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
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
Reviews:
292
Ratings:
1,171
Avg:
4.32
pDev:
8.56%
 
 
Wants:
819
Gots:
310
For Trade:
36
User Reviews
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Reviews: 292 | Ratings: 1,171
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 JAXSON
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Early 2010 rate.

Bottle from Todd. Pours thick, inky black with a rich, frothy espresso head. Head and lacing are thick and heavy, and behave oddly. Fascinating to look at. Of course the nose is rich, heavy on dark fruits, dust of coffee, molasses. I don't know if I've ever had a beer that is so creamy in the mouth, almost like a like dark chocolate milkshake. Heavy dark malts, a bitter coffee-like element, vanilla. more discreet slightly woody tones, molasses. F this is good.

After comparing this later in the year directly with some other, more nuanced imperial stouts, I'm docking the score a bit.

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Photo of ant880
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Knocking out this long-time want courtesy of huskermike12, who sent it along with a box of awesomeness in the Super Bowl XLVII Squares BIF...

A: Fairly aggresive pour into a CBS snifter produces a thick, 2-finger light brown head. Head retention is excellent, especially compared to most barrel-aged stouts that pour with little to no head to begin with. Body is deep black, which makes the pour look like a slice of chocolate cake with whipped chocolate mousse on top.

S: First sniff is HUGE chocolate with a wisp of bourbon on the tail end. Reminds me of a warm chocolate lava cake. Cant wait to dive into this.

T: With chocolate still assaulting my nose, the first sip is dominated by cocoa, followed by the slightest cameo appearance of maple and finishing with a restrained dose of bourbon. Taste definitely delivers on what the nose promised. The barrel adds the perfect amount of bourbon, complementing the chocolate without ever dominating the taste. This is like a bourbon spiked hot cocoa. Touches of coffee, molasses ad fudge throughout. The one drawback, the maple never made a reappearance after the first sip.

M: Thick as a brick. Coats the tongue, tastebuds and everything in between. Not sure if this is part of what the molasses adds, but if so, it should be a requirement for every imperial stout.

O: Loved it! The one disappointment was the absence of the maple, but I have yet to find a beer that fully delivers on the maple promise (going to have to find me some Lawsons next). Other than that, I would stockpile this if it was readily available. Going to have to steal some of my son's Nestle Quick, toss it in a coffee mug, microwave it and spike it with some bourbon to hold me over til the next time I can get my hands on some of this.

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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 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 NittanyBeerFan
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An unexpected late addition to the epic tasting, this arrived in Kyle's "Farewell Alaska" package that arrived on my doorstep right before the tasting started, with just enough time to get the beers to cellar temp. Thanks, Kyle!

Bottle from 2009 with 12.7% ABV

The pour is dark, viscous, and creamy. There is a dense dark foam that caps the opaque liquid in my glass. After pouring it into my snifter to get a nice swirl, lacing comes in spots and a delicate pattern.

Aromas pour forth from the mouth of the snifter, imparting red wine barrel aromas, nicely balanced with molasses, tobacco, oakey vanilla, and some slight booziness. Surprisingly, the bourbon aromas are nearly imperceptible. The molasses and tobacco really take a big roll in the flavor profile against a roasted malt foundation. Woody vanilla brings with it some of the bourbon notes that are understated and beautifully subtle. Toffee and vinous grape notes round out the flavor. Alcohol is nearly imperceptible.

Sticky and resinous and yet somewhat smooth. The feeling left on the palate is really incredible. Deep and complex, this is one of the best imperial stouts and barrel-aged beers that I have ever had the pleasure of consuming.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.32 out of 5 based on 1,171 ratings.
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