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Berserker Imperial Stout | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.33/5
Outstanding
1,192 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#449
Reviews:
299
Ratings:
1,192
pDev:
8.55%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
808
Gots:
306
Trade:
35
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,192 |  Reviews: 299
Photo of Bobbo907
1/5  rDev -76.9%

Photo of Desp59
2/5  rDev -53.8%

Photo of Hophead717
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%

Photo of kscaldef
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%

Photo of Crosling
2.72/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Cool name. 2007. Bomber. Pours back alley black with ample light brown creamy froth. Nose is uninspiring, fruity with hints of blackening banana peel. Very little roast, chocolate, coffee or barrel character in the nose at all. On the palate, everything falls apart even more. Very little character overall. Nothing that I desire in a whiskey barrel aged stout is here. No oak, no roast, no chocolate, no coconut, no vanilla. It’s sweet fruity, with hints of dark fruits and banana. I can see why others like this, but this beer is not for me.

 544 characters

Photo of MrFootstones
2.78/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2010 12.7%ABV

Appearance: Pours thick and velvety with no head. So viscous looking!

Aroma: Smells like a fresh-out-tha-oven loaf of whole wheat bread. Molasses, dark fruit, chocolate malt, fleur de sel
caramel.

Taste: Toffee, prunes and dark fruit. Espresso, caralelized brown sugar, alcohol, bready malt. Meatiness... Yeast autolysis?

Mouthfeel: Rich and velvety. Great for this beer.

Drinkability: Not loving this. Not bad, but not sad that I only have my 1/3 of a bottle. We all thought it was possible, given Midnight Sun's/this beer's reputation that this may have been an off bottle. Who knows, you can't love every big stout.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.81/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a small dark brown head. Little retention and a little lacing. Very sludgy

Loads of molasses in the nose. Anise, baker's chocolate, espresso and soy sauce too. Smells like it's going to be sweet...

...and it is. Sweet molasses again dominates everything. Some good dark chocolate and oaked bourbon come through a bit, but sadly are hidden in the background. The same annoying soy sauce is back from the nose too. Bourbon is restrained and in this case, I wish it weren't as the base flavors are not great.

Very thick bodied beer with appropriately low carbonation style. Alcohol % is very well hidden.

Everyone who tried this was massively disappointed. Nothing seems "wrong" about this bottle, just did not like the flavors. Too much soy sauce kind of ruined everything for me, but even outside of that, not a great fan of the base flavors.

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Photo of Urbancaver
2.94/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage. Thanks Matt for bringing this to our tasting.

Pours a nice dark brown. Very nice light brown head. Looks pretty solid.
Smells like soy sauce. Thick oaky soy sauce. Definitely can detect the molasses sweetness underneath but man it smells like soy sauce.
Tastes similar. I get oak, molasses, sweetness but damn... the soy sauce flavour kills it. Everyone seemed to agree....
Maybe something was wrong with our bottle? Or id didn't hold up to the aging? I had such high hopes for this beer :(

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Photo of iRaven99664
3/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

mine was salty. Is it suppose to be salty? I googled to see if some imperial stouts are suppose to be salty, and I've seen a few thats suppose to "enhance" the flavor. I'm actually worried I drank a skunked beer because I drank the whole thing. My other concern is no one thus far has said their's was salty. Though,under the saltiness I actually still tasted what both the brewer and reviewers claimed. So confused. If it was skunked and turned salty i'm kind of pissed (?) though if that was the intended flavor, I'm actually quite pleased. Is that normal? I'm kind of confused about it. Honeslty in the last 6 yrs of drinking better beer, its the second bottle thats possibly skunked.

 688 characters

Photo of EB1
3/5  rDev -30.7%

Photo of vonnegut21
3/5  rDev -30.7%

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.06/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Bomber to tulip, the appearance pours like motor oil (i.e. jet black pour has that "glub glub" sound to it), about a finger’s worth of foamy slightly tan/almost off white head that dies within about a minute. Barely any lace.
The smell - well, its mostly bourbon, woo-wee, holy crap, boy is that over over powering or what, woo-wee...as it warms, there is some maple and molasses; lil’ bit of oakiness coming through, unsure how well it combines, though its not really combining to me, I do get some roastiness and some major vinousness/wine-ness to it.
The mouthfeel had the overly vinous harsh to sour quality invading not as I had hoped it would.
Overall, would I have this again? Well, not fresh at least, I'll age a bottle of this if I ever get it again.

 763 characters

Photo of aaronyoung01
3.12/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Brittonkay
3.19/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Danimal25
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of DrunkAl
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of Ribsandwhiskey
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of brandoman63
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of mquartuccio87
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of kdahnke123
3.38/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2015 Bottling (12.7% abv) poured into a snifter.
L - Poured a very dark brown with a small amount of dark head that quickly disappeared, leaving no lacing.
S - Lots of roast coffee/tobacco smell with peculiar hop notes and a bit on the medicinal side.
T - Similar to the smell. I don't detect the maple syrup but the wine barrel I do.
F - Medium full mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.
O - Bought it for the sweet additions which didn't end in the final product. If you want an overly roasted stout with medium mouthfeel and some medicinal qualities, pick this one. Otherwise, don't.

 594 characters

Photo of FosterJM
3.38/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1621st Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22oz

2012 Release
Purchased from El Cerrito Liquor, Corona, CA

App- This poured out pretty much the darkest beer I have seen before. They werent lying on the bottle. It actually poured like oil and had no light penetration and only a small 1/4" head with no lace or cling. Maybe a small ring of bubbles.

Smell- This was a bit all over the place. Upfront I get most of the molasses and the sweetness from the maple. I do get tinges of smoke, malts, oak and wood. This has a bit of a rough aroma with everything competeing and not working cohesively.

Taste- This thing was solid, but not great. The molasses I think is what throws me the most. It brings a certain sweetness and chewy candy like flavor. The oak has a lot of char and licorice behind. Big thick malts and a little bit of smoke layer well, but not integrated enough to make it super smooth. Its drinkable for the 12% but thats not the biggest flaw. Just not the best tasting BA Stout.

Mouth- I dipped my finger into this to give my son a taste and my wife said WTF is that? It was the same color on my finger. No dissapation of color. No losing of the body. Very full and viscous. The carbonation was a medium low and fairly creamy. The residual flavors are of the molasses and the oak.

Drink- This was an interesting stout to say the least. A lot going on and fairly balanced. The more I took a sip the more I realized that its just above average and not for me. I was excited to try this one and well guess I can skip the next release.

 1,543 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.4/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage

#Infectiongate

appearance: served in an oversized snifter, jet black body, creamy mocha lace

smell: bourbon, tannin notes, rich fudge

taste: charred malt, fudge, smoke, light bourbon, soy sauce. I don't know if its the "infection" or what, but at $20, this is a huge dissapointment.

mouthfeel: a bit thin, lots of soy in the finish

overall: this is a Pass in the future

 388 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -21.5%
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

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Photo of Trentt2
3.42/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Way Too much bourbon. Otherwise, not bad

41 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.46/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle split with SneezyAchew and AutumnBeerLove. Thanks for sending me this one, shawnm213. Ax label.

A: Pours near black with a thin dark brown head that faded into a faint collar. This beer is very thick looking.
S: I get rich notes of black licorice, molasses, dark chocolate and a hint of soy sauce.
T: Molasses and chocolate come through strongly with wood, char, soy sauce, and licorice bringing up the rear. I’m not really getting much of a barrel quality in this one. The soy sauce was thankfully light but it was disappointing.
M: Thick body, medium-low carbonation, with a thick and chewy mouthfeel. The alcohol is masked extremely well.
O: Good but underwhelming. I wish more of the barrel aging came through. Flavors were good though regardless, except for the soy. I bet this would be great fresh. Thanks again, Shawn.

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 1,192 ratings
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