Sloth - Belgian-Style Imperial Stout
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Sloth - Belgian-Style Imperial StoutSloth - Belgian-Style Imperial Stout
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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #81
ABV:
10.2%
Score:
94
Ranked #1,330
Avg:
4.33 | pDev: 9.01%
Reviews:
67
Ratings:
132
From:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
 
Alaska, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  350
Gots
  17
SCORE
94
Outstanding
Sloth - Belgian-Style Imperial StoutSloth - Belgian-Style Imperial Stout
Notes: SLOTH Belgian-style Imperial Stout is deliberately dark as hell. The pour is slow and sluggish. Its head is menacing, becoming torn and tattered Belgian lace on the sides of the glass as you cautiously consume this brew—sip by insidious sip.

The aroma is sweet from heavy malt and big alcohol with notes of vanilla, coconut and whiskey from the oak. The depth & breadth of roasted malt flavors loiters on the palate while the robust finish lingers, well, forever.

20 IBU
Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 132 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BourbonForBeer
BourbonForBeer from Illinois

3.34/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Meh, it's good but not anything that exiceting imo. Kind of like, alright ehhhh, I'm ready for the next of something else tbh. Thin, smells not very good, tastes better than it smells, meh.

Jan 30, 2021
Photo of mmilyko
mmilyko from Nevada

3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure I know what a Belgian-Style Imperial Stout is, but despite the claim of ale aged in bourbon oak barrels, I didn't find this in any way "Belgian-Style" or particularly barrel aged. A very good Imperial Stout, no doubt, but seemingly built up to be something more. This is my first experience with this brewery, and based on other reviews, I look forward to trying some of their other offerings.

Sep 13, 2020
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo from Netherlands

3.27/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this one from rutger this past summer. Cheers! Huge longtime want so really happy to see they’ve decided to fire up the mash tun and re-brew this one.

From a bomber into a snifter
IBU: 20
Belgian style imperial stout aged in bourbon oak barrels

APPEARANCE: Clear dark brown pour yields a 1+ finger, medium looking, foamy tan head with okay retention. Clear black body with higher levels of carbonation for the style. Head recedes to a half wisp and ring. Dots of wisp and a ring remain leaving touches of lacing down the glass. Kind of lighter than others and a slightly foamy head.

SMELL: Oak and wood aromas, bourbon, some vanilla and milk chocolate, toffee notes, and some tart cherries and barnyard character as well. Some roasted notes and alcohol there too. Bold.

TASTE: Oak, wood and bourbon flavors with some alcohol and light tartness at the swallow. A bold finish of milk chocolate, vanilla, woody flavors, bourbon, oak, some tart cherries and dark fruits linger on the palate. Some decent wood, tartness, roasted flavors and booze round out the show. Roasted Belgian funkiness and a bourbon forward bed of booze. Surprised this is only 10% ABV.

PALATE: Medium, lighter body and slightly higher levels of carbonation. Semi-creamy but also a little foamy as well, goes down okay with a bit of a burn and finishes rather sticky on the palate. A good dose of heat lingers.

OVERALL: This is okay but not quite the decadent treat I was hoping for. In a way, I’m not quite sure what I was hoping for in a Belgian style imperial stout in bourbon barrels. I’ve always loved every big black Midnight Sun that’s ever crossed my lips, from Berzsrker to Bar Fly and Moscow, so I guess I had super high expectations for this one. I hate to admit that it’s just alright. If Belgian style imperial stouts are your thing then you’ll definitely like this, but if you’re hoping for something that fits in the same category as their other big stouts, this might not do the trick. In any case, thanks heap for the brew, rutger. Really happy to finally have the chance to try this sucker. Cheers!

Nov 02, 2019
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This has an almost cherry tartness, which I'm fond of for a stout on the lighter side of imperial. Not my favorite Midnight Sun beer but for the price I've come back to it several times. If you like a Belgian stout - try this version.

Apr 20, 2019
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is described as "Ale aged in Bourbon oak barrels." The aroma is strange and interesting, with a pineapple fruitiness and even a sourish edge. There is something boozy but Bourbon is not what comes to mind. Deep dark color and viscuous on the tongue. Hot with alcohol and I taste a bit of cinnamon.

Moderately sweet and a little chalky. Lots of licorice and a deep funky note. The Belgian yeast is the secret weapon but it does have some odd flavors. Why do I think of piña colada with a sloe gin chaser? From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Elizabeth Station in Bellingham.

Dec 06, 2018
Photo of Radcpa
Radcpa from Washington

4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very dark appearance with tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is a malt with some slight vanilla and coconut accent. Taste is similar to aroma and must add a very nice feel

Jun 21, 2018
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Brown coal colored body; thin yet lasting brow head. Sweet caramel smell; fruity with cocoa tones. Nicely balanced flavors of cocoa, brown sugar, toffee. Heavy body; some softness; mildly warm.

An all-around, nicely balanced beer with lots of nifty hints and nuances.

Mar 15, 2018
Photo of VashonGuy
VashonGuy from Washington

4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2016 bomber, poured into a snifter.

Appearance: very dark, minimal head. Aroma is rich, complex, and balanced. Which is a way of saying that nothing really dominates: not the bourbon, not the vanilla, not the roasted malts. Instead, it's a good balance of a lot of stuff, and I suppose some of that is the Belgian yeast. The taste is again, quite balanced. There's bourbon there, but this is no bourbon bomb. There's vanilla, and there's a zillion other flavors. It's a little tart on the finish. The mouthfeel is super smooth.

I've had a lot of stouts, a lot of imperial stouts, a lot of Russian Imperial Stouts. I'm not sure exactly what makes this a Belgian style stout, but it's really good, and one of the best imperial stouts that I've had.

Nov 12, 2017
Photo of darktronica
darktronica from Indiana

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The brewer notes about the pour are on point; the opaque darkness and thick sludginess outclasses a lot of Sloth's higher-ABV, barrel-aged stout brethren. The nose is quite appealing, if a bit confusing and unexpected in contrast to appearances: strong notes of malt, vanilla yogurt, Montmorency cherry, and barrel oak. I suppose some of the fruitiness and yogurt are attributable to the Belgian yeast, and this carries through to the flavor profile, which adds some dark plum, cherry cordial, and chocolate notes. Coconut is a bit subdued but starts to emerge as the beer warms. Quite complex, not 100% coherent or balanced, but a very unusual composition that's absolutely worth giving a try.

Mar 10, 2017
Photo of Damian
Damian from Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 22 fl.oz.•1 pt 6 fl.oz. bottle purchased at DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, Seattle, WA
1/7/16
Served in a snifter

Review #1325

Super oily and viscous, absolute pitch black appeareace. The shimmery liquid was topped by a barely-there film of burnt sienna colored bubbles. Bit of patchy lacing along the glass.

The aroma was mind blowingly good. Incredibly rich and robust. Loads of fragrant bourbon. Boozy but not at all hot. There was a noticeable oxidized quality that made me think of port perhaps too. Strong vanilla notes. Super malty and sweet. A bit tart. Intense dark fruit notes. Raisins and currants dominated. Good amount of brown sugar too. Touch of roast.

The flavor profile was very similar to the nose but not quite as smooth or as intense. Loads of roasted and caramel malts on the front end. Brown sugar was also noticeable. Strong dark fruit notes in the center. Good dose of fruity tartness and port-like booziness. Charred raisins and currants came through strong. Some espresso too. Roasted malts appeared again on the back end. Hint of char. Big, boozy, whiskey-like notes lingered in the finish. Perhaps a touch hot for my liking.

The mouthfeel was the only somewhat disappointing aspect of this beer. It was lighter bodied for the style and initially contained a fairly aggressive, larger bubbled effervescence. Somewhat airy on the palate. The carbonation settled with time and the liquid turned smooth and creamy.

Despite the fact that I picked up absolutely no Belgian-like characteristics, Sloth was still an incredibly rich, interesting and complex imperial stout. Beers with barrel notes this big typically are slow sippers, but this drank remarkably well. If I had a few more bottles, I would love to revisit them in time and see if the oxidative notes intensify.

Feb 03, 2017
Photo of Bluecrow
Bluecrow from New York

4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

-opaque, dark brown tap pour with a half cm foam cap that quickly dissipated to a ring. Aroma has some cacao and some bourbon. Flavors include oak, bourbon and a bit of char. Mouthfeel is not overly slick. This is a rich, tasty gift.

Jan 03, 2017
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.43/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

650 mL bottle. Black body with a medium khaki head. Smells of heavy roasted malt. A little bourbon. Oak. Dark fruits. Taste is very sharp. Lots of dark fruit. Heavy roasted malt. Sharp dark fruit. Bitter and acrid finish. High carbonation. Not really getting the hype here.

Oct 11, 2016
Photo of PHBoiler
PHBoiler from Illinois

4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bourbon on the nose is warming. Flavor carries lots of fig, raisin, and dark fruits. Almost some tannic qualities alongside the oak and bourbon notes. Rich mouthfeel.

Jun 30, 2016
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing from California

3.77/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on-tap at Final Gravity in Roseville, CA

Appearance - Served up in a 10oz glass, the brew is black as beer gets, with a thin ring of suds clinging to the edge of the glass.

Smell - Molasses mostly, with hints of vanilla, fig and booziness.

Taste - Follows the nose. Lots of molasses upfront and throughout with lesser notes of vanilla, dark fruit and a bit of charred malt. Finishes sweet and a touch boozy.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with low carbonation. Thick, syrupy texture that leaves a residue on the lips.

Overall - Okay BA stout, but way too thick and syrupy for my liking, nor does the flavor deviate much from it's staunch molasses core. For the price, I'd just as soon try something different.

Jun 25, 2016
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottle purchased at Oliver's Beverage in Albany, NY. 2016 vintage.

This one pours a very dark black, with a half inch mocha-colored head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells wonderful, lots of dark fruit, raisins, and chocolate, little bit of yeastiness, chocolate, heavy bourbon, and oak.

Midnight Sun really does know how to barrel-age the hell out of a beer. This pretty sweet up front, bourbon, and lots of dark fruit, the "Belgian-style" part of the stout. There's a bit of port flavor, even though it's not aged in port barrels. The finish brings vanilla, spicy bitter oak, and heavy duty roasted malt, for a long lingering finish. The complexity on this one is really nice.

This is medium bodied, not super, super thick, but thick enough, with a creamy mouthfeel and a normal level of carbonation.

Midnight Sun continues to wow me with its barrel program here. A pretty exquisite take on the style.

Jun 09, 2016
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, opaque black in the glass with a fine, half finger brown head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, chocolate, bourbon and a hint of vanilla. Flavor is dark toasted malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, lots of oak, mild bourbon; finishes with chocolate, slightly tart and vinous from the barreling and Belgian yeast. Superb heavy body with a silky, creamy mouth feel. The malt and barrel flavors are excellent and matched with the mouth feel are great. The mild vinous tartness in the finish clashes a little for me, although the heavy chocolate malt body and Belgian character atone for this overall. A flavorful Belgian style stout with an incredible mouth feel, luscious. The original brew of this achieved the status of whale and I never expected to ever see one, so was pleased to see this brewed again. Deserves its reputation.

Apr 22, 2016
Photo of lupercmda
lupercmda from North Carolina

4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black with minimal head. Tastes is dark roasted chocolate with mild belgian yeast character. Some candy sugar notes but it is minimal. Overall a very good stout.

Jan 30, 2016
Photo of ragnar3
ragnar3 from Iowa

4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap, poured into a tulip. Nice roasty malt, oak, dark fruits and tons of chocolate and a bit of vanilla and coffee. Perfect for a cold Alaska night!

Jan 29, 2016
Photo of unclekeith
unclekeith from Alaska

4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2016 bomber into a Teku

A: pitch black with a 1-finger Biege head, viscous curtains cling to the glass, lacing is persistent
S: tobacco, rich roasted malt, bourbon, some soy sauce, very enticing
T: following the nose, but the Belgian aspect is coming through with some fruitiness, some heat, sweetness, a lot going on and none of subtly.
M: thick, viscous syrup but not as sweet as you'd expect, plenty of heat, feels stronger than 10%
O: a beast, complex, a sipper, big flavors duking it out. Cellaring will slowly tame this beast, but I prefer my sloths a bit feral

Jan 16, 2016
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429 from Illinois

3.38/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to AgentZero for making this happen. Served in a Midnight Sun goblet. Pours near-black with a short off-white head and not much in the way of lacing. The nose has a pretty heavy amount of roast with some light barrel character. Some chocolate and just a bit of vanilla in the background. Not getting much from the Belgian yeast at this point. Flavor is similar and fairly muted. Seems a bit oxidized. Heavy malt character with roast and chocolate. A bit undercarbonated. Nice, but just seems to fall flat like it’s well past its prime, unfortunately. Still, very fun to try.

Dec 15, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thoroe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer is near black and appears viscous and oily. Minimal beige head. The aroma brings roast, oak, lightly sweet. Mild smoke in the aroma with a delicate warming alcohol finish. Relatively full bodied and palate coating. An outstanding example of the style.

Jul 07, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh from Maryland

4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe at a recent tasting, thank you very much Thorpe, this is a top want for me. At the time of this review, this is #13 on the "Top Beers - Russian Imperial Stout" list on beeradvocate.com. Served in a snifter.

Beer is black and oily, thick with a nice thin head of small bubbles, minimal retention, lacing, and all of that.

Aroma is sweet, liquor, mild anise almost, interesting, a smells awesome.

This was the winner of the night for me. It is incredible. Thick and fudgy with a nice liquor and alcohol notes. I really enjoyed it and would have it again for sure.

Jun 25, 2012
Photo of CharlieMurphy
CharlieMurphy from New York

3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Still on tap @ Midnight Sun. Preeetty cool.

A: dark black with a VERY minute white head hiding on the shore. Looks deep and abysmal but thin like hot syrup.

S: booze, chocolate sweetness, licorice. Mild overall

T: bourbon for sure but this seems to be very mild and delayed in its presentation, I want to see this is either very old or not 100% bb aged. Notes of coconut, vanilla, port wine, toffee. Again very soft bourbon. Very enjoyable with lots of *Subtle* complexities

M: the body almost reminds me of a new holland stout ( port like ) at least initially. Carbonation is low which is what it is but the body is also very thin. Finishes as elegant yet dominant as Lynn Swan

O: cool to try, but trying to trade for a bottle would be half-ritard

May 19, 2012
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX from Washington

4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Midnight Sun right now! Are you kidding me! I am so glad to try this one.

A - Servered in a 12 oz goblet. A very dark brown, but not as black as some other stouts. A nice dark tan head forms and slowly fades to a few bubbles around the edges.

S - Chocolate really is strong here. I don't really get much else. Maybe I am rushing here.

T - A sweet dark chocolate with hints of oak and coffee. Sweeter than I was expecting.

D - Good carbonation and body for the style.

O - A real treat to have this on tap. A sweet Belgian style stout. I really savored and enjoyed this one.

May 02, 2012
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had again end of 2011. A few quick notes, lots of rich cake like flavors, notes of fruit in back with some ashy malt in middle. Bright flavors, balanced and complex. Rating based off of most recent tasting.
***
Big thanks to Jeremy for the tasting on this one!

A-pours a viscous jet black liquid with a dark tan, bubbly head that lingers for a moment leaving no lace.

S-the nose is quite nice, notes of chocolate and lots of savory fudge, light touch of oak with a solid dark fruit presence in the back.

T-lots of milk chocolate and vanilla, good roasted presence with dry oak accompanied. ripened dark fruits add sweetness and vinous characteristics with a touch of belgian yeast and a light smoked peat moss behind.

M-very soft, smooth and silky on the palate with a full body that avoids being heavy yet not thin as many barrel aged beers can become.

D-huge flavors that blend perfectly together and brings such complexity. the barrel aging stands up just right leaving a full body with the soft belgian feel. awesome beer!

Mar 27, 2012
Sloth - Belgian-Style Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 132 ratings