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BOMB! | Prairie Artisan Ales

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Brewed by:
Prairie Artisan Ales
Oklahoma, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and ancho chili peppers.

ABV varies by batch.

Added by MinorThreat on 05-29-2013

For Trade:
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Reviews: 844 | Ratings: 5,608
Photo of kojevergas
4.14/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing colourful label and orange wax-ed over pry-off cap served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. 13% ABV. Reviewed as an imperial stout because the label clearly identifies it as an "imperial stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and chili peppers." Distributed by the Shelton Bastards.

Served chilled. Side-poured.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a quarter finger wide head of fairly rich tan colour. Nice thickness and creaminess. Decent complexion. Unfortunately, the head retention is poor - maybe 1 minute at best. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black. Not quite a jet black, but certainly nontranslucent and nontransparent. No floating yeast particles or hop sediment is visible. Appears undercarbonated.

The head doesn't set itself apart; it lacks the richness and vibrance of superior beers in the style. Not unique or special. There are no obvious flaws.

Sm: Rich cacao nibs dominate. It's not a dusty or powdery cacao character, but rather feels like a very evocative, saliva-inducing chocolate. Right behind it in prominence is some coffee of equally impressive depth, evoking a subtle roastiness and layers of java. The base is your usual dark malt and chocolate malt foundation, but it's unobtrusive and seems to let the more interesting notes shine.

As far as any vanilla beans or chili peppers? Hm. I do find hints of faint chili powder - as though chili powder cut with Mexican chocolate, but honestly I wouldn't notice the chili character without prompting. And forget the vanilla beans; I'm not finding them at all.

No yeast, alcohol, or hops are detectable.

It seems to have the perfect amount of sweetness and I think it's a lovely aroma for an imperial stout. There's some faint cream and just a hint of roasted barley - which plays with the coffee roast wonderfully.

That said, it's quite a timid aroma for a 13% ABV imperial stout. Certainly understated, but I'd call it subtle rather than reticent. It's teasing. I can't wait for the first sip.

As it warms, I am noticing more and more chili powder on the back end.

T: Gorgeous. The cacao nibs are the stars here, blending beautifully with the dark malt/chocolate malt base and the subtle coffee roast. Though it's worth pointing out that taken on their own, neither the cacao nib character nor the coffee character is particularly deep. I've experienced far superior individual coffee and cacao notes in other beers in the style, but there they blend wonderfully, and the balance is impressive. Warm Mexican chocolate-esque chili pepper/powder is present throughout, but gears up more in the 3rd act without feeling too hot or spicy. It's hard to execute chili notes so subtly. Vanilla beans? Nowhere to be found.

The ABV is also not coming through; this stuff is dangerously drinkable for 13%. There's no yeast character or hop character either, but in spite of the lack of noticeable hop bitterness the beer never feels too sweet as many imperial stouts are prone to; I think the subtle roasted barley and light coffee roast do the balancing instead of hops.

I pick up on some light cream, and could use more. Overall, this is a delightfully well balanced flavour profile with impressive subtlety, notable nuance, good complexity, and fair intricacy. Good depth of flavour and flavour duration. Average intensity of flavour. It's very cohesive, and nearly gestalt.

I'd like to taste the vanilla bean, though I suppose that would entail more sweetness.

Mf: Lightly creamy. Smooth and wet. Almost perfectly carbonated. Has a nice softness to it. As it warms, the texture feels more and more powdery, crumbly, and dusty - like an unrefined Mexican chocolate. In other words, it feels exactly like the aroma doesn't smell - if that makes any sense. It's surprisingly light and easy on the palate, with a modest weight and not much thickness. The result is a very approachable texture which bolsters drinkability. This is about as far from overbearing and syrupy as an imperial stout can get.

Not oily, gushed, hot, syrupy, astringent, harsh, chewy or boozy - though there is some mild chili warmth.

This texture goes above and beyond, complementing the taste beautifully and coaxing out the nuances of the chocolate specifically; the mouthfeel and taste cooperate to create the effect of a crumbly cacao treat. Well-executed indeed. It's rare that a texture feels this dialed-in to a specific flavour, but boy does it work well here. Masterful work.

The tingly chili warmth is lovely.

Dr: Dangerously drinkable for its well-disguised 13% ABV. I'd absolutely buy it again. Any stout fan would do well to try this. I already want more. I'm glad I greedily kept this to myself instead of sharing it with friends. Some of Prairie's finest work so far - and that's saying a lot.


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Photo of Furlinator
4.14/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black. The 1/2 inch brown head settles to a thin film and ring on top that leaves thick strands of lace.

The smell dominated by spent coffee grounds with dark chocolate and a hint of chili pepper heat.

The taste is of bitter black coffee, faint dark chocolate and spicy chili pepper accents.

The texture is heavy bodied with medium carbonation.

Coffee dominates the aroma and flavor yet, the other ingredients blend into the mixture nicely. The 13% ABV is nearly undetectable. Personally, I am getting no vanilla in the smell or taste. No matter, this is an impressive imperial stout.

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Photo of woemad
4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $10.99. Among the numbers stamped on the neck is “20815.” August 20, 2015 born on-date? Your guess is as good as mine.

Poured into a St. Bernardus goblet, this was a blackish looking color that yielded a slightly muddy shade of darkness when held up to direct light. What head there was had a tannish khaki look and was whisper-thin and short-lived. A twirl of the glass briefly created sheets of lace, but they fled at the speed of a Grand Wizard at a rap concert. I didn’t expect much out of a 13% beer, but it was a pretty sad looking display of beer foam nonetheless.

The nose was dark, sweet and (especially) boozy at first. The sweetness of the cocoa and vanilla variety did emerge in greater volume as it warmed up, especially the vanilla, but it continued to smell like a woody booze bomb.

Whoa! Holy fermented liquid chocolate cream pie! Actually that pretty well describes it. It’s much better balanced than in the nose. The vanilla is much more in check for one thing (I’ve come to feel that a little vanilla goes a long way in beer – usually too far). It starts out chocolaty sweet, but the bourbon barrel booze and wood comes through in the second half of the taste. The chili peppers took a while to register, but eventually came to stand out near the finish of the taste. I like that there's just enough to provide a little flavor rather than impersonate the name of the beer, flattening everything else (like most brewers seem to do with chili peppers). One thing I didn’t get much of was coffee, except in a generic, dark malty bitterness way that I’ve found in beers with no coffee whatever in them. Still, it’s delicious, though I’m really glad I was able to get it in the 12oz format. A bomber of this would really be too much of a good thing.

It looked a little watery when I poured it, but the body is actually quite full, with a creamy, coating, velvety mouthfeel.

I was initially underwhelmed by the look and aroma of this beer but I gave it a little time to warm and was rewarded. I don’t know if I can call this the greatest of the style that I’ve had but it’s in the discussion. If it was only cheaper and a little more commonly found locally, I could see myself stocking up on it. As it is, I think I need to locate at least one more and set it aside to see how it ages.

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Photo of JaredinOmaha
4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good. Just not great. I've tried this two or three times, trying to find the hype? I will take Founders Breakfast Stout for a quarter of the price. (Only drawback being the chili finish.....which I like a ton.)

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Photo of fx20736
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought a single bottle from Brockport Beverage, Winter 2015/16. Poured into a Duvel tulip at cellar temp.

Look: Black, thin cinnamon head which completely disappears

Smell: complex but I get coffee and chocolate

Taste: coffee, chocolate, some peppery heat

Feel: solid and slippery

Overall: pretty good

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from gregwilsonstl, thanks again for hooking me up with a long time want. Inky black color with a smallish short lived bubbly tan head. Coffee, chocolate, molasses, dried dark fruits, hints of peppers, vanilla and roast. Yeah this one is pretty damn good and hides the alcohol wonderfully! Need more.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Midnight colored body, a rough pour yields only trace head that disappears entirely. Tranquil, no carbonation apparent. It looks like motor oil in a glass, but not as viscous. Nose is sweet, with notes of semisweet chocolate, vanilla, marshmallow, coffee and a bit of its acidity. The vanilla takes the lead on the palate, but the rest of the entourage is close behind with the addition of faint chipotle pepper heat on the finish. I could use a bit more spice from this out-of-left-field flavor, or perhaps just less of the mollifying vanilla and almost out of control sweetness. After a while a note of fleshy overripe fruit like figs or dates comes through. Medium to heavy body, barest amount of carbonation but I wouldn't want any more anyway, fairly sticky. To its credit, the semi-light body is the only giveaway of the massive alcohol presence contained within.
Sugar BOMB! It was well constructed and gave roughly equal representation to each component (too much vanilla too little pepper), but damn was it sweet. It needed a heavier body as well.

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Photo of jdprmd
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served at 65 degrees in oversized snifter

This is a good beer. 2 fingers of dark kaki head, black as night. Smell is predominantly coffee and cocoa nibs with a subtle spice diced peppers smell. Taste gets a bit more complex with amplified notes of what you smell… No vanilla at all for me, kinda disappointing there. Feels great on the tongue like any good RIS. As I said at the beginning this is a good beer… this is not a great beer. Abraxas is a vastly superior mexican style imperial stout. Maybe this just needs age… will re review in a year or so.

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Photo of BuccoFan
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look and lacing is just as I like it for an imperial stout--blackness in most of middle, and a solid light brown head circling. Aroma presents vanilla immediately. Chili is perfect. I actually don't like the habaneroed beers (Cake, Sculpin), so I was concerned about how prominent the bite might be. Turned out to be just right. As with most imperial stouts, this really enhanced itself with warming. My only drawback was that the body was not as robust as I expected for a 13%er. But it's unquestionably a stand-out. For non-BA imperial stouts, I'd still take an Expedition over this, but this was very good.

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Photo of jaredsmith83
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was one of my more anticipated beers. Poured out dark black with very little head to it that went away almost as soon as I had set it down on the table. The scent wowed me as I really picked up vanilla and coffee. I couldn't really get much of the peppers at first, but they were in there. I got them much more in the taste, however. It wasn't as strong as I had thought it would be for a 13% ABV beer. This one seemed to be a tad more boozy than I had heard from others, but the initial coffee/chocolate hit really started this off right for me. The middle of the glass was where it hit its sweet spot for me. The flavors were mixed best by that point and honestly it was better as it warmed. It was my first experience with a high ABV Imperial Stout and first with a chili pepper blend, but it was a great first experience. Top notch beer.

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Photo of TexasRay54
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried Prairie Bomb at the Brass Tap in Round Rock, Texas (a great place by the way). This was recommended to me by the Bar Maid who had an absolutely incredible knowledge of her beers. The taste is rich with coffee / chocolate accents - mouthfeel was as smooth as velvet. I sipped and enjoyed this brew for at least 45 minutes - which honestly - is a long time for me to savor any brew. I've got to testify....this a Mighty Fine Ale!

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Photo of Biggtriksta
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Notes of chocolate and dark, roasty malts and finishes with a bit of heat. This one a little bit more balance in terms of chocolate to chili flavors, which is a positive. I've had some stouts in this same category that are over-the-top hot, which is probably what places this beer towards the top of a lot of people's lists.

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Photo of Rogerlb
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black from a 12z bottle, looks like it's marked 4/15 so it's about a year old. Looks perfect, with no head. When I stop pouring it attempts to form some suds but gives up the ghost after barely getting a thin layer. No lacing.

Smells like cocoa -- instant chocolate , no coffee, no malt.

Taste is of bitter baker's chocolate, and dark fruit in there quite distinct, along with tart of the fruit. It's very nicely balanced, and malt gives it a caramel body, but doesn't go too bready. Very sippable, almost like a porter rather than an imperial. No push-back at all. Yes, it's resiny and heavy and boozy at the finish but otherwise the alcohol is hidden extremely well. Hard to believe this is 13%.

I'm not getting any of the ancho chili peppers. Maybe it needs to warm... the caramel malt becomes more evident and burnt coffee is a little more obvious as it opens up. Body is getting more complex the longer I swirl and sip --there's the ever so slightest hint of the chili peppers now but I'm looking for it -- the pepper thing is a non-starter, at least for this bottle, oh well.

I have another bottle to age to see if the pepper flavor might come out more -- at $10 a 12oz I'm not sure how many of these I'll be grabbing to experiment further...

Nevertheless, a fine imperial stout that's chocolate forward, and easily drinkable.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Can we say thanks again to my man Kevinpitts. Out of a bottle into my tulip.

A – Black pour with a dark brown head that settles down. Looks like liquid chocolate.
S – Great aroma. Chocolate, lactose, vanilla.
T – Taste like liquid dark and milk chocolate to start. Not overly sweet however. Roasted malts, vanilla, brown sugar. Coffee flavors come on with a nice bitter flavor. Touch hot at the end.
M – Low carbonation. Creamy and smooth. Lingers with light sweetness.
O – You feel this beer. The flavors and the bite are wonderful. Mixes the sweet and hot bite well. Winner.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The nose is pure chocolate and chili pepper. I love how spicy (yet restrained) it seems, and yet the dark chocolate is so damn rich. Flavor wise, it follows the nose beautifully, only with greater touches of roast and coffee. The finish has a gentle spiciness and a touch of vanilla. It's complex, nuanced, and subtle - utterly miraculous for a big, adjunct laden imperial stout. There's no alcohol presence, yet the finish is respectably dry. It's a big, intense monster that's balanced and even delicate. And that, that's what beer is all about.

4.17/5: It's a bomb...and a scalpel at the same time

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Photo of Catracho5
4.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Love the cap, my all time favorite now, a catfish.

Appearance: I think this is the best part of the beer, it has a world class appearance, pitch black, no light, nice creamy tan head, a lot of lacing that I have never seen in an imperial stouts.

Smell: Big coffee, a little roasted pepper smell on the end, a little bit of chocolate, but the coffee is the most prevalent aroma.

Taste: Coffee, a little roasted pepper, not getting any chocolate on the taste, some bitterness at the back end, a lot of heat like taking a shot. I think its a combination of the alcohol 13% and the roasted peppers, getting a big dry bitter coffee flavor, it's almost as if I am eating coffee grounds, really close with the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Really creamy, dry mouthfeel that lingers.

Overall: I am not sure what to think about this beer, too much going on for me, roasted coffee, peppers, bitterness, heat, complex but I am not sure if this is a good thing. I love stouts and porters with peppers, but I think the flavors in this beer don't mix well, leaves a dry coffee bitterness that lingers on the palate. I was expecting more especially for the price, $9.99 for a 12 ounce bottle.

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Photo of akrz47
4.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Taste it the first time -- too strong, too hot, lots of alcohol, not balanced. Taste it the second time -- wait a second...that is realllllly good! Taste is another time, you're addicted. Good luck :P

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Photo of 4amepiphany
4.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Small Bar, chicago.

Pretty dark place, but it appeared pretty pitch black with a little head that dissipated rather quickly.

Smells of coffee, chocolate. Mostly roasted coffee.

Tastes of coffee, nice heat from the chili. I initially thought of End of Days, but more complex and palatable. Not as sweet, but just sweet enough. Somewhat like Abraxas, but not as chocolately.

Mouthfeel is about medium, not as chewy as I like my brews, but enough to be rather enjoyable with mild carbonation.

Overall, I enjoyed this brew very much. The chili is present, not overwhelming, but just right. Could use a little more cocoa nib presence. A BA version would be interesting. Oh, and the 14% alcohol? This has 14%? You gotta be kidding me. I don't taste it at all!! I did feel it though... haha

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Photo of breadwinner
4.19/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Viscous brew with, perhaps surprisingly, much more of a coffee punch than any sort of chile heat. As an ardent spicy stout fan, that feature let me down a touch, but it's still a well executed brew.

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Photo of bbtkd
4.19/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Prairie Bomb!. Definite chocolate and vanilla nose, taste is chocolate, coffee and booze, not much bitterness. Chili pepper is there if you think about it, but doesn't dominate. I like it, though struggle to justify the cost. Still, It is going on my favorites list!

Update: The review above was from a fresh bottle. I later had the chance to have it on tap and the keg was aged 6mo - really brought out the peppers!

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Photo of KFBR392
4.19/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours with a tan head of about half a finger. Jet black color with a substantial amount of floaties on the bottom on the initial pour but dissipated as this beer was drank. Above average active carbonation for the style.

Smell: Airy oak, heavily roasted medium bodied coffee grounds, and sweet milk chocolate and lactose hit on the nose. Definite splash of earthy fruits from the peppers. Hoppy tones mute some of the vanilla. Smokiness lingers from the nose to the body. Chocolate and lactose continue to be very present throughout.

Taste: Smooth front of vanilla, espresso, and milk chocolate greet the drinker. Herbal, rustic fruits make a bold entrance on the body. Light coffee grounds, creamy lactose, and lingering herbal notes round out the body. The finish is a dry smokiness with a mixture of the earlier mentioned flavors with no outstanding outliers.

Mouthfeel: The palate is lightly taxed for what this beer is. Carbonation fits this brew very well. Slight oaky chalkiness lingers.

Overall: Loved by first offering from Prairie. The additives are well done in this brew but for me almost come together too well and none really stand out. The peppers are the highlight here. Just a tick off of being a world class stout but something I would always be excited to drink.

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Photo of brian44556
4.19/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Teku. 2015 vintage.

Pours an ink black with little to no head. No signs of lacing along the sides of the glass.

Strong coffee and chocolate aroma.

Taste of vanilla, coffee, with a mild chili pepper burn on the back end.

Mildly carbonated and a bit thin.

Good 13% stout at a $7.99 price tag. Glad this one is relatively available, but don't plan on drinking more than one in a setting.

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Photo of JColin
4.19/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz. bottled 10/1/16
Duvel Tulip

A - Black oil. Little to no head with a brown sugar color

S - Heavy coffee, cacao and vanilla

T - Lots of chocolate, coffee and creamer. Real sweet

F - High abv hidden. Chocolaty coating

O - The smell is most pleasant. Dessert like. Overly sweet though and $10 for a 12oz around Chicago. I won't reach for it too often.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.19/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L-Black with no light transference. An aggressive pour leads to a chocolate half centimeter head which quickly recedes to a thin ring and no lacing.
S-Coffee is the dominant aroma with some chocolate evident in the back end.
T-Coffee punches you in the face up front, but subsides and dark chocolate takes over in the middle. The chilies are obscured until the very end and provide a pleasant warming finish. I detect no vanilla or alcohol.
F-Thick and viscous as a good stout should be. Carbonation is light and appropriate for the style.
O-The coffee flavor was a little strong for me at first, but my palate adjusted and I found myself enjoying this beer. The Chile aspect is well done and is a nice level which adds, but does not dominate the flavor profile. My only complaint is that the Vanilla was obscured by the coffee, but again it's a minor quibble. I enjoyed this beer an although the price point is higher than I would like for a 12 oz. bottle, I'd happily drink it again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Appearance - Inky black. Not much of a head. No bubbles. Slightly transparent at the edges.

Smell - Lots of chocolate. Some cinnamon. Coffee is secondary, or tertiaty I guess. Peppers on the back end.

Taste - Very chocolatey. Coffee is more prominent, but blends into the chocolate. The pepper flavor peaks out at the beginning but builds up throughout. A bit of spiciness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Really doesn't taste like 14%. Medium heavy body. Prett chewy. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Impressive. Great flavors and enough of a stout to stand up to them. Bourbon barrel please? Yumm.

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BOMB! from Prairie Artisan Ales
4.48 out of 5 based on 5,608 ratings.
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