Berserker Imperial Stout | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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1,180 Ratings
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Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,180
Reviews:
296
Avg:
4.31
pDev:
8.58%
 
 
Wants:
816
Gots:
306
For Trade:
36
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,180 |  Reviews: 296
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of jaydoc
4.44/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MaxStout for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.

Pours an opaque, thick black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, raisins/dark fruit, cocoa, wood, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some great aromas and flavors.

 617 characters

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

this is an amazing beer, and one i have been seeking out for a long time, stoked to finally get into it! i loved it, but i was expecting it to be a little heavier on the maple, but its amazing. very strong but not overly thick or syrupy in texture. i think it has a lot of nuance and layers, smoke, tobacco, maple, coffee, heavy roast and char, no barrel required. its not quit black in color, and holds its rich lathery tan head pretty well, and we drink this one rather slowly, allowing it to warm up and evolve. strong chocolate notes, molasses, raisin, even cherry for a moment in the middle. i wanted a little more maple, but this is way more complex with maple as one component rather than a dominating element. the roast on the barley is strong, and its cool with the sweet maple, also very earthy with a hint of smoke near the finish, drives a little bitterness into it. not super rich in feel for what it is, not overly heavy, this seems a little less intimidating than i thought it would be, sort of smooth and gentle going down with its alcohol really well hidden. really a beer of incredible depth, pipe tobacco arising in the finish, long and mellow, deep wintery beer, makes sense it comes from alaska, it has that kind of vibe to it. impressive quality, i could always go for more maple, but they have obviously done an amazing job with this, more complex than most of these huge stouts, even without the barrel!

 1,427 characters

Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of metter98
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is absolutely jet black in color. It poured with a thin ring of reddish mocha bubbles around the edge of the glass that quickly died down, leaving only a faint collar.
S: Strong aromas of dark malts and bourbon are present in the nose, along with some hints of molasses.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, but a little more complex with additional flavors of dark malts and chocolate.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and viscous on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. A little warming from the alcohol is noticeable in the finish.
O: The flavors of this beer are well integrated and balanced, particularly the bourbon, which does not overpower the beer and overshadow the other flavors.

 726 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Recently making it a priority to try more Midnight Sun beers has certainly paid off with this serious Stout. If sweet, roasty, and fruity are what you're after-- search over.

Berserker begins with a silky and viscous pour, not un-like motor oil. About as dark brown as it can get without becomming black. Completely opaque. The deep tan head is short-lived, probably because of the heavy sugars and alcohols inhibit such structure. Ink-stained legging clings to the glass while forgoing any lacing. The beer falls still half-way through the glass.

The typical aromas of espresso, heavy charred grains, and deep syrups attack the olfactories. What is surprising is the complex fruitiness of red wines, plumbs, and currants. These fruity aromas give this Russian Imperial Stout a healthy dose of English Olde Ales and red wine barrels.

Flavors once again favor the roast with the bold coffee, cocoa, and acrid charred grains. Heavy sweetness of molassas, maple syrups, and malt sugars make a dramatic impact on taste but surprisingly carry away in a well-attenuated fashion in the end. Deep flavors of ripe stone fruits (grapes, plubs, berries, and currants) give an unexpected variety to the stout, but is well received- keeping the beer from suffering a one-dimentional dullness. Bourbon and rum alcohols come to mind as the sweetness and roast fall, taking the beer into a bitter and alcoholic finish.

Very rich, full, and robust up front- this is one big beer! But the low carbonation helps the beer to go from full and chewy to fleeting and drinkable in the end. Perhaps a bit astringent and vinous in the finish but the complexity and roast character is more than enough to compensate for barrel-aged tannins.

Berserker is a wonderful beer for the finale of any session. It's balance of sweet, roast, fruit, and more sweet reminds me a lot of New Holland's Night Tripper. Many thanks go out to BrewsB4Shrews for sharing this beer!

 1,939 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Currently #5 on the Alaska Top 100 list.

BOTTLE: 2016 vintage. $19.99 at an overpriced beer store in Brooklyn, NY. 22 fl oz.

"Imperial stout." "ale brewed with maple syrup & molasses and aged in oak bourbon barrels." 12.70% ABV. 30 IBUs.

Served straight from the fridge into a nonic and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: Pours a gorgeous silky tan colour head with a beautiful shiny complexion. It doesn't quite attain that gilded tan colour that the tippy top very best imperial stouts boast, but it comes close. Appears lusciously soft and creamy, leaving thick lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes. Thick and robust, holding up for a good 10+ minutes, defying the 12.70% ABV. Remarkably well-executed, though far from perfection. ~6-7cm high.

BODY: Opaque black. True to form for the style, with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment. Not hazy or cloudy.

Overall, it's a good looking imperial stout. I'm quite eager to try it.

AROMA: Subtle maple collides with a robust dark malt backbone. Subtle notes surface of chocolate malt, charred oak (especially on the back end), black strap molasses sweetness, wisps of dark fruit (mainly plum, date, and raisin) with subsidiary hints of port wine, tobacco, and reticent bourbon. Though the subtle oak presence is wonderful, balancing out the aromatic sweetness with some cutting char/burnt character, the bourbon presence isn't great; I'm craving those notes of toasted coconut and subtle vanilla than are generally present in the best bourbon barrel aged expressions of the style.

Nevertheless, this robust aroma promises a thick chewy imperial stout with plenty of complexity and nuance, even if the maple syrup and bourbon notes aren't as vivid or evocative as the label seems to want to make us believe they'd be.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Not at all what the aroma suggested. Off-puttingly coating, with an almost slightly chalky presence on the palate that elevates artificial vanillin in the second half of the beer at the expense of all the other notes. Not the chewy treacly treat of a mouthfeel I hoped for; it thins out towards the finish, giving it a somewhat weak but definitely uneven presence on the palate. Full-bodied up front but medium bodied on the finish. Carbonation is good, and it's aptly smooth and wet, but it's just a mess texture-wise. Not boozy or warm, but that'd be fine (and maybe even preferable) if it had the consistent body and chewiness it should have.

Like the texture, the taste is structurally imbalanced, with most of the flavour shoved in towards the open. Flavours taper as the beer moves through the second act towards the finish, arriving eventually at that one flat note of bourbon barrel-derived vanillin - which dominates the beer into the aftertaste. Up front, it's decent - some hints of molasses and a blip of barrel char alongside the dark malt & chocolate malt sweetness you'd expect. Maple syrup is sadly wasted on this brew, with no real presence ever emerging. I wanted a molten gooey feel on the palate; this hardly delivered.

The bourbon barrel character isn't dazzling either, and I find myself wondering if the underwhelming vanillin and barrel sugar sweetness they attained from the aging made it worth doing...don't expect any rich white oak, charred wood, or toasted coconut from the barrel. (A better selection of bourbon as well as more time in barrels might help).

None of the tobacco or port wine the aroma promised comes through, unfortunately. A bit of dark fruit does, I suppose - maybe raisin, faint plum, and date? As it warms, I get a whisper of pomegranate (if you'll excuse the pretension implicit in that phrasing).

It's on the sweeter side for an imperial stout, rendering it a sipper. But it doesn't earn that low level of drinkability with intricacy, depth of flavour, or nuance; it's just a heavy brew with too much sweetness.

I hoped for vivid maple syrup (a la Founders' CBS), rich bourbon notes (a la any of the great bourbon barrel stouts out there), and impeccable balance (as found in some of Midnight Sun's beers). None of that was delivered in this brew, which has a taste that disappoints after the treats of its appearance and aroma.

OVERALL: This doesn't make my Top 5 for Alaskan beers, and I've tried less than 50. Apparently, some vintages of this are aged in red wine and whiskey barrels, while others are aged only in bourbon? One can imagine the whiskey/red wine version working better than this (bourbon only) one does. It's not a bad imperial stout by any stretch, but the good isn't good enough to justify a 2nd purchase - especially when I'd sooner get Victory Storm King, North Coast Ole Raspy, or Oscar Blues Ten Fidy - all of which can be had in 6 or 4 packs for less than one bottle of this. Price doesn't affect my rating, though, and it's competent fare in a style that's difficult to excel in. There's a lot to like in Berserker...but nothing to love.

B- (3.40) / WORTHY

 4,986 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of brentk56
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottling

Appearance: Black as midnight with a very modest mocha head that fritters away to a ringlet in short order, while leaving a streak of lacing

Smell: Rich and velvety dark chocolate, dark fruit, tobacco and molasses

Taste: Rich dark chocolate tones, up front, joined by a hint of maple and a vinous fruity character that morphs by adding a touch of bourbon at mid-palate; the alcohol also adds character and there is a tobacco-esque hoppy element, as well; the finish is lengthy and smooth

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; subtle heat in the finish

Overall: A superb beverage that is as good as any RIS I have tasted

Updating the ratings for the 2015 version, courtesy of aslamm75

Appearance: The head is thicker and as dark as treacle; the lacing is thick and splotchy

Smell: Dark chocolate, Bourbon, maple syrup and molasses

Taste: Molasses, dark chocolate and Bourbon forward, with hints of maple syrup and dark fruit in the middle; very sweet and boozy through the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; considerable warmth

Overall: Well, the barrel treatment has changed since the 2009 bottling and I think the maple syrup and molasses are new additions; I am not a big fan of the changes and my scores have dropped a lot and might have dropped further if this was my first encounter with this beer; way too sweet and boozy for my palate

 1,412 characters

Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the November Baltimore Area BA tasting. Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours a very dark brown color with some red at the edges when the light hits it. There is a half finger of tan head that leaves a ring around the pour.

Smell: Sweet and roasty up front. I'm getting some bourbon and maple syrup. The roasted malt also adds some dark chocolate to the mix. Very smooth.

Taste: This is a very smooth imperial stout. I'm getting roasted malt and dark chocolate. The sweetness from the malt also contains some dark fruit and a maple syrup notes. The finish is a but burnt and reminds me of coffee.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and syrupy with tingly carbonation and a finish that is a bit slick.

Overall: I thought this was a very nice combination of flavors. Very smooth and well blended. I liked the maple syrup note.

 873 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet roasted malt notes with some light black chocolate notes. Taste is also dominated by quite a bit of residual sugars with some nice dry roasted malt notes. Notes of coffee and molasses are also very pleasant. Body is full with nice thick oily texture with good carbonation and alcohol is not overly apparent. Nice big IS which retains some good drinkability level.

 490 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber shared by dyan. Thanks!

Appearance: Completely pitch black with a beautiful reverse-cascading chocolate-colored head. Remarkable.

Smell: A melange of whiskey, cacao and oak. Earthy, rich, but almost subtle in aroma. Restrained sweetness.

Taste & mouthfeel: Bittersweet chocolate icecream with whiskey drizzle. Medium-full body, I'd never guess that this is over 12% ABV. Carbonation is firm, crisp, and sweetness is fairly reigned-in for the style - a very soft beer overall. Bitterness likewise is perfectly balanced. Semi-dry in the finish, with a lingering trace of chocolate. Excellent.

 606 characters

Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of mothman
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09 Version

Poured into large tripel karmetiet (sp) glass.

Pours about 1/4 finger of burnt orange/red tan head. Color is oil black. Very nice looking beer. Very great head retention.

Aroma: Damn, this is smelling fine. Grapes, chocolate, raspberries, cherries, roasted malts, caramel, vanilla, toffee, oak. Just awesome.

Taste: Wow, the -bal aging has done wonders here. Chocolate, roasted malts, grapes, cherries, coffee, vanilla, and oak. Everything goes together so well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and rich. Full bodied. Nice and chewy. A fine amount of carbonation. Ends with a roasted malt feel that brings out a touch of heat.

Overall, a sipper, but a fine sipper at that. This beer is simply amazing. Different with the barrels that were used, but I couldn't get enough of this. I highly recommend this one.

 821 characters

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.31 out of 5 based on 1,180 ratings.
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