Imperial Gingerbread Spiced Stout
Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House

Imperial Gingerbread Spiced StoutImperial Gingerbread Spiced Stout
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Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House
Maryland, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,815
Ranked #16,345
3.9 | pDev: 9.49%
Oct 26, 2022
Oct 24, 2020
Very Good
Imperial Gingerbread Spiced StoutImperial Gingerbread Spiced Stout
Notes: The winter treat was brewed with allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then aged in bourbon barrels. Brewed with the warmth and merriment of the holiday season in mind, this rich, flavorful stout features notes of baking spices, dark, roasted breads, and holiday baking. The bourbon character is present, as is the characteristic vanilla found in barreled beers.
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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
Reviewed by BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
From the bottle, it pours a clear dark brown color with a modest, though long lasting, light brown head. The nose is light gingerbread, vanilla and bourbon. The taste is nicely spicy, with the vanilla and bourbon coming through. Surpisingly light flavor overall.
Oct 26, 2022
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Reviewed by ScruffySouthpaw from New York

4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Thick black color with heavy brown tint, head is a tan coming off lightly and settles quick after one sip.

Smell: Smells awesome but crazy light, what I mean is that is awesome to inhale but just disappears quickly. Has whiskey scent with a huge dose of vanilla.

Taste: Not your usual [imperial] stout feel, has heavy whiskey tone to it that almost over powers the brew. Not a bad thing, I like the sweetness to it, resembles honey with a touch of chocolate and coffee.

Mouth: soft to full carbonation with a spicy finish which is incredibly offset with whiskey sweet finish.

Overall: incredible beer, complex strong and sticky
Apr 30, 2022
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Reviewed by jjamadorphd from Florida

3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
I am quickly coming to learn that spiced beers aren't necessarily my thing...

I made my own pumpkin beer this year - I spiced it with pumpkin spice and nutmeg - I shouldn't have. Though it is still drinkable, it isn't a truly enjoyable experience. I can say the same thing of this brew. The smell is actually very appealing and the mouthfeel is full-bodied, but the rest is something I really won't be looking for moving forward.
Dec 15, 2021
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Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Clear, dark brown body; lively carbonation; one-finger thick head, light khaki color, dense and foamy. Pleasant gingerbread aroma; brown sugar. Exquisite taste; gingerbread and leather; moderate bourbon note; traditional Xmas cookie spice character. Heavy body; silky; big alcohol heat presence; mildly sticky on the palate.

This is one tasty sucker! The ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon are nicely integrated into the base beer and nicely counterpoint the barrel-aging character of the beer. Depth, balance, and complexity definitely exist with this Guinness offering.

Poured at 58.3 ℉; no bottling data noted
Nov 30, 2021
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Reviewed by RE28 from Maryland

4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Pours a dark reddish brown. Light beige (color and amount) lacing that sticks with the beer. Feels a little spicy on the tongue but then the stout finish tones down the bite. It's a little different and I'm glad I tried it but I'm not sure this a beer for the "entire" game maybe just the first half. With that being said , maybe the first half of all the games played before this rolls off the rotation. I'm just really impressed with the layers in this beer. The spicy bite and then the chocolatey finish. Doesn't really match a gingerbread cookie but this is better than most of the crappy winter ales that are produced this time of year. I think the best way I could describe it is it could be a shandy of stout and a good ginger ale. Both tastes sound out in this brew.
Nov 18, 2021
Rated: 3.82 by SpdKilz from Illinois

Oct 26, 2021
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Reviewed by tigg924 from Massachusetts

2.93/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75
Pours opaque, dark brown in color with one quarter inch head. Taste is big gingerbread, roasted malt, vanilla and bourbon. Heavy body, moderate carbonation, slightly sweet. The first Taste is a gingerbread punch and is delicious, the beer does not shine as much when the bourbon kicks in. Decent stout. Fine with just one though.
Oct 11, 2021
Rated: 3.83 by edthehead from New York

Sep 24, 2021
Rated: 4.09 by BadgerNCarolina from North Carolina

Sep 20, 2021
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Reviewed by LiquidAmber from Washington

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin khaki head that dissipates to patches with light lacing; fairly fizzy at first, but settles into the sparse head. Aroma of dark toasted malt, ginger, bourbon, faint cocoa and allspice. Flavor is dark toasted malt, bourbon, pumpkin pie spicing, ginger. Spicy bourbon finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Well, it presents what it promises: bourbon and holiday spices, with ginger and allspice being the dominant elements. Unfortunately, as nice as Guinness stout is, its flavor just isn't quite up to supporting these dominating flavors. I liked the similar bourbon barreled imperial from last year, but I think the spicing put this over the top. Needs a bigger malt body for the additional spicing and barrel flavors. It's OK, but not quite up to some of the fine barrel aged imperial stouts out there.
May 25, 2021
Rated: 3.59 by BarrelAgedG from California

Mar 24, 2021
Rated: 4.02 by TonyStarks2231 from New York

Mar 07, 2021
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Reviewed by Franziskaner from Missouri

3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Dark amber colored with a moderate amount of light penetration. There’s a fingernail of beige around the rim and covering two thirds of the top. The aroma is of cola and ginger. As it warms I get bourbon aroma. I taste ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cola. As it warms the cola becomes bourbon. The mouth is warm and busy with spices.
Feb 07, 2021
Rated: 4.48 by cyginsberg from New York

Feb 02, 2021
Rated: 3.83 by Coronaeus from Canada (ON)

Jan 24, 2021
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Reviewed by jlindros from Massachusetts

3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Pours a med small fizzy head with lower retention, little lacing, decent legs, dark mahogany brown color

Nose brings a ton of ginger and fruity spice mix, almost like a pumpkin beer, a bit gourd like vegetal, a little biscuity cookie wafer and cocoa, a little perfumey alcohol, decent base stout

Taste is thankfully better, some cocoa and dark chocolate, a little roasty malt, fudgey cocoa and some cookie dough notes, fair ginger spice but again more holiday like spice and some fruity gourd characters, a bit of bitterness, and some base Guinness like fruity stout base, little alcohol and a bit of a vegetal gourd mess flavor on the finish

Mouth is med bod, med foamy carb, a bit of alcohol warmth

Overall eh, I expected a bit more from Guinness, spice was not that great, weird vegetal and fruity gourd characters, base stout was decent at least
Jan 17, 2021
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Reviewed by ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Deep mahogany brown, aggressive pour produces one finger of well-retained beige head. Thin wisps of lacing.

S: Bourbon and chocolate up front. Bourbon ball candy, milk chocolate, caramel, little bit of cola, soft roastiness. Spicing smells balanced and evenly incorporated with nutmeg and cinnamon being most apparent, and ginger and allspice coming through after repeated whiffs.

T: Roasty and slightly sooty up front with only a very mild black coffee and dark chocolate bitterness. Smokiness builds a little as it warms. Estery yeast profile brings stewed fruit, blackberry, and prunes. As in the nose, spicing is perfectly incorporated to the point that it is well apparent without being overwhelming. Warming ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and just a dash of cinnamon. Milk chocolate and caramel flavors meld right into the barrel flavors of sweet corny bourbon and oaky vanilla. Bourbon, milk chocolate, and spicing on a long and easy finish.

M: Medium-Full body with a great silky softness. Very velvety and decadent, but not too weighty. Firm but gentle carbonation prickles around the tongue. Faint bourbon warmth and some mild oak tannin.

O: I went into this with no real expectations, but found myself very pleasantly surprised. Guinness resisted the urge to make a “pastry stout” out of this, and instead produced a beer that is superbly balanced and still retains a bit of that bitter roast and estery house character. Further, in no way does this beer drink like it’s 11%. I actually had to look up the abv midway through the bottle. I had guessed that I was dealing with a beer that went into the barrel around 7% and came out around 8%. There’s just no heat, and while there’s plenty of body, it isn’t brawny in the least. It’s pleasantly full, but perfectly drinkable. The spice character is absolutely nailed too. It’s an awesome beer to have around when the holidays hit, and I really hope they bring it back around next year. I could see it becoming a personal seasonal favorite for me.
Jan 15, 2021
Rated: 4 by powdersoldier from Washington

Jan 03, 2021
Rated: 4 by 1971bernat from Virginia

Jan 03, 2021
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Reviewed by Suds from Missouri

3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
This mahogany colored beer has a small, fizzy, off-white head. The aroma is really notable lots of ginger and spice in the nose. It smells like the holidays. It smells sweet, with a mix of gingerbread and tea, with a boozy undercurrent. The taste is drier than I expected, with a notable spice and warming quality. Very nice.
Jan 01, 2021
Rated: 3.74 by robotic_being from Florida

Dec 28, 2020
Rated: 4.24 by scottyshades from Florida

Dec 27, 2020
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Reviewed by LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
L - Dark brown with a good amount of mahogany highlights as well as a tan head that dissipates somewhat quickly leaving behind minimal lacing - somewhat light in color for an imperial stout.
S - Gingerbread and peaty bourbon on the nose along with notes of roasted oats and barely, oak, and molasses
T - Tons of ginerbread and peaty bourbon up front and throughout along with notes of roasted oats and barely, tons of charred oak, molasses, some hints of chocolate and caramel. Along with some winter spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
F - Medium leaning towards full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O - A complex Holiday stout with a lot of bourbon and oak coming through along with bright holiday flavors.
Dec 25, 2020
Rated: 3.96 by Boone757 from Virginia

Dec 23, 2020
Rated: 4.05 by Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

Dec 23, 2020
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Reviewed by FBarber from Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
This one pours a reddish tinged dark brown color. If you hold it to the light it glows a deep red color and is completely clear. This results it a very thin appearance overall - almost reminiscent of their old ale rather than the imperial stout I was expecting. Aroma has notes of dark fruits - prunes, figs, raisins - that is then touched with a spicy gingerbread note. Reminds me of the Sweetzels spiced wafers (Its a Philly thing - if you know, you know.) There is a light musty, earthy oakiness in the nose, but nothing I would place as bourbon barrel aging.

Taste largely follows the nose - notes of dark fruits, raisins, prunes, figs, quickly give way to a spicy ginger note that lingers into the finish. As it warms I am finally getting the bourbon barrel coming through in the flavor - but you can tell that the time this spent in barrels was not a very long stay. The barrel character is subtle and secondary to anything else going in with this beer. If I had to guess I'd say maybe 3 months in barrels? Feel is medium bodied. Very smooth, gentle carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall this is an odd beer - its more like a barleywine than a stout to me. But perhaps that is the dark fruit notes playing tricks on my palate. Also the barrel aging is very subtle - I actually looked it up and this is aged for 4 months, so I was just a little bit off with my guess. All that being said, I absolutely loved this. The dark fruit and ginger spice are lovely and provide this nice warming sensation (the 11% helps) and I think its perfect beer for a cold winter evening. Ill happily enjoy the other 3 bottles from the 4-pack.
Dec 20, 2020
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Reviewed by MattDecker from Texas

3.08/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Smell: kinda a sweet/sour smell, christmas spices (nutmeg, clove, etc.), faint ginger smell
Taste: carmel, malty, gingerbready, little boozy
Feel: medium body
Overall: ehh, so-so. not NEARLY as complex as I would expect a gingerbread BOURBON BARREL would be. Not bad, but not sure impressive either. Not worth the cost. If it was was cheaper, sure.
Dec 19, 2020
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Reviewed by jkblr from Indiana

4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip glass at fridge temp 11% ABV. Finally found an etched code at the bottom of the bottle once the condensation evaporated L0253... (bottled 9/9/20). The beer pours bright, dark brown in color with light brown head. The head recedes to a thin ring and island leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is mild with ginger being most prominent followed by subtle spice and barrel while bourbon and vanilla are barely detectable. The taste is more stoutly with a little roasted malt character up front. The ginger hits big next before bourbon barrel effects appear in the form of vanilla and oak. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation and a dry finish from the spice and barrel. No alcohol presence in the aroma or taste. Overall, good. The barrel is subdued and the ginger is pronounced which would explain the various opinions on this one. All in all, I feel it delivers as on its name.
Dec 19, 2020
Photo of zac16125
Reviewed by zac16125 from South Carolina

3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
11.2oz bottle into a snifter

Pours a dark brown, thin appearing, translucent edges when held to light; large very light tan head is dense with good retention but no real lacing. Looks nice but non-stout like.

Aroma is...interesting. It’s sweet spicy. It doesn’t really smell like gingerbread but it smells liek something that’s artificially trying to smell like gingerbread. Molasses is pretty prominent , and some spicy ginger but it’s more like zesty ginger in an Asian culinary dish as opposed to sweet gingerbread. There are some bourbon barrel notes with oaky vanilla, which I’m not really sure improves the aroma but does make this more....interesting. Not really sure what to make of the nose, I don’t hate it but I certainly don’t love it either.

Taste is also interesting but it’s better. Caramel malts, molasses, subtle spicy ginger, subtle roastiness. It’s very sweet. Doesn’t drink like a stout at all, maybe an adjunct heavy brown ale or perhaps a poorly done overly sweet belgian strong dark ale. It’s quite one dimensional which hurts the drinkability. Barrel notes are very mild. 3.75

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit syrupy. Carbonation low but fine. Drinkability somewhat limited as above.

Ok so overall, this is interesting. First off, it’s not an imperial stout. Well scratch that cause who I am to tell them what their beer is. So let me rephrase, this beer has no characteristics of an imperial stout. It’s not bad but it’s far from a favorite. I (guess I) give them props for trying something like this, but it’s a pass for me in the future.

Dec 18, 2020
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Reviewed by ichorNet from Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
I bought a four-pack of this one about a month and a half ago or so and drank one bottle, so clearly it didn't really become a staple in my fridge, but I figured I'd revisit it on the first super-snowy night of the 2020 winter to see if it could impress me in a different atmosphere. So, unlike a lot of beers I review on this site, this is not a review for a beer that is new to me. I remember this being much more like a BBA "strong ale" with spices than any kind of stout, so that is probably the lens I'm going to go into this second bottle with.

The pour is the first tell that things aren't quite what they should be with this beer. It's a tawny brown color with copper highlights, topped off with a weirdly-exacting cap of foam that doesn't really build up to much and sits there without really ever dissipating either. The lace is leaves as it slightly settles is nice enough, and there are some good wisps of foam on the surface, but the weird color, clarity, and lack of roasty... stoutiness is kind of unappealing.

The nose is bourbon and oak right upfront without much else going on in all honesty. Smells a bit like a budget Sucaba, in my opinion, though there are some light notes of gingerbread cookie, cassia bark, vanillins, and other small spice deviations, but... yeah, overall, this just seems like a strong ale or barleywine. There's no roast profile, chocolate, coffee, bitterness, acridity, etc. It's really weird that they call this a stout, honestly. It's Guinness... I don't understand.

Flavor profile is sweet and spicy with a huge woody bourbon stiffness. Guys, what is happening here? This is not very good at all. It's messy and not cohesive, with absolutely no characteristics I think of when I think of a stout. And, honestly, even for a BBA barleywine, it's lacking in finesse. The maltiness seems one-dimensional and leans heavily on a sticky-saccharine element that fails to find balance with the spicing in a meaningful and drinkable way. Feel is heavy and syrupy with only a light twist towards a drier finish along with some candied dark fruit flavors that render such a movement kind of pointless. Man, this isn't good beer. It's a cool concept, for sure, and I would love to try a proper 11% stout with gingerbread-focused spices aged in bourbon barrels, but this is not the one to achieve such a goal.
Dec 18, 2020
Rated: 3.77 by Jcarriglio from Florida

Dec 13, 2020
Rated: 4 by Azpittil57 from Arizona

Dec 06, 2020
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Reviewed by Jugs_McGhee from Australia

2.7/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5
11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with pry-off crown cap served into a stemless wine glass. Cost was $4.39 USD plus tax for a single bottle at a beer store in New Orleans, LA.

"Imperial gingerbread spiced stout aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels." 11% ABV. "...brewed with allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg."

Ginger is evident, and I get some thin notes of allspice and nutmeg, but the cinnamon is quite reticent (and is probably just Cassia - not true cinnamon). Dark malt sweetness. It doesn't taste like gingerbread, to be honest....I guess I expected more of a bready sort of doppelbock like build instead of a thin stout.

Lacks any overt bourbon barrel character aside from finishing with a touch of vanillin. No coconut, no rich white oak, no barrel sugars, no bourbon heat, no toasted's disappointing on the bourbon front.

I don't taste any caramelized sugars, charred malts, burnt flavours, or anything like that that would fit the Christmasy gingerbread stout motif.

Thin and weak with a surprisingly light mouthfeel. Lacks sufficient oomph on the palate, but I will say it goes down pretty easy for 11%.

I don't love it. Tastes like an imperial version of something Boston Beer Co. would throw into a winter variety 12-pack...which is to say it's thin, lazy, and doesn't really deliver on the promise of its premise. $4.39/bottle is a joke. Some of Guinness' worst work in my book. I'd rather drink Harp Lager.

High C- (2.70) / BELOW AVERAGE
Dec 05, 2020
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Reviewed by Redrover from Wisconsin

4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
I was glad to see Guinness offering some holiday stouts! Lets see what we have here.

Poured in to an imperial pint glass, the beer is dark brown with a a dark tan head and lacing.

The bourbon is the dominate feature on the nose along with some roasted malts and a bit of ginger and nutmeg.

The taste tracks the smell. Bourbon notes, heavily roasted malts and some ginger and other spices in the tail end. I liked this one as the beer is well integrated with none of the tastes overpowering the others. Credit to the brewer as the beer is barely "hot" for an 8% beer. As the beer warms and you work through the glass, the bourbon emerges to really exert its influence.

The mouth is medium with low carbonation.

I like this one, I think it could be better with a bit of age on it as it may mellow a bit.
Dec 05, 2020
Rated: 4.18 by Gagnonsux from Texas

Dec 05, 2020
Rated: 4.4 by Sergeant343 from Texas

Dec 03, 2020
Rated: 4.01 by mattreitz49 from Florida

Dec 03, 2020
Rated: 3.69 by SViterileroux74 from Texas

Dec 02, 2020
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
Reviewed by MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
11.2oz bottle. Lot or date stamping on bottle is 'L0253T200 1955'.
Clear, brown colored body, with slower rising bubbles. Thin dense very light tan cap sticks around. A swirl of the glass leaves behind some momentary spots and rings or lacing.
The spices of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg come through in the aroma. The oak and bourbon are also there.
First taste is a little jarring, with the sweeter spices presenting against the bourbon oak barrel. Slight chalky feel. Quick fade away in the aftertaste.
Thinner but smooth mouth feel. Good carbonation.
Two types of sweetness, one from the bourbon and one from the spices do not blend together perfectly. The smell is much more pleasant than the flavors. The higher ABV% does not burn, but does float into the nose. Good beer to try, but better to have purchased only one bottle.
Dec 02, 2020
Rated: 3.88 by msscott1973 from North Carolina

Dec 01, 2020
Imperial Gingerbread Spiced Stout from Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 64 ratings