Hercule Stout | Brasserie Ellezelloise

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Hercule StoutHercule Stout
459 Ratings
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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Ratings: 459 |  Reviews: 270
Photo of weeare138
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to egajdzis for this...
Appears a deep, dark brown with a dark brown head of fluff that slowly fades away. Streaky spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is nutty with notes of cocoa, caramel, and a phenolic Belgian yeast strain that yells, "ripe fruit!"
Taste echoes the aromas with an obvious nod to the cocoa, caramel, raisins, and roasted nuts.
Mouthfeel is nutty, medium bodied, sweet, with some roasted coffee grounds making their way across the palate.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage - bottle labeled 8.4%

A - Pours a solid black with a thin tan head that retreats to a ring of lace.

S - Dark fruit, plums, raisins. Very Baltic porter like.

T - Dark fruits dominate. Figs, raisins, plums with a spicy Belgian yeast character. Nice and complex.

M - Lighter than a RIS but very smooth and Belgian Strong Dark like. Medium body with low carbonation and velvet like across the palette.

D - It is like a Baltic Porter on steroids. Very nice and unique. It has aged well.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend brought this back from Europe and split it with me. The color was black with brown at the edges. The head was a strange color like a chocolate malted. The smell was slightly sweet and roasty. The taste reminded me of Guinness as it first hit my palate and then changed to a more familiar RIS flavor. This was a very interesting beer and I am glad to have had the opportunity.

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Photo of IPAcraig
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the 21 beers I brought back from belgium. This is the first Belgian stout I have ever had, sounds very odd. I bought every Belgium Imperial stout I could find, 2.

Poured from a flip top bottle into me De Garre snifter/goblet.

A - Pours a deep black with a two inch light brown creamy head. If the lacing was better this could have been a 5.

S - It has a nice aroma. A big sweetness is predominant: malty, chocolatey. A slight roastiness in the finish.

T - A very sweet imperial stout. Taste a bit like half and half (perhaps they added a bit of lactose to this brew). Roastiness in the middle, though not as much as would be expected, followed by a lightly bitter end.

M - Very creamy, and chewy. Nice carbonation, not too much (despite the huge head), just right

D - Incredibly drinkable. One of the smoothest Imperial Stouts I have had. The alcohol is barely even present. It is probably best that I only brought one of these back from Belgium as I could several back in a sitting.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint. Listed as 8.4% abv on the label.

A: Pours a dark, dark brown. Almost black. Virtually no head and not a hint of lace. Very still.

S: Right off the bat I'm greeted by the sweet and tangy aroma of plums and/or figs. This is followed closely by an aroma of burnt malt.

T: Tangy dark fruit upfront that's leading around an excellent burnt malt flavor. I also detect flavors of tart apples, chocolate, and nuts. Very interesting simultanious 1-2 punch of sweet and tangy. Excellent dry, roasted finish.

M: A little on the thin side at first. It thickens a bit as the temp. comes up. Sweet, tangy, and dry. All at the same time.

D: Incredibly easy to drink! The toasted/roasted/burnt flavors are balanced nicely by the sweet and tangy flavors. Worth seeking out!

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Photo of clabaugh
4.56/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark mahoghany with a mountainous, rocky head colored a light khaki. Retention is remarkable.

Smell: Chocolate, toffee, mocha, and floral hops as well.

Taste: Sweet milk chocolate, molasses, toasty barley malts, coffee, and a hint of hoppy bitterness on the way down. Delightfully complex and satisfying.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy with a mild warming sensation from the alcohol.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable. Excellent flavor that only improves as the bottle disappears. Masks its nearly 9% ABV well. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
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 BeerHonky
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Swing top bottle at Bier Circus in Brussels. Served in a specific glass with brewery artwork on the side. What a great beer this is. I haven't heard too much about Belgian stouts, so I had to give it a try. Pours an extremely opaque dark chocolate looking color. No light can pass through this guy. The head was excellently retained with a nice fluffy whole wheat appearance. Lots of licorice and estery scents in the glass. This also has an awesome balance of flavors...malt, dark fruit, licorice, sweetness, and alcohol. You might think that this beer is syrupy but its not at all. The carbonation is nice and helps clean your palate after every sip. Fantastic beer all around. I wish I could find this in NYC.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A black body, but not the blackest. A bit of mahogany shows through the edges, but the head is lovely. Light, fluffy, tan and long lasting. Smell is a bit sweetish/caramelly. Smells to me sort of like a doppelbock, in a way. It’s a nice smell. Not really stouty, though. A bit of alcohol.
Taste is really interesting. You’ve got the coffee stout taste, but not overly dry or roasty. A bit of sweetness permeates through, and alcohol isn’t very noticeable at all. It’s got a bit of the fruity, Belgiany aftertaste, though. Interesting. In a good way.
Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I expected. Again, almost doppelbocky. Drinkability on this is dangerously good.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[circa $5 for a little swing-top at A-Wines in Inman Sq, Cambridge]

B/C and dated too - awesome!

Deep deep brown, light tan head. Smells reminiscent of red wine mixed into the raisin and molasses more common to Belgian Strong Dark Ales. Flavor has rooty qualities, no roast. Slick, medium-thin. Ends balanced and good, with root-beerishness still strong. Earthy, subtle hop vine, dirty water. Pretty enjoyable beer, though to my palate this is a BSDA and no stout. I would have it again, though probably not at its current price.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
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 dogfooddog
3.29/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml swing-top bottle opens with a very distinct 'pop.' This beer pours into a pint glass with a huge head; 75% of glass volume is head, with the bottom quarter actual beer. Big head volume is for me a worry sign of possibly heat-damaged beer. This beer came recently from belgianshop.com. (after seeing the result of this review I will try to get another bottle and compare, something might be amiss here based on other recent reviews)

Note that this beer is now 8.4% volume. I do believe older bottles were 9.0%. I have not had this beer in a few years but recall it was a very tasty stout. Unfortunately the 8.4% version is not as tasty as I remember the 9% and as some of the older (2002) reviews substantiate.

THe nose is full of notes of raisiny notes as well as distinct hoppy character. Something roasted floats in the background but it is secondary for sure.

The taste is somewhat bland, with a rather bitter front end giving way to a very mild roasted aftertaste. The actual taste is not very complex at all, and I am not sure what is going on here.I have had a number of RIS's and this bottle does not resemble the style very much, and it is probably too light as well.

Further into the aftertaste/finish it becomes much more roasted and dark, still quite subtle.

Hard to know if ellezelloise has had changes in the beer or other issues, but not nearly as good as my memory tells me.

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Photo of aquatonex
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was a bit pricey at Moan and Dove, but it was a limited offering there and I'm moving so I figured I'd get one...

Pours deep mahogany brown with a creamy head, good lacing. Bottle pops with wisps of carbon dioxide, pretty cool. Pour has a lot in there, not watery. Smells are rather sweet with caramels, mild wood tones, hefty malts, and hints of spice. Taste is quite good, smooth, rich, sweet but not too sweet. The flavors meld together and give it a very balanced easy flavor that isn't powerful, but rather more subtle. Consquently, a very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
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 wl0307
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle is at 8.4%abv., BB OCT 06, served cool in a Harvey's 500ml jug (what a contradiction b/w the beer and the container...).

A: simply brilliant--the bottle pops open with CO2-smoke all over the place, pouring an ebony colour with ruby glows; the beige-hued beer head builds up aggressively and thick, settling very slowly to a 1cm-thick cap retaining throughout the drink--sheer brilliance.
S: perfumy fruit esters (ripe plums and dates) abound, on top of a soft yet focused bitter-sweet chocolaty note with hints of vanilla, and a slightly smoked edge of dark/black malts, laced with a refreshing and aromatic hoppy undertone and plenty of herbal scent like licorice+treacles... An aromatic Belgian-dark-ale yeasty scent threads through the overall aroma, playing a solid backbone as well as a refreshing balancer to keep the malty body in check. Complex, soothing, aromatic, just blissful...
T: semi-refreshing+semi-soft textured, profoundly dark chocolaty flavour backed by lots and lots of herbal input from licorice and faint aniseed, and suggestion of chewy, bitter-sweet roastiness of black malts... incredibly restrained on the palate, it goes surprisingly deep, and results in a dryish bitter-sweet aftertaste with suggestion of black sugar, dates, perfumy yeasts, and a hoppy backbone, until it reaches an intriguing crisp-clean finish.
M&D: feather-light and lively for its strength, this is a very approachable beer with a full body that kicks back from behind; superbly balanced and softly carbonated though it is, I'd expect more roasted flavour as in bold, American RIS or sour-woody and fruity hints in line with English RIS. As the brewery proudly claims, it's a "Belgian Stout" alright, but to me it goes in the fashion of a Baltic Porter rather than any kind of Stout based on its unique characters. Well, I might be biased~~ But whatever style it's meant to be, it's hellu'va a good beer to savour...

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Photo of Absumaster
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a pitch black colour with minimal lacing, just like a typical stout. Smell was good, fruity with some distinct liquorice and burned malt smells.
Taste was different than I expected, instead of a bitter, dry beer, this was rather mild and not very bitter. It was still bitter but I did not get any goose bumbs from it.
First tastes were liquorice and some maltbitterness, followed by a lingering burned or toasted malt taste. Like said, low bitterness (for a stout) and mild, mhhh I could get used to this one. Also striking was the pretty full body, together with the low bitterness and the nice maltbitterness this is nicely balanced.
OK, now I am in doubt about how to review it, on the one hand it is a nicely balanced beer with extraordinairy taste, on the other it is not like a 'normal' stout. I think I will go for the first option and stick to my first impression. A nice beer!

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Photo of Frozensoul327
4.92/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An excellent example of how a RIS should be. Pours out to a burnt chestnut wood with a pillow of cloud-like brown foam resting gracefully atop the beer. Medium low carbonation. Aromas of milk and dark chocolate, malts, sweet herbs. Wow. Taste? Heavenly... Flavors of chocolate, malts, sweet grain, spices, mild wood and dark fruits engulf the tongue and fill the mouth. The light carbonation and smooth flavors create a great mouthfeel, just short of perfect. Drinkability is world class. This is the definitive Russian Stout. At $6.00 a bottle, it's worth it. World Class, Highly Recommended.

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Photo of paulaner
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is an exceptional stout. The dark color with no light being let through is excellent, only being topped off when you get the chocolate, coffee aromas. One thing I love best is the yeast and sugar added to the bottle prior to bottling, I think this enhances the flavors so go ahead and poor this into the glass with the beer. As for the mouthfeel it is velvety smooth with no bitterness, now here comes the flavors prepare yourself because it is not short lived or weak. First chocolate then coffee then wet smoothness only to repeat itself over and over on your palate. This is not a beer for those who do not like strong flavors or beer with no after taste, but if your like me and prefer this type it is worth every penny you pay for it!

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Photo of Jredner
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is cola-syrup like and fruity with hints of blackstrap molasses. Color is dark brown to black with a massive two finger thick mocha head. Fore is fruity and sugar sweet. Definitely has more of a Belgian Ale feel than a Stout feel. That candy sugar sweetness lingers into the finish which is fruity, but also has a tinge of vegetal flavors. Doesn’t taste like any Stout style I have ever had, but it’s still tasty. Just don’t drink it hoping for a classic Imperial Stout cause you won’t get it here. Really comes off as a softer, sweeter dubbel to me. I did not detect the chocolate notes others mentioned. More brown sugar than anything, but even that doesn’t quite fit. it is tasty though.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330cl Bottle from the Vineyard Belfast

Poured almost completely black with only a slight hint of dark red when held up to the light. Poured with a nice creamy, tan head which is quite big to start but fades to almost nothing...

Aroma - Strong toasted malts, aniseed, strong coffee, fruity (dark fruits - possibly prunes ?), dark chocolate...

Taste – Quite sweet, fruity (blackcurrent, raisins), aniseed, nice roasted maltiness, nice bitterness, chocolatey, quite strong alcohol notes...

Feel - Quite smooth with only a slight sharpness. Quite dry. Medium / full bodied. Pretty drinkable...

Overall - An exceptional stout - one of my favourites. Highly recommended...

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Photo of OldSock
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – 11.2 oz swing top bottle from Marty's, “Lot #2”. Dark brown, nearly black with a tan head that only stays around for a few minutes. Some yeasty goo is at the bottom of my glass on close inspection, but the dark beer conceals it well.

Smell – Sticky sweet with dark fruits and alcohol. The closest refferance I have is Le Coq's Imperial, but this has a bit of a Belgian yeast twang. Some molasses shows up later, every sniff seems to bring something new.

Taste – Chocolate, coffee, charcoal, smoke, and some rasions. There is definitely some spicy Belgian character as well. Alcohol is surprisingly faint, but definitely there if you are looking for it. Sweet, without being cloying, a perfectly crafted flavor.

Mouthfeel – Medium for the style with big carbonation that is more in line with a Belgian Strong Dark than a RIS.

Drinkability & Notes – Closer to a traditional English RIS than an American. Definitely the best Belgian (or Belgian style) stout I have had, and a good stout by any measure. Complex, rich and original just what a cold winter day calls for.

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4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cola black fizzy carbonated body supports an equally fuzzy quick fading deep tan head. Nice carbonation was unexpexted.

Nose is as deep and dark as the body with dancing notes of molases and raisens. Overall it distinctly resenbles port.

Enters the mouth with a malty sweetness and an array of dark fruity notes such as ripe plum and black cherry. A doughy wheat feel with a lingering rawness is on the mouth as the finish caps off this very interesting belgium style stout.

A good beer that would probably age well to work out its few rough edges.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.56/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer was highly recommended by a co-worker at John's Grocery. I heard it was a stout from belgium and I was immediately intruiged. I've put it off for far too long. Excellent Imperial Stout with a distinct belgian character and an amazing mouthfeel.

Appears completely opaque black color, not too inky and thick. Has a fluffy white head. Put some distance from the bottle and the glass when pouring to get this nice head, but don't pour too aggressively so as not to pour an assload of sediment. Looks quite delicious in my new Duvel tulip (thanks to Mr. Chalice Whore himself for that one).

The smell is a bit lacking, but when inhaled quite deeply one can get that distinct smell of belgian candi sugar. Very interesting. Also has a hint of gently roasted malt and vanilla. Very phenolic. Gets quite better as it warms.

The taste is easily one of the best Impy Stouts I've tried. Starts off sweet and vanilla-ish and fades into a mild roasty flavor in the finish. The candi sugar stays in the background the whole time. Quite an exceptional blend going on here.

The mouthfeel is completely amazing, especially when poured very heady. It is smooth, vanilla-y and creamy as all hell. The bitterness and sweetness are well matched. The finish is quite moist.

I will buy more of this soon. Maybe even within the week. I recommend you acquire some of your own. For a high ABV Impy Stout, this is very highly drinkable.

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Photo of walleye
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the bottle poured a dark brown, with a light tan head. aroma dark cherries, roasted malts, caramel, smoke, and some hops, and a hint of alcohol. flavor, the roasted malts came out nicely, and than dark fruits, chocolate, hops. this was very good.I just wish I knew who sent this in a trade to bieristgut.

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Photo of putnam
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Equal parts egg-foam and black liquid turn into liquid. The bouquet is subtle. It offers neatly bready, biscuit and coffee aromas complete with reduced blueberries and pat of butter. As it opens underneath the dense cap of foam more assertive blue and purple berry and fruit aromas join in. The first taste seizes the entire palate with charcoal resins and graphite. Juicy sweetness awkwardly sets off the clinic in alcohol and bitterness. Cracked, raw nuts and tree bark flavors add complexity. Sea air finishes the lively, rustic array of black roasted fruit. There is a low degree of viscosity/chewy texture for all the front-loaded flavor and alcohol. I have high hopes for this beer, but it tastes unfinished. Give it another year.

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Hercule Stout from Brasserie Ellezelloise
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 459 ratings