Transient Artisan Ales

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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #82
Ranked #353
4.51 | pDev: 5.54%
Transient Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States
Notes: Imperial stout with vanilla, Tugboat coffee and Michigan maple syrup, aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for 12 months.

2015: Buffalo Trace & Four Roses
2018: WL Weller
2019: Heaven Hill
Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 167 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.39/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This one pours a very dark black color, with a tiny head, and no lacing.

This smells like rich melted dark chocolate, earthy sweet maple, bourbon heat, oak, and vanilla.

This is decadent and very rich, with rich melted chocolate nougat, and a decent barrel to it - vanilla, oak, sweet caramelly bourbon, etc. There's also loads of rich dark amber maple syrup. I don't get a ton of actual dessert vanilla - just the vanilla from the barrel.

This is medium bodied, slightly syrupy, with a lower level of carbonation. It's rich but not really boozy at all.

This is definitely a monster, and stands up to much more hyped beers doing the same sorts of things.

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GreesyFizeek from New York, Feb 29, 2020
Photo of 5toutman75
4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Transient makes some of the best barrel aged stouts out there and Kentuckley ranks up there as one of their best. It has an amazing smell. I get sweet chocolate and bourbon. The coffee and maple come through on the tongue more so. The balance between everything is what I love best. I feel like a lot of brewers go too far in the maple, but Kentuckely does it perfectly. I taste chocolate even though it’s not there. It’s a tiny bit thinner than my very favorite stouts, but probably perfect for most people. Never pass this up!

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5toutman75 from Illinois, Dec 25, 2019
Photo of JamFuel
4.51/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Brewskival 2019.

Pours thick and jet black with a little bit of tan foam.

Smell is sweet and oaky with notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and a hint of licorice.

Taste is powerful, sweet and a bit boozy, in a good way. Notes of coffee, oak, vanilla, brown burnt sugar and chocolate. Bourbon is subtle but noticeable, a bit of nice bitterness creeps out with some warmth. Superb balance.

Mouthfeel is thick and oily, well carbonated.

Overall, a great barrel aged stout. I like Canuckley more, but this is superb.

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JamFuel from Sweden, Aug 30, 2019
Photo of Dragginballs76
4.63/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours jet black with thin mocha colored head that settles to a thin ring. No lacing.

Aroma - Huge sweet maple syrup nose, nice subtle bourbon and oak, rich sweet vanilla, coffee, milk chocolate.

Taste - Wow taste is super sweet maple syrup which covers the bourbon just enough to smooth it out. Lots of rich vanilla and marshmallow, oak rich sweet chocolate. Very balanced excellent flavors.

Feel - Slick full bodied creamy nice heat alcohol is well hidden.

Overall - Excellent flavors so well balanced everything stands out so well.

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Dragginballs76 from South Carolina, Aug 20, 2019
Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into snifter, 2019 vintage. Pours dense pitch black color with a small fairly dense tan head with poor retention, that reduces to nothing pretty quickly. Minimal spotty lacing on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cream, toffee, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, roasted nuts, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of licorice, molasses, raisin, fig, date, smoke, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Very minimal booze in the aromas as it warms. Incredible aromas with amazing complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, coffee, vanilla, maple syrup, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with big strength. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cream, toffee, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, roasted nuts, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of licorice, molasses, raisin, fig, date, smoke, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Very mild herbal, grassy, roasted bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cream, toffee, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, roasted nuts, dark/brown bread, licorice, molasses, dark fruit, smoke, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Insane complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, coffee, vanilla, maple syrup, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a solid roast/hop bitter/sweet balance; with no cloying, acrid, astringent flavors after the finish. Slightly increasing dryness from lingering bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and super full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety/bready, and slightly slick/sticky/chalky/tannic mouthfeel that is amazing. Mild increasing warmth of 14.5%, with minimal lingering barrel booze after the finish. Overall this is an insane barrel aged imperial coffee stout! All around amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, coffee, vanilla, maple syrup, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to drink for the huge ABV, with the mildly bitter/tannic/drying finish; amazingly soft feel for the ABV. Perfectly balanced between super rich malts, maple syrup, vanilla, fruity/nutty coffee, and Heaven Hill barrel presence/integration; mild earthy hops and fruity yeast. Not overly sweet/heavy from lingering dryness. An insanely amazing offering, and world class style example. One of the smoothest stouts I've ever had for the ABV, especially for the young age.

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superspak from Michigan, Jul 09, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.34/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage; drank 5/25/16 @ Fischman's.

Black/brown appearance.

Minimal dark khaki head; minimal lace.

Dark roast coffee bean, milk chocolate & marshmallow notes in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Chocolate syrup & vanilla flavors up front; dark roast coffee bean notes on the finish. Faint booze heat notes emerged as this warmed.

Sweet but not cloying; a rich, delicious treat.

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GuyFawkes from Illinois, Apr 28, 2019
Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.76/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - The beer poured a deep black color, that was impenitable to light, with a dark mocha head.

Smell - The nose was mostly rich, sweet coffee. Even with the sweetness, the nose was roasty and fresh.

Taste - My first impression was thick roasty coffee. Vanilla marshmallows, milk chocolate, light maple, and hints of booziness rounded out the taste. The adjuncts were not shy. The big vanilla presence reminded me of Hanjee.

Mouthfeel - As one might expect from a dessert stout, the beer is thick and almost frothy. In some ways, it was like a boozy cake shake.

Overall - The beer was fantastic, though I prefer Canuckley.

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Photo of Vidblain
4.34/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2018 vintage. The quantity of chocolate in this beer really took me by surprise - the nose is ever so slightly hot and boozy, but it's primarily like the nose on a chocolate milkshake. Well - plus some vanilla and just enough maple (natural and not too cloying or sweet - feels well integrated, not like those maple beers that seem to separate a bit). Lots of barrel.

I'm still surprised by how reasonably priced this beer is, even on the secondary market - and how it doesn't get more hype. It's quite good, and not even the best of the series.

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Vidblain from Minnesota, Jan 15, 2019
Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.59/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a motor oil black with a one finger brown head. The head dissapates quickly leaving some very light lacing.

S - Aroma is dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and bouron.

T - The taste is coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, maple syrup, oak and bourbon.

M - Full body with medium carbonation. Syrupy mouthfeel with a sticky dry finish.

O - This is an incredible BBA stout. The flavors are perfectly balance with a nice barrel presence.

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TreyIsWilson from Michigan, Jan 06, 2019
Photo of OompaMentor
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12/31/2018 (2018 bottle) -- maple syryp/vanilla upfront with coffee/bourbon blooming mid-palate and carrying nicely off the back. Very enjoyable and better as it warms.

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Photo of ktr5010
4.91/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black and motor oil thickness. Dark mocha brown head. Smells like a bourbon coffee brownie. Bourbon, coffee, and chocolate are up front tastes while the vanilla compliments all those other flavors. It has good thickness and great feel. Overall this a great beer from Transient and one of my favorite bourbon barrel aged beers.

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ktr5010 from Illinois, Dec 21, 2018
Photo of GreatStoutman
4.93/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Off the charts... builds on base beer with sweet vanilla and maple that give way to the coffee flavors with rich oak/booziness that smooths out the bitter coffee notes. Just perfect

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Photo of Badger2121
4.64/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Get vanilla and bourbon on the nose. Maple on the front. Chocolate and maple on the backend. Syrupy feel. Flavors are amazing. Fantastic beer. If you get a chance to taste it do it.

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Badger2121 from Illinois, Jul 15, 2018
Photo of rudzud
4.69/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed at the Copenhagen Beer Fest. Reviewed from notes.

A - Poured a nice dark oily black with a good three finger mocha head that fades slowly to leave thick, sticky lacing.

S - Aromas of massive bourbon and coconut. Huge barrel presence along with some delicious fudge, cinnamon, and char.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Excellent oaky vanilla bourbon flavour, wonderful chocolate and fudge, cinnamon, little char. Nice coffee flavour as well. ABV hidden wonderfully.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, thick, creamy, silky. Heavy body. No discernible alcohol. Absolutely fantastic.

O - Overall this was hands down the best stout of the festival. Phenomenal barrel notes going on here. Would love to have bottles of this.

Serving type: On tap

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rudzud from Massachusetts, Mar 13, 2018
Photo of Junior
3.85/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Look - Pours a dark, dark brown with a thick caramel head.
Smell - Bourbon, sugar and a hint of soy sauce.
Taste - Roasted malt. Sweet and hot. Did not improve as it warmed.
Feel - Very thick and creamy. A little boozy on the finish.
Overall - A little too sweet for my taste. Not very well balanced.

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Junior from Michigan, Mar 09, 2018
Photo of Prager62
4.56/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A bottle with no date purchased at the brewery in the summer of 2017. Poured in a Transient grenade style glass.

Look- Pours black and oily producing a few centimeters of mocha colored foam. It slowly settles to a thin ring revealing no lacing. A thin oily residue can be seen clinging to the glass.

Smell- Coffee, bakers chocolate, marshmallow, bourbon and a slight whiff of maple.

Taste- Sweet maple syrup, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and oak.

Feel- Thick, oily and creamy. A bit of alcohol bite in the back.

Overall- An excellent dessert beer that I'd compare to a sweeter version of CBS. The maple syrup stands out more because maple syrup was used as opposed to maple syrup barrels. The bourbon is more prominent as a result of not housing any syrup. Both top notch beers in their own right, just depends if you're in the mood for something sweeter. Not diabetes level, just noticeable. Another quality beer from Transient.

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Prager62 from Colorado, Feb 18, 2018
Photo of Stevedore
4.36/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

650ml bottle, batch 2. Served in a snifter glass. Pours a dark black body, oily with a fair bit of leg, one finger brown head, good retention and not much lacing. Smell is green pepper, a bit of dark fruit, milk chocolate fudge, light smoke, bourbon barrel. I poured this one fairly cold, and it took a while for the maple to come out. The vanilla is faint even then, but on the flavour, there is a nice milk chocolate sweetness tempered by a fair bit of cocoa, dark chocolate and bourbon. The coffee is less green peppery on the flavour, and hangs around throughout. It's not too sweet. The vanilla adds a slight fluffiness and contributes mainly to the body, as does the maple syrup. It's an overall balanced beer with all of the adjuncts. Slightly on the sweeter side of the balance. Mouthfeel is full bodied, substantial, good carbonation, slightly slick from the vanilla, slight whiskey heat on the finish. A very, very solid bourbon breakfast stout, although the coffee came across a bit too green peppery for my taste.

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Stevedore from Wisconsin, Feb 04, 2018
Photo of REVZEB
4.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Syrupy, slightly smokey, woody, and sweet. These are the four pillars of this beer. Baker's chocolate, oat, ash, tobacco, bourbon, coffee, maple syrup, and smoked and chocolate malt all readily available in each sip. The body is silky smooth and thick. Feels like it should be clogging my arteries it is so good and thick

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REVZEB from Illinois, Jan 28, 2018
Photo of eppie82
4.44/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Loads of roasted coffee in this one. Aroma was predominantly coffee, not a lot of barrel or other ingredients while on the cooler side. As it warmed the dark chocolate and maple stickiness became more noticeable. Good amount of roasted malts and full feel. Didn't notice vanilla however, and I think the barrel might have overpowered the adjuncts.

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eppie82 from Illinois, Dec 31, 2017
Photo of Futbolmanby
4.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: motor oil black with a chocolate khaki .5inch head
Smell: maple syrup and a ton of coffee.... you get hints of cocoa, bourbon and vanilla too
Taste: coffee, some dried fruit, you get some maple and barrel... you get zero vanilla.
Feel: medium body, light carbonation, slightly bitter

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Futbolmanby from Michigan, Nov 08, 2017
Photo of kort27
4.91/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 version - oh my Lord - been sitting on this one for over a year, and it did not disappoint. This is what I remember KBS tasting like, back when KBS was the best beer in the world. I think this is only my second review ever in my 8 years on here, but I just felt that I had to tell you about this one.
Look - coats the glass like you wouldn’t believe - great mocha lacing
Smell - my buddy commented that you don’t even have to taste this one to enjoy it. All the smells are there - coffee, chocolate, vanilla. Smells like I imagine a 1972 Adrienne Barbeau did - like heaven
Taste - best beer I’ve had in a long, long time. At first I’m hit with the coffee, then wait a second and I’m overwhelmed with chocolatey deliciousness.
Feel - feels like I imagine a 1972 Adrienne ... wait ... already used that. Perfect mouthfeel - the right thickness that I love in this style of beer.
I did not want this beer to end. I have a 2017 waiting in the wings, and I’m gonna give that a year to sit as well. From other reviews, sounds like ‘17 has a little bit of work to do to live up to the greatness of ‘16.

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kort27 from Illinois, Oct 29, 2017
Photo of jlindros
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Copenhagen beerfest
Huge frothy head, pitch black
Nose coffee, roast, little char, candy syrupy, choc, cocoa, mild rye like bourbon, little baking spice, cinnamon, coconut barrel
Taste Huge coffee and oak barrel, wood dust, some bourbon, char, barrel, coconut, cinnamon spice, little booze, char notes
Mouth thick syrupy good carb good booze.
Overall incredible, one of the best beers at the fest

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Oct 20, 2017
Photo of Furlinator
4.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2017.
Opaque black with a half inch tan head that remains as a ring on top and leaves curtains of lace. The smell is coffee, cocoa, faint vanilla, earthy hops and booze. The taste follows with coffee, vanilla, cocoa, subtle maple, an apple element that seems out of place and bourbon accents on the finish. Full texture with medium carbonation. I had high expectations for this one and it did not live up to them.

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Furlinator from California, Sep 21, 2017
Photo of Zoomslowik
4.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- Looks great. Very dark brown to black. Mocha head that sticks around.

S- Burst of coffee, but not quite as much as the base. Maple and brown sugar with just a little vanilla. Not much barrel or booze, just a little oak.

T- Pretty balanced. I found Buckley to be a little bitter, this is more well rounded. Mostly coffee with some sweetness. Right amount of maple, though it seems to fade at times. Barely any vanilla. Not much booze, slight barrel presence.

F- A little more carb than I'm used to. Still smooth with medium thickness. Decent coating.

O- It's well done, but I would have liked a touch more maple and more vanilla. Admittedly, I'm not a big coffee fan and more adjuncts might make it too sweet. Definitely an upgrade over the base, but not quite as significant as I expected. That's not meant to be a knock, it's still damn tasty and one of the better breakfast stouts I've had.

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Zoomslowik from Illinois, Aug 18, 2017
Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.61/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: pours thick and black with a film of dark brown mocha head
S: big aroma here. Maple jumps at me, coffee and not so smooth bourbon.
T: all the flavors came together well. Maple but not overly sweet, nice coffee touch and decent bourbon presence. The bourbon is not as rash as in the nose either.
F: highly carbonated which I'm not a fan of, pretty smooth, coats decently well with medium to thick feel.

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Kentuckley from Transient Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 167 ratings