Burial Beer Co.

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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #440
Ranked #2,094
4.26 | pDev: 6.81%
Burial Beer Co.
North Carolina, United States
Notes: Formerly Piston Espresso Stout

Behold the vibrant glare of life’s everlasting penchant for satisfaction’s zenith. We kneel before the temple of your desires and proudly offer you this gallant chalice. This cold black steel melds rich caramel and honey flavors with lactose sugars and just enough charred black malt to forge defining stout balance. The addition of a custom blend of roasted coffee beans, from Asheville’s PennyCup Coffee, offers bold roast, dark fruit and the mild smokiness that drives the aroma. Sip slow, sit long.
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 120 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is very dark black in color; when held up to a bright light the edges of the glass are dark brown in color. It poured with a quarter finger high beige colored head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface had a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of coffee beans are present in the nose along with hints of lactose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has lots of flavors of coffee beans along with touches of lactose and faint bits of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This stout has a lot of bold aromas and flavors of coffee and would make for a good breakfast beer or a selection for an early morning tailgate party. It also does a remarkable job at hiding any traces of alcohol from the taste given its strength and is rather drinkable.

Serving type: can

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Photo of darktronica
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Years ago, I used to frequent an Italian deli that had a wide variety of interesting sodas, including an espresso soda that this reminds me of. That drink was terrible, but this is what I imagine it could have been if done right (and with 10% ABV, obviously). Thinner-bodied like a soda, slightly lower carbonation than expected, but rich chocolate and bitter espresso, some real earthy dirt and grinds.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin khaki head that dissipates to sparse patches with slight lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, coffee, faint vanilla and licorice. Flavor is dark toasted malt, drip coffee, brown bread, light vanilla; flavor thins out into a coffee and cream dominated light finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. A somewhat light bodied stout to support the more robust coffee flavors present here. The coffee tasted much more like a creamy Americano than espresso, but I suspect that espresso intensity would be difficult and probably overwhelming in a coffee stout. Although the malt is supportive at first, it kind of fades away into the finish, leaving this tasting more like a few of the lighter bodied coffee beers I've tried in the past. Drinkable and enjoyable, but not one of the deeper coffee stouts out there.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Unknown vintage; drank 3/13/18 @ the Yarchives.

Black/brown appearance.

A violent pour yielded a huge, noisy tan head; frothy lace.

Cream, light roast coffee bean & mild fresh earth notes in the nose.

Creamy medium mouthfeel.

Light roast coffee bean & cream flavors up front; mild fresh earth & faint spring water notes on the finish.

Easy to drink, but too thin & watery to really wow ya.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Contained within that bottomless generosity from @Dragginballs76 during NBS BIF#8
Pour yields a deep brown body with coffee hues towards the corners. Tight tan head of tiny bubbles. Doesn't stick around in abundance, but does retain a nice little cap.

Nose is a smoothe creamy delicious coffee note with some smoothe chocolate and probably lactose (edit: yup).

First notes of bitter chocolate and coffee suggestions are overwhelmed a bit by how sweet it is. A lot of lactose coming through as well. As it warms the coffee comes forward more and is really pleasant, but the lactose is still a bit much.

10% alcohol is present but not overwhelming, though between the lactose and the alcohol it is a little thinner bodied than my preference.
Thanks Mike!!

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Photo of AyatollahGold
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pouring this beer from a 12 oz. can into the center of a whiskey glass, it pours out like coffee. Dark brown with some highlights and forms a thin layer of caramel colored crown that dissipates quickly. 4

The smell brings a coffee/espresso dominance with roastiness, followed by layers of sweetness like caramel, chocolate, vanilla and even some slight maple. 4.25

The taste follows the nose well. It comes in with that roasty, bitter, astringent coffee. Melds into sweetness of lactose sugar for almost a creamer presence. Chocolate is still there, along with caramel as well. 4.25

The mouthfeel is creamy with some bitter/acidic astringency, but really not sharply so. Well carbonated, not leaving it feel flat. Medium bodied, while coating the mouth with flavor, it doesn’t feel like fudge. 4.25

Overall, this is a well made and balanced brew. Different aspects and layers of the coffee mixing with the layers of sweetness as well, with a creamy mouthfeel all work together to lead to an enjoyable drinker. 4.25

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Photo of Roguer
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Modest head production; brown head quickly fades to a glass-hugging thin rim, along with an oily sheen on top. Brew is invitingly dark, a wonderfully deep and almost reflective ebony.

Big coffee notes, along with a slightly sharp red grape and char note (more typical of RIS, but not quite as strong), burnt caramel, molasses, a touch of licorice, cream (from the lactose, perhaps), brown sugar, very light dark fruit notes (prunes, dates, and bits of grass and earth.

Flavor is rich, deep, and relatively sweet for a coffee stout - actually, quite sweet for the style, perhaps owing in part to the lactose. Quite a bit of coffee, especially mid-palate, but up front the sweeter tones are initially assertive: honey, brown sugar, sweet red grapes, banana, clove, and melon. Very low bitterness for a coffee stout.

More coffee flavor, in particular up front - balanced against the sweetness - as it warms. Longer finish, as well, with more coffee throughout the entire sip. Sweetness is less pronounced as it warms, albeit still quite present.

A thinner body keeps this brew from dessert beer territory. Really no hint of the 10% ABV; full flavored but almost thin bodied (somewhere from light to light-medium). Almost no heat, save for a very mild lingering back-end heat more appropriate for a 6-7% ABV brew.

As it warms it thickens slightly. Smooth, silky, a touch sticky throughout the temperature range.

Comparison beers: FBS, Ten-Fidy, Speedway Stout. This is less better, less full, less roasty, less chewy than all of those - and at the same time, sweeter, and more drinkable (nearly crushable). It also has less coffee flavor (but perhaps more aroma) than FBS, for my palate.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served in a red wine glass from the can.

Appearance: beer pours a dark black motor oil color coming off of very very thick with a dark tan head rising just above 1 in fingers length off the body.

Smell: super deep heavy espresso beans with notes of dark chocolate hovering a nostrils. The smell literally lingers with you for a while and very hard to put the glass down.

Taste: deep rich espresso with notes of mocha comes off a little sweet but super super bitter at the same time it's literally coffee without the sugar but yet you feel molasses going along with it.

Mouth: medium carbonation coming off very sticky and heavily touristed at the same time makes you think of chocolate loaf cake that was sitting a little extra in the toaster.

Overall: Great find and Burial continues to deliver. this beer was a little pricey but it was absolutely worth it complex taste feels almost like a dessert for bitter enough that you want to try another. Salud!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Sampling a cellar temp 12 oz can poured into a snifter. the can is a part of a deal from @jerryfreak, Thank you!
The beer pours a dark cola brown with minimal beige head of 1 cm and it is only a thin edge layer soon after the open. The aroma is malty with roasted notes and molasses, plus some brown sugar and coffee notes. I also find a bit of raisin. No hops and the higher booze on this beer is well hidden too.
First sip reveals a lighter body than expected but very smooth texture and soft minimal carbonation. The beer drinks very easy.
Flavor is all malt, some coffee beans, roasted malt, brown sugar and molasses. Also a little bit of plum and raisin mixed in. I get no hops and the booze is completely hidden, adding to the drinkability of this beer.
A nice imperial stout which is very drinkable and enjoyable. Not a presence of hops here and all malt. I like this one, but think it could be a little dangerous.

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Photo of Gavage
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: black in color with a thick 2" head that lasts a long time.

Smell: huge coffee and roasted malt aroma.

Taste: roasted malt, dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, a hint of alcohol, and a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth at the finish. Long lasting coffee and roasted malt flavors.

Overall: a wonderful slow sipping stout that is extremely satisfying and just flat out delicious.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
3.4/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Can poured into a snifter.

Deep brown with a half finger head that quickly vanishes leaving zero lacing.

Smells of espresso with a shot of sweet cream. Faint chocolate and vanilla.

Taste is strong coffee and sweet honey creamer. Coffee bitterness is quickly washed away by a sugary finish. Not syrupy but way too sweet which makes it tough to drink.

Mouthfeel is medium thin. Carbonation is light. Although it feels thin at times there is a slight softness that helps out quite a bit.

A decent offering from Burial. Nothing I would chase down and won't have again. The sugar/Coffee creamer finish was off putting and made this a pass for me. The coffee flavor was promising but it went downhill from there.

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Photo of Sheppard
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark almost black brown with tan head. Certainly smells like breakfast with notes of oat, coffee, and maple. There are certainly coffee and chocolate notes to go with an oatmeal base. It's definitely balanced and not oppressive heat-wise, despite the high ABV. A well-balanced imperial coffee stout.

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Photo of BarrelchesterHamfist
3.08/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A fizzy pour quickly flattens out to look, smell and taste like a mixture of thin black coffee, Kahlua, and cola.
It does hide the 10% from your tastebuds.... and your glass, very thin.
One and done.

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Photo of jaketaz
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am forced to give this one less than a perfect score because really there is almost no head, and lackluster aroma. HOWEVER: the taste and mouthfeel are basically perfection, one of the best espresso beers I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. It's on par with Cigar City's "Caffe Americano" - i.e. excellent. I got it on tap as part of a flight, I neglected the rest of the flight and ordered a full size, and then another, and then realized I still had to drive home and cut myself off. I should've had a couple more and taken an Uber, because the bar is no longer offering it and I've been thinking about it ever since I had it two weeks ago!

Extremely balanced and sweet imp stout, too sweet for some drinkers but great for me. They totally killed it with this release and hats off to the coffee roasters as well, the espresso flavor is deep and fruity but well tempered with lactose sugar. I will definitely have this again if I ever see it, and I'll be on the lookout for PennyCup coffee as well.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a finger and half of khaki after an aggressive pour into the glass. Head retention is okay. Aroma is dark, rich, and semi-charred notes of espresso coffee, and roasted and toasted malts behind. While there is espresso coffee present, it does come off a little burnt and overly crisp. Flavor profile is smooth, rich espresso, and milk chocolate notes with roasted and toasted malts. It's a brilliantly rich blend of chocolate and coffee. The flavor profile comes off considerably more smooth and rich than the aroma. Mouth feel is medium in thickness with a rich, velvety texture. Overall, a rich stout with some delightful espresso and chocolate notes in the flavor profile, but a semi-weak aroma.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 12oz can.

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Photo of Blackop555
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown. Foamy, short, brown head that Fades fast to a lasting ring.

Smells fresh coffee beans, roast malt, caramel, light sweetness, Char hints and dark fruit hints.

Taste caramel and coffee, roasted malt, light dark fruit, light chocolate, light Char and next to no alcohol somehow. Semi-dry finish with a roasted linger. Lighter medium body and fizzy medium carbonation.

Only negative on this beer is the look and the mouth feel is quite not as expected.

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Photo of colts9016
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I heard about this beer, only in little amounts. When I told my friends I got this beer they said it was fucking amazing. I cracked the can open and a strong dark coffee aroma emitted from the can. Poured the beer into my Bruery glass, it was 47 degrees. The hard pour produced a one finger medium tan head with poor retention. The head dissipated leaving nothing in the glass. The clarity of the beer is opaque.

The aromas in the beer are dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, char, earthy, dark stone fruit, molasses, burnt sugars, bready, and dark roasted malt.

Dark roasted malt, dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, earthy, dark stone fruit, floral, citrus, molasses, burnt sugar, bready, and yeasty.

The mouthfeel of the beer is chewy and dry. The body of the beer is full, the carbonation is medium, and the finish is full.

The lack of a head on this beer was an opportunity missed. The flavors in the beer are phenomenal, well balanced.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.89/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a ninja box from @Dragginballs76 – Thanks Michael!
Marked “PKGD 11/??/17)” across bottom of can, stored at 42 degrees and served at 50 degrees (per can instructions) in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 3.
Body – Dark brown/black, opaque.
Head – Large (Maximum four cm, aggressive center pour), khaki, medium density, short retention, rapidly diminishing to a one mm ring and a few thin islands. Even these rapidly disappear leaving only a black uninteresting coffee-like liquid in my glass.
Lacing – None.
First pour – Brown, slight haze.
Aroma – 4 - A lot of coffee just a tinge burnt, and caramel.
Flavor – 4 - Strong coffee, slightly sweet, with a slightly over-roasted edge. Some caramel. No distinct hops or malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.5 - Medium, watery, very soft carbonation.
Impression and summation – 4 – Would I like some beer with my coffee? Yes, please. This seems to go overboard with the coffee at the expense of the beer. Coffee is the predominant taste, aroma, and look of this beer. It’s even thin, more like the porter end of the spectrum than the stout end. Only the alcohol (10% ABV, which I can neither taste nor smell) would make me think of a stout vs a porter. Despite my nit-picking, I’d still buy this a lot, I just wouldn’t call it a stout.

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3.59/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Burial Griddle

A: Burial's other breakfast cooking utensil-themed stout pours light roast coffee-black (so really more of a dark brown) and is obviously translucent at the edges of the pour. A hard pour yields a very disappointing (and quickly dissipating) light khaki head of a few centimeters, and that is being quite generous. Lacing is almost non-existant, and even the alcohol legs that one expects from a 10% imperial stout are timid. Needless to say, this beer makes a very poor first impression. 2.25/5

A: As if to make amends for the lackluster appearance, the aroma wastes no time in seducing the senses with a French press full of rich, darkly roasted coffee. All the baker's chocolate, faint dark fruit, ample roast, and earthiness that one expects from, say, Sumatra or Brazilian coffees come in waves. Sweet lactose adds a little cream and milk chocolate to the cup. Some sweet caramel, bittersweet toffee, and maybe even some earthy maple syrup (likely from the malts and not the coffee) add further complexity. This is a very inviting nose. 4.5/5

T: Much of the coffee flavor makes the jump from the aroma to the flavor, but it does lose some of the depth here. There is still dark fruit, dark chocolate (not quite baker's level), and a slight earthiness, but the roastiness is really toned down. This allows for the lactose to supplant the coffee with milk chocolate, cocoa, sweet caramel, a little toffee, and even more maple syrup than in the aroma. Sweet, sticky malt akin to English porters and even English barleywines is a surprise neither pleasant nor unpleasant, though certainly odd for the style. A bit of roast and smoke finally make an appearance at the tail end of the sip, just as the earthiness that evokes maple syrup so strongly returns for one last wave. It is an odd flavor profile for the style, an oddness that Skillet also suffered from, but it is not unpleasant. 3.5/5

M: Similarly to Skillet, mouthfeel is the weakest part of the beer. The viscosity is surprisingly thin, off-puttingly so, and combined with the stickiness, it creates a very awkward dichotomy. The roast is not quite enough to cut the sweetness from just sitting on the palate after each sip, which makes getting through Griddle more work than it really should be. Carbonation is soft and nice, though, and the alcohol is masterfully hidden, which is worthy of praise. 3.25/5

O: Similar to its Burial bretheren, this is fine, and that is about it. The coffee presence is the only thing that sets this apart, but it is not interesting, different, or really even present enough in the flavor to make this worthy of a repeat purchase. Everything else is either stylistically weird (or outright wrong), especially the mouthfeel, which forces sipping through being weird and lingering, yet the flavors are not compelling enough to make the necessarily slow pace an enjoyable journey. Maybe cutting out the lactose and adding oats or wheat to buff up the body could be an answer for this beer's problems? Who knows. I am glad I got to try it, but at ~$16 per four-pack of 12oz. cans, I will not be picking it up again. As with Skillet, there are much better, more available, and cheaper coffee stouts to be found on just about every shelf in the country. Pair with the similarly passable retread that is Wolfmother's self-titled debut. 3.25/5

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Photo of kevanb
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz can, the date is a bit blurry, but appears to be 11/30/17, poured into a 14oz snifter glass.

The beer pours a deep black color, cola brown hues with a bone colored head that has little retention and yields no lace. The aroma is great, tons of espresso, rich and with a smooth roast, light chocolate, dark grains, light stone fruits, a touch of acidity, but this is all about the coffee. The flavors are very good, tons of rich espresso, dark bittersweet chocolate bursts forward behind the coffee with a light acidity and some stone fruits and even a bit of vanilla. The mouthfeel is nice, a bit lighter than expected but still a smooth medium body, lively carbonation and a dry finish.

Verdict: A really nice coffee stout from Burial Beer Co. Beautiful expression of coffee, tons of chocolate, nicely balanced though I wish the body had a bit more heft to it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

i love burial, they have fast become one of my favorite breweries in the country, but this one didnt impress me as much as i hoped it would, although with the coffee in it, i maybe should have drank it when i first picked it up a few months ago, as that aspect may have faded some and had an adverse impact on the beer overall, who knows really. it pours almost still from the can, viscous and syrupy and opaque and not more brown than black, weird for the style. the smell is bitter concentrated coffee and deep nib type cocoa, maybe just all from the malt, some char but no bitter along with it, some milk chocolate sweetness, and a really out of place cola element with a vanilla side to it. light smoke in the flavor, chocolate malt and a somewhat lighter grain roast letting the coffee jump out. no green pepper staleness or anything to it, but its just not all that unique from a coffee standpoint, i wanted more nuance here in the center of the flavor. its thick to drink too, boozy and a bit sugary (if there is lactose in here, maybe there shoudnt be) but also totally at a standstill, no bubbles at all, which normally i dont super mind in a huge stout but i miss this here as this really needs something to keep it flowing, its stagnant and almost dead to me. maybe i waited too long, maybe i got a bad can for whatever reason, maybe i shouldnt have had so many beers before this one, but i had really high hopes to it and for the first time burial didnt live up to them... ill revisit this one for sure though.

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Photo of emerge077
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jet black with burnt mahogany edges, dense cap of mocha foam that maintains itself for a little while. No lasting lace.
Intense, bold espresso flavor. The lactose is noticeable, it adds a certain sweetness and texture i'm not wild about.
Rich and roasty, dark chocolate is huge. Lasting roast malt lingers in the aftertaste. Somewhat light bodied.
Overall it's very good, reminds me of Cafe Deth locally, based on the level of coffee intensity.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. can dated 12/19/17

Pours dark brown black with a tan khaki colored foam head. Smells like big roasted espresso coffee, dark chocolate, honey, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, creamy lactose, smoky molasses, some dark dried fruit, toasted bready roasted malts, slight peppery spice, with earthy herbal grassy pine. Tastes super robust and full flavored, a tad sweet with big roasted espresso coffee beans, notes of dark chocolate, honey, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, lactose cream, smoky molasses, dark dried fruits, toasted bready roasted malt, some peppery spice, with earthy herbal grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy with moderate smooth carbonation. Overall a really nice espresso imperial stout.

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Photo of BB1313
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz can poured into a tulip. Pours almost black with a fluffy khaki head that falls leaving nice retention and lacing. The aromas are coffee forward along with some vanilla. Lots of malts. The flavors follow the nose. Lots of coffee, chocolate and vanilla. It's sweet, but nothing cloying or over the top. Strong malt backbone. Alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's smooth, fluffy and slightly creamy. Dangerously drinkable.

This is a really nice imperial coffee stout. It's pretty bold. The coffee/espresso shines. The craftsmanship is on point. I really like it. Well done.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.96/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Growler into Seven Swords chalice. Pours a very dark but not opaque ruby brown with a light tan head. Initial impression is roasted malts, dark and milk chocolate, coffee, caramel, and a touch of honey. Mouthfeel is smooth and silky, but a little thin. Alcohol is very well hidden. Finish is semi-sweet chocolate with coffee. Not a bad RIS, but not best in show by any means.

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Griddle from Burial Beer Co.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 120 ratings