Black Cauldron Imperial Stout | Grand Teton Brewing Co.

very good
327 Reviews
Black Cauldron Imperial StoutBlack Cauldron Imperial Stout

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

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 For more on the history of brewing,

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

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Reviews: 327 | Ratings: 608
Photo of xraided81
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep jet black, thick tan head quickly turns into a thin off white ring around the rim of the glass.
S: notes of roasted coffee with a hint of vanilla, and warm alcohol;
T: bitter roasted coffee, very dry finish which is not to common in imperial stout.the mallt is more evident than the hop bitterness in this brew
M: carbonation is still present, rich, velvetty and viscous mouthfeel.
D: It is a good, but not great example of imperial stout, for about $12 for a 4pack, i probably wont buy this again. I would rather get a 4pack of north coast old rasputin for $8, which is by far a better example of imperial stout.

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Photo of iDrinknewglarus
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11/18/10--- just over 8 months old.

A: Pours black with a dark, rich, and creamy looking head that fades away to form a mocha cap over the beer.

S: Dark roasted malt; smells sweet, like caramel. Bakers chocolate scent as well. Little bit of alcohol. The aroma is not all that strong, but still smells good.

T: Damn, this beer is smokey/woody! So much so that I went straight to their website and yup, they use "a small amount of beechwood-smoked malt." I also get chocolate and definitely coffee. Slightly sweet. Finishes dry and chalky with perfect bitterness. Oh and if you were wondering, yeah the wood lingers in your mouth like none other, nice! Can't detect any alcohol in the taste.

M: At 8% this is the lightest IS I've had, lacking the super heavy and sticky mouthfeel like some of the other heavyweights, but it sure packs on the flavor heavy. Medium-heavy mouthfeel at best. Creamy, too.

I picked up a single bottle at my local store on sale for 1.49, I think I'm going back today to pick up a few more bottles. This is one nice brew and I would love to try and age one or two for another couple of years... if I can keep my paws off of them for that long. Different, bold, and easy drinking, this is one nice IS.

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Photo of Allpe45
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottled 10/14/10 info a snifter
Opaque brownish black with a creamy mocha brown head that dissipates quickly but leaves some lacing.

Roasty chocolatey malt with some burnt coffee presence. Agitation yields aromas of dark fruit and alcohol.

Sweet dark fruits and chocolate up front, with smoke and roasted malt followed by coffee+hop bitterness

Creamy, medium bodied with low carbonation. Sticky residual mouthfeel

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Photo of aluskungs
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wax sealed bottle bought from the brewery in 2005. Cracked it open on my birthday okt. of 08.

Pours nice and heavy, not thick like oil. Good dark lacing on the sides of my rapscallion cognac glass. The beer is pretty much black.

Strong date smell with some alcohol and coffee thrown in there.

The taste is smooth (3 years old) and very drinkable. Dates, licorice, tobacco flavors, like a port wine. Excellent!

A great beer that doesn't need to be 18 percent alcohol! A well balanced beer that shows that you don't need a lot of alcohol to make a great "extreme" beer. Really great job. I should have bought more. My loss.

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Photo of ken2cart1
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

served in m pint sized snifter,

a-opaque with a brown mama coffee milkshake head, about 2 finger head..

s- smells very boozy with some cocoa and burnt malt, my nose sucks but still..

t- in the fore is cocoa chocolate and dark fruits (plums), some roasted malt in there too, finishes with a nice alcohol sting..the thing is every sip is different sometimes more cocoa shines through oher times its the fruits. nice blend.

m- smooth, not creammy sorta disapointed sorta not

d- wait drinkabiity is gone!?!?! oh well what i was goin to say is this is not a filling a beer, mouthfeel is not creamy so u can drink it all day, not filling and masks alc. great or aweful depending how u look at it!

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Photo of DanThomas
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A--Black as night, probably one of the darkest beers I can remember having. There is the smallest hint of a red hue if the light hits it just right. Thin brownish rim sticks to the glass, no legs.

S--Decent amount of booze on the nose, roasted malt and bitter chocolate, a surprising dark fruitiness. Also get some dark roasted coffee.

T--The main flavors I get are roasted malt and dark chocolate up front and a surprising bitterness/hoppiness on the back that cuts into the chocolate flavors rather nicely. There is a touch of alcohol, too, but overall the beer hides its strength pretty well. The bitter finish makes this beer really interesting, and as I am sitting here I start to get some of the fruit that was on the nose, mixing nicely with the chocolate. Not that sweet. I'm drinking this beer pretty warm (close to room temp).

M--Medium to full bodied, some of the sips come off a touch thin, but overall the beer and the flavors coat the mouth pretty well. Average carbonation. Alcohol isn't in the taste but it warms pretty well.

O--I wouldn't describe this as an "everyday" imperial stout if that makes sense, but it is a really interesting beer because of the bitterness, which I'm guessing comes from the hops described on the packaging. Lots of different flavors, nice fruitiness, and a satisfying winter beer.

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Photo of Birchgrove77
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into nonic pint glass from a bottle purchased at the beginning of November. Bottled date date 10/14/2010.

A- Pours a nice deep, opaque brown. Vigourous pour starts with a thin head that cascades to about two inches. Head is a nice deep tan that lingers through session.

S- Initial aroma is quite smoky, but as the beer warms a nice bittersweet chocolate becomes present.

T- Like the smell the taste starts a touch smoky, but transitions to a nice bittersweet chocolate. A touch of yeasty breadiness exists, and to me complements the chocolate flavor creating a marshmallow-like flavor. A touch of cola syrup exists as beer warms. Also a touch of alcohol does slightly warm the back of mouth.

M- A touch syrupy, but compliments the flavor of the brew.

Great variation, but drinks more like a cross between a Foreign Export and a Sweet Stout, but would definitely seek out. Would be great with or in some brownies.


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Photo of BigDank
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 12oz poured into a Matilda glass.

Pours black into the glass with a medium brown, large head that has a short stay and leaves minor lacing. Smell is not too intense with hints of roasted malt and chocolate. Taste follows along with the smell with a bit of bitterness in the mouth. Slight alchohol which is surprising for only being 8%. Carbonation is medium and the beer drinks pretty easily. Not the best but not a bad stout I have to say. I would definitely drink this one again but not sure that it would be a regular. Drinkibility is good with a medium abv and easy drinking brew all around. First beer I've had by this brewery and it will not sway me from trying another one.

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Photo of Crass3000
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes on 12/29/2011

5/5 Pours out dark as used motor oil with a huge four-finger, dark brown head with great retention.

4.5/5 Smell is dark malts, dark fruits, mollasses, and a tiny bit of chocolate.

4/5 Taste is nice roasted malts, dark fruits, mollasses, and a tiny bit of bitter coffee.

4/5 Mouthfeel is nice and thick as expected for an imperial stout. Really a great beer. The best of the night although they are all recaps.

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Photo of jdskinns
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours black with a brown fizzy head with good lacing. Smell is roasty and somewhat sweet. Taste is roasted malts and very good, nothing mindblowing but very enjoyable. Something I wouldn't mind trying again but won't go out of my way for.

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Photo of EORS
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up on a recommendation from my local store. Poured into a standard pint glass and served at room temperature

Appearance: Dark, dark, close to jet black with a moderate brown head. Low carbonation. Good amount of sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Chocolate/caramel malt, with a hint of salty smoke in the middle, lovely aroma from the hops at the end.

Taste: Good body of roasty malt, chocolate and coffee, warming alcohol (bit boozy), with a nice bitterness from the hops to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: rich, not syrupy or medicinal. Very smooth and balanced.

Overall: True to recommendation - a solid imperial stout at a great price (4pk on sale for $7.50). Really impressed by the balance between malt and hop - neither overpowering the other - in the taste and smell and the smoky, almost salty aroma when the beer is poured. The brewers have even tried to push the style a bit by adding the smoked barley, which doesn't do much for the taste, but adds a nice touch if you're looking for it. Would buy it again.

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Photo of kiddwhiz
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: Poured a 12 0z bottle dated 10/29/2009 in to a nbb globe. Jet black with two fingers of tan head. Dissipates over a couple minutes to leave a dusting of sandy head resembling a espresso.

s: Smells of roasted malts with a touch of earthy sweetness.

t: Roasted dark chocolate malts with raisins, licorice, and lighter coffee. Smooth with a touch of sweetness and slight bitterness. Smooth. Makes the mouth water. Tasty goodness.

m: Good mouthfeel of slightly viscous, tiny bubble carbonation.

o: With 18 months of cellar this Black Cauldron is an excellent beer! I really enjoy the drinkability of as compared to an all out Imperial Stout like Abyss. Meets all the marks of a quality crafted, drinkable Imperial Stout. Cheers!

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Photo of BobCS
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: opaque, nearly black, with a dark brown head and lasting lace

S: lots of dark malt in the nose, rounded out by some fruit and smoky spicy notes

T: big start with plenty of malt and roast coffee and chocolate flavors, molasses, some smoke, and a long chewy bitter-sweet finish with just a bit of a tang

M: full bodied, creamy, warm

O: that first bit of roast coffee I tasted after pouring this seemed too burnt and bitter and even a bit chaulky, but as the beer has warmed a little the sweeter side of this big malty brew is coming out. The beer is much better balanced as it warms a bit, and much more enjoyable. It has been raining all day today, and it's that first rain towards the end of summer that seems cold as well as wet, making you feel like fall is just around the corner. This beer is a nice fit and warm enough to drive away the chill.

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Photo of blammasterj
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a regular pint glass, bottled on 1/21/10.

A: Poured as thick as ink and as black as sin. The light brown head settled quickly, but left a pleasant ring of lacing around the glass as it was imbibed.

S: Had an aroma of roasted malts, dark fruits, tobacco and a faint hint of leather. I didn't pick up coffee in the nose that would later follow in the taste.

T: At first the taste followed the nose rather closely: roasted malts, bitter chocolate and a little heat from the alcohol on the finish. As I allowed it to warm it opened up with sweet, dark fruits, coffee and milk chocolate. Very narrow hop profile that kind of snuck in some pine through the backdoor.

MF: This beer is as thick as it looks and as creamy as a melted milkshake.

D: Overall a good offering from Grand Teton and a beer that I will continue to purchase. However, I had this on tap about a week ago and was much more impressed then as I seem to remember the flavor profile being much more complex.

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Photo of bigreduw64
3.34/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle with a hard pour that produced almost no head, just what I like to see out of an Imperial Stout. It should mean some body to this beer. Taking a whiff from the oversized wine glass I poured it into gives me a smell of dark roast coffee and a little booziness. The taste is something of a mix that I can best describe as white sugar topping a 90% bittersweet chocolate. It has an odd sweetness that tastes thin in the mouth. The body is somewhat thin for an imperial stout, but that helps it in drinkability. If you are looking for an imperial stout to have a couple of in a night this one would work. However, I like a stout that is thick and viscous when I am drinking an imperial stout and this just doesn't live up to that billing.

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Photo of tiffanya
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

May 6, 2008 ...thanks to BH for the sample!

I'm looking forward to this beer becoming available in Washington State...someday!

A little sweeter than your average Imperial Stout, which means it is more toward my liking.

Coffee and bittersweet chocolate with notes of sour dark fruit. Semi-dry and ashy-chalky. Notes of spice. Went down really easy.

Wax-coated flip-top is a bit of a bear to open; be careful with your knives! ;-)

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Photo of Zebus0
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Average really. I was a bit worried because it poured BLACK with little to no head. Bit of a dark tan head. Leaves a bit of ring as you drink it.

S- Very roasted aroma, a lot of coffee/dark roast notes. Very pleasing.

T- Interesting. Doesn't even taste like most Imperials I've had, course it is more of an American one. Smooth start, dark roasted finish, on the bottom end you can really taste the alcohol with a bit of bite. I'm impressed.Hearty malt aftertaste.

M- Pretty smooth for an imperial stout, not the grainy feel they usually have. Interesting mix.

D- Excellent as a stand alone stout. Great for those days you just want to stay inside because of how cold it is. Very drinkable.

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Photo of ATGHomebrewer
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours very, very dark brown. Think head.
S: Strong smell of roasted malts.
T: Initial taste is very sweet, transitions into a roasted, almost bitter taste. A bit of alcohol heat.
M: a nice, full mouthfeel.
D: very drinkable beer, within reason. Approporiate that they sell it in a 4 pack instead of a 6 pack.

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Photo of Detlef90
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first beer from this brewery and definitely made me intrigued about their other beers. I thought this was a smooth and creamy stout. Not too bitter (which was nice as many of the stouts I have been drinking recently have been quite hoppy). I recommend it for it's body and for it's easy drinkability.

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Photo of MisterNic
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, bottled on 10/23/2012

A - Pours dark, opaque black with a 1 finger dark brown head that dissipates quickly.

S - Nice roasted coffee and sweet milk chocolate aroma.

T - Starts roasty, moves on to sweet chocolate, and finishes with a big dry roasty bitter coffee taste. After a couple of sips I noticed a little bit of an alcohol burn in the back of my throat that stuck around for a while.

M - Full bodied, thick and creamy mouthfeel. Finishes dry.

Overall, I would consider this an average Imperial Stout. It's good, but I've had a few other Imperial Stouts that I consider to be much better. It would interesting to see how much better this beer is with a year of age on it to mellow out the alcohol.

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Photo of Pipmeister
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a two finger mocha head. No light shines through at all with a brown tint just under the foam.
Smell is roastiness and a little chocolate but what stands out the most is that it smells like a cedar plank. Just like some cut wood, but in a pleasant way.
The taste is toasty with some light chocolate and woodiness coming through. Has good carbonation with a creamy texture. Definitely a solid brew.

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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.

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Photo of The_Mancannon_of_Slothrop
4.81/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had the privilege of grabbing a 4-pack of these while working in Casper. Poured into a pint glass

A - Leaves very little to be desired. A rich dark, dark brown body with a respectable light brown to an almost reddish head that diminishes to just residual head within a minute, and a decent amount of pretty lacing.

S - Vanilla bean and cocoa. A simple and nice smell, but not a very powerful one.

T - Whoa. Follows the nose to some degree but with exponentially more power. Chocolate is a major player, to be sure, but not a bitter, dark, unsweetened chocolate. There is quite a brown sugary, vanilla-y sweetness to it. Has a hint of fruity undertones, primarily figs and very ripe bananas, but the fruit is really only terribly noticeable if you're looking for it.

M - Extraordinarily smooth. Not the driest of all mouthfeels, in fact, quite the opposite. But that proves to be a virtue, as it enhances the complexity of the brew and makes for an orgasmic finish.

O - Masterful regional entry to the stout canon. Easy to go overboard with its imperial ABV and its drinkability.

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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 ArsenicDrone
4.83/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap in a goblet at Boulders on Broadway in Tempe, AZ. Wanted to have Odell's Bourbon Barrel Stout, but this was a nice substitute when they were out.

A: Opaque, nearly black, arrived with no head at all, and a small rim of bubbles that left a little bit of lace. Excellent sign of what's to come.

S: Rather subtle for the style. A bit of the fruity esters, and the only thing that stood out as different was a hint of soy sauce smell.

T: Excellent. Quite smooth, and solid but not overbearing. Malty, sweet, and with only a little bit of roasted flavor - just right, I thought. Definitely chocolate, but not your standard bitter dark chocolate flavor - almost a chocolate Twizzler. If that sounds weird, don't worry, it's good. A very nice balance with the fruit, which was there when you wanted to pay attention to it, but not in the way.

M: Slightly thin by comparison to others, but little to complain about. Works just fine.

D: Would be dangerous if I didn't like taking my time with a beer like this. Goes down easy. Alcohol content just about right and pretty well hidden.

Recommended for those who like smooth imperial stouts. I bet I wouldn't have liked the Odell's as well. Will have to try this in a bottle.

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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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