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 pokesbeerdude
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was afraid that I wasn't going to be able to find one of these anywhere after I bought one back in December, well I got lucky by digging around at Northridge and there was one bottle left. I'm quite excited.

A: Poured from a 33.8 oz swing top with a bottling date of Nov 2, 2007. Poured out thick, extremely dark brown, almost black, and completely opaque, poured aggressively and a large brown head sat on top, reduced to an inch, then to about nothing, excellent lacing. Some big yeast chunks settled at the bottom.

S: Big heavy malty smells, very dark coffee, funky smell similar to pepperoni pizza, faint detection of hops not really standing out. Smells sweet.

T: Chocolatey up front, very malty, pretty bitter up front and in back. The latter half of the beer is very hoppy, piney hops really pop out and leave a very clean feeling in the mouth, linger there for quite a while. Pretty sweet beer overall, lots of malted sugars in this one. No alcohol, which is surprising being at over 7%.

M: Very creamy and smooth, pretty thick, and very sticky. This thing is like eatin a chocolate ice cream cone, it sticks to the lips like mad. The finish is very clean and there is a nice hop/coffee lingering in the mouth. This is an amazing feeling imperial stout. Not as thick as others, but still quite a bit thicker than a standard stout.

D: This is an easy drinking Imperial Stout, not as extreme as others, and very flavorful. Alcohol is a bit sneaky though, and I recommend splitting the liter with someone else. Very delicious though.

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Photo of CPeterson
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A -- Looks like the oil I change out of my cycle. A dense head settles nicely leaving almost no lacing. Black as black gets, I think.

S -- Smoked malt, coffee, dark chocolate, figs, raisins, lightly boozy. A light hop aroma.

T -- The smoke is present but not dominant; coffee, dark fruit, dry on the aftertaste from the hop presence. Well balanced with a nice flavor development.

M -- Smooth and silky with a twinge of bitterness that isn't overbearing.

D -- I would say that if not dead on for the style, this beer is damned close. Very easygoing and approachable without compromising flavor. While not as big as some other Imperials, I would argue this could be a textbook example of the style.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

BOD 9/23/13. Solid black pour with a thick tan head that laces well and lasts. Nose is of roast, chocolate and has hints of dark fruit (raisins) against a malt sweetness. Not quite full bodied with a slick creamy mouthfeel over normal carbonation. The complex taste profile is well balanced with many good flavors. Against a sweet background, it begins with a touch of roast, progresses to chocolate and ends with raisins against a touch of smoke and alcohol. The finish is smooth with a slight residual alcohol burn over charred oak. My first Grand Teton offering and it is an exceptional stout.

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Photo of colts9016
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at 48 degrees

Appearance: There is a half finger dark head that is creamy and bubbly. The color of the beer is opaque and the clarity is the same way. There is some efferevescence bubbles on the side of the glass.

Nose: A very rich and dark roasted malt. The aromas aromas are bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted espresso, molassess, toasted notes, phenols and some some solvents.

Taste: A very deep rich roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, molasses, oats, phenols, a toasty note, yeast, and some solvent notes.

Overall: The mouth feel is creamy rich velvety and chewy. The body of the beer is thick and the finish is full. I was surprised on how good this beer was it. It blew my palate and my mind away. I am very glad that I have a couple of these at home.

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

Got to try this one courtesy of one of my friends who brought it back from Wyoming. Pours a dark black/brown with a thin layer of foam on top. Smell is of whiskey, chocolate, and licorice, blended together nicely.

Taste is outstanding. A firm blend of chocolate, coffee, licorice, with hints of fruit and whiskey in the background. Very tasty indeed. Alcohol, while not as high as other imperial stouts is well hidden. A smooth and creamy mouthfeel top this one of. An excellent RIS and worth your time!

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

Black Cauldron Imperial Stout
12 oz brown bottle
Bottled 01/21/10
Served in a Smuttynose tulip glass

Pours a jet black and opaque. Looks like pen ink. Very minimal head on top with little spots of lace.

"Roasty" aroma with whiffs of coffee beans and malts.

The Black Cauldron Imperial Stout is a robust and complex brew. Espresso, brown sugar and dark chocolate flavors. Dark roasted malt flavors with a sugary sweetness. I also detect some dark fruit flavors like prunes.

The ABV % is very well hidden with a baby hop snap on the finish. Very smooth and flavorful. Held up quite well for the past 10 months. Worth checking out.

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Photo of Chaney
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
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 SD-Alefan
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque, very dark brown with a medium tan head.
The aroma is quite nice with chocolate, roast coffee, dark fruit and a hint of char.
A tasty stout! Lots of dark chocolate up front with some roast coffee notes. Some dark fruit in the middle with a lingering bitter and drying finish that includes a bit of char. There's even a bit of sweet chocolate as it warms.
Medium mouthfeel that's slightly creamy.
Really good.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The swing top bottle is nice, but it's dipped in wax and with this type of top I had a hard time opening it without getting wax into the bottle. Not that I could have seen it. This is a charcoal filtered beer as it's totally black. It produces a nice darkened froth which I wasn't execting. Nice work. The froth doesn't last long, it paints the side of the glass with oily lace.
Quick snifs produce smoke. Longer intakes and I smell smokey wood, and grains, black cherry skins, and blackstrap molasses.

Surprisingly, and delightfully from such a dark brew there's ruby fruit notes right up front. Then sweet wood, like a wooden spoon that's been used to stir cherry juice. Tobacco smoke. Caramel. Yummy. The just present alcohol finishes this with a little menthol. Dates linger too, and bourbon finishes the dealy. This is really lovely.

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Photo of BobCS
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
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 HoppyHachey
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: It poured out a great looking dark black liquid. The consistency seemed thick as i poured. It had a average sized head with a nice chocolatey looking color. Looks delicious.

S: Great smell of chocolate and a small sweetness from the raisins. I want to smell this smell for the rest of my day.

T: Definitely a chocolate after taste. I like the way it lingers in my mouth, the prefect amount of chocolate. I didn't notice any sweetness in the taste that I got from the smell but probably better anyway.

MF: Seems thicker than most of the stouts I've had recently. Drinks really easy for an Imperial too. Doesn't leave you with anything but wanting more.

O: Definitely like it, probably get some more from the store just to hang on too. Grab some.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a thick, very dark brown, with a tan head that dispated in seconds. The smell of coffee and roasted malts was evident. The taste was of deep roasted malts, dark roasted coffee and semi-sweet chocolate. And, don't forget the alcohol either. Nicley balanced, another winner from Grand Teton Brewing!

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Photo of tpd975
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Joey Redner for this one.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a nice 1/4 finger solid head. Good retention and some lace noted.

S: Aromas of burnt malt, coffee, chocolate, and light smoke.

T: Tasty brew. Nice chocolate up front with a bit of bitter coffee. Hints of smoke and tobacco come through in the middle with light hops in the finish.

M: Medium in body, smooth with great carbonation.

D: Good, what a nice rare tasty treat.

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Photo of kiddwhiz
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: Poured a 12 0z bottle dated 10/29/2009 in to a nbb globe. Jet black with two fingers of tan head. Dissipates over a couple minutes to leave a dusting of sandy head resembling a espresso.

s: Smells of roasted malts with a touch of earthy sweetness.

t: Roasted dark chocolate malts with raisins, licorice, and lighter coffee. Smooth with a touch of sweetness and slight bitterness. Smooth. Makes the mouth water. Tasty goodness.

m: Good mouthfeel of slightly viscous, tiny bubble carbonation.

o: With 18 months of cellar this Black Cauldron is an excellent beer! I really enjoy the drinkability of as compared to an all out Imperial Stout like Abyss. Meets all the marks of a quality crafted, drinkable Imperial Stout. Cheers!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
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 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 Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Edition, 750ml

I have been sitting on this one since about April 06. It was a bitch to get the wax off the top, but I did, will save this bottle. Pours a black color, not much carbonation at all, tiny creamy tan head, some minor lacing around the edges. Scents of hops, sweet roasted malts, slight spices, and caramel. The taste is of sweet roasted/smoked malts, slightly spicy, with a nice caramel taste. Medium body, well rounded. Very drinkable, an absolutely delicious beer, highly recommended.

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Photo of Hex92
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened a bottle dated Nov 2 2007. Its May 2012 so it has been sitting for a while. I never tried it "fresh" so I can't determine if it has changed over the last 4+ years.

A-black no lacing head disappeared quickly.
S-roasted malts
T- big malt, hardly any hops....just the way I like it. The malts are roasted perfectly. I don't like when they cross the line to burnt. These are perfect.
M- nice. Light on carbonation, but maybe that is due o being over 4 years old.

O- great representation of the style. If I see this again I will pick up a bottle and drink it a bit sooner.

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

I was served a mug from the tap at the Sports Page bar in Pullman, WA.

A: It poured a black body with ruby tints at the edges when back lit. The head was moderate and deep chocolaty brown with sticky tiny bubbles. The head receded slowly and left little lacing.

S: It had a deep roasted malt aroma that gave off odors of chocolate and coffee.

T: Yummy...nice stout. Rich, thick and creamy. It presented a solid sweet and bittersweet chocolate profile complemented by a biting back side that reminded me of campfire coffee. As the brew warmed the flavors blended nicely into an easy moca latte.

M: It was medium to full bodied with a smooth, creamy and rich presense. It had a sweet coco front, biting coffee back and a clean warm finish.

A thick sticky liquid that rolls through the mouth, is nicely complimented by a more subtle carbonation than most. Quite nice.

D: Its modest ABV, creamy chocolaty flavor and smooth warm and clean finish make this a beer that would be easy to enjoy long into the night.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a brown ring of bubbly head.

S: Dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and perhaps a slight hint of anise.

T: Smoke is more noticeable in the taste with some bitter coffee, dark chocolate, and a bit of dark fruit and citrus peel.

M: Full bodied and smooth, creamyish.

O: A really good imperial stout. I like the anise, molasses and smoke a lot. Three great flavors one might find in such a beer.

Note: Bottled in late 2009, imbibed in late 2012.

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Photo of aluskungs
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wax sealed bottle bought from the brewery in 2005. Cracked it open on my birthday okt. of 08.

Pours nice and heavy, not thick like oil. Good dark lacing on the sides of my rapscallion cognac glass. The beer is pretty much black.

Strong date smell with some alcohol and coffee thrown in there.

The taste is smooth (3 years old) and very drinkable. Dates, licorice, tobacco flavors, like a port wine. Excellent!

A great beer that doesn't need to be 18 percent alcohol! A well balanced beer that shows that you don't need a lot of alcohol to make a great "extreme" beer. Really great job. I should have bought more. My loss.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from bottle to a NBB globe glass. Bottled on 12/8/2010.

A - The beer pours a deep bitch opaque black color. Black edges, dark. A nice 1.5 finger mocha colored head. Good retention and lacing.

S - There is roasted barley and chocolate immediately but a citrus sweetness from the hops comes in afterwards. Its a nice blend of sweet and roast. No sense of alcohol.

T - Just like the nose the beer starts with a bitter roasted barley and chocolate malt flavor. It's not so much that it's unbearable but rather a smooth roasty character. The hop sweetness and citrus character comes in the middle. It's a very balanced brew. I am not used to such hop character in an imperial stout. I really like it!

M - Good carbonation and medium bodied. Finishes smooth and creamy. Good.

D - Very

Overall, this is a very good beer. I had the opportunity to get a 4-pack or a bomber. I went with a bomber. I will immediately get more. Recommended.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-13-2011 01:50:08

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from draft at The Front Door ... poured into a Chimay goblet ... nice 3/4" lite brown creamy head with good lacing that lasted until the last sip. Aroma is chocolate malts and roasted grains... big aroma that reminds me of a cool mocha.. a little sweetness with a bunch of chocolate and coffee ... Flavor begins with the body... Fantastic body ... up front full mouthfeel ... viscous ... feels like it has a higher ABV .. creamy chocolate melts into the roasted barley ... not getting alot of hops, but I know they're there.. Dark fruits.. chocolate covered cherries.. yummy... Drinks like a bigger RIS.

I am sooo glad Grand Teton re-released this one... I drank my last of the previous vintage on my birthday back in June while hot-springing in the Idaho wilderness.

I've purchased the new bottles at a few different places in Boise.. ranging from $12-$13. All are in the Big 1ltr waxed flip tops. Note, the bottles no longer look like the BA pic, now they are the fatter ones ... Donkey Punch is bottled in the same bottles.

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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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