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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: 1,151
Photo of mdaschaf
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Much thanks to Ben for this one!

A: Pours a thick black with a dark tan head on top, decent retention forming a nice cap on tip. Moderate lacing.

S: This beer has a very nice aroma, some bourbon and roasted malt with a bit of chocolate and deep molasses. There is a little bit of smoke on the aroma as well.

T: Lots going on in the flavor profile here. Some chocolate and a bit of coffee upfront with a definite maple sweetness mixed in. There is a little bit of dark fruit, mostly raisin and cherry. Also a touch of smoke.

M: Full bodied, definitely on the thick side. Rather chewy.

O: A very solid beer from Midnight Sun. A beer I was happy to have split, not sure how much of it I could drink on my own.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BrewsB4Shrews for the opportunity to try this beer!

A-Pours with the darkest head I have ever seen on a beer-which is a very dark brown. Body is opaque, viscous, and black allowing no light to shine through. Head fades to about 1/2 finger and leaves some lacing behind in the glass.

S- Nose is big, rich, deep, and dark. Dark chocolate, anise, licorice, dark fruit, and a good dose of alcohol astringency.

T- Flavor is awesome and much better than the smell. I'm getting a lot of toffee, an unidentified sweetness, and the typical RIS flavors of licorice, anise, dark chocolate, and dark fruit with a mild to moderate roasted malt backbone. A nice surprise for the finish is a woody component of oak is added to the already developing flavors. Great, complex.

M- High carbonation and a very thick- smooth and creamy body. No presence of alcohol in the mouthfeel.

D-This is a great imperial stout and another great brew by Midnight Sun. Solid and offers all the characteristics of a great stout. Definitely in my top 10 stouts overall.

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Photo of vkv822
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz : tulip
2012 vintage.

Black, with a thick, foamy brown head.

Nose and palate are quite similar, boozy bourbon oak, fudge, cocoa, faint molasses, faint dark fruit.

Medium+ body, slightly viscous, light boozy heat. Low carbonation.

A very enjoyable Imperial Stout, the maple syrup/molasses adds just a faint touch, though the main focus is bourbon barrel and cocoa.

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Photo of orangesol
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #350 for me! I brought this one to our Stout Day event. 2009 bottle shared with a whole bunch of people.

A - Pours midnight black with a nice pillow of one and a half finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of coffee, licorice, tobacco, chocolate, and even some dark fruits. This one pretty much runs the gamut of dark aroma's with no one crowding out the others.

T - Starts off with quite a bit of dark roast quickly giving way to a mix of coffee, dark fruits, licorice, tobacco, and some very faint booze. The flavors work very well together with nearly perfect balance. The finish is mostly dark roast but it doesn't linger on the pallet for very long.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Smooth, rich, feel that rally compliments this ones flavors very well. Very nice feel throughout.

O - I have been wanting to try this one and when I got this bottle in the Easter Bunny BIF I couldn't have been happier. It has a ton of flavor and it really works well. Good stuff for sure.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many, many thanks to paulys55 for this bottle!

A - Poured pitch black with about 1/4 of creamy, toffee colored head and no carbonation.

S - Charred/smoked oak tannins, tobacco peat, dark fruit, molasses, dark roasted chocolate, and mild alcohol presence (for such a big beer).

T - Smoke, oak, maple, bourbon, molasses, roasted bitter chocolate, dark cherries, and alcohol effervescence.

M - Thick, viscous, sticky, slightly syrupy, sticky.

O - Letting this beer sit in the glass for 30+ minutes and warming to room temperature really opened this up in an incredibly complex way. In fact, if I ever have the opportunity to enjoy another bottle of this I will most likely pop it at room temperature instead, far better.

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Photo of Pencible
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured an opaque pitch black with a little bit of very dark tan head. It smelled like molasses and brown sugar, with some sweet bourbon and milk chocolate and cream and raisins. It tasted like caramel and molasses and brown sugar, with some roasted coffee and cream and maple, and a bit of milk chocolate and alcohol. It was slightly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste with slight alcohol warming. Overall this had a great scent and taste with good body. However, the alcohol was a bit noticeable, which combined with the bold taste to make this a sipping beer. I didn't notice much oak taste, and it was much sweeter than most stouts. But this was still a fantastic brew that will probably improve with further age. (I forgot to check if this was the 10.4% or 12.7% version.)

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rudylaw, truly a gentleman. Also thanks to James, another gentleman.

The appearance is dark black, whats new right? It has dark cherry edges and a head that is inspiring. The head on this think was almost black, it was the darkest brown I have ever seen foam on a beer. It did not stick around for a while and just ended up leaving completely, but I was awe stuck by the color of it. Incredible.

The smell was of earthy grains and sweet wines, not very strong overall though.

The taste was very unique and entirely enjoyable. Dark roasted grain that produces a earthy flavor that reminds me of chewing on black patent malt. There are very sweet cherries in the mid palate that pair with a sweet wine that is unique. I also got more than a few tastes of maple syrup, delicious. Towards the end of the bottle more of the ABV and wine characteristics take shape and present something very sweet. I like this a lot.

The mouthfeel was perfectly carbonated and sat on the palate very well. It was not too thick, and for the flavors that were involved was perfect.

The drinkability was good, but a dessert or after dinner beer is best used to describe this one. There was a bit of an astringency that was brought up from the cherry and wine notes that was interesting, but distracted from other things going on. Very glad I got to try this one.


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Photo of ThickNStout
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from BeerShip.com. No bottling date but I believe this was released in May. Served in a Three Floyds teku.

Pours oil black with a finger and a half of thick chocolate head. The dense foam lingers, leaving some nice lace.

Smells of cocoa, bourbon, oak, molasses and coffee. Very inviting.

Rich, sweet waves of flavor. Dark chocolate, creamed heavily roasted coffee, molasses, vanilla tinged bourbon, earthy oak, faint maple syrup, caramel, dark fruits and a little alcohol bite. So much good stuff going on here. Complex and delicious.

Creamy, thick, medium heavy feel with moderately light carbonation. Chocolate and sweet bourbon finish.

A well done imperial stout that hits on all levels. A pleasure to drink and it goes down incredibly easy. Berserker is definately worth seeking out.

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12.7 abv...unsure of vintage but bought in oct of 2015 in Seattle. Motor oil! God dam motor oil!!! Smell molasses like all hell. Barrel character is reeeaallyyy tough to pick out...but there is something there. Taste....woof....whoa...booze. Mouthfeel..get that old school FILM out cuz cot dam this bitch stays with you. O..wish I sat on this longer. Cheers!

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Photo of Erik-P
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vinatage. pours a thick oily black with a dark brown head that fades quickly. Aromas of bourbon and oak. Tastes of cocoa, fruit and smokey wood with a very sweet, almost candylike finish. Alcohol is hidden fairly well and it doesnt taste like a 12.7%. Very smooth mouthfeel, Overall a good beer but just a tad too sweet on the ending

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Photo of woemad
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big-ass bomber that doesn't indicate which year it was bottled, only the month (November) and week (2nd). THe label DOES state that the abv is 12.7%. I think I bought this about a year ago at Enoteca in Post Falls, Idaho, which means it's probably of the 2009 vintage.

Poured a viscousy black color that gives up absolutely nothing when held up to light. 1/2 inch of dark mocha foam soom drops down to a foam collar. Spotty lace.

Big nose. I get sweet and bitter, like mollasses and prunes. Seems a little boozy as well.

The taste starts out like a spoonfull of mollasses that is immediately paired up with some dark, bitter fruit. There's also elements of pipe tobacco, coffee, and way in the back is the maple syrup - just enough to make it's presence known without sending the beer off into cloying land. As it warms, this beer gets more boozy. Slightly dry at the swallow.

Seems a little light in the body for an impy stout, but not to a disheartening degree. Slick, creamy mouthfeel nevertheless.

Outstanding dessert beer that I bought several months ago. Wish I knew for certain whether it was last year's or the year before. Regardless, it's tasty, and seems to be holding up.

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Photo of illidurit
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy bret27 at Woodshop 5.0. Pours black with minor dark brown corners and leaves scotch-colored legs on the glass. Aroma is big on chocolate graham crackers and charred malts with wood and vanilla from the barrel aging. Flavor is deep and roasty with super-dark chocolate, iced coffee, ash, smoke, deep dark fruits, and a smooth bourbon character. Huge body and really flavorful. An asswhipper for sure.

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Photo of anteater
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle

A: Oily black with a really good looking dark brown head

S: Bourbon, bitter dark chocolate

T: Really rich flavors of bourbon and bitter dark chocolate dominate, hints of espresso and molasses more at the end. Well hidden 12.7% alcohol

M: So thick and so good

O: I think this is better than a lot of the most highly rated bourbon barrel stouts out there. Lots of really well balanced and strong flavors

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with two fingers of head that is as dark of a brown as you will ever see on a beer. Awesome.

Smell is floral hops, lightly roasted malt, light raisin and prune, pumpkin?, cocoa, and caramel. Nice and complex once you really get your nose in there.

The taste is similar to the nose, with citrus and floral hops being predominant flavors. They rest on top of a nice malt base that isn't overly roasty yet still has some char. Cocoa is deep in the background, and some dark fruit sweetness is also present. Not a gigantic in your face flavor....but rather a nicely balanced, full flavored stout.

Mouthfeel is thick with quite a bit of carbonation. A tad less carbonation and it would be perfect.

This is a pretty damn easy drinking stout for 10.4% ABV. I didn't realize it until I started catching a bit of a buzz from drinking it too fast. As it warms the dark fruits start to come out and make it get better and better. I definitely recommend this stout to veterans and novices both, it is very well crafted.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

'13 vintage @ 12.70%

Taste of molasses and slight syrup, licorice, charred oak. Earthy. Hard to discern the bourbon presence, subtle at best. The body was too thin for what I look for in a big stout like this. Would have wanted a boozier taste up front but that did not happen. A solid barrel aged stout overall.

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Photo of grittybrews
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From South Sound tasting notes:

Poured black with a finger of dark khaki head. Big aroma with sweet milk chocolate, molasses, licorice, and oak.

Moderate carbonation and a thick, full, creamy mouthfeel. Really tasty with more dark chocolate, molasses, and licorice. Just a little dark fruit and leather on the tail end.

Solid stout -- a bit boozy but nicely balanced.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bomber into a 3F wine-style glass. Big thanks to Tony.

A: Pitch black body with a thin head of fine brown foam that settles into a ring and leaves some delicate lace. Nice.

S: Sweet, roasty, oaky, spiritous, and rich. Dark chocolate, bourbon, char, raisins, and molasses. Dark and intense.

T: Follows the nose. Crazy collage of intense flavors: molasses, red wine, grape skin, bourbon, tobacco, dark chocolate, charcoal, and boozy bitterness. A little much, but really enjoyable.

M: Rich, full body with lots of carbonation. Maybe a little too frothy, but pleasant.

O: Really enjoyable, but a little rough. I'm loving a third of the bottle, but I can't imaging drinking a whole one.


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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this bottle was shared with me by wedge9. Thanks Andy!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark dark black bodied beer with a dark mocha head that starts out about 1 finger tall and drops down into a ring around the top of this beastly looking stout. Nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: you can really smell the red wine barrel. I also smell dark chocolates, and roasty malts. Really pleasant smelling beer, never really smelled a beer like this before!

Taste: Its like a red wine crossed with dark chocolates; bitter and semidry like a red wine. Oaky, smokey, and roasty characteristics. Huge malt profile, its big beer thats nice and complex.

Mouthfeel: This beer is full bodied. Moderate carbonation. Slightly over carbonated, but this beer tastes so good it does not take away from the beer at all.

Overall: My first midnight sun brewing co beer. These guys can brew a big stout! Its tastey and complex and I have never had a stout like this before. Don't pass this one up!

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, the 2009 release (12.7% ABV, 30 IBU), notched at 'A[ugust]'/'1' for the 'Month & Week bottled:'. Bottle came straight from the chilly fruit cellar (40-45F ?), poured to a snifter after dinner on Christmas Eve.

'Ale Brewed with Molasses and Maple Syrup and Aged in Oak Barrels'. Thanks to Seattle BA Beerzebub for adding one to a trade, then more thanks to Beaumont Market for stocking some and saving a couple for me. Cheers, Jon & Justin!

A: Pours the requisite charcoal darkness, maybe a little thinner because of the brownish tinge at the edges - let's call the color 'maple syrup'. First time in the glass, a pretty caramel-orange head of tight fizz expands to about 1-finger; it falls within seconds to a sprawling film and slender ring. Later pours lessen the effects of both. No lace to speak of.

S: Popped the top and the first essence wasn't coffee nor chocolate nor any of the sugary sweets listed as adjuncts - it's smoke, a charred woodiness that hints at pipe tobacco. Sniff after subsequent sniff, different aromas rise: there's the molasses! Fudge! Raspberries! Cafe au lait! Maple (with BACON)! Vanilla beans! Smells nice, real nice...

T: 'Chocolate over berries' is my immediate reaction, a mild tartness like blackberry/chambord and a roasty/acrid bitter cacao. Sweetness isn't as much at the forefront as expected (with syrup and molasses as ingredients); the vanilla and subtle oak flavors add more nuance. Layer upon layer, a fine Imperial Stout.

M: Body isn't quite as thick as anticipated and feel is sorta slick and viscous, like -well- maple syrup? Sure it's smooth, carbonation mellow. Not a 'hot' booziness nor blatant 'barrel' woodiness, just a subtle warm glow.

D: At 12.7%, this latest release is a good bit stiffer than the 'mere' 10.4% monster listed above...this one grows more 'berserk' every year, I guess. As such, sip with caution - it's a treat that'll catch up pretty quickly. Flavors and aromas are quite good now and I'd be willing to bet they get better given more time. 'Good' now, but glad to have a couple more for 2010 and beyond. Worth recommending!

Merry Christmas (Eve) to me!

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Photo of Reswald
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, purchased in Anchorage on 9/5/2009. 12.7% ABV version.

This year, we've got a new label, sporting what I assume is supposed to be a viking axe. The beer pours black and slow, with a small tan head. Talk about mouthfeel! This brew is very heavy on the tongue, almost chewy. "Vicious and viscous" is the ad copy, and Berserker certainly lives up to it! You quickly pick up hints of the molasses and maple syrup that are added to it, along with notes from its aging in oak. This is a massive beer, fully capable of going toe-to-toe with Deshutes The Abyss, North Coast's Old Rasputin, or any of the other great Imperial Stouts out there. At 30 IBUs and 12.7% ABV, this is definitely one to share and sip slowly.

Bottom line: Midnight Sun has done it again. Run, don't walk, to pick up a few bottles of Berserker for your cellar.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 Edition

A: Pours an opaque and thick jet black in color with very light notes of visible carbonation and some dark reddish brown highlights. The beer has an eighth of a finger tall dark reddish mocha head which quickly reduces to a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: The beer has a moderate to strong aroma of chocolate and bourbon with some lighter hints of oak and vanilla. There are moderate notes of molasses and maple syrup sweetness. Light notes of roasted malts.

T: Upfront there are some light notes of roasted malts with some molasses and maple syrup sweetness. On top of the malts, there are some moderate to strong flavors of rich dark chocolate and bourbon with some lighter notes oak and vanilla. Light hints of cocoa with some hints of alcohol towards the finish. Light lingering bitterness.

M: Full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: This is a great beer to finish the evening and matches very well with dessert - in our case some brownies made with Sea Legs Baltic Porter. This is really rich and you can detect the alcohol but I'm going to enjoy sipping on it a while longer. The bourbon is well integrated into the beer and the flavors in the beer match really well.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Bomber into Midnight Sun goblet. 08 version (12.7abv) with about a year on it.

Pours black, active, thin dark head fades fast to film and ring. No significant lacing. SMELL fruity boozy esters are strong and dominate up front. Bit of coffee, lots of chocolate, moslasses, some sweet maltyness. More roasty and smoky at the end of the sample. Mostly smooth and complex. Grows stronger as it warms and breathes. Can smell it at a distance upon fresh pour. Alc is all that is out of balance. TASTE fruity (apple) alc flavors, molasses, bitter chocolate, sweet maltyness, some roasty character and coffee. Some bitterness in the finish. Fairly smooth and balanced, very complex. FEEL strong warming, rich full body, and clean-ish finish that is slightly bitter but doesn't go dry like soe many others. very pleasant. OVERALL Stone IRS, Yeti, Speedway, Bourbon County, make room for Berzerker in the club of great Imperial Stouts. At 12.7%, it is a sipper, but booziness isn't commensurate to 12.7%. Each sip begs another. Very bold and strong, but balanced and smooth as well. Glad I've still got an 08, and some 09 mellowing for hte future.

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Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to travisd13 for the chance to try this one.

A-Black, impervious, opaque jet black with a thin pool of brown head. Excellent.

S-Boozy vanilla, some sweet herbiness, dark chocolate, dark fruit.

T-Lots going on here. Sweet vanilla, maple syrup, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, bourbon balls and some dark fruit. Some molasses too. Complex and delicious.

M-Medium bodied with just a bit of heft, very fine carbonation is a pleasant surprise.

O-Really terrific. Any alcohol is very well hidden, the flavors are rich and complex but not overly heavy. Worth seeking out.


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Photo of rapidsequence
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. 2009 vintage-- 12.7% abv.

Appearance: Its completely opaque and pours viscous like syrup. The head is amazing-- dark, dark brown and with pretty good retention for the ABV. Each sip leaves a curtain of lace that gets pulled back into the beer by boozy legs.

Smell: Big sweet roasty malt. Not sharp and bitter burnt roastiness. Sweet and chocolatey, some oak, overripe fruit, a little leathery, some pipe tobacco, and slightly vinous. Interesting and different.

Taste: I'm not sure what kind of oak barrel this is aged in, but I don't taste any bourbon. Some greenish oak is tasted though. Again roasty without being overly burnt. Lots of residual sweetness and alcohol, but not anything resembling 12.7%. Less chocolate than many RISs. Finish is slightly bitter roasted malt and somewhat hot booze, followed again by sweetness.

Mouthfeel: This is quite full bodied. Viscous and silky smooth in the mouth. The carbonation provides a slight foaminess. Great.

Drinkability: I'm loving this. A little different twist on a RIS. Very nice. I'd share this, but, nah.

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Photo of Bugs318
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: black with a thin reddish tinged mocha head. It recedes quickly, but a ring remains throughout, despite no lacing.
S: big bourbon vanilla nose, coupled with a coffee-fudge quality. There is some molasses, and a mild marshmallow quality, alongside a hint of dried tobacco, all with no real hint of the alcohol.
T: sweet malt base up from coupled with some maple and molasses, and vanilla coffee notes from the bourbon. It finishes a bit drier with some leathery/tobacco qualities but still remains quite sweet and a fair taste of ethanol.
M: A bit prickly for a fairly low carbonated beer. Body is decently full, and fairly chewy, though a touch sticky and more than mildly hot. This beer actually gets thicker towards the bottom half of the bottle, as if the molasses had settled there. Crazy!
O: a very fine beer, a bit reminiscent of BCBS, if oddly a bit hotter and not quite as solid.

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.32 out of 5 based on 1,151 ratings.
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