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

very good
1,459 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,459 | Ratings: 4,565
Photo of BrokenEdge
1.83/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I've had a lot of people say to me "I don't normally like beer, but you've got to try this one" and against my better judgment, I got it on tap one night. I was stunned when I looked up the rating of it on here, can't believe it's scored as well as it has.

Anyway...looks unspectacular. Dark brown/black body with the slightest bit of white foam around the edges of the glass. Minimal lacing. Smells downright putrid. Smells like really intense, artificial vanilla and alcohol. Taste was even worse. This was like a combination of vanilla extract, cough syrup, and cheap vodka. In fact, I could probably make a batch of that at home and it would be cheaper. Lots of overwhelming alcohol presence (the 10% ABV is not disguised at all) and just cloyingly, overwhelmingly sweet. Feel is harsh due to all the alcohol and not at all creamy and mellow like milk stouts typically are. Felt a little more like an unbalanced quad than milk stout. This beer is just plain unpleasant and I would not drink it again.

 1,007 characters

Photo of HomerSwim
3.01/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

People like this beer? Why? To me it tastes like you force fed a cow turpentine and subsequently used the spoiled milk to create a want to be pretentious beer that wouldn't even live up to french snootiness.

 209 characters

Photo of tillmac62
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

BOD 12/15/15. Pours black. Outstanding head volume and retention, world class lacing.

World class rich nose of vanilla, cream and light caramel. It screams crème brulee. Underneath is a light coconut aspect.

Medium body with a smooth texture that has creamy moments. Carbonation is world class with a perfect body / carbonation balance that really allows the complex flavors to open up. The middle has a burst of effervescence while the finish is pricky and finely bubbled.

The flavor profile is quite outstanding. Had the alcohol remained covered and suppressed the very slight astringency, it would be world class. It begins with a wave of vanilla that floats above cream then shifts to vanilla over caramel. The middle has a hint of roast oriented bitterness underneath. From the middle to the finish, chocolate and coconut notes emerge. The finish is a slow sweet fade of slightly sweet vanilla with a touch of alcohol flavor and astringency.

 961 characters

Photo of Nanothaniel
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Look: Deep dark brown with almost no head
Smell: I can't decide if this nose is epic or if it smells like a candle. Okay, if I was smelling a candle I'd buy that candle in a heartbeat. Approaching a beer however, I think maybe it needs a little something extra? Very strong vanilla, strong like vanilla beans, not extract.
Taste: Sweet, big vanilla hit, a little roastiness, a little pecan. I feel like this beer needs some food to go with it, maybe some cranberry crusted goat cheese.
Feel: Awesome honestly, probably the best part of this beer. It just envelops your mouth like melted butter. Reminds me a little of Bourbon County Stout (not quite though, I'd give my last Bourbon county a perfect 5 on mouthfeel).
Overall: I wanted to love this beer, but sometimes we have to tame our expectations. This beer was distinctive and memorable, but honestly a little bit hard to finish a 22oz bottle. If this would've came in a 12 oz my impression might've been about .25 higher, but I question the decision making of selling this in a larger package. I'd like about 6oz of this with some ice cream at the end of a stressful day.

 1,128 characters

Photo of erk0607
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smell: Like creme brulee - vanilla, toasted sugar, cream

Look: dark brown with light foam head

Taste: roasty, creamy, sugar notes, toasted malts

Feel: intermediate, not too heavy, light cream

Overall: would get again

 220 characters

Photo of WonderNerd15
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Jet black, with small, quickly disappearing tan head
Smell: Super sweet vanilla, spot on creme brûlée
Taste: Very sweet vanilla, bitterness hits on the back end, but isn't overly bitter
F: Thick and lingering in the mouth, almost syrupy
O: Good, interesting brew. Definitely not an all day drink but still good none the less

 330 characters

Photo of BigGold
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

First had on draft into nonic half-pint, and a couple of days later from 12-oz. bottle, stamped "DOB 12/31/2015," into faceted mug. Aroma screams fancy Starbucks, but beer is a bit more restrained and drinkable, even for those of us who like our coffee black.

 260 characters

Photo of PA-hunter
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 10% abv

Appearance- Pours a dark chocolate brown, nearly black once in the glass. Light brown head quick to dissipate. Opaque.

Smell- Cream, vanilla, caramel, sweet.

Taste- Sweet vanilla bean and lactose sugary sweetness. Ample butterscotch. Finishes rich with notes of milk chocolate and coffee and a slight vinegar taste.

Mouthfeel- Heavy in body with low carbonation. Abv is felt by the burn.

Overall- A complex full flavored stout. Was not expecting the heavy butterscotch flavor. Decadent, like a dessert, and made to sip

 571 characters

Photo of ryannosaurus
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bomber poured to tulip

Pours black with chocolate head that quickly dissipates, leaving bust a light have of bubbles

Aroma absolutely nails the namesake dessert, just amazing vanilla caramel

Flavor is extremely sweet, heavy on the vanilla, caramel more lurking then as aggressive as in the nose. Bit of roast. Lot of vanilla bean bitterness on the backend, brown sugar praline as it warms

Big solid lush mouthfeel

This has been on my radar for some time. Outrageously sweet, I was surprised there wasn't as much caramel in the flavor as in the aroma. Overall too sweet for normal drinking, but this is beyond normal.

 623 characters

Photo of braker649er
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My highest praise is that this beer represented truth in advertising--the flavor was an undeniable dessert beer that was very sweet, and had creamy-caramel-toffee flavor just like you'd expect from the name. I was in favor of the high ABV (especially high as a milk stout)--the booze gave the sweetness dimension.

It almost felt like you could achieve this beer by brewing a solid base and then adding butterscotch syrup. That may sound a bit cynical. Actually by this I mostly mean that the taste was on target.

The flip side: A few sips in, I couldn't decide if I actually *wanted* a beer that tasted like burnt cream/caramel. My bad? I rated relatively highly even though this wasn't ultimately a beer I'd buy again.

 722 characters

Photo of moofthedog
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very dark, standard stout. Brown-ish head with pretty lacing.
Aroma: Creme brule. Vanilla. Extremely sweet smelling.
Taste: Extremely sweet. Not dry thankfully. Also slightly booze-y, being 10% ABV. Kind of reminds me of a belgian dubbel actually in how sweet and strong it is. Can barely tell hops are in this.
Feel: Really nice actually, carbonation is moderate. Despite booze-y taste, it sits in the mouth well and leaves a nice aftertaste actually.

Overall: Expensive and novelty, not something I'd buy again and actually somewhat disappointing from southern tier. I think it would be cool if they replicated the same smell but dialed it back a bit, reduced the ABV and lowered the overall sweetness. It's just a bit "in your face" when some subtlety would go a long way in imparting the creme brulee idea.

 824 characters

Photo of MJSFS
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a DFH chalice L: dark dark brown with no head and minimum lacing A: sweet milk, burnt sugar, and a slight buttery aroma T: exactly like the nose M: heavy and slick like liquid sugar O: awesome dessert beer, not for everyday, but goes great after a fine dinner.

 291 characters

Photo of do_ob
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Medium brown pour and settles dark brown in the glass; black body with reddish-brown highlights around the edges. A thin, vanilla-colored lacing tops it off. On the nose, huge notes of candied sugar, caramel, vanilla, lactose, and dark chocolate with hints of coffee. Incredibly sweet-smelling. The taste follows the nose with huge notes of sweet, burnt cream, chocolate, lactose, vanilla extract, butterscotch, roasted malt, and expresso. Not quite as sweet as I was expecting given what I've heard, but still probably the sweetest beer I've ever had. The feel is nice - dense enough to carry the flavor and alcohol, but not really chewy or syrupy. No taste of booziness to be found.

Overall, not bad. Very, very sweet but if you like that then this is a good one. I could't drink more than 12 oz. in a sitting.

 848 characters

Photo of Bonkinishwa
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Southern Tier Brewing Company - Creme Brulee. 10% ABV. 22oz bottle split between two snifters. Bottled on 12/15/15 at 5:11pm.

Look: Pours and settles a rich dark brown, retaining caramel highlights and a thin ring of tan lacing.

Smell: Rich vanilla, cream, and butterscotch; this smells just like vanilla cake.

Feel: Full bodied and silky smooth with almost no carbonation.

Taste: Not quite as sweet as the smell; sweet vanilla and butterscotch like a dessert. It has a slight coffee and roast bitterness up front to balance out how sweet it is, but gets more intense near the back end and into the aftertaste.

Overall: Another great dessert beer from Southern Tier to match Choklat. Incredibly sweet nose, and almost as sweet taste. This is definitely a slow sipper.

 772 characters

Photo of Parmesan
3.44/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: Coal black color with nice tan head and no lacing.

S: Sweet milk chocolate, lots of caramel and butterscotch. Smells very sweet.

T: Butterscotch, very sweet milk notes, finishes with a harsh bitterness. Very very sweet.

F: Medium heavy body, low carbonation.

O: This is an extremely sweet beer, that I don't think I will be buying again.

 344 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a growler via EightBall Brewing in a snifter. This nice milk stout pours a deep coal black with brown outlines and a fantastic head of light tan foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin pooling layer, and very nice lacing. Nose of heavy vanilla, char, and lactose sugars. Flavors follow the nose with a strong vanilla and cream deeply touched by the torch of heat letting off strong notes of char on all sides with a touch of cola on the back. Slick mouth feel, light carbonation, and an overly sweet finish. I prefer this ale in a bottle as compared to on tap, yet I have had it before and have no recollection of the strength of the vanilla notes which is rather intense on tap. Overall it is very nice.


 732 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours - Jet black with decent sized tan head excellent lacing head dissipates to a thin line around glass.

Smell - Very sweet and chocolaty almost decadent nose vanilla as well very dessert like.

Taste - This really needs to be consumed at the 42 degrees suggested on the bottle, as it warms it gets too sweet. Very chocolaty also get some vanilla and cake like.

Feel - Heavy feel very creamy and smooth.

Overall - An amazing beer it is like dessert in a glass.

 465 characters

Photo of Krills
5/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very sweet, with a powerful and delicious vanilla smell. Taste is of vanilla and cream, with a strong, but not overpowering, stout alcoholic aftertaste.

Personally, this is on my list of top beers. But I could understand why it wouldn't appeal to others.

 255 characters

Photo of AdamAlway
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Jet black look with an off-white, medium thickness head that lingers all around the glass. The smell is very sweet, lots of butterscotch, vanilla and milk. Wow does that sweetness carry over into the taste, like a creme brulee milkshake. However, the somewhat overwhelming sweetness gives way to strong malt, coffee and dark chocolate bitterness. Medium body that is very smooth and creamy. Definitely supports my milkshake description.

Fair warning, this beer is all about sweetness. I'm not saying this is good or bad, but this is the first milk stout I've had that tastes exactly what you'd expect. Although I enjoyed it, if I wanted a milkshake that's what I would have purchased. It feels like the bitterness at the end was thrown in because they were worried you'd forget it is a beer. If you go into it wanting/expecting dessert, enjoy!

 845 characters

Photo of MikeWard
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip. bottled December 2015.

pours jet black with a small tan head. head shrinks to a small ring. not much lacing to speak of.

smell is simply amazing, sweet vanilla chocolate and milky, with a hit of roastiness.

taste is layered, first the sweet vanilla milk, and a quite strong roasted finish.

mouth is just on the thin side of medium.

overall, a great beer for a sweet tooth like myself.

 430 characters

Photo of epyon396
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Deep back with a thin dark khaki head on the rim. Light, spotty lacing.

The nose is a complete butterscotch bomb with a little bit of vanilla.

Overbearing butterscotch hits up front. Light vanilla and caramelized sugars create a taste that lives up to the name. There's dark chocolate malts hidden way in the background and a lingering bitter finish.

Medium bodied on the lower end of the carbonation scale. Very silky and creamy. Probably the highlight of the beer.

I appreciate what Southern Tier has created here, but it is just too damn sweet for its own good. A 10 oz pour was more than enough.

 606 characters

Photo of jmv0009
3.49/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

L- very dark, nice off-white head that was fairly thick.
S-mild sweetness and malt.
T- beginning is sweet and has a bitter aftertaste.
F- very creamy, smooth and easy drinker for an imperial stout.
O- enjoyable beer. Great mouthfeel, average taste.

 256 characters

Photo of yuenglingfan101
5/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this the second best beer i ever had in my life so creamy and smooth and silky. words can't describe its tatste or irrisistable smell of this icredible beer

 158 characters

Photo of theamericanpsycho79
4.79/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love Southern Tier beers by now, thanks to their Pumking ale. I decided to give this one a try, being Pumking is out of season. I miss it already. Poured into my Duvel goblet, its super frothy, very, very dark and the head resembles chocolate milk and the head sticks around a while, easily a 2 finger head. My thoughts of this were "dessert beer" so let's see how it holds up.

L: dark, almost black, 2 finger head, lingers for a long time. So frothy, like chocolate milk that has been shaken for a few minutes. Beautiful appearance.

S: Oh my lord. So delicious smelling. Dominant vanilla bean and creaminess over anything else. No indication this is even a beer, no beer smell, no hops smell, just delicious creamy vanilla. Outstanding!

T: Take a smooth beer and add some vanilla extract, this is basically what you get. Beautifully infused, not overly smooth but Southern Tier beers never really were. But that is not a bad thing, it reminds you that you are still drinking a beer. I can sip on this all day, really delicious. Perfect special occasion beer or dessert beer at an adult birthday party.

F: really great. Frothy at first, no alcohol burn, creamy, like a melted milkshake type feel.

O: This one is pretty great. Despite the hops presence (I am not a fan of beer bitterness) the vanilla bean is very much there, above all else.... above the beer taste, the hops, the alcohol taste, very delicious and not overly sweet. In fact, not really "sweet" at all. You get a delicious beer with a perfect harmony of vanilla and cream. Give this one a try, its really good and ranks up there closely with Pumking, though to me Pumking is hard to top, but this is a very close second.

 1,717 characters

Photo of Harrison8
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black with a medium-thin foamy khaki colored head. Medium amount of lacing. Heavy notes of vanilla at the front of the nose, with bits of coffee and roasted malts hiding behind. Taste is an explosion of flavor. Seriously, this is a sweet beer. Vanilla beans and milk flavors intertwine during the duration of the tasting. Great mix of the two. Mouth feel is smooth, albeit not as bold or robust as one might expect. Still, it is a pleasure to drink. Overall, pick this beer up! It is a fantastic dessert beer. Magnificent job by Southern Tier.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

 579 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.