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: 1,459 | Ratings: 4,565
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.

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Photo of bashiba
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep dark black stout with an off white head.

The smell was fantastic with big vanilla and caramel notes with a touch of coffee, very much like a real creme brulee.

The flavor is great, big creamy milk, vanilla, and caramel sweetness mixing in with a nice bit of burnt, smokey, black malts with a touch of coffee. Very desert like in flavor except for the big burnt black bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth with a bit of warmth.

Very drinkable and tasty. I like it a lot.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep deep brown stopping just short of opaque. Ruby tones noticeable around the edges when held to the light. Head is off white, decent retention and some clingy lacing,

The aroma is ridiculous. Sweet cream and caramelized sugar are very prominent. Butterscotch and vanilla notes are noticeable but not on the forefront. Roasted malt aroma is very so subtle. Slight hints of booziness peak through on occasion.

The taste is very similar to that of the smell but with a much stronger roasted malt presence. Taste similar to that of a dessert coffee. Deep coffee like roast compliments the vanilla and caramel flavors. Butterscotch flavors also present with a burnt sugar taste which tends to linger between sips.

Mouthfeel is medium to full but not overly thick. Smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is difficult to rate on a beer like this. This is a highly enjoyable brew with in reason. A bomber is too much drink due to the overpowering sweetness. Would be perfectly suited as a dessert beer shared amongst friends.

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Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, surprised I've never reviewed this one as I've had it four or five times. Pretty sure Torontoblue hooked me up with this one.

Pours a deep and opaque black, although some reddish highlights are in the corners, very thick light tan head forms, slowly settles down to a thick ring and thin layer, lace streaks on the glass, looks good. Smell is great, very rich, butterscotch, big vanilla, caramel corn, raisin, more toffee, cream, lactose sweetness, very malty, a hint of roast but basically big vanilla and caramel notes. Taste is similar, milk chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla, caramel and butterscotch, more vanilla, more caramel, just insanely rich, like dessert. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, alcohol is hidden very well. I love this beer, never really experienced the caramelized and vanilla flavours as rich as this in any other beer. Not for everyone but I really dig it. Thanks Sid!

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Photo of skrib09
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a rich black with a light tan head up top. good looking milk stout.

smells of lactose powder and vanilla. hints of vanilla pudding or some kind of dairy maybe.

tastes like a vanilla dessert. maybe a hint of banana cream pie?

mouthfeel is a bit astringent. dessert-like drinkability.

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Photo of csmiley
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a very dark brown with more light getting through than expected. Some cola brown and a hint of red are visible in the light. With this being an Imperial Stout at 10%, I guess I expect a deeper black. This is a beer about bending the rules a little so I guess expectations don't apply so much here. The tan head can only muster to a height of a thick cap and seems to vanish pretty quickly. Moderate amounts of lace remain in the glass.

S - Aroma has no shortage of butterscotch and vanilla pudding. Actually, that seems to be the extent of the aroma unless you dig deep to find the other hidden gems. Light chocolate / cocoa followed by a whiff of alcohol tuck everything in. This is a very sweet aroma that starts out very pleasing but gets a little cloying after a while.

T - Now things are starting to look up for the Creme Brulee. Butterscotch really dominates the flavor but it quickly starts to get more complex and inviting. Milk chocolate comes along with a smooth vanilla flavor. Alcohol is definitely noted in the flavor and keeps it on the warm side. The end brings out some dark fruit (cherry anyone?). All through this beer there seems to be a hint of smoke but its almost impossible to actually single out. Pretty sure it's there though.

M - Has a fairly full body with mild carbonation that compliments the beer well. Finish is...well...sweet. No other way to say it. The residual sweetness stays on the palate for a long time.

D - Drinkability is decent. The 10% of alcohol is hidden pretty well and I had no problem putting down a pint. After said pint, it gets a bit harder to handle. Still drinkable but starts to become cloyingly sweet at the end of a bomber. Glad I finally got to crack one of these open and kudos to Southern Tier for another beer that pushes the envelope just a little further. Not sure I'd seek this one out again unless the recipe was tweaked a little. Suggestions: 1) 12 ounce bottles. 2) More foam. 3) Tone down the aroma or make it more complex. It's a little too one-sided. 4) 12 ounce bottles.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.24/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This bottle must have been hot, because it was a mess at the end. This was like Gangs of New York in a bottle. Starts off great, gets going pretty well, falls apart like a big mess at the end.

Let me just say this beer is one of the greatest smelling beers I've ever had. All that vanilla comes right through. Just wonderful.

Now the taste starts off well. Vanilla & nice stout notes. A perfect dessert beer. And then, from the middle til the end of the sip, it falls apart. Alcohol becomes readily apparent (I don't find that to be pleasant). The vanilla ceases to mesh with the rest of the flavors.

The taste upfront is quite nice. It makes you want to keep going. But, for the reasons already mentioned, I couldn't.

This bottle could be hot. Hopefully, we can sit on a bottle for a while and try it again in a year and hope for improvement.

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Photo of scootny
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So this is what all the fuss is about. Yes it is sweet...So what! This is a great beer. Outside the lines? You betcha! Thank goodness for bravery and creativity. A great reinterpretation of a milk stout.

A black brown brew with a tan head. Opaque and sticky looking.

A rich full bouquet of vanilla and caramel. Sniff deeply and you will be rewarded with a roasted dark malt undercurrent. A touch of butterscotch.

Taste is a bigger version of the nose to start. That is when it unfolds with burnt sugar and charcoal. A malted milk of cookies and cream. Coffee follows and leads into a nice bitterness that cuts through the river of sweetness that flows through the beer. Alcohol burns through to peek out here and then quickly retreats. A lingering caramel and vanilla along with a coffee based hopping coats your mouth. The feel
is full and tingly with a sticky thickness that feels decadent and hedonistic.

For such sweet thick beer I found it to be easier to drink than I thought. I went through one bomber by myself and seriously thought about another. A sipper to be sure but I found myself sipping rather quickly and delighting in this intriguing dessert in a bottle. Nice job S.T.

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Photo of EvilPumpkin
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Opaque very dark brown with red hints on the side. Initially a nice head but it quickly went to little and then no head in my tulip.

S: Strong vanilla, sweet milk, caramel. Like what I remember creme brulee tasting like (it's been a while). I prefer the smell to the taste on this one and spent just as long smelling it as I did drinking it.

T: Initially similar to the smell but with a stronger roasted character following it.

M: Moderately thick with enough carbonation to tickle the tongue, nothing outstanding but fitting.

D: A great slow beer. Having a few sips too close together can make the sweetness reach a cloying level. Wonderful to take large gulps spaced well enough apart.

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Photo of matthewjk
2.57/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2 This stout is way too sweet for consumption. The syrupy-sweet, vanilla flavor is too overwhelming for me, but I can at least say I appreciate the effort from Southern Tier to try something different.

Feel jipped out of $9 for the 220z bomber, but that is how it goes sometimes.

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Photo of nowise
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Oh my, this is most interesting...

A: Its about one shade up from motor oil and barely see-thru in my pint glass. Pretty tan head.

S: I have to say, the smell is divine. Sure, it doesn't smell like beer, more like the inside of a bakery. But still, so wonderful... vanilla, toffee, a hint of bourbon.

T: For what it is, it tastes great. I get the candy, brown sugar and vanilla that hits you right in the mouth. If you let it linger, you get the bitter roast in the back of the mouth. I didn't go in to this expecting this beer to be within any style guidelines, just for a tasty dessert beer. I wish they could make a style of its own for beers like this.

M: Yeah, right on target. Smooth creaminess with just enough carbonation.

D: Gotta knock a few points off here if just for the inability of any normal person to drink more than one. The alcohol burns and warms a bit at the end and its just rich rich rich.

I can think of two things that I would love to see in this beer: a barrel aged version and a nitro.

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Photo of TheViolator666
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

22 oz. bomber poured into Stone nonic glass

Oh. My. God.
This is probably the most bizarre beer I've yet to have.
Immediately after cracking open the bottle my (stuffy) nose was pummeled by the intense vanilla/butterscotch scent that then went on to displace all of the oxygen in the room.

Appearance: Pretty average. Nice head that hung around for awhile, decent color as well. Exceptional lacing draped down the glass.

Smell: I don't even know where to begin. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Smelled fantastic at first, but now (hours afterwards) I wish I could get it out of my nose.

Taste: Tastes exactly what I would expect a creme brulee beer to taste like. I regret drinking so much, though. This is definitely a sipper and I wish I would have taken less of a portion. Vanilla, butterscotch, roasted maltyness and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Average as well, not as thick as I like a stout, but not thin by any means. Creamy.

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Photo of ClevoPiwo
2.96/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

had this out of a bomber, poured into a snifter.

poured rather dark, very deep brown and nearly opaque with a 1/2 finger width head. the head didn't last too long and did not leave much lacing to speak of.

before you ever pour the beer, however, you can definitely smell it. upon opening the bottle the room fills with an intense aroma of vanilla bean, caramel and butterscotch - almost reminded me of the smell of hazelnut kahlua. the smell is very strong, very rich and very sweet. in fact, even after having had this beer a few hours ago, the smell still lingers in my kitchen.

there is very little hop flavor, if any at all; the taste is mostly of butterscotch, vanilla, caramel and some milk chocolate. as the beer warmed up the alcohol taste become more pronounced and offset the balance of the caramel and vanilla flavors; this beer is better served on the chillier side. the flavors were fairly overwhelming, tasted like i was drinking a white russian mixed heavily with kahlua as opposed to a stout beer.

mouth feel was decent; very smooth, creamy and sweet with the carbonation on the low end. coats the palate well and leaves a strong taste lingering long after the beer is finished.

overall a very interesting beer. this was unlike anything i have had and i am not sure if i would be able to finish an entire bomber of this by myself without getting sick; it is just too rich. however, it is worth at least one try for those who are curious and open minded.

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Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: headless into a snifter, deep date syrup brown in color

s: ridiculous aroma that perfectly mirrors a range of twists on the traditional creme brulee dessert (coffee, cocoa, butterscotch) - strong vanilla custard with a toasted sugar crust, monstrous butterscotch, glimpses coffee and milk chocolate, very milky and sweet, obscenely rich, only the slightest whiff of benign hop aroma

m: slick full body with a mild carbonation, leaves a sweet lactic coating on the palate

t: again, creme brulee dominates this dessert beer of massive proportions - rich vanilla custard and butterscotch with notes of caramelized sugar crust coming through the finish, a load of sweet coffee concentrate comes through as creme brulee?, butterscotch creme brulee?, dark toffee bars in the burnt sugar aftertaste, my only gripe is that the sugars are a bit out of control - but in the frame of what ST was presumably trying to achieve it's spot on, yum

d: limited as a dessert beer typically is, but it's flat out an awesome one and in a whole other league than anything else out there, great decision to split two time maybe with a dinner party

bomber from Whole Foods, Vienna, VA...split with a friend in Fayetteville

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Photo of Jayli
2.07/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

This beer poured and intense opaque black, with a 2 finger of thick creamy head. Head retention was decent and left spotty lacing on the glass. Nose has an overpowering of artificial vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel smell to it. Hints of chocolate and roasted malts are slightly detectable. The taste follows the same as the nose. At first there is a pretty decent chocolate and dark malt flavors. However, those are quickly met with a harsh butterscotch and caramel. The artificial vanilla tasting hits you throughout, and the booziness doesn't help. I was hoping as it warmed, the tastes would become less harsh, but alas, it didn't. This is a heavy body, lighter carbonation, with a thick and creamy feel to it. I am generally a big fan of Southern Tier, but this beer was far off the mark for me. The harshness in the taste made this beer very, very close to a drain pour for me. It was very difficult to finish this bottle.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

mmm...this beer's aroma is incredible.when you open the bottle the room fills up with the scent of vanilla beans.not a sickeningly sweet vanilla scent,kind of earthy but still a bit sweet.there's a nice coffee/roasted malt scent in the nose as well.overall,very enticing.the beer is pitch black with a mediium sized head.not much lacing though.

this is the quintessential dessert beer,in my's not sickeningly sweet.taste is of caramel,vanilla,roasted coffee with a noticeable hop and roasted bitterness at the end to keep this beer from being too's very smooth,both in flavor and in mouthfeel.has just the right amount of carbonation to let you know it's beer.

overall,one of these will do a night.what a great beer.

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Photo of jbertsch
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed this on tap with a beautiful girl. I was in a dark bar, so the exact color of the brew was hard for me to tell. It was obviously black, but I couldn't tell if it was truly opaque (seemed to be), and if the edges had color (didn't see any).

It had a nice one-finger, tan head in a tulip glass with fair lacing.

"Wow" I said when I smelled it. Both the aroma and the taste are big, with a mix of caramel, butterscotch, and white chocolate latte. Given it's 10%abv, it tastes boozy...and noticeably more so than other beers with the same abv.

The body was perfect. Thick, but lively with just enough carbonation.

What I liked about this brew was that even though it's sweet, it had balls. It's not soft like other dessert stouts. Each sip finished bitter and left you with a fairly strong alcohol aftertaste.

This is a true dessert beer, but a serious one as it's not as forgiving as others. So it's not meant to be consumed in multiples.

Well crafted, and I recommend you try it.

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Photo of BarrelO
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a goblet.

A: Almost black with brownish tints. Three finger head that fades but leaves lots of lacing.

S: Strong notes of vanilla-esque vanilla with additional hints of vanilla. So, yeah. It's big on vanilla.

T: Vanilla and sugary sweetness obliterate anything else that might be lurking flavor-wise. There's also a pretty strong alcohol burn. It feels more like a vanilla liqueur than a beer.

M: Heavy and creamy.

D: I'm kind of torn on this. On the one hand, I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and there's something to be said for a beer that sets out to be this desserty. On the other hand, it would be lot better if it were taken down a notch or two. If it were around 8 or 9% ABV, it would be amazing.

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Photo of tigg924
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:1/2 inch head, black in color

Smell: malt and vanilla cream

Taste: vanilla cream--almost like a great french vailla yogurt, chocolate, burnt malt/black coffee especially towards the end

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium heavy in body, and sweet

Drinkability: This one is probably an aquired taste, but I love it. This is the most vanilla I have had in any beer. I do love how it mixes with the burnt malt. I cannot wait to have this again, but at most would have two because of the high ABV.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a deep brown/black with a fluffy tan colored head. Some sticky lacing left as the head dies to a splotchy film.

S: Big Vanilla, Butterscotch, Caramel, Toffee all fighting to get in your nose first. Its an epic battle of sweetness going on in your nostrils.

T: Same as the nose. This beer is straight forward; what you smell is what you get.

M: Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Just enough hoppiness to make this a beer.

D: I like to think of this beer as more of a novelty. Its nice to enjoy, but it tastes more like a liqueur than a beer. Not that there's anything wrong with this beer, as I do enjoy drinking it. I just don't see myself going through too much though. I think if they blended a little Jahva with this it would be divine!

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Photo of icemanrulz
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought a bottle of this tonight and as soon as I popped the cap the whole room filled with a strong vanilla and butterscotch aroma, like a sweet punch in the face. Poured this beer into a snifter glass, the beer pours a dark dark brown with a thin head. The nose is a powerful combination of vanilla, butterscotch, and light coffee. The first sip hits like a ton of bricks with huge vanilla/butterscotch notes mixed with a light hint of alcohol. It really does taste like creme brulee. It's a thick beer, almost chewy mouthfeel. The finish is pleasant with the alcohol sneaking up at the end to finish off the almost too sweet taste. There is definitely no need for dessert if you're drinking this beer, it borders on being too sweet, but would go great with a slice of vanilla cake or custard pie. Overall I would say it's a beer you should definitely put on your list to try since it is so different from most beers you find out there, but be careful...the alcohol sneaks up on you, especially if you drink a bottle yourself. Not a selection you could sit and drink all night, but enjoyable as an after dinner aperitif .

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Photo of sullie519
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The best smelling beer I have ever encountered.Aromas of vanilla butterscotch and mocha.The taste is a little off from the smell and carries more mocha and coffee the the traditional french dessert.I have had it bot on nitro ( I think by mistake but awesome) and reg pour...You never taste the high alcohol content..but more of the same flavors as there Mocha stout..Either way great beer as long as you only have 1 or 2 ...little sweet due to the lactic sugars..great for an appertif or before dinner drink

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Photo of tgdigital
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I had this beer at the Judge's Bench in Ellicott City, MD on a nitrogen pour last year. It is a thick black stout that made the entire bar smell like creme brulee every time one was poured. This beer is so over the top you can completely throw away your preconceived notions of what beer is supposed to taste like before you try this. This is the essence of a dessert beer, you can substitue your dessert with this beer. It goes down very smooth with tons of body and flavor, caramel, vanilla, chocolate dominate with little to no hop character. It's big and it's sweet. With 10% alcohol you won't be having more than one or two even if you have the room in your stomach for it. Overall I would recommend the beer for anyone wanting to try a truly extreme beer.

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Photo of BitterPachyderm
2.66/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is the second beer in the controversy series, thanks to SBALDWIN...and once again, no freshness date.

Poured this bomber into a snifter...another thin head that immediately vanishes. Some minimal root beer cream soda lacing noted on the sides of the glass. Deep brown body with some ruby highlights. Not overly impressive to look at.

Wow! This smells right down my alley. Large doses of burnt sugars, butterscotch, and a hit of bourbonesque alcohol vapors. Light notes of coffee and caramel peeking through the foreground.

It happened again...burnt bitter caramel up front with a super sweet artificial finish. Almost comparable to a rum and vanilla coke. Lots of imitation vanilla all the way through...

I'll sum up the mouthfeel and drinkability together being as though they both fail miserably. There was no body to this was a watery overcarbonated syrup that is too artificially sweet to be enjoyed.


I don't like the direction that my beer drinking has taken me lately. I'm looking forward to breaking into the cellar soon and bringing out some grade A stout bombs so I can find out if it's the brews or if it's me.

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Photo of lucasbm
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very dark appearance with a beautiful tan head. Smelled like hazelnut, vanilla, and butterscotch candy. Tasted like a fine desert with sweet butterscotch like flavors that would fade away to alcohol as it slowly rolled over the tongue. I would beware of this beer. I see the potential of becoming inebriated without knowing. It was very tasty and could see this beer paired well with a desert like tiramisu or cheesecake. The beer is very unique. Took me back to buying sugar daddies as a kid.

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