Black Cauldron Imperial Stout | Grand Teton Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
88
very good
325 Reviews
Black Cauldron Imperial StoutBlack Cauldron Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Idaho, United States
grandtetonbrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
There are few styles of beer more flavorful than Imperial Stout. Our thick, rich version is brewed with plenty of caramel and roasted malts and subtly spiced with Cascade and Super Galena hops. We accentuate the natural smokiness of the brew by adding a small amount of beechwood-smoked malt. At 22.5 degrees starting gravity and 9.5% alcohol by volume, this beer boasts flavors of chocolate and coffee, along with raisins and dried fruit soaked in sherry.

Black Cauldron is a strong ale best enjoyed in moderation. Try pairing it with full-flavored grilled or roasted meats. Rich desserts like chocolate cake, truffles, fruit tarts, caramel flan or crème brûlée are all excellent matches.

We brew our Black Cauldron Imperial Stout to recognize and honor the women in the history of brewing. Brewing has been women's work since the dawn of civilization. In all ancient cultures, beer was a gift from a goddess, and women maintained status and power through their skills as brewsters. This remains true today in indigenous cultures from Asia to Latin America, Africa to remote villages in Scandinavia. Around the world, women bake bread and brew their own beer.

In Europe, the rise of cities brought commercial brewing, as governments realized the potential tax revenue to be had from large breweries. By 1445, the first all-male brewers' guild was established, the campaign against witchcraft burst forth across Europe, and the purge of women from brewing had begun. Beer historian Alan Eames has written that, when an occupation was listed, most of the women burned for witchcraft in Europe were brewsters or alewives.

Most of the imagery we associate with witchcraft today originated with the brewster. The large black cauldron bubbling over with foam? A brew kettle, of course. The black cat? Necessary to keep rats out of the grain store. The tall pointed hat? It allowed the brewster to be seen over the heads of taller men in the marketplace. A broom? The symbol of household domesticity, it is still associated with brewing all over the world.

Without the work of these women through the ages, it's entirely possible beer would not exist today. To learn more about the role of women in today's brewing industry, visit www.pinkbootssociety.org. For more on the history of brewing, www.grandtetonbrewing.com.

With its dark malts, alcohol and unfermented sugars Black Cauldron is ideal for prolonged cellaring. We’ve enjoyed samples aged as long as nine years.

Original Gravity (Plato): 22.5º
International Bitterness Units: 54
Color (Lovibond): 40.0º

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-23-2006

BEER STATS
Reviews:
325
Ratings:
601
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
15.05%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
61
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 325 | Ratings: 601
Photo of stevoj
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampled at Boise’s Imperial Stout get together, over 120 bottles to choose from. Going with the flow on this rating. pours out a nice black topped with a tan head. A nice sweet aroma. Some hops and dark roast in it as well. Taste of coffee, bitter hops, and chocolate.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good thick black viscous appearance, 3/4" tan head on the top of it. Aroma had substantial alcohol and roast to a lesser degree.

Taste was better, mouthfeel hid the alcohol . Still plenty of dark fruit bitterness, licorice. The hopping from the Cascade and Nugget hops gives the bitterness a little more diverse play than just the dark fruit bitterness many RIS beers get bogged down by. Not a bad deal if you like stouts year round.

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Photo of Catracho5
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with ruby colored edges when held up to the light, head is full and tan colored, head did not retain long, good amount of carbonation streaming up the sides, lots of lacing.

A: Very subtle aromas of roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, needs more punch in the aroma, not getting any alcohol.

T: Roasted malts, char, smoke, dark chocolate and dark fruits, hint of coffee, very smooth and drinkable, alcohol is not noticeable on the taste, solid beer.

M: Medium bodied with a semi-dry finish, good amount of carbonation on the mouthfeel, smooth, creamy.

O: A solid RIS, could use some more punch on the aroma and flavor, has a nice mouthfeel, leans more on the smokey side of a RIS, glad to try it but there are better out there.

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Photo of MNAle
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled: August 2015. Tasted Feb 14, 2016. Started with a ~3 or 4 oz pour. Very dark with a nice tan head (about 1/2 inch). Too dark for any visible carbonation. Nutty aroma, perhaps a bit of chocolate and raisin. Some vanilla. Very smooth initial taste, thick feel, stickiness on the tongue and throat in the aftertaste. Taste follows the aroma, nutty and dark fruits a bit past their prime. Alcohol is present in the taste, but not dominating (but it certainly hits you soon enough!). Semi-sweet. Very pleasant, but no bittering at all. Very, very smooth, thick, and mild. I consider the total lack of bittering to be a downgrade on what is otherwise an excellent stout.

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Photo of Libeertarian
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 Cellar Reserve. I know where I can purchase a half dozen more of these for about half what they normally go for. Tempted to pick them up and enjoy them for the next several years as they age. EDIT 02/01/16: So I eventually got around to buying some more of these. I added four to my collection, meaning, I have five left to go, not counting the one I already reviewed. This is going to be fun to revisit through 2021, assuming I'm patient enough to hold onto them.

Dark brown or black, completely opaque save for edges which are still a dark cola color. Head is fine, filmy, creamy, and brown, fairly dark for what it is, but a golden tone to it. Roastiness, licorice, earth, ethanol, and cocoa aromas. Milk chocolate in a big way throughout. But dark or overripe fruits, spirits, and general booziness are not to be outdone. Not so subtle soil notes, roastiness on the back end combined with peppercorn fumes and small contingent of spicy and earthy hops which are nearly balanced out by the rest of this exquisite palate. Lighter example of a full bodied brew, viscous and velvety, medium carbonation, slightly tingly with smaller, finer bubbles, low astringency for the style, a considerable warmth factor.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours minimal head on a black body.
The aroma is all the good things: coffee, milk, chocolate, licorice and a touch of smoke.
The taste is pleasantly easy. Roasted malt and caramel sweetness, a little coffee bitter.
The texture is thicker and silky.
Really enjoyable.

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Photo of jakecattleco
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from August Release into a tulip glass. Nothing about this beer is dynamic. While the attributes are pleasurable, they are all fairly mute. Won't buy again, but an enjoyable though nondescript favorable attribute beer nonetheless.

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Photo of BlackBeerPirate
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Taste is toasted coffee bean, toffee, molasses notes.
Black and opaque.
Roasted malt and coffee nose.
Full body with dark tan head and webbed lace to head.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage poured from 750 ml bottle into a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer pours a nearly pitch black color with a one finger head of tan colored foam. The head of the brew has a great level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a ton of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the brew is heavy of a dark and roasted malt smell with tons of coffee and a good strong showing of aromas of chocolate and a raisin. Along with these aromas comes some lighter notes of licorice and vanilla as well as a little bit of a toasted wheat bread smell and some light vanilla.

Taste – The taste begins with a nice roasty and toasted malt flavor with a decent showing of a chocolate and lightly molasses sweetened expresso taste. As the taste advances, it ends up getting slightly sweeter as more molasses and chocolate, as well as a hint of sweet crème, vanilla and some raisin come to the tongue. All the while however, the sweetness is balanced by some char and an almost grainy like taste. Some boozy tastes of bourbon come to the tongue more toward the end of the taste, and with a slight increase in the sweet, end up leaving one with a dark and roasty, warming taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the rather thick and chewy side with a creamy texture and a lighter carbonation. These feels are fantastic for the rich dark, roasty, and lightly sweet and boozy tastes of the brew and make for a very pleasant slow sipping beer; accentuating all the rich tastes of the brew very nicely.

Overall – This is a very nice imperial stout overall. Not overly sweet, but very much sweet enough. It has a great roastiness and a fantastic feel, which overall creates a mouth coating, rich and roasty feel.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque, very dark brown with a medium tan head.
The aroma is quite nice with chocolate, roast coffee, dark fruit and a hint of char.
A tasty stout! Lots of dark chocolate up front with some roast coffee notes. Some dark fruit in the middle with a lingering bitter and drying finish that includes a bit of char. There's even a bit of sweet chocolate as it warms.
Medium mouthfeel that's slightly creamy.
Really good.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours nearly black with a 3” rocky tan foam collar that produces Guinness quality lace.
S: Dark malts, roast, dark dried fruit.
T: Some initial maltiness, sweet caramel and dark dried fruit gives way to bitter dark roast flavors that lead to a dry roasty astringent finish.
F: medium body, very creamy texture with fine soft carbonation.
O: Like biting into an espresso bean but in a very good way.

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Photo of i4ourgot
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pretty good beer, for a split second it reminded me on an iced coffee with cream. I enjoyed this beer on nitro and oddly there was almost no head, but what little there was, was dark tan in color. The beer had lots of sweet coffee and chocolate notes and it hits real hard. By the end of the beer i could feel a little warming sensation in my stomach. On nitro the beer feels a little thin less body than I would be expecting while still creamy. I am expecting a little more body from a beer like this. Maybe it was the nitro maybe not.

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Photo of chinchill
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz 2013 bottle.

Aroma: rich and complex with a solid base of dark malts and hints of oak, whisky, charred wood and dark fruits.

Flavor: rich and complex with plenty of dark malts and hints of oak, toffee, dark chocolate, black coffee, whisky, smoke, vanilla, raisins and other dark fruits. Spicy hops become more apparent in the aftertaste.

Feel: full, very smooth body with appropriate medium-light carbonation.

O:

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Photo of barczar
3.96/5  rDev +1%

2013 vintage. Beautiful beer. Tar, licorice, and deeply roasted malts accompany coffee grounds and dark chocolate in the aroma. There's a bit of a savory soy note. Flavor is fairly sweet and roasty upfront, with a buttery, nutty, dark chocolate note mid palate, and a fairly bitter finish. Metallic notes detract somewhat, but there's enough flavor to redeem. Vinous undertones add complexity. Fairly complex stout. Not sure it'll age any longer.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, with sticker on the bottleneck reading bottled on 09/21/2011, so this beer is approaching it's third birthday. I have had a bottle of this before, but I don't really remember how it went. Got this bottle on sale for something like $6.99.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a deep dark mahogany color, but appears opaque black in the glass with three big fluffy fingers of mocha head. Carbonation appears to have held up well, and the head still has some pretty nice staying power. Looks very nice.

S - The aroma is comprised of the usual suspects - chocolate, coffee bean roast, cream / lactose elements, mild alcohol warmth, and some dried dark fruitiness. Very subtle smoke character is in there if you look hard enough.

T - The taste is comprised of roasty chocolate malts, coffee bean roast, mild notes of cream / vanilla, some dark fruit presence like cherries, and a some coiny metallics.

M - The feel is smooth and creamy. It goes down nice and easy for a three year old imperial stout at 8.00% abv. Good adequate carbonation still hanging in there.

Overall, a decent, if somewhat average imperial stout from Grand Teton that has aged gracefully over the past few years. Definitely worth the 7 dollars I paid for this bottle, and I can safely say that I thought more of this beer my second time around than I did when I first drank it over a year ago.

Grand Teton Black Cauldron Imperial Stout ---4/5.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Dated bottle, October 19th, 2012.

Deep dark black walnut body, can't see much through this at all. Head is barely a finger, quite a dark coffee brown, but settles to a thin puck and a bubbled collar. Some leg like action a bit, and leopard spot lacing. Not bad.

Mild roast, and soft milk chocolate. Some lactose like sweetness a bit, and some type of maraschino like cherry sweetness hint. Inviting, small, subtle, but very enjoyable. Figured this was beyond redemption.

Real interesting palate. Milky and almost silky quality. Good finishing charred roast and a good coffee and roasty bitterness. Some slight tingling carbonation which matches nicely. Hints of mint and tobacco as well, quite interesting. Lime and citrus slight finish to match with a hint of sweetness to go with it.

Pretty nice solid basic imperial stout that has held up well.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Robust heavy roasted malts, coffee, bitter sweet chocolate and baking cocoa. Lots of barley and hints of smoked hay and subtle presence of cigar smoke. Nice prickly carbonation but the body was on the thin side. Overall stellar RIS. Lots of bitter coffee and cocoa on the dry finish.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a brown ring of bubbly head.

S: Dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and perhaps a slight hint of anise.

T: Smoke is more noticeable in the taste with some bitter coffee, dark chocolate, and a bit of dark fruit and citrus peel.

M: Full bodied and smooth, creamyish.

O: A really good imperial stout. I like the anise, molasses and smoke a lot. Three great flavors one might find in such a beer.

Note: Bottled in late 2009, imbibed in late 2012.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

BOD 9/23/13. Solid black pour with a thick tan head that laces well and lasts. Nose is of roast, chocolate and has hints of dark fruit (raisins) against a malt sweetness. Not quite full bodied with a slick creamy mouthfeel over normal carbonation. The complex taste profile is well balanced with many good flavors. Against a sweet background, it begins with a touch of roast, progresses to chocolate and ends with raisins against a touch of smoke and alcohol. The finish is smooth with a slight residual alcohol burn over charred oak. My first Grand Teton offering and it is an exceptional stout.

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Photo of Zorro
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black colored beer with a small brown colored head.

Smells of chocolate and berries with some raisin scent. Slightly earthy and smoky with a plum wine aroma like the Japanese wine. Not really getting the coffee aroma is is more of a mocha scent.

Starts out thick and quite restrained, like the first mouthful of a milkshake. Chocolate and berries with a smoky aftertaste, really hard to shake the sensation that this is actually a gourmet milkshake of some sort. Truly mild flavored, this isn't a RIS that knocks out your taste buds with two sips. Alcohol completely hidden. Could be a little more complex but it sure is good.

Perfect mouthfeel, any thicker and you would need to eat this with a spoon.

Overall this is pretty damn good. I would NEVER refuse another one of these.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Black Cauldron pours a black color with a small head. There is a deep and prominent black licorice and black coffee aroma. The taste has large black licorice flavors, with good hints of black coffee, and finishes with a oakey and smokey taste. Body is a bit light, but still good flavors. Overall a very flavorful an complex stout.

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Photo of ACarrell
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Excellent find by a friend.

Smell was a bit hoppier than I'd like, but the taste compensated for that quite well. Surprisingly it didn't have any overwhelming hops despite the first impression upon opening.

Really builds into a more and more solid beer as you drink more of it.

Would definitely buy again!

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Being reviewed is a 2011 Vintage from the cellar.

A - Pitch black color and an even layer of toffee colored foam sticking on top that doesn't fade away with lots of sticky foam lacing when the glass is swirled.

S - Coffee beans, dark roasted chocolate malt, toffee cream, malted chocolate, very light alcohol.

T - Molasses, dark fruit (figs & dark fruit), some sweet coffee and cream with a mildly bitter chocolate bite at the very end. There is a very small hint of smoky char in the mix as well.

M - Medium body with alcohol warming on the way down.

O - Not really doing it for me but then again, perhaps I let it sit too long? Would love to have a 2013 to compare notes to.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter. 12/10/09 bottle date. Hopefully this has held up well.

A: Pours pitch black with two fingers of light tan foam. Great retention, average lacing.

S: There is a ton going on here. Smoke is apparent, but not dominant. Dark fruits, malted milk balls, and sherry come in after that. Roasted malts and dark chocolate are there, but are in the background.

T: Malted milk balls and vanilla are fairly strong here, followed by smoke and roasted malts. Dark chocolate and figs are also here, adding to the complexity. As I keep drinking, more and more dark chocolate comes out mixing well with the melange of sweet flavors.

M: A bit on the thin side, but creamy carbonation helps make up for it.

O: A great imperial stout. This has aged very gracefully. Lots going on here with very little oxidation evident.

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Photo of joe1510
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

1 Liter Swingtop

Bottled 11/5/07

I get the chance to try this RIS thanks to Bitterbill's generosity, thanks again Bill. When I got this bottle the neck tag let me know it was bottled on my birthday which I thought was pretty cool. Although this beer is small (abv) for an RIS, it glugs out of the big swingtop with the best of them. The body was dark chestnut as it came from the bottle but appears black in my snifter. The mocha colored head grew to one finger on the pour and fell to a skimming with a thick ring. The ring that's left leaves excellent sheet lacing after each pull that slowly falls back into the body.

The aroma is full of freshly roasted sweet grains, dark berries, freshly ground coffee, dark chocolate and spicy alcohol in that order from most to least. If the aroma tells me anything it's that this is a beer to be reckoned with. Very complex and inviting, especially on a cold windy evening like tonight. As it warms each swirl really brings the dark berries forward but as it settles the roastiness is still the king of the hill.

Everything the nose suggested the flavor brings. The sweet roastiness is at its highest point upfront but even as it settles lingers in the background. Dark slightly underipe berries come along with a solid helping of dark chocolate. The coffee grounds show up toward the finish and mix with spicy alcohol. The alcohol adds even more depth to this already complex stout. A slight coffee bitterness and dark molten chocolate combine on the swallow. Ghost like alcohol fumes float throughout the mouth and nose. Black Cauldron is an excellent RIS.

The body is on the lighter side for a RIS but it works really well in this case with the smaller abv than I'm used to encountering. There's creaminess on the swallow that really sets things off.

The lighter than usual body helps make this an incredibly easy drinking RIS. The complexity I'm sure would give some palate fatigue but won't stop me from enjoying this beauty. The moderate alcohol level boosts drinkability as well.

I imagined this being a good RIS but I didn't expect such a gem. The aromas and the flavors are big and enjoyable. I'm glad I had the opportunity to try this and I've got another liter in the cellar for next year, all thanks to Bill!

Reviewed: 3/1/08

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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 601 ratings.
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