Espresso Stout
Thunderhead Brewing Company

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American Stout
4.08 | pDev: 8.58%
Thunderhead Brewing Company
Nebraska, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 9 | Ratings: 13 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TomClem:
Photo of TomClem
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

TomClem from Nebraska, Jul 10, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of bditty187
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black as the devil’s heart, opaque, I actually think it absorbed light. The head was served with a modest height of a half finger; the retention was excellent as it took a long while before it faded to a tight soapy cap. The subsequent lacing was minimal. At first the nose seemed very hoppy; I was surprised and worried. It was served a little too cold and the true aromas seemed hindered. So I waited. In time more and more of the luscious deep roast malt emerged with aromas of chocolate candy, coca beans, a whiff of vanilla, and some distant nondescript sweetness. Once the nose was completely unleashed there was no stopping the espresso aromas. Fantastic! Inviting. I wish the potency were a little stronger so the invitation would be a little louder. The first sip was exactly the same as an iced espresso. Awesome. It was very bold with coffee flavors, deeply roasted; there was outstanding flavor depth that reached a wide spectrum. It touched a slight sweetness one side and perfect bitterness on the other side. The sweetness seemed largely nameless, it was a little like milk sweetness but not like lactose, it was a little like chocolate but to very rich. Regardless the sweetness was very soft and a perfect complement to the bigger picture with was the coffee beans, espresso and bittering hops. The finish is huge and very long, it is all espresso and I found it very relaxing. I loved Bell’s Java Stout and this offering is every bit its equal. Very few beers were so boldly flavorful that was *forced* to take small sips! The mouthfeel was filling and near full-bodied, it was a little prickly-creamy, it sounds weird but it wasn’t, the carbonation levels were modest, on the low side. This is one well-made coffee stout. I love the style but I hate half-assed attempts, however this one was near perfection for the style. It was very drinkable... sip and savor. Highly recommended. Fly to Nebraska and try one for yourself.

Gold Medal winner at the 2004 World Beer Cup… congrats Trevor!

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bditty187 from Nebraska, May 17, 2004
Photo of Loki
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled fresh from the tap on 2/18/05.

Appearance: Black as tar with a slight browning, burnt color towards the very top when held up to the light. Little to no head at all. What little head that was there was thin,off-white spots.

Smell: Slightly muted at first as it was served a little too cold. However with just a little warming it fully opened into a beautiful, heavenly aroma of rasted black patented and dark, rich roasted espresso beans. Hints of sweetness from the malt along with hints of chocolate and caramel mingled with the espresso to give the illusion of a sweetned coffee or a cafe mocha fresh from the pot.

Taste: Heavy malt, hints of cream, espresso bitterness and bold, dark roasted coffee flavor. Hints of sweet cream on the finish. The burnt, espresso bitters lingerly loveling on your tongue well after you've swallowed. There is a fullness and richness to the flavor that screams that high quality and freshly ground coffee beans were used. Coffee and beer lovers dream.

Mouthfeel: The beginning is heavy and creamy, full of weight and a sliky smoothness that slides into a very light and slighly dry finish leaving a bitterness and warmth on your tongue.

Drinkability: The only reason this is not a five for me is the fact that one pint of this was like have a grande coffee from Starbucks. Between the alcohol (I'm guessing in the 6-7% ABV range) and the caffinee I personally couldn't drink to many of these without my body being utterly confused.

Note: The vinyl banner said the Espresso stout was made from from the Black Sheep Coffee Roasters' Espresso beans which was a local coffee place. So you're really supporting two local business each time you have a pint! That's two more reasons to have another!

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Loki from North Carolina, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of swid
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Sheep Espresso Stout pours thick in the glass; this beer is as black as they come with a 1/2" tan head that dissipates slowly; minimal lacing. The aroma of Black Sheep is truly amazing. The initial smell is that of a shot of espresso, pure and simple; after that, other aromas come through, including chocolate, a little bit of a piney smell from the hops, and a slighly sweet smell from the malt.

The taste of this beer delivers on what the smell promises. The inital espresso taste is very evident; it is a wonderful rich roasted flavor. There is a bit of a chocolate flavor as well; the hop bitterness and malty sweetness are balanced nicely. The flavors present aren't as complex as what can be found in some other beers, but rarely is a beer balance the flavors contained in it as well as they are here. The mouthfeel of this beer is outstanding; it's thick and full, without being overpowering like other "motor oil" stouts. This beer goes down very easily, leaving only a mild pleasant roasted-espresso aftertaste.

Overall, this is a truly outstanding beer. If you like coffee or stout at all, you'll love this beer. Highly recommended.

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swid from Missouri, Jun 06, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent beer. I thought it would be the obvious choice for a "breakfast" beer, having skipped a real breakfast to get on the road to Colorado. The caffeine buzz was just enough to cancel out the drowsiness of a noontime beer and a hearty meal. One of the better coffee stouts I've tried as well, and I have tried a good share. Truly a hidden gem.

Served in a Thunderhead thistle glass which appears to be around 20 ounces. Has a smallish off-white head with decent retention. Dark brown, just a shade short of black.

The smell is great. It's all about the espresso. Sure, you can smell some of the roasted malt aroma, as well as a hint of caramel. Very nice coffee aroma and flavor, unlike some coffee stouts I've had that taste like Folger's.

The taste is very similar to the aroma. Has a gentle sweet malt flavor up front, followed by a smooth sour roasted malt and caramel character in the middle. Even seems like a bit of lactose. The finish is all espresso, however. Very chocolaty and earthy with nutty and creamy undertones.

The body was fairly big. It was difficult to judge how high in alcohol it was. I am leaning more towards the 6% or lighter side, however. Very smooth. Crisp carbonation as well. No alcohol burn, but a decent coffee buzz. Very drinkable. I would highly recommend it if you happen to stop here on your way through Nebraska. I believe it is one of their year round offerings, since it was actually listed on the menu, as opposed to about 4-6 that were only listed on the chalk board. Anyways, I am looking forward to trying more of their beer on the way back, as well as refilling the growlers and having another calzone.

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neonbrown82 from Nebraska, Mar 31, 2007
Photo of Deuane
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Deep, dark brown with ruby highlights. Thick tan head that hols up nicely and leaves generous lace.

S-Are you ready for this....Dark roasted coffee and then coffee! Small hints of roasted malt and chocolate sneak in behind the COFFEE!

T-Whoa....bif blast of espresso roast coffee! Milder notes of burnt roast and chocolate. A bit of sweetness iin the back. Nice drying finish.

M-Medium-heavy body with a very smooth feel.

D-This is big, bold and robust. A diamond in the rough at this just of I-80 brewpub. If doing a east-west-east trip do yourself a favor and plan a stop to try this one. It is a sipper and a bit difficult to do more than one wont be sorry you had that one!

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Deuane from Pennsylvania, Jul 21, 2008
Photo of BadRockBeer
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Serving Type Sampled: On tap at the Thunderhead Brewery. Served in a logo tattooed tulip glass. Very nice presentation.

Appearance: Black with crimson hue. Nice 1½ finger creamy mocha head. Nice head retention.

Smell: Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, Cappuccino! A subtle hint of burnt chocolate malt.

Taste: Much of the same as the nose. Very hearty espresso flavor and mild burnt chocolate malt. Slight residual sweetness and hint of hazelnut. Finishes dry with a coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Fair. This is not you everyday drinker, although I did really fall in love with this beer. This is probably the best example I have sampled of an espresso stout. But still one was just enough.

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BadRockBeer from Colorado, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of surfnebr
3.72/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep black/opaque tint, smaller brown head

S - Roasted malt and chocolate, coffee/espresso is present

T - Espresso taste is there, roasted malt and chocolate, sweeter than some stouts

M - Medium bodied stout, more carbonated than some stouts

Solid session beer, fun environment at the brewery

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surfnebr from Nebraska, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of unclejimbay
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cornstalker Dark Wheat, sort of confusing name as this is really intended to be a stout. Picture has an evil looking masked cowboy on the can, very cool artwork indeed.

Thunderhead Brewing Company, Kearney Nebraska
can > pint glass
Brought to me as a gift from my Uncle's cross country drive ~6/2010

"Never filtered, never pasteurized, always refridgerate".

can states it as 5.2% ABV

Appearance is dark coffe/black in color, excellent clarity, short head and retention, no lace.
Smells of sweetened roasted coffee, dark malts, chocolate, some roasted corn notes (like when it is lightly charred on the grill... mmm.)
Tastes as it smells, with a mild but supportive hop balance.
Mouthfeel is medium body and medium carbonation.

Drinkability is very enjoyable indeed. Nice well balanced stout, not overly sweet, not to dry, not to roasty. Nice work Thunderhead, I enjoyed this more than I do most stout, kudos.

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Photo of GBB
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the brewery while passing Kearney, NE. First off, the question I have is, is this coffee or is this beer? That said Black Sheep Espresso Stout shares a visual characteristic just like coffee. Midnight black with basically no off color in the light or if you tip the glass. Very dark. The smell is as advertised with strong coffee tones and malt backing. Some chocolate hints and black patent.

The taste is, as if you couldn't guess, strongly influenced by coffee. Actually it overpowers the beer. But note that I am not a big coffee drinker. Actually I never drink coffee. So that said, Black Sheep has a great malt backing that's complex and carries the beer so that the coffee flavor is not as dominate. Strong roasted and chocolate influences are noticeable and as the beer warms black patent comes out too. A slight hop flavor mellows the beer and gives it a dry feel to it. Overall the Black Sheep brings a lot of flavor and complexity. Even though coffee is not something I really enjoy, this beer was still very good.

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GBB from Colorado, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of a77cj7
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a77cj7 from South Dakota, Feb 21, 2016
Photo of Stouttyme
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Stouttyme from Nebraska, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of rocklibster
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

rocklibster from Wisconsin, Jan 16, 2012
Espresso Stout from Thunderhead Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 13 ratings