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Enlightened Despot | Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery

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Enlightened DespotEnlightened Despot
201 Ratings
Enlightened DespotEnlightened Despot

Brewed by:
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Enlightened Despot is an amazingly rich, complex and surprisingly drinkable Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout. Notes of chocolate, vanilla, and of course the delicious flavor of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon round out this robust stout. Aged for 100 days in 15 Year Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrels, made with 10 specialty grains and containing over 78 IBU of American Hop flavor, this truly is a one of a kind beer.

Added by blackie on 02-21-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 201 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of ejimhof
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ilikebeer03
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of drone
3.69/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of fire34fighter
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Overall pretty good. This stout is WAYYYY too hoppy to begin with, and is one that definitely made to be aged for a year or to. Could also be a little thicker with a better mouthfeel, but all in all really good after aging for a little. Unless you like extremely hoppy stouts, then drink it right away.

 302 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This one pours a nice dark black, with a small tight head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like heavily charred and roasted malt, a good amount of piney hops, lots of oak, very subtle bourbon, and chocolate malt.

From what I can gather, this is aged in Pappy 15 barrels, but the barrel is pretty light and subtle, which is surprising. There's more oak than actual bourbon, with some light vanilla, a surprisingly high hop presence, an an aggressively roasty, basically charred, malt profile.

This is pretty rich and thick, a bit creamy, with a good level of carbonation.

This isn't your typical BA stout, as the base beer comes through very strongly and there isn't much sweetness or barrel. Despite all that, it's still quite nice.

 739 characters

Photo of Raziel313
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of capnamerica
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Stu_Grimson
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of HattedClassic
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a brown foamy head that dissipates quickly. Beer is a black with very dark brown hues. It's on the border between a very very dark brown and a dark chocolate black.

Taste is very good. Nice bitter hop bite but not overwhelming. Fairly balanced overall. Bourbon notes are moderate and blends well with the dark chocolate bitterness with a nice roasted malt. Sweet comes from the bourbon and a bit of spice. Chocolate is slight sweet.

Smell is mostly chocolate and bourbon with a bit of roasted malt. Some hop note but not as strong as the taste.

Feel is great. Heavy body but thin and smooth feel. Light carbonation gives it some nice texture.

Very good. Drinkable. Great taste. Not bourbon heavy but just right.
Go for it.

 736 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage, bottle #1965, poured into a snifter. Jet black and oily thick on the pour, with a low profile, clingy, light tan head that slowly settles out into a filmy surface coating. Aromas of rich vanilla, bourbon spice and booze, oak notes, rich chocolate, and heavily roasted notes. Very aromatic; rich and bold. Flavors are very booze heavy, rich in bourbon notes of vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, and tobacco. Wow, this is rich and heavily layered. Solid espresso backbone, with smoky notes around the edges. More and more reveals as it warms in the glass. Big bodied, almost chewy, with a slick feel throughout and a building warmth as you go. Heavily roasted aftertaste of chocolate, vanilla, and tobacco. The finish is smooth, heavy, and slow, with a solid linger. Great beer!

 788 characters

Photo of Jlang2012
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HopBomb515
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with spotty lacing and and small tan head. Notes of chocolate, espresso, vanilla, oak, toffee, and a slight earthy hop bite. Creamy feel with some light carb bite and a dry finish with a bittering finish.

 218 characters

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a nice black color, a hint of mahogany around the very edges. a finger or two of a tan head. moderate to weak retention leaving behind a slight lacing and some viscosity as it swirls around. completely dark and opaque.

Smell: bourbon giving off notes of brown sugar and oak. some roasted and other dark malts. some good alcohol and some bitterness.

Taste: opens with a strong sweet bourbon with large amounts of brown sugar, oak and some booze. strong maltiness makes it way through with notes of roast, chocolate, and light dark fruits. some vanilla and bourbon comes back in. some bitterness comes in with light earthy notes.

Mouthfeel: nice and thick stout here. a bit velvety and smooth. nice strong and warming bourbon character. some bitterness but doesn't linger too long.

Overall: a nice big stout. nice balance to it this year with the bourbon sweetness beating out the hop bitterness.

 917 characters

Photo of tmbgnicu
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DanGeo
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of montman
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HomerSwim
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just couldn't place it, Pappy, Not Pappy, Pappy, Not Pappy. So I did some research. Fiction can be fun, but I find the reference section a little more Enlightening. For instance, if you were to look up Breweries' "All Time Bonehead Beers," you might read about Lickinghole Creek, who missed making a stout in the closing seconds of Super Brew XVII by brewing a black IPA instead.

What you wouldn't read about was how Lickinghole Creek lost their mind, was committed to a mental hospital only to escape and brew a beer under the assumed style of a stout manipulating their way to the top in a diabolical scheme to get even with InBev for whom they blamed the entire thing! Despot isn't a stout.....It's a black IPA. Case closed.

 737 characters

Photo of Devman171
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Iamjeff6
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dvmin98
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 2dogbrew
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

*Had 2016 version on draft on Despot Day
Poured a black body with one finger tan head that slowly died and left little lace patches. The first smells that hit me are of dark fruits (no minor thing since I was standing near a BBQ food truck and smoker) of figs, raisin, plums, then some vanilla/booze/wood, caramel and/or toffee (those two are sometimes interchangeable to me) and chocolate. Full bodied and sticky, a thick beer designed for slow sipping, it passes over smooth thanks to boozy woodiness and then these tastes of dark fruits like plums and figs hit me right before traces of vanilla, chocolate and toffee (I just picked one). Balance is mostly kept between fruit and sweet flavors with a roasted, possibly coffee or charred malt presence, and it has a rather subdued and clean finish considering both the dry malt aspects and the booziness of it. Not sure this beer is worth the hype (which is mostly due to the low supply/high demand for this beer) but it's pretty damn good.

 995 characters

Photo of MattXT
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Stolenface1
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black with tan head. Great bourbon aroma along with roasted malt, cacao, vanilla, light coconut, dark fruit, caramel, toffee and smooth chocolate. Flavor is identical to aroma with somewhat aggressive bitterness, molasses and piney hop notes. The feel is med+ and coats the mouth nicely. Carbonation is on the low side of medium. Overall a very drinkable RIS w/ wonderful bourbon notes.

 401 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The aroma is nicely barrel-laden, bringing plenty of oak and vanilla. Like many LCCB stouts, it's a little hoppier than normal. Still, notes of roasted malt and dark chocolate keep it interesting. Its flavor profile follows it closely, as it opens up with some coffee and roast. Again, there's a subtle undercurrent of pine to balance the sweeter qualities. The finish is slightly bourbony - all the nuances I like are there, but in a reticent manner. I also pick up some smoke and caramel. Complexity isn't top caliber, but the balance is superb. It feels thin on the palate, but it thankfully isn't bogged down by excess syrupy sweetness. Even with its gentle, bourbon-esque booze, it goes down way too easily for something so big. Carbonation is pretty low. Compared to a BCBS, this isn't as sweet, but it's far more easygoing. The hops might take a bit of getting used to, but this is still great in my mind. I'll gladly attend Despot Day for this one again, that's for sure!

4.03/5: Think Catherine the Great would chug this one? Probably

 1,044 characters

Enlightened Despot from Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 201 ratings
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