Black Cauldron Imperial Stout | Grand Teton Brewing Co.

very good
326 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: 326 | Ratings: 605
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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Photo of RoyalT
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - This poured a dark, dark brown with a nice, brownish-white head that came up beautifully and showed great retention.

Smell - The aroma here was kind of flat even after the beer warmed. There's a nice, chocolaty malt base here with some light coffee notes but everything is muted and doesn't really open up like I was hoping.

Taste - The roasted malts have a nice, crisp, sugary flavor to them but again they are muted and aren't really opening up. Also, untrue to the style, I'm not finding that structured hop base.

Mouthfeel - This is bigger than medium-bodied but not quite full. There is some mild but pleasant carbonation and a reserved bitterness that kept things interesting.

Drinkability - This was a smooth drinker but underwhelmed.

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Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black with a full and thick brown head that quickly fades.

Nose of sweet dark chocolate, light whiskey, sweet espresso and roasted grain.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice balance and nice carbonation; feels/gets a bit thinner in body, it seems, as you drink it.

Flavors are all full, big roasted grain, black coffee and bitter dark chocolate. Yet, the flavors are a bit simplistic.

Finish is all bitter espresso.

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Photo of MASPuros
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A: Motor oil black in color and thickness. An inch dirty frothy brown head. Light random patchy lace left behind.

S: Very rich dark and smokey malt in the nose. Espresso aroma.

T: Burnt sweet malt with a light smoked flavor. Chocolate flavor comes in first with a nice bitter hop taste not sure if bitterness is from espresso flavor. Smooth and sweet.

M: Pretty smooth with minimal carbonation. Nice and creamy with a sticky texture.

D: This is a much better stout compared to Stone and Rogue IMO ... One 12 oz will keep you satisfied. A definate IS to try.

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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 jjanega08
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A= pours a thick thick jet black color. No light can come through at all in this one and the head comes up from what looked flat to a thin skin on top of the beer. The head is a mocha color and just pops up to say hi then it goes back inside. I was a little worried watching the pour that it may be flat.

S= Pungent. I can smell it from a ways away which I always love in a beer. Smells a little hoppy actually. I'm a pretty big fan of hoppy stouts. This beer smells super delicous. It has the impy stout thing going on but also has a typical beer thing going on. Not over the top in the nose and smells like it may be nice beginner impy stout

T= Again with the hops. It's not really hop forward in the taste but they get in there and play around. There is a lot of roasty malts in it with some coffee flavor. Nice but not out of this world. Again this seems like it's a great stout that would be nice for beginners. After tasting sooo many impy stouts I sort of know what I like and where to find it. To me this beer is good but not great. It would have blown my mind when I first started drinking good beer though.

M= light carbonation and smooth creamy feel. A little too light in weight pushing a little watery for an impy stout.

D= pretty good. Not a great beer by any means but again if I were new to craft beer this would be amazing. This is up there for a beer you can find in the store and buy at a reasonable price though. Nice flavor and smell. Good beer.

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Photo of flexabull
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark flat black color with a small brown head.

Aromas are great, dark roasted malts, chocolate, and heavy dark roasted coffee notes.

Taste is a lot like the nose. Dark malts, almost a bacon like taste, cream, espresso coffee and brown sugars. Finish has a crisp mineral like hop note, with some warm cutting alcohol.

Mouthfeel is a bit light for my liking, but not bad.

Drinkability is good. A pretty nice easy drinking imperial stout. Worth trying.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just came in today. Figured I would give it a try.

A: Black in color with a thin tan head that settles very quickly. More than most 8%ABV beers do. Carbonation is subtle, and lacing is minimal.

S: Roasted malts are dominant on the nose of this beer. Hints of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and toast are present, and hops take a back seat with dome grassy character.

T: Same as the smell, but more. Coffee, chocolate, and burnt toast . Hops mellow out the malt with dry notes, blancing out this beer.

M: Medium to full bodied, this beer is no slouch. Flavors are complex, and the finish is silky and clean.

D: Black Cauldron is a good example of the style, and since it is more mellow, I would reccomend it for those just starting to get into imperial stouts.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another solid effort of an imperial stout. Good and black, not super thick.

Aroma, not my favorite aspect. A little more alcohol whiff than I wanted.

Taste is quite nice, the alcohol is missing thankfully, a little bit of licorice maybe, nuance.

Good mouthfeel, appreciate it more and more throughout, quite drinkable and affordable, especially for an imperial stout.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Dense black beer, appropriately named based on this appearance. The bubbling dark brown head dissipated quickly, thought it was lucious while it lasted (and when it briefly reappears here and there).

S-Roasty malts mixed with big estery aromas in the realm of dark dried fruits, with a bit of choco-coffee dry maltiness. Nuaces of bubblegummy esters.

T-Intense roasty malt, matched by prune and dried fruitiness. Oh, and then a large hop flavor shows up. An another flavor layer, this one back to maltiness, rich chocolate. Some roasty bitterness mingles with the hop bitterness. Sligh alcohol flavor with just a bit of heat in the aftertaste.

M-Moderate to moderate-full body. Perhaps a bit smaller compared to some imperial stouts, but this one still feels right. Carbonation level is low, blending nicely with the oily-fullish body.

D-Glad I picked this one up. Grand Tetonn has certainly been satisfying me recently, since they arrived in MN. This is drinkable and very enjoyable.

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Photo of jera1350
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DBLINC for this one.

Pours into a Darkness Snifter a rich black color with thin and creamy tan head on top.

Smells of roasted malt and chocolate. A hint of hazelnut. A little mocha.

Big roasty toasty malt, cocoa nib, some coffee and light hop taste. Toasty aftertaste.

This is the one area that suffers for this beer. The feel is way too thin for an IS. I will say that it is still mostly smooth and lightly creamy though.

A very drinkable and enjoyable beer. I could see this as being a good intro to IS.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12fl oz bottle poured into my snifter

Pours a pitch black color with a one inch mocha colored head. Good head retention with a thin layer staying on top afloat of the beer. Very little lacing is left sticking to my glass.

Smell is of roasted malts that are a little on the burnt side, charcoal, coffee, and dried fruit.

Taste is slightly sweet upfront with chocolate, candi sugar. Good amount of roasted malts with a hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation

Pretty good stout that is not to heavy feeling. Would recommend it and I would purchase this beer again.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - A very dark brown with about an inch of light brown foam with little intention. No light getting through and little carbonation evident.

s - Smells a nice balance of coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts. The coffee is not overpowering so I'm hoping the taste is as balanced as the smell.

t - The first taste that hit me was coffee, but it was not overpowering. The coffee taste is really mellow, and there is almost a cream flavor to it as well. Also tastes of roasted malts and a little chocolate.

m - Medium to full body with little carbonation, it is smooth and creamy.

d - Overall, I thought this was a pretty good stout. I liked that the coffee taste had mellowed out and was not too overpowering, and liked the creamy taste it had as well. Would definitely try it again.

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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 isualum12
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

almost no head at all
smell is bourbon and carmel & coffee grounds
Color is dark dutch oven kettel black.

First flavor that hits is a strong smooth coffee with carmel following up. This is a rich tasting beer that has a full flavor. You can taste the roasted malts with a hint of vanilla... I love it....

The crew at Grand Teton is great. I meet the head brewer at the front door in boise at a tasting...What a great night.

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

Pours an opaque jet black, with a tan head that dissipates quickly. Does not leave much lacing.

Smells of toasted malt, coffee, black cherries, wet hay, and wet horseblanket.

The forward palate is burned toast, rich espresso and chocolate, with a sour dark Morello cherry finish.

The mouthfeel is rich, with a chewy viscosity and light carbonation.

This is one fine smooth IS, I am liking the dark Morello cherry flavor along with the coffee and chocolate. I am liking the intense rich flavor despite a low amount of alcohol for a IS or RIS. Good job. If I want a rich IS without an alcohol hammer, this is the one I will go for.

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Photo of illidurit
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Almost black with a creamy tan head. Aroma is full of charcoal and roast. Ashy and smokey tones over the dark chocolate character. Flavor is dark malts and bonfire with super dark chocolate, mild dark fruits, tobacco smoke, and a slight overcooked bacon note. Big roasted bitterness and an oily palate. Pretty smooth, a tiny bit of heat that maybe shouldn't be there considering this is only 8%. Without the smoke this is an average to just-above average imperial stout, but the smoked malt really makes a difference. It's not too subtle or too over-the-top. Pretty good beer, one of the better ones from the very mixed-bag Grand Teton folks.

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Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours very dark with a very light tan head thats gone instantly.

S - Smell of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, soy sauce, and a little dark cherry.

T - Tastes of bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, and soy. Has a metally finish(very negative) and some tannins.

M - Thin and watery yet heavy because of the tatses with very little carbonation.

D -Very smooth and drinkable but too much coffee for multiple bottles. Glad this is bottled in 12oz'ers.

I think this beer would benefit from aging in barrels. Rum barrel aging would a great change of pace.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

What color are most cauldrons? Pours a midnight black color with a light red hue around the edges. Good viscosity and a soft tan head that does seem to dissipate pretty quick.

The nose has a lot of esters and penolics going on. There is some malt presence with a light roast and some light smoke aromas. But this is light as the plums, licorice, raisin bubblegum and slight clove aromas come out. Some noticeable butyric and a off mineral note that is a deterrent.

The taste is a bit more balanced. The malt comes out a bit more with a good roast flavor. Some chocolate and a bit of coffee as well. Some lactic notes gives it a more latte-esk flavor. A light smoke and an almost peaty flavor that doesn't blend well with a off butyric note. Some noticeable plums and licorice notes. The bubblegum backs off. Noticeable diactyl. Some minor yeasty notes but not overly off.

The body is a bit sweet. Not really under attenuated but some lingering sweet notes on the back end. Cabonation is low but that is ok. Overall there is a lot of off notes that really distract from the beer.

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

Bottled 10/29/09

Poured into Bruery Snifter

Pours about 1/4 of a finger of dark khaki head. Fades down to a thinner layer. Leaves some splater Color is black.

Aroma: Starts out with lots of roasted malts, then I get a nice burst of fresh cherries followed by coffee. Lots of malts here but they are backed up with some earthy hops. I really like the roasted and sweetness in the aroma.

Taste: Again lots of roasted malts, but then I get some vanilla. The taste has a lot of a molasses and raisin flavor that I didn't get in the nose. The grassy hops are also more evident here.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and burnt, but very smooth and creamy as well. As it warms up, it becomes a little bitter. Fairly full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends very roasted.

Overall, a nice beer from Grand Teton. I heard that Jon from Stubs has a special version of this and I am hoping I get to try it, very badly! This beer is a solid beer and is very reasonable. I am glad I got to try this one. Fairly drinkable as well.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 10/27/09

A - Solid black with 3 fingers creamy brown head that leaves a lot of sticky lacing as it settles to a thin layer of foam.

S - Fruity and sweet with chocolate, roasted malts verging on burnt, espresso and a lingering smokiness.

T - Burnt malt, fairly sweet but nowhere near cloying, milk chocolate mixed with bittersweet chocolate, espresso, dark fruits and a reoccuring burnt smokiness that is a light mix of campfire and crisp bacon.

M - Somewhat light (for an Imperial Stout) and creamy with a lingering burnt malt flavor.

D - The flavor tends to get a bit heavy near the end but the lightness of body balances it.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Cauldron pours just that, black as a cauldron. About a half finger of extremely dark brown head (was not expecting that) is produced, but short lived. It does leave the occasional lacing.

The nose is sweet and roasted malts. It has a light smokey note, as well as subtle hints of cocoa and coffee. Fairly straight forward for an Imperial Stout, but still good.

Taste is just like the nose. Sweet and roasted malts, the light smokey character, and light bitter chocolate and coffee. Nothing too complex, but it still tastes good.

Smooth and creamy, with a medium body. I would liked to have seen this with a little more substance in the body, but with the ABV being only 8 I don't see that happening. I would be all for bumping up the ABV to give this more umph. Drinkability is pretty good, while it's not terribly difficult to hide 8% ABV, it is well hidden here.

Overall, a solid stout. Nothing special, and honestly just about what I expected it would be from Grand Teton.

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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.

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Photo of MPLS
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Impulse buy, saw "imperial stout" and had to try despite being unfamiliar with the brewery. Single 12 oz serving.

A: Pours with a dark dark colored body and a head that grows to 1.5 cm in height. The peanut skins colored head retains itself, hints of lacing.

S: Roasted malts with a pinch of smoke is the most prominent scent. Sweetness, not dark fruit like, but more like a shot bittersweet chocolate in coffee.

T: The flavor of this beer it bitter coffee beans with an sweetness that fades into a pleasant roast. The roast is very short-lived and there is an unpleasant alcohol in the finish, unexpected with an 8.0% beer. Odd sweetness that's not totally to my liking.

M: The mouthfeel is medium bodied, could have been creamier and smoothe, mild acidity, not much heat in the alcohol finish.

D: Good to try another RIS, but there is so many other offerings that I'd choose over this. Didn't impress my palate with it's odd sweetness and mild astringency.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours silky and pitch black, looks like a force to be reckoned with as it sits in the glass. A great looking imperial stout. A little thin layer of tan head forms but disappears quickly

S: burnt malts, roasted barley, chocolate, coffee, and hops... in that order. This one is very heavy on both roasted notes and hops, this excites me!

T: the flavor doesn't directly match the nose as there are some sweet malty flavors I didn't detect. The front has some licorice and molasses, but it is followed by HUGE roasted notes, smoke, and a touch of earthy hops on the end. This stout is incredibly complex and took me by surprise. Very tasty!

MF: thick creamy mouthfeel, chewy thick body, with uncharacteristically high carbonation. Everything is perfect except for the high level of carbonation. Otherwise, this is a damn good imperial stout.

D: If I had to guess, I would say the abv was closer to 10% given its huge body and chewy texture. It is listed as 8%. While there isn't a huge boozy bite, the beer is a meal in a glass which detracts from its drinkability. Overall, this is a very solid Imperial Stout.

Note: I picked this up as part of my Wisconsin and Minnesota beer haul. This one was a surprise purchase as I had not previously heard of Grand Teton. Of all the stouts I snagged on the trip (including Weyerbacher Old Heathen and Central Waters Satin Solstice Imperial Stout), this one impressed me the most. Definitely worth checking out!

D: Well if I had to gues

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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 605 ratings.
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