Black Cauldron Imperial Stout | Grand Teton Brewing Co.

very good
608 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

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Ratings: 608 |  Reviews: 327
Photo of AronVietti
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into an Imperial Pint glass at 51 degrees.

A - Dark tan head that collapsed quickly with moderate lacing. This beer is an opaque dark, dark brown, no light is getting through even the edges.

S - Chocolate and dark maltiness with a hint of dark stone fruits and the slightest bit of alcohol and hops. The aromas are subdued and I expected it to be a little stronger at this serving temperature.

T - Dark Chocolate, as in 80% Cacoa, heavy toasted notes with some maltiness and a slight bit of bitter herbs that quickly fades.

M - Medium bodied, the finish is long but only consists of bitterness and hops after about a second of sweetnes

D - Not the most drinkable beer I've had. The lingering bitterness on the finish makes a glass about as much as I want at a single sitting. But I would drink it with a group of friends around the fire in small glasses.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Dennis Brothers I think, before it showed up in Chicago. Served in a Darkness snifter. 12oz bottle, dated January 21st, 2010.

A - Pours with a half-finger of mocha foam that settles to thick collar and a wisp of tiny bubbles. The sides of the glass are also coated with some of the tiniest bubbles I'eve ever encountered in a beer. Body is actually a very dark brown color in opposition to the name of the brew.

S - Molasses, dark fruits, figs and dates, raisin bread, caramel, a touch of sweet oxidation, and a bit of roasted malt that keeps things from getting overly cloying. Still, this is very far onto the sweet side of the dial. Potent aroma, and only a faint hint of alcohol.

T - Taste is less sweet, with what AgentZero would describe as an olive note - slightly briny. Also more roasted malt, char, and light smoke, all of which mingle with cocoa and licorice. Finish has very light coffee bitterness, but is surprisingly clean. A touch bland and understated, particularly compared to the nose, even after it warmed up.

M - Very dry and tannic finish for a beer that isn't barrel-aged, with only some light residual stickiness. Body is medium, with some light carbonation tingle to it. Drinks like an 8% imperial which is appropriate. A bit of warmth after 6-8oz.

D - This is quite easy to drink, with the light body, lower alcohol, and surprisingly understated taste. I'd have this one again if the price was right.

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Photo of avalon07
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick consistency. There was a small amount of tan-colored, foamy head that quickly dissipated. Average lacing.

S: An interesting aroma of chocolate, malt, and a smoky element you don't find with most stouts.

T: Tasted of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, a sugary component and a smoky/burnt quality. An interesting, generally well done flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry, smooth finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is, in some ways an odd beer, but it never strays from the basis of what makes a stout good. Drinkable.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black (although doesn't appear very thick) with a medium dark tan head that goes down slowly. Scent is roasted malt with a lot of dark chocolate. Some sweet dark fruit as well. Taste is exactly like it smells, except there are some light espresso notes and the dark fruit seems to come through more in the taste. Mouthfeel is way too light (somewhat airy and watery) for this style of beer. Drinkability is fairly high as the ABV is somewhat low (for this style) and the taste aint bad at all.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.24/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Another from Boatshoes. I've never had any Grand Teton, Idaho eh?

A- Nice, urgent head that fades slowly. The first ring of lace is like a sponge painting on the side of my glass. The proceeding stickiness is reduced to only a few splotches.

S- Plenty of charred malts with some over caramelized sugar. There is a grainy, pumpernickel bread aroma that builds the bulk of the smell.

T- Bitter dark chocolate, roasted malts, pumpernickel crust and a flash of blackberry.

M- Light bodied for the style with a very dry finish.

D- 8% is down right low in ABV for the style so this one drinks pretty smoothly.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Last 12 oz bottle of a 4-pack that I bought in October of 2009. Pours a viscous black with a firm tan head. Fades fairly quick and does not leave much lacing.

Nose has much in the way of malt character: chocolate, caramel, toast and coffee. Maybe even some smoke creeps in as it warms. Smells good.

Big, bold with molasses and smoke, chocolate and brine...salty even a bit. Tons of flavor with only a hint of oxidation. Not sure if I like it better than a year ago, but certainly seems no worse for the wear. Rich fruitiness compliments the malt and there is a bit of a void where the hop bitterness is missed. Still though, I think this is a damn good imperial stout with a full, rich mouthfeel that flies a bit under the radar as far as hype is concerned. I will no doubt be purchasing another four-pack of this next time I see it. Good stuff.

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Photo of MrHirschybar
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the 4-pack // 12oz bottle poured into an old school beer glass for sipping - similar to a wide mouthed small taster // also had from a New Belgium Globe Snifter

A - Dark Black with a Dark Mocha head that dissipates to minimal with minimal lacing

S - Dark chocolate, heavy malts, sweetness, and alcohol

T - Medium dark chocolate, malts, little sweetness, roastiness, a hint of coffee with a mild aroma of vanilla, and light hops with some dark fruits - very nice...

M - light carbonation, nice and smooth, lightly creamy, no alochol heat, no heavy throat coat

D - For $9.99/4-pack here and 8.0% this is a delicious stout and I could drink this quite often, and my girlfriend was jealous I had one of the 12oz bottles to myself as she was stuffed up with allergies and knew she couldn't fully enjoy one - nuff said there I think...

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

Poured an absolutely opaque jet black, with not more than a half-finger head, even with aggressive pouring. Head was tan and retained poorly.

Smell was of rubbery coffee, faint dark chocolate, and some roasted nut scents.

Taste was similar, with lots of chocolate, lots of roasted toasty malt, dark fruit that lingered in between, and a mocha coffee finish.

Mouth feel was oily and think, with a nice coating formed after each sip. Drinkability was great for an 8% abv beer, as the alchol was indetectable, and the texture and flavor of the beer was well suited for longevity.

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

This pours almost pitch black with a one finger tan head that leaves nice lacing. On the nose it's a bit subtle but there are two predominant aromas: first, bittersweet chocolate, and underneath that, espresso. Further back there is a caramel swirling around. These things occur in lots of big stouts, but the balance here is tilted toward the chocolate. I don't get any of the stale, old coffee that some beers have. On the tongue the chocolate takes a step back for the espresso, which is a bit restrained. In the mouth it's a medium full body with some bitterness and pleasant alcoholic warmth lingering. It's very drinkable for a big stout and I'm really glad I got this on a whim. Hopefully Grand Teton's other beers are as good as this one.

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

This was picked up from my local Binny's beverage depot.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a fingers worth of tan head. The scent up front is malty and a slight bit boozey. A little chocolate hides underneath the prominent sweet malts and alcohol.

The taste on the other hand offers much more.
There is much more roasted malt presence here with some bitter spent coffee grounds perhaps. The coffee fades and brings cocoa aftertastes.

The mouth feel is almost right but falls a tad thin. Pretty good drinkability overall.

The nose brings boozier notes out than taste so it works out. I have another 750ml I will sit on for a year or so to note improvements.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a jet black with near-black woody brown at the edges. a chocolate-syrup-like head of a few fingers has stunning retention and leaves behind pretty solid lacing.

aroma is earthy, roasted malt, cocoa and hints of vanilla. chocolate pudding, caramel and pumpernickel. wish it was a bit more potent, even near room temp.

taste is potently rich dark roasted malt, molasses, hints of bitter hops. stale roasted coffee, bitter burnt coffee beans. more roasted malt, almost a touch of lactose.

mouth is amply carbonated but somewhat thin. a fuller, thicker mouthfeel would have helped the taste too... just not quite enough body to help carry the rich flavors.

all in all, an impressive offering from Grand Teton. not bad, although the funky bitterness and sourness is on the verge of being off-putting. that being said, it's a nice variation from some of my other go-to imperial stouts.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.58/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter.

Pours a jet black, with not color hints around the edges. Big, creamy mocha colored head that looks like a dark version of a root beer float head. Big bubbles. Head drops very slowly, with big chunky lacing.

Aroma of sweet dark cocoa, espresso coffee, and roasted malts. No hop aroma. Hints of licorise as it warms. Fruity esters.

First sip is of a creamy coffee milk shake, a hint of alcohol. No alcohol flavor. Medium finish with an emphasis on roasted flavors - coffee, roast malt and dark cocoa. Fades slowly, begging for another sip. As it warms, hints of licorise, dark fruit.

Mouthfeel is actually a little thin for the style, not watery, though. Some alcohol warmth. No carbonation prickle. Nice creamy texture.

Very drinkable RIS. Will enjoy finishing the bottle as a nightcap.

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

A - A very black beer with a brown head that didn't stick around for very long. Some thick strands and chunks left on the side.

S - Roasted malts, burnt chocolate, caramel, pretty standard stuff. There is some underlying fruit tones here, which are somewhat enjoyable.

T - It's very roasty, which I find good characteristic in a big stout. Some bitter chocolate, espresso, and caramel malts in there as well. Not bad at all.

M - Full bodied is good, high carbonation is not so good.

D - Pretty enjoyable, the high carbonation is distracting and doesn't help the taste, but this is a solid beer.

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

A: Really black. dark khaki/tan head with decent retention.

S: Heavy bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee notes, with hints of vanilla beans, clove, and whipped cream. A well rounded aroma.

T: Nice rich bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee bean-filled body. Vanilla and clove flavors are stronger than it was in the nose. Some faint notes of complex dark fruit can be deciphered, but it's nowhere truly noticeable. A very tame aftertaste follows.

M: Sweet, milky, rich. Medium body, low carbonation. Smooth finish.

D: Good! Definitely gonna pick this up again.

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

A: Pours rich deep black. Dark brown modest head quickly disperses. Attractive bold lacing.

S: Attractive aroma grabs your attention from a distance. Aromas include clove, fruitiness, licorice.

T:Very rich flavor that surprises from the malt base. Roasted flavor is enhanced by overtones of cacao and winter fruits. Underlying sweetness reminds this is desert in a glass - light caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla.

M: Creamy fullness in the mouthfeel - warm delivery down the throat. Very little in the carbonation department - which is ok in the Imperial Stout arena.

O: Better than average Imperial Stout example. Worth the visit.

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Photo of mjyoung
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Split w/ bbb099

A: Pours the color of stained chocolate, with a brown film on the periphery and an off-white center. It leaves a thick film on the sides.

S: "It stings the nostrils." Thick roasted malt and caramel with strong chocolate notes. Definitely some dark, fruity notes lurking underneath it all.

T: The taste of roasted malt is overpowering, but you can get a hint of chocolate, cocoa, and the same dark fruit. Not the order in which I'd have preferred the flavors.

M: Very highly carbonated. It comes out feeling pretty light, which isn't what I expected.

D: Smooth, and it tastes reasonably good. It's a solid brew but not something especially memorable, and I probably won't buy another one.

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Photo of bbb099
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a goblet. Shared with mjyoung.

A - Motor oil black. The head is brown in color and quickly receded after pouring.

S - Roasted malt, chocolate, hint of coffee and figs.

T - The taste was not quite as robust as I expected. Good roasty cocoa and coffee-like flavors. Texture was milky, creamy. Goes down pretty smooth with a little alcohol tingle.

M - Full bodied. More carbonation than the other imperial stouts I have had, takes away from the taste a little bit but I actually enjoyed the extra fizziness.

D - A solid, balanced beer.

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Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth glass. It poured black in color with a modest dark tan head to it. The head retreated to the edges of the glass, where it left a little lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a dark and bitter chocolate flavor coming through most prominently. Behind that I get more of a sweeter, malty, molasses like flavor coming through. A little sweeter chocolate is there along with some tarter, fruity flavors.

The taste starts off on the sweeter side with some of those sweeter chocolate, molasses and malty flavors coming through. It starts to turn more bitter and roasty midway and leaves some burnt flavors lingering in the finish. The sweet and bitter flavors work well together throughout the beer. It's relatively balanced for the style.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, I enjoyed sipping on this one this evening. It had some good chocolate, roasty, sweet and bitter flavors and they all came together pretty nicely. Solid beer overall.

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

10oz served in a tulip at The Monk's Kettle on new year's eve. Review from notes.

Pure black with a gorgeous dark brown fine, foamy head that's sticky too. A good looking beer.

Nose is dominated by rich espresso, some darker berry comes through but it's subordinated. Dark chocolate is requisite but also weaker than the robust espresso emanating from the glass.

Darker berry and dark caramel come to the front, espresso rides the wave of dark, bubbly liquid. Raspberry and cherry mingle with dark chocolate. A little woodiness mixed in; very concentrated on classic Imperial Stout flavors, but very well executed.

Round, soft, and pretty much the standard for Imperial Stouts.

Better than decent drinkability and not even over the top in abv. As far as the style goes, quite drinkable.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #35 (Dec 2009):

Dense rocky mountain of a head, soot black color; can't get much darker than this beer. Hint of molasses taffy, higher alcohols, ripe blackberries and a kiss of smoke make for a varied and semi-complex nose. Bittersweet chocolate, blackberries, ripe figs and a mild chicory flavor show the bold side of this brew. Light smoke and hops jump to add to that. Some char and herb middle to end. Bitter roasted flavors take over the finish yet never go astringent.

Great to experience an Impy Stout that thinks outside of the mash tun. The extra smoke component without the beer being big, bad and syrupy-sweet works very well. A sipper that begs to be paired with stinky blue cheese. Try it, you'll like it.

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Photo of joepais
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Well thanks to the awesome person who shipped me my first brew from Idaho.
I poured it into my golden monkey tulip glass and for a split second I saw a small tan head that trailed off to nothing. Now the body of the brew is black as night but after seeing the label what else it could be. The aromas of roasted malts filled my head I got a slight oxidation but better than a year on it I expect it. The flavors of chocolate and coffee are right up front with a nice sweetness coming from the malts. I drink a ton of IMP Stouts so I will say that this one can keep up with the big boys but ... they do need to work on the mouthfeel it was a tad light for me and needs a bit more carbonation for the appearance and your mouth as well. The bottle went down mighty easy and I could have had another. It was a first brew from a state I hadn't ticked off yet.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black motor oil color, tan/oatmeal brown head, excellent lacing

S: licorice, vanilla, chocolate, roasted malts.

T/M: sweet vanilla, chocolate, hint of licorice, faint bitter finish, smooth quality with hint of tackiness.

D: Excellent Winter sipper. Worth a try; I'm a big fan of this time of year for the big, heavy complex beers, especially Imperial Stouts. My 1st sample of Grand Teton, well done and look forward to further brew samples.

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

12oz bottle from 2009.

Pours opaque black with a light brown head of a half inch. A partial skim coat remained for the duration with a few dots of lacing.

Aromatics lead off with chocolate fudge, espresso, Kahlua, and char. Quite roasty and lush.

Full bodied with a velvety, lush mouthfeel. Very soft.

Bakers chocolate, rich malt, dark roast coffee, and Kahlua start the palate. A hint of vineousity follows through as well as some boozy heat and brownie batter.

Finishes with dark chocolate, Kahlua, and fudge.

Not the biggest, baddest RIS but damn tasty and I think this one is peaking. Nice.

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

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12 oz bottle.

A - Pours a gorgeous viscous and oily black beer with a nice thin .25 inch head that is quite tan almost pure brown. The beer is quite dark and no light gets through. (4.5)

S - Aroma starts off with roasted coffee notes. Some slight espresso as well as fresh earthy beans. There are some nice chocolaty malt notes and some nice bread and grain notes mixed in there. It has some slight caramel sweetness to it but the nose is more roasted and slightly bitter. (4.0)

T & M - This beer starts off with roasted coffee notes that are quite intense. There is some nice cocoa powder sweetness as well as some good chocolate cake notes. There are nice smoky and peat notes to the flavor as well. There is some slight sweetness from caramel and brown sugar to some slight cinnamon and vanilla notes. There are some nice bitter notes to the beer as well, especially on the back end and mixed in with the sweet chocolate. Nice full flavored beer with great viscosity and nice carbonation. (4.5) (4.0)

D - Really good brew with an ABV that is well hidden even though on a higher side. Nice full body. This should be rated a bit higher. (4.0)

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Photo of codewarrior
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 from a 4-pack Poured into a Snifter

Couldn't resist picking this up at Argonaut on sale. Grand Teton's seasonal beers never disappoint.

L: Pitch black and decently thick. Lots and lots of frothy (thin) effervescence on top. Touch reflective to the light even. This is a high-gloss stout.

S: Cutting bitterness throughout, underscored by a decent amount of mealiness. Alcohol is quite present, especially in the back.

T: An up front booziness resolves nicely into a bold mealy stout. Not nearly on par with Rabid Duck in the nasty, mealy stout world, but surprisingly good. Fades off into a boozy-sweetness with a welcome lingering bitterness.

F: A touch light, but not unwelcomely so. Great carbonation, if a touch on the watery side.

D: Pretty good, definitely drinkable, especially at the price point.

For the price, this is an everyday winter beer for sure. Well executed, and quite drinkable for the genre. The only bang-for-buck Double I can think of to surpass this brew is Green Flash's Double Stout.

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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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