Black Cauldron Imperial Stout | Grand Teton Brewing Co.

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Black Cauldron Imperial StoutBlack Cauldron Imperial Stout
Very Good
616 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 616 |  Reviews: 327
Photo of horshack7
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Into a pint glass is an abyss of darkness with a head of about one and a half fingers. A little bit of lacing is lafet behind upon the head thinning out.

Aroma: Front and center are large dark roasted coffee notes. Chocolate notes wrap themselves around the incredibly dark roasted malts. The hop side of it all is once again dark that's such a wonderful thing.

Taste: It coats the pallte as if it was a dark chocolte ganache yet still very creamy. Coffee chocolate and dark roasted malts and hops are all rolled so very well into one tasty beer.

Notes: This is one very tasty American double stout I am glad I picked this one up. Cheers.

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Photo of Ghenna
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an inky black into my pint glass, with ~1fingers worth of chocolate head. Nice lacing. Smells of burnt malt, smoke, chocolate, coffee. Taste is of huge coffee/chocolate bitter up front, hint of caramel in the middle, mild hop/coffee dryness at the end. The beer leaves a medium/heavy coating on the mouth and a bit of sticky on the lips. This is a nice Imperial Stout- one which I would happily buy again if I could find it reasonably priced.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark colour, dark mahogany up to the light. Beige head levels out slowly, leaving a film of headness on the top. Lace is thin but has that great "look at me, I'm a dark beer" bronze curtain look to it. Yeah, decent beer, but not amazing.

Nose is very roasty, lots of coffee on that. Yeah, toasted grain and just general carbon matter. Slight ashiness with smokey coffee grounds. Nuttiness on the back like roasted almond. Yeah, pleasant nose but again not mind-blowing.

Taste is actually a bit weak on the front. Has nice dark roasty notes at first, then gets just a bit subdued, the roastiness trails off. It creeps back into the palate with pleasant nutty notes and mega cocoa. A hint of cola character at the back, just slightly sour and not as 'meaty' as the imperial stouts I've come to love. Finish is a strong point though with nice palatable roastiness, a lot of sweetness as well though. If anything a little too sweet, has a brown sugar tinge to it and I do quite like my stouts to roast my bollocks off at the end. Decent palate overall though, just feel it's a bit mild and timid compared to what I expected.

Does swill really nicely in the mouth, smooth and velvety with a bit of a dry bite at the end that just adds a little "oomph!" to it.

I often say in my reviews that when flavour feels diminished, it makes it more drinkable. That is definitely true here because for an imperial stout it is remarkably easy-drinking and mild. The alcohol is virtually undetectable.

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Photo of bsp77
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with thin tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and molasses is predominate with nice nuances of coffee and smoke.

Taste: Very chocolaty, with nice layers of molasses, coffee, and a general smokiness. A slight level of English hop bitterness rounds out the flavor.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth and full body, nice dry finish.

Drinkability: More than solid Russian Imperial Stout with an emphasis on chocolate and simple balance. Pleasantly surprised by this.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Monument Wines & Spirits, Concord and carted back in my luggage to Sydney and cracked open with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a reasonably heavy, but definitely opaque black with a rocky head of chocolate shavings foam. Little lacing, and the body could perhaps be a little heavier, but it looks pretty decent. Very suitable for an Imperial Stout.

Big stout nose, with some sweetness that to me implies the American variety rather than the RIS variety. Slight smokiness and a hint of oak. Light notes of chocolate, but the more I smell, the more the smoke character comes through. Very interesting.

Taste is round, and the forefront has hints of the smokiness, but there's something oddly acidic running around as well - almost a coppery blood character, and I say that not in a disparaging way. Later, oak notes come through a little, some vinous characters and a roasted bitter finish that almost feels as though it's there for show. I mean, it's a stout, so it has to taste black and roasted at some point.

Very smooth in the mouth. It's not incredibly thick, but it certainly has a satiny texture.

Yeah, this is a very nice Imperial Stout. I've had better - ones which accentuate the sweet, fragrant and vinous characters of the style more - but this is very drinkable, very smooth and quite flavoursome.

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Photo of WOTO97
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: a deep, rich mahogany with a quickly dissolving head and fine speckled lacing

S: big roasted malt with faint menthol, bold (slightly burned) coffee note, slight vanilla and alcohol as well, a nut character emerges as beer warms

T: roasted malt is extremely pronounced here (not so much overpowering as the other flavor profiles are so nominally present), slight pepper from alcohol, crusty bread finish, very nominal coffee, slight sweet black licorice

M: thick finish with relatively creamy texture throughout

D: improves as it approaches room temp but all-too-close to a one-note impy stout--roasted malt is very much in the forefront

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.
Original tasting: 12/20/2009

12 oz. bottle into tulip.

$10.99 / 4 pk.

S: Strong coffee, sweet molasses, and dark roasted barley. Slight alcohol aroma on back end.

A: Opaque dark brown to black body with a small creamy head that quickly dissipates leaving slight lacing and a creamy cover. Would appreciate a bigger head and better lacing.

T: Slight sweetness, and significant coffee notes. No upfront alcohol, but some hotness at the end. Dark roasted barley bitterness, and minimal chocolate character.

M: Medium body, and low carbonation. Creamy with low bitterness.

D: Good drinkability for an 8.0 abv. Goes down easy and doesn't leave a strong aftertaste. Taste gets a bit old over time. Two is my limit.

o: Solid overall, but nothing that blows me away.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought at my local beer store. I love stouts, so, let's see...

A: Deep liquidy black that has no light shining through. Kind of like a cola. Small mocha head that quickly fades to a small lace atop the brew. Decent.

S: Smells super roasty blended with hints of deep dark chocolate. Slight hints of coffee and oatmeal. Decent.

T: Super watery coffee upfront with heavy roast blended in the middle and some bitter earthiness on the backend. I wish this brew had more sweetness blended in to balance the flavors. Just very roasty and bitter, not much else going on. Nothing special.

M: Thicker than I would have liked. Decent.

D: Goes down ok. A little too roasty for my liking. Decent.

All in all, this brew is nothing special. Don't worry about it. If you like super roasty brews, then this is for you, otherwise, avoid.

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Photo of jmerloni
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark dark brown to black. Cannot see through it at all. Head is minimal.

S - Roasted malts, milk chocolate, butter, nutty aroma.

T - Fruitier than most imperials. It tastes like there are some dates or perhaps black cherries. Roasted malt, chocolate in addition, but these flavors are a bit dull in comparison to the other flavors and compared to other imperials. This beer is a bit too sweet. Tastes like it has evaporated milk in it.

M - Very smooth, low carbonation. Could probably benefit from a bit more carbonation actually. Tastes pretty flat.

D - Moderately drinkable. A pretty good brew overall. I wish it wasn't as sweet.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer "glugs" with some viscosity into my glass. Inky black appearance. Thin and bubbly brown head. Looks great. Nice aroma of anise, thick roasted malts, black licorice and baker's chocolate. Oily texture to this beer. It coats the palate nicely. Body is medium-full and the carbonation is quite low key. Flavors resemble aromas....anise oil, licorice, roasted bitterness, chocolate, dark fruits, prunes, black cherries, etc.... Very enjoyable.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a solid black color with a nice thick dark tan head. Eventually turns to a heavy film.

Smell: Nice roasted malt aroma, with hints of some sweet cream and caramel. Perhaps a bit of alcohol in the aroma, but not much.

Taste: Roasted malt flavor, but not overly roasted. There's some blueberries in there too, along with some coffee. Aftertaste has a bit of a smokiness to it.

Mouthfeel: Medium- to heavy-bodied. Feels just a tad watered-down, but it is still good and quite smooth. Very minimal soft carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability for this IPA and style. No real alcohol in the flavor, and not too strong.

It is a nice imperial stout - a bit lighter than most and not quite as tasty as some, but still an enjoyable beer.

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

Pours nice and black with a thin tan head. Aromas of roasted malt,
coffee bean, vanilla, and dark fruit. Initial flavors of burnt toast and
raisin chocolate covered espresso bean and vanilla. Light smoky
flavors play well off light anise and the mild hoppy backbone. The
body is full, lush, and smooth.

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Photo of sitarist
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from whitebricke in a BIF.

Pours almost black, opaque with a slight hint of brown around the edge. Minimal head falls quick to barely a ring and minimal spots of lacing.

Smells sweet with hints of coco, powdered sugar, and apples. The aroma is mellow and pleasant.

The flavors are mellow like the nose with a smokey/bourbon note up front, with a sweet/coco finish.

The mouthfeel is wet with a medium body, and nice low carbonation. Not bad it just doesn't stick to my tongue.

A great beer that's very drinkable; its just a little weak for the style. Id love to try again but this beer doesn't make its way into my area.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours black with a brown head. The aroma is meaty smoke with some chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor is very similar with roasted and burnt malts, chocolate and some smoke. The smoke is more present in the aroma than in the flavor. Medium-thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of morebeergood
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of tigg924
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: black in color, minimal head, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: chocolate and roasted malt

Taste: roasted malt, sugar, and chocolate

Mouthfeel: sweet, medium bodied, light carbonation

Drinkability: An above average imperial stout where the alcohol is well hidden. Not a bad beer, but nothing I will rush out for.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of emmasdad
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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Photo of Jwale73
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of blammasterj
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a regular pint glass, bottled on 1/21/10.

A: Poured as thick as ink and as black as sin. The light brown head settled quickly, but left a pleasant ring of lacing around the glass as it was imbibed.

S: Had an aroma of roasted malts, dark fruits, tobacco and a faint hint of leather. I didn't pick up coffee in the nose that would later follow in the taste.

T: At first the taste followed the nose rather closely: roasted malts, bitter chocolate and a little heat from the alcohol on the finish. As I allowed it to warm it opened up with sweet, dark fruits, coffee and milk chocolate. Very narrow hop profile that kind of snuck in some pine through the backdoor.

MF: This beer is as thick as it looks and as creamy as a melted milkshake.

D: Overall a good offering from Grand Teton and a beer that I will continue to purchase. However, I had this on tap about a week ago and was much more impressed then as I seem to remember the flavor profile being much more complex.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this glass at Armsby Abbey days after their Stoutfest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was tossed in as extra in a trade with Sideswipe

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

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

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Photo of chumba526
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

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Black Cauldron Imperial Stout from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 616 ratings