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

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Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout (Blackwater Series)Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout (Blackwater Series)

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

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

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Reviews: 1,450 | Ratings: 4,538
Photo of SFACRKnight
2.14/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a tulip at. Cellar temps. Review from notes taken.

Appears black with brown around the edges when held to the light. Not a lot of head on the pour, no lacing to speak of.

Smells like someone dropped a bottle of vanilla into my glass. I'm trying to get some malts out of this, but the vanilla overpowers everything.

Tastes like butterscotch, burned butterscotch. Lots of vanilla, maybe some crystal malts coming in to give the butterscotch flavor, but it comes across as dicetyl, some roasted malts bring a little bitterness and a percieved burned flavor towards the end.

The beer feels oily and slick, not as thick and creamy as I expected from an imperial milk stout.

Overall, its the polarizing beer that I expected. There's no balance here, none at all. If you're a fan of an aggressive vanilla profile than this is for you. If you're looking for something a bit more subtle, a bit more balanced, and more complex, this brew isn't for you. It certainly wasn't for me.

I revisited this beer 2/3/16. I stand by my original review, and would like to add that there is a sticky acrid bitterness on the back of the tongue after every sip. Still one of my least favorite beers.

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Photo of CycleDad
2.16/5  rDev -45%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap in Jacksonville, FL. Think cream soda with sweetened coffee. Way too sweet but that should have been expected with "Creme Brûlée" in the name. Stopped after a few sips.

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Photo of Treebs
2.17/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had on tap at Palmer Place. Served in a snifter.

A: Pours a jet black with a thin mocha colored ring and some swirls on top.

S: Wow there is a lot going on. Caramel, vanilla, sweet chocolate, and coffee. It's just too overpowering and smells like it's going to be too sweet.

T: Big vanilla coffee flavors, some caramel, some roasted malts, extremely sweet chocolate. Some bitter coffee grinds as well. This so cloying it's crazy. I feel like I'm going to get diabetes if I keep drinking this, yet I press on.

M: Heavy and slightly chewy with a very heavy coating across the mouth. Does have some nice bubble carbon from the top, but still the sweetness just lingers and kills it.

O: If you like the sweetest candy and chocolate in the world, thrown into a barrel of vanilla and caramel as well as early onset diabetes, this is the beer for you. It had a lot of potential, but the sugary sweetness was too much for me to handle.

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Photo of rapidsequence
2.23/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

22 oz bottle. It was $8.50 from Beer Run in C-Ville.

Appearance: Its basically opaque. Thin light brown head is pretty short lived. Every time you tip the glass, you get a sheet of lacing left behind, but it fades quickly too.

Smell: You can literally smell this as you pour it. It has the strongest aroma of any beer I've ever smelled, but it doesnt smell at all like a beer. Smells like caramel and vanilla-- like a bowl of ice cream with that fakey caramel syrup. It smells really good, even my six year old thinks so, but again-- not like beer.

Taste: Very sweet caramel and vanilla. Some pretty sharp alcohol. From the middle of the tongue and all the way back, I am assaulted with a very bitter, very burnt flavor that is not good. I can tolerate and even enjoy the insane dessert like sweetness, but that bitter burnt flavor is just bad. A stout that has burnt and bitter flavors is often good, but not when paired with all this sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Its a little thin for a beer this big actually. A little undercarbonated too.

Drinkability: I've been looking forward to trying this. I was expecting an overly sweet beer, which I got, but I did not expect the awful, burnt bitterness that lingers. I put a wine stopper in the second half of the bottle, and put it back in the fridge. I'll probably dump it. EDIT: I went back to it an hour or so later. This stuff is undrinkable. Drain pour.

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Photo of MeanGene
2.23/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5 be honest, I have been requesting this beer for quite some time as all the reviews have been enticing.

My brother got me a bottle as part of a beer basket for Christmas.

Poured into a small sifter black with virtually no head...just a small amount of bubbles around the rim of the glass.

Smelled of butterscotch. I'm not even going to try to get into the undertones...just absolute straight butterscotch.

Taste did not diverge much from the smell. Did not enjoy it whatsoever myself since I'm not a fan of butterscotch. Had a few of my buddies try it who liked butterscotch but they were unimpressed.

Mouthfeel was thick and sweet...I suppose if you enjoyed butterscotch, you may be for it. Otherwise, you may want to grab a Coors Light.

All in all, a complete disappointment. I understand that I do not like butterscotch whatsoever...if one who reads this reveiw does, it may be a completely different story. For the price, please read the reviews and do your homework!

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Photo of biglite351
2.24/5  rDev -43%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - a not of red around the edges. Tall long lasting head that leaves a lot of lacing.

S - smells like créme brûlée with roared malts.

T - very, VERY, sweet. Like a bitter créme brûlée

M - a good amount of coating and tingle, but a bitter, not good tingle.

D - I probably would not get this again unless it was just for dessert.

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Photo of DIM
2.24/5  rDev -43%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

a: This was a very dark brown. It poured with a thin, light tan head.

s: Big butterscotch aromas leap out of the glass. This had a liqueuresque quality that rubbed me the wrong way. I have to admit though, it did smell a bit like creme brulee.

t: Up front, this had huge butterscotch notes with a little vanilla. At the end, there was the flavor of burned simple syrup and more faintly, bitter roasty malts. There was some heat here that became pretty strong as it warmed.

m: Decent body with mildly fizzy carbonation.

d: This does pretty closely approximate creme brulee. There is something mildly "off" here that I couldn't get past. I'm glad I opened this with several people, because I had trouble finishing one wine glass.

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Photo of BStalf21
2.27/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Kinda surprised at how many people are high on this beer. I'm starting to find an over the top trend with this brewery when it comes to beer styles that have sweetness. I suppose that some people might think that is a plus but its just not my thing. Just cracking the cap off this thing made my kitchen smell like the local candy store. With each sip the over powering sweetness built until I couldn't tolerate it any more. Had to come back to this one to polish it off but didn't enjoy it at all. If ya digg sweet take a stab.

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Photo of CaptinRedBeard
2.28/5  rDev -42%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A: Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pous a nice dark brown with a small mocha colored head and little lacing.

S: Mostly vanilla with some butterscotch and a hint of milk chocolate. Smells good but doesn't really smell like beer at all.

T: Vanilla extract/syrup, a little bit of the butterscotch comes through but this stuff is just insanely sweet.

M: Medium to heavy bodied, not too much carbonation.

D: I ended up pouring out over half of this beer. Something I very rarely do. I don't think I have ever drain poured a beer that was not expired. I just couldn 't take any more. I really like beers with vanilla in them and I loved Choklat. So I had really high hopes for this beer. I just couldn't get over the fact that it seemed like I was drinking vanilla syrup with a little beer added to it.

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Photo of roadhouse
2.32/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber bottle into a snifter.

Appears a nearly opague pitch black, I say nearly as some red highlights are visible when held up to some light. One inch tan head bubbles up through the muck then settles down to a thin skim. Some spotty lacing.

Aroma is screaming butterscotch candy in my face. Not much else beneath that aside from some subtle vanilla. A bit too one-sided and I don't like butterscotch at all. I'm wondering if I might even be able to choke this down.

Taste is not quite as bad as I thought it might be based on the aroma. This stuff is just way too sweet and butterscotchy. There is only the slightest hint of roasty flavor, and even then it's more like milk chocolate, and it only come out after the swallow, but are still ends up dominated by the sweet butterscotch flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium-full and smooth.

Unless you are looking for an extremely sweet beer that tastes like butterscotch candy with a hint of milk chocolate, I would avoid this stuff. Not even close to what I was expecting. I really tried, but just couldn't finish the bomber. One of the few drain pours I've had. I'm gonna have to drink another beer to get the taste out of my mouth.

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Photo of DelMontiac
2.33/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Purchased this one in MO in July of 2012 and kept in the cellar.

This beer looked pretty nice on the pour into an U.S. Air Force Academy pint glass. Color was murky black/brown with a crowned mocha head that fizzled down rapidly. Scant lace remained.

I love creme brulee, so I was excited to get a whiff of this. The scent of sweet buttery vanilla and slightly burned sugar had me pretty ramped up, but it also seems very...artificial. The dark fruity chocolate tinge was there, but was mostly overwhelmed by the sweet vanilla.

Unfortunately, flavor is where this one goes horribly wrong. So overly sweet it's sickening and it's not a good sweet either - it's a ten spoons of sugar in one oz of corn syrup sweet. It's hummingbird food sweet. It's got a cough syrup phenolic medicine type of flavor that makes me want to spit it out. Yes, the vanilla is big. So big you feel as if you're breathing vanilla extract fire. The bitterness from the brew fights with all this sweetness and they both lose as they turn into one horrible mess. Nearly all chocolate hints are lost in all this. Actually made my stomach sour. I think you get the picture. After struggling through most of one glass...drain pour.

This is a very chewy and sticky brew, but I found so not in a good way. Nearly all the carbonation is eaten up once the pour settles leaving it fairly flat. This combined with a cough syrup thanks.

I was excited to see this in the store as I very impressed with Choklat by this brewery. It seems they just simply poured flavoring (or maybe a scent) into this beer and released it without ever trying it for themselves. I see other BAs have given this beer stellar reviews. This makes me wonder about differences in batches at Southern Tier.

Next time, pass.

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Photo of captj
2.34/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

My first review, so go easy on me!

A: It looks good, looks like a stout. Black, pours a nice tan-ish/light-brown head, with a bit of thickness to it.

S: WOOOAH! As soon as you pop the cap you get knocked five feet backwards by the smell! I have it in a snifter (as the bottle suggests) about a foot and a half away and it is powerful! You really can only taste the creme brulee aspect, there isn't much else nose wise unless you have a good nose and can realllly get through the caramel/vanilla smells. It's nice, but overpowering.

T: This is a super super super sweet and flavor-packed beer. By "flavor-packed" I mean a strong and loud flavor, not a highly complex flavor. It's hard to get much besides the vanilla, caramel, and some slight coffee taste. There is a bit of creaminess to it, and little bit of coffee, but wow is it sweet. The coffee and cream flavors come out on the aftertaste more than the immediate sip. I get a liiittle bit of maltiness, but maybe it's just me, but it's hard to pull much else besides the creme brulee from this beer. Also, even at 10%, the alcohol stands out a little too much for me. I like my high ABV beers, but this one doesn't really mesh well and doesn't feel well balanced.

M: It has a nice, smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and that's all I can really say about that.

D: Veryyy difficult for the flavor reasons I mentioned earlier. Way too sweet, way too much of the "creme brulee" flavor. We can put it like this: This goes over and above on creme brulee flavor than PumKing does on pumpkin flavor.

So there's my review, I don't know what my actual letter rating would be, but I'd say C to D+. Just not my bag. But I would definitely pass on this one again...I don't know if I'll even be able to finish this glass.

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Photo of Swettenham_Shire
2.35/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Bomber poured into pilsner glass. Drank with dessert (banana cream pudding)

Appearance: dark brown color with tan foaming head; minimal lacing
Smell: caramel, milk, vanilla, maybe maple syrup? very sweet... too sweet for my liking
Taste: better than it smells; sweet, but not overbearing. The aftertaste is slightly bitter
Mouthfeel: thick; kind of like coffee with too much cream
Overall: goes together well with desserts like pudding and ice cream, but still too sweet for my taste. It's nice to try unusual brews every once and awhile, but I probably won't seek this one out anymore

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Photo of jren
2.36/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I was shocked how much this reminded me of artificial sugar and fake vanilla. This was the first large format that I didn't continue past half a glass.

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Photo of Gosox8787
2.37/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Presentation: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass in two parts.

Appearance is dark black, almost like midnight, with a one finger beige head and almost no retention. The nose on this is HUGE. Big booze and lots of caramel and burnt sugar hit with a vengeance. Slight notes of vanilla and unbalanced, overly sweet roasted malt. Taste is also big. Strong sweet caramel upfront and burnt sugar and bitter chocolate follow. Vanilla notes also there. Overly sweet and just an unbalanced and unappearling flavor profile. It definitely tastes like creme brulee, but overdone. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a little carbonation. Drinkability is awful. The flavors are too big, the booze is not at all hidden and the taste just wears on you. Too sweet, too burnt, too boozy.

Overall, this beer seems like a love it or hate it beer and I happen to not like it. There are huge creme brulee flavors, but I found it unbalanced and, at points, undrinkable. Not something I will have again, but it could be good for some creme brulee lovers.

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Photo of noser
2.38/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

This beer poured a lovely dark brown, like black coffee. At first, I feared it was nearly still so I poured vigorously, leading to a thin but attractive head.

When I was hit by the aroma, any thoughts of bubbles vanished. This brew smells exactly like cheap, vanilla-flavored coffee. It's not reminiscent; it's an uncanny replica.

Taste-wise, if I could get past the fakey vanilla thing, I think it might be pretty good: a nice bitterness, roasty, malty grains, and a medium-long finish. Unfortunately, the rich mouthfeel, with what turned out to be a lovely, balancing carbonation were not enough to turn things around for me.

For me, the smell of this brew overwhelmed everything else, and not in a good way. This one's going down the drain.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.39/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1


Thanks for sharing Sam!

Dark brown throughout with a very, very thin khaki head. Dots of lacing down the glass.

An exceptionally impressive aroma because it smells so much like the dessert this beer takes its name from. It's astounding the aromas Southern Tier produces within their beers. Burnt sugar, caramel, vanilla, and custard all come together just like in the dessert. That being said, the only reason it doesn't score higher is that the aroma is just simply far too sweet--it actually stings my eyes it's so sweet!

While the aroma is particularly impressive, the flavor doesn't match up. The same flavors (caramel, toffee, vanilla, custard) are present, but they clash together into an overly sweet diabetic tornado. I wouldn't want more than 1-2oz. of this. This tastes like a Starbucks Caramel Frappucino with a hot alcohol bite from start to finish. Unpleasant, unless, I guess, you're in to that sort of thing.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation--too syrupy.

A dessert beer that is far too much dessert and not at all enough beer. While the concept is applauded and the aroma is rich, the flavor and drinking experience is not at all enjoyable.

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Photo of json83
2.4/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

9.6% ABV and 288 calories per bottle. I was attracted to tasting something different and surprise how well it smelled after opening the bottle. The taste was extremely off-putting - vanilla and coffee sounds attractive but the blunt caramel/butterscotch favor that kicks in does not match well with the combination. Easily one of the sweetest beers I've ever had. To be fair, you get used to it the more you consume, but it was just a weird taste at first. This is one combination I'll probably never see again and I do not regret trying it, however I would not purchase again.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
2.41/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at The Alchemy.

Looks nice, smells Bruleetastic, then everything goes down hill.

Sweet, sweet, sweet, mess. Very difficult to fight through the onslaught of pungent dessertiness. Each sip brings a challenge and the glass refuses to be brought down easily. Certainly my mistake for not sampling first. Will not make that mistake again.


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Photo of number1bum
2.44/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This one pours a very dark brown, a few shades away from black, with some dark reddish mahogany hues at the edges. Only about one finger of light khaki head is on top and it gives way quickly to only a very thin lace, which also eventually disappears completely. No stick at all.

Smell is just crazy, over the top, in your face vanilla. It's boozy vanilla, though, sort of like a liqueur. Beyond the vanilla bean aroma there is some butterscotch sweetness that is also quite strong.

Taste is also a rich combo of vanilla and butterscotch, with an underlying milky/custard like creaminess and smoothness. There seems to be some roasted or deeply caramelized malt trying to peak through and there is also a slight astringency that is somewhat offputting. It's quite sweet, but it sort of tastes like burned butterscotch, like if you took some butterscotch sauce and put it in the microwave and left it there a little too long. I don't love it. In fact, as it warms the alcohol comes out more and makes it even less enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth, as previously mentioned, and is nearly full bodied. But it's hurt by the extreme sweetness and alcohol.

Southern Tier has absolutely mastered the art of taking an ingredient or flavor component and doing it to the extreme. This is just another example of that. Simply put, they are an amazing brewery. Nevertheless, this is not my favorite of their imperial offerings. Not even close. I can appreciate how well crafted this is, but the chosen component to highlight (vanilla) is not one that I care for in this quantity. For me, it just doesn't work terribly well. In fact, I think this is a huge miss. I think I may have to put a stopper in this bomber and revisit later, because there is no way I can finish this in a single evening, if at all. My palate is destroyed; I need to go cleanse it.

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Photo of goblue3509
2.45/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a dark brown almost black color like a coffee with a thick two finger head. The smell is of overwhelming vanilla and roasted malt, there is a sweet malt smell as well. The taste is overpowering, it is very bitter, but not from hops, like the flavors didn't all match up. There is hints of vanilla as well as roasted malts. The mouthfeel is low carbonation. Overall this is not a very drinkable beer, it is more of a novelty. The taste and smell can be overpowering.

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Photo of Pelican5
2.46/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Was looking forward to this one as I had enjoyed the Choklat from ST.

22 oz. bomber in a Duvel glass

A - Look nice in the glass, poured dark brown/black, nice and thick, finger and a half head

S - Nice on the nose, sweeeet vanilla, key word is sweet, which I do like but...

T - Cloying vanilla, sugar syrup. Its got the flavor but no balance at all.

M - Nice and thick but too syrupy.

O - maybe a 4 oz pour with chocolatey dessert but other than that... You've gotta really like sugar.

Will share my other bottle with at least 4 friends.

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Photo of ljette
2.46/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Let me preface this by saying I don't often review, despite drinking a lot of beer. I do feel it necessary to review this brew due to my sheer dissapointment.

I have been looking forward to this beer for some time (favorite dessert+beer=heaven?)

It pours a beautiful dark dark brown/black color with great head and good lacing.

The smell was exactly what I was looking for in this beer, vanilla and caramel.

Unfortunately the taste and drinkability are pretty inexcusable in my opinion. It is an unbelievably sweet beer, which also has some hoppy bitterness to it. Unfortunately the bitterness doesn't really balance the sweetness as much as confuse the senses. This beer has a bit of an identity crisis I suppose (I know, I should have seen it coming). The sweetness gave this simply no drinkability, I had to drain pour the majority of this brew. A sad day for stouts.

Having said that. I still commend Southern Tier for trying something different. It was certainly...different.

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Photo of Murchmac
2.48/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bought this one and really wanted to like it.

Big tan espresso head that disappears quickly, dark dark, mud dark...

Sweet toffee, caramel, vanilla, alcohol, kinda like grandpa's breath after a werthers original and brandy

Big taste, like drinking a heath bar at first, slowly gives way to vanilla, hot alcohol.

Nothing left but bitter stingy aftertaste. Like a vanilla cognac or something.

Nice effort I just didnt like it... I wanted too. Too alcoholy and vanilla for me.

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Photo of abents
2.48/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

22oz bomber with cows on the label (down with that!)
Pours out a beautiful black color. Even with pretty vigarous pour, not much head, but it is light tan in color and laces sporadically. Smell is like candy, burnt sugary sweetness, coffee, caramel malts, and i swear butterscotch. Taste is disgusting. Way way way too sweet. Sticky caramel, butterscotch, chocolate and coffee lead to an incredibley hard to drink beer. I must say I do not really like sweet eats very much, but on occasion I'll have one. This beer however is ungodly sweet. Very hard to drink this. Lots of candy, sweet malty flavors, but i need some bitterness or some sort of balance, this is just way too far in the sickly sweet catagorey. Definitely one to share, preferably with someone who doesn't like beer, because this tastes nothing like one. The label says I should drink this at 42 degrees, maybe because this is at 43 degrees that it is this bad, but I doubt it. Ugh, this is gross, if I want dessert I'll get one; if I want a beer, I won't be drinking this.

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Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout (Blackwater Series) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 4,538 ratings.
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