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

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Sloth - Belgian-Style Imperial StoutSloth - Belgian-Style Imperial Stout

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by beersabound on 11-03-2007

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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 106
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.43/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.77/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of lupercmda
4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of ragnar3
4.24/5  rDev -3.2%
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!

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Photo of unclekeith
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
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

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.38/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.88/5  rDev -11.4%
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

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.41/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
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!

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Photo of RodneyX
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Belgian style stout sounds bad, but MS usually delivers. The beer pours a light-sucking black color with a brown head. Quite thick looking. Smells sweet like chocolate with some coffee and alcohol that cuts through it. Vanilla and dark fruits come through. The flavors are all pretty distinct but still balanced at the same time. Really well crafted nose.

The alcohol is well hidden in the taste. Flavor is best described as intense with chocolate, molasses, dark fruit, and roast. There is a bit of smoke on the end. I like the nose better, but this is still really good. It's got lower carbonation and is full bodied.

Overall this is a hell of a beer that I wish I could get another bottle of. It's quite unique, but is great not just because it's different.

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Photo of waltersrj
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Original bottling (2008 I believe).

Thanks to Dan's tasting and a great BA for sharing at our 2011 Impy stout tasting.

Nose: Fig, raisin, Belgian yeast, dark roasted malts, charred ash, oak, slight whiskey vanilla and oak and a good amount of chocolate and possibly cherry cordial.

Taste: Fantastic roasted malts and Belgian yeast/spice, chocolate, cherry cordial, vanilla, oak and whiskey.

Mouthfeel: Amazingly velvety smooth, this is one of the best creamy and velvety mouthfeels I've ever had.

Overall: Amazing and they better make this again as I've heard it's currently barrel aging.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black color with an average creamy light brown head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Heavy toasted chocolate, wood with a small alcohol aroma. Median to full body with a creamy texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy toasted sweet chocolate malt flavor with a heavy bittersweet finish of long duration. This is a standout beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"We excuse our sloth under the pretext of difficulty."

--Marcus Fabius Quintilian

Obsidian with no highlights whatsever... not even with bright winter sunlight attempting to penetrate the glass. A tidy crown of double fudge milkshake colored cream looks like it will hang around for quite some time (and does). Wow, what a looker!

This burly black beast smells like a cross between an RIS and a Belgian stout, which makes perfect sense. It probably favors the former so far, since Belgian yeast esters are on the low end. Or maybe they're just overpowered by all that roasted/charred malt.

Any fears that Sloth Belgian-Style Imperial Stout has not held up since the release need to be put to rest right here and now. This is one of the best (3 years plus) aged ales of any style that I've ever had. The mouthfeel doesn't even appear to have taken a hit.

Each eagerly awaited mouthful is a barely controlled explosion of what makes beer of this style my second favorite, behind only hellaciously hoppy IPAs and DIPAs. The explosive specifics include raisins and figs soaked in Sambuca, dark brown sugar syrup, blackstrap molasses, bittersweet chocolate brownies and hints of ground clove.

What a devilishly delicious dark symphony of flavor... that is becoming even more bold and deep with warming. Despite a mere 20 IBUs when fresh, this is not sticky sweet ale. Oh, it's sweet alright, but it isn't dessert beer sweet. Great for sipping (hard to do) and equally great for gulping (which is where I'm at right now).

The mouthfeel is easily one of the five best ever(!) after more than three years in the bottle. Maybe one of the three best. It's incredibly lush and creamy-dreamy with plenty of semi-stickiness born of mucho malt sugars. The carbonation snuggles right into the sweet-spot as well.

It's only late February, but it's hard to imagine that Sloth Belgian-Style Imperial Stout will be bested for the remainder of 2011. A well-deserved thanks to sprucetip, an unfailingly generous BA, for digging into his cellar and going through hell and high water to provide me with this outstanding ale from the land of the Midnight Sun.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 rate.

Pours a fairly viscous black with a thick, dark mocha head. Nose of pretty big roasted malt, fine coffee dust, and some charred, ashy oak. More light and creamy in the mouth than I expected, really bringing out the charred, ashy qualities. Some dark bitter chocolate, fudge, and coffee, segueing into an endless finish with a constantly changing character. This was pretty fascinating and is just a wonderful imperial stout.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I dug into my notes from summertime when I am too busy to enter reviews and chose one of my favorites for review number 400 (with #420 just around the corner, but that's off topic)! Another 50 or so and I'd have something close to 10% of Buckeynation. Good thing this isn't a race or a competition. Not just quantity, but quality, because Buckeye's reviews are phenomenal and inspiring. Mine are pretty bland in comparison.

Sloth was my favorite of the 2007 Seven Deadly Sins Series, and I went as Sloth to a Midnight Sun New Year's Eve party that year, and came in runner up for the first prize of the 7 brews of the 7DS collection. So close! But not quite. But the guy who won gave me the Sloth bottle. Gluttony, I think he was. But I bought a bunch too, and I just gave one to Buckeye, and there is one more in the cellar doing time, possibly past it's prime? I'm told I could get a lot of beer for it, but I will consume it with friends at some point.

The pour produced a densely black fluid with thick head that was darker than mocha, and it hung around for a while. It was very active, and left scraps of patchy lacing.

The smell was chocolaty, mildly roasty, star anise/licorice, modestly boozy, and malty sweet. It all blends together very nicely, with just a wee bit of musky funky Belgian yeasty character.

Taste followed the nose with rich malty sweetness, medium roast, star anise, noticeable alcohol, and mild roasty and/or hoppy bitterness.

Low to medium carbonation, very rich and full body, chewy thick viscosity, and somehow a clean finish.

Very flavorful, pleasantly textured, balanced and complex sipper. I lobbied the folks at Midnight Sun to make it again, but I didn't get the impression that it was in the plans. They reminded me of the Berzerker that is released each fall.... But who knows, maybe now that they've got 4x the capacity, they'll crank out another batch someday.

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Photo of AdamCook
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Acquired this beer at the 2010 Dark Lord Day in a trade for a Brooklyn Black Ops and a Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold. Let me start out by saying, best trade we ever made.

When the cap is taken off, the smell is not overwhelming. It's just right. Pours smooth and pure into a glass, leaving a small amount of caramel colored bubbles.

The smell is now hauntingly appetizing.

Taste is exceptional. Very smooth, smokey with some light saltiness. Chocolate, fig, black cherry, light molasses, angel tears, a hint of pure sinful madness, dark fruits and caramel. Finishes with a lasting, chewable single note.

A rare contender to the auspiciously created Dark Lord.

And to think I was trying to hold out for something better...I stand corrected and shamed by my lack of knowledge.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tick #350!

22oz bomber.

A - Pours black, no head, thing ring around the glass.

S - Chocolate, coffee beams, cream, slightly bitter, nice roasty notes. Very solid, but coming from MS, it doesn't surprise me.

T - Bitter dark chocolate, creamy rich chocolate, roasty notes, vanilla sweetness, and some oak. So rich and decadent, so f'n good.

M - Full, slick, rich, smooth, bitter finish.

D - Awesome. So good. MS comes through yet again with another winner. Not a whole lot of Belgian characteristics, but who gives a crap, it's good.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A million thank you's to Adam for sending me a hand bottled growler of this rarity. About 4 days old. Poured into a Blue Point Snifter.

A: Growler opens with a muted hiss... a good sign! Pours a single layer of bubbles on top of a black-as-night beer. Lacing is non-existant.

S: Nose is of pure ethanol, sweet soy sauce, and the slightest hint of sun dried prunes in the background.

T: Grapes, prunes, chocolate, fudge, sweet soy sauce, all engulfed by a noticeable, yet mellow alcoholic cover. Not hot in the least. Subtly sweet and oily towards the end with the dark fruit fading out and a slightly roasty, milk chocolate flavor fading in. Finish is chewy brownie. Aftertaste is a brownie sweetness that coats the palate.

M: Medium to full bodied, ever-so-slightly carbonated, and probably the smoothest and easiest drinking beer that I have ever tasted or will ever taste. Slides down the gullet while caressing my throat. Silky smooth doesn't even begin to describe this one. Finish is messy and aftertaste lingers.

D: Not the most complex RIS in the world but by God, probably the tastiest. I'd give this one a 6 on taste and feel if I could. So easy to drink despite the high ABV since its so friggin smooth! Despite the hype, this beer is far far underrated in my opinion. Well worth acquiring.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours what at first appears to be a lifeless black, but after stopping pouring a late rising half finger of head forms.

The aroma is an incredibly decadent mix of chocolate, toffee, raisins, vanilla, grapes, citrus hoppiness....man, this is just begging me to take a sip.

The flavor is not quite as complex as the nose would suggest but it is still quite good. It starts out with some dry oakiness followed by dusty cocoa. Vanilla and plums in there as well. The flavor profile is very nice for sure, one that keeps me taking sip after sip looking for more.

The body doesn't quite support the flavor. It is medium with low carbonation. Not watery by any means, but either a bit more thickness or a bit more carbonation is needed to match the flavor.

Overall, this is a seriously good beer but probably not worth the effort to acquire. Not sure how it may differ from when it was fresh, but at this point in its life it is damn near a mirror image of the flat bottles of Lost Abbey Angel's Share from last year.

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Photo of tpd975
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to timmcd for sending me this one.

A: Pours a nice dark black with a small tan head. No real retention or lace.

S: Aromas of deeply roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, coconut, and vanilla. Mild woody notes with an alcoholic kick.

T: Very much like the aroma. Wonderful bold flavors. Nice roast with a coconut macaroon like sweetness. Chocolate and coffee are there in a big way with some vanilla and barrel notes. Hints of raisin and a bit of booze round things out.

M: Medium in body, smooth and tasty.

D: Very good, really liked this beer.

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Sloth - Belgian-Style Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.38 out of 5 based on 106 ratings.
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