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: 452
Photo of seand
3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark nearly opaque brown, with a fair amount of tan head. Enough retains to leave fair-sized sheets of lacing around the glass.

S: Sweet dark fruit with a touch of yeast.

T: Medium sweetness, and very clear and dry through the middle and finish. Finish has a burnt malty background note that lingers a bit.

M: Fairly light body for a stout; medium carbonation.

This is kind of an odd beer. It feels so light, is not overly sweet, and the alcohol isn't all that noticeable, so it's probably a bit dangerous. The overall complexity is present, and nice, if you look for it.

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Photo of Asgeirr
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2011

A: Pours a opaque, bistre brown with shades of burgundy along with a MASSIVE, dense and buff-coloured crown with great longevity. Gradually melting along with an aftermath of lacing aplenty!

S: At first a vinous and tart smell. Continually, a subtle caramel sweetness and vanilla beans (not unlike a small batch bourbon) comes forth but is quickly overpowered by a more chocolate and molasses-based scent. In the background lurks a persistent licorice smell, almost spicy and aniseed-like. Complex and solid

T: A lactose and cocoa -- or milk chocolate if you will -- flavour enters first. Some spices intermix amidst the aforementioned sweetness the anise is there but even subtler than before. Snooping on, we find a sensation which lingers on well into the aftertaste, which
is that of well-roasted coffee beans which adds a stratum of acridity and burnt characteristics to an overall malty experience.

M: Round and creamy with medium carbonation, albeit a wee bit on the thins side when it comes to the general viscosity.

O: This was a solid experience yet not all that bitter, like many other RIS, which I believe to be due to the fact that it's a Belgian one. Even if it was a bit thin on the palate this beer was much to my liking.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

$12 bottle at Alewife in Baltimore. Served in a flute beer glass.

A very unique tasting brew. A must try if you like RIS (as classified on BA) but it does not taste like most RIS and I could see how many might not like this beer. Definitely a complex brew. I dinged it for not having a heavier body.

A - Pours a black and opaque with a 2-ifinger light tan rocky head. Excellent sticky lacing that disapates to a very thin but lasting layer of head.

S - A box of raisins, sweetness, like a port wine.

T - Some initial minor roasty, carmely flavors and bitterness but finishes with some very port-like flavors. Some sweetness, but not cloying. Port flavor dominates but not the only flavor.Maybe a bit of licorice.

MF - Med bodied, but otherwise unremarkable.

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Photo of Derek
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

BB S2014

A: Black with a tan head, nice ring of retention shows a little leg.

S: Not a huge aroma, but there's plenty of depth and it's very unique... Pumpernickel rye bread, dark raisins, treacle, hints of salted licorice and black berries.

T: Pumpernickel rye bread, treacle, raisins, light coffee, licorice, bit of wood, black pepper, balanced bitterness, light alcohol warmth. Staring to show some oxidation.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body has a modest carbonation with only a slightly drying finish.

O: A flavourful brew that warms the soul, but it's still very digestible in the Belgian tradition. I wish I had some stilton.

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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 benfons
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my first review for a stout, not very familiar with the style

A: Thick oily dark colour, small brown head

S: roasted malts, hints of prune and chocolate , some winelike qualities

T: very roasty, red fruits, some chocolate and malts

M: sticky and dry, not as thick as I expected, undercarbonated

O: I like the taste and the nose don't like the feel of it

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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 eric5bellies
3.86/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from my Ciney sniffer

A - Pours a deep Mahogany colour with dark Ivory coloured head that retains very well and laces. Lacking in colour depth

S - Mocha, vanilla and burnt toffee in good quantities.

T - Up front some decent dark malts dominated by coffee and vanilla. Mid palaete is quite fruity and port like, followed by a smooth finish and a little booze. Extremely smooth and balanced

M - Medium to full body and low to medium carbonation.

O - Aspects of this beer are spectacular, but rather let down by the apearance amd mouthfeel.

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Photo of dictatorial
4.73/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is (as far as I have ever had) as good as it gets. I had it in Belgium, from a bottle to a weiss glass and it was truly memorable. The color is very dark (almost opaque) and the smell and taste were exceptional - smooth and not bitter, with a nutty aroma. The mouthfeel was smooth and enjoyable. Overall - its amazing and highly recommended!

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Photo of MsNitch
3.86/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Hazy coca cola/coffee with a bubbly tan head that fades into a heavy lacing

S: heaps of esters hitting the nose, toasted malts and ripe fruits, figs covered in sugar

T: Chocolate, herbaceous with a coffee, malted after taste. Pure choco- tart and dry. Little citrus at the finish

M: Dry, not a cream stout

O: All around mild, not a stand out beer, very drinkable. A total go to for a dark love affair.

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Photo of Radome
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 330 ml Grolsch-type bottle into a goblet.

A - Super-dark brown, some red highlights, although almost no light gets through when held up to light. Appears clear. Head is tan, almost gray and persists as a thin oily-looking layer with lots of lacing.

S - Aromas are jumbled but pleasant. There is smoky, roasted grains, slightly sharp hops that mingles with an Islay peat note. A bit of Belgian yeast also. Is that a tiny amount of horse blanket as well?

T - Tastes are typical stout--roasted grains, toast, coffee, malt. There is a bit of peat smoke. Alcohol is not noticeable.

M - Medium to heavy body. Carbonation is smooth. Some low hops bitterness. No alcohol burn. A cloying, powdery-feeling mouth-coating sensation at the end.

O - This is an interesting beer. It is not as big and bold as a typical Imperial Stout, but it has the added complexity of Belgian yeast. Also, it seems to have a smoky, peaty side that I enjoy but not everyone will.

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Photo of sweetLew
3.41/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hercule is a subtly provocative Belgian-style stout that is deceptively drinkable, and illustrative of the conflict between deeply roasted, burnt grains and Belgian yeast.

With an aggressive pour, the head is dense but thin, and fades quickly. A bottomless, inky blackness highlights hues of dark brown when held to the light. The aroma is mild and of low intensity, perhaps the beer's prominent disappointement, but there are some nice tones of roasted grain, dark fruits, and an earthy mustiness that are pleasant enough.

The taste is where the interplay of roasted grains and the fruity Belgian yeast give Hercule its personality; restrained and complex, a well balanced melange of flavors tease the palate, but none are overbearing. Plum, raisin, woody tannins, lemon, and brown sugars all beckon to be discovered. The slick mouthfeel and an upfront pinch of carbonation help the beer linger on the palate. As to be expected with a beer of formidable alcohol, there are some medicinal phenols to be found with the finish.

Overall, Hercule is an enjoyable and thoughtful drinking experience. The beer doesn't necessarily beg you to return for more, or cry out for a challenge, but it does follow the path of conflict that can be the Belgian Stout.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is damn near impossible to see through despite that its colour is most definitely not black. About halfway between cola and drinking chocolate, I think at least some of its dark, turbid appearance can be chalked up to the presence of Nutella-like sediment. Although relatively flat, milky inlays of eggshell coloured foam do form.

Befitting to the Poirot name, the aroma is brilliant but not boastful, abiding by a "quiet is loud" disposition where the components of its bouquet are concentrated but composed, distinct without being overpowering. Plum, nectarine, and lightly roasted malts alike are doused in anise spice and dusted with cocoa powder. Mysterious...

In keeping with the Poirot theme, the flavour has a character that combines both English and Belgian influences. With a base of dry, sooty, mild-roasted maltiness, it also showcases plenty of dark fruit (prune, plum) and yeasty spice (primarily anise, but a lot of clove too), using both features, in typical Belgian fashion, to mask a considerably high alcohol content.

The brewery uses neither spice nor sugar, although the mouthfeel tells a different story. The yeast lends a rash of spice and a strong savoriness, while the malts have a fruity sweetness that is almost reminiscent of port. At times I'd swear a pinch of brown sugar were added. The whole thing, however, is exceptionally drinkable.

I question the purpose behind aging a beer in oak barrels for only 10 days, but that may be why I'm not a professional brewer. The German oak casks have certainly contributed a more mellow and dry character to the beer (and the odd hint of spruce or something woodsy). Despite being relatively thin-bodied, that alcohol is never made obvious.

Hercule Stout has as much character as the Agatha Christie detective himself (and given how easy it is to drink for a calorie-rich, 9% stout it'll likely lead to a belly the size of his, too!) A beer that more or less transcends borders and neglects style guidelines, it is a fantastically engaging stout. Every sip, like turning the page in a book, thickens the plot and draws you in more. A unique beer to really get those 'little grey cells' going.

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Photo of atr2605
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours black with a sudsy tan head with decent retention
S-chocolate, raisins, coffee
T-More of the same with emphasis on the raisins up front and finished with the chocolate flavor on the palate
M-medium bodied
O-interesting take on the style. Definitely not like other russian imperial stouts. Enjoyed it but wouldn't have it again due to the price

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours black with a hint of red at the edges. Minimal head and little lacing. Unusual aroma, some ester I that seems familiar, but I can't identify. Sweet malt and fruit. Thin body, but interesting fruity, sweet malt taste. Licorice and malt middle, dry, chocolate and raisin finish. Very unusual. I wouldn't call this a RIS at all, more like a Belgian English stout. Interesting, but maybe a bit pricey for the experience.

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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 warnerry
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, best by December 2013, poured into a chalice at Poechenellekelder in Brussels.

A – Pours a very deep brown, though clear as some light does come through. One and a half fingers of light tan head has pretty good retention before fading completely, leaving no lacing behind.

S – Chocolate malts, dark fruits and a faint amount of alcohol.

T – Roasty and chocolaty with a very light initial sweetness that quickly fades. Very nice lingering roast bitterness.

M – Medium full mouthfeel with a roasted malt finish that is dry and slightly bitter.

O – Definitely one of the better Belgian stouts I’ve had. Hides the alcohol pretty well, without resorting to big sweetness to do so.

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Photo of Dope
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark brown with a huge and fluffy light brown head adorning it. Fades slowly, very slowly leaving puffs of lacing all over the glass.

S: Roasted malt with lots of estery alcohol stinging the nose. Lots of fruit like banana, raisins and fig. Hints of chocolate.

T: Roasted malt with semisweet chocolate up front. Dark fruits come in afterwards with banana, raisins, fig and maybe cherry? Cocoa powder and coffee beans with perhaps a little brown sugar towards the finish. Tingly alcohol throughout. Very drying on the back end with lots of oak.

M: Somewhat medium bodied but shockingly thin for a 9% RIS.

O: A very interesting RIS. It's more of a BSDA mixed with a stout. Quite thin which really hurts, but otherwise a complex and balanced flavor. I enjoyed it, I bet it would be way better with a heavier body.

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1.77/5  rDev -56.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Served in a chalice for $5 for a happy hour discount. Sampled 2/29/12.

A: Dispensed with 1 1/2 fingers of airy foam head, light brown in color, and creamy on top. Great retention. The purely black body deposits small slings of lace on the glass.

S: Wet earth, burnt toast and traditional skoal. That's right, snuff - the dipping tobacco. Perhaps it was winterfresh and not traditional flavor. Either way, the nose is very awkward - and nothing like an RIS should be.

T: The flavor matches. Adding something reminiscent of watered down scotch. A light fruity element tries to come through but is overtaken by the earth and tobacco. Not a good showing.

M: Unexplainably thin. Light and watery. It's hard to believe the ABV is 9%. Highly disappointing.

O: I've been meaning to pick up a bottle of this beer for quite some time but was always put off by the price tag. Glad to have the opportunity for an inexpensive pour since paying the bottle price ($10 I think) would have been like throwing money down the drain. Literally. I had no interest in finishing the glass.

It's interesting to note that almost all of the highest ratings for this beer were logged between 2002-2004. Maybe this beer has fallen off considerably, or maybe this keg was bad.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark chocolate and is black in the glass with a dense, creamy, half inch head. The lacing is equally dense as it coats the glass with each sip. Ultimately, the head never diminishes completely, but leaves a thin sheet.

The aroma is up front with rich chocolate fudge or syrup. Figs and rum reside in the background only to come forward with warmth. Roasted malt is also discernible, though rather subdued.

Flavors include licorice and well brewed black coffee. Bitterness is up front and subtly returns in a long, sublime finish. Warmth is most welcome as it brings out tangy, dark fruits and mellow rum.

This is a dense, sticky beer with infinite, tiny pricks of carbonation. Alcohol is about as expected for a 9% beer, though not quite warming. The alcohol does elevate with warmth.

This is a comfortable beer that reminds me of long conversations with my Grandfather as he enjoyed his Dutch Masters. Sip and enjoy while relaxing, or pour over ice cream.

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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 meatyard
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottling.

Pours out black with a 1/2 inch tan head that fall quickly to a thin cover without lacing.

The smell is licorice, dark fruit with lots of malt aroma and no hint of alcohol.

The taste is lots of licorice, prune and the same malt as in the aroma without any hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium/thin with moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is a very different RIS from most others while still being a tasty one that is definitely worth a try. I will pick up another if I see one.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.33/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Black throughout with a light brown cap that eventually leaves small, irregular lines down the glass.

Roasted malt, a touch of coffee, and a lot of dark fruits aroma, especially red grapes.

An interesting and unusual imperial stout, with the red grape flavors dominant, along with lots of roasted and black malt flavors, a bit of Belgian yeast tang, as well some mild coffee presence. Strange.

Medium to full mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

A strange, unique, grape-forward stout. I wouldn't have this again, especially for the price.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this epic stout in a pedestrian shaker pint.

Appearance- The chocolate milk colored head is very thick and smooth. It was only a finger-width at its best point, and retention is nothing special. The body was all right, a dark brown with some ruby highlights.

Smell- Whoa, some really sweet dark fruit and toffee malts punish the nose. I was thinking I was going to detect some alcohol here, but not really any at all. A sweet stout is certainly going to follow these notes.

Taste- Yep! Sweet flavors really take over on the palate. What is most surprising is how "Belgian" it tastes. Sure there are interesting profiles: mainly anise, brown sugar, and some chocolate.

However, the musty yeast, and slight banana - pear taste permeates all the way through. As far as the alcohol, there is maybe some brandy flavor.

Mouth feel- I think this is a fair bit too light for a stout. The coating is non-existent as well, disappointing.

Overall- It is certainly interesting, and it is easy to want to take another drink to get lost in the complexities. What is lacking is the mouth feel and the nose.

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Photo of Bryson
2.98/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bought a bottle of this while I was out in Colorado. Has been in the cellar for a few months now so I figured I would give it a shot

A- Very thin appearance, Dark brown with a thin cream colored ring around the glass.

S- Slight Caramel up front followed by a huge dose of plum, raisin, and booze.

T- Mocha, vanilla, Raisin, Chocolate, slight coffee taste followed by alcohol...bleh

M- Too thin for my liking...feels watered down with a little too much carbonation

O- Well I can say I tried it...I am really not a fan of this at all. I feel like it was lacking a lot for a stout and the balance was way off

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Hercule Stout from Brasserie Ellezelloise
4.05 out of 5 based on 452 ratings.
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