Early Bird Special
Aardwolf Brewing Company

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Style:
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #307
ABV:
9.1%
Score:
95
Ranked #2,296
Avg:
4.4 | pDev: 6.36%
Reviews:
14
Ratings:
46
From:
Aardwolf Brewing Company
 
Florida, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  13
Gots
  7
SCORE
95
World-Class
Notes: A Floridian Breakfast Stout with the addition of Coffee, Vanilla, and Cinnamon.
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 46 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of beerloserLI
beerloserLI from New York

4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A black oily color on the pour with a fast off-white head. The nose is decently floral with malt and spices. I seem to be getting a berry note as well. My initial guess would be some sort of fruited stout/porter. The drinking hits with lots of thick malt upfront, with a silky smooth flow, and tangy finish. Additional flavor tones of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, lactose, tannin, and oak. The more I consume the more I begin feel how very well balanced the brew is and all the different flavors meld right together. Full bodied and while I can tell its a high abv, I'm guessing +10%, but it hides so well and drinks so easily. Thick, but lush and silky as well. A slight decadent feel but it's not terribly sweet.

Overall, this is delicious and right up my alley.

Jun 09, 2019
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

4.22/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

I suppose it's time I pull this from the cellar and crack it.

Purchased at Broudy's in St. Augustine for $10.99 back in June 2018.

Dark black pour with a thin fingernail of head, receding to almost zero.

Strong aroma of cinnamon and vanilla, with hints of guadjillo pepper, hot tamale, coffee, and very very faint hot chocolate.

Boy lemme tell you - if you like cinnamon and vanilla (particularly cinnamon), this is the stout for you. You can't miss it. Cinnamon bomb with lots of vanilla, slight coffee, slight hot pepper, and even slighter chocolate. The chocolate actually adheres to the sides of the mouth and you can taste it more after the finish. Wow.

Feel is a bit watery/light, definitely not as thick or as carbonated as I'd like. Slightly uncharactaristically slick. It's kinda flabby. Nice alcohol and pepper/cinnamon heat though, which saves it somewhat.

Overall, a pretty damn stellar stout. I'll be jamming on this for awhile, I dunno if I'm glad that I picked this for the rest of the night, I may cap it and revisit tomorrow not because it's too strong/icky, but just because I'm not sure I want this much cinnamon for the rest of the night. This is really what Xocoveza should be - and that's not a shabby beer either, but this one is better.

Apr 28, 2019
Photo of Gatch
Gatch from Rhode Island

3.92/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No date on the bottle but I’m assuming it’s from earlier this year since I picked it up locally and they rotate stock often. Now I wish it were fresher because I didn’t realize it wasn’t a stout to sit on. Happy to see it made with Bold Bean coffee just down the road from the brewery, though. And appropriately, I cracked this open at 9:30am on a Sunday.

I’m just a bit disappointed, though, because some of the flavors are a bit off. If this were a blind taste test, I’d guess it was the version with chili peppers. Maybe it’s just too much cinnamon or Madagascar vanilla beans are stronger than I realize. Something is just too bitter and a tad hot.

Meh...was excited for this one, but it really just seems like a boozy stout, not a true imperial. Coffee aspect is solid, being present throughout. Other than that, this is rookie stuff. Oh well.

Oct 07, 2018
Photo of smcolw
smcolw from Massachusetts

4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Modest beige head. Deep dark brown liquid where no light shines through at all. Little lace.

Spicy aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and light chilies. Faint vanilla and dark chocolate are also present. Extraordinarily complex.

The flavor starts off normally but explodes with a variety of flavors in the swallow. Chewy body but with ample carbonation as balance. The dark and burnt malts give way to the aforementioned spices in the finish except I note a lot more bittersweet chocolate in the taste. Long pleasant aftertaste.

Aug 19, 2018
Photo of Pontzie
Pontzie from Florida

4.6/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: The pour is dark dark brown with a reddish edge. Minimal and fine head that dissipated quickly. Head showed a red hue while it lasted.

S: A mellow coffee roast with a very subtle vanilla sweetness. Chickory. Pretty good stuff that reminds me of a good coffee at breakfast.

T: For a dark stout loaded with coffee this is a very mellow taste. The vanilla may be a cause of the soft subtle almost milkyness of this predominantly coffee forward beer. Very easy finish. The coffee is better quality and more gently roasted than some. This is a matter of preference, and I am torn as to whether it is weaker/ less mean spirited/less agressively angry than I want .... or beautifully balanced and well thought out in comparison to others..... Just depends on my mood I guess. I don't get much cinnamon flavor. I expected more based on the description that mentions cinnamon.

F: At first it hits a sort of flat and coffee forward note. Spreads nicely across the palate and holds a brilliant complex flavor throughout. The finish is very milky smooth and rather brilliantly uses the vanilla to smooth out the acidic coffee.

O: This is a slightly different breakfast stout. Pretty brilliant if what you are looking for is something intellectual and smooth. Aardwolf is making something special in this stout.

May 25, 2018
Photo of Roguer
Roguer from Georgia

4.52/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Decent head retention for the style; brew is a nutty, ebony color, seemingly clear.

Wonderful coffee-forward aroma, with vanilla and cinnamon fighting for second place. Think: a more coffee-forward Xocoveza.

Flavor is a more balanced blend of the three major adjuncts, with cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee vying for equal representation on your palate. There's also an interesting smoky component, completely unexpected and reminiscent of bacon. Roasted barley brings a toffee and chocolate flavor to the party.

Fairly thick, smooth, a touch sticky; excellent feel overall.

I really have zero complaints with this beer, save perhaps that it's a touch derivative of others' work. However, for pure quality, this is an outstanding breakfast stout.

Apr 23, 2017
Photo of Ballteazi
Ballteazi from Florida

4.98/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

My first official review on this site! I'm more of a sour beer guy, but seeing as how the release for the latest batch of Early Bird Special is this weekend, I had to go with this beer first. This probably the best stout brewed in Jacksonville, and one of my personal favorites of any brewery. Seek it it out!!

Apr 19, 2017
Photo of Tommo
Tommo from Texas

4.07/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is pretty nice, kind of an all adjunty stout. The body is medium, smell is light spice, taste is pretty similar, some vanilla notes but nothing bold. Very decent for 10 bucks

Sep 03, 2016
Photo of PorterLambic
PorterLambic from Florida

4.51/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with little light penetration. Dark tan head drops to a ring. No lace.
Smell is malt, cinnamon, faint clove. Nice bakance.
Taste is phenomenal. Malty, cinnamon, faint clove (?), a hit of whiskey.
Almost full bodied, light carbonation. Warming, smooth, nearing creamy. So very good.

May 01, 2016
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

4.01/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

from a bottle.
Clear ruby-brown.
Very good aroma features aged whisky.
Thick, full syrupy body with adequate carbonation. High ABV produces substantial warming.

Feb 22, 2015
Photo of Lochnessmonster
Lochnessmonster from Florida

5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My definition of a perfect beer. Had again last night at the brewery and it inspired me to go back and review it. If you like cinnamon, then you need to try this beer. Super dark, thick, and smells amazing. Thank God they are bottling it again, they really need to make this available all year long!

Sep 10, 2014
Photo of stakem
stakem from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft offering at aardwolf. The brew appears black in color with a dark mocha head that retains well leaving patchy lace as it collapses.

The aroma contains plenty of coffee and earthen roast like chocolate somewhat. A spicy note of cinnamon is present but it isnt over-done, it really almost smells like it is a subtle nuance of the coffee addition and not an added adjunct itself.

The taste upfront includes a perfect pairing of earthen roast of the grain and coffee inclusion. Some suggestion of baker's chocolate and cinnamon spice. As more sips are taken? it had a mild note of char and tobacco.

This is a medium bodied brew with a smooth and rich to creamy feel from the modest amount of carbonation it boasts. I really enjoyed this beer a lot. It included the perfect amount of adjuncts without getting distracting. Everything complimented one another without reaching too far away from the base beer. I was genuinely upset that I could not get growlers of this filled to take home and share with my friends. Seriously, a highlight of the beers I got to try during my recent florida trip. If someone reads this review and has the ability to get/send me a growler, please contact me immediately.

Jul 09, 2014
Photo of Lovely85
Lovely85 from Florida

4.69/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a really great breakfast stout! Lots of cinnamon, with some vanilla and a strong coffee note when fresh. Very drinkable and balanced in the finish.

Apr 03, 2014
Photo of KVNBGRY
KVNBGRY from Florida

4.62/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A few days old (and a bit shaken up) growler.

Ap - Near black. Only the slightest brown hue comes through the edges with a light source. The brown head recedes to a thin ring and a tiny film on top. It's fairly lively, too.

Ar - Cinnamon and fresh coffee beans up front. There is some chocolate and vanilla as well.

T - Similar to the aroma, but the bitter chocolate comes through more.

M - Medium to full bodied.

O - Amazing breakfast stout! It's similar to Cinnamon Roll'd, with a bit more complexity (Though it's easy to decipher) and it's not as sweet.

Mar 25, 2014
Early Bird Special from Aardwolf Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 46 ratings