infective agent. Because it was really quite good before it went really bad!!

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Photo of phishisphunk
2.16/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

First and foremost, the concept behind this beer really appeals to me and I was very excited to acquire a bottle. However, as some previous reviewers stated, due to recent discussion related to possible infection, I pulled this one out to try.

Served at cellar temp into a snifter.

A: A vigorous pour reveals a dark ale with a tan bubbly head with some nice sticky lacing around the glass. A closer inspection shows a lot of little bubbles receding towards the top.

S: Initially I got a small vibe of rum in the nose, no sour notes initially detected...smells of a lightly roasted and malty stout.

T: Oh boy....this thing is a hot mess. As the beer approaches the back of the palate a big sour flavor bursts through that completely destroys any stout flavoring. Lot of vinegar sourness dominates the taste. And this is certainly not a pleasant sour taste, it's by no means horrible, it's just out of place. The beer at this point really lacks any balance.

M: The beer feels kind of flat and I get a sensation similar to that of mouth puckering, not a lively tart feeling that sour ales tend to leave.

D: I'm definitely not going to finish this. My stomach is starting to turn a little. But such is life. You win some, you lose some. Obviously not all the reviews reflect this experience, and I certainly hope if you have a bottle, yours fares more favorably.

On the bright side, The Czar is drinking incredibly well right now...I think I will have that instead. Keep up the adventurous spirit Avery!

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Photo of hooliganlife
2.17/5  rDev -40.1%
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 Photekut
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

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 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 dougofthefuture
2.35/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

There have been a few discussions lately on how this beer is holding up, so I'm giving it a shot tonight. Chilled from cellar temp for 20 minutes.

A - Black, but not over the top syrupy or completely opaque. One pinky finger head for a brief moment on a medium speed pour. Just a bit of lacing.

S - Booze at first. I was about to say bourbon - but of course that would be the rum barrel influence. On second smell, I guess I can see that. It's nice, and melds well with a bit of a vanilla, and maybe a bit of that oatmeal maltiness you'd expect.

T&M - Nothing like the nose. There is a definite young red wine tartness and acidity that doesn't seem to belong. I taste bits of all those nice smells in the nose, but they are hidden under the sourness. It isn't off the charts sour, but it is enough. I was hoping for a creamy, rum-influenced beer, but instead it is a watery semi-sour confusion.

D - At the price, I don't know if I have the heart to not finish this. So sad...

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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 DovaliHops
2.45/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours an obsidian dark black with a lovely light brown head that diminishes very slowly. Please dont be infected...Please dont be infected...Bottled 1/13/2010...Smell is lovely with some alcohol scents and some great maltiness and chocolate...But the taste...DAMMIT! It's infected! Initially get some lovely chocolate, then I expect some alcohol/rum flavors...but no...I get SOUR. Not overwhelmingly sour, but I doubt this is what Avery was going for when they did this beer. I think the infection made the mouthfeel not nearly as full bodied as they were hoping for. I'm wanting to still finish this beer...but it may have to be a drain poor! That really makes me sad.

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Photo of atone315
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of ncaudle
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of kscaldef
2.5/5  rDev -30.9%

This bottle was not infected, but it's definitely over the hill.

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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...

 1,027 characters

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 prototypic
2.74/5  rDev -24.3%
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 warnerry
2.75/5  rDev -24%

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