Black Cauldron Imperial Stout | Grand Teton Brewing Co.

Black Cauldron Imperial StoutBlack Cauldron Imperial Stout
Liked This Beer
3.93 w/ 610 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 610 |  Reviews: 327
Photo of Duff27
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage

Thin mocha head on a dark brown/black beer. Good lacing and head retention.

Smells of cola and brown malts.

Roasty, and to a lesser extent kind of smokey. Quick hit of chocolate. Some cola notes. Some hop presence still around. Drinks around 9%abv.

Real smooth. Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Retains good carbonation.

Not let down nor impressed, Black Cauldron drinks a pretty middle of the road imperial stout...just like I would have suspected. Not a bad beer by a long shot but I probably wouldn't spend money on it going forward.

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Photo of Auracom
2.7/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of bishopdc0
2.83/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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Photo of dcloeren
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a impenetrable black with 2 fingers of creamy dark tan head. Not looking too thick... great lacing.

Smells of rich and bitter dark chocolate and some hearty coffee, getting some dried dark fruit as well along with some kind of a spice, I'm thinking cinnamon. Smells pretty delicious.

Taste is very coffee and dark chocolate forward, roasted malt is playing second fiddle. Its also giving off some sherry like qualities in the aftertaste. Booze is well hidden but the burn is present at the end. Not complaining about that at all.

Medium bodied but slightly thin for my taste. I wish that this beer was thicker and chewy because it would be up in the rankings of great stouts for sure. Still, the beer coats the tongue with each sip and has a slightly drying hop aftertaste.

Overall, this is a cash money beer considering that my parents got it for me while they were on vacation in Jackson Hole, WY. A little disappointed with it being thin but the taste of this beer makes up for the bodies short coming. I have seven of these left and I dont think that it will be too hard drinking the rest.

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Photo of beer2day
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged one year in the beer fridge.

Dark black pour with 2 full fingers of rich, dark, thick, creamy head. Laces wel.l

Nice mix of dark roast malt, dark roast coffee, rich chocolate malt, and citrus hops. All the flavors are there, just not quite enough of them.

Creamy smooth texture with muted roast coffee and light chocolate flavors. Touches of vanilla under the chocolate. Good hop presence in the finish, even after a year under wraps.

Appropriate body for the style. Creamy.

Overall, very easy to drink. Hides the abv extremely well.

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Photo of Chaney
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dated 9/21/10.

I this one from billab914 in a really nice local trade.

A: Almost pitch black, but not quite, with a finger or so head that was only a couple of shades lighter than the brew itself.

S: Ham, smoked salami, dog food, green peas, soy sauce, and raw cacao. That's a strange combination I know, but that is honestly what I got. Very unusual, yet intriguing.

T: Toasted soy sauce and/or sesame oil, sweet milk chocolate, prunes, and a good bit of smoked pork. The finish was mildly dry, but I've had much, much more saliva sucking in my life.

M: Sweet, syrupy lingering on the palate for sure, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing in this setting. Very thick, measly carbonated, and with spotty lacing.

O: This is a great stout folks... one of the more unique ones I've tried in a while even. I would gladly try this again if given the opportunity and would love to get this one as an extra in a trade again!

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Photo of BobCS
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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 SFLpunk
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Liquors 44, Northampton, MA. Bottled on 01/04/11. 12oz pry-top brown glass bottle with foil.

Pours a medium-thick black with some thin tan head that has poor retention. Nose is kind of like roasting meats, coffee and a little tire rubber notes. Palate is medium-full bodied and slick with alcohol and a faint suggestion of acidity (not infected though, maybe just from the hops). Flavors of coffee, tar, char, BBQ, etc. Fairly long finish. Good mouthfeel.


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Photo of Phoenix2443
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always a treat from this one:

Appearance: poured in a Real Ale Tulip: Rich dark brown/black oil slick pour and presents a nice tan head of foam about an inch high.

Smell: Roasted Goodness with a good hop bouquet. I like that in this style. Lots of coffee tones with a little caramel/milk chocolate.

Taste: Roasted notes continue but aren't like the nose, more milk chocolate. As one reviewing compared, cocoa mix like chocolate taste to it. Finishes with a hop bitterness but nothing to pull my bottom lip up and ruin the balance, just a nice hop note.

Mouthfeel: Solid, much better than alot of poorly constructed american double stouts which is quite an accomplishment.

I seek this out once a year and usually pair it with some nice dark chocolate for an after dinner beer and I think it's best that way, try it!

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Photo of matttttYCE
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Stone IRS specialty glass. Bottled on date of 10/14/10

Appearance - Pours with a little more than a 1 finger high, creamy, tan colored head. As I pour, I notice it's nice and viscous and the color of oil. Looks nice, head sticks around for a decent amount of time, leaves minimal lace.

Smell - Lots of deep roasted malt aromas, with dark coffee and coffee bitterness, also some toffee, chocolate, and caramel notes in there. A bit of a coffee creamer/vanilla scent in there and maybe a slight hint of smoke way in the back. As this warms I get some subtle hints at sweet dark cherries in the background.

Taste - Nice roasted malt, some charred and smokey notes to it but not too much, coffee notes are subtler than the nose but still present, bittersweet chocolate almost like an airy powdered cocoa mix, caramel and toffee in there but very light. There's some sweetness and a bit of dark cherry in there also, then more roast and coffee and airy chocolate on the finish. Enjoyable.

Mouthfeel - Consistency is really quite silky and airy smooth, almost like powdery or chalky but not quite that for a lack of a better word to describe it. Definitely not at all what I was expected from an Imperial Stout. Light carbonation, light and fluffy body, with a smooth and relatively short finish. I like the mouthfeel, it makes this Imperial Stout very drinkable, but it's definitely not what I expected.

Overall - I have to say I enjoyed this, but I think it might be a bit better with a bit thicker mouthfeel. Other than that, a nice Imperial Stout. Not quite my favorite, but definitely one I'll have again on many occasions and one that I will probably end up cellaring a few of. If you like Imperial Stouts, this one's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of fsvan
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe. A sticker says this was bottled 9/10/10, so it's got just under a year on it.

A- Extremely dark brown. Not black but very dark. Two big fingers of foamy brownish red head.

S- A chocolatey sweetness comes through first. Some roasted malts. A tinge of alcohol, but not much.

T- The sweetness in the nose takes a back seat to the roasted malts, with the chocolatey sweetness coming after. A hop bitterness finishes it off, and lingers nicely.

M- This is the only downside of this beer. It is a little too light for the style.

O- Very good Impy stout. Not a world beater, but a damn enjoyable drink. I'm glad there's another glass in the bomber, that's for sure.

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Photo of iDrinknewglarus
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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 mikesgroove
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rich dark brown in color, nearly totally black with no light shine through on it what so ever. A huge tan head of foam came up over the top to a height of nearly three inches before settling back down into a thin film that coasted the inside of the glass and never fell to more then an inch in height. The aroma was rich, deep and dark chocolate notes with loads of coffee mixed in. Some light fruit notes are balancing it out now as well, really very well done here. As it warms it became very much sweeter. Such a really well done big stout. Smooth, rich and very creamy feel. Full bodied and loaded with carbonation with a high ABV that was nearly undetectable. Rich chocolate notes are the first things that we find here and they are anything but subtle as they meld into a wonderful coffee infused finish

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a thin tan cap on top. Great roasted coffee aroma hits me right off the bat. Dark caramel, and licorice with a hint of smoke and a dark tart fruit aroma round out the nose. Taste starts off roasty and chocolaty then segues into a dark tart pitted fruit kind of thing. Thick caramel sweetness finds its way from the back to the foreground shortly before a long lingering caramel, roasted, tart fruity finish. Light carbonation, thick body, oily sticky mouthfeel. This is a nice clean stout that has quite a tart fruity presence. My bottle is blank where the bottled on date is so I have no idea how old this is. I could take this or leave it really. Its good, but didn't wow me.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

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

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz bottle, pop top, nice label, foiled neck. Bottled in October 2009. From the cellar, into my New Belgium globe.

Appearance: Black. Black black. Pours with an ample and attractive dark mocha head which, as it recedes, begins to leave some nice lace.

Smell: Rich aromas. Definitely (in my opinion) much more in the British tradition than the American. Some of the could have to do w/the age, of course, but I'm not getting much if anything in the way of hops here. Rather it's all about dark molasses, dark roasty malts, earthiness, and some kind of dark, sugary chocolate. Maybe like dark hot chocolate spiked with creme de cacao? A few swirls brings out a generic dark fruitiness as well.

Taste: I don't know what this is like fresh, but it's pretty tasty at nearly two years in. Very mellow, rich and full roasty notes set the stage here. Dark roast, a hint of dark, slightly juicy fruits, dark, dusty chocolate. Ends with a brief, dry roasty snap. Fair bit of fruity bitterness left over, but this is mostly after the beer's out of your mouth. I just read the brewery's info on this beer and noticed two interesting things. First, it's brewed with Carafa Special (debittered black malt from Germany as the only roasted malt). That explains the smoothness I guess. Even more surprising, however, is that there's a small inclusion of rauchmalt in here. There's the faintest hint of smokiness, but I would certainly not describe this as a 'smoked stout'. Overall, quite nice.

Mouthfeel: Again, I don't know what this was like fresh, but now it's silky smooth. Alcohol? Are you kidding me? It feels at LEAST 2% lower than it actually is.

Conclusion: Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from this brew, esp. considering the decidedly sub-par storage conditions in our last place. Overall, this was a very nice surprise!

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Poured super dark with a thin tan head that dissapated to a ring. Bit of lacing

Aroma is nice and roasty. Bit of English yeast aroma. Kinda woody even though I don't think this one is aged on wood. Kinda cedar ish.

Taste is solid. Nice and roasty but not too much. Bitter in the finish from the roast. Nice caramel in the middle. Pretty tasty.

Smooth mouthfeel. Nice carb.

Overall a decent stout to have when I just want a simple stout. Would have again.

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Photo of Pipmeister
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
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 scruffwhor
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a straight black with a quick brown head and no residual foam.

The aroma is full of effervescence and roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, and just a little cream. The bubbles help disperse the abv. heat.

Very bubbly, coffe that has been sitting on the burner hot plate too long texture. The taste has a more developed coffee and super roasted malt flavor. Some creamy vanilla mixes from middle too finish. The carbonated feeling dies down after awhile, and the finish is a little more oily.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Lovely black pour with about a pinky of brown head. Bubbles rise up the sides of the glass for a long time after the pour, keeping a small film of head resting atop.

S: Roasted malts really dominate the smell, chocolate and coffee rest below, lending subtly to the nose. Smokey, but balanced, the smell seems to start this beer off favorably.

T: The roasted malts start off big in the smell. Chocolate and molasses really take it over until it ends. Not a big coffee or roasty aftertaste, however.

MF: A little light. Nicely carbonated.

O: Nothing wrong with this beer. But nothing spectacular. Went down easily while watching TV after dinner.

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Photo of Brad007
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark black with a thin brown head into my glass. I'm running out of ways to describe darkness.

Lots of cream that mingles with lightly-roasted malt in the nose. Perhaps a hint of chocolate as well. This seems more up my alley.

Rich roasted malt bursts with cocoa and cream underneath. Very mellow. The only black mark being a caramel essence in the mouth (?).

Lingering roasted malt and cream. Nothing offensive here.

I like this example. It's not the greatest but I've never had anything from this brewery and this bottle was a chance pickup while I was in Boston back in March Worth it though as it's the first beer I've sampled from Idaho. Check it out!

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Photo of dbossman
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black and velvety with a huge, frothy sizzling head--good retention; lacing is good considering the style

S: Lots of chocolate, coffee, and roasted--almost charred--malts; some pine, floral, and citrus hops dance around the edges of the aroma; there is also a faint smokey quality; this really is a damn good smelling beer

T: Roasted malts up front with a nice balance of sweet chocolates and dark fruits and bitter coffee; there is still a subtle pine and citrus hop presence; this is grainy yet malty; sweet yet bitter; creamy yet dry--such a delicious paradox; but some of the dark fruits and charred malts win out in the end hurting the balance just a bit

F: Perfect thickness with a pleasant creamy quality and yet the beer still manages to be sticky with just the right amount of texture clinging to the mouth

O: This is a damn good Imperial stout; I am continually impressed with the folks at Grand Teton--a really, really nice stout, guys!

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep oily brown with a decent tan head that disappears in a flash.

Coffee and molasses in the nose, a combo of dark roasted malt and some sweetness. Nose wasn't as intense as I would have expected.

Big flavor here. Roasted malt, french roast coffee smoky bitterness. You definitely get some malt sweetness, but it is well balanced with a bitter edge. Long bitter and malt finish. Some molasses and licorice. Great. Alcohol is there but pretty well hidden.

Big and chewy. Ok carbonation.

Great beer. Everything you'd want from the style.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Toby, Johngalt1 for this.

Pours black with a tiny bit of head. No lacing.

Smell is nice; roast, coffee, caramel, hint of citrus.

Taste is very straight forward. Caramel opens this up and the roast bitterness cuts through moving into a coffee and caramel finish. Pretty clean and not overly sweet.

Mouthfeel is moderate but velvety.

Overall, its good. Seek this one out if you can.

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Photo of claytong
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

the price is right on these guys. everything in colorado seems damn expensive but imp stout four pack for 8 bucks, not too shabby especially the way this tastes.

Appearance - controlled pour gives one inch of tan head. opaque, oily, black.

Smell - leather, dark malts, cherry, coffee, smoke, oak or applewood

Taste - repeats, no bitterness, not very sweet either though, a little caramel comes in

Mouthfeel - medium thickness on the verge of being thick

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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 78.4% out of 100 with 610 ratings
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