Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout)Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout)

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: 1,431 | Ratings: 4,482
Photo of Sammy
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is pure creme brulee, chocolate coffee liquer. The mouthfeel is above average, and yes it tastes like creme brulee. Coffee and the like are the biggest stomach irritants known to man, and this was no exception. Great job, but not something I will go for again. Dangerously high alchol, disguised of course behind the sugar.
Had this again 1.5 years later and it made a good sweet dessert at the end of a tasting, but just half a glass is enough.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mjtiernan for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a small 1/2 inch khaki head that fades to an oily film on the top of the beer. Small amounts of lacing slide back down into the rest of the beer on the drink down. Smells exactly like creme brulee. Very sweet milk, vanilla, and caramelized sugar aromas. Taste is a bit different than I was expecting. Up front there is a pretty bitter roasted malt taste that develops into a sweet cream, vanilla, and caramelized sugar aftertaste. The bitterness fades after each sip leaving the creme brulee flavors on the palate. This beer is definitely less sweet than it smells. Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy with a lower level of carbonation. Overall, this is a good beer that smells and tastes very similar to the creme brulee dessert. I split this one with my wife and she absolutely loved it. This and the Choklat are the best ST Black Water Series beers that I have tried.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger head with very nice lace. Black with no light getting through.

S: smells exactly like creme brulee and caramel.

T: creme brulee and caramel up front which dissipates quickly to a smokey finish.

M: moderate to high carbonation. Thick body.

Overall: a little offensive with the sweetness at first but finishes nicely.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle from halfP1NT.

Pours almost black, a touch of dark red showing through. Beautiful silky smooth brown head. Moderate retention, good lacing.

Aroma is initially milk and vanilla. Then the roast, alcohol, and a touch of vegatable hop smell comes through. Partly 5.0 and partly 2.0.

Flavor is sweet, vanilla, pretty bitter, somewhat roasty, and a touch of crystal malt. I have never really encountered a beer that had lactose in it in any noticeble dose. Now that I have, I think I like it. Alcohol is noticeable.

Body is medium, maybe even a tad on the light side. Didn't know what to make of it. Should it be heavy like an imperial stout or should it be thin like a milk stout? Nice in any event. Drinkable due to its nice flavors and wonderful aroma but the alcohol is something to watch out for.

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

i should start by saying a bomber of this for a single person is more than challenging. its downright difficult. however, this is a clever one, totally distinct from anything else ive ever had out there. the pours is inky black, just a little brown left visible, with zero head, just a think mocha colored film. the nose is brilliant, burnt sugar, scorched chocolate malt, brown butter, brutal sweetness, this has all the elements of a delicious french dessert. the flavor too is very akin to the genuine article, although it is a diminishing marginal return really, as the sweetness starts to rot the teeth and the gut after about a third of the bottle. vanilla beans heavy through the front end, while the brnt sugar custardy component comes in later. the dark malts last throughout. alcohol also becomes quite potent as it warms up. the feel is thick as any beer ive had i think, super dense, quite custardesque really, as it well should be. minimal carbonation exacerbates this feature. overall im glad i got to try this, because it truly is yummy and unique, but this is not a beer that can be consumed with any kind of efficiency or regularity, it is indeed a monster. the sugar just makes it gnarly to drink much of. the label is brilliant, and the beer is just as good. a must try, but proceed with a couple of buddies!

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Photo of Knapp85
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has got to be my absolute favorite Southern Tier release. This beer pours out as a very thick black goop that lets off a thick creamy brown head on it. The smell is unreal, the burnt sugar aroma mixed to perfect with the sweet vanilla extract smell. My nose could stay in the glass all day on this one. The taste is sweet and slightly roasted, one of the best tasting beers I've had that is supposed to resemble another food of somekind. The mouthfeel is a slippery and thick, worth while for a long night of sipping from a snifter glass. Overall I love this beer. I know a ton of people don't but I find it to be a gem. Really want to get this one on-tap someday.

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Photo of metter98
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high tan head that quickly faded away and left lacy patterns of bubbles floating on the surface.
S: There is a strong and sweet aroma of butterscotch and vanilla beans in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of caramel, brown sugar, heavy cream and vanilla beans.
M: It feels medium-bodied, smooth and slightly viscous on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: Drinking this beer is practically like having dessert; it goes down very easily and there's not a trace of the alcohol content in the smell and taste.

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

As Southern Tier does with all Black Water beers in the series, this one oozes with creamy goodness of chocolate cream pie, to the point that I forget that this is a 10% Milk Stout.

Very strong aromas of, well... Creme Brulle. Strong vanilla, coffee, chocolate. Very well balanced and mouth watering. A light hint of cola comes in the end.

Flavors of vanilla and powdered sugar start off in as well as any beer imaginable. Soon, strong coffee, chocolate, vanilla, heavy cream, and merange (sp?) engulf the beer and dive heavy into a Khaluha-like alcohol taste and strength. Very nice but that extra sweetness begins to take the form of aspirtame from time to time.

Quite heavy on the palate due to light carbonation, heavy sweetness, and firm maltiness. Bitterness seems to come from a lot of directions; hops, bitter cocoa, coffee, and again that aspirtame bite. Finishes a bit cleaner than expected with a deep chocolate and vanilla linger. I would probably prefer this beer without the disjointed bitterness.

Again, this is not a desert beer- It is the desert!

Thanks JNN4V

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Photo of largadeer
2.63/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Appearance: Pours a near-black color, more dark brown, with slight translucency when held to light. Head retention isn't great, but we're talking 10% beer here.

Smell: Intensely aromatic - I could smell this one as soon as I uncapped it. Surprisingly, this does smell like creme brulee - it's got the burnt sugar, cream, butterscotch and vanilla you'd expect. This doesn't so much smell like beer as it smells like dessert. I don't necessarily mean that in a good way.

Taste & mouthfeel: The taste has all the creme brulee character of the nose, along with - thankfully - a bit more actual beer flavor. Bitter roasted malt flavors lend a necessary balance to the sweetness, which is still very much at the forefront here. The finish is bittersweet, bitter eventually prevailing, leaving a lingering coffee note on the palate.

Notes: Got this one from Dyan - thanks dogg. This is fun stuff, but I recommend sharing; a couple ounces is plenty. On a side note, this would make one seriously decadent beer float with a scoop of vanilla icecream.

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Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate brown with a tan cap that fades with rapidity but leaves plenty of foamy dots around the chalice

Smell: Creme brulee from a mile away; hard to imagine it is a beer

Taste: Vanilla, butterscotch and creme up front, with a building sweet intensity through mid-palate and beyond; unlike the draft version, the bottled sample seems all about the sweetness, right through the lingering finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; a bit cloying

Drinkability: Loved this on draft, but in the bottle, it becomes a bit tiresome; still quite an accomplishment to make a beer taste like dessert

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Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Oak Cafe in Wyandotte, Michigan.

This beer pours a solid black, with cola edges, and one finger of foamy, cloud-top head, which leaves a wall of painted lace around the glass as it gently recedes. It smells of caramel ice cream topping, and little else. The taste is still big with the caramel/vanilla sweetness, but also some graininess, bitter hops, and rather astute booze astringency. The carbonation is low, the body a strong medium weight, sugary, with a forced creamy body. It finishes with a caramel vanilla, vegetal hop character, with some booze close at hand.

Truth in advertising, if ever was - even if things sour a bit towards the end.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a medium light brown foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma is totally dominated by vanilla and some weird crème brulé-like syrup. Taste is also dominated by the vanilla and whatever syrup they've used and little else is discernable. Full body but could have been creamier with good carbonation and no discernable alcohol. Interesting experiment but a bit over the top and not sure I would want to drink a full bottle by myself.

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Photo of emerge077
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black, slightly dark brown on the pour. Tan foam and spotty lace. Huge vanilla aroma, pretty right on with the Creme Brulee name. Candy sweet. Not quite as perfect as Kuhnhenn's rendition in the aroma.

Sweet vanilla, brown sugar, maple syrup, with an undertone of chocolate. Earthy bitter hops surface towards the end, lending to the bittersweet chocolate flavor. Roasted malts in the middle too, buried under the sweet elements. Feel is lactic with a boozy kick to it.

This bottle was split 3 ways. If I had more than 8 oz. at a time, that might be pushing it, as far as drinkablity goes. Worth a try for sure, i'll be getting another one to make a float with.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Alright; I've heard just about all there is to hear about this beer. I'm walking into it open-minded; I think this is my first beer from Southern Tier. Expectations are high; I like the sound of it. Acquired at a local beer store for $15.00 (this shit's hard to come by in Los Angeles). 9.60% ABV confirmed. I don't have a snifter on-hand, so I'm serving the 650ml brown glass bottle with a standard pressure cap into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in Los Feliz. Reviewed live.

Served after a period of rest from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of its consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger tan colour head of good cream and thickness, and great retention considering the high ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Pretty appealing for the style.

Sm: Sweet Jesus, that is one hell of an aroma. Overpowering creme brulee: custard, vanilla, sweet sugar, and luxurious dessert. Staggeringly appealing. I can't wait to try it. Buttery as all hell. I'm wary of the sweetness, but I'll bite. It's exactly as it should be considering the aims of the beer.

T: Heavy vanilla sweetness with custard and buttery qualities abound. Yes, that definitely tastes like creme brulee. And it's not as artificial as some have noted. Cream, custard, sugar, whipped cream, sinful vanilla dessert notes. Wow. Maltiness is hidden actually; I couldn't tell you if the malts were dark or light based on the taste alone. I assume they're dark. No roast at all. No real chocolate. Just creme brulee throughout, like a tasteful dessert wine. Definitely meets its aims, but the sweetness is quite over the top. I don't know if I want to finisht his whole bottle. No yeast or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Smooth, wet, creamy, clean, sinful. As buttery and sugary as they come. Suits the flavour profile near perfectly. Good thickness and carbonation.

Dr: Wow. This really does taste like creme brulee. It's right up there in the best specialty beers, for sure. The drinkability, however, is quite limited. Frankly, they bottled it in too large a bottle. No one in their right mind would want to consume the entirety of this bottle alone. I of course will do so because I'm not a pretentious twat who drainpours everything that isn't good enough for my posh lips. It hides its ABV remarkably well and would pair brilliantly with actual creme brulee, but the drinkability is very limited. This is one hell of a beer and it's certainly unique. I don't think anyone denies that. For that reason alone, every beer fanatic needs to try it at least once. Preferably in a small pour, though. This is a dentist's nightmare.


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Photo of zeff80
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a small, light brown color. It left little to no lace.

S - It smelled of tons of vanilla, some chocolate and sweet, sweet caramel.

T - It tasted of vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. It really tasted like creme brulee. Caramel, vanilla and touches of toffee.

M - It was soft and smooth with a sticky mouthfeel. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - This is an amazing beer, however, it is a lot to drink at once. I shared it was some family but it was still very heavy.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours black with a slight mocha head. The nose is really quite extreme--even for this series--as it brings forward loads of sweet cream and vanilla along with burnt sugar. In the back are some roasted malts, coffee, and light chocolate flavors. The taste really brings the sweetness forward and it gets to be quite cloying. The mouthfeel is rather thick and a bit of an alcohol burn sets in toward the end. I would really have a difficult time drinking more than 4oz. or so of this, though the nose is incredible.

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Photo of oberon
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of the few ST beers I havent had the chance to try,(it came out after I moved away from western NY)if you like creme brulee you will like this beer.Poured a jet black with a frothy one finger light mocha colored head,minimal lace was left as it settled rather quickly.Wow it cant get much more spot on in the aroma,burnt sugar and hefty vanilla/caramel aromas, with slight roast as well.Dessert in a bottle,the only problem is it gets cloyingly sweet in a hurry,big vanilla/caramel flavors with some mollasses as well,only a hint of dry roastiness comes through.My wife loves it and is finishing mine,I respect the job ST did in making this beer,its just to sweet for me.

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Photo of nickfl
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of medium brown head on top of an opaque, black body. The foam settles slowly and leaves light lace.

S - A sweet aroma of vanilla and coconut with a bready note that makes this beer smell like really good cake.

T - Sweet malt up front with notes of coffee, vanilla, toffee, and a hint of coconut. The toffee intensifies in the middle and more caramel character comes out to play with the vanilla. The beer finishes with a sweet note of caramel and rum with a little bit of spicy alcohol and herbal, turkish coffee.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - If there was ever something that could truly be called a dessert beer, this is it. The vanilla is strong throughout, but it is especially vibrant in the aroma. There is a deep, rich caramel note to the flavor that really reminds me of flan. It is sweet and rich and weird and I doubt that I will find myself craving this particular beer again any time soon, but it is still a very well executed take on the idea of turning creme brulee into beer.

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Photo of jlindros
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well, the first time I had this I thought it gave me diabetes it was so sweet. So I threw it in the cellar for a few years to teach it a lesson. Hopefully it learned that and it will be better. No date, but 3 or 4 years on it must have tamed this beast.

Pours a darker but not too dark colored fizzy head covering that fades pretty quickly, it tries to leave lacing but the alcohol shows it another thing or two, and it quickly disappears. The legs, however, are quite nice, and the beer is a dark essence of pitch black color, light keeps trying to get through but gets beaten down.

Nose, holy shit that's the essence of pure sugar! Like candied caramelized candy carmel... wow, candy kettle corn, brown sugar, molasses, plenty of creme brulee aromas, etc etc, oh and plain burnt sugar. It gets lots of cream aromas as well, milky cream and even a little eggy almost, but that could be my brain high on sugar vapors. Also lots of vanilla, lots and lots of vanilla like sugar marinated in vanilla and milk. Then some mild milk chocolate and cocoa aromas, and even a faint hint of espresso.

Taste, bgbggsshhsixjijsijsdofjodjfoajh, sorry sugar seizure! Wow sweet, candy up the... wait where does candy come from? Well there's just sugar everywhere, it's as sweet as I remember and maybe more. The 4 or so years in the cellar jail didn't tame this beast at all! Sugar, who doesn't love layers of sugar on layers of more sugar, brown sugar to start, molasses, candy, toffee, taffy even, caramlized sugar, candied caramel, and lots of creme brulee. Under all the sweet layers, and by layers I mean walls, comes a mild milk chocolate, more cream as well pretty creamy actually, no egg luckily, but again stacks of vanilla rolled in the sugar and cream and then burnt into cola syrup, and flan. Also hint of super sweet Brazillian style espresso. Finish is just ridiculous sweetness, sticky but not nearly as sticky as I thought, a bit more cream and vanilla, but tons more caramelized sugars, mild espresso dripped into pure caramel, and hint of warming booze.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, but like syrup, it even made my lips get that sticky feel like I just at a stack of pancakes covered in maple syrup, mild warming booze (only mild due to the huge eye popping syrupy sweetness), and decent carb.

Overall, well I am really mad at myself for cracking this by myself. If I somehow get through the whole bottle, I won't sleep for weeks, but at least I'll probably go for a 5 mile walk or clean the garage as I'll be so hyped on sugar. Hmmmm, maybe my Brazilian wife will like it since it's so sweet, let me see... her consensus, not too sweet (not surprisingly as she drinks ice wine and puts more than a 1/4 cup of sugar in one cup of coffee), just a bit too boozy and the espresso flavor is too much. Guess she won't be helping me finish it, I'm on my own. Too late to call in reinforcements, I guess I'll just cut it with lots of snacks and try to work my way through it.

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Photo of mothman
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Just shared this with some new friends. Poured into a pint glass.

Color is a dark dark brown. Has 1 finger of head, decent retention leaving some lace.

Aroma was good, but very sweet. Milk and chocolate. Very creamy. This is an interesting aroma.

Taste: Here is the problem, this beer is so damn sweet. Milk, chocolate, and very creamy. I could maybe have 4 ounces of this, but the taste is so sweet.

Mouthfeel: Silky and creamy. Full bodied. Decent amount of retention. Ends with a sweet chocolate aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is simply to sweet. I couldn't drink a lot of it. It is good, but I wouldn't want a lot. I can see this being good on ice cream or chocolate cake.

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

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 1/9/2014. Pours dense pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of huge caramel, toffee, vanilla, butterscotch, cream, custard, brown sugar, toast, light coffee, and light herbal hops. Fantastic aromas with very authentic creme brulee character with light-moderate hop presence; with big strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, vanilla, butterscotch, custard, cream, brown sugar, toast, light coffee, and light herbal/pine hops. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla, cream, butterscotch, brown sugar, custard, toast, light coffee, and slight herbal/pine hops on the finish for a while. Incredible robustness and complexity of dark malt, lactose, and vanilla flavors; with just enough hop bitterness to cut out any cloying sweetness on the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding imperial milk stout! All around awesome balance of dark malt, vanilla, and lactose flavors with moderate hop balance; and extremely smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what an incredible beer! Of course I got robbed for it... $7 for 10 oz. glass at the Diamond in Brooklyn. I could have just bought a bottle, but in the end I guess it was worth it. Oh, and the bartender refused to give me a sample first, she said that would cost $2!!! But I digress. The 10 ounce glass was probably just the right serving, as it is sweet and any more would have been just a touch too much. It's really a dessert beer, although I enjoyed it right at the bar none the less. Massive amounts of vanilla, caramel, and sweetish, cocoa-accented malts are found in the nose. It actually kind of smells like cake! And that carries over into the flavor. Vanilla. Caramel. Cocoa. Sugar. Butter. Chocolate. And just an edge of roastiness underneath. It's sweet but it somehow manages to keep from becoming cloying, and that's at least due in part to the roasted malts. Remarkably smooth. Creamy. Utterly (pun intended) remarkable. That said, this is a very special beer, and would be perfect for special occassions. Valentines day. Christmas. And it makes an undeniable eye-opener for women who "don't like beer". Oh, and I wonder how this would be alongside Lindemann's Framboise - or even mixed together? I am definitely going to buy more of this!

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Photo of mactrail
2.99/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I believe this may be the most outrageously flavored malt beverage I've ever tasted. I won't go so far as to say "beer." Actually, a malt liqueur is exactly what it is. Start with a shot glass or a tiny wine glass of it. Chocolate milk taste, only intensified and scorched, and blended with some kind of blackened malt brew. To say this tastes like vanilla is like saying gulping 151 rum is kind of hot.

It's not totally sweet, it's just that the flavor seems to channel the sugar receptor right to the brain. I suppose this might be good with some equally sweet dessert so you could pretend this is Drambuie. I guess the key to whether you would score this high or not is how much you like that totally sugary sensation, like Mexican candy or Greek preserved fruit. I give it an "N" for Novelty.

Dark brown in color average carbonation in the glass and in the mouth. Some sharp notes which we may thank the carbonation for. Bitter aftertaste adds to the confusion. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Bottleworks in Seattle.

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Photo of chinchill
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle

A - opaque, but clear, dark red-brown body with great reddish highlights under light. Smallish but durable tan head.

S - smells like a superb liqueur; vanilla and caramel dominate, but has good depth and complexity. I'd give it a 5 were it not for the alcohol, even though it is partially hidden.

T - like the smell, this is rather weet, but well-crafted with the flavors and aromas blending very nicely but in your mouth. Smooth, tiny bitter kick, liquid vanilla creme cake. Very sweet but I like it.

M - light carbonation; creamy smooth; medium+ body; some obvious warming from the high ABV.

O - A bit too sweet, but after all, it is a "creme brulee". Exceptionally smooth; unique flavor. Great dessert beer.

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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.

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Creme Brulee (Imperial Milk Stout) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 4,482 ratings.
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