Drake's Drakonic Imperial Stout | Drake's Brewing Co.

very good
230 Reviews
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Drake's Drakonic Imperial StoutDrake's Drakonic Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Drake's Drakonic Imperial Stout - 8.75% ABV, 40 IBUS
A big, malty beast of a beer that exemplifies the way we roll here at Drake's. Two-row malt is blended with Chocolate malt, roasted barley, and dark Crystal malts to make up the grist. Only one hop addition, Columbus, is added for bittering, allowing the abundance of malt in this beer to shine through. Enjoy the dense brownish head, the silky maltiness, and flavors of licorice, coffee and chocolate, rounded out with a slightly dry finish. here's to those who don't fear the mighty!

Added by xlperro on 08-20-2003

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Reviews: 230 | Ratings: 494
Photo of Jredner
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of my wife. Aroma is strong with a mix of dark roasted malt, milk and dark chocolate, coffee and espresso, dark fruits and fudge brownies. Very intense. Body is a deep black and supports a creamy mocha head that is slightly bubbly and mostly creamy and lasting. smooth fore is chocolate, cocoa and burnt raisin...this is followed by bitter burnt malt and black coffee notes. some lingering dark chocolate and fruit sweetness in the finish balance the bitter middle ranges and reinforce the bitter/sweet flavor juxtaposition. Solid Impy.

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Photo of stephendr
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown hue with a tint of red – thick coco colored head , small bubbles – nose of dark fruit coco , espresso , and milk chocolate – taste of coffee dark fruit coco , espresso , malty , and milk chocolate– thick creamy body with some acidity – aftertaste is black cherries a roasted malt taste, bright long , espresso , coffee and slight hops

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mitchfor3 for the trade. Pours with good head, good lacing. The body is black. Roasted, coffee smell, some vanilla as well.

Tastes like it has a ton of coffee in it, which is a good thing. Notes of bourbon and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is not as thick as other RISs, but it is nearly perfect, due to the lively carbonation. Drinkability is great.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

***Not sure why this is retired...it's all over SoCal***

Bottle has a plastic band over the swig top metal. Pops open with a thwip! Pours a buh-lack midnight ink hue with zero light escaping even from the sides and botom of the glass topped with a packed dense headcap of tan soupy coating, with a thick lace in the glass.

Nose of coffee bean and English porter vanilla. A sweet almond extract finds a way into the nose here, with a brownie dough mixture. Sweet, cocoa and cofee bean. Mmmm...

First swigs: Let's see if the nose meets the flavor. Dark chocolate roasted malts and a firm bitterness front the flavor. Creamy ice cream melted cappucino. Burnt toasted malts and a dash of charcoal which maybe a result of some molasses.

Delicate restrained carbonation. Invisible 8.75% ABV. McDonald's milkshakes have nothing on this. Guinness could learn a lesson here.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black pour with a sizable mocha head of tight foam that lasts and laces nicely.

Aroma is deep, dark, and full of chocolate and roasty goodness. There are notes of dark, jammy fruit, anise, sweetened coffee, and plenty of orange and pinecone hops. As it warms, traces of leather, vanilla, and faint oak come out.

Flavor is equally impressive. massive, bittersweet dark chocolate, fresh coffee, subtle licorice, dark pit fruits, and creamy vanilla are countered by earthy wood notes and plenty of pine sap and crushed citrus peel hops. A lingering bitter finish of cocoa and pine taunts you into another sip. Very nice.

Body is right between medium and large. Mouthfeel is smooth as melted butter with a creamy texture and light carbonation. Very little alcohol kick, almost seems like this bottle was aged.

props to GClarkage for the wedding gift assortment, we really enjoyed them all!

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks like used motor oil with a thick craggy dark tan head that melts to something really sticky. I love it.
Aroma is pure chocolate at first....keep sniffing and behind it you will find light scents of dark candied fruits....raisins, prunes, etc. Only a touch of alcohol meets the senses if you really look for it. As it warms, wonderful coffee starts to make itself known.
The mouth is filled with bittersweet chocolate...more on the bitter side than sweet...then some dark candied fruits. Finish is lightly citrus hops but mostly bitter chocolate. Again,let it warm and espresso flavors mix with the bittersweet chocolate and the hops become even more present.
I hate to sound one dimensional, but this beer is really all about the bittersweet chocolate to me. And it is wonderful in that sense, but still slightly one dimensional. Maybe simply because everything is so well blended...I don't know. This beer is definately more bitter than the usual RIS's...less cloying sweetness and more hop sharpness. A nice blend.
Aftertaste is surprisingly drying rather than cloying....still a sense of chocolate but a little of the citrus hops come on in the end making it very satisfying.
Normally, 8.5% won't affect me with the first brew...it will take two to notice it's there.
Somehow, I've had 3 sips of this beer and already feel the effects of the alcohol although I really don't notice it much in the taste at all.
Very nice desert beer. Which is exactly what I was looking for this evening.
Oh yeah....
I love the bottle and the distinctively welcoming 'pop' when you flip the lever for the top.

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Photo of cheers2beers
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Boolshot for this great stout.

Appearance: Pouring this beer into my snifter I notice solid black liquid with no daylight whatsoever coming through. The brownish head stacked up to an astonishing three finger height with lots of laceing to go around.

Smell: The aromas are mind blowing! Dark semi-sweet chocolates with a mellow coffee seem to be the main players in this stout,but not without mentioning the slight woody notes and an alcohol that can't be beat. A subtle vanilla and soy can be detected as well. Not bad by any means!

Taste: The flavors are, of course, much like the nose. Bitter cocoa, a touch of vanilla, subtle coffee grounds, and just hint of woodiness. All of these flavors I mentioned,hit you for a split second in the front but then seems to die out fast, and becomes replaced with an almost stinging alcohol. Mmm..a very delicious brew indeed.

Mouthfeel: Slick and oily, thick body with a high amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a fine offering. Too bad it is retired, hopefully I will be lucky enough to trade for another one some day. I would suggest you search this one out.


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Photo of jimdkc
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a 500 ml swing-top bottle of this on my recent California trip. Thanks to Craig at San Francisco's City Beer Store for the suggestion!

Pours dark brown, nearly black, with a large spongy brown head. Head dissipates pretty fast and the beer leaves a bit of patchy lace on the glass.

Aroma is surprisingly mild. A little coffee, with some alcohol apparent.

Slightly sweet tasting with roasty malt flavor, some coffee notes, with maybe a touch of licorice and molasses. Some earthy hop bitterness on the back end, and alcohol warmth on the swallow.

Moderate body and carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel. Drinks easily for a high ABV beer.

I'd buy this again, but sadly, it appears to have been discontinued!

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Photo of UnionMade
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A gift from Mikeys01, on one of his many CA journeys. I'm definitely gonna miss you and the generous amounts of beer you bring back on your business trips! But, I know Denver is the place for you. Cheers, man!
The 500ml swingtop opens with a satisfying little pop, the beer pouring very, very dark chocolate brown. Cool, because the swing cap actually appears to be ceramic, rather than molded plastic. Not too common these days, even amongst the german imports. A generous sandy colored head on the pour, settling into an even, creamy coating. Sticky lacing. Smells of heady, well roasted coffee beans and ripe red apple initially, the aroma developing into a more alcohol fueled, modestly hopped, fruit driven brew. Notes of soft, translucent plum flesh. The flavor starts out surprisingly mild, drinking like a slightly stronger than average stout, rather than anything imperial. Roasty malts on the sweeter end overall, lacking much, if any intense charry bitterness in the finish I expect with these bad-boys. Much more toffee-like, actually very much so. Some smoky phenols, with a strong fresh fruit presence. Big plum flavor, mixed with sweet red grape. Fullish body, with brash carbonation that moves the flavor along perhaps a bit too quickly. A bit empty overall, particularly in the finish. With an hour's worth of breathing, the last half is about 100x better. Bigger, sweeter toffee and much improved carbonation, down to softer, more drinkable levels. This is not a flavor bomb as is par for american big beers, but it's well crafted and tasty enough. Pop the swingtop and let it sit for an hour, and it's pretty golden.

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Photo of watermelonman
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This arrived as a near solid black with a minor head. The head is lasting but it isn't leaving any lace.

The smell is strong and full of flavor. Chocolate comes through on top of a solid malt base. The taste has a strong amount of hops lingering all the way through. Alcohol is barely detected in the finish. The mouthfeel is fairly full while drinkability is good.

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Photo of rayjay
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the new City Beer bottle shop in S.F., also at the Toronado poured in a goblet.

MMM! Really yummie, lots of sweet milk chocolate, with a very velvet-like mouthfeel. Roasted malts galore, very sweet with no acidity. Lightly hopped. Smooth as silk. Very similar to the bottled version. Smooth like a Guinness but add a few shots of Hersheys Syrup. Mmmmm

The Toronado poured it just a bit cold, making it a little too easy to gulp down. It would be stellar cask-conditioned.

I love this beer. It's a unique take on the style, so if all you've had are hop monsters this one will be a change of pace. Sweet and refreshing, Cheers!

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Photo of DirtyGoat
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Upon pouring this fine brew I could smell the coffee. Juan Valdez eat your heart out. I surely hope this keeps to it's promise and keeps the scurvy away. As I poured the brew into my glass it's head was rather large. The color was almost black. It was a very thick brew. Exactly what I was looking for in a RIS. The bottle was also very nice.

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Photo of scottoale
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes in a classy 500ml. brown bottle with ceramic swing-top and a catchy little phrase on the label: "A Pint A Day Keeps Scurvy Away". It pours a nearly black, deep mahogany brown with a two-finger plus, bubbly cocoa-brown head with some sticky lace.

Sweet dark malty nose of coffee, chocolate, dark ripe fruit and alcohol, pretty straight forward for this style.

Initially sweet dark roasty malt, strong black coffee, chocolate, prunes, toffee and molassas, with a nice bitter bite from the Chinook hops in the finish. Very smooth and tasty with the alcohol very well covered...but it's there.

Good body, kinda thick but not chewy, a good solid RIS that is definitely recommendable. Easy drinker and most enjoyable...cheers!

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Photo of weeare138
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to egajdzis for this...
Appears black with a small foamy tan head & lovely scattered lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of creamy black patent with some roasty malts jumping out.
Taste is of milky sugar with roasty raisinettes standing out in the mix.
Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, roasty, full bodied, semi-sweet, with some hints of bitter cocoa along the palate.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

dark as sin with a nice, creamy brown head. lacing is thorough and complete.. lots of cascading sludge left behind as i drink this little ditty thanks to irishsnake. probably the most cocoa-y smelling imperial stout i've ever had, accented by a slight toffee creaminess and glazed carrot hint. mouthfeel is great- creamy with airy carbonation, mixing in with a hoppy sting and palatable overall. flavor resembles a creamed coffee bomb.. very bitter with ground beans and burnt malt husks.. hops are all around this beer though, and add little more than a nice botanical freshness to an already-aged beer.

very easy to drink and the perfect abv for a RIS. perfect age too.. this is a beer to savour yet goes down like silk milkshakes. thanks for this brew, john, its friggin awesome.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I had this beer last night, and boy was it delicious. Has a typical stout look, dark and velvety head, but that head fades too quick, very quick. Can tell that its higher alcohol right away from smell, but not so out of balance, and combine that with roasty toasty malts and you have a pretty good aroma, along with good ole caramel and chocolate undertones. Definitely a lot of roasted malts in here, the most notable undertone being coffee, with chocolate in there and I have to really try to pick up the hops. The alcohol presense is there, but not as overwhelming as I thought it'd be. This is definitely a good beer, and thought there are definitely better, I'd have this one any day. Too bad its retired. Thanks to BevMo for the opportunity.

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Photo of poluti
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 ounce bottle.
I tried this beer at the brewery but didn't rate it because of the bbq and fun in the air (not a good time for one of my sessions). So I picked up a flip-top at BevMo and gave it a shot.

It's a dark brown almost black in appearance. Carbonation bubbles ran up the side into the tan frothy head. Fantastic head retension. This beer looked gorgeous but not perfect (too much head).
Alcohol was evident in the waft, however, that is typical for many beers of this style. There was not much of a hoppy aroma to balance out the dark roasted and chocolate malts that are very prevalent. As I stuck my nose into the glass, I noted that not much had changed from the waft. I would have to say after looking at the beer, the scent was a little bit dissapointing.
Roasted and Chocolate malts REALLY come out in this beer. I enjoyed them but I really wished they had more hops than the bittering Chinook to counteract them. It is fairly well balanced, but considering many beers I have had for this style, I would consider it a little above average.
This beers coats the tongue very well. Carbonation is very prevalent throughout the tasting process. I love the thickness and how the entire flavor stays in the mouth several minutes after the last sip.
This beer is very drinkable. As previously stated, I wish it had more and different kinds of hops to give it more of an Imperial Stout feel. However, I know several people that would enjoy this beer as opposed to the Imperial Stouts I would typically brew and purchase.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler bought from HH on 1/28/06 for $12.99. Review primarily from growler, but my fiancee had it on tap that day; this review includes notes from that tasting as well.

A very pretty dark brown; a good sized frothy tan head from the tap, fairly non-carbonated from the growler. Loses its carbonation easily.

Aroma is rich, sweet, heavy vanilla and chocolate, with roasted malts galore. Flavor follows through with roasty, almost burnt notes and a light espresso quality. More sweet and creamy than dry. Very rich mouthfeel, very drinkable. Alcohol is nicely hidden. I'm not a huge stout fan, but this is a very good one!

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

An interesting stout in a cool 16.9 oz. bottle.

Leaves the bottle in a syrupy rush. Roastiness is immediately apparent, along with a candybar chocolate and caramel sweetness. Hints of coffee in there, too. Tastes of chocolate, with a quick bitterness mellowing into a rich malted sweetness. Very drinkable, if you can find it. From the Sacramento BevMo.

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Photo of donnebaby
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks are fairly unimpressive. As black as one could imagine with a collar of tan cream. Nose is big and winey, like a dry cabernet, Vanilla cream and coffee soda lightly sweet background.

Taste is pretty wild. Big balsamic vinegar taste reminiscent of the Duchesse, salty and addicting. Sour lemon and fruity red wine. Perfect touch of hops placed in the after, which fades crisply.

On the light side, as far as body goes, which fits well with the sharp sourness and astringency of the brew. Drinkable, certainly, especially as the high ABV goes, and with the vinegar even more.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my secret bunny goodies! I am sampling the beer at room temperature in a pint glass.
The beer pours motor oil dark and no light passes through the glass when held to the light. A tan frothy head foams up about 2cm and fades quickly to an edge layer. Aroma is failry mild with some chalky chocolate scents mixing with a bit of roasted malt and a small hint of raisiny dark fruit.
First sip reveals a fairly robust body with fine tingly carbonation.
The flavor is very malty with strong roasted profile and some chocolate and even a hint of coffee flavor as well. The label mentions chinook hops to balance the malt but I find no evidence of hops on the nose or flavor.
The beer is very smooth and I only get a hint of the ABV by the warming in my belly, no bitey hot alcohol here in a beer that is 8.75% I think that is pretty well crafted.
Overall a solid Imp Stout.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drake's Imperial Stout delivers the typical appearance that you'd expect, although the head retention could be a little bit better.

The nose is quite nice with clear wafts of caramel and toasty malts that aren't always distinguishable in other examples amidst the heavier roasted and chocolatey notes; and it has a really pleasurable coffee-bean aroma that's somewhat soothing. Piney hops skirt to and fro; they're a non-traditional choice, but they seem to work here. Some alcohol is present, but it's kept in check; and a breath of berry-like yeasty fruitiness rounds it out nicely.

In the mouth, an initial, delicate zest gives way to creamy and smooth maltiness - awakening the tastebuds and then luxuriating the tongue.

Caramel again returns in the flavor; heavily flanked by a hulking roastiness, rich dark-toffee and chocolate, a brash bitterness, and piney hop flavor. It starts soft, sweetish, and intriguing; and then seems to veer off-course, finishing quite dry with a lingering bitterness, pine-resin-like hop flavors, an odd-acidic note (there doesn't seem to be a pH issue in the initial flavor?), and a wash of alcohol that's a tad intrusive.

It's good but there are better choices available.

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Photo of Troyone
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured thick and black with a caramel color three inch head that dissipated to a thin layer within minutes. Must have had some bottle conditioning since yeast can be found at the bottom of the bottle.
Roasted light caramel and mild coffee aroma with the smell of pine hops.
Sweet acidic cookie roasted nutty molasses, caramel, and coffee taste with hints of pine grapefruit hops and doughy yeast; also a background mix of banana, brown sugar, vanilla, and cola.
A full body mouthfeel with a syrupy texture and soft carbonation. This has an average finish and feel.
Drinkability is great for this style, definitely not any type of session beer.

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Photo of alexgash
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool bottle. Espresso-black body with a big, thick, creamy, muddy-brown head. Light barely penetrates the burley brown edges. Nose consists of rich, sugary milk chocolate and bitter dark chocolate. A sharp, roasted coffee bitterness pervades. Dry, bitter dark chocolate up front. Quickly moves to velvety smooth, rummy fruits (plums, raisins), but with a tart edge. Roasted barley is there too. Bitterness rises and swells into the finish. A very hoppy imperial stout, exemplified by the long, bitter, dry finish. Traces of roasted fruit and alcohol are there too. Maybe a bit hoppy, but still good.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Funky and rather attractive Half Litre (500 ml, 16.9 fl.oz.) brown glass bottle that has a short, wide & squat body with a tall neck complete with a familiar but nevertheless distinctive white ceramic swing top arrangement. Main label is as per the BA Avatar; a large Sailing Ship with sails fully released has the words “A Pint a Day Keeps Scurvy Away”. Some information on the left hand side of the includes ‘Original Gravity of 21.5°P by a Malt Bill of 91% Malted Barley, 4% Crystal Malt, 3% Roasted Barley and 2% Chocolate Malt. Chinook Hops were added to balance the Beer…weighs in at a robust 8.75% Alc. by Vol.”
No freshness Date but the Bottle really does look very cool I have to say.

Appearance: Thick black oily resinous pour that positively oozes into the Stone Imperial Russian Stout Glass I had ready. Tan colored head rose quickly but soon dissipated to a thin covering, that eventually broke to reveal only a thick bubbles halo ring. Minimal carbonation.

Nose: The nose takes some work, though it does improve with some heat input. Chocolate malts dominate with some toasted coffee and a very light hop character. As it warms the roast coffee improves the nose and allows the hops and alcohol to come through to the front more.

Taste: Very bitter start, the Chinook hops immediately make their presence known though they tussle with a strong roast coffee and dark chocolate middle. The back is tart and somewhat alcohol laden with a sour twist in the swallow. Sharp tastes that need to be rounded off, for they are a little prickly and harsh at present.

Mouthfeel: Big. Lots of Malt and Alcohol ensures that this Imperial Stout gives you something to chew on, even after the swallow. Bitter malty finish and lingering harsh hop infused alcohol on the tongue long after the beer is gone.

Drinkability: Nice roasted start, but this is a little bit harsh at the moment in the middle and a tad raw in the back end. Nice enough last of the night beer and it finished me good, so much so I forgot to post this Review at the time I did it!! Needs a little more time to improve the Drinkability I feel.

Overall: I suspect I drank this one a bit fresh and that the harsh hop character and alcohol will start to smooth out and round off into a more palatable brew given as little as another 6 months. Worth buying and keeping one to experiment with in the Cellar I think. Age will certainly mature and improve this for sure.

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Drake's Drakonic Imperial Stout from Drake's Brewing Co.
3.97 out of 5 based on 494 ratings.
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