Hercule Stout | Brasserie Ellezelloise

268 Reviews
Hercule StoutHercule Stout

Brewed by:
Brasserie Ellezelloise

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by zerk on 10-12-2001

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Reviews: 268 | Ratings: 450
Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good stout, smooth in a beautiful flip top directly fresh from Belgium, that "popped" twice from the carbonation. The added flavourings gave it a syrupy aroma with molasses. Not as thick as other Russians, but I could stay on this all night no problem.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and dark fruits. Taste is much the same with a fruity flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is more of a fruity version of the style.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a free gift from kathleen, the bartender at falling rock denver. cool little flip lid bottle pours flat black with some lazy brown bubbles. i smell a sweeter roasty malt profile, but i dont taste any sugar at all. this is weirdly dry and bitter for a russian imperial stout, almost chalky in feel and taste. cocoa powder is the only sweetness, and its a bittersweet at the most. plenty of body too, really full, but still quite drinkable for the size. never would have guessed 9% abv on this, feels more like 6%. some bright belgian yeast is in here, providing an almost rye like spice element, but its swallowed up whole by the huge roast character. overall an enjoyable stout, and i appreciated the gift, but i wouldnt buy this on my own again i dont think. might be a nice beer to braise some beef in though, as the flavor is there without the sugar. we shall see...

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Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours out as a pretty nice looking deep brownisg black color. The head is a light tan color that seems to be sticking around for a while. This beer has a really nice aroma, it's almost fruity, more so than roasted or burnt like most Russian Imperials. The flavor of the beer is actually kind of refreshing. It's got some really soft fruits on the tongue and a slight burnt dryness in the back but with the fruitiness it kinda balances out really well. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side, which is fine because the flavors are so complex. I like this beer quite a bit. Worth a try for sure!

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Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and has a contrasting thin white head that has good retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of roasted malts along with some hints of roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very drinkable for the style because it's a bit lighter bodied and no traces of alcohol are detectable in the taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's where the line is drawn between fruitier and spicier imperial stouts and the toastier and more chocolaty Belgian strong dark ales is where this beer straddles. Fear not fans of both, this beer does it all.

With an opaque, yet obviously hazed, dark bark brown color, the beer's stout-like intent is apparent. Releasing a lightly tanned head of billowing and rocky properties. It's this head character that yields a long-lasting persistence and clumps of lace left behind on the glass. A muscular beer for sure!... at least to the eye.

Bold and succulent aromas of coffee roast is met with chocolate, smoke, malted milk, and burnt caramel. Extra complexities of burnt fruit: grapes, plumbs, currants start to give impressions of yeasty esters while the counterpart phenols of licorice and fennel seed provide the balance to the fruity sweet scents. With very low hop presence, there's only a woody note that suggest a nod toward the earthy bitterness.

Malty-sweet taste of candi sugar, plumbs, beets, grapes, and cotton candy start the malt-forward flavor. The fruity vs. spicy interplay continues with the taste of robust red wines, anise, prune, peppercorn, plumb, creamy smoke, chocolate covered cherries, and wormwood all govern an earthy-floral taste with power and complexity that keep the descriptions comming. And with very low hop bitterness or flavor, it's the balance of phenolic spice to fruity esters and malt sweetness that makes or breaks the beer.

Full bodied for sure but the early carbonated creaminess turns heavy and cola-like well before the middle palate. This causes the sweetness of malt and fruit to play a large role going into the now only semi-dry, semi-kept finish where a residually sweet coat is left on the mouth for far too long. Even the alcohol strength of nine percent and light minty hop character isn't enough to close the beer properly.

The dichotomy that's created from both Belgian flavor and English structure is eloquent and robust from the initial sip and until the last sip. The beer takes the palate on a tried adventure in taste but leaving its conclusion a bit unsettled.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark brown body with a dense 2 finger mocha-colored head. Intense carbonation typical of Belgian ales.

Smell: Light roasted coffee, husky grain, slight tartness and acidity, dark chocolate.

Taste & mouthfeel: Earthy with fruity esters, chocolate and a coffee backbone that lingers from start to finish. Mild bitterness in the finish with a hint of acidity coming through at the very end. Very dry overall with just a touch of sweetness present throughout. Light-bodied compared to many American spins on the style, the mouthfeel is decidedly more Belgian.

Notes: Very good stuff, unique for sure, but I'd probably not seek it out frequently.

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Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A rare find at Delilah's.

Swing-top bottle pops open, emitting a tiny waft of gunsmoke.
Hercule pours a deep brown, almost opaque in the glass, with a thin skim of bubbles that subsides to a ring of foam.

Smell is slightly of dark fruit, like plum and raisin. Kind of mellow and mysterious.

Taste isn't your typical stout, but i've never met one from Belgium that's "typical". A fruity note kicks it off, some underlying dark malts give it a mildly bitter finish. There is a nuttiness to it, not sure if it's almond, sort of hard to place.

Mouthfeel is like a BSDA, slightly thin, not chewy. Pretty easy to drink, although I tried to sip it due to the higher price tag.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.13/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention. Aroma of bitter roasted malt is quite powerful. Taste is dry, I would even say too dry for my own taste, with a long bitter finish and a strange yeast taste that doesn’t mix very well with the rest. Body is above average and alcohol is well hidden. Cannot say I was overly impressed with that one and I can’t see what everybody is raving about. Well, I will go back to their blonde and brune which I enjoyed a great deal more.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this bottle up in North Carolina the weekend of BA Sexual Chocolate. Can't remember which store I found it at. Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours near-black with a thin off-white head that quickly fades into a thin collar and plenty of bubbles on top. No real bubbles. Nose brings a bit of roast plus some dark fruits and chocolate. Flavor is mildly sweet and is nearly a cross between a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and an Imperial Stout. Very interesting, though not necessarily fantastic. The chocolate fills out the backside after a mouthful filled with dark fruits and mild roast. Pretty good with a medium body and a chewy feel. Low carbonation. Decent, but not spectacular. Certainly worth a try for how interesting it is.

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Photo of jlindros
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap @ Stoutfest @ Armsby Abbey.

A: Light creamy head with great lacing. Almost looks like a thick nitrous head. The beer itself is just about pitch black, perhaps a hint of dark brown color in the middle.

N: Again some nitrous aroma, but doesn't overpower the beer in this case, it's a case of where it actually works (unlike the horrible trend of NO2 anything slightly dark and it overpowers the beer completely). Some dark malts, crystal/caramel, little chocolate, creamy chocolate and slight bitter chocolate. Pretty light on the nose overall.

T: Bitter, with some earthy hops. It's actually somewhat thin, a little watery unfortunately. Very Belgian like taste though, with Belgian malts, sugars, and the lighter body and lack of roast for the stout. It has a slight dry saison like yeast and malty taste as well.

M: Very light, slightly watery, lower carbonation.

F: Semi bitter saison finish, very dry. It has a little spicy hop bitterness, with some malty barnyard saison dryness and malt character. Some darker malts. Reminds me a lot of a dark saison, a nice drinkable beer, but nothing what I would expect for a stout, or perhaps as it has been with American IPAs, I've become jaded with heavy American RIS.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black in color with a deep tan head that holds well and leaves a good lacy surface coating and solid collar. No lace around the glass, however. Overall, a very nice appearance. The aroma is somewhat surprising in it's fresh, youthful, sweetness & fruity character. It's also fairly intricate with notes of sweet malt, rich dark fruit, some brown sugar and molasses, and limited roastiness. The body is medium-full with a solid and very-fine carbonation; giving a somewhat zesty - and oily- mouthfeel. The flavor is quite complex, offering different flavors throughout the range of the tasting including dark fruits, rum, chocolate, caramel, molasses, floral hops, berries, very creamy coffee, not so creamy coffee, and spent espresso grounds. These flavors are all fairly sweet in the mouth but the underlying bitterness keeps everything from whirling away; and the finish leaves a distinct bitterness at the back of the throat. The aftertaste lingers with some lightly sugary, grainy, and roasty notes. Still, the sweetness can become somewhat cloying towards the end of the bottle. The alcohol is very well hidden at first, but becomes more apparent toward the middle of the serving. An extremely enjoyable beer with great complexity. A very interesting and highly unique beer that probably deserves more than one tasting. Absolutely worth seeking out.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Served in a stem glass (maybe a snifter?), surprisingly light in color for a stout, appearing an almost translucent cola brown, with a small cap of off-white head; moderate retention and just a bit of lacing. By the time I was about 3/4 done, the liquid was definitely see-through. Didn't really get a big aroma from this, but I picked up notes of dark malts, dark sugars...that's about it. Taste was better, with flavors of dark malts, brown sugar, figs, tobacco, bready yeast, and a bit of leafiness. Not bad. Medium mouthfeel, quite thin for the style I guess, but not really bad; slight alcohol bite. Pretty drinkable overall.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours dark brown to black, small beige head that lingers for a while.
Smell of boozy raisin, candi sugar, caramel and sweet bread. Some apple mash, some faint sugared orange slices.
Starts fruity with cherry, forest berries, dry fig and plum with some caramel and light chocolate, but also maintaining a citrus zing in the back. Molasses, faint cinnamon and anise, a faint floral note too. Booze piles up, creating a cognac/strong red wine kind of feel, balanced in the finish with some mild roast.
Medium bodied and carbonated, keeping the alcohol and the nice flavors close to the palate. Thus, the aftertaste is quite nice, fruity, the enhanced cognac note and malt cake sweetness, with a tiny bit of sugar syrup and some extra toasted crust.
A heavy duty dark ale, tasty, almost fancy. It nicely manages to set itself apart from usual Belgian strong dark ales with nice clear Stout notes.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Barely opaque ruddy chestnut. The relative lightness of this Imperial stout is also indicated by generous red-gold accents along the bottom edge of the glass. A huge 'gunshot' on swing-top cracking led me to anticipate a huge, frothy head and to pour accordingly. The toasted tan foam is coarse and mealy and deposits no lace.

This is a good RIS nose, not a great one. For starters, it isn't quite aromatic enough. Although roasted black malt leads the way, there's a Baltic porter-like fruity vinousness about it rather than scents of chocolate, coffee or molasses. Of course, I didn't really expect an American stout chocolate malt bomb either.

Things are better on the palate. Much, much better! How some beer can taste exactly how it smells and how other beer can taste so much different, I'll never know. The nose didn't begin to prepare me for the glorious, exotic complexity that is Hercule. There can't be too many RISs brewed in Belgium, but this is exactly how I'd expect one to taste.

The dark fruit vinousness that I appreciated in the nose is well-represented on the taste buds. Now that I stop to think about it, this is what a true RIS should taste like. The American stouts are best thought of as double stouts. Anise, espresso-soaked figs and liquified raisins are the most prominent flavors. There's a great deal more at play, most of which defies my ability to adequately describe it. I'm sure that a typically multi-faceted Belgian yeast strain is adding to the unfathomable depth.

There's a bit of a sweet underbelly to Hercule, although it's easily (and thankfully) dominated by bitter. I'm amazed by the new vistas of flavor that are opening up as the beer approaches room temperature. Alcohol is a welcome contributor as well, much as it is in a fine tawny port or a glass of ouzo (both of which are echoed in this remarkable beer).

I was quickly able to adjust to the fact that the flavor profile is different from just about any other beer of this style that has entered my glass. I'm not so flexible when it comes to the mouthfeel. Although it's anything but light, it's lighter than any RIS should be. It's infinitely smooth and lightly silky, but a little more heft would be perfect.

The scowling visage of Hercule Poirot (the Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie) peers back at me from the label of Hercule Stout as if daring me to like the beer named in his honor. I do Hercule, I do. This is a corker of a RIS that, in some ways, defines the style like no other.

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Photo of russpowell
3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with 1 finger of tan head. Good head retention & average lacing

S: Oaky & boozey (bourbon) notes, plus raisins. All fade as this warms.

T: Dark fruit, tannins, leafy hops & dryness up front. A kiss of boozey figs, more leafy hops, & a bit of smokeyness as this warms. Finishes fruitty, with pipe tobacco hoppyness & a hint of licorice. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Medium bodied with fairly vigirous carbonation

Drinks fairly easy for the style & ABV, but for the money ($7.50 for .35 L) there are so many better choices for much less cash. I would say this one could easily cellar for few more years

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saw this odd shaped flip top bottle sitting on the shelf and decided I just had to give it a try. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 02/17/2010.

The pour was decent enough with a dark brown color and a light bit of foam coming up and over the top of the glass. Settling down quickly it left a little lace along the sides and a touch of light shining through on the bottom keeping it from being completely black. Aroma of deep, sweet chocolate dominates here, rich with overtones of coffee and rich malted goodness. Interesting mix of aromas here, full with warming bringing out a touch of brown sugar. Smooth, easy sipper. Rich warming chocolate covers the palate and a nice back splash of hops dries you out and leaves you looking for the next sip. Complex, smooth and light enough to be enjoyed thoroughly. Not the best I have had but it certainly held its own.

Overall a nice little way to end the evening. I certainly would not mind trying this little one again and some nice dark fruits in the finish only served to show that off even more. Definitely a nice little stout here for sure.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Decanted from a brown swingtop 33cl into a Caracole tulip cool.
A - Pours a deep ebony with not light escaping the fluid and a soft tan whipped cream head that leaves thick rings of lace.

S - Faintly fruity and deep roasted malt odors w/ a slightly eathy aroma of hops perhaps.

M - A robust feel which is creamy and moderately carbonated w/ a hint of spice and roastiness.

T - A very smooth flavor of extra dark cocoa and coffee hints w/ a vanilla bean note. The hops have a spice which adds to the dark malt taste. There is subtle flavors of alchol, but not overdone. The taste is mostly smooth rich chocolate, but not sweet, generally dry. The flavor is subdued for an 8.4% stout. Wonderfully balanced - the taste really is liquid velvet, it just begs for slow sips. The deep fruit tastes, like plum and subtle spice notes are more apparent as it warms in the finish.

D - This is a great beer, and a very smooth stout. The strength is deceptive, such smooth tastes, dry and complex - this is a must try! Very Very Drinkable. For the price you can not go wrong. I picked this bottle up at Shawan liquors in Hunt Valley, Md for only about $4.25.

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Photo of smcolw
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color, but light does manage to get through. Moderate head, but it does leave thin lace.

Sweet like molasses. Lots of caramel. The alcohol is notable.

Dark chocolate flavor. The consistency of the liquid is similar to watered down skim milk. While flavorful, it doesn't fit the RIS mold. In fact, I'd describe it as a toasted porter. The alcohol level is well hidden.

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Photo of Jason
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes in a cute and tiny 11.2 oz swing-top bottle, thanks to Daniel of The Moan & Dove for the sample.

Appearance: Pours a think fluffy tan head ... nice retention. The liquid easily renders a stout black colour.

Smell: Major licorice. Fruity, ester and some solvent alcohols in the nose as well as some undertones of dark roasted malt.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Sturdy medium to full body with a rich complex maltiness of dark and toasted malts. On the sweet side with light earthy mineral and nutty flavours. Hints of roasted coffee and dark bread come to mind. Prune like fruitiness, alcohol is a little bit solvent with a broad range of esters to boot. Hop bitterness evens the brew and stays on the sidelines though.

Notes: The alcohol lands it as an Imperial Stout, perhaps not as thick as others but this may have been closer to what an Imperial Stout could have been. An amazing brew to say the least.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 02/26/11 notes. Poured from an 11.2 oz swing top bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with one inch of tan head and very light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, sugar, licorice, figs, raisins, light roasted malts, and light chocolate. Reminds me of an old ale, not a RIS.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, figs, raisins. Tastes a bit watered down, but better than smell. Again, reminds me of an old ale.

m - Light body for a RIS and a bit watered down, smooth body. Light carbonation.

d - This beer seemed a lot more like an old ale to me than a RIS, but was pretty good none the less. The smell was a little too sweet for me, and the mouthfeel was a little watered down. Would give another shot.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased and consumed at Ebeneezer's

Pours a dark brown/ black with ruby highlights and a mocha head that sticks around for a while. Aroma of dried fruit, roasted coffee, chocolate, spicy yeast. Taste is of roasted malts, fruits, chocolate. Overall very dry with a lingering bitterness that just begs you to take another sip. I never noticed the nine percent alcohol in this one. Great Belgian take on a Russian imperial stout. Much more subtle flavors than it's American counterparts.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a nice swing-top bottle

A - Deep medium brown body with some strange shaped lacing atop.

S - Smells of fig, molasses, brown sugar and wood. Dark sugars and smoke come through in the nose.

T - This beer tastes robust and smokey. Some malt sweetness and oakey smoke are most prevalent. Some dark sugar and dark dried fruit are detected.

M - The mouthfeel on this beer is crisp and has medium carbonation. Pretty smooth and refreshing for a stout.

D - Id say this being a smokey stout and has 9% abv, its pretty drinkable. Clearly not as dark and bitter as a typical stout, but with just as much flavor to savor.

Notes - Really well balanced robust stout. Packs plenty of flavor but stays smooth and enjoyable, never overpowering in alcohol or intensity.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an extremely dark brown that is fully opaque. Head is very tan. Malty nose. Flavor is complex, but it takes a while for it all to appear. Strong malts hit you first, then sweet darker chocolates. And it leaves a very nice aftertaste in the mouth. You just want to take your time with this one and savor the flavor, even though a part of you just wants to tear into it and keep having it rush over your palate. Feel is not as thick as other RIS, but it still is decent and the carbonation is good. Overall extremely drinkable. Kudos for an RIS produced in Belgium.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Very light tan head, solid with a thick one finger puck presented and creamy character hardly budging on the glass. Dark walnut brown out of the glass with some light red and even orange hues towards the edges. A pretty basic looking stout, with a head color that seems lighter than expected.

Real distinct aroma. Mix of classic Belgian fruit esters, hints of phenolic spice of some clove, but comes across as a thick spiced fig almost, and dark burnt sugar dubbel like sensing quality. Real hard to pin this one down, those Belgian stouts are curve balls, all unique their own it seems. Very enjoyable.

Palate comes a bit of a let down. Watery fruited down raspberry and red charactered fruit in the mid palate, with a fleeting finish. Much of the stout character seems to disappear on the swallow, leaving only the front of the palate to sense the flavors that have left. Light bodied and watery fruit, feeling more like a small stout, and at least hiding much of the large abv I'll give it that, that the bottle indicates. Bit of tight carbonation, with an almost flat like cherry cola quality.

It's an interesting beer, but this just doesn't grab my attention very much.

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Hercule Stout from Brasserie Ellezelloise
4.05 out of 5 based on 450 ratings.
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