Pony Espresso Stout | Willimantic Brewing Co.

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Brewed by:
Willimantic Brewing Co.
Connecticut, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 23
Photo of VelvetExtract
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask. Pours a dark brown. Aroma is a dose of all things Stout. Coffee, roast, dry chocolate. A bit of char or smoke. Flavor is enhanced by its pouring median. Softness battles bitterness and the completeness of that dark malt. Dark chocolate, roast, coffee, burnt malt, dark fruit. Feel is of the cask. Medium bodied but definitely has a weight to it. My first Willi-brew...damn I once lived in Connecticut and always wanted to check them out. Not a bad intro!

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Photo of albern
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is quite good, and it isn't overly coffee'd up for my tastes. I bought a growler from WBC. The beer didn't take long to settle in and the head was nice and creamy and foamy, with some lace and retention. The nose is good, roasted malts, milk chocolate, a touch of bark, it's all good.

The taste was a bit drying, you could tell there is some coffee grind present, but not too much. I'm not a coffee drinker and I liked this beer because it had a nice complement of dark roasted malts, chocolate, mocha, crystal malts, just a touch of hop, and a very creamy underneath. This is a very fine stout and I would go back to this again for sure.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the brewpub into a shaker pint.

A: Fully black body under a finger of super creamy light-brown foam. Fantastic retention (especially for cask) and some sticky lace. Quite attractive.

S: Smooth, rich, sweet coffee dominates, with some milk chocolate + smoky roastiness backing it up. Lovely.

T: Coffee, caramel, milk + dark chocolate, and generic maltiness. Quite sweet for a non-imperial coffee stout, but I like it.

M: Smooth, sticky, and as thin as I expect for such a low-test stout. Ok, but not great.

O: This is a great beer; Willibrew is probably best known for their IPAs, but I've been hugely impressed with their malty and sour styles as well (Roadenzok is amazing, btw). This review is based on a glass of the cask version at the brewpub, but I also drank half a growler of the tap variant shortly thereafter, and, if anything, it was even better. I'm tempted to give this one a 5 overall, actually, since it's just such a damn good brew. I'll be ordering it every time I see it, that's for sure.


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Photo of mattjv
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with some light sneaking through around the corners. Tan colored head typical to the style.

Lots going on with the aroma. Light roasted malts and a hint of sweetness, followed by a chocolate presence and roasted coffee. Coffee aroma is rich and brings my mind straight to the coffee aisle in a grocery store.

Roasted malts start off the taste, light sweetness from the malt but it doesn't jump out. Smoky burnt flavor comes through strong from the malts, followed by prominent coffee presence. Earthy hops and a mild bitterness round off the finish, nutty flavors complement the aftertaste. Light bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall: A great, easy drinking coffee stout. Drinkability is off the charts with this one, could definitely carry me through the night. A fairly approachable coffee stout for those who like darker flavors but aren't looking for a blast of espresso bitterness.

Final note: let this one warm up a bit. Chilled straight from the tap it was a little too cold for the more subtle flavors to come through.

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Photo of Damian
4.89/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank on-tap at Willimantic Brewing Co., Willimantic, CT
Served in a pint glass

Inky, oily and near pitch black in appearance. A thin film of saddle brown froth capped the liquid.

Pure, freshly brewed espresso dominated the aroma. Semi-sweet and a touch smoky. I usually look for complexity in beers but, in this case, simplicity worked best. The nose seemed to get sweeter, richer and smoother as the beer warmed.

The flavor profile was outstanding as well. Similar to the aroma in many regards. Tons of espresso and vanilla. Dark chocolate was also detectible. Ultra smooth and balanced. Some lactose-like notes appeared as well. The finish was a bit roasty and provided the perfect compliment to the overall sweetness of this beer.

The mouthfeel was exceptionally creamy. Velvety smooth and supple on the palate with a fine, medium, tongue blanketing effervescence.

Drinkability was off the charts. This stout is so flavorful and so well balanced. Considering the ABV, I simply cannot think of a better coffee-flavored beer.

If you are a fan of coffee and coffee-flavored beers, you need to get yourself over to Willimantic Brewing Co. to try this one. All in all, a phenomenal offering from a fantastic brewpub.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.55/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On cask at the brewery. Pours black with no head. Aroma of vanilla and espresso. Flavor of charred malt, sweet vanilla, roasted nuts, and tons of espresso. I really enjoyed the flavor of the beer, but the light carbonation didn't sit right with me for this beer.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the brewpub on 5/24/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a jet black, being topped with a tight 3/4 finger of creamy dark (reddish and burnt) mocha colored head. This retains very nicely, staying rich and frothy around the edges, and leaving a big cascade of lace and brown oils back. The aroma starts with huge roasted chocolate notes and additonal toffeed sweetness. Then the espresso rises, stinging the nose with a sharp slap, before segueing into some light floral hop activity that floats along the back, along with some even lighter and gentle warmth.

The taste is deep with dark roasted malts and a good bit of coffee bitterness. Beefier tasting chocolate and caramel notes add some needed sweetness. Things end with a deeply satisfying espresso finish that lingers long and lovingly on the palate, mixing with other bitter notes of roast and hops to impart a feel that just sticks in the mouth. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, with a nice prickle to it as well, and an underlying slicker feel that carries a lot of that thicker and chewy sweetness. All around great feel that when coupled with the lower ABV, really ramps the drinkibility of this up.

I REALLY loved this out of the growler last summer and it was a real treat to actually get to try it on tap as well during this trip to Willibrew. I'm actually going to rate this just a touch lower than I did the growler, basically because the brilliance of the espresso character in this needs a couple of pints to really work it's magic on you, something that my growler experience provided. Man, what a great coffee beer!

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Photo of erosier
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Pours a deep black color with a short and medium bodied tan colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, more bitter deeper roasted malts, hints of coffee/espresso at the end of the nose.
T: Tastes of a really nice mix of sweet roasted and more bitter dark roasted malts for a really nice base. It's followed by a really good coffee/espresso flavor with I think a bit of brown sugar.
M: Very smooth, warming, not a lot of alcohol which I really enjoyed.
D: Very drinkable, especially for the lower abv. This is a session stout and I wish there were more like it.

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Photo of damienblack
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the third night of an opened growler, and I must say it is holding up pretty well. Review will of course be based fresh off the first night, but this gives me some inspiration.

Pours pitch dark, even fresh, very small head from an aggressive pour. Eventually foams up something tan in color. Low in carbonation, apparently even from the start. Smells very nice though, fresh coffee with a bit of roast behind it. Taste is sort of a tossup, neither the sweet malt nor the roast of the coffee dominate, usually one asserts itself. It's not overly roasty, but does taste like fresh coffee, very clean, much cleaner than I've come to expect from this type. Roastiness takes a back seat, not much in the way of a hop bite. It's like a little deeper of a sweet stout, grounded by coffee. I usually don't like sweet stouts, but this is working for me. Not so big on gravitas, feels a bit lifeless, kind of chewy, but not so big and bold as it could be. Overall medium-heavy body. Superbly drinkable though, no hint of a nasty kick or anything of the sort. Definitely worth a taste, it is fantastic.

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Photo of kpoland
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of the 5 beers I sampled at Willimantic Brewing Co., this was my favorite (and the only one I took home in a growler).

Dark and rich, with light carbonation, so the head is relatively short and dissipates quickly. Pony smells strong of coffee, as could be expected of an espresso stout, but it is well balanced with a solid foundation reminiscent of an imperial.

In relation to other stouts, this tastes like a cross between Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout, with a generous flavor of espresso and a subtle chocolate to round it out. Absolutely excellent.

I found this to be a highly drinkable stout, whether alone or paired with a meal (jalapeno burgers once, honey grilled salmon next). It held its own very well, and the complexity of the brew did not detract from the mild flavors of the salmon, nor the kick of the jalapeno burgers.

For anyone who appreciates dark stouts, there is no excuse not to try this one, if you're in the area.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer arrived looking very black, completely unfiltered and opaque, with a thin haze of head. Good lacing, leaving a cobweb down the glass.
Aroma is roasty and rich, with a good bit of coffee presiding over the malt. Very little hops, with only a light underlying herbal quality. No bitterness. Modest esteriness, mostly a plum aroma, with some phenolic quality.
The initial sip is surprising. It was not hand pulled, but retained that extra low carbonation. Warmish, bringing out all the subtleties, and there were a lot. My unrefined tongue surely missed most of it. The dominating flavors were a rich roastiness and a mellow subtle coffee/dark chocolatiness. A bit of plum esteriness in the finish, with perhaps some currant and a light bready yeastiness. The body is fairly heavy, especially for a stout. Aftertaste is long and delicate, making me want more, much more. These guy make some terrific beer.
Drank on May 8, 2003.

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Pony Espresso Stout from Willimantic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 23 ratings