Cycle Brewing

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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #73
Ranked #315
4.52 | pDev: 5.53%
Cycle Brewing
Florida, United States
Notes: Barrel-aged extra imperial stout, clocking in at over 14.5% ABV. Aged in bourbon barrels, it is one of our most complex untreated beers ever released!
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 173 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of macrosmatic
4.31/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from (long-standing) notes. 22 oz bottle from the purchase at the brewery on 12/1/17 (Greatest Hits batch). Reviewed on 1/1/18. Poured into an El Catador Barrel-Aged glass.

A: Very dark brown to black, and opaque. A minimum of visible carbonation, and only a tan ring of foam. The foam stays around, but no real head formation.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, caramel, vanilla. Waffle cones and tobacco. Dark roasted malts with a modest roasty bitterness. Mild oak tannins. Quite a nice aroma, especially for non-adjunct stout.

T: Bourbon and dark chocolate, vanilla and caramel. Sticky dark roasted malts, milder coffee, Oak, tannins, more vanilla. Some drying tobacco within the tannins as well. Then more sweet bourbon and chocolate in the hang.

M: A nice heavy, thick and sticky body. Carbonation is low but fine for style. The alcohol flavors are very, very well-hidden for the monster ABV listed. Good barrel balance as well – obvious bourbon flavors but still lets the other flavors come out.

O: So…this is an excellent beer. Big sweet dark malty beer with good barrel presence and thick mouthfeel. BUT…I just had the Calusa Barrel-Aged Sworn to the Dark – and I think I might prefer the Calusa. It’s not a huge gap, and it’s rather like picking between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini, since I really liked both of them. Would drink this one again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of Vidblain
4.41/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great Hits DBR bottle. Strong, rich chocolate. As has been my experience with many Cycle beers, the barrel is very mild and subdued - there's a light woody presence to the beer, but the alcohol is very well blended. It's soft and quite drinkable, even given the ABV. I really liked this one - wish I hadn't shared mine!

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Vidblain from Minnesota, Sep 26, 2018
Photo of brentk56
4.57/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrive pitch black with a finger of beige foam; wispy lacing

Smell: Dark chocolate, vanilla, Bourbon, toffee and oak, with a hint of coconut

Taste: Roasted notes along with chocolate and Bourbon, up front, with the toffee, vanilla and coconut developing; after the swallow, the Bourbon builds to an oaky, somewhat boozy finish

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: A massive stout with a lot of flavor; while I don't normally like beers at this ABV level, this one was first class

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brentk56 from North Carolina, Jul 07, 2018
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the batch released as part of the Greatest Hits set.

This one pours a deep and dark black, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells like spicy oak, tobacco, dark chocolate, boozy bourbon, and roasted malt.

This is delicious, with such bold flavors for being untreated. Most Cycle beers are very treated and just loaded with desserts and candy. This has a lot going on for just being a big burly and gnarly stout. There's a lot of bitter nuttiness, lots of dark fudgy chocolate, earthy roast, oak and bourbon spice, tobacco, a bit of fruity vinous character, and some coffee. This is super great.

This is thick and chewy, much more so than most Cycle beer. It's also super soft and creamy.

This is just about as good as it gets for non-treated BA stouts. This is so luxurious.

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GreesyFizeek from New York, May 05, 2018
Photo of Phineasco
4.67/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours Black with a thin film of a khaki head that dissapears immediately. The beer has low carbonation. It smells of subtle coconut, almonds, chocolate, brownie batter, and a little sherry. The beer tastes of chocolate, brownie batter, subtle coconut, almonds, with Bourbon to round it out. The mouthfeel is light, with the right amount of barrel. Overall, this a great no adjunct stout from Cycle.

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Phineasco from Massachusetts, Mar 05, 2018
Photo of bennyman12
3.78/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Doesn’t match the other reviews. Not infected but definitely breaking down. Sweet and still thick but strange chemically off flavors. Wish I would have drunk or traded this a while ago. :(

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bennyman12 from Missouri, Jan 17, 2018
Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense finger of dark tan head which fades to nothing with no lacing
S: Smells of bitter dark chocolate and bourbon barrels, coffee, and a little coconut
T: Taste is dark chocolate and oak, some cocoa powder, vanilla, and caramel, roasted malts, coffee, and fudge. Swallow is more chocolate, oak, coffee, and a little coconut while some vanilla lingers in the finish.
M: This beer has is thick and silky on the palate with carbonation that is soft but adequate for the style. The beer has a drying finish due to the acidity.
O: Overall this beer is intense. Great flavors and complexity make this one a pleasure to drink. I think I can find different tasting notes with each sip. Alcohol is well hidden. Definitely a great beer and worth trying if you are ever in the area and find it again.

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SHODriver from North Carolina, Nov 17, 2017
Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I'm not the biggest cycle fan, due to their generally thin watery body, lack of barrel character, and weird fruity yeast aromas....but this one was fantastic.

Pours thick, black, viscous and sweet, with strong bourbon aroma. Definitely has that odd Cycle house aroma -- kinda fruity, almost banana-y but not quite. That aroma is the only thing that wears on me -- the rest is world class here. Neither super hot nor overly sweet. Good bit of dark cocoa and molasses flavor.

Apparently there is some bottle variation but we got a fantastic rendition so are grateful for the opportunity to try a very good one.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from desp59 a while back. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours out opaque black and yields a 2+ finger, medium looking, creamy, dark tan head with good retention. Slightly crackly. Head slowly fades to a full wisp. Pitch black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Splotchy wisp remains until the end and leaves some falling dots of lacing down the glass. Good black color with a solid head. Good looking stuff.

SMELL: This smells really good. Bourbon and oak on the nose, with nice sweet vanilla cream, milk chocolate, pure dark chocolate and brownies, toffee, butterscotch and hints of coconut. Bold as well, and definitely boozy. Nice stuff.

TASTE: Big flavors up front with plenty of bourbon, alcohol, oak, roasted notes and chocolate up front. A boozy and alcoholic swallow with plenty of barrel, then a bold and lingering finish of oak, sweet cream, vanilla, toffee, milk and pure chocolate, brownies and bourbon. A good dose of alcohol lingers as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, enough weight for the ABV as well, goes down fine with a good burn and finishes a touch sticky. A good amount of heat lingers.

OVERALL: This a bruiser of a beer. It’s definitely 14% and you notice, but at the same time, the big, roasty base stout matches the barrel flavors, and the creamier feel makes it drink all that much easier. This is way smoother, more balanced and easier to drink than most imperial stouts at this ABV. No question. If you’re a fan of really high ABV barrel aged stouts and you find some of them, like Pugachev’s and BCBS, too harsh and abrasive, then you’ll love what this one has to offer. Big fan. Thanks again desp59. Another world class Cycle imperial stout.

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Jeffo from Netherlands, Oct 30, 2016
Photo of mothman
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black in color. Tan head.

A sweeter, bigger version of dos. Roasted. Lots of bourbon. Abv is hidden. Chocolate. Oaky. Caramel and molasses.

Warming with a lot of bourbon.

A nice cycle stout to try.

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mothman from Minnesota, Jun 24, 2016
Photo of cultclassic89
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Thin mocha head, could just be a tad thicker on the body.

S: Rich bourbon and chocolate, some nuttiness. Fantastic.

T: Same as the nose.

F: Thicker than other Cycle stouts I've had, but not quite motor oil. Slick.

O: Fantastic BA stout from them and one of my favorite beers they've done. Just plenty of rich, decadent flavors.

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Photo of RonRygs
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

best beer cycle beer produced so far! Once this bad boy ages another year i will put it up against SR-71. Thick, Fudgy, Chocolaty, Vanilla, Whiskey, deliciousness

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RonRygs from Florida, Mar 28, 2016
Photo of rabbott2
4.64/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 release poured into a snifter 1/23/2016

L - dark and thick with a bubbly brown head

S - whiskey and fudge...heavy whiskey

T - whiskey, fudge, milk chocolate and tons of barrel...really love the taste here...a lot going on

F - boozy and carbonated...it was still pretty drinkable, but definite heat throughout the drink

O - I did really enjoy this beer. The booze and carbonation were pretty heavy and I really feel time would improve this beer even though it's top notch already. I would love to have another to age for a year or two (despite what the label says), but I am glad I was able to try this.

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rabbott2 from Illinois, Jan 25, 2016
Photo of Beer_Nye
4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Cycle was serious when they called this one of their most better untreated stouts. Good bourbon thick fudge with notes of caramel, with a slight finish of coffee. Like most stouts with a fudge like flavor, the flavor and mouthfeel get better as it warms up. Overall, great stout that I hope I can find more of.

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Beer_Nye from Florida, Jan 21, 2016
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650 mL bottle. Inky black. Strong barrel aroma. Whiskey. Kinda fruity. Rye? Not really sure. Heavy fudge and roasted malt. Taste is sweet and chocolatey. Heavy whiskey. Lots of barrel. Oak. Very heavy and sweet. Boozy, but pretty damn delicious.

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Photo of vziznznzyz
4.79/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best Cycle beers yet. Pout thick and murky small tan head. Love the aroma of the beer. Hints of vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate do not over power each other. A must if you havent had yet.

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vziznznzyz from North Carolina, Jan 02, 2016
Photo of KVNBGRY
4.77/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Oak, bourbon, chocolate, cinnamon(?), vanilla, raisins, booze, it's a bit hot, but this would age gracefully (as opposed to the label saying to drink it now). Thick as hell!

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KVNBGRY from Florida, Jan 01, 2016
Photo of lupercmda
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow!! May just be my favorite Cycle Beer ever and that is saying something. Pours dark thick murky black with a small tan head. The smell is of chocolate and oak and bourbon. The taste is very close to Parabola. I love the vanilla up front taste with the oak character really coming thru on the palate at the finish. Lingers with the oakiness of the barrel. Very thick mouthfeel. Just outstanding!!

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lupercmda from North Carolina, Dec 30, 2015
Photo of TampaRainman
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If you were sitting across the table from Rare DOS at a late-night diner having some breakfast after a night out and someone handed you a glass of DBR, you might be liable to give up your eggs to the customer in the booth behind you, stand up on your booth seat and shout to the entire restaurant that "our little boy's all growns up tonight!"

Clocking in at 14.5%, DBR certainly echoes its ~10% predecessor, but brings with it more of the deep barrel character, woody, tannic, burnt caramel and dark fruit notes, with just a bit more bite but without being boozy or sacrificing the delightful mouthfeel.

The bottle says to not age it--and I would drink it now if you have it--but if I had two I couldn't resist revisiting this again in a year.

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Photo of danh53
4.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Big, sweet caramel and bourbon notes lead the way followed by semi sweet chocolate and fudge. Coffee roast comes in on the finish. Dark fruits, berries, raisins, black cherry, and cola are present throughout making this one of the more complex Cycle stouts. The barrel character brings in a subtle charred flavor. Although this drinks easily for 14.5%, the bourbon flavor is prominent adding vanilla and toasted coconut as it warms. The mouth feel is ramped up a little with the abv. Overall, this one is rich and complex. Seek it out.

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danh53 from Florida, Dec 18, 2015
Photo of Beer4B
4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

On Draft (haven't had a bottle yet): rich and viscous in color and feel. Loads of bourbon...I seem to really love stouts aged in 4 Roses barrels. So much bourbon but yet not "hot". Tons of chocolate and a nice roasty backbone. Drinks incredibly easy for 14%...I would have guessed it was 10% at most. Drinks easier then BCBS and not nearly as sweet, which is to my preference. Hope my friends enjoy these

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Beer4B from Florida, Dec 17, 2015
Photo of floridadrift
4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Nice tan head, pitch black body, as usual
S: Sweet alcohol, chocolate and cherries
T: Strong, well-blended, pretty sweet for how much alcohol is hidden in there. I get raisins, chocolate and some roast character.
M: Thick
O: A really rich, beast of a beer.

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Photo of Lare453
4.73/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Aged in four roses and Amber bourbon barrels. Thick, viscous, thick tan head. Smell is strong booze, bourbon, barrel, chocolate. Taste is salty chocolate bourbon barrel. Lots of booze. Thick af.

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Lare453 from Florida, Dec 10, 2015
DBR from Cycle Brewing
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 173 ratings