Berserker Imperial Stout | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

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
Reviews:
289
Ratings:
1,149
Avg:
4.32
pDev:
17.13%
 
 
Wants:
826
Gots:
302
For Trade:
36
User Reviews
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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 1,149
Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My 100th beer.....and a good choice for it. Jet black as youd expect but retained some head. Great feel too, thick and chewy. Tastes great, the maple syrup gives it a nice sweetness gollowed by tastes of vanilla,chocolate and molasses at the back. This is potent stuff, but still a great beer.

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Photo of beergod1
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with maroon hues and a foamy tan head, with decent head retention. The nose is oaky bourbon, Dark fruit,molasses and roasted malts. The taste is vanilla,Oak, molasses and bourbon with a light bitter coffee finish. This is quite a complex Stout, Delicious. Creamy medium/full body. I need to start getting others from this Brewery.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle.
This was poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a jet black color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated evenly and nicely. Light lacing wove around the glass nicely.
The smell had some chocolate, light coffee, a little bit of wine (but not overbearing), and tobacco.
The taste was sweet with the previously mentioned flavors and subtly slides into the dry part of the wine and tobacco (not bad, but I'm guessing, once I let this age a bit, it'll be less pronounced).
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a nice sipping quality about it. Carbonation seems to fill the void where the wine dryness seems to lack, (funny how I'm not a wine guy at all, but previous years I've had this, I've noticed more wine), eh, not worried, I think I like it more with less of the wine characteristics.
Overall, this year's batch is pretty good to me. Glad I didn't review last year's as I think there was a bit too much of that wine-like quality to it.

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Photo of MCain04
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 2012 vintage, from trade with beergod1 - thanks man. Poured into a Half Acre snifter at cellar temp.

A: Almost motor-oil black with a very dark tan head of an impressive 2 fingers with great retention and lacing.

S: Maple is the predominant smell, a little bourbon, a little sweetness, perhaps from molasses, not much roasty character or chocolate.

T: A little bland at first, not a lot of maple or molasses. Barrel characters of oak and vanilla come in late, and a bourbon finish on the back of the tongue. Not as much malt character as I'd like from a stout of this magnitude. Aside from the bourbon taste, not too much heat. Pretty drinkable.

M: A little over-carbonated, and not as thick as I'd like. Doesn't really coat the tongue at all.

O: Definitely disappointing, maybe its just the 2012 vintage that everyone has been complaining about, but this doesn't really impress at all, tastes like a standard stout with some bourbon. Might give 2013 a try next year but won't have the 2012 again.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Perfectly black. Only a bit of brown highlights when held to the light. Head is rich and thick, but no lacing :-(

S- Tons of dark fruits and alcohol. A hint of grassy hops in the back, which is overridden by the fruity, cherry, port-like malt character.

T- Initially malty with dates, then drops almost immediately to tons of burnt malt and roasted grain character, which interacts with the hops for a fairly bitter finish. Alcohol comes in just a bit at the end... yummy.

M- Thick, chewy, medium-low carbonation, and a slightly astringent finish.

D- Very good. Like a lighter version of dark lord, dare I say it.. not as good, but still... I'll have it every chance I get.

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Photo of Scarfer_Brad
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours almost jet black with a large dense dark brown head. after the head goes down (takes a bit, left with a small halo

smell of chocolate coffee and a sweet whiskey

delicious, can taste the coffee, molasses and a bit of bourbon

nice and thick low carb. smooth

a great beer was a 2014 would def look for again

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Photo of treyrab
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to my Alaskan friend for sending me this! Poured into two tulip glasses tonight and split with jac5084. Vintage 2008, 12.7ABV.

A: Very thick sludgy goodness pours out of the bottle into the bottom of my tulip. The gentle pour initially yielded a small head, but a more aggressive pour ended with a one finger dark mocha head that lasted quite a while.

S: Very nice bitter roasted malts meet sweet molasses. Those flavors are all topped off with a nice whiskey/bourbon that complements the scents completely. More of a burnt malt, burnt toffee smell than a fruit smell on this one.

T: Unimaginably good. The bourbon is in perfect conformity with the rest of the beer. The first flavors that hit you are of course the bourbon, and then the burnt roasted black patent and chocolate malts creep in and it finally finishes with a burnt caramel and molasses sweetness.

M/D: The mouthfeel is creamy smooth. I could drink this one every evening if that was possible. Seek out!

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Photo of mattsander
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage

A: Impressively black. Dark brown head with legs, it taints the glass brown. Beautiful stout.

S: Toffee, toasted marshmallow, vanilla-oak, bourbon, slightly nutty, brown sugar. Lots of barrel and dark fruit. A bit boozy, but this is a very young bottle that will definitely improve with age. Fruitier and less chocolaty than I generally encounter in this style.

T: Silky smooth dark caramelized fruits, licorice and burnt sugar at first, then the barrel treatment takes over. Not the 'sweet vanilla' bourbon bomb I associate with this style, the barrels make this really unique. Finishes with lots of oak, kind of nutty. Fabulous.

M: Excellent texture with lasting creaminess. A sipper for sure, but a great one.

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Photo of spicelab
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with huge thanks to Boozecamel for sharing. Reviewed from notes.

Motor-oil consistency and hue. Modest dark tan head, average retention, recedes to a film.

Pungent and cutting earthy maple syrup, chocolate brownies, oak, beef jerky, molasses. Nice dryness and subtle nuttiness.

Simultaneously sweet and dry, which is an impressive coup. Most of theh aroma elements are there to some degree, although dominant flavours are thick choc-carmael fudge and liquorice. Amazing.

Thick and viscous, however carbonation strikes me as aggressive for the style.

Full-on and uncompromising with a great flavour/aroma profile. Enough said.

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Photo of chumba526
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I do agree with several arguing about IPAs and hot food that IPAs and Hot wings do not pair that nicely I prefer an unfiltered yeasty wheat beer (like Upright's four).
Appears solid pure black with a very dark born head that is about an inch or two high.

It smells of coconut, vanilla, and bourbon. I get a slight alcohol "burn" smell. I also get a sweet toffee/ burnt caramel smell.

I get a nice smooth bourbon flavor. A solid vanilla and coconut flavor is present. I get a bit of a toasty burnt caramel flavor as well. There is a bit of a molasses like sweetness. The beer is pretty thick and heavy, yet smooth.

The carbonation is moderate low for this ale. The mouthfeel of this ale (stout) is very thick and syrup like. It is very smooth.

It is a thick heavy beer but it is very smooth and it goes down easy.

Overall a great easy to drink imperial stout. This is actually a good imperial stout for those not familiar to the style because it is so smooth and well balanced.

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Photo of TheBronze
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle. label reads "ale brewed with maple syrup and molasses and aged in oak bourbon barrels"

A - Pours like motor oil. Looks absolutely beautiful. A thin head of a color I don't think I've seen before in a beer. I'd liken it to that of a burnt sienna crayon, and it looks fascinating on top of the thick, dark stout - like some primordial ooze. We're off to a good start.

S - Rich and inviting. Somewhat hard to distinguish particulars but I would describe it as charred gooey molasses, wood, cocoa and bourbon. Very distinct.

T - A liquid representation of the nose. The bourbon is a bit more present here. Definitely enjoying this.

M - As expected. Full bodied. Perfect medium level of carbonation. Alcohol is present, but takes a back seat making this very easy to drink. Too easy by how quickly it is disappearing.

O - The description on the bottle gave me high hopes, and this did not disappoint. I am thoroughly enjoying this one.

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Photo of rpstevens
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage, 12.7 abv. Poured from a bottle courtesy of screamforme into a dogfish head signature glass. The beer pours a thick, viscous black, one of the blackest beers I have ever seen. There is a dark mocha head that reveals more carbonation than expected. As the head fades to a tight ring there is a slight amount of oily lacing on the glass.

The smell is rich dark chocolate, freshly roasted expresso, dark fruits (cherries and raisins), bourbon, tobacco and sharp tones of molasses. There is also a maple syrup sweetness that backs all the components nicely.

The flavor is full of dark chocolate, roasted malts, molasses and chewy dark fruits. The dark cherry qualities really shine as they pair with the maple syrup sweetness, they balance out the roasted and bitter flavors of chocolate and coffee. This is not the most complex imperial stout I have ever had, but it is one of the better tasting ones for sure.

The mouthfeel is as thick and viscous as the beer looks, but the beer is also more carbonated than most at this high an abv. The flavors are very well balanced, there is a nice dry finish and the alcohol adds a nice component to the flavors and provides a nice warmth in the belly. This is a great imperial stout.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 on tap at Big Wood.

Waiting and waiting and waiting. Finally, after many a brusque "no, it's not on yet" from a harassed bartender, it appeared, black, cavernous, a hole to the center of the earth. Very low carbonation, swirled thickly, begrudgingly. I have been wanting to try this forever and failed in Alaska this summer (of course) but here it was, before me, spewing strong and volatile alcohols like spittle from my grandfathers mouth. The molasses and maple make themselves known, though I got a great deal more of the maple myself. Some roast and some chocolate. I didn't really get much of the wine barrel influence, but perhaps that just added to the well-roundedness of the beer. Exceptional with a very long tender finish when warm, warming the soul with a war story from the good old days.

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Photo of AwYeh
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage, 12.7% ABV. 22oz bomber poured into snifter; huge thanks to madvermin for picking this up to share with me, as it has been one of my biggest wants... and it did not disappoint.

A: Pours an opaque dark brown/black, with a finger of extremely thick, frothy brown head. Great retention and spotty lacing, a good looking beer for certain.

S: Huge molasses aroma kicks things off, with a good deal of brown sugar on the side. I'm also picking up great quantities of bittersweet chocolate and hints of coffee; all around, this is a very well balanced smell.

T: Roasted, toasted malts all over the place, along with a ton of sweet chocolate flavors- I don't want to say this quite has a milk chocolate flavor (there is a good deal of bitterness in there), but it's quite sweet for sure. Long, lingering, bittersweet, malty, nutty, chocolate finish is simply outstanding; one of the best finishes I've ever encountered, which is both hugely enjoyable in itself and begs me to take another sip. After a while, the finish devolves into a straight up roasted flavor- wholly enjoyable, and a rarity, even among imperial stouts. Light coffee and moderately strong vanilla flavors also show up in the flavor... wow, this is good.

M: Medium-bodied, especially so for an RIS. Moderate carbonation leads to a very creamy, very smooth texture, that leaves a dry, but just barely sticky finish behind.

O: Amazing. Outstanding. I'm running short on descriptors for this beer; I am having a hard time rationing this glass for myself. Can't wait until I get a chance to try it again; very, VERY highly recommended if you ever get a chance to pick it up, or trade for it. Definitely worth a trade for some of the more highly touted beers (Dark Lord, Darkness, etc.).

After finishing my glass, I can honestly say this is one of the finest beers I've ever had (at the time of this review, second only to Mikkeler Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, which will definitely need a re-review after this). I highly, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this; trade for it, or buy it, if at all possible. Outstanding beer all around.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.64/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, split 4 ways.

A: Color the same as the heart of its namesake. Thin lazy mocha head. Slides and oozes on the rim.

N: A blitz of bourbon and maple. Molasses is present as is chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. T: Bourbon, caramel, chocolate, and a twinge of metal. Cherry and...sourness? It’s more of a coffee like acidity or a vinous quality. Molasses might be a culprit, too. Can’t say I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

M: Thick but not perfectly so, filling, alcohol is well hidden.

O: I can see why people might think this is infected. It’s missing that the thick treacly element it should have. Well balanced but just off in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.

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Photo of beerhan
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-black as night, completely opaque. Half-finger dark brown head that remains.

S-lots of toffee, maple, wood, bourbon,

T-dark chocolate and oak up front. more subtle bourbon tones follow with a dry finish.

M-little to no carbonation and very rich. Thick beer

O-Really nice offering here. Although they may be different styles, I prefer arctic devil to this one. The alcohol does catch up on this one and is pretty hard to have more than a small pour.

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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.

J

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Photo of domtronzero
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No vintage marking on bottle, but it's marked as being bottled N-2 (November, week 2). 12.7% abv, 22 oz. bottle, shared by Dankbeers619. Thanks Kyle!

A - Dark brown colored with a small, short lived tannish head. Lingering whispy bubbles and a small ring around the glass. Little lacing.

S - Sweet dark malts, ripe fruits, and a bit of roast. A little bit of caramel and vanilla. Slight alcohol is perfumy and pleasant.

F/M - Rich chocolate, caramel and vanilla. Dark fruit-like esters with a nice alcoholic bitterness. A little warm on the palate, but it isn't too detracting. Sweet bourbon notes. Medium full bodied, a little oily up front, but doesn't finish too sweet. Lingering caramelly chocolate flavors.

O - What a great beer. Nice stout body with very pleasant bourbon barrel characteristics. I wish this beer was easier to find as I'd be drinking a lot more of it.

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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 Beerzebub
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2009 bottle, labeled 12.7% abv. Poured in a big wine glass at 54F.

Pours black, and thick looking. Very dark red-brown at the very edge. No head, but an intricately swirled tan film, and a ring of tan froth around the edge of the glass.

Aromas like molasses, burnt green herbs, red wine barrel, and coffee. Some caramel sweetness, but the other elements combine to make the aroma pretty dry overall. Deep and complex, I can't stop exploring this aroma, but it seems a little disjointed. I do like it, and I look forward to seeing if the parts integrate more as this ages.

The flavor is much sweeter than the aroma lets on. The big caramel and prune sweetness is well balanced by coffeelike roastiness, molasses, cola; and dry red wine barrel, but milder and better integrated in the flavor than it is in the aroma. There's some sweet bourbon barrel that I didn't detect in the aroma until I tasted it. Only a little explicit alcohol. The maple syrup that I know is in there emerges after several seconds, near the finish. Interesting to drink, and damn tasty. Long sweet maple-caramel-oak finish, reminding me of tawny port, until finally there is only a dry trace of oak left.

Full bodied and sticky, with fine cushy carbonation. Very highly drinkable.

Great beer, the aroma had me a little worried that it could be dry and disjointed but it wasn't that way at all.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is awesome. Bottle, 2012 vintage. Black, inky black. Tan head with a bit of lacing, but not much. Some retention, but nothing impressive. Does not quite have legs. Aroma is subtle and complex. Bourbon, barrel, toasted marshmellow, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor brings toffee, vanilla, more toasted marshmellow, and fainter chocolate. The mouthfeel is nice, full, chewy, and actually dry on the finish thanks to the maple syrup. Not even that hot for the alcohol content. This is a superb brew.

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Photo of muchloveforhops3
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

2013 vintage

22oz bottle into chalice

This stout is mega! Huge aroma, followed by a big, bold flavor of choc, roast, and a sweet finish; bold alcohol heat; well-layered profile; a sipper indeed, but delicious; happy to have tried it!

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Photo of Joshpu
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'm guessing this was the 13' release: 12.7% version aged in oak bourbon barrels, with maple syrup and molasses. Poured from the bomber to a snifter.

A: Poured black, probably the darkest I have seen. Little carbonation and just a tiny dark-brown head.

S: Molasses, vanilla and a little oak from the bourbon barrels, chocolate, coffee, cherry. Possibly some citrus hops, bravo hops?

T: Not surprisingly pretty sweet, but not overwhelming. Big rich and dark chocolate/molasses. Coffee, some bourbon on the taste, but this is mostly a dark and rich chocolate/dessert bomb. Unfortunately for me, a soy sauce finish.

M: Medium to full bodied. Its actually pretty light on the tongue, and could even be described as having a light finish. A little bitter on the end and also a little sticky. None of the flavors really linger like you would expect, except for that weird soy sauce finish.

Overall a good stout, but it's surprisingly light on the tongue, which I think is one of its drawbacks. It's strength was how well the alcohol was hidden. This was actually one of the few stouts I preferred drinking colder, as it warmed I got more of that soy sauce finish, which was a pretty big drawback for me.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to alaskajoe for finally ending my long search for this! 2009 vintage, poured into my North Coast snifter. Sampled first in a 10 stout tasting and finished first.

A nearly black pour with a solid 1-2 inch tan head.

Tons of maple, molasses, vanilla and roasted malts in the nose.

All that and then some in the taste. Chocolate and coffee mingle with all of the sweet smells. This is so amazingly smooth and creamy. Reminds me of Kate in terms of mouthfeel and an overwhelming desire to drink this way too fast.

This is easily among my favorite RIS and will be saving my other bottles for special occasions.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The initial smell with this brew was kinda' strange...metallic-like, if you will. Maybe that's the molasses used in brewing.

Oh yes...the molasses...and maple syrup. You can taste those notes as you sip away. I can clearly distinguish the two. As this delicious beverage warms, the flavors become even more amazing.

The head on this beauty was small to medium. It lays a nice thin head even roughly 10+ minutes in my tulip.

The mouthfeel reminds me of Ten Fidy. I love Ten Fidy! This brew has it's own personality and struts it with true charm and delight. That metallic smell I mentioned at the beginning is nothing. Truly a work of art I wish I could share with others. I wish I had more of these to age.

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.32 out of 5 based on 1,149 ratings.
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