Heir Apparent | Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery

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Brewed by:
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Heir Apparent is an Imperial Stout with a complex caramel soul tempered by chocolate and roasty undertones. Sweeter than our Russian Imperial Stouts at only 60 IBUs but balanced by the heat of fresh Mexican peppers, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Cocoa Nibs. The Heir Apparent is ambitiously biding his time until he comes to power. His time will come.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 184
Photo of octortus
3.41/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

473 mL Can. ABV 11.7%.
Appearance: Almost black, One finger of rich cream coloured head, Decent retention.
Aroma: Lightly roasted malts, Caramel, Vanilla, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon, Alcohol Heat, Hint of peppers.
Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body, Fairly smooth up front but ruined by a harsh burn (from peppers rather than alcohol) on finish, Low carbonation.
Flavour: Roasted malts, Cinnamon, Heat at the back, Spicy peppers at the back, Unbalanced.
Overall: Let it warm for the aroma, it's the most enjoyable aspect of this beer. You probably won't be ready for the mouthfeel and taste (and I enjoy spicy peppers). It feels unbalanced and overpowering regarding the peppers, and makes you feel misled by the aroma. It just... doesn't belong.

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

473 ml can served cold into a chalice. Listed for $4.00 CDN from the LCBO. Also indicated to be 11.7% ABV. A nice value buy.

Appearance - Dark brown with cherry hues, Impressive finger and a half of light tan head, good staying power of the frothy head. Not a huge amount of lacing but not an insignificant amount either.

Smell - Chocolate, coffee, green peppers, vanilla. Some spice. Not the most cohesive aromas but aromatic and fairly intense on the peppers.

Taste - Initially not much the some sweet vanilla and chocolate followed up by peppers, green and under-ripe with spices. Some chocolate and mineral water works it's way in at the close.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, yet smooth with some prickly sensations from the pepper taste, this brew carries some heat and it's not necessarily from the booze.

Overall - A really solid imperail stout that makes the peppers work, but not work to well, lot's of heat without ripping your tongue and throat out. Worth a try and a very good value buy. Where else will you get a high quality imperial stout checking it at 23 proof and hits you hard with spicy peppers.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours near total black with cola edges. The frothy, rocky tan head keeps an inch tall the whole glass. Rich cocoa, citrus, pepper and light cinnamon notes in the aroma. Big roasty malts countered by cinnamon, cloves, smokey chipotle peppers and vanilla in the taste. Some rummy notes in the back. Medium bodied with light carbonation. Light bitterness and lingering roastyness and pepper spicyness in the finish.

This is a fantastic spiced RIS. Artful balance between the stout and spice flavors. Cinnamon and hot peppers used judiciously. Super complex stuff. I highly recommend.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.16/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 1 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

16oz can poured into a snifter
Canned 7/13/18

A- half of the can gushed on my arm, my counter and my floor upon opening, wtf. What I was able to salvage poured deep black with a very thin head that had no retention

S- smells of chocolate, cocoa, pepper skin, cinnamon, green coffee & a hint of vanilla

T- cocoa and chocolaty malt, followed by raw pepper notes. Mid-palate is a bit bland, the finish gives a hint of cinnamon

M- medium body with very low carbonation leads to an almost flat mouthful and finish

O- disappointing, maybe it was a bad batch, but a waste of money considering half ended up in the floor

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Photo of Cramshawbar
3.33/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Another beer ruined by chili pepper. As much as this seems like a hoot of an idea, it doesn't work. And I love chili pepper, and spice in general. But this is supposed to be beer. At a certain point, we have to give up on throwing stuff into brews and then releasing the result to the general population. Why not roast beef then? Or Snickers bar? Or kale chips?
Also, I never get heartburn from peppers, yet I do when they are thrown into beer. Something seems off with this whole concept.
Rant over. :-)

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A really nice looking beer. Midnight black with a thumb of root beer colored head. Break leaves a lovely cap and collar, and lacing is great.

Smell is roasts, cinnamon, some bitter cocoa and vanilla. Don't pick up the peppers, but that is okay.

Flavor follows the nose but I definitely get the peppers on the back end. Tastes a little like molé.

Feel is a little lighter than expected for an RIS, but the finish is great, smooth followed by a slight warmth from the peppers.

Wow, I expected nothing from this beer. I only hoped it wouldn't be too peppery, and bingo, it wasn't. Lovely flavor to this one, I might need to pick a few more up to stock the fridge for those cold winter nights.

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Photo of beergoot
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Ink black body with a decent brownish head for a high ABV beer. Fine charred grain aroma infused with notes of cocoa and milk chocolate. Sweet chocolate flavor offset with a decent alcohol presence and a bit of bitterness. Heavy body; thick and oily; boozy warmth; semi-sweet finish overall with a note of dryness.

A very well-made imperial stout, rich, thick and extremely tasty. It coats the palate with layers of roasted grain and chocolate notes with just the right touch of (deceptively high) boozy notes.

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Photo of johnnybgood1999
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'll just say this is a sweet stout unlike what I have had from this brewery before. It has a hint of the char found in their other stouts. This beer starts caramel and builds to slight chocolate, massive vanilla, and heavy (but not overwhelming) pepper presence. I wanted a bit chewier, but I have to say they have melded these flavors together very well. I'd definitely recommend this beer if you see it and want a sweet chile stout.

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Photo of bret717
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look- pours brown/black w/ a 1 finger tan head

Nose- mostly cinnamon with a little vanilla and chocolate

Taste- waves of dark chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, espresso and mild pepper heat

Feel- amazingly thick, lush and creamy with medium-low carb; finishes sweet with a little roasty bitterness and some heat from the peppers

Overall- outstanding flavored stout with complex flavors, incredible mouthfeel and just the right amount of heat

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Federal Taphouse in Harrisburg, PA

Poured into a snifter

dark brown liquid, pencil thin brown foam cap

Aroma of chocolate and spices

Good taste of the peppers, nice spiciness over the chocolate

A good beer

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Photo of Slatetank
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great stout
Appearance is inviting
Smell is smooth and sweet
Mouthfeel is balanced yet a mix of sweet and spicy
Taste is great both nutty earthy/sweet cocoa and light alcohol with vanilla in taste
Overall a top notch strong stout with spice flavor from pepper and cinnamon

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap.

A - Very dark brown colored pour with frothy caramel colored head and very sticky lacing.

S - Chocolate, cinnamon, some vanilla, and a little bit of pepper spiciness.

T - Roasted cocoa malt base with sweet chocolate bitterness followed by pronounced cinnamon, pepper spiciness, and notable heat. Finishes with very light bittersweetness and alot of heat.

M - Big chewy body and alot of warming on the way down.

O - I'd rate this one higher but the cinnamon is wreaking havoc and then mixed with the Mexican Peppers ... makes for a very spicy hot beer. I don't mind the heat but the spice needs to be dialed back. Cinnamon is a fickle one and easy to overpower a beer. Will definitely revisit my notes with future batches, the blend is a little messy.

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Photo of avalon07
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark, mahogany brown color and a thick, opaque texture. There was a half inch of creamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A nicely subtle aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, chili peppers, vanilla, and cinnamon.

T: Tasted of a fair shot of dark chocolate, light hops in the finish, some roasted malt, lots of cinnamon, a surprising amount of chili peppers (not too much), and a tinge of lactose. This is an interesting flavor in that it's quite focused and balanced in spite of having some very forceful elements. The inclusion of the peppers makes it work well.

F: An average amount of carbonation with a smooth, dry finish. Medium- to full-bodied.

O: This is a well made RIS. It's slightly offbeat, but definitely drinkable. Worth a look.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Mule Bar, Winooski, Vermont.
This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a nice looking semi-dark black color with a finger's worth of quickly dieing off white foamy head. Barely any lace, just seemed stifled a bit.
The aroma had a nice sweet cinnamon to vanilla sweetness with some dark chocolate, light baker's chocolate, some chili pepper heat, but quaint.
The flavor leaned towards the spiciness of the chili peppers and cinnamon initially and then seemed to develop more of a keen balance between those spices and the vanilla and cinnamon.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sipping quality about it. Carboonation felt fine. ABV felt on par. Nice spicy (cinnamon to chili pepper finish).
Overall, nicely done as an American imperial stout with that "Mexican" twist but I don't see this as a Russian styled one. I'd still have this again.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.49/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a speiglau stout glass.

Look is a pitch black with a half inch off white head.

Aroma is astringent malt and a chili roasted note.

Taste is a deep roast malt with a spicy note at the end.

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Photo of hophugger
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Just about pitch black in color with almost a finger of light tan head. Aroma is of sweet malt, semi-sweet chocolate, spice and a very very light bit of heat on the nice hairs. Flavors are nice with bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, some spice and a bit of chili pepper heat on the front end that mellows out quite fast leaving a powdery, cocoa feel. Not bad, but a little dry with the cocoa and would have liked a little vanilla and a touch more heat

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Photo of calarkin
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look is dark with very light off-white head. As I've found with most beers from these guys, flavors are really well-balanced. You get the malt/cocoa/vanilla and the heat shines through just enough. Pick this up if you get a chance.

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Photo of BeerSeniorJudge
3.24/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

After trying several beers from this brewer I am concerned by the inconsistency from bottle to bottle. This Imperial Stout was Sweeter than others but not balanced by the peppers, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Cocoa Nibs. The Heir Apparent is ambitiously biding his time until he comes to power but I am afraid his time will never come.

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Photo of delta490
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It's a deep black with a nice thick cap of creamy tan head. It has great retention and leaves big sheets of lacing. The aroma is rich and strong, with cocoa sweetness and dark roasted malts. The taste is a little sweet and the cinnamon is a little overpowering at times. Never got any peppers from it. The body is rich, full and smooth.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, 2016; served in a snifter glass. Pours a dark black body, one finger offwhite head with fair retention and even a bit of lacing. Smells of rich mexican hot chocolate drinks; rich cocoa, chocolate, espresso and cinnamon; the pepper is more in the background and seems to blend in better than the barrel-aged counterpart which was had side by side with this. Not particularly vegetal, but has more of the components being notable rather than covered over by the bourbon barrel aging. Flavour is similarly well integrated, cinnamon, touch of vanilla, roasted coffee bean, cocoa, milk chocolate and a light peppery spiciness works well together. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, good carbonation and smooth with a peppery spiciness on the backend that isn't anywhere near being over the top. Balanced if not a particularly spectacular mexican style stout, still very well integrated.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

sort of hopping on the abraxas train, not sure who came first, but i think that one did, and this is very much fashioned in that style. huge and dark and with a lot of extra flavors that all sine at various moments throughout. i made the mistake of getting it too cold, so it took awhile to appreciate this one. when its ice cold, its body alone that makes it, thick and creamy and covering the whole of the palate. as it warms, beautiful dried chili flavor comes out, but without the heat, brilliant. similarly, vanilla and deep dark earthy bitter chocolate rally develops too. the beer is so creamy and dark malty that there is enough support structure for all the flavors happening, really well built and balanced, an impressive complexion here. this is apparently a farm brewery, and folks have wonderful things to say about their beer. this is one of my first, 2015 edition, and i am very impressed. less thick and sweet than abraxas, but still with some molasses character, i think it makes perfect sense, and its continually improving as it warms up. i saved this for a long time thinking it was just a chili beer and that i wouldnt like it. wrong i was! surprised there is no hype surrounding this one, it certainly warrants some. wintery and amazing, our whole group thought this was the bomb!

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours rather thin, but huge frothy brown head is gorgeous. Thick coat of lace, deep brown body.

Smells kind of like a vanilla milk shake. Some roastiness and hints of pepper later on, but mostly sweet vanilla and cocoa.

Taste is just like the nose except the pepper has a much more prominent role. This is a lot like Prairie Bomb! in flavor, except maybe not quite as sweet.

Feel is medium and not as thick as I would expect, if I were still comparing to Bomb! this is where they would get separated because this doesnt have the same thick feel or long finish, but its not bad.

Overall, this is really good and well worth seeking out. The 6 months its been sitting have not diminished the flavors, and I can't wait to try the barrel aged version of this!

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Photo of Jason
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Epic lacing, pitch black liquid. Smells of espresso, vanilla, chili, cinnamon, and chocolate. Silky smoothness, big creamy body. Chili is more forward than the cinnamon, chocolate above the vanilla. Warming and spicy. Some dark fruit and sweetness but the chili and roasty tone takes away and keeps this brew balanced. Such fun!

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Photo of Pencible
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured an opaque black with thick tan head.
S: It smelled like roasted coffee and cocoa powder, with some chili peppers and caramel.
T: It tasted like sweet chocolate and vanilla and caramel, with some roasted coffee and a bit of chili peppers. It had a clean sweet aftertaste with heat from both the peppers and the alcohol.
M: It was thick with smooth carbonation. Great slick body.
D: This was a solid brew with easy to enjoy scent and taste. Not too complex or bold, but a nice take on the style. The body was superb, but the finish was hot, so it was better to sip. Age may help, but probably not for long term cellaring. Yum.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 mL capped bottle, I really enjoy this local brewery in VA! Poured into stemmed, tulip style glasses. Paired this beer with burrito bowls since it's a Mexican spiced stout. Only a touch of heat up front, helps intensify the cocoa nibs and vanilla on the finish. Overall, an outstanding stout.

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Heir Apparent from Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 184 ratings