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: 1,456 | Ratings: 4,555
Photo of jpro
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Picked up a bomber of this interesting looking brew at the CBX. It pours super inky black - held it up to light and zero translucence; virtually no head (what's there is merely a ring of light brown). The aroma is straight up vanilla ridiculousness - maybe some hints of caramel in there, and touches of alcohol (reminiscent of Kahlua). For some reason, when I first smelled this, I thought: pancakes with extra butter and syrup! It hints at creme brulee, but not quite an exact match. After smelling, the taste was a bit of a letdown - again, heavy on the vanilla with some light hints of coffee and alcohol. Its pretty sweet up front with a relatively lackluster finish. The mouthfeel is actually not as heavy as I thought it would be - actually a little thin in spots, and unfortunately doesn't lend to the idea of wanting to drink more (its just way too sweet for me). An interesting idea, and definitely worth a try, but not something I'll come back to -

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Photo of BirdFlu
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After trying the bottle about a week ago I took the no-tap variation to see if I could find much difference.. I found Mokah to be a bit less-enjoyable on tap and my creme brulee experience suffered the same fate.. Whereas the bottle begins with a flavor and aroma which are so robust and sweet that it may excite and entice at first then becomes a bit cloying and artificial, on-tap I immediately found these unpleasant qualities. There is a chalky quality to the taste which contrasts the sweetness but doesn't add any enjoyment to the drink. Drinkability suffers from these unpleasantries in the flavor and aroma. Overall, though, I'm willing to grant it 3.5's instead of below-average numbers because its certainly a better option thana lot of things and if you're in the mood for something very strong or generally enjoy sweetness it may be quite enjoyable. Like other ST stout offerings I'm finding the sort of artificial quality to the flavor shows through more on-tap. Its fun to try but I wouldn't want to drink a full pint's worth.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Black as night. Pours with a small coffee-colored head.

S- An incredibly "sweet" nose... smells of lactose, candy sugar and vanilla custard.

T- This stuff tastes like someone wrung-out a creme brulee desert into the glass. The dark appearance is deceiving... I would have expected more roasty or coffee notes, but I get none of this... just an intensely sweet (and wonderful) flavor of dessert in a glass!

M- Creamy and slightly chewy. Very full body.

D- Incredibly good (if you like Creme Brulee), but so rich and sweet that I couldn't have a pint on my own. I've had it in the bottle as well, and I feel like you need to have at least three people to split the bottle amongst. (Although my wife can drink this stuff all night!)

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Photo of rfgetz
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Bomber poured deep brown with ample frothy head

S: perfect creme brulee (burnt vanilla sugar)hints of butterscotch coffee and chocolate. Very rich.

T: As with the smell, burnt vanilla sugar with hints of butterscotch, toffee coffee and chocolate. Only gripe is the extreme sugary sweetness. tastes great, but any more than 10oz is overkill.

M: Sticky and creamy, milky residual

D: Good after dinner beer, although would prefer in an 8-12po serving. The bomber was hard to finish in one sitting b/c of the sweetness.

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

A- Poured into a 16oz pint glass...Black in color, no transparency when held up to light. About a finger thick brownish colored head

S- Honestly no typical beer scent, but an strong smell of irish cream

T- Strong irish cream taste with malty overtones, and a slight hop finish. Unbelievably tasty with no hint of the 10% abv

M- Thick and creamy, with a smooth finish

D- Very... might start to get a little sweet after to many, but at 10% abv, you don't need to many


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Photo of JRed
3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Black hue in body with light coffee head topping. Aroma of creme brulee, vanilla, cream, coffee with cream, caramel. Not as pleasant as I envisioned on the palate: cola with pours of vanilla, light coffee, caramel, syrup. A medium bodied mouthfeel with light carbonation. The downfall of the beer lies in the cola character with dabs of vanilla and coffee. The upside is the light, smooth, creamy mouthfeel that the beer possesses. A sweet treat but has room for improvement.

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Photo of thain709
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep black in color with a few brown highlights...a small light brown head forms and fades away into nothing...not much lacing

S - What do you think? Wonderful aroma of creme brulee...vanilla, creme, chocolate, butterscotch

T - A lot of the same flavors as the nose...I loved my first few sips...but after awhile the sweetness really got to me...vanilla and butterscotch are really well as the sugar (I'm picturing the caramelized sugar on top)...the caramel mixes with the butterscotch and almost forms a toffee flavor...roasted malts provide a nice backbone as well as a deep cocoa bean/hop bitterness at the end

M - A nice, creamy, thick mouthfeel

D - I would be good with a 2 oz sample glass of 10 oz. glass just became too sweet...but it all boils down to this tastes and smells like the real thing...Southern Tier does not seem to let you down

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Photo of Onibubba
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Been waiting to try this one. Decent dark brown pour with short lived mocha head. Smell unbelieveably powerful. Kind of like the smell of flavored coffee beans. Taste is amplified even more. It is good - no denying. It's just that it is so incredibly intense. This is the sweetest beer ever. Scaldis, Framboise, you are excused. Mouthfeel is OK. A bit thin, would add to the taste if it was a smoother beer, but it is not. Drinkability is a tough call. The sweetness makes this a sipper. A bottle is a bit much for one person.

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Photo of stevenseg
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Crème Brûlée Stout from the Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York comes in at 10% ABV.

The aroma hit me like a burning truck full of vanilla ice cream, but no sign of hops. Typical I would be critical of this, but this is supposed to be a sweat treat. Its sniffage is a pleasant mixture of vanilla and coffee, capped with a shot of Kahlúa, and lightly toasted.

This imperial stout is very dark in color, and the head is dense and velvety, which indicates that Guinness-like texture.

The beer list at Dirty Frank's, the joint I found this alcoholic cavity, appropriately states, "Drink your dessert," as this is virtually crème brûlée in a glass.

Served a little chilly at first (Southern Tier suggests 42 degrees in a snifter), let it warm as you sip to leave more taste and aroma at the bottom of the glass and experience its full flavor and the fire of alcohol that hits at the tail of every sip.

It's criticized for containing more sugar than hops, but this is not supposed to be a chugger. Instead, this stout is the brewers' version of ice wine or port. I would not drink another right after because it is just too rich and powerful. Instead I would cap off a dinner containing a rich cream sauce with just one pint or even split a 22oz. bottle. I can definitely feel my craving increase.

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Photo of jera1350
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark jet black with tight tan one finger head. Some lacing.

WOW!!! Big robust vanilla beans, chocolate, hints of coffee and cola. Smells outstanding.

Huge vanilla beans, more coffee than in the nose, deep roasted malt, semi-sweet chocolate chips. Very big flavors, but not overpowering.

Very creamy mouthfeel goes perfectly with the flavors and name of the beer. Heavy bodied and a nice chewiness.

This resembles drinking a chocolate milkshake. A bit of a sipper, but man would this be an outstanding dessert drink.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.74/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber from Beer Run. Not the first time I've tried this one, but the first time I've actually managed to get a review out of it. Long story! Poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours a dirty, dark brown, but not quite opaque brew - it's almost like a heavily-toasted barleywine in hue - capped by a fizzy, relatively fast-fading tan head. The retention leaves a lot to be desired, as does the lacing - only the thinnest fizzy collar of lace persists, and that's largely on the back of a steady stream of fine carbonation. Not too much goin' on here.

Aroma: Incredibly sticky sweet sugars, seeping and swimming and seething with vanilla bean and faint cocoa and milky, creamy lactose overtones. Alcohol is only the faintest afterthought in this one, though it is slightly detectable. Severe agitation brings to the forefront a lot of dark, heavily toasted, partially singed caramel sugars, though these are heavily masked and fortunately superseded by their lighter, sweeter counterparts in the normal course of agitation.

Taste: Jeeze. Highly burnt, heavily caramelized sugars are pleasant up front, but wear thin a little quickly - I don't even mean quickly as in, as the entire beer progresses, but more quickly "per sip." That is, the severely burnt nature of the sugar is particularly harsh in the finish of each sip, right when it hits the back of the tongue. It's a shame, really, because the forefront of each sip - the vanilla beans, the sweet, creamy, milky sugars, the slightly bitter hop presence - is pleasant. It just fades way too quickly.

Mouthfeel: Moderately carbonated, but heavy, sticky, syrupy thickness makes your mouth and your lips and your whole face sticky. Still, enough carbonation to keep it lively and even, though not as creamy as I'd like.

Drinkability: Well, hm. The alcohol doesn't really come through here in any appreciable way ... outside of its effect. If it weren't so roasted, so heavily burnt, so ... astringent ... it would be much nicer, but probably still even a little sweet for my tastes (and likely for most). I'm glad to have actually reviewed it, following my "Beatification + Creme Brulee = debacle" debacle, but I won't be enjoying this one again anytime soon, likely!

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Photo of jjanega08
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A= pours a deep black color. Not quite as thick as I wanted but still very nice looking. A nice two finger head rises out of it and falls to a thin skin. No lacing.
S= lotta vanilla. Smells just like creme brulee. There's vanilla up front with coffee undertones I suppose but that's it.
T= much much more coffee and some roasted oats than the smell. There were of corse over tones of vanilla. Pretty good not bad at all.
M= not nearly as good as I wanted. Should be thicker and more velvet. Should have oatss added.
D= pretty good. Not a bad beer. Doesn't deserve the heat it gets.

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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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Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout (Blackwater Series) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 4,555 ratings.
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