Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout (Blackwater Series) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

BA SCORE
88
very good
1,459 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout (Blackwater Series)Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout (Blackwater Series)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
southerntierbrewing.com

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
The brewer suggests a serving temperature of 42 °F for this beer.

Added by ph2001 on 07-12-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,459
Ratings:
4,565
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
17.3%
 
 
Wants:
398
Gots:
1,091
For Trade:
30
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,459 | Ratings: 4,565
Photo of Chico1985
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I had the this in the bottle about 6 months ago, had it on tap tonight at Sierra Grille. Pours very dark brown, not quite pitch black, with a decent beige head, forms a ring on the edge of the glass leaving good lacing. Smell is absolutely insane, smells like melted white chocolate/caramel. Taste is insane as well, TONS of vanilla bean, caramel, chocolate, alcohol. Even though the taste is good I will say it's very over the top, it kind of crosses the line between beer and milkshake. I loved many other Southern Tier big beers (Choklat, Mokah, Pumking) but this is a little too sweet for me. Taste is very dessert like but definitely a sipper. A 12 oz glass was enough for me, I'm not sure how I finished the bomber back in the day. If you have liked the other Southern Tier stout bombers give it a go, but this is probably my least favorite out of them.

 859 characters

Photo of nate4g63
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, very dark, barely any head that went away fairly quick.

Smells really really good! Like the soft caramel candies. A little hint of alcohol in there as well.

Tastes just like it smells. Reminds me of a much more potent version of Saranacs Caramel Porter.

Mouthfeel is pretty light, not creamy like I expected ,and wanted, it to be.

Not sure if I would want to drink much more than this bomber, I would prefer it as a 12 oz. I can't say it would be my first pick if other stouts are availaible.

Overall it's nothing I would hunt down, but nothing I would turn down either. Solid brew from a solid brewery.

 645 characters

Photo of scottyb88
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A-poured smooth and kinda thick with little head, plenty of lacing, very black with nice tan head

S-smells pretty good, vanilla, butter pecan ice cream

T-typical stout but with a nice sweetness that has a bit of spice at the end, butter pecan flavor is present

M-silky and a little thick, little to no carbonation

D-at 10% alcohol its very well balanced, its a very rich beer that I couldn't see myself having a second

 422 characters

Photo of Brittmb29
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Draft at my new favorite beer bar, The Coffee District in Delray Beach, FL

A- Dark black body no light penetration and a creamy off-tan head. head stays through the glass while thinning to the rim of bubbles w/ some in the center, served cold in a cigar city snifter.

S- BUTTERYY, mmm with the alcohol smell it smell of a sweet butterscotch. slight malty smell to back the candy like smell.

T- Creamy buttery and caramalized flavors with strong alcohol mid sip. sweetness from start to finish with not much bitterness only some roasty flavors to balance. dry alcohol finish with 9.8% ABV with some sweet, but not overbearing.

M- Creamy medium body mouthfeel although dryness from alcohol makes it a thinner medium. dry from midsip and finish which is nice since it keeps the beer drinkable.

O- This is a dessert beer dream, very sweet so i don't think it would be more than a glass unless its really your thing (also due to high alcohol). Butterscotch flavors and high alcohol content also make it reminiscent of a liquor so this also docks its drinkablity for me. had a nice lambic type ale after and it was a good beer set for the night. an enjoyable draft treat.

 1,173 characters

Photo of delta490
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer poured a deep dark black with about one finger of light tan creamy head. Minimal head retention but a little lacing all the same. The aroma is sweet and strongly vanilla. For me it's almost too sweet. The taste closely matches the aroma and I was wishing for more stout and less vanilla. The vanilla is almost too much and overpowers the subtle milk stout. It has a nice feeling in the palate from the lactose. Overall it's just a little too sweet for my taste and I wish the bottle notes had more prominently highlighted that this was strictly a dessert beer.

 570 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - poured black with a creamy 1/2" tan head that diminished to nearly nothing in a few minutes, agitation allowed for a reformed cap

S - delicious! Sweet creme brulee crossed with dark chocolate and espresso! Vanilla too? Nice. A touch of fruitiness and yeast is present as well. So far so good!

T - very sweet at first, maltiness then sweeps across the palate, followed by coffee and syrup, bittersweet finish with hardly any hoppiness at all. Some notes of biscuits but the vanilla/malt/caramel sweetness was nearly overpowering. Alcohol is present throughout. This is where it starts to go down...

M - thick and heavy with moderate carbonation, chewy and syrupy

D - decent for a 10% brew but the thickness and sweetness only lets me do one of these in an evening

Overall - not a bad beer to try for kicks but nothing spectacular. Way too sweet and sticky. Something new to try for the record books. Perhaps it would benefit from aging?

 944 characters

Photo of Jonada
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber, bottled 6/11/2013. Served in a snifter

Appearance: Pours black with 2 fingers of a tan head. Body is opaque.

Smell: Incredibly strong aromas of caramel and vanilla are the main components here. Underneath those are some dark chocolate and a hint of roasted malt, but you really have to reach to find them. This doesn't smell like a beer. It smells like an incredibly sweet dessert.

Taste: Intense syrupy sweetness right upfront, which carries through the finish. Huge vanilla notes along with caramel, and burnt sugar. There's a light roastiness in the finish which helps balance the sweetness a bit, but it's still very unbalanced overall.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a thick syrupy mouthfeel. Carbonation is medium and helps move things along, but this is still cloyingly sweet.

Overall: Well for starters I think I may have diabetes now. Putting that aside though, my opinion on this one is tough to describe. The flavors on this are pretty nice and it really does taste close to liquid creme brulee. However, the sweetness becomes cloying very quickly and drinkability is extremely low. It'd be nice to have in a 4-5oz serving, but anything beyond that is too much. This has no business being sold in a 22oz bottle.

 1,240 characters

Photo of alarmclock314
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, dated 12/8/16, 10% ABV. Pours semi transparent dark brown amber with a medium sized khaki head; some lacing. Smells of mostly vanilla, custard, sweet lactose, and caramel with some faint roasted malt. The taste follows with roasted malt, custard, vanilla, sweet lactose, and caramel. Extremely sweet and light bitterness; probably the sweetest stout I've ever rated before. The body is above average and carbonation is below average. Overall, this was too sweet and needed more balance, but was drinkable with a good feel. I've had the 2015 version in a 22oz bottle (the one with a cow on it) and I remember it being more balanced in regard to sweetness versus bitterness.

 691 characters

Photo of naproxen
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

yowza! I enjoyed this first from a bottle at bonbon's summersplash, then split a draft the other night at eli cannon's for 'dessert'.

Appearance wise, all Imperial Stout, it is black as night and really that is all there is to say, very true to the style, coffee w/ milk colored head.

The smell is amazing, butterscotch and caramel knock you right in the face like a diabetic at the Werther's factory. The taste itself is not as strong with its aroma, but this is by all means a palate killer so enjoy this, go figure, as dessert. In all my endeavors as a cook I have yet to make or enjoy real creme brulee, so I can not comment on how close this is to tasting like one, but I can only hope and pray it really is. It leaves a sweet, almost puckering, film in the mouth. I want to not like it because of the overbearing sweetness, but hot damn it is just tasty. Good to enjoy, with friends, once or twice. I could never have a whole bottle alone or often.

((edit only for spelling errors, my english teachers would frown so bad))

 1,031 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a goblet.

A: Opaque black color showing dark brown at the edges, with incomplete residue of mocha-tinted bubbles. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Luxuriously decadent caramel smells as if sugar granules were just scorched by an open flame. Refined spirituous malt is mildly roasty, suggesting a flavored coffee. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins fairly sweet, with refined roasted malt and powerful toffee candy. Acidity is moderate, more felt than tasted. The middle is drier, where husky malt is juxtaposed with spirituous brandy qualities. The finish shows bitter roast of moderate intensity for the style, with lingering volatile vanilla.

M: Medium viscosity, acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This strong stout is a specialty beer dedicated to dessert service. It has a smell that is able to conjure powerful sensory images of its namesake dessert, but the other sensory qualities sem unremarkable when considered alone. One can imagine how it might prove overpowering when unaccompanied, but it shows great promise (and flexibility) when taken in the company of sweet foods. It measures up to be more than the sum of its parts, though it is in large part thanks to the heavenly smell.

 1,247 characters

Photo of fscottkey
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a tap into a 16oz standard pint.

A: [3.25] Dark black with no light penetration. This was a tap pour and produced no head and no lacing at all.

S: [4.00] Rich butterscotch. You can smell it when the glass gets near you.

T: [3.75] The taste is butterscotch, maple syrup and a hint a vanilla. The alcohol is not overpowering but it is detectable.

M: [3.00] A little thin - not bad but not as chewy as I was expecting. Carbonation seems rights.

O: [3.50] This is an unorthodox brew. I can see why this would be polarizing with some people loving it and some hating it. It is really sweet and candy-like and that might not be your thing. I thought it was a nice offering to mix things up a bit. I could not drink more than 2 of these in a sitting.

 768 characters

Photo of Foxybrau
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Again I find milk stouts too rich for me. It seems like there is a protein element present that is off putting. This one looks great and the body is nice and thick. The nose is strong butterscotch which would be quite nice if it were toned down a bit. It's just too sweet and strong. The taste is similarly overloaded to the point that I finds self just trying to get it down instead of spending any time with it. I don't want to knock it too much since others seem to be high on it, just coming to the conclusion that this family is not for me.

 551 characters

Photo of argock
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap in a 10oz glass imperial tumbler at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Very dark chestnut brown with cap of french vanilla colored head with various lace marks down the glass.

S: The aroma is extraordinarily pungent and is a bit to high on the artificial extract scale for me. The vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, chocolate and alcohol are all big and bold and unfortunately leave the impression of a highly aspartamed cup of coffee, kind of like using way too much liquid Coffeemate (name your flavor) in coffee.

T: The flavor is dominated by alcohol first then tempered a little by the hefty vanilla, caramel, and chocolate flavors tinged by nutty flavors like hazelnut. This reminds me of Rogue Hazelnut Brown Ale in the high extract quotient quality of the flavor. This beer is full of flavor, but the palate doesn't really mix well and instead leaves a disorganized remnant of high-octane liqeur rather than tasting like beer. Warming made a little difference in smoothing out some of the harsh, artificial flavor character, but not enough to change my score. I like the spirit behind this beer, but the execution isn't right on for what I look for in a big stout. Rounded flavor with an emphasis on malt in the profile is what I am looking for rather than a cartoonish combination of flavors that work well in a dessert but not in this brew.

M: The feel is pretty good but a bit thin for the ABV and for all the flavor in this beer. The afteraste is highly phenolic and medicinal.

D: Not all that drinkable and the 10oz were a tall order when all was said and done.

EDIT: Had a 2013 bottle shared with my wife. Poured into a clear glass snifter.
A: Dark brown with short cap of head with a few spots of lace.
S: A nutty-vanilla-butter-frosting aroma that really smells interesting, kind of like nutty cotton candy.
T: Flavor a lot more drinkable than I remember and I think the mellowing time helped. NOt really stouty, more of a strong ale with all of the buttery vanilla sweetness. But there is a nutty quality that I like. It smells and tastes like a nutty, nougat-filled candy bar. The butteriness in the aroma comes through less in the flavor than in the aroma and is not really distracting. ALcohol is pretty well-hidden.
M: Moutheel is also reasonably creamy with low carbonation.
O: Overall, I am really surprised. I would not want to drink this often as it is very sweet, but I have to give ST credit, this is pretty good for what it is. Scores adjusted a little upward.

 2,501 characters

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

I finally had the chance to try this one on tap while in the city today. I am really confused on how to review this one. Ok, so I totally understand what Southern Tier is doing with this one. On one hand, this brew is totally outrageous. It smells good, it looks good, it tastes good, and it's a pretty darn great idea. However, it is almost undrinkable in my opinion.

A- Dark black color. Looked like soda especially because of all the carbonation bubbles. Nice tan head, some lacing.

S- Wow. This smells exactly like a freshly baked vanilla/chocolate cake. More like cake batter and icing. Very similar to what fresh cookies smell like while baking in the oven.

T- I think sweet is an understatement with this beer. Extremely sugary and completely rich. Milk, sugar, vanilla, chocolate, cookie dough, pie, baked goods, brown sugar. This beer is outrageous. I have never had anything like this before. Tastes great, but I cannot stomach too much of it.

M- Sticky, rich, filling.

D- Horrible drinkability. I cannot imagine taking down too much of this in a sitting. A couple of sips were good for me and thats about all I could do. I am glad I got a chance to try this one.

 1,181 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

A simple light cocoa head with some tight froth-iness as well, sitting upon a simple dark black/brown walnut body. Pretty basic, looks like a stout, a good sized collar is left while drinking, seems good.

Bouquet is a giant sticky caramel, toffee, big sweetness with sweetened condensed milk. I suppose that's what it should be since it is called creme brulee after all, so it works. Vanilla doesn't seem obvious on the nose.

The on thing that comes off on the taste that seems to be an exception is the bitterness. Bitter almost hoppy in the finish, but not leaving as strong notes from the smell in the palate. Does bring a sweetened condensed milk taste primarily, but also a real fizziness too, along with of course caramel sweets.

Overall on taste this was not what I was expecting, it was also in taste not as sweet I thought it would be and didn't come out as a big sugar blast. However, there is an unpleasant almost acrid and strange hop bitter to this that doesn't make the drink particularly enjoyable.

 1,068 characters

Photo of kk73
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz. bottle via trade thanks to cheezdawg.

A - Pours a dark, caramel brown with a small head that quickly disappears and leaves some lacing around the glass. I dont know if its the appearance or the smell but this beer seems to be calling out eat me.

S - All creme brulee, loads of vanilla up front and almost has a certain creaminess in the aroma. No need to stick your nose in the glass for this one.

T - Brunt Custard. Sugary, sweet and everything the name of the beer says it is. Definitely a unique taste if you like sweet beers and the high abv. seems to be well masked in this one.

M - A little thin for a stout imo. But I guess if it was thick a syrupy then it may be a little to rich. Not overly carbonated. Beer is silky smooth and has a somewhat custard creamy mouthfeel.

D - Gotta be in the mood for a beer like this. Best after your dinner, a true desert beer. Smooth and drinkable just not sure if I would seek this out again, but definitely a good beer.

 986 characters

Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Creme Brulee pours a very dark brown color with minimal highlights around the edges, and it is capped off by a light brown head that only left some spotty lacing on my glass. I could smell the sweetness coming from this beer as I poured it. It smells like a concentrated creme brulee dessert. There is tons of vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, hazelnut coffee creamer, and a touch of cocoa. I am amazed how they were able to make this really smell like creme brulee. The taste that follows the smell with heavy tastes of vanilla, custard, cocoa, hazelnut cream, butter, and roasted grain to finish it off. The vanilla is the heavest flavor, but isn't overpowering compared to the other flavors. This is a very sweet beer, but I don't really find it cloyingly sweet. The mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, and creamy going down. The drinkability is up in the air for me. I wouldn't make this a staple by any means, but I would like to have some around when I would be in the mood for something like this beer.

I like this beer, but I wouldn't have it around much I don't think.

 1,074 characters

Photo of cmq103
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle I picked up at the Shoprite Liquors Hamilton NJ, into a Duvel Belgian Tulip glass.

Appearance: A thick, dark cola color with the thin beige ring. No head at all even with a moderately aggressive pour. Lacing was minimal due to the non-existent head.

Smell: Sweet vanilla bean, caramel, and butterscotch overwhelmingly dominate the nose with a small dose of coffee. Very candy-like in fact. As it warms, a quick swirl brings out a little booziness.

Taste: Very sweet caramel, butterscotch, malt, coffee and vanilla flavors attack the palate all at once. Mild hop bitterness near the end, which gets swallowed up by sweetness. What you smell is what you taste with this beer.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation with a creamy smooth texture for this overly sweet syrupy thick beer. The ABV is well hidden behind the candy-like sweetness.

Overall: "Dessert beer" comes to mind immediately. I'm glad I tried it but it was way too sweet for my liking. I give Southern Tier credit for stretching the creativity boundaries with this Imperial Milk Stout. With that said, I probably wouldn't seek it out again

 1,134 characters

Photo of jrenihan
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer is black with a finger-width of tan head. Pretty good retention.

Smell is incredibly creamy. Lots of vanilla. Smells like ice cream. Even from the smell it is clear that this beer is crazily sweet. Pretty one dimensional, and you have to be in the mood for dessert, but the smell is quite nice for what it is.

Taste is similar to the nose. Lots of vanilla, very creamy, very sweet although there is a bit of bitterness surrounding the chocolate flavours that are present. Much like a milkshake with beer. Hard to drink too much of.

Highly carbonated, fairly irritating. Full bodied, the intense sweetness dries the mouth greatly. A little syrupy.

Overall, nice for a little bit, but hard to drink much of this. I certainly won't make it through the whole bottle. Needs to be shared by several people.

 811 characters

Photo of keithmurray
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My bottle says 9.5%ABV vs the 10% listed on this site

Look - dark brown/mahogany body with beige head

Smell - vanilla, caramel, butterscotch

Taste - much like the smell - caramel, vanilla, almond and butterscotch

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, very sweet upfront as the name suggests, artificial sweetner quality to this, slightly astringent on the finish

Overall - a decent dessert beer that you might want to split with someone else. I have no desire to polish off this bomber in one sitting. definitely lives up to its namesake.

Price Point - $6.99/22 oz bottle

 587 characters

Photo of BigMike
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a soapy thin tan head about 1/4 inch. Decent lacing on the glass. Nothing spectacular.

Smell, you can smell this as soon as you pop the cap.
Vanilla, melted coffee icecream and booze.

Taste, the best way i can describe this is Baileys Irish Cream on the rocks. If i close my eyes thats what i would swear i was drinking. Vanilla, coffee icecream, and a lot of alcohol. This is bozzier then i thought it would be. However it is 10%abv according to the bottle. But yea, Baileys on the rocks.

Mouthfeel is smooth at first and then ou get an alcohol blast of warth on the back of your tongue all the way down your throat. Average carbonation.

Drinkability is tricky to rate with this one. It's tasty and enjoyable. However i have no desire to drink another one anytime soon. Nothing against the beer i just feel it's more of a novelty then anything. Not to say it's a bad beer because it's not.

Overall this is a tasty, sweet treat from Southern Tier. I've heard you either love or hate this beer. I disagree. I don't love it or hate it. I really like it though.

 1,082 characters

Photo of caminiti
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As usual, Southern Tier does what they intend to do. Why they intended to do this is beyond me, though. I have to try all the Southern Tiers, so I gave this a try, and it was like drinking Creme Brulee. Poured dark with a bit of a light head, smelled as advertised, Vanilla with a hint of coffee, and tasted the same, though in my opinion, too sweet. A bit thin as well, but drinkable. Perhaps worth a try, but not a second. May age well, so I cant say I wont pick up a second bottle to stow away for Christmas 09.

 514 characters

Photo of Blakaeris
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours murky dark brown with ruby highlights. Head is crisp white and hangs around awhile.

Aroma is sweet coffee liquor with generous chocolate and vanilla.

Taste is very similar to the nose. Very sweet, smooth chocolate, vanilla, and a ton of toffee. Hints of smokey dark grain. Finish is sweet and boozy.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very smooth and creamy.

A very sweet dessert beer. Tasty and smooth, but too sweet to drink more than one. I could swear there is Kaluha in this.

 484 characters

Photo of jnn4v
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle and consumed September 2009.

A: Big, black, and thick. Minor tan colored head.

S: Nauseatingly sweet scent. Cotton candy, caramelized sugar, and yes, creme brulee. Wow. Overpowering scent. I could smell this across the room.

T: Toasted oats, french vanilla or irish cream flavored coffee, and toffee. Some minor bittering elements through it (mostly from the burned sugar and coffee) but more sweet than not.

M: Very thick, with little carbonation. Not particularly oily or silky - just thick.

D: Not particularly drinkable to me. I don't particularly like it, but my wife definitely feels the opposite.

 634 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tarantula brownish black with blood red highlights. The beer is anything but a black hole and appears barely opaque when backlit with afternoon sunshine. Atop the liquid sits a golden brown sugar colored crown that gets the job done, including leaving attractive sheets of tattered lace on the upper reaches of the glass.

My nostrils don't have to get anywhere near the glass to appreciate the aroma. The beer smells like a flavored coffee drink that's dominated by caramel. I suppose it also smells like creme brulee, but I've only had that dessert once and that was more than 20 years ago. Do I smell coconut as well? Odd.

I can see how Creme Brulee is a polarizer. It's both different and delicious, but it's starting to wear out its welcome as the ounces cruise by. It doesn't seem possible that the brewers created this flavor profile with nothing more than dark caramel malt, vanilla beans and lactose. Then again, why not?

Creme Brulee is billed as an Imperial Milk Stout, but it doesn't really taste like it. That whole burnt sugar/creme caramel/vanilla vibe takes it in an entirely new direction. For my money, Southern Tier's Imperial chocolate stout (Choklat), Imperial coffee stout (Jahva) and Imperial oatmeal stout (Oat) are much, much better. Those first two are outstanding.

It's weird how I still taste coconut. That's in addition to the flavors described above, plus vanilla and melted milk chocolate. The Columbus and Horizon hops provide a background bitterness that keeps the beer from being overly sweet. In the end, it doesn't all come together as well as I'd like.

Considering the style and the ABV, the mouthfeel fails to close the deal. It's a fraction thin and isn't as creamy as it should be. The carbonation wouldn't be as noticeable in a plusher, more velvety brew.

The Black Water Series from Southern Tier contains some of the best beer on planet Earth. Unfortunately, Creme Brulee misses the mark (although not by much) because it pushes the envelope too far in one direction. Some love it, some hate it. I can take it or leave it.

 2,070 characters

Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout (Blackwater Series) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 4,565 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe