Mott The Lesser
Tributary Brewing Co.

Mott The LesserMott The Lesser
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #33
Ranked #530
4.43 | pDev: 7.9%
Tributary Brewing Co.
Maine, United States
Mott The LesserMott The Lesser
Notes: After a two year hiatus, her Imperial Highness is reincarnated.

"In some cases less is more, but here, less is great."

Batch 1 (Spring 2015): Aged in apple brandy and port barrels before blending
Batch 2 (Winter 2015): Aged in apple brandy, port and a small amount in Woodford Reserve barrels for 2 months before blending
Batch 3 (Spring 2016): Aged in apple brandy, port, bourbon, and Mount Gay rum barrels before blending.
Batch 4 (Winter 2016): Aged in apple brandy, port, Mount Gay rum, and scotch (Lagavulin) oak barrels then blended.
Batch 5 (Spring 2017): Aged in apple brandy, port, Ardbeg, and Barr Hill Tom Cat gin barrels.
Batch 6 (Winter 2017): Aged in apple brandy, port, Barr Hill Tom Cat gin, and Amontillado Sherry barrels.
Batch 7 (Spring 2018): Aged in apple brandy, port, Sazerac rye whiskey filled red wine barrels, and Sherry barrels.
Batch 8 (Winter 2018): Aged in apple brandy, port, sherry barrels, and Extra Anejo Tequilla barrels.
Batch 9 (Spring 2019): Aged in apple brandy, port, Madeira, and Extra Anejo with added Mezcal Tequila barrels.
Batch 10 (Winter 2019): Aged in apple brandy, port, Madeira, and Jamaican Rum barrels.
Batch 11 (Spring 2019): Aged in cherry brandy, port, Madeira, and Rye Whisky with apple wood staves.
Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 203 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

3.6/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Spring 2020 release (Bottle 2056 of 2250); consumed on 6/12/21

Pours a jet-brown, trending black body capped with three fingers of thick, almost creamy, khaki-colored foam; solid head retention leaves a half-finger of fluffy cap and a large, velvety collar, while a comprehensive wall of soapy lacing veils the walls of the glass completely.

Aromas feature distinct apple brandy tones layering over the Front of the bouquet, with bakers cocoa in the distance overwrought with macerated raisin and a tinge of almond; dusty Madeira barrel brings a vague nuance, producing a quick hint of leather as tangy dark fruits take over.

Taste offers ripe brandy into subtle bakers cocoa with accents of leather upfront; pomegranate and toasted almond bring an eccentric mid-palate toward tannic/vinous red grape on the back end, where a tangy dark fruit medley impresses notes of young ruby port and soft oak on the finish.

Mouthfeel shows a medium-light body with a fluffy, maintained, moderate-high carbonation imparting a silky texture and naturally imbued grit sitting comfortably in the backdrop, fully realized and readily apparent into the back end; an increasingly persistent acidic twang cuts in over time toward the finishwith final impressions leaning almost semi-tart, dry, and mildly charry.

In 2021, this is firmly a stout from another time, with barrels more focused and casually integrated than outright intense; while a certain depth of malty char appears as a result, the barrel combination itself leaves profile so saturated in dark fruits that any semblance of nuance is all but washed away; quirky, and even stable in spots, but the final product is imbalanced as a function of the barrels involved.

Jun 13, 2021
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.02/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Quarantine Edition" - 500ml bottle - poured into a balloon stem at 45°F.

Pours a deep coal black - relatively thin-looking, topped with a razor thin tan collar, and some sparse spotty lacing. Light effervescence can be seen feeding the collar.

Nose: Quite unique right from the start. Deep dark roast evokes aromas of dark baking cocoa, espresso roast beans, and a hint of ashy char. Quite fruity, with some dark dried fruit - cherry, raisin, prune, date, and even a whisper of apricot. There's a prominent marzipan note, with some sweeter vanilla and toffee hints, enveloped by a chocolate milk vibe. A hint of dry white oak, but I'm not finding the blend of barrels.

Palate: The first sip brings a surprisingly classic flavour - clearly a big, bold, toasty Russian Imperial Stout. Big dark roast, with some blackened, charry malt, tending much more towards bitter roasty char, rather than sweet, chocolatey dessert. There's certainly some complexity, with undertones of tobacco, marzipan, brandy-based liqueur, and even some subtle vinous qualities - presumably from the dessert wine casks, complimented by a ton of tangy dark fruit. The beer is quite dry, but towards the finish, some more tannic qualities enhance that dryness, and a touch of whiskey-soaked oak peeks through. The finish is dry, roasty, and bitter, showcasing notes of cacao nib, dark roasted malt, and a bit of char.

Mouthfeel/Body: This particular iteration of Mott is quite thin. I cannot speak for other vintages, and I must also take into consideration the fact that this one is only 10.5%, but all things considered, it's still a pretty thin stout. There's no real nslt heft, weight, chew, or viscosity to it, and is no thicker than something like Old Rasputin - perhaps even a touch thinner. Low, fone effervescence, no coating, and a bit tannic and astringent on the palate.

Overall: This is such a highly revered and respected stout, and admittedly, the description makes it sound absolutely phenomenal. On paper, this vintage sound a like a knockout, but for how difficult this is to obtain, I personally feel like it isn't up to snuff, and that there are numerous other options that are just as good, if not exponentially better, and are also easier to get. It's a fantastic straight Russian Imperial stout, but nothing about it seems to deliver what is promised.

Apr 21, 2021
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DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Consumed in the chill on Trib's front deck in 30-degree, windy weather. An impressive stout--full-bodied, silky mouthfeel, and equal to the elements. Though conditioned in gin barrels, it's the brandy barrel aging that takes over the taste--a big, bold taste with dark fruits and chocolate prominent. This is one I'd certainly come back for.

Mar 23, 2021
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Spring 2020 release
550ml bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours deep black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that reduces to a ring around the glass

S- dark chocolate covered cherries lead the aroma, followed by figs, prunes, marzipan, booze soaked fruit cake. Undertones of port, sweet red wine, peppery rye and oak

T- very sweet up front with some dessert wine notes that gives notes of dark cherry, port wine, plumbs, figs and raisins. Mid-palate continues with the sweet notes, adding flavors of chocolate icing, caramel, vanilla cream and cherry syrup. The finish gives more dark wine notes, cherry and chocolate

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into the finish

O- quite complex with the variety of barrels used. However, it's almost cloyingly sweet after a few ounces

Dec 26, 2020
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.56/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sampling a cellar temp 500 ml bottle poured into a snifter. Picked up the beer at the brewery recently, this is a spring 2020. Label says aged in port, madeira, cherry brandy and rye whiskey barrels.
The beer pours a dark coffee brown color with a dense creamy tan colored head of 3 cm foaming up. this foams drops to a sturdy surface layer and leaves windowpane lattice as it fades.
Aroma is malt forward and features a complex mix of characters. I get roasted malt and some dark chocolate with a bit of sweeter cherry, some light tobacco hints and mid bourbon notes as well. Also some dry oak notes come through on the nose.
Not any hop character and besides the bourbon scent this doesnt smell boozy or alcohol heat-like.
First sip reveals a very smooth almost creamy texture and gentle rolling carbonation. the body is medium and the beer does coat my palate after each swallow. enjoyable physical traits on this beer.
Flavor is malt forward as the nose projects. I get some dark chocolate, roasted malt, a bit of a coffee hit up front. Some sweeter cherry and bourbon notes carry the middle and the finish has a bit of dark red wine and port flavor. I also get some heat on the finish. This heat lingers in my belly a bit. But the beer still drinks dangerously easy.
Really glad to have tried this one and will try to get future vintages, as long as online ordering is an option.
Well worth the purchase is imperial stouts are what you like!

Nov 21, 2020
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papposilenus from New Hampshire

4.51/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 500ml bottle, fall release 2020 - bottle number 1188 of 2200. Served in a Tributary-branded ‘ Less is Great’ tulip, because totally proper glassware.

Pours chestnut-black. Utterly opaque and without discernible highlights in the glass, and with a finger-plus of foamy, mocha-coloured suds. Retention is only so-so-decent, but leaves a cheerful, bubbly cap and a creamy, tattered curtain of lacing.

Aroma of milk chocolate, chocolate-covered cherries and a sort of woodsy, tea-like character.

Taste is mellow and boozy, damp wood and pots de creams, cherry pits, chocolate covered cherry, and a prominent woodsy, juniper, tea-like quality which I think must be how I’m tasting ‘toasted gin barrel.’

Feel is soft and smooth, unctuous and full bodied but with fine, bright carbonation surreptitiously making it feel a little lighter than maybe it really is.

Overall, a worthy 1,000 beer! The combination of cherry brandy and toasted gin barrel in the blend was improbably fortuitous. Absolutely delicious. The beer is perhaps a little sweeter than I’d prefer but I suppose that’s only right and proper relative to the style. Stated abv is 10.5% which I am not believing pending any attempt to get up off this sofa.

Nov 14, 2020
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

16.9oz bottle poured into a snifter. Spring 2016 release.

A: Black pour with a bubble beige head. Wispy lacing.

S: Roast and fudge, touch of smoke, oaky, fruit skins, hint of vanilla extract, whiff of soy sauce, sherry, distinct rum.

T: Roasty malt up front, chocolate cake, fudge, hints of soot and smoke. Some booze-soaked raisins and fruit skins. The apple brandy barrel is quite apparent, as is the rum. Port and bourbon are more subtle and I probably would not have picked them out if not for knowing. Oaky, toasty wood. Some cardboard-like oxidation is present. Long finish of baker’s chocolate and lingering brandy and rum.

M: Profoundly rich and thick mouthfeel. Firm and chewy, and downright heavy. Plenty of gently lifting carbonation. Texturally it’s like having a nice chocolate cream pie in your mouth.

O: Tod is forever tweaking this beer and experimenting with different barrels and blends. That said, the soul of it is still very much Kate the Great. The same familiar malt textures and flavors are there. The barrel aging adds a great deal of complexity and keeps the beer geeks lining up to compare against past versions. I very much enjoyed the apple brandy component he’s gravitated toward. It’s great to have one of the original “hype beers” still alive and well, still evolving, and yet also much more attainable now. It’s a treasure for old-school beer geeks in the know. I only wish I drank this last bottle from this vintage a year or so ago, as at four years old it’s showing a little more age than I would have liked. That’s completely my fault though.

Apr 03, 2020
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Rub_This_BBQ from Massachusetts

4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Seems fitting in 2019 release day, to drink the 18.
L dark black Body with strong 3 finger head
S: hint of barrel and roast
T nothing stands out but in amazing way, I hate the word balance but a perfect fit
Overall a great beer I was lucky enough to secure

Oct 27, 2019
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours with an impressive bubble show that builds to a three finger tan head that retains at two fingers and leaves squiggles of lacing across the glass; the liquid, of course, is pitch black

Smell: The complexity of all the barrels used here wafts in the aromatics; roasty with some dark fruit and chocolate but the Anejo and Tequila is distinctive as is the Apple Brandy

Taste: Roast and dark chocolate forward with the Apple Brandy, the Madeira and then the Port creating a fruity aspect; after the swallow, the Anejo and Tequila make their appearance and drive home the finish; just a little of the sweeter chocolate and dark fruit tones linger in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet but a relatively smooth finish despite the high ABV

Overall: A longtime want as I miss Kate the Great; I did review my notes from those days and this one is quite different and far more complex due to the many different barrels used here; a really superb effort

Thanks, BeerRay, for the opportunity

Aug 16, 2019
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.74/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the 500 ml. bottle that was released on April 27, 2019. Sampled fresh on April 28, 2019.

Gorgeous looking dark brown to nearly jet black pour with a long, lingering and delicate, tiny bubbles, mocha head. The head is soft and enticing.

Aroma of dark sweet and roasted caramel malts, chocolate, and a dash of coffee. A little woody too. Zero alcohol for 10.5% ABV.

The mouthfeel is smooth yet full and bold. Creamy and soft on the tongue.

The roasted dark malts and sweet characters lead the way in the flavor with a warming moderate bitterness that lingers at the end. Like the nose, I do not pick up any alcohol in the taste. This is an amazing Russian Imperial Stout and if you can try it, you should.

Apr 28, 2019
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap. Never tried Kate The Great so this is a treat. Pours thick and pretty; oily, Served very cold so a lot of that zany barrel aging took a while to come out.Once it did it was a pleasant beer. I thought the apple brandy and wine barrel treatment added some cool flavors. Strong offering.

Feb 26, 2019
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

April '18 release.

This one pours a very dark black color, with a small foamy head, and a little bit of lacing.

There's so much going on here, aroma-wise. This is aged in an absurd amount and variety of barrels, so this makes sense. There's lots of dark fruit, spicy oak, and milk chocolate, with additional notes of port, rye whiskey spice, tannic red wine, tobacco, cigar smoke, and earthy roasted malt.

Honestly- this is staggeringly good and a testament to how dynamic the imperial stout style can truly be. People who only like pastry stouts need not apply here- this doesn't taste like liquified cake, it actually tastes like a stout, with a lot of little interesting twists and turns of flavor. Of all the barrels, the rye whiskey/red wine Frankenbarrel comes through mostly strongly, with a good amount of fruity port/sherry character as well. The rye comes through as a nice spiciness that fuses well with the big earthy and woody character from the barrel. The base is delicious, too, surprisingly dry, with lots of chocolate and an unexpected smokiness, with a restrained and elegant roast character.

This is medium bodied bodied, and really creamy, with a surprisingly high level of drinkability for the ABV.

I'm very sad that I'll likely never get to try Kate the Great. However, this is a nice consolation prize. It's one of the better barrel-aged stouts that I've ever had. It's great to have beers where clearly a lot of care and planning went into the final product. This is stout brewing at its best.

Apr 23, 2018
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Phineasco from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pitch Black with 2 inch khaki head. Medium low carbonation.
Smell: Gin, apple brandy, herbs, fudge, and marshmallows.
Taste: Fudge, marshmallows, red wine, and apple brandy.
Mouthfeel: Medium, slick and smooth.
Overall: A very good barrel aged stout from Tributary.

Oct 21, 2017
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TheBeerCarl from Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful dark brown color with a rich brown head that dissipates slowly with great lacing. Couldn't ask for a better looking stout.

In the nose is chocolate, brown sugar, licorice and a hint of bourbon.

Rich brownie flavor with a bourbon aftertaste. Some hints of licorice on the palate as well. The heat lingers. While the chocolate is first there is no doubt that this is a 10.5% beer.

The beer has a good amount of carbonation but is a little light in body for such a big beer. A little more undetectable sugar could help out the abv.

Overall it's a good stout and I would definitely order a pint if I saw it in a bar but I'm not going to seek it out.

Apr 20, 2017
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.11/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 5 served on-tap at the brewery. Poured one shade shy of black with no head, just a khaki-colored froth and band. Nose expresses coffee notes, molasses and hints of ethanol. Taste is really quite pleasant. Big rich, dark chocolate notes almost akin to baker's chocolate. Some piney notes are revealed as the beer warms and it muddles nicely. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a carbonation just shy of prickly. Overall, really quite amazing for a gin barrel aged beer. Glad I had to the opportunity to try this one.

Batch 11: A - 4.75; N - 4; T - 4; M - 4.75; O - 4.0

This a great looking beer in the glass with a light-medium mouthfeel and assertive carbonation. There's quite a bit of char, cocoa and some smokey notes. I get some cherry character but not a whole lot in the way of port, madeira or apple staves.

Apr 16, 2017
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Boccu from New York

4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black. Nice brown head no lacing. Aroma of deep coffee and molasses. Taste espresso grinds, dark chocolate, deep molasses,dark licorice, light vanilla with a light scotch barrel finish. Great stout and very easy to drink. Look forward to more from them.

Apr 15, 2017
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M_chav from New Mexico

3.91/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this blind thanks to my wife for grabbing the wrong beer... faint barrels, the four different types make you think that this will be a complex RIS, but they hardly represent themselves and it was hardly existent. Nice mouthfeel, smooth, not chewy. roasted malts and figs. Tastes average, in fact tastes like a well done base RIS, maybe one to compare against Ten Fidy.

Jul 27, 2016
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mothman from Minnesota

3.78/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Fall release 2015

Tan head. Dark brown in color, near black.

A fair amount of roast and char up front. Makes me think of scotch barrels. The apple brandy shows the most. Fairly rich. Raisins, molasses, dark wine notes. Chocolate notes.

Full bodied. Ends roasted.

Has the potential to be great, maybe I aged it too long, but this is a shell of Kate the great. Bummed with this one.

Jul 04, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.41/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Catch up rating from Saturday's RIS bottle share. A bit on the watery side for the style, hints of chocolate on top of the roast grains, but lacking the oomph factor as well. Just not quite there.

Apr 18, 2016
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rjp217 from Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Was really excited to get a shot at this. The double barrel character was overall very mild, almost tough to detect. Just subtle sweetness from the apple brandy, pretty bitter otherwise. It seems like a few more months might tame down some of that. A nice overall BA stout as the dark chocolate stands out. Would like to sit on another bottle to see if it improves.

Re-review of a fresh bottle from the Spring '16 release.... Thick mouthfeel, lots of roast, bourbon, sweet apple brandy. Also notes of caramel and chocolate. No real bitterness and a big enough body to make this a sipper. The fresh version of this is a whole new animal. It's ready to drink right away. I don't see much advantage to aging as this has all the characteristics you'd want. Drink fresh!

Mar 10, 2016
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rodmanfor3 from Vermont

4.31/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark black pour

S: Primarily sweet molasses and chocolate

T: Roasted malt and dark chocolate bitterness. No discernible barrel present.

F: A bit thin

O: This is a solid, simple stout. Over-hyped but worth a pour for the tick.

Dec 14, 2015
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4.08/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle. Fall 2015 release. Black body with an ample khaki head. Chunky collar and wispy surface. Smells of dark fruits and licorice. Light mineral aroma. Dark roasted malts. Taste is strong licorice and dark fruits. Kinda sweet and fruity. Chocolate roasted malts. I get very little of the barrels the label mentions. Maybe some light oak in the finish. Medium body. Medium high carbonation. Like it's predecessor, it's a simple stout, but almost perfectly made. I'm not an imperial stout fan, but I find this to be very drinkable and flavorful.

Dec 01, 2015
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M-Fox24 from New Jersey

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

A: Pour is black, dark brown, with a mocha essence; head is off-white, has some retention, and fair lacing

S: Aroma depicts malt, oak, and smokiness. Scent is a good indicator for chocolate/cocoa, sugar, coffee, leather, and faint grapes

T: Perception of dark fruits, coffee, chocolates, brownies, vanilla, marshmallows, and a tad bit smoky. Very well done oaky, malty, and smooth RIS

M: Medium body and carbonation; ABV is not overboard, has a nice silkiness. Thick, full, creamy, and smooth feel for a chocolatey brownie treat

O: Predominantly an ingenious RIS; compare to KtG all you want, but this bad boy is its own beast

Nov 16, 2015
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smanson56 from New Hampshire

4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle from the 10/24/15 release. It poured a deep dark black color with a nice lacey tan head. The nose has hints of apple brandy and some bourbon with a rich malty overtone. The taste follows with a rich complex taste with hints of bourbon and brandy and wonderful chocolate overtones. The mouth feel is smooth and soft. A well done BA Stout well worth the time in line to pick up a few bottles.

Oct 26, 2015
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WoostaBia from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap 8 ounces at Tributary Brewing Co. Awesome beer, glad I tried it, would not go out of way to find it. It tasted like a good beer to age.
Look:Pitch black with brownish edges where the light passes. Mildly thick (not thick nor thin).
Smell: Porto, balsamic, dark fruit, roasted malt, milk chocolate, bourbon,
Taste: Same as smell with light hopping. Smooth and creamy, almost as if Lactose is added. bitter roasted malt and alcoholic heat on the finish. Beer got smoother and better as it warmed up.

Oct 25, 2015
Mott The Lesser from Tributary Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 203 ratings