Joshua Norton Imperial Stout | The Tap Brewing Company

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Joshua Norton Imperial StoutJoshua Norton Imperial Stout
Very Good
138 Ratings
Joshua Norton Imperial StoutJoshua Norton Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
The Tap Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
You love stouts. Or you love colonial swords and this color scheme. We add just a touch of smoked malt for another layer in an already intensely deep and roasty brew. As far as the name goes: Joshua Norton was the self-proclaimed emperor of the United States in 1859. He was crazy and probably fun to talk to -- like us.

Added by WanderingFool on 11-02-2008

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 138 |  Reviews: 72
Reviews by busterthecat:
Photo of busterthecat
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Oversized tulip stout glass.

A- Pours a very dark soft brown that sits almost black in glass. A dense mocha head forms but fades rather quickly. Not much lacing.

S- Dark roasted malts, coffee, cocoa, some slight soft notes. Medium robustness. Nice.

T- Tangy & sweet chocolate and roasted notes upfront. Some bitterness. Good but average.

M- Medium strength body. Perhaps a tad watery. Soft, light on palate. I wanted more depth.

O- No alc, very east to put a bomber down. I wanted more from this RIS. A good buy for the price ~$6.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DanGeo
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of TimBeaulieu
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a tulip glass the beer was black in color with a thin orange/brown head.
Roasted malt/chocolate/coffee aroma, not very fragrant.
Fortunately it tasted much better than the aroma had promised. Espresso coffee, a little bit of chocolate.
A little thin in the mouth.
A decent imperial stout, but not that impressive.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, light caramel colored, frothy head, tremendous retention

S: Cocoa powder, milk chocolate, slight roast

T: More milk chocolate, slight roast and cocoa in the finish, bitter finish reminiscent of bittersweet chocolate

M: For the style, comes off thin. Wish it had a bit more body.

D: Very much so!

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Photo of megamass
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of tigg924
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, dark brown in color, clear

Smell: cream, caramel, burnt malt--smells more like a Baltic porter than a RIS

Taste: Wow--a lot better than the smell, creamy start followed by dark coffee and chocolate, cream at the end with a touch of smoke

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, sweet with a bitter backbone, moderately light body for the style

Drinkability: A very good and solidly layered RIS that tastes better than it smells. I would get this again for its complexity. Another winner from the brewery.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is a mix of cocoa, soy and alcohol. The flavor is chocolate and burnt malt. I also get a little coffee but it is the chocolate and malt that dominate this beer. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. Not a bad imperial stout, but not as good as some others I have tried.

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Photo of tuowl74a
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of degerbah
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This Imperial Stout pours motor oil black with no head at all. The smell is an overwhelming amount of coffee taste. Most coffee I drink doesn't smell as much like coffee as this does. The taste isn't quite as coffeeish as the smell hinted at, but it's still incredibly coffee like. Very light on the palate for such a stong beer. I have to say that I really enjoy this and its amazing drinkability.

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Photo of BrittQ
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of jmerloni
3.12/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - purple/black in coloration. Medium beige head that is uncommitted toward any retention or lacing,

S - Tootsie Roll Chocolate, hops, molasses malt.

T - Unpleasant chocolate laced with a girl. There's nothing good here.

M - Thick but over carbonated and boring.

D - Wouldn't get this again. In fact, this it's so poor that I wouldn't get anything from Haverhill Brewing Co. again.

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Photo of Kevincredible
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of angusblackheart
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, medium head, good lacing.

This beer smells like winter to me. Tree bark, pine, cold earth. Roasty coffee. Fire smoke.

The roasty smoky qualities make it into the taste, but a molasses sweetness balances out the dark and bitter edges.

Great beer for a great price!!

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Photo of LXMRTN
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of puboflyons
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the 22 ouncer with a bottling date of October 2009. Sampled on February 1, 2010. The pour is dark evergreen brown with an inch of foamy tan head that fizzles down to nothing in short order. The aroma cannot wait to escape from the bottle as it emits a nice strong aura of chocolate malts, smokiness, and light Northwestern hops. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I expected but I would still put it in the medium range with a kind of resiny feel to it. The taste is a nice smoked coffee and chocolate mix with a a pleasing background of hops the warms the insides. It has a 9.3% ABV but you would never know it. The alcohol is well-masked. This was excellent.

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Photo of rjp217
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of u2carew
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber. Consumed 12/06/09

A) Opaque. Quick thin head then settles. Lacing is thin and weak.
S) Dark chocolate. Coffee. Mild smoky notes. Hints of alcohol.
T) Roasted grain. Chocolate. Coffee. Notes of alcohol but not overpowering. Some spicy black pepper tones.
M) Thick. Chewy. Full bodied.
D) A delicious imperial stout. I'd drink another!

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Photo of MisterSH
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

a harsh pour comes up jet black with a finger thick frothy, caramel colored head.

Aroma is coffee, dark biscuity malt, and strong chocolate notes. Also a bourbon-like subtlety here. Some vanilla.

Flavor is deep and almost exclusively malty. Some roasty notes, prevalent but not overwhelming. A hint of coffee. Easy on the fruitiness, a slight dark sugary note but very minimal. Strong roasty finish. Bitter finish, but not particularly hoppy - bitterness does not seem linked to any citrusy flavor at all. This is a dark, deep beer. Some subtle bits of chocolate and creme in the exceptionally deep finish.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Very heavy and thick but not quite syrupy. Carbonation is pretty low but just enough to let it stay active on your tongue.

This is a malt-bomb no doubt, but doesn't let itself wallow in roasty or smoky flavors. Instead, it takes a more subtle route,
letting no particular flavor hijack the overall experience. Subtly hopped and not nearly as sweet as many of it's counterparts, fruitiness is kept to an absolute minimum. This is smooth and easy to drink, an excellent offering from haverhill.

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Photo of richbrew
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of Justinlikesbeer
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of kirkpjr
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jmu500 for this one.

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a pitch black dark with one finger of caramel colored head. Pours a little more thin than I would expect, but a nice stout nonetheless.

S: Roasted malts, chocolate, and a very subtle hop that I can't discern. A few dark fruits barely make it through. Also a vinegarish hint in the nose.

T: The roasted, and smoked (from what I read on the bottle and taste too) come through strongly. A nice strong chocolate finish. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Thick and mildly creamy. Chocolate leaves a pleasant aftertaste and feel. Moderate to low carbonation.

D: Nice dessert for a meal on a Friday night. A little strong for a session beer of course.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown almost black color with a thin bubbly tan head, fades and leaves no lacing, not very viscous for a RIS.

Smell has a huge amount of roasted coffee aroma, roasted malt also a big contributor, other thn that its fairly two note but that coffee is surprising.

Taste starts out with a coffee bitterness which adds a depth of flavor, roasted malt is a solid backing, unfortunately the body is severely lacking, the body is much too thin to pass as an imperial stout with carbonation too high as well, fortunately it drinks like a regular stout with the alcohol very well hidden, I would guess this to be closer to 5% than 9.1%.

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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 22 oz bottle of this was brought to me by Steve when he came over from MA. Shared with Jeffo after we decided low abv stouts weren't cutting it for a Thursdaynight.

Not the blackest, nor the thickest of stouts I've seen. Coca Cola comes to mind especially after hearing the lively carbonation. Came with a minimal tan head that went away quickly. Move on nothing special to see here.

Smells are of roasted dark malts and chocolate and a hint of hops. Nothing huge but still pleasant on the nose.

Taste is iniatially bland and things aren't really happening untill after the swallow. There is chocolate, there is some sweetnes and there is a nice bitterness after the swallow. Sit, sip and enjoy.

A rather light to medium body witha dry finish. A bit too light for my liking.

Nothing mindblowing. The strong suit of this one are the pleasant bitter flavors that linger for a while after the swallow. Would I seek this out to have again. No. Would I drink another glass? Sure...

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Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +2%

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Joshua Norton Imperial Stout from The Tap Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 138 ratings