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 morebeergood
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap this past Saturday night at the Dive Bar in Worcester. Served in a small goblet glass for $6. Pitch black body. Very thin bubbly head. Some nice lacing. Smelled like a pot of melted dark chocolate. Loved the flavor. Loads of chocolate, roasted barley, smoked peat, vanilla, and a hint of bourbon. This beer tasted so good my wife almost stole it from me, but that was not happening. Mouthfeel was thick and smooth, and the abv was hidden well. Absolutely delicious; I could have gone for a much larger glass of this. The best Imperial Stout I have tried in the past 12 months. I can't wait to see bottles of this on shelves in MA.

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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.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark pour of black and inky in the goblet. Slimmer capping of light tan foam steps to the top briefly to step back down to a thin ring and a bit of blobby lengthy lacing.

Smokey, deep, dry, date/fig, tartly sweet aroma. Complexingly nice to try to take in as it has port-like smokeyness in sweetness and a blackened malt dryness. Uniquely red wine-like, green olive juiced? portly, lightly dashed of spice with meat seasoning, pepper, and vanilla pods.

Flavor is tangy, deep, smokey, and semi port-like. Surprisingly, much of the aroma character is found in its taste. Perhaps missing a bit of deeper tone and length, but that's really splitting some fine hairs, as I like what is there. Hard to say what exactly, chocolate maybe? Could boost more in my favor, but damn if its flavors aren't a bit off in a good way. Deep, earthy, and tangy with dark natured fruityness of date, fig, prune, plum, raisin, and green olive juice, with a slight smokey pull towards port wine and porterhouse steak spices.

Body is medium with an overall simple soft smoothness and tenderly dark carbonation. Semi slick and creamy. Deep, dark, tangy, and uniquely spiced.

Grand Teton has one heck of a solid Impy stout. Black Cauldron does seem to have that earthy tangyness that conjures up an impression of something being brewed in a big Ol' black kettle with frog legs, bird feet, and forest floor plants. Unique, savory, and drinkable.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the foiled covered 12 ounce bottle into a nice tulip glass. Pitch black, with a little bit of medium tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, raisins, plums and maybe a hint of liquid smoke. Flavors of dark chocolate, raisins and coffee. A very affordable imperial stout, but not necessarily a very good one.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in my Old Stock snifter. Bottled on 01/21/10 indicated on the bottle. Poured two shades shy of black with a half-inch, loose, mocha-colored head that quickly disperses into a thin band around the edges. Only a few spots of lacing exposed during the tasting. Not a big nose, but mocha is the most prominent, followed by a slightly metallic quality and perhaps a hint of dark fruit - not quite sour, but a bit off in character. Taste consistent with nose; however, some lactose and a a slight hops presence also comes out. Mouthfeel is medium-light, a bit thin for the style, with a light background carbonation. I've been anxious to try this beer for a while and I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed. Alcohol is well-hidden, but all and all, this beer is bit lackluster for an American Double.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I received this as a gift from a random Beachwood BBQ patron, after I had split a bottle of Brazilain beer with a few folks. See, beer karma does exist. On to the beer:

It's black, and light isn't doing to penetrate through this beer. It leaves some amount of creamy lacing that's sticking to the glass, so hoora for that. Chocolate powder in the aroma. Even aromas of plum and other assorted dark fruits. There are also light notes of citrus from the hops. Much of the sweeter aromas fade

On the lighter side for an imnperial stout, in both body and taste. There's a good base of chocolate malts to balance out the hops, which give out a little juice. It tastes like an amplified "hoppy stout". Echoes of solvent alcohol appear at times. It is easy to drink though, and warming feel from the alcohol in the tummy feels nice.

Black Cauldron is enjoyable beer. Not anywhere near the summit of the imperial stout style, but a beer I wouldn't reject.

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Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grand Teton finally made it to MA. Here comes the first of a few reviews later to come.

A: An aggressive pour yields a small 1/2 finger dark fluffy head over dark pretty much pitch black color.

N: Lots of dark malts, some black patent malt, tons of roast, some coffee, little luscious dark fruit, some earthy bitterness from charred malts and hints of hops. A little smoke too. Overall not as prevelant on the nose as I thought it would be.

T: Tons of smoke. Overwhelmed with smoked malts, some smoked and cured meats, roasted malts, a little coffee... if they added oatmeal it would be breakfast in a bottle. Chewy malts, dark crystal, luscious chocolate, black patent malt, bitter earthy charred bitter malt flavors with some earthy hops to go along. A slight minerality as well. Semi sweet with heavy feel and no real booze to detect, so it hides the 8% pretty well.

M: Thick, pretty creamy and smooth, but no real carbonation.

F: More bitterness, a strong earthy bitterness mostly from charred roasted malts, but some from hops. Lots of lingering minerals, some soy sauce taste. A lot of roasted flavors as well and some coffee.

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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 Reagan1984
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this glass at Armsby Abbey days after their Stoutfest.

Man, this is a Creamy/chewy stout. Very enjoyable.

Finger of tight/creamy light beige head. Dark brown, not black, no light gets through, not even at the edges. Lots of spider web lacing.

Aroma is very nice. Sweet, roasted malt at first, but right behind this are some nice floral herbacious hops.

Chocolate, smoky malts, slight vanilla in the finish. Raisins, dark fruit. Perhaps molasses. Some nice pine hop notes towards the end. Just a hint of alcohol.

Thick, creamy and silky. As subtle as carbonation could be. Bold bodied.

Nice stout, really enjoyed it. Good balance and not too sweet. Well done.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was tossed in as extra in a trade with Sideswipe

poured very dark and thick. It is black as night with a tan head that suffers from retention deficit disorder. It settles pretty quickly leaving a foamy lid of creamy looking bubbles. The roasted malts are very prominent in both smell and taste. They are nice and dark... Almost smokey. Very chocolatey and smooth.
Velvety smooth mouthfeel and easy drinking due in part to the low abv.

Not a bad brew at all... It is worthy of drinking... But there are better brews to be had.

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Photo of chumba526
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

It pours like coffee: pitch black with a thin hardly noticeable ring of brown foam and no sign of carbonation. The smell has hues of Carmel, smokiness, toffee. The taste is smooth; it has a nice but not overbearing Smokey presence, a slight sweetness and even a slight presence of hop bitterness. The flavor combination is amazing, the flavors blend so well with each other. It's well balanced, but still exciting to the taste buds. The low carbonation of the stout lets the flavors of the beer blend particularly nicely. An excellent Imperial stout one of the best I have had.

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

Had a bottle brewed in Fall '09. I always prefer sub-10% ABV stouts for what you gain in drinkability and this met my expectations nicely. It had candy chocolate flavors up front followed by a dry, roasted, and cocoa powder character that followed and led the aftertaste. The lack of esters that so many double stouts present makes me think of this beer as a double Irish stout (if such a style existed). The beer is true to heavy roast and coffee flavors, without mucking about with anything fruity. I'd recommend that fans of North Coast's Old Rasputin check this stout out.

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Photo of Zymurgo
3.27/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Brewer's Haven in Boise.

A - Dark, black, and thick being impenetrable to light. Head was an attractive and rocky dark brown. Color was so dark and thick the brew lingered on the sides of the glass for some time.

S - The weakest part of the brew was the smell. The dark malts and some roasted coffee notes came through. However the pleasant aromas were secondary to a fairly pronounced sour note.

T - Completely inverse to the aroma of the brew, this was a delicious beer. The dark malts matched well with the alcohol content allowing the alcohol bite to only show up at the finish. It portrayed a coffee nuttiness and slightly piney hops flavors. Could of used a little stronger hop profile for the style.

M - Silky and smooth texture with a thickness to the brew that is true to it's hearty appearance.

D - A good beer, I don't think I would pick this one out in a line up of others in it's class. Still, if offered this one I would defiantly take it. Don't look for anything spectacular here and you will be happy.

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Photo of silentjay
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a thick, opaque brown-tinted black with a very small brown head that disappears before I take my first sip.

smells burnt, with some bitter chocolate, anise, cocoa powder. definitely roasty and malty with some fruit and hops coming through as well.

tastes of licorice, and raisins at first, then comes an onslaught of roasted, charred malt that gives it a smoky flavor that is then sweetened up by the chocolate and some dark cofffee flavors. it finishes with a little bit more fruit and some bitterness from the hops.

not as thick as i thought based on the pour, but still medium-full bodied. leaves a dry, powdery feeling in the throat like if you swallowed a spoonful of Nestle Quik or cocoa powder.

drinks well. a little bit harsh up front, but smooths out nicely. tastes a little stronger in ABV than it is.

liked this more than i thought based on the first whiff and the first sip. very nice.

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Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One-finger, beige head. Leaves good ring lace. Near black color where no light shines through (even on the edge).

Cafe du lait is the first smell I get. Slightly chalky. Very true to expectations.

More mellow in taste initially than most stouts. The darker (and more bitter) malts take over in the swallow. Lots of chocolate and creamy milk in the flavor. There's some bitterness in the swallow. I'm not sure if it's from hop or black patent malt. The aftertaste is pleasant: chocolaty and somewhat bitter.

Not as harsh as some regular stouts, but I consider that to be a positive. Potent and easy to drink.

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Photo of Jayli
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed this at Gordon's Main St 4/2

A: This beer pours a thick rich deep, dark, opaque brown that has about a 1/4 inch of brown head that recedes immediately. Very minimal spotty lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is rich chocolate, hints of coffee, roasted and toasted malts, and a bit of charred malt.

T: Taste starts with a bit of a mixture of sweet and bitter chocolate. Roasted malts come through, hint of toasted hazelnut sweetness also come through. Coffee comes through mixed with charred malts. Finish has a nice milk sweet chocolate flavoring.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, oddly light and crisp in the body.

D: Outstanding balance of flavoring, somewhat light on the tongue, for the style too light, but increases the drinkability as it is not as filling. ABV knocks the drinkability back down, but it is a damn fine brew. Glad to have it in MA these days!

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Photo of ZAP
4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Dark brown/black with ruby highlights.

S-Heavy roasted malt aroma...bakers chocolate is strong too..also some raisins and dark fruits and a hint of smoke.

T-Dark chocolate...roasted malts....a little licorice and raisins....light smokiness...

M-Big body...creamy texture...this is clearly an Imperial Stout.

D-This is a damn fine Imperial Stout that could go toe-to-toe with all the big hitters. Not saying it is better....not saying it is's in that ballpark though

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

Very good Impy Stout, dark fruity malt and licorice. This beer pours a deep black-brown with a thin, khaki head. The aroma is a mix of a number of flavors, roast, blackberries, alcohol, anise, caramel, a hint of dark chocolate. No particular note dominates, and everything works pretty well together. The flavor has some sweetness, but it's fairly dry for the style, always appreciated. Once again, I'm impressed by Grand Teton's bigger offerings.

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Photo of Tone
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of alcohol, roasted malt, slight sweet malt, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, roasted malt, slight sweet malt, slight dark citrus, and and strong hops. Overall, a good blend, body, aroma, and mouth feel.

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Photo of stoutfiend27
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served around 50 degrees poured into a snifter..thanks again James

a-black..small khaki colored head that fell quickly...some bubbles

s-lots of roast up front...fruity as well...fruity hops are present and take over....finishes a tad bitter with some coffee on the nose...

t-starts off with a little roast and coffee then the fruity hops kick in...followed quickly by bitter piney hops...finishes dry and bitter

m-a tad thin for the style...a little more body and mouthfeel would have went a long way...carbonation was pleasant

d-could have a couple but the bitterness lingers forever...

overall a solid imp stout...glad i had the opportunity

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Photo of morimech
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/10/2009

Appearance- Very dark color with just a thin mocha colored head. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Smell- Roasted malt, chocolate, a little bourbon and vanilla, coffee, and dark fruit. A complex assortment of aromas that rival the best in the style.

Taste- A lot of chocolate and fruit flavor initially, roasted malt and some smoke round things out.

Mouthfeel- feels a touch thin, has nice carbonation and soft texture.

Drinkability- a very good example of the style. Nicely priced as well.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz from BevMo88. Cheers!

A- Dark dark brown, minimal head, but good for the ABV. Nice lacing on this one.

S- Roasted malts in full form, followed closely by candied plums. A dash of campfire is noted.

T- Follows the nose... pretty damn smoky. A rauchbier stout, methinks. The fruit is a close second, and is good at making this a multi-faceted beer. Really rich, but enough depth to not wear out the tounge.

M- A bit acidic, but it works with the super smoky-roasty beer qualities. Good carbonation, a bit mild but no complaints. @8% it's pretty damn easy sippin'.

D- High. No qualms about putting this one down. I'd like to see it in a 22oz format, as I could really go for some more, but I'll take what I can get. My 2nd Grand Teton beer and every bit as good as the first. A really stellar brewery I hope to have more from.

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

Poured a thick, very dark brown, with a tan head that dispated in seconds. The smell of coffee and roasted malts was evident. The taste was of deep roasted malts, dark roasted coffee and semi-sweet chocolate. And, don't forget the alcohol either. Nicley balanced, another winner from Grand Teton Brewing!

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Photo of hardy008
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Jet black color with a thin, dark, tan head which recedes quickly. Smells of raisins, chocolate, alcohol, and some coffee. The aroma is not overpowering.

The flavor has chocolate, some alcohol, coffee, and some raisins. This is sweet, without being cloying. Quite pleasant. Medium bodied, low carbonation, easy to drink and to enjoy.

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Photo of colts9016
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at 48 degrees

Appearance: There is a half finger dark head that is creamy and bubbly. The color of the beer is opaque and the clarity is the same way. There is some efferevescence bubbles on the side of the glass.

Nose: A very rich and dark roasted malt. The aromas aromas are bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted espresso, molassess, toasted notes, phenols and some some solvents.

Taste: A very deep rich roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, molasses, oats, phenols, a toasty note, yeast, and some solvent notes.

Overall: The mouth feel is creamy rich velvety and chewy. The body of the beer is thick and the finish is full. I was surprised on how good this beer was it. It blew my palate and my mind away. I am very glad that I have a couple of these at home.

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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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