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 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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Photo of birchstick
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A - poured like like oil with a nice one-finger head

S - smells of roasted and caramel malts with some toffee and dark chocolates

T - the taste isn't as rich as the nose. Taste of roasted malt/coffee with some figs. There is a nice milk chocolate on the finish. Not uberly complex, but a pretty decent blend of flavors going on here.

M - this is a pretty thin mouthfeel - a lot thinner than I would like an imperial stout to be.

D - This was a pretty good imperial stout. It has a really nice appearance and nose, however it all kind of goes downhill after that. It is decently sessionable for a stout in this category. Pretty good beer.

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Photo of cokes
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours absolute black. No glints around the edges. Just jet fucking ink black. A mocha rise spews upwards for a minute or two then slides down the sides of glass leaving rings of laces.
The nose is every bit as dark. Equal parts liquorice, prune, campfire smoke, barbequed meat, cigar ash, and baker's chocolate. Then add a strong winey alcohol presence and bits of vanilla.
The mouth delivers oily smokiness, both via burned leaves and pork fat. The drippings soak in espresso. Cocoa and caramel and buttery bread pop up for sweetness, then it migrates- still full of ember and ash- toward prune. It gathers a vinous bit of alcoholic temper. And a offsetting green clorophyll hoppiness. The smoke lingers long after the sip, with wavering, shimmering colors, not simply burnt black.
Clingy and dripping medium full bodied. Carbonation is minimal, but adds a bit of levity. This almost begs to drink like tar, and when it doesn't, it seems a bit thin.
I absolutely love this. A big truly rauchy stout. This is for smoked beer fans first and Imperial Stout fans second. As a fan of both (in that order), I'm in love.

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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 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 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 bret27
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

local bottle, 8% av

S: Very smokey/roasty, roasted coffee dominates

A: Very black w/dark full brown head, thick w/good retention

T: Very smokey and fairly thick, w/the same roasted coffee kind of overpowering

M: Fairly thick, but a little grainy and not too full

D: Pretty good except for smokey flavor

Overall: I would put this as a touch lower than Old Rasputin. Good but not super good, or great as with the big boy IS's. Certainly much better than their DIPA. The foil wasn't wasted on this one.

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Photo of rayjay
4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought at Ray's in Paradise, bottles in Nov 09. Poured into a shaker pint. Rich, thick, oily, and chewy. Lots of dark fruity esters, especially plum-like notes. Mildly carbonated with a bid mouthfeel, but drinkability remains high and it's even refreshing. Sweet and sticky with lots of carmel malt, but also lots of deep black malts galore. Alcohol is very well hidden, and I tend to like my RIS's in this alcohol range instead of stratospheric heights. Probably not much aging potential, I'm loving it fresh. A great stout that I'll be sure to go back and buy more of. Cheers!

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up after a beer tasting at Bevmo during a beer tasting.

Appearance- black color

Smell- chocolate, bit of caramel

Taste- chocolate

Mouthfeel- full bodied

Drinkability- very nice, I like it, very good stout, I will definitely drink it again.

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Photo of zeff80
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with almost no head. There were tiny light brown tinted bubbles around the edges of the glass that left behind some sudsy residue.

S - It smelled of coffee, chocolate and strong roasted malts. There was a touch of fruity sweetness in the nose, too.

T - Strong flavors of roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate and touches of molasses. It has just enough sweet to balance out the strong bitter qualities.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a dry finish. A medium bodied beer that hides its imperial ABV very well.

D - This beer really got better each time I tried one. I got a four-pack and was not impressed with the first one but really started to like it each time I went back to it. (My taste buds must've been off on that first one).

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

Black body, cocoa head. The aroma is milk chocolate covered espresso bean. Roasted malt provides chocolate that never gets too bitter, brown sugar, molasses, this is a rich, delicious stout that never gets too heavy. A light prickle of carbonation prevents it from reaching motor oil levels. A rare balance is attained in this beer, it has luscious dark malt flavors and yet it is nuanced and more drinkable than most of its Imperial peers. None of the dark stone fruit flavors or sticky syrup consistency of Russian Imperial Stouts, this is American Imperial all the way. Best Grand Teton beer I have tasted, if only I was sipping this in front of Mt. Moran...

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Photo of shadow1961
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grand Teton Black Cauldron Imperial Stout pours a finger of creamy brown foam over an inky black brew. The nose is mocha with notes of mollasses, earth, and rum. The flavor is sweetish mocha and notes of dark toast balanced with a pretty assertive grassy/herbal hop flavor off the back. Mouthfeel is round, drying a bit because of those sharp herbal hops- I'm tasting a little grass in the aftertaste. The alcohol I got a whiff of in the nose only makes itself felt as a feeling of well being. It comes in at 8% abv so plan on drinking slow- the hops settle down as things warm a bit anyway. A pretty decent Americanized Imperial Stout- hoppier than in the old country, but a little aging will probably do wonders smoothing that out. Decent, plus cute anime witch girls on the label. Worth a try!

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

4pk. Gonna drink 2 this year then hide the rest.
Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Edge has some caramel appearance. A semi-puffed out head, brown, touch soapy. Lacing isn't all that great, a bit filmy.
Chocolate and toffee aromas overpower any coffee. Some dark plums and alcohol. Something doesn't seem right in the nose.
Taste follows the aroma. Bitter chocolate, dry. Some piney hops in the back. Burnt caramel and alcohol again. There's a sweetness to it that just doesn't fit right now. Perhaps some aging will tone that down. It's a bit sour I think. Not sure about it.
Drank fairly well. Alcohol is noticeable and medium hot.

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Photo of RedBrewer83
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip from 12oz bottle...

A: Pours a pitch black body with a two finger chocolately mocha head that fades fairly quickly to leave pretty good lacing and a thin foam on top of the beer.

S: Roasted malts with bittersweet chocolate and hints of coffee and cola. A few piney hops come through in the finish as well. Seems like this should be pretty well balanced.

T: Huge bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors upfront. A little burnt caramel comes in mid palate along with a unique cola flavor that I have not tasted in many stouts before, very nice. The finish is crisp with a faint hint of piney hops and bready nutty yeast that lingers long on the finish as the chocolate comes through again.

M: Heavy body that is exactly what I would expect from 8% and the carbonation is near perfect...just enough to wake up the taste buds. Nice.

D: Very smooth and drinkable, the flavors are very inviting and the abv is completely hidden. Very nice all around, will be revisiting this one again soon, especially at the price point!

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