The Variant
The Schlafly Tap Room

The VariantThe Variant
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Imperial Stout
ABV:
9.4%
Score:
93
Avg:
4.22 | pDev: 6.16%
Reviews:
12
Ratings:
38
From:
The Schlafly Tap Room
 
Missouri, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  1
Gots
  5
SCORE
93
Outstanding
The VariantThe Variant
Notes:
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 38 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Stevedore
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft. Darker black body. Big decadent chocolate, light roast, a bit of black coffee and dark fruit. Medium bodied, slight dark fruity port on the finish. Fairly solid barrel-aged stout; the dark fruit isn't too overwhelming here and is of a different character than a typical RIS. Balanced.

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Stevedore from Wisconsin, Aug 12, 2018
Photo of Franziskaner
3.81/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black in color with no light penetration. There's a three quarter inch creamy brown head on top. The aroma is of creamy milk chocolate and dark malt. I'm tasting luscious milk chocolate and faint plum. The mouth is thick, dense, and dry.

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Franziskaner from Missouri, Mar 24, 2018
Photo of Harrison8
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a finger of head. Head retention is fair with no lacing left behind. Aroma is cocoa nibs, milk chocolate, and roasted and toasted malts. There is a twinge of plum and port, but nothing extravagant or heavy. Cocoa nibs, milk chocolate mingle with plum and port notes in the flavor profile. Caramel, roasted, and toasted malts form a robust, but surprisingly well-balanced flavor profile. Mouth feel is medium in thickness with a velvety, creamy texture. Overall, nothing extravagant, but it is a well constructed beer, albeit - a bit pricey.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 750mL bottle.

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Harrison8 from Missouri, Mar 03, 2018
Photo of Suds
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a large, thick bottle with a wonderful foil label. The beer is utterly black with a thin dark chocolate head. The aroma is intense...woody, dark roasts, ripe dark fruit, and more. Lots of malt....seems like, maybe from the maturing, I also get some port flavors. Wonderful and complex flavor. Deep and rich. I get plenty of cocoa throughout. Full in body and wonderfully rewarding.

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Suds from Missouri, Dec 04, 2017
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle 2213 or 5000. Bottled March 2017; drank 10/1/17 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

An even pour yielded a small tan head; minimal lace.

Peanut butter, raspberry & banana notes in the nose.

Medium thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Banana & peanut butter flavors up front; mild milk chocolate notes on the finish. Apple brandy notes emerged as this warmed.

An enjoyable Imperial Stout; complex but easy to drink. I'd have another...

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GuyFawkes from Illinois, Oct 02, 2017
Photo of zeff80
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at ITap, Columbia. Poured an opaque, jet-black color with a small, light brown head of foam. It smelled of dark chocolate, toffee, molasses and wood. I did taste a little port-like sweetness, with rich chocolate, burnt molasses and toffee.

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zeff80 from Missouri, Jul 30, 2017
Photo of bnes09
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark color and deep, cinnamon head. Sad to say the appearance is the best part. Weird beef broth, smokey, peaty aroma. Nice cocoa flavor but sadly is mixed with the underlying beef broth. Slight funk and brine. Subtle grape and barrel character. Sweetness from the malt and port barrels. Full bodied with a smooth, even feel. Malty texture. Overall a decent beer. Fairly complex but with some odd qualities. Worth a try but not for over $30.

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bnes09 from Illinois, Jul 23, 2017
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

this is fancy boy, more exotic and high end than most of us probably thought schlafly could go. its incredible beer, and even at 30ish bucks a bottle (very sexy bottles i might add), i think its worth it. you dont see a lot of port barrels straight up, so often they are used in conjunction with other barrels, especially in huge stouts, so its cool to see this much of it here. the base stout is jet black and inky think with a light shine and some thick dark head on it. i smell the dark red grapey fortified wine right away, even through the intense coffee forward dark grain base. its rich and thick and sticky and sweet, but its also super woody, mature, and unique as they go. i would think there would be some chocolate addition here too, although i cant confirm that, i get a serious dark chocolate vibe to this in nose and taste. likely nibs, earthy and bitter and just on point with this heavy bitter dark grain base. the port adds a plumy jammy fruitiness to the base, its so unique in such a deep and huge stout, and there is a charred element, almost grilled fruity, its tremendous. it is quite sweet, molasses and burnt sugar, but it makes sense with all the cocoa bitterness in the end. there is a desserty vibe, with the booze pushing through and the chocolate on top of the fruit from the port barrels, but its so relaxed and patient, it almost calls for a cigar with it and a few hours of deep contemplation. easily among the best of the beers i have had from these guys, something new in the style for once, and a badass bottle that i would grab up if you see one. i am definitely planning to source one for the cellar. this should age with the very best of them. good for these guys for taking it to the next level!

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Photo of BJB13
4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

32 oz. Growler (filled @27 hours before drinking) poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep oily brown that looks black in the glass and leaves behind a thick residue. It's topped with half a finger of cinnamon brown, fine foamy head. The head swiftly lays down to just a crown of micro-bubbles with delicate lacing.
The nose is robust, dominated by cocoa and backed up by roasted malt and dark fruit aromas. There are also fleeting hints of Port barrel.
There is a lot going on with the taste. First and strongest are the bittersweet cocoa and chocolate flavors. As it warms dark fruit and a bit of the port barrel flavor become apparent. It finishes rather quick with some hop flavor/ bitterness and tastes of coffee. There is only a slight boozy quality, the high ABV is fairly well masked by the complex flavor profile.
A smooth creamy mouth feel with low to medium carbonation and almost no heat to speak of add to the relative ease with which this goes down. I do wish the body had a little more weight to it.

This is a great, robust American Stout that is a bit light on the "Barrel Aged" qualities. Though that may be part of the formula that makes it so good. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the style.

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BJB13 from Maryland, May 13, 2017
Photo of ovaltine
4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I've had the base beer and enjoyed it a lot, so when a beer nerd buddy offered to send me a couple of these, I was pretty excited. The pour is jet black with a finger+ of dark tan head. The aromas are heavy char, stone fruit, just a smidge of the barrel (as a slight booze aroma), and some cocoa.

The cocoa REALLY comes forward on the taste, giving this a creamy feel not present in the base beer. The port barrel isn't particularly present, but resides in the background by giving this an ever-so-slight boozy quality. If you like cocoa, you'll love this beer, and I absolutely LOVE cocoa. Exceptionally well done by Schlafly.

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ovaltine from Indiana, May 08, 2017
Photo of Fubusmaximus
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured at brewery on release day into a snifter at about 45F

A: Pours black in color. Minimal head. Thin khaki colored lacing throughout.

S: Aromas of coffee, vanilla, port, cola, dark chocolate, caramel, sweet and toasted malts, licorice, raisins, cherries, and other dark fruits.

T: Taste follows the nose somewhat. Leads with sweet caramel and cola followed by dark chocolate, coffee, and port. Finishes with notes of cherry, raisins, licorice, and toasted malts.

F: Full bodied, medium thickness, creamy, and smooth with a small amount of carbonation.

O: Overall, this is a great BA Stout. This was my first time trying this one. The flavor profile is very complex and interesting. Lots going on in this one. At first, I felt it was overly sweet, but as it started to warm it began to balance out the sweetness and fruitiness with dark chocolate. Only wish I would have had time to sit and let it warm longer. Great BA stout and I'm looking forward to cracking one of my bottles to see if there is any difference. I was very surprised to have something this good by Schlafly. The majority of their beers are mediocre at best and awful at worst. I'm glad I gave this a shot.

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Fubusmaximus from Missouri, Apr 18, 2017
Photo of danielsadicario
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The chocolate aspect is superb, and the port barrel comes through as well, although not as much as I'd personally prefer. In fact, it tastes more like a really good stout than one that is barrel aged at all. Which leads me to the flaw: as good as this is (and it's very good), the liquid is pretty thin, especially for such a fancy bottle and high price ($30 upon release). If the mouth feel was greatly improved, this would be a GREAT stout.
Overall: good, worth seeking out, but the price is awfully high.

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The Variant from The Schlafly Tap Room
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 38 ratings