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Berserker Imperial Stout | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vicious and viscous, this menacing brew pours opaque black with a creamy maduro-colored head. Its aroma offers seductive whiskey, chewy red wine, dark fruit and lavish tobacco. Berserker Imperial Stout invades your taste buds with in-your-face flavor. Weighing in at almost 13% alcohol by volume, Berserker is completely out-of-control. Give it a good fight. Berserker Imperial Stout was aged in both red wine and whiskey barrels.

Original release of Berserker was at 10.4%, subsequent vintages have gone upwards of 12.7%. When reviewing, please list beer vintage and that vintage's specific ABV.

30 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2005

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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 1,152
Photo of zeledonia
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to cavedave for the fantastic BIF beer. 2012 vintage, 12.7% ABV. Tasted 24 October 2014.

Pours black and thick, with a one-finger mocha brown head. Good retention and lacing. Stellar.

Smell is outstanding. Rich and sweet, but so many variations on those two themes that I keep coming back to sniff and sniff and sniff. I get molasses in one sniff, sweet bourbon in another, and deep dark malts in a third. Wow.

Taste is top-notch as well. So much going on in here. The main downside is a sharpness, a combination of the alcohol bite and the char of the dark roast. But overall, it's delicious, with incredible depth provided by the various sugars and the barrel. Tons of flavor, almost perfectly integrated - just a bit sharp on the edges, probably due mostly to the ABV.

Feel is perfect. Thick and rich, as any top-tier imperial stout should be. What sets it apart is the waves of carbonation. Starts out buzzing, tickling my tongue. Then drops down so that I can savor all the sweetness. In the finish, it fluffs up, lots of tiny bubbles helping the last bits (no, blasts) of flavor dance.

This is one of the best beers I've had in a long time. Not many barrel-aged stouts can match the depth, balance, and pure deliciousness of this.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

demadows went to the cellar for this one. 2008 bottling. Thanks for the share.

A: Super dark. Jet black. Very nice rich and deepcoffee colored head.

S: Oak and vanilla. A little bit of coconut. Chocolate. Roast. Little bit of oak. A touch of boooze in the back. An insanely complex nose.

T: The taste was just like the nose. That little bit of coconut I got just put this one over the top for me. This had everything you want in a Russian Imperial Stout. Very smooth.

M: Full bodied and well carbonated.

D: An amazing beer. World class. I really enjoyed this beer a ton. Highly recommended. Thanks again to dmeadows.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2008 Berserker. I think this came from Beerzebub. He is the man, regardless.

A - It pours black as a crow with ruby edges and is capped with a persistent film of dark khaki froth.

S - The nose is just so luxurious and decadent. Cinnamon ice cream, streusel topping, dark fruit, dates and figs, vanilla, cardamom, caramelized sugar, fudge, pipe tobacco and oatmeal are all noted. Delicious.

T - This beer tastes fantastic. Maple, molasses and barrel notes are heavily integrated, also something like chocolate-covered prunes. Some oxidation is noted; it is well-integrated though. Oak is present in appreciable quantities, however, it is subtly applied. There is a lot of dark-fruity character. As it airs out, some herbal hops come out and there is an increased sweetness on the finish. Hugely complex and very delicious.

M - The feel is a bit lighter than I expected, but it makes up for it with a silky texture and soft micro-bubbles.

O - Great stuff. Breaking news: Midnight Sun makes great beer.

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Photo of jminsc76
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of alexd3191.

Pours a brownish head atop a black impenetrable body. Not much head, considering its level of ABV; looks a lot like oil.

Dude, smells like a smore. Seriously, smells like I am roasting a smore by the fireplace. And that is good. Aromas are intense; love them.

Flavors range with so much good stuff. Plenty of chocolate, tobacco, MOLASSES, graham cracker, marshmallows, and some good smooth coffee notes. As I breath it in, exhibits a little booze, but quite minuscule. Pretty much flawless.

Mouthfeel is soft and viscous, with a marshmallow consistency caressing the palate so lovely. It's hearty, and yet so silky smooth. Wow.

Overall, this is a masterpiece of an RIS. Everything checks out, with a bit of innovation on the flavor profile. Yep, I would drink this repeatedly. With smores if I had them. :-)

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From tasting notes

A Pours a black color topped off with a decent brown head.

S Lots going on with molasses, some wood, and chocolate. Pretty sweet smelling.

T Follows the nose with molasses and chocolate,followed by some wine like fruit and some tobacco.

M Very smooth.

Overall this is an amazing stout that is one of my all time favorites.

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Photo of jdense
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber 2001 (!) vintage supplied by the awesome Shawn Kelso at inaugural DONG (Dudes of Northwest Grog) tasting in The Big, 5.21.11, multiple samples-didn't want to hog this, but what a treat!

Brown head small bubbles, slow dissipation with above average lacing over dark brown/almost jet black body, no visible carbonation, one big dark brew. A truly phenomenal and complex smelling brew, vanilla, some chocolate and coffee, dark stone fruit (figs and prunes), alcohol smell has certainly mellowed as have the hops. The taste is complex and sublime, as it warmed the beer changed character like a chameleon, a bit of cocoa nibs upfront, vanilla goodness in the middle, leading to a finish that kept changing as it warmed, truly a beer to contemplate the meaning of life and beer over. Slick and coating mouthfeel, not a lot of effervescence, no oxidation to speak of. I had a a younger vintage at my first HOTD dock sale several years ago (thanks, Akfaust), but this beer was a true tour de force, one of the best beers I've ever had. If you have the patience to cellar for this long, you will be rewarded. An amazing experience.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours viscous black with almost no head. Leaves milky coffee colored lacing.

S-Molasses, caramel, toffee, fresh ground black pepper, dulche de leche.

T/M- WOW. Smooth, gorgeous, complex. Dulche de leche, molasses, cold coffee, vanilla bean, oak. Luxurious and impressive.Full bodied with low carbonation and a rich, lush mouthfeel.

D-An exceptional imperial stout. Highly reccomended.

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Photo of hopdog
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle acquired in trade with puzzl (thanks!!!). 2007 vintage.

Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized light brown head. Aromas of roast, vanilla, chocolate, oak, light coffee, and dark fruits. Tastes of roast, vanilla, wood, dark fruits, and chocolate. Creamy and smooth body. Alcohol content well hidden. Nice.

Notes from and tasted on 7/4/07

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Photo of ihazabucket7
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. oured super dark with a nice finger of head. You get that bourbon fire with that first sniff, rich chocolate as well. Taste is outta this world. Bourbon, wine, raisin, chocolate, tons of flavor.

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Photo of DucksFan16
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle.

Pours extremely dense and viscous, absolutely no light coming through this one, with a dark brown head. The taste is extremely complex, very chewy, malty, and syrupy. Hints of vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, cocoa. Midnight sun usually produces great imperial stouts, and this one is one of the best that I've tried anywhere. I eagerly await it's release every year!

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Photo of youradhere
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

9/08/2012 '12 vintage
Pours thick motor oil, dank brown head that is demure and falls to leave a lingering cap. Smell is cocoa, berries, espresso, merlot. Taste is similar- sweet and dark chocolate, merlot red wine grapes, espresso in the back. Carbonation is medium and the mouthfeel is silky smooth, medium-heavy. A total improvemt from last year and the year before. Bravo MS, bravo.

3/20/2011. '11 vintage
Pours black, tan whisp of a head. Smells of chocolate and coffee. Taste is charred malt, coffee and chocolate, kind of like ST Choklat or a deviant Abyss with charcoal. I pick up licorice and dates, dark breads. Mouthfeel is thick, carbonation is heavy to high. Drink ability suffers from the thickness and char combo, but it is satisfying!

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Photo of tpd975
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge Thanks to Gillard for bringing completing a trade to bring this one from the great white north.

A: Pours a very dark black hue with a small creamy head. Very oily, it coats the glass with each swirl. The retention is low, but it does manage some spotty lace.

S: Bold chocolate aromas waft from the glass. Hints of creamy milk, vanilla, and coffee.

T: MMM good. Bold chocolate upfront, with a nice sugary sweetness, almost browine like. Roasted malt are there as well along with a dash of creamy butter milk. Light oak makes an appearence with a bit of earthiness.

M: Full bodied, rich, smooth, and creamy. What a wonderful brew.

D: If I had the chance I would put a bomber down all by myself, but this one is hard to come by, and is to be shared which I am indebted to Ryan for doing.

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Photo of sittinggc
4.68/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

2015 12.7% poured into pint glass.

Look: Jet black. Pours like motor oil. Beautiful!
Smell: On the nose, lots of dark fruit. Backed by notes of maple.
Taste: Like the aroma, get lots of dark fruit. Also nice tobacco roastiness. Maple lingers in the aftertaste. All the flavors are balanced so well. Really damn tasty.
Feel: Very smooth. Get some bourbon booziness.
Overall: An exceptional Imperial Stout. One of the best balanced beers I have ever had. If you are looking for a sweet as hell maple beer or boozy bourbon bomb then this is not the beer for you. However, if you are looking for a really well balanced RIS with amazing nuances then this the perfect beer. Cheers!

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.68/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Frank is the man!

A- Well I would say this pours like crude oil from the AK pipeline. I had some Borris the Crusher and thought it was thick. Wow the head on this is like a clogged drain. I would say this almost looks like a super thick chocolate syrup. And talk about dark, the head is super dark brown as well. Amazing!

S- Chocolate, vanilla, anise, roasted malts and everything that is dark and tasty is having a great time in this winner from Midnight Sun. This smells like a thick chocolate pudding made over the stove. Very great smelling.

T- This is very light tasting for a thick looking beer. This has a nice woody taste mixed in with some great roasted smoky malt taste. Despite being aged in Whiskey casks there isn't a strong whiskey taste. According to Frank he said this is also aged in Cabernet barrels which is a more prevalent taste. This is a very nice and complex RIS. The aging and blending process adds very unique levels to this beer.

M- The beer is thick, but not as thick as I would have thought. It is very tasty in the mouth.

D- Oh yeah, I wish this was sold in Washington as well. I bet if Midnight Sun sold more of their beers outside of Alaska they would be very popular, this one being a top seller, after all they are brewing more as I type this.

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Photo of ipafool
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nice and dark with a two finger creamy head. Nice lacing as well. Smells of oak, redwine, bourbon, espresso and roasty malt. Taste is nice and roasty no touch of the 12% found at all. Bourbon comes thru on the finish. Mouthfell is great in this beer the carbonation is spot on for the style and nice and thick. Overall this is one of my favorite stouts. I think it could head to head with the Abyss anyday of the week.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured into tulip. from notes

I have been waiting to get this for a long time and was finally able to land one. Thought this would be suiting for my 100th.

This pitch black beer pours with a medium, tan to straight brown head, lacing was minimal. The nose is mostly molasses with some dark fruits. Taste is incredible, molasses, maple, vanilla, oak. If taste could represent inanimate objects, this would be a log cabin. Mouthfeel is very heavy, creamy and balanced. This is a sipper but a sipper I would love to drink everyday. Amazing beer from an amazing brewery.

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Photo of RodneyX
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is an imposing looking black beer that had a brown head that left nothing behind. Head rose up about 1/4 inch and looked good while it was there. Smell was some awesome roasted malts with great barrel flavors like bourbon, oak, and vanilla. There's even some great sweet fruit taste at the end. It's thick and viscous and there isn't really any alcohol detectable here. Really like this one and got through the bottle pretty easily.

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Photo of laminam
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

The maple syrup is strong. You can smell it with every sip, and taste it with every swallow. It's a glorious melding of flavors, with bourbon taking a back seat.

After trying this beer I went out and immediately bought 4 more, I can see it aging very well over the next few years. Do yourself a favor and pick some up, or trade for some.

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Photo of Mickeyp2814
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great stout (and if you can get it on nitro even better) from Midnight Sun. Full body with a silky feel. This his a dark pouring stout that has a pillow head. The smell of chocolate is slight. The taste is chocolate, maple syrup and bourbon with slight smoke and a roasted nutty feel. A very strong stout at 12.7 it is s defiantly a share if drinking from the big bottle. Best had from the tap at Midnight Sun!

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Photo of unclekeith
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fall 2015 batch in a Teku

A: Pick black with a 2 finger chocolate head, not much lacing
S: Molasses, tobacco, leather booze - let's go!
T: Dark fruit, roasted malt, nice sweetness
M: Full bodied, viscous, a sipper, a bit hot as expected
O: I have Berserker about once a month - one of my favorites. Since MS has gone to 2 batches/year this beer is available year round in AK. There is some batch to batch variation but Fall 2015 stands tall with the best of them. I prefer this beer fresh - aggressive and hot! Worth seeking out - highly recommended but it can be a coin flip if a particular batch will improve or worsen with age.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage poured into a snifter

A- pours motor oil thick with one of the darkest brown heads that I've seen on a stout, that eventually reduces to a ring around the edge of the glass

S- dark charred malt gives notes of dark chocolate up front, immediately followed by a barrel character that gives aromas of vinous red wine, dark berries, currants, black licorice, whiskey barrel & toasted oak. Sweet aromas of maple syrup, molasses, toffee & melted caramel close it out

T- deep dark chocolate, tobacco and light smoky charred malt up front, turns to notes of red wine, currants & black cherries, quickly followed by a mellowed out bourbon presence that gives flavors of caramel, vanilla & charred oak. The sweetness of the maple kicks in near the finish, giving notes of toffee & molasses. The linger provides more chocolate and intermingling barrel flavors

M- medium-heavy body with medium-low carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that turns chewy into a velvety finish

O- this is a bottle that I forgot I had, but it has aged fantastically. The wine & bourbon barrels have blended into one and there's just enough heat left, very well done

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage split with Chris for lunch on day 3 of our epic tasting. Many, many thanks to alaskajoe for the hookup

A: Jet black with a stellar dark brown head with great retention. This is so black that even the highlights are black!

S: Pretty incredible with an exceptional balance. Dark chocolate up front with a great hint of bourbon. Great roasty character with a mild oaky and woody aroma. Creamy and exquisitely balanced with some molasses as it warms up

T: Outstanding balance. Opens up with roasted malt, chocolate, cream and a hint of coffee before a mild bourbon oak note comes through with a pleasant vanilla sweetness. Excellent balance between the sweetness and the roasty bitterness. Finishes with dark chocolate bitterness

M: Exceptional. Great body, neither too think nor too syrupy, excellent balance between flavors, perfect carbonation that's soft. Excellent finish

D: For a 12.7% ABV beer at 3PM, this is pretty stellar

**28 March 2010. This is the 2009 vintage, thanks a bunch for sharing this, Kyle.

The nose is outstanding. Molasses, licorice, wet tobacco, leather, a little caramel. A light wine and a little bourbon., a touch of alcohol. These flavors are replicated on the palate, with the licorice not as prominent. Great roast character without any grainy bitterness or burnt malt. Dark chocolate on the finish, this beer is excellent

**07 Dec 2012**
2012 release from the Belmont Station.

The nose is a fantastic blend of dusty unsweetened cocoa, roasted malt, molasses, dark chocolate syrup, fudge, fruity yeast, moderate bourbon with vanilla being most prominent, this is decadent. The palate is a blend of vinous and bourbony chocolate fudge, with the roast , toasted dark wheat bread, and a little bit of fruit. The molasses lends a complex sweetness to the palate, and there are undertones of licorice bitterness as well. Medium-full in body and with low carbonation, this is thick on the palate and very enjoyable.

**21 Sept 2013**
2009 release, 12.7%ABV that I received from Kyle. Thanks, man.

This has aged gloriously. Rich fudge, chocolate, moderate vinous character, molasses, brown sugar. Fruitier than fresh bottles, and with less of a bready note. Delectable, this batch is at its peak IMO. 4.5/4.5/5

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle is notched that it was made in August "1". Which I think is 2009. The ABV is noted on the label as 12.7%. Thanks to the folks at 99 Bottles in Federal Way, WA. Great store and a must visit for me on all trips to the Northwest.

Wow, pours thick and luscious. A creamy tan head forms and shows some decent retention. No light getting through this black oil like colored beer. Actually more deep brown.

Aroma is heavy and of molasses, dates and dried figs.

What a great flavor. Dark chocolate with a lot of complexity just below the surface. Molasses again, vanilla with a hint of licorice. Not sure I'd call out Maple if I didn't know it was added here.
As it warms, there is a greater sense of the Oak Barrel aging. Aftertaste is like a chocolate milk shake. You would never guess this is at 12.7% abv

Nice and thick mouth feel with a very thick body. Velvet like. Almost milk shake like.

A wonderful beer to sit and enjoy. I'll have to source another bottle this fall. Excellent beer!!

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Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Awesome little gem I brought back from Seattle last October.

This is the 2013 Vintage, I believe. I can not find a date code on the bottle… it's 12.7% ABV, which I believe is the 2013 release. The description in the main page says it's aged in red wine and whiskey barrels, but this bottle clearly stated "oak bourbon barrels." That said, the barrel is very subtle in this beer, compared to the typical ones I have had of late. The molasses and maple syrup are also well balanced in this stout. This beer is very roasty, and has strong dark flavors of coffee, bitter chocolate, and raisin.

The bourbon is coming more forward as the beer approaches room temp, but I started the bottle at 49°F.

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Photo of Matonika
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12.7% Look: blackish burgundy. Beautiful dark copper red brown head. Smell: dark grade b maple syrup mineral smell. Rich sweet bourbon smell. Light vanilla a touch spice. Also some molasses but not much. Taste: Complex. Bitter chocolate , dark stone fruit, a touch of acrid flavor like burnt coffee most likely from the molasses. Not overly sweet. But there is a perceived sweetness. Feel: small bubbles good carbonation,full bodied, Creamy. Overall: this is top 5 imperial stout I have had. Big flavor, we'll done it showcases all the aspects of it's ingredients. It grows with each degree it wa.rms up. So good I bet it will age amazing to.

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.32 out of 5 based on 1,152 ratings.
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