Sumi Ink
Grimm Artisanal Ales

Sumi InkSumi Ink
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Stout - American Imperial
4.35 | pDev: 5.75%
Grimm Artisanal Ales
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Sumi InkSumi Ink
Notes: Imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla.
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 167 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of yasky
yasky from Canada (ON)

4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black pour, minimal white head. Aroma of bourbon, char, vanilla, soy, dark malt. Vanilla giving way to whiskey, dark malt, black strap molasses, english liquorice. Nice balance. Thicker full body, smooth mouthfeel.

Jun 28, 2017
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BWood from California

4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: super dark with big khaki head from a rough pour.

S: roast with some barrel and vanilla.

T: big vanilla flavor. Some nice chocolate and barrel. I am surprised at home much vanilla is there.

F: one of the smoothest beers I've had. The alcohol is almost not there even at 13%. Super chewy and filling.

O: great beer. Would love more access to this.

Apr 19, 2017
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mnj21655 from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an inky black with a quarter to a half inch of light brown head. Aroma is vanilla, dark fruits, and bourbon. Taste is heavy on the dark fruits, I get figs and plums. After that I get vanilla and a touch of lightly boozy bourbon. As the beer warms A bit I get some milk chocolate notes. Medium body and low-moderate carbonation but there is a certain oily viscosity here. Im impressed by how well the alcohol is kept in check here, I'd expect a 13.5% BBA stout to have a little more heat/booziness but the alcohol isn't distracting. Overall this is a very good BBA stout. I've never been a huge fan of anything BBA but this has well integrated flavors that I'm enjoying.

Apr 02, 2017
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OrangeMen from New York

4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2016 vintage
~4 months from bottle date

Appearance- Pours a black color, opaque, oily body. Thin layer of soapy, medium tan colored head. Thick coating of alcohol legs stain glass w/ a brown film-like layer. Lots of spotty head lacing holds to glass.

Aroma- Dark chocolates, fudge brownie. Dark fruits, bourbon soaked caramelized raisins. Mild roast, molasses, graham cracker, rich espresso, earthy vanilla. Sweet bourbon, barrel char, touch of oak.

Taste- Fudgy chocolates, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, creamy vanilla, cookie dough. Dark fruits, chocolate dipped cherries, raisins, figs. Sweet bourbon, charred oak, leather, smoky, roasty coffee beans.

Feel- Full bodied, very creamy w/ a coating quality and chewy character. Lower carbonation, very smooth.

Overall- An incredible barrel aged beer. Vanilla is very noticeable and enhances this wonderful dessert-like quality in the beer. Tons of chocolate and dark fruits, mixed with the sweet bourbon notes and complex barrel character. A real treat to try this one.

Mar 18, 2017
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CHickman from New York

4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

November 2016 bottle, it pours pitch black color with a creamy 1 finger tan colored head that was full of bubbles, fading slowly and leaving minimal spotty lacing. It made a great hissing, fizzing sound as it went down, which always amuses me.

Aroma starts off with rich roasted malt, coffee grinds, vanilla, espresso, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, burnt wood, sweet bourbon, hints of soy sauce, brown sugar and molasses. This is very sweet overall but the bourbon manages to cut the sweetness and let the earthy and barrel notes bring out more complexities like coconut and burnt marshmallow. The smell is definitely the best part of this stout.

Tastes a lot like it smells with bourbon up front, then coffee grinds, vanilla, espresso, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, burnt wood, soy sauce, brown sugar, piney hops, toffee and molasses. The alcohol burn is front and center, but it's a good warming boozy sensation that clears the way for coffee bitterness, rich dark chocolate sweetness, maple syrup accents and a finish which is bready with brownie batter and black licorice. It's a good tug of war for attention between the malty sweetness, the bourbon, the earthy notes and the trailing bitter bakers chocolate which has hints of grapefruit. Really damn enjoyable, getting better as it warms.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth and buttery with little to no carbonation, a medium to thick liquid feel, nice texture, and a good level of bitterness and roast to represent the bourbon barrel aging. The finish is semi-dry with a good amount of sweetness that's balanced out by the bourbon booze and layered chocolate malt complexities. A tad bit too boozy for me, but overall another great stout from Grimm.

Mar 10, 2017
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super dark beer with a tan head. The head recedes but leaves a few specks of lacing behind. The aroma is roasty with a lot of cocoa and vanilla. There is only a wee bit of bourbon in the nose. Delightfully sweet with a nice roasted malt flavor and tons of chocolate and vanilla. The Bourbon is more noticable in the taste but is the perfect accent. Really nice beer.

Feb 13, 2017
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Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, milk chocolate and vanilla. Medium bodied. Slightly bitter finish. Nice level of sweetness. Nice depth of flavor. Really good. Could have more vanilla.

Feb 10, 2017
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floyd_pugman from California

3.99/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Surprisingly subtle nose of caramel, chocolate, and vanilla. Palate starts with caramel, with chocolate fudge stomping in, and then vanilla on the finish, with dark fruits lingering on the aftertaste. For me, the fudge flavors make the beer, and distinguish it from more run-of-the-mill BA stout offerings. Nothing to go to great lengths to acquire, however.

Feb 04, 2017
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sweet, savory and surprisingly delicate yet not giving an inch of ground on the roasty, toasty and robust world of stout. Grimm Ales have found the ideal balance of barrel, spice, stout and gumption in an imperial stout with vanilla aged in bourbon barrels.

Sumi Ink pours much like its namesake- ink. With a light and delicate creme of foam, its gentle swirl releases a host of savory aromatics. Chocolate, espresso, black walnut, caramel, coconut and vanilla roll onto the nose while its taste is sultry with burnt sugars, molasses, dark chocolate and sweet cream.

While the flavor continue to trend sweet and roasty across the middle palate, its sweetness seeps deep into the tastebuds. The beer's dainty creaminess allows the dark ale to rest weightily on the tastebuds, saturating them fully with lavish toffee and molasses, coffee and chocolate, wood spices and vanilla. Sweet whisky seems nearly honey infused as the trailing taste is of walnut brownie, cookies & cream and sweetened espresso.

Full, decadent and rolling into the finish like chocolate syrup, the beer's long linger of malt sweetness, roasted grains and the simmering warmth of whisky are given a milkshake taste and texture as the vanilla heightens the flavor of cream. Spicy with oak, the beer's balance is faint and soft, allowing the full attention to focus on what's going on with the roast, vanilla and whisky caramels.

Jan 30, 2017
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Gambyt20 from Illinois

4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Solid BA Vanilla stout, got a good balance for bourbon and vanilla, but not as pungent as I expected, but probably due to palate fatigue from 12+ other robust BA stouts. Yet this still held it's own. Good full body and well balanced. Grimm needs to start more distro into the midwest!

Jan 29, 2017
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Damian from Massachusetts

4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 1pt. 6 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
November 2016
Served in a snifter

Very dark brown in appearance. Somewhat thin looking on the pour. The body was topped by a super tight and frothy, inch-tall cap of mocha colored foam. Outstanding retention. The head slowly dropped to a thick bubbly film. A patchy latticework of lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was quite subtle initially. There was a crisp, dry yeastiness. Some powdered cocoa was noticeable. Subtle bourbon notes appeared as the beer sat. The bourbon really intensified with time. Roasted malts were apparent. Some dark chocolate and espresso came through as well. Fragrant vanilla notes appeared later in the session. Solid overall.

The flavor profile at first seemed far more interesting than the nose. Good amounted of roasted malts on the front end. Big dark chocolate notes in the center. Some chocolate fudge perhaps. Intense vanilla notes appeared as well. Bit of brown sugar. Moderately sweet. Bourbon came through big time in the finish. Fairly boozy but pleasant. Some alcohol heat lingered after the swallow. For a 13-plus percent ABV beer, however, this drank remarkably well.

Medium-full mouthfeel. Creamy and smooth on the palate. The liquid contained a very fine, subtle effervescence.

Sumi Ink stared out somewhat disappointing but really gained a lot of character as it warmed. If you own a bottle, definitely serve it at cellar temperature and give it plenty of time to open up. While this is no Vanilla Rye, it is a tasty and interesting beer that is definitely worth a try.

Jan 28, 2017
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Hop_God from California

4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: deep black. Thin khaki taupe bubbles.

S: booze. Bourbon. Vanilla. Oak. Dark chocolate. Raspberries

T: bourbon. Oak. Dark chocolate. Candied stone fruits. Booze. Vanilla hints.

F: soft. Medium plus body. Coats the palate. Natural vanilla flavor lingers. Crisp finish.

O:great balance of flavors. Everything is prominent but not harsh or fake. Spectacular

Jan 15, 2017
Photo of dar482
dar482 from New York

4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The beer comes in black color, hints of dark brown on the edges.

The aroma hits of bourbon soaked sweet cherry, sweet bourbon, not overly roasted, bright barrel character.

The flavor offers a theme of vanilla, without being overly intense. Dark fruit, plum, cherries, medium to full bourbon alcohol, base beer stands a bit back on the roasted malts and sweetness, despite its ABV. Some milk chocolate, chocolate chip blondie dessert onto a drying oak finish.

Jan 12, 2017
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Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Wicked Weed snifter. Label says November 2016.

A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with a 1/4 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some faint wisps of surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Great bourbon-y vanilla aroma with plenty of dark roasted malt. Big oak presence.

T- Lovely intertwining of barrel and vanilla. Notes of milk chocolate, caramel and pecans. The ABV is insanely well-hidden as I would never guess this was anywhere over 10%. The roastiness provides a great counterbalance to the big sweetness that's present. Nice oak aftertaste.

M- The only part that's not stellar as this only has a bit of creaminess and isn't as viscous as I would like. Medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- I cannot get over how damn smooth this is. So drinkable and luscious. Sure, it could be thicker, but don't pass up the opportunity to grab this if you see it.

Jan 06, 2017
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bobv from Vermont

4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Moderate pour yields a one inch head that dissipates down to a ring with some lacing. Nose of milk chocolate, dark chocolate. and a little bitter chocolate. As it warms a little dark fruit appears with some aromas of bourbon. Taste follows almost exactly which is always a plus for me. A tad thin, but overall, I will be sharing this in the near future.

Dec 28, 2016
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frozyn from New York

4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice dark brown, near black. Reminds me of the color of a tripel, but a bit darker. Almost zero head that dissipates quickly and leaves very little lacing behind.

Aroma starts off with plenty of bourbon and barrel, but reveals the usual chocolate/roast/coffee notes expected. The vanilla is not huge or overwhelming and presents well when it shows.

Taste follows the aroma, but includes a better vanilla profile that melds very well with the bourbon notes and the overall sweetness of the beer. The flavors all interact very well, none overpowering, all working together to create a damn fine tasting beer.

Feel is deceiving to me. I know its thick, and the carbonation plays very well here, but it almost feels a little thin for the type of beer it is. That said, I immensely enjoy it feeling slightly thinner than expected. The feel doesn't take lead in my sensory perception and lets the flavor and aroma dominate, which is very much appreciated.

I'm definitely a Grimm homer, so take that into account here, but I think this is a fantastic beer. I think everything comes together incredibly and creates something greater than the sum of its parts. I'm very glad to have a second bottle, but you best expect I'll be hunting any random bottles that still exist somewhere in the city...

ETA: 8 months later, and the second bottle is being consumed. I feel like the body has increased a bit given the reduce carbonation. There's an oak note that emerges around the edges of the tongue at the end of a sip, a charred oak. The vanilla is slightly sweeter now, but very similar to what it was last winter.

Dec 25, 2016
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ClavisAurea from New York

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle served cold in a teku

Appearance: deep and dark brown with hints of gold showing through. Barely any head generated and it all sank to nothing over time.

Nose: bourbon, alcohol, dark cocoa, coffee, coconut and walnuts, nondescript nutty flavor, tons of barrel character.

Taste: follows the nose well, strong brownie batter flavor, medium to medium plus mouthfeel, good amount of sweetness but nothing too crazy, bourbon barrel filled with chocolate candies

Overall: this is my first stout from Grimm and I'm impressed. $15 a bomber isn't too much for this beer considering the quality and hype for their beers. I ended up getting 2 bottles. I'll revisit this one in a year or so and see if things have mellowed a bit. The beer is a bit hot right now. Very good though.

Dec 25, 2016
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rjp217 from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is excellent. The vanilla is extremely well integrated. The barrel aging is nicely done and it was released at the proper time. It's in no way hot and doesn't taste 13.5% at all. This is no Vanilla Rye but it's tasty as hell.

Dec 24, 2016
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BEER88 from Washington

4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This has a nice dark look with a half finger of beige head. Smell is of chocolate, vanilla, coconut, bourbon, dark malts. Tastes of vanilla, wood, dark fruit, marshmallow, cacoa nibs. Feel is viscous and full, it has slight bitterness in the end that quickly fades! Overall this is a solid BA stout with vanilla, great to share on a cold night between two people. Cheers

Dec 21, 2016
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mdfb79 from New York

4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch blac color with little dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

Roasted malts, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, sweet bourbon, vanilla, cream, oak, and toasted malts. The bourbon is light. Overall a nice beer, although the bourbon is light...definitely doesn't feel over 13% though.

Dec 19, 2016
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Boccu from New York

4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark chocolate with a nice head that fades quickly. Aroma is creamy vanilla, dark rich chocolate , hints of coffee beans and bourbon. Taste light bourbon to a creamy vanilla, dark creamy chocolate,maple syrup,light oak and nice light bourbon finish. Great bourbon stout from Grimm. Big fan of them. I can't wait to age it six months and revisit it. Excellent stout.

Dec 15, 2016
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

others are right to be raving about this one, thanks to my homie back east for sharing it with me last week. this was an impressive beer in a lineup of impressive beers. a monstrous brew, gains little from being quite as strong as it is, except the intimidation factor i suppose. i found myself proceeding with caution, and while the alcohol might be a little hot and is probably not mellowed much by time in the cellar, i love the beer as a whole, and dont mind the bit of exposed booze here as much as i do in many other contexts. the base stout is amazing in its own right, a real masterwork of sorts, intensely roasted, bitter, and black, with a lot of viscosity and a full encapsulation of the essence of dark grain, beautifully done here. notes of black walnut and maple are present, brown sugar, this is quite sweet too. the vanilla adds a lot, unfortunately it also makes this sweeter than it already is, but the flavor of it is amazing, the whole bean, intense and natural, dosed robustly, and without any issues coming through the dense dark stout. slightly floral in the flavor from it, desserty for sure, and with a ton of whiskey, almost like bourbon was blended right into the beer. at the very least the barrels may have still had some juice in them. some oak tannins here, a ton of smooth wet woodiness here, hearty and wintery to say the least, the barrels have left quite the indelible mark on this. heavy heavy beer by weight, it sticks to the teeth, numbs the tongue, and sits thick in the belly. the sweetness and the booze almost make it like a black barleywine, but i love the depth here, and think sharing it with a couple friends is about the right amount. thanks again for sharing this beauty! quite a memorable brew.

Dec 11, 2016
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a pretty dark black, doesn't exactly pour like motor oil, but looks thick enough. There's a small head, and no lacing.

Smells like rich and creamy vanilla, huge chocolate fudginess, silky bourbon, slight dark fruitiness, and slight oak.

This really reminded me kind of like Vanilla Rye lite. There really is a good amount of vanilla here- it's hard to tell what's from the vanilla beans and what's from the barrels, but whatever it is, it's delicious, creamy, and very, very rich- like drinking silk. I'd wish for a bit of roasted malt character, because the beer is quite sweet, but it accomplishes being a vanilla and chocolate bomb exceptionally well. It's pretty fudgy, with a nice dark fruit sweetness.

This is medium bodied, not incredibly thick, for sure. It trades thickness for exceptional drinkability, though- as it's very creamy, very smooth, and very silky. There is absolutely no hint here that it's 13.5%- that's pretty impressive.

This is one of the best BA Vanilla stouts you can get on the market today- Grimm really smashed this one out of the park.

Dec 10, 2016
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M_chav from New Mexico

4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really solid BA NILLA stout. The mouthfeel is on point, velvety smooth, booze is hidden well and the vanilla comes through really well. Sweet and thick it's really well done, though I'd like more barrel to shine through.

Dec 05, 2016
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cosmicevan from New York

4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

was pretty excited about this one as soon as the label dropped. Bourbon stout w vanilla from grimm? umm....YES! double negative is very good as is the BA and maple and as far as I know that's the grim stout, so excited fr a new stout from a brewery that has so far been worth checking out most things they drop.

the beer...look is a bit softer and watery but the rest is thick and lush. great smell of vanilla over chocolate giving a light marshmallow vibe. body is full and drinks like a BA stout should. this one really delivers imo. BA stout w vanilla always catches my eye, very few capture my taste buds. this is a winner.

Dec 05, 2016
Sumi Ink from Grimm Artisanal Ales
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 167 ratings