Black Tot | Avery Brewing Company

117 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 177
Photo of woosterbill
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle courtesy of Phoenix2443, bottled 1/13/10, into a Duvel tulip.

A: Jet black body with an inch of dense brown foam. Average retention and some decent lace. Good looking stout.

S: Big barrel character (sweet booze and dry oak), as well as some roasted malt (mainly coffee), followed by some creamy chocolate. There may be a hint of acidity on the tail end, but I don't think this one has succumbed to infection - at least not completely. Pretty nice.

T: Quite sweet at first, with molasses from the rum meshing well with some big roasted malt character. It's delicious right up until the finish, where things definitely take a turn for the acetic side. Acidic funk and astringent oak combine to produce a rather unpleasant aftertaste. It's too bad, as I was really finding the rum component to be a fascinating change from the more usual bourbon.

M: Medium body with good carbonation. Solid.

D: The further I get into it, and the more it warms up, the more prominent the infected aspects become. This one's going to be a struggle to finish the whole bottle.

Notes: It's too bad this beer has issues, as it has amazing potential. I'd really like to see more rum barrel aged offerings in the future, as I think it could bring a welcome change of pace. I think I got lucky with this one by keeping it the fridge from the day I received it as an extra (thanks Phoenix2443!). I can definitely see how this one could go far downhill in a hurry.


 1,463 characters

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.

 1,971 characters

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...

 980 characters

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...

 677 characters

Photo of mothman
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to mistofminn for sharing this one.

Poured into KBS chalice.

Pours very little tan head. Color is a dark brown, pretty black.

Aroma: Has some sour notes to it which is odd. The rum barrels are present with some oak flavors and vanilla. Sweet caramel. Very malty. Gets better as it warms.

Taste: Sour notes again. This beer seems to have gone bad in such a short amount of time. Then the ba stout flavors kick in with rum, oat, chocolate, roasted malts, sweet caramel, and vanilla. Light oatmeal as well. Decent if a guy can get past the sour notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, but still sour. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry with rum flavors.

Overall, it would be much more drinkable if there wasn't so much sour notes here. Let down by this since it is so young. It is decent, but the sourness really adds a negative layer to what could have been a great brew.

 901 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged in rum barrels...that's a nice change than the regular oak or bourbon. Let's see what the rum adds.
Pours a deep brown/black with a brownish head. Seems a bit soapy, but overall it has a nice density. Slight lacing, slick.
Caramel, chocolate, molasses...vanilla (?) aroma. Not a strong aroma, but pretty darn good. Licorice maybe.
A bit of coffee in the taste. Chocolate and caramel with some spice and leather. Interesting. A bit of vanilla if I think about it.
Alcohol is present which seems to thin out the feel a touch.

 529 characters

Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to SeaBass for another share.

A: Pours dark black with a nice tall tan head. Okay retention with some chunky lace.

S: Aromas of rich chocolate malt, with nice roasty notes. Mild oak with hints of booze.

T: Tastes even better than it smells. Lots of roasted and raw cocoa. Mild coffee and oak. The rum is there with mild tart dark fruit notes.

M: On the fuller side of medium, smooth, goodly, mildly tart.

D: Good, I love what Avery has done with this series. No doubt it is the best beers they are putting out.

 523 characters

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.

 493 characters

Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Boulevard tulip.

Bottled JAN 13 2010

A: Pours a pretty dark black with just the slightest hint of dark cola brown at the edges. Perched on top is four fingers of creamy dark brown head that left a lacey mess coating on the inside of the glass.

S: Interesting. Aromas of dark chocolate, sweet dark rum, roasty malt, and cherry.

T: Everything above is present with the addition of a slightly tart and tangy "barrel" flavor. Slight booze flavor mixed with toasty oats. "Rumminess" comes out more and more as it warms. Nice.

M: Relatively smooth and creamy with a touch of boozy bite, dry roasty malt, fruity tang, and semi-sweet chocolate.

D: Enjoyable to say the least. I wasn't sure what to expect with this, but I was presently surprised.

 777 characters

Photo of Mistofminn
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bardwashrind for sending me a few of these bottles. I opened one with some friends and am cellaring the others!

Pours dark pitch black with a thin brown head. Lacing isn't the greatest, but it does manage to leave some strings behind.

The nose is strange. The rum barrels make it sweet, and almost overpower the base oatmeal stout. It's smooth and sweet and woody. So far so good. Maybe a little overboard on the rum barrels, as it's difficult for me to pick up the base beer.

The taste starts out normal, with dark roasted oats, smooth oakyness, sweet rum barrel notes, chocolate and molasses. This is where it gets odd. I get some strange sour notes, like the barrel was sour or something went wrong. I'm not entirely sure it's intended, and I'm also not really sure if it was an accident. Maybe the other bottles I have will answer this question.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, with a smooth feel and creamy texture. Drinkability is pretty good in this one.

Overall, not too bad for an Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in Rum barrels. I think this could benefit from some age, as it's a little boozy on the nose. I want to find out what the sour character comes from, as I wasn't the only one to notice it.

 1,218 characters

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

A - Poured a black color with a thin brown head that leaves some lacing behind

S - Is mostly of roasted malt with chocolate and coffee scents there's a touch of alcohol I'm not really getting any typical BA scents

T - Follows the nose roasted malt upfront with the chocolate and coffee flavors then I do get some vanilla from the barrel and some alcohol

M - This beer has a full bodie with light carbonation to it

D - For a 10% abv beer this is pretty easy to drink with it's good taste and drink a little too quickly this is worth picking up if you can still find it around

 579 characters

Photo of TexIndy
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. OTR with bottled date of 1/13/10 on the label. Was pitch black in color with lots of carb streams breaking the surface. It had a small tan head that quickly settled into a collar and wisps fed by the etching. Good sheeting that slides back with none sticking.

The aroma was very booze. Didn't get the classical rum characteristics just booze. Also had vanilla from the barrels plus dark malt, dark fruits and some chocolate. The taste followed the aroma and was very boozy with vanilla and dark fruits. I get that it's barrel aged and is going to taste like alcohol so not knocking the score for that. I'm not rating higher as the alcohol was too dominant and it needed more balance from the other flavors. Really couldn't tell this was an oatmeal stout. Mouthfeel was light with good carbonation. After-taste was like a shot of alcohol.

Overall, it lacked balance to the booziness for me. Got another one for aging so hoping the base flavors perk up. One-time release so won't make the rotation. Even if offered again, I'd pass and grab a Maharaja. [N;N;OTR]

 1,104 characters

Photo of jwhawkins81
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - As soon as the bottle was opened aromas were hitting my nose. A rummy booze quality with a background roasted malt aroma.

Appearance - Dark brown head with not much carbonation. The head dissipated really quickly.

Taste - Smokey boozy sweet and just a little roastiness. Smooth roast with a sweet bite at the end. The alcohol is well hidden and the flavors are good just not overly complex either.

Notes - A medium to thin mouthfeel.

 444 characters

Photo of heliosphann
3.39/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

 1,446 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.64/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to wyoming for sending me a bottle of this in a trade for a couple highly anticipated brews. Thank you sir!

Pours black, as light scurries away from the clean glass. Very interesting smell, cherries left in a glass of rum for several hours & sprinkled with sweet malt dust. There's also clearly more than minimal alcohol in this brew. Very nice.

Black Tot mixes genres with the abandon of a DJ just discovering the turntable in his parent's basement. Rum, vanilla, & cherries come front & center. None is dominant over the others, but the rum lends the beer a boozy, woozy-feeling air that makes it lean in the direction of the barrel. Charred malts, then a healthy dose of bitter hops, jar the senses away from the slippery sweetness, creating a wave of checkered misunderstanding. The rum, malts, & hops aren't terribly well integrated, but the taste is still....pretty good.

Very interesting, & good, beer. This one could do with further aging to allow the various ingredients to meld a bit more, but as is, it's a cool new twist from a good brewery.

 1,064 characters

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

Damn- why can't they make this beer all the time?

Color was a deep black color. Aroma was of roasted amlt, no hop charecter evident. Flavor was of a rich full bodied stout, some fruitiness which I wasn't expecting, a tad sweet due to the high alcohol content. An excellent beer which I wish was available all the time. If it wasn't for meph addict or moloch I could almost say that this was Avery's best beer.

 410 characters

Photo of emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Duvel tulip. Nice opaque black color, with a bit of medium brown head. Nice aromas of brown sugar, molasses, dark rum and oak. A lot of sweetness on the palate here, with vanilla, cocoa powder and a lot of boozy rum flavor. Pretty hot, but still quite good and drinkable. I was really looking forward to this one in the months leading up to its release, but after a few bottles, it's kind of a letdown--not bad at all, just not all that I had hoped.

 486 characters

Photo of GregSVT
4.37/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter courtesy of my buddy Mike

A: Pours deep black with a medium tan head that fades quickly to a small layering leaving a small amount of lacing.

S: The nose is at first all chocolate malts but as you leave your nose in you can smell some molasses and milk chocolate.

T: The taste is where the rum barrel shines through unmistakeably. Theres a ton of molasses and sour oak on top of the chocolate malt backbone.

M: The feel is creamy and full bodied with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: While I would love to drink this all night I bet I could only put down about two. I would love to find more of these but they didn't make it to Dallas for some reason.

Highly recommended.

 713 characters

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an ink black body with a small cappuccino head. The Goslings really shows on the nose and right away. Sweet and oaky with vanilla and brown sugar too. The flavor is remarkable. Both familiar and new at the same time. Dark chocolate, espresso, oak, coconut, vanilla, and on and on. Goslings is distinctly noticeable on both the nose and palate. This lends some sweetness that cuts the drinkability a bit, but this is a 12oz bottle (which I split with the wife). The unique flavors the rum barrels add to a style that has been saturated with more of the same is more than worth it. The sours will grab more attention, but this no slacker.

 642 characters

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Dark black in the glass but the pour revealed that its a deep red. A nice luxurious tan head is leaving all kinds of lacing in my snifter. More of a head and better retention that I expect in a barrel aged stout with an ABV this high.

S- Definitely an oatmeal stout. Loads of coffee, chocolate, vanilla. A really sweet smelling beer. Behind the breakfast stout quality resides the rum barreling. It comes through in the form of a spicy, caramely smell. Its quite complex. Lots of licorice and faint hops.

T- Very different. I have not had anything aged in rum barrels before. It makes for a pretty boozy beer but its a different type of booze than what Im used to. Its a lighter, very sweet and acidic type of alcohol presence. Im not sure if I like the way it pairs with the creamy coffee and chocolate notes of the oatmeal stout.

M- Typical low carbonation of a barrel aged stout, creating a fuller, creamier feel. Finishes semi dry with a very slight stickiness.

D- Rum barrel aging is definitely unique. In this case I dont think it works to the fullest. I am having a harder time than normal with this beer. Its really the sweet and acidic finish that hurts it for me.

 1,181 characters

Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, near black. Nice tan head.

Nose has chocolate, coffee, roasty malts, wood and a light rum presence.

Taste also has a subtle rum presence followed by dark malts, coca and espresso.

Medium body is well carbonated. Drinks well, but my least favorite barrel.

 278 characters

Photo of Xul
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Body is an almost entirely opaque black, with the only visibility being small streams of carbonation running up the edges of the glass. Head is a fizzy, one finger mocha colored head with poor retention.

S: Lots of deep, roasted grains up front followed by some bitter dark chocolate and hints of coffee and vanilla. A toasted coconut aroma comes through, likely a combination of the rum barrel aging and the roasted malts. A general oakiness lies in the background but the rum doesn't contribute much else to the nose.

T: Starts off with big roasted grains and bitter chocolate, but some spice and alcohol from the rum cut through fairly quickly. Finishes with a blend of rum and coffee, backed by notes of vanilla and oak.

M: Thin bodied for the style and the strength of the beer. Carbonation is okay but I think this would really excel with a thicker, creamier body.

D: The mouthfeel really hurts the drinkability on this one. Good flavors, but between the strength and thin body, it's definitely not something I'd want more than one of.

 1,048 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 10.08% abv. Bottled Jan 15, 2010. Pours a very dark brown, nearly black in color. Fizzy mocha head disappears right away. No lace at all.

Nose is very nice, roasted notes, with some dark and milk chocolate. A suggestion of dark fruit. Maybe some licorice. A softer oak barrel aroma with a rummy edge. Some booze present in the nose.

Roasty, with a hint of dark chocolate. Subtle flavors are swept away quickly by a somewhat dominating boozy, rum flavor. Seems a bit astringent. A dry finish.

A bit light in body, and high on carbonation. Seems a bit hot. I like the experiment, and this is a unique beer. I find it enjoyable.

 646 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.37/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks, Nick. Black in the snifter with a slim tan head. The aroma has a big fresh rum barrel character, exhibiting scents of toasted coconut and turbinado sugar. The beer holds up nicely to the barrel, lending notes of oatmeal cookie, toasted cereal, chocolate and caramel. The taste closely resembles the aroma; it opens with a rich chocolate flavor, coffee-like roastiness and plenty of rum barrel sweetness. Moderately hot but not harshly so, this is very enjoyable. The mid-palate brings out a big oatmeal cookie flavor and more roasty bitterness, which leads into a sweet, rum-like finish. A medium-bodied stout, this is thankfully not too heavy or cloying; the base beer has enough roasty bitterness to balance the sweetness of the rum barrel. Good stuff.

 762 characters

Photo of srandycarter
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Just one shade short of black. Nice tan head leaves slowly to ring. Some cling lace remains.

S - Deep dark malt. Booze and wood make their presence as well. Soy. Almost a little anise?

T - Hot, bittersweet dark malt. Taste a bit like a shot, pretty hot. Nice mix of malt, heat and bitter.

M - Creamy. Thick. If not for the booze and wood tannin, would probably be too sweet for me. Sweet still wins at end of day.

D - At this ABV and its palate killing flavors, this is a sipper or nightcap, not sessionable.

 516 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.