Black Cauldron Imperial Stout | Grand Teton Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
88
very good
608 Ratings
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
Ratings:
608
Reviews:
327
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
10.97%
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
61
For Trade:
4
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 608 |  Reviews: 327
Photo of Happy_Camper
1/5  rDev -74.5%

Photo of Bendurgin
1.22/5  rDev -68.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

So normally I don't read the reviews before I review it but this one made go back and so such. I'm wondering if I have a bad bottle. Has anyone else?

Moving on. Bottled on 01/21/10

I popped this open and it gushed out. I thought that was a bit peculiar. Anyhow, it doesn't smell very appealing, from the bottle at least. So, I poured this into my tulip. This is what made read some other reviews. I've got a giant head on this. Seriously, four fingers and this Bad Larry won't settle. I've poured maybe about a third of this. I'm disappointed already, That being said, a big giant mocha colored head on a stout never looks bad, but this can't be right. Right now I wonder what I paid for this. I only bought a single. Not the four pack. Geesh, and I'm still feeling upset.
This smells sour. I'm not sure that it should. Sour alcohol with a bit of smoke. This is just vile. Taste like is smells almost but add charcoal. Sour charcoal soaked in alcohol.
I can't drink this, I'm not trying to crap on this beer by any means, I was actually excited for and I'll buy another. But I'm putting this up because maybe there are some bad bottles of this. I only think this because none of the other reviews show anything that I have experienced with this one.

 1,254 characters

Photo of Philousa
1.93/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer is black. Like black hole black. With a tan head that settles from an inch to a whisp. Smokey, chocolate, and caramel aromas. Taste is overwhelmingly licorice and anise up front with dark chocolate notes. Warm alcohol flavor fades to bitter roasted barley flavor that lingers. This feels just like a stout should. A bit heavy, very full bodied with a dry finish.

I guess I'm not a fan of Black Cauldron. I quite like imperial versions of most styles, but imperial stouts just aren't my favorite to begin with, so you totally have to knock my socks off with your RIS. This beer just needed something to give it character. Hops, Belgian yeast, something to make it stand out from the crowd. In the end, it was just another heavy, bitter, one dimensional beer for me.

 776 characters

Photo of Spicer
2/5  rDev -49%

Photo of dheldman
2/5  rDev -49%

Photo of cope0021
2.35/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This beer had a lot of promise out of the bottle. It poured a rich, thick black pour of promise. This was little head formed. Then came the let-down that began with the first smell. It smelled like Robitussin. I took several smells to hope my nose was not being decieved by one too many Robotrips. Alas, it was not. The smell persisted.

The disappointment continued on to the first taste. It actually seemed to have a small bit of flavor of Robitussin. Other than that, I could not discern much in the way of flavor. There is an off-bitter after taste.

For the price and the hoopla from my local beer shop, this was a huge disappointment.

 640 characters

Photo of rderedin
2.5/5  rDev -36.2%

Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.68/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance -- Pours an inky black with a slim sudsy tan head that soon dissipates into a thin haze and dirty halo.

Smell -- Woodsmoke, char, chocolate, dark fruit, and what seems to be a hint of vanilla.

Taste -- Woodsmoke and char are dominant, along with subtle notes of dark chocolate, dark fruit, and vanilla. Earthy hop flavor toward the finish. Lingering flavors of smoke and acrid char.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full with moderate prickly carbonation. Slightly better than average.

Drinkability -- This tastes tastes like it could be a suitable Liquid Smoke substitute: burnt and unbalanced. Too much of a heavy hand with the beechwood-smoked malt; it really drowns out what the rest of the grist is bringing to the table. If you love smokey stouts, this is for your consideration.

 787 characters

Photo of Auracom
2.7/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Checked this one out in attempt to prepare myself for a stout tasting the following day. Bottle conditioned, regional brewery, seemed interesting. 12 oz. into snifter on October 21st, 2011.

A – More a dark brown than black. Retention of head amounts to khaki bubbles. Average lacing.

S – Strong roasted note, spice, a tad bit of espresso bean and rye bread. Twinge of leather or smoke on the end.

T - Front is a quick dark chocolate bitterness. Middle of the tongue is completely and utterly dominated by that thick roasted character. Beyond that sits alcohol both in taste and warming. That’s pretty much it.

M – Medium body, truly unmemorable carbonation despite the second fermentation in the bottle.

D – Meh. The taste is entirely uncomplex and needs some revamping.

 788 characters

Photo of ILessThan3Brett
2.71/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I found this one disappointing. Potential for pleasant maltiness and drinkability masked by excessive bitterness, alcohol content, and, especially unpleasant, readily discernible acetone. Not awful beer, and it is fun to see how inky black it pours, but not enough fun to drink, either.

 286 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a red wine glass black with a fluffy tan head the dissipates to the glasses edge.

The nose is sweet and malty but the alcohol is harsh, needs some age. There is slight almost leather nose at the end

The taste is flat to much alcohol hints of choc at the end but I expected more. There are more hops then u might expect spiced seems like a home brew experiment that goes nowhere

 390 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
2.86/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2009 vintage. Purchased at Monument in Concord.

A: Pours a pitch black body with no light penetration in my snifter. A dense, fine-bubbled dark mocha head rises to a finger in length, sitting shortly before vanishing into a moderate collar and thin, scattered film on top.

S: Smoke, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of dark fruit. Not altogether pungent or easy to pick out.

T: More complex than the nose indicated. Again, it starts off smoky and coffee-like. It segues into caramel and dark chocolate. The finish has hints of dark fruit that I liken to raisin, with a light sherry quality to it. The finish is also lightly spicy, almost like cinnamon.

M: Full-bodied, with low, creamy carbonation.

D: This is a perfect serviceable imperial stout. Unfortunately, that also makes it a fairly average one. For an affordable imperial stout in this price class I'd probably stick with Old Rasputin instead.

 943 characters

Photo of rmalinowski4
2.94/5  rDev -25%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a jet black with a two finger coffee colored head. A little to aggressive on the pour, yeast sediment poured into glass. Did not expect this.

Smell is of dark malt, roast, and some chocolate bitterness.

Taste is dark roasted malt and roasted bitterness. The bitter taste is a little too strong. It is not a hop bitter, it is an acidic bitterness from the roasted malt.

The mouthfeel is thin for a stout. Almost feels watery. I like my stouts thick like oil, this is too thin. Carbonation is a little high for the style also.

Overall this is a below average stout. There are just too many little things off for this to be really enjoyable.

 648 characters

Photo of benito
2.96/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

I bought one of the few remaining bottles of the '05 batch at the brewery last week and was advised to drink it soon as the brewer feels that this is peaking right about now. I don't know if I was too late or too early, but I was disappointed by what I had heard was a solid RIS.

It pours a deep mahogany with a light tan head. The bouquet is heavy on alcohol and licorice with almost no hop presence that I could detect (was this hoppier earlier and now mellowed with age?). Given the complexity of bouquets I've seen with this style, Black Cauldron seemed fairly straightforward--you know, it's not offensive, but it's not particularly enticing or interesting either.

The same could be said about the taste which is heavy on fruity sweetness and alcohol warming but lacks a lot of the roastiness, bitterness, or other deep flavors that I would have hoped for. The flavor actually comes across as pretty thin which makes it more drinkable and light bodied, but I'm not sure that that's a good thing.

As impy stouts go, Black Cauldron is pretty lightweight. No roast. No chewiness. Almost too easy to drink. Again, it's enjoyable, but probably for the wrong reasons. Maybe the folks at the brewery were wrong, and this was past its peak. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and see what happens when the '06 batch comes out.

 1,337 characters

Photo of NickMunford
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of Whiskeydeez
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of beernads
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of Mscarpen
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of RuckusDu
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of KAF
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of maximum12
3.03/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been seeing this around for a while & it was always next on my list of things to try. Finally picked up a single to see if this as good as it looks. About to watch my Twins beat the Yankees - whom I hate with the fire of an infinite number of suns - in the 10th inning. Go Twins!

Like the witches on the label. Pours dead black. Slight head. Smell is standard malts & bit of chocolate. Nothing special here.

Black Cauldron tastes better than it smells. Malts dominate here, of course, & they're sweet, roasty, minimalistic chocolate. In the middle there's a nice bittering hop presence. A touch of lactose sneaks into the room near the end of the movie & muddles things up a bit. Thin for a bigger stout, allowing the roast to tower over the malts rather than vice versa.

A truly average imperial stout. Nothing wrong with it, but it's just...fine.

 853 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.08/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: black in color, minimal head, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: chocolate and roasted malt

Taste: roasted malt, sugar, and chocolate

Mouthfeel: sweet, medium bodied, light carbonation

Drinkability: An above average imperial stout where the alcohol is well hidden. Not a bad beer, but nothing I will rush out for.

 329 characters

Photo of nuebs
3.08/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Halcyondays
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a dark brown/black with a soft tan head, nice notes of lace.

S: On the first smell I got a lot of what smelled like isoproponal, but I'm sure it was the ethanol. Some black malt and charcoal, but very light. Very boozy on the nose, like a spirit not a beer.

T: Here we go. Nice dark baker's chocolate and roasted malt. Very light coffee flavours. Solid taste.

M: Very thin for the style, this is an RIS, felt like a regular stout.

D: This beer is OK, but with all the classic great RIS's out there, this is going to get lost in the shuffle, it's from another time.

 603 characters

Photo of PDXHops
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle dated 1/4/11, poured into a Duvel tulip. A thin but fairly dense and creamy dark tan head tops the dark body. Scattered patches of sticky lacing.

Plenty of roast and chocolate in the nose, plus a bit of cherry fruitiness. Smooth blend of roast and chocolate flavors. Quite a bit of chocolate, actually. Lots of berry and cherry fruitiness. The lingering bit of smoke is a nice touch. Could perhaps use some more burnt malt or bitterness, but it's a tasty and approachable big stout.

 500 characters

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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 608 ratings.
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