Secret Stairs Boston Stout
Trillium Brewing Company

Secret Stairs Boston StoutSecret Stairs Boston Stout
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Stout - English
Ranked #2
Ranked #3,258
4.14 | pDev: 7.73%
Trillium Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
Secret Stairs Boston StoutSecret Stairs Boston Stout
Notes: Secret Stairs is our signature Boston Stout. Bold and balanced; satisfying with a substantial body, but not syrupy or sweet. Roasted malt provides a nutty, earthy backdrop to bitter cocoa and little hints of caramel. Smooth mouthfeel with a drying sensation on the finish. We brew Secret Stairs to highlight the unique physical connection between Summer Street and A Street. We raise a pint of Secret Stairs to The Fort Pointer; the neighborhood's favorite protagonist!

MALT: American 2-row Barley, Cara-Pils, C-60, Roasted Barley, Black (Patent), C-120, Caramunich, Chocolate, Pale Chocolate, Special B.

HOPS: Columbus
Reviews: 77 | Ratings: 382 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of albern
albern from Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Not my favorite Trillium by a long shot. This is definitely a complex brew, with lots of malts, and maybe that is part of the problem. The beer has a slightly off taste, a bit nutty, malty, maybe bitter cocoa but something else that is a touch off putting. The nose is good, and probably the best attribute, it has a coffee and caramel aroma. The mouthfeel is fine, not boozy at all, fairly well balanced, but is just that malty, chocolate, slightly off putting taste that I can't get beyond. It mellows a bit as it warms, and maybe it needs to air out a bit after the pour, but still ... I'm not going back to this one, a bit disappointing given the brewery.

May 08, 2021
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brewme from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked-up a four-pack of cans at Trillium Brewery in Canton for about fifteen dollars. Canned on date of 4/7. My 27th brew from these guys. This is fine, but does not stand out in any way.

Apr 17, 2021
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouring from a 16 oz. can into a Trillium Willi Becher glass, this beer pours out like a cola; light to medium brown and forms a loose and active, caramel colored crown.

The nose brings slightly roasted, dark malts; some bitter chocolate and also a faint nuttiness.

The taste comes in and hugely delivers with that nuttiness aspect, in a really nice way. It’s still got a fair amount of those dark, roasty malts being shown to really highlight them. I like how this doesn’t have adjuncts, just all this organic flavor being driven out of the malt sugars.

The mouthfeel has a lingering, slight bitterness throughout to cut the sweetness of the sugars and not let it get carried away at any point. However, the bitterness doesn’t get carried away at any point either. Smooth, clean and offers no burn.

Overall, I really like the flavors they got out of this without having to use adjuncts. It does all this at a sessionable ABV for a stout and while this might not be what everybody is going for nowadays, it is a solid, well made brew.

Jun 01, 2019
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MaltsOfGlory from Oregon

3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16oz can

Pours a hefty two fingers of brown head into my willi becher glass. Retention is average, settles into a substantial, somewhat soapy looking film. Initial lacing looks poor, but we'll see. Body is dark as hell. So far, sub par appearance.

Smell on the other hand is pretty nice. Bitter, roasted malt up front. Notes of coffee. Very clean. A little one dimensional, but it smells good.

Yeah this is a solid stout, nothing too wild, but very good. Roasted malt imparts a bitterness, probably some hop bitterness mixed in as well. Pretty darn dry. This is a nice beer for a cold night. Maybe faint coffee, not any chocolate. Good, clean stout.

Body is somewhat light for a stout, could use a little more umph to it. Carbonation is also a little low. Dryness is pretty assertive and flirts with being too much. Roasty flavors linger for a second on the palate. The mouth isn't terrible, but pretty rough around the edges.

Other than the huge dryness, this is a pretty sessionable stout.

The appearance turned out pretty meh. The small film of head stayed around, which made the complete lack of lacing that much more surprising.

Overall a solid stout, appearance and mouth left a bit to be desired but taste and nose were solid.

Feb 13, 2019
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Holderness from Massachusetts

3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L -- Pours a deep, murky brown body with two fingers of light tan head produced with aerated pour. Minimal retention and zero lacing. Was really hoping this would finally be a beer that Trillium had head retention figured out on, but I guess not.....
S -- Roast, nutty coffee, cacao powder, wintergreen, hint of umami
T -- Follows nose, with maybe a little more earthiness from the columbus hops
F -- Medium mouthfeel, medium+ carb. Not silky or velvety, but quite drinkable and with a nice balance of roastiness and earthiness
O -- A solid daily-drinker stout. Nothing crazy, but simplicity is always good too. Nice shout out to a favorite fort point landmark ;)


Oct 16, 2018
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can into a snifter. Dark brown color with a thick tan head. Good retention. Roasty aroma right out the the open can: milk chocolate, coffee, some nuttiness. Deep flavor with all of the above. Fairly bitter to balance it out. The chocolate and nuttiness shined the most. Medium-bodied. Really digging this.

Dec 15, 2017
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FLima from Brazil

4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown color with a thick thin dark beige head with short retention.
Aroma with notes of dark chocolate, lots of nuts, cocoa and mild caramel.
Flavor with notes of nuts, cocoa, a bit of licorice, smoke and some earthiness. Dry aftertaste with a mild bitterness.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Chocolaty and nutty Stout with a smoke background. Pleasant and flavorful. It did not sin in its sweetness as it frequently happens to this style.

Nov 21, 2017
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tzieser from New Jersey

4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 6/6/17; 16oz can poured into a shaker pint glass (perhaps my favorite glass type for a standard stout by the way). pours almost pitch black in color with just a very slight ruby hue when held up to light, khaki colored head that dissipates very slowly. Roasted malt aroma with a a bit of burnt sugar and earthy/grassy undertones. Wonderfully complex flavors with dark/bittersweet chocolate, a bit of caramel and just a very light hint of prune. Perfectly dry mouthfeel. I've been saving a can of this since the summer for a cold night. This is hitting the spot right now. One of the better beers in Trilliums lineup and perhaps their most unsung. Recommended.

Nov 11, 2017
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superspak from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with The-Adjunct-Hippie. 16 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 6/6/2017. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, toasted dark/brown bread, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of molasses, dark fruit, licorice, smoke, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and light fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, toasted dark/brown bread, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of molasses, dark fruit, licorice, smoke, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spicy hop and roast/char bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, toasted dark/brown bread, nuttiness, molasses, light dark fruit/smoke, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with an awesome roasted bitter/sweet balance; and zero cloying/acrid flavors after the finish. Slightly increasing dryness from hop/roast bitterness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy, bready, silky, velvety, and rich mouthfeel that is fantastic. Slight chalky roast and sticky hops. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 6.5%. Overall this is a fantastic English stout! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink with really creamy/silky and mildly bitter/drying finish. Very rich with awesome malt complexity for the modest ABV; with mild complimenting earthy hop and fruity English yeast notes. A highly enjoyable offering, and amazing style example.

Oct 28, 2017
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring a cellar temp 16 oz can into my snifter. The beer was part of a trade of hops for stouts deal.
The beer pours a rich chocolate brown color with a foamy beige head of 4 cm even with a gentle pour. the head fades slowly and remains a sturdy edge layer throughout the sampling.
The aroma is rich with roasted malt and some dry cocoa powder notes with some coffee grounds mixed in. I dont really get any hops and the lower ABV isnt apparent either.
First sip reveals a smooth textured beer with fine tingly carbonation and an average body.
The beer could be a little thicker, but it is actually fine for an American stout. I have to remember its not imperial anything etc. Does make for a drinkable beer with these physical traits.
Flavor is what I expect from the nose, lots of roasted malt, some coffee grounds and again a dry almost chalky bakers chocolate presence. I do get a little black licorice or anice flavor on the finish, which I dont typically enjoy as a flavor, but its mild here. NO hops and no booze coming out on this can. This is a straightforward American stout that isnt flawed and is quite easy to drink. I like it.

Oct 23, 2017
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MFMB from Idaho

4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black, somewhere between thin and semi thin. Billowy light chocolate brown head. Nose is of dry chocolate and toasted kilned malt. Taste of dry chalky bakers chocolate up front. Light caramel, roasted malt and cold press dark roast coffee. A tad bit creamier body than the pour would have suggested. A sharp chalky finish.

Sep 03, 2017
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NiceTaps from New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can in a stout snifter.

Opaque black color with no more than a thin tan-colored film for a head. Sparse spot lacing.

Deep dark roasted and toasted malts. Dark cocoa, some coffee, and licorice. A ash aroma is kept to a minimum by brown sugar and caramel.

The aromas turn into big flavors and the ash becomes a char.

Medium-Light body with noticeable carbonation that tingles the lip. Semi-sweet finish with no alcohol burn.

A good old stout at a manageable abv. Good deal.

Aug 09, 2017
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A shiny black boot pour with a firm but creamy head of beige-brown, skirting the glass as it recedes.

Aroma of coffee bean, vanilla creamer, and some faint biscotti-dark chocolate.

Flavor is extremely coffee forward, very earthy, some grass, lots of black pepper and green pepper, some faint bitter bakers cocoa, some faint vanilla pod. An earthy finish with licks of bitter raw cocoa.

Slick and smooth mouthfeel with some good carbonation behind it. Dry finish.

Overall, a very earthy stout that is not particularly my bag. I can see how others would like it, still a decent effort nonetheless.

Aug 03, 2017
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Wasatch from Colorado

4.74/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks goes out to TheManiacalOne for this brew.

16 oz. Can
Canned On: Jun-17

Poured into a Tired Hands glass a very nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick/creamy one-finger tan head, which also leaves some pretty nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, some hops, chocolate, toffee, vanilla, roasty/nutty. The taste is very nice, malty, some hops, very nice chocolate/toffee, vanilla, very nice roasty/nuttyness. Medium body, ABV hidden very well, with a nice little dry/bitter finish. Overall, another very tasty brew from Trillium. True to Style. Glad I got a chance to try this. Thanks Mark!

Jul 21, 2017
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cmurphy7 from Massachusetts

3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Has a nice flavor on the nose. chocolate sweetness on the nose. there is a bit of a liquorish in the finish, which I didn't love. the problem with this brew is that it is just too light for a stout. the feel and consistency would be fine for a porter, but for a stout I expected a richer mouth feel.

Jul 09, 2017
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, some licorice and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of milk chocolate, coffee, licorice and molasses. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is mild for the style but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid stout to pound down for a long time.

Jun 27, 2017
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can dated 6/7/17.

Pours opaque dark brown with a minimal head, zero retention or lacing. Aromatics feature Oreo shells with nuts and cocoa powder. Hints of nougat and coffee. Full bodied and creamy but a bit thin for a stout. Charred malt with bakers chocolate and nut-dusted coffee beans on the palate. Finishes with lingering roast, chocolate, and a light sweetness.

Tasty and easy drinking, just not very memorable.

Jun 11, 2017
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polloenfuego from Canada (NB)

4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Secret Stairs pours pitch black with a decent enough head that faded somewhat quickly, leaving some lacing behind. The aroma of this beer was heavy on the roasts, but there was also some chocolate and a touch of treacle present too. The flavor sees the elements of the nose come through. This beer's flavor is a really nice meld of roastiness, a touch of sweet treacle, and with chocolate and a nuttiness finishing it off. The feel is light and clean with not a ton of carbonation.

This is a real winner in my opinion. I took my first sip of this and I thought that I could drink it all night long. What a pleasure to drink.

Feb 26, 2017
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SammyJaxxxx from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a can into my Talkbeer com sniffer. Canned October2016

A: deep mahogany with a short collar of tan foam.
S: Roasty coffee chocolate and plum.
T: Anise, burnt coffee, chocolate, plum. Plenty of roasted malt. Slight bitterness on finish
Mf: light and clean. No sign of alcohol. Slight smokeless in the finish
O: Very good stout. Not breaking new ground but a great example of how to do an adjunct free stout

Feb 21, 2017
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ChipChaight from New York

4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can from Fort Point in Boston
Dark brown to black, copper sweetness, dark roasted malts, black coffee, hints of chocolate syrup. Coffee and Cigarettes.

Feb 18, 2017
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Mateo2699 from Texas

3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown pour with a khaki colored head. Sweet roasted malt aroma, hints of caramel and toffee. Taste follows the nose well, roasted malts, hints of caramel and a touch of a smokey char. Hints of dark fruit, currants come to mind. A little thin bodied with a dry finish.

Feb 16, 2017
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Greywulfken from New York

4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brewed with Columbus hops and a host of dark, roasty, and chocolaty malts; 1/10/17 canning; 6.5% abv...

No juice here - bittersweet, roasty stout suggests dark cocoa powder and cold, old black coffee; medium-weight feel, smooth, with hint of char; moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Good stuff.

Feb 07, 2017
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Jason from Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

16oz can, purchased at Fort Point location.

The Stout reminds me of those old school microbrewed stouts at some obscure brewpub only the geeks knew about back the 1990s. Back in malty beers ruled the land and American brewers wanted to brew a stout that was not Guinness. Pitch black with a light tan head that does not want to go away. Smells of burnt sugar, baker's chocolate, nutty toast, burnt currants, and dried grass. Full bodied and extremely smooth and creamy. Big roasty character, does not go overboard at all. Bitter chocolate, mild coffee, dark berries, burnt toast, molasses, and a mild nuttiness on the palate. This a very deep brew but still very drinkable for what it offers up.

Seek this brew out, would love to see this around on a regular basis.

Jan 20, 2017
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Tucquan from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2017-01-16 in Columbia, PA from a 16oz can dated 2016-10-26.

A - Dark but not opaque brown with a 2-finger light brown head and very nice lace.

S - LOTS of cocoa, milk, sugar. As inviting as a cup of hot chocolate.

T - Rich, dark cocoa with some roasted malt char, nuts, mild caramel, metallic, earthy spice. Finishes with lingering dark chocolate and roasted bitterness.

M - Medium-heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Smooth at first then dries out.

O - This is a really tasty stout that brings tons of flavor and yet keeps the ABV on the lower side for the style. Certainly worth comparing to Founders Breakfast Stout in terms of big flavor and good mouthfeel.

Jan 16, 2017
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gcamparone from Rhode Island

4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can into a snifter glass. Purchased at the brewery.

Pours a black body with a brown frothy head that sticks around for a while to leave great lacing. Really nice looking.

Aromas are of an easy drinking stout - light chocolate and coffee, a tad bit of metallic, dark roasted malt. On the tongue are bold flavors of coffee and chocolate while being easy to drink with a medium smooth, velvety body with medium low carbonation.

An above standard stout - an every day drinker for stout lovers.

Jan 16, 2017
Secret Stairs Boston Stout from Trillium Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 382 ratings