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 TheManiacalOne
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a very thin beige head that fades quickly and leaves a very thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, molasses and licorice with a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors chocolate, coffee, molasses and licorice. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is very mild as you would expect and there’s a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, a bit viscous, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it’s a decent beer but there are several others in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
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 xraided81
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep jet black, thick tan head quickly turns into a thin off white ring around the rim of the glass.
S: notes of roasted coffee with a hint of vanilla, and warm alcohol;
T: bitter roasted coffee, very dry finish which is not to common in imperial stout.the mallt is more evident than the hop bitterness in this brew
M: carbonation is still present, rich, velvetty and viscous mouthfeel.
D: It is a good, but not great example of imperial stout, for about $12 for a 4pack, i probably wont buy this again. I would rather get a 4pack of north coast old rasputin for $8, which is by far a better example of imperial stout.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good thick black viscous appearance, 3/4" tan head on the top of it. Aroma had substantial alcohol and roast to a lesser degree.

Taste was better, mouthfeel hid the alcohol . Still plenty of dark fruit bitterness, licorice. The hopping from the Cascade and Nugget hops gives the bitterness a little more diverse play than just the dark fruit bitterness many RIS beers get bogged down by. Not a bad deal if you like stouts year round.

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Photo of Juggernaut929
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was quite good, I bought a few extra bottles a put them away for a year or so, This is the 2nd beer I've drank of this, and the one I'm reviewing.

Appearance - Black, completely dark, with a thin line of head that disappears after a few minutes. Carbonation seems low but appropriate to the style IMO.

Smell - My bad sense of smell says that this is an imperial stout. ;P Which smells good.

Taste/Drinkability - This beer slides down your throat as a thick sauce of awesomeness. It has some darker fruit notes, maybe raisin or cherry, with a nice chocolate flavor coming across. I was rather pleased by this. I found it to be lighter than some imperial stouts, kind of a middle ground, where its still drinkable, I feel i could drink a few of them. Very light hop flavor coming across, and a nice finish and after flavor, begging another sip.

Finish/Overall Impression- I was impressed by this, like I said put a few bottles away for aging, I found the alcohol bite was a bit high, but I think a little waiting will cure that, not that its a bad thing. The price for this was very reasonable too, i think I spent a little under $3 per bottle, and I really like the label. Overall nice work to the brewers on this one.


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Photo of kcsc007
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I wouldn't have purchased this beer if not for the awsome bottle. At $10.50, I thought it was a little pricey, but I took the risk and was happy with the result.

It looked in the glass like most stouts, dark brown, the color a a nice dark brewed coffee with a rich, foamy head. The aroma of brown sugar and deeply malted barley. The taste was very malty, as to be expected, with hints of chocolate, toasted oats and coffee yet with a tinge of bitterness at the tail end of the swig. The brew seemed to strengthen over time, with a strong hollow-bitterness I associate with stouts not of the Irish brand. Not as thick and creamy in the mouth as some others, or as complex.

I tried some of this beer with dark chocolate, and I must say, it really improved the flavor and finish of the beer.

I was not too impressed with this beer, but it is worth a try if you can get your hands on it.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Black color. One and a half fingers of frothy light brown head. Retention is about average and a short ring of lacing is left.

4.0 S: This smells absolutely wonderful. Deep roastiness with plenty of sweetness to make this a rich, decadent treat for the nose. Chocolate, caramel, and hints of molasses.

3.5 T: Smells better than it tastes, but it's not bad. Lots of roast, but not as sweet as I thought it would be. Less chocolate and caramel too. Moderate roasty bitterness.

3.0 M: Heavier medium body. A bit too much carbonation, but okay. Lacking creaminess.

3.5 D: Decent beer. I just wish it tasted like it smells.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: black-brown and opaque with a fingernail of thin tan foam that didn't last long.

Smell: Inviting roast malt, chocolate and a dark fruit I can't rightly place. I enjoyed the smell of this one more than the taste.

Taste: Roasted malt, semi-sweet chocolate, subtle lactose and more of the dark fruit that is hard to place, possibly raisins or figs I don't want to say dried cherries..

Mouthfeel: Somewhat creamy, but non-descript.

Drinkability: Yes. It works. It's not the best nor the worst.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An old extra found at the back of the beer fridge, poured into a tulip. Beer is black with nearly no head, low carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma is mildly sweet and a little ashy.

Beer is medium in body and light in flavor. There is some late bitterness and a little forward sweetness. No alcohol, no midpalate presence, its an average stout. Nothing special here.

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Photo of eclipse54
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from November 2010 that I opened as part of a small stout tasting on 01/03/2012. Poured into a 5 oz. snifter, and reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark brown, near black with faint ruby hues. A thin tan/brown head develops with good retention but minimal lacing.

The aroma is of roasted malt, smoke, cocoa, a touch of milk chocolate, and faint coffee grounds. A bit of a "charred" impression is gained.

Taste is rather unassuming, with roasted/smoked malts, caramel, cocoa nibs, ground coffee, and a certain earthy dirt flavor. Seems a bit muddled and unintegrated, but not wholly offputting.

Mouthfeel is relatively smooth, though there is a slightly bitter characteristic from the cacao (it seems). It finishes with a creamy texture and dry aftertaste.

Overall, a good stout. Not mind-blowing, but affordable and easy to drink.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, bottled in October of '10. Poured into a New Belgium Globe.

A: With a vigorous pour this beer yields only about a fingers worth of viscous medium tan head. Opaque and dark, ok lacing, good carbonation. Would have like to have seen more head and better retention.

S: Dark malts, dark sweet fruits, a touch of coffee, a whiff of leathery smoke, some woody characters, and hints of boozyness. Not the best Imperial Stout smell in my opinion, but unique.

T: On the tongue the dark malts yield to the beers sweetness: the dark fruit is prominent but there are chocolate notes as well. I'm not sure I like the dark fruit/sweetness component.

MF: A touch thin but viscous with a good coating mouthfeel. Medium bodied.

O: Equal parts bland and unusual. No bitterness, very little roasted malt character, too much of that odd sweetness for an IS. Really wanted to like this local brew but its just a step above average IMO.

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Photo of Brez07
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Opaque black pour that leaves a half finger mocha head. No lacing

S: Mix of dark fruit (raison, cherry) and muted roasted malt/chocolate. Also hints of bourbon (even though to my knowledge it isn't barrel aged) and alcohol

T: Same characters from the smell, but not quite on par. There's a smokey finish added

M: Thick, chewy. High carbonation, maybe a little too much, but not to the beer's detriment. Slight roasted aftertaste

D: Easy drinking stout. Smells great, but flavors don't come out much. Enjoyed trying a new stout, but it's not readily available so I don't see myself having it again

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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 RoyalT
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - This poured a dark, dark brown with a nice, brownish-white head that came up beautifully and showed great retention.

Smell - The aroma here was kind of flat even after the beer warmed. There's a nice, chocolaty malt base here with some light coffee notes but everything is muted and doesn't really open up like I was hoping.

Taste - The roasted malts have a nice, crisp, sugary flavor to them but again they are muted and aren't really opening up. Also, untrue to the style, I'm not finding that structured hop base.

Mouthfeel - This is bigger than medium-bodied but not quite full. There is some mild but pleasant carbonation and a reserved bitterness that kept things interesting.

Drinkability - This was a smooth drinker but underwhelmed.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml Bottled 11-12-10

Pours a deep opaque black with a very dark mocha 2 finger head.

Aroma is dark chocolate, vanilla, somewhat sweet roasted malt, and fairly strong rubbing alcohol.

Taste is lighter than expected. Getting the roasted malt, vanilla, baking chocolate, and a touch of fruit. Some smokiness. Alcohol is present and keeps things pretty thin. A little too much alcohol in the flavor for my liking (following the nose). Significant bitterness on the finish. Not very much sweetness overall.

This beer definitely separates itself from other imp stouts. It's got a good taste, but some will like it more than others depending on how sweet you like your stout.

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

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

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
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 bashiba
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a thick dark black with clear mahogany highlights, the head was a nice creamy dark tan that quickly turned into just a light ring.

The smell is dominated by the smokiness and roasted barley.

Has a heavy black burnt grain and smokey flavor with some touches of molasses sweetness coming through, just a bit of herbal hops keep it almost in balance. Some nice notes of chocolate and brown sugar, a bit of vanilla pokes through as well.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily, a bit chewy.

A good Imperial Stout, but nothing groundbreaking here. A bit on the mild side of imperial stouts.

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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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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black brew with a huge mocha colored frothy, dense head. Really the head is beautiful. There is copious lacing all down the glass as well. Not a single thing to complain about here.

S - Faint roasted hazelnuts, mild grapefruit pith. When it is warmer, I also get chocolate malt, cola and alcohol. Over the smell is lacking in potency. Something an intense aroma can ruin a strong beer, here it failed to do the beer justice.

T - A bit of cola and charred malt dominate the flavor. The 500L+ roasted barley really makes its presence known. There are fainter flavors of white pepper, alcohol maybe a hint of chocolate. The aftertaste is a lingering bitter of scorched barley and a bit of subtle citrus pith.

M - Very smooth, thick, actually very refreshing too.

D - I have to hand it to this brew. Coffee and chocolate are the first flavors that usually come to mind when I think stout, but this one has cola an char. An interesting twist - and frankly, it works. I am pleased with this one. I drank the bottle quickly and enjoyed it profusely. Make no mistake, this isn't an iconic stout and certainly not the best that I've had, but I wouldn't hesitate to have it again.

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Photo of Bung
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Solid looking black pour, maybe a finger of light tan head. Retains pretty well.

Light roast and coffee, more chocolate and molasses.

A tad sweet, malty caramel, chocolate and molasses. Almost like lactose sugar was used. This perry's into a bit of metalicness. Finishes slightly dry with some cocoa.

Body feels on the lighter side, but is pretty creamy. A real even, fine carbonation. Limited alcohol and pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of LaCoursiere
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottled on 10/14/10, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours completely black with no light getting through, not even around the edges. It formed a 1/2-finger tan head that dissipated quickly. Little head remains and there is a tiny bit of lacing.

S - Smell is interesting, a bit funky with a whiff of alcohol and roasted malt and in the background. The most prominent odor seems to be a bit like wine. It smells like it has a very mild case of infection.

T - A bit of tang and astringent fruit comes along with molasses, coffee and roasted (slightly smokey) malts. There is a surprising amount of hop bitterness in the finish.

M - This has medium body, is smooth on the way in with light carbonation and a dry finish.

O/D - I threw this in the cellar to see what would happen to it in a year. The beer definitely change from the predominantly roasty stout that I experienced a year ago. I enjoyed tasting it a year later and have one more to see what it's like next winter.

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Photo of spoons
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty black body here. Nice mocha head. Looks great at first.

Smell is actually more muted than I expected. Some coffee and chocolate notes, roasted barley and such but no so complex.

The taste also proves she is a quiet one. A little sweetness, but not much. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. however the tastes is one note. Its not that this beer is bad by any means but its a little dry for an imperial and not as complex. Id drink it again but its not A worthy.

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Photo of Dope
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 8/23/12

A: Pours inky black. Big, dense medium brown head. Fades slowly, leaving thin splotches of lacework behind.

S: Lots of dark fruit. Raisin and cherry most prominent. Smoky, quite smoky. A bit of sharp booze.

T: Again, dark fruit up front. Raisin, cherry, plums are the most discernible. Smokiness follows into the middle. Some chocolate and char joins it. Lots of anise kicks in in the finish, mingling with the smoke. Finish is bitter char and smoke mainly. Lingering smoke in the aftertaste. Overall fairly sweet, which helps dampen the smokiness.

M: Quite heavy and thick. Lower carbonation. Smooth and a little drying from the smoke/char, particularly in the finish.

O: Not a bad RIS. Definitely heavy on the dark fruits and smoke. Lacks some roasted malt character like chocolate and coffee though (which is usually what i prefer, if I'm honest). Good complexity and flavor balance, having said that. Very full bodied, leading to a nice drinkability.

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Photo of rawfish
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle pours into a tulip glass. Pitch with mahogany glints along the glass. Pretty good lacing forms from a tiny mocha head of half a finger.

Aroma highlights fruit and complexities in the malt, molasses, char, licorice with plum, raisins and currants in the mix. Slight hoppiness of citrus mixed in there. Low on chocolate or coffee depth. That's um, different.

Charred roasted malts with a sweetness that comes from molasses and candied fig. Slight mild chocolate finally appears as the hops come in with flavors of muted grapefruit. Finishes with roasted malt and lactic acid. Not your typical RIS but delightfully complex.

Suffers from a really stick mouthcoating that doesn't clear the palate for the next sip. Decently carbed and body otherwise. Lactic acid finish is accentuated by the roasted malt finish that draws on.

Rushed through this one a bit so I could avoid the aftertaste and biting finish but the flavors here are welcome change from most stouts I have tried. Malts are pleasant and complex with a brighter hop finish than expected. Not my favorite but worth trying.

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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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