Owd Mac's Imperial Stout | Free State Brewing Co.

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Owd Mac's Imperial StoutOwd Mac's Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This very special beer was brewed as a double strength imperial stout with an original gravity of 27.5P/ 1118. The hopping level is very hard to define. Though there are enough hops to achieve 100 IBUs in a smaller beer, this beer still has a distinct sweetness due to a high percentage of unfermentable sugars. After fermentation, this beer is aged in old whiskey barrels from the McCormick's bottling plant in Weston, MO, hence the name Owd Mac's ("owd" being a British regional colloquialism for old).

Added by marc77 on 01-26-2003

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 53
Photo of PPOmaha
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aroma: caramel, vanilla, and barrel. Think caramel ice cream or caramel corn. No DMS, light diacetyl. Not a ton of roast is evident.

Appearance: dark brown with red copper highlights. Low off white head that dissipates quickly. No legs.

Taste: Burnt caramel and tannins, but pleasant. Vanilla and cream. Not much hop flavor. No DMS, no diacetyl. Roast is there in the finish not up front.

Mouthfeel: medium high body very creamy which adds significantly to the overall quality of this thing. Like a tiny bit lighter bcbs. Finish is med dry.

Overall: pretty damn good on tap, at least the 2013 version. Barrel/whiskey is balanced very well.

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Photo of Rope
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This was a '04 bottled by special request from Sam, who generously shared some Dark Lord Day.

Good dark black pour, with a copper yellow head.

Raisins and plums, followed with the crispness of the stout.

Definitely preserved fruits, plums of front and then raisins toward the end. There is a slight peppercorn to the whole deal as well.

Thinner than I was expecting, not sure if it was due to age. The carbonation held up well though.

Very pleased to try this one, and it did not disappoint.

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Photo of oline73
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the growler into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish brown color with a mild layer of off white head that doesn't stick around for long.

Smell: Roasted malt sweetness up front with some dark fruit, caramel, and a dark chocolate note.

Taste: More roast here than there was in the smell. You can taste the sugar here along with a dark fruit notes from the barrel. There is a strong bitter presence from the roast that reminds me of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit syrupy with lots of tingly carbonation and a really dry finish.

Overall: I enjoyed the roasted malt/dark chocolate notes but I would say that the beer was only alright. I'd have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to GT2 for sharing this growler. The beer is brown and mildly hazy with a small head. The aroma offers leather, tobacco, malt, booze. Decent flavor. Hints of vanilla. Medium bodied with fairly low carbonation. A pretty tasty brew, though certainly a departure from the norm for the style. Not as good as I was hoping. Would like to try another batch of this, as I heard this is usually better.

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Photo of Groenebeor
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, on tap at the brewery.

Pours a dark, dark squid ink black, but more amber-dark brown when held to the light along the edges. Medium tan head that leaves huge lacing.

The nose is hit with roasted barley, bourbon, spice, alcohol, and more alcohol.

This brew could do better in the taste department, but some amazing elements come through. I much prefer the normal Iron Man Stout. This barrel aged stout has far too much bourbon coming through, not enough malt, and far too much oaky-booze character.

Mouthfeel is nice, thick, syrupy. Just great. Carbonation is spot on.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear dark brown color with a minimal frothy brown head that mostly diminished with minimal lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted chocolate, wood and alcohol aroma. Medium to heavy sweet wood and dark malt flavor with a heavy dark sweet and small alcohol bite finish of long duration. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. This is a standout beer.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.59/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.

Pours pitch black no head. 2.5
Nose of sherry and port wine. Raisins and dried dates. Hints of whiskey and vanilla. 3.5
The taste is quite vinous. Tannins, woody, oak, chocolatey. Bourbon notes on the end. Lots of sherry oxidation. 3.5
Mouthfeel is quite nice. Thick and syrupy. Low carbonation. Hot in the belly. 4
Quite drinkable and tasty. Oxidation is heavy but good. 4

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Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Poured into a tulip glass a dark brown color with zero head, swirling generates a minimal tannish wisp. The aroma is very pronounced with notes of vanilla and chocolate with a slight soyness to it. Surprised I'm not really picking up too much of the barrel aromas. Starts off with a sweet nutiness, vanilla, and ends with a bitter dark chocolate roasted flavor that lingers slightly. The booze shows slightly. Decent beer though. As this warms caramel and dark fruit notes become slightly apparent.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to ericandersnavy for sharing this growler. This is rating No. 1700 here on Beer Advocate.

The beer pours a dark brown color with red highlights and no head. There are a few bubbles. The aroma is dominated by the chocolate and roasted malt - exactly as it should be.

The flavor is heavy on the chocolate. I also get some roasted malt and a bit of coffee. There is little, if any alcohol detectable in the aroma or flavor, making this big stout extremely drinkable.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

An outstanding stout that definitely lived up to the hype. Thanks again Eric.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Thanks to Alex for the growler of the 2005 version. Good lord that's a lot of stout to drink!

A - Pours black, tan head, not too much lacing and a very thin ring around the edge of the glass with some bubbles here and there.

S - Chocolate, dark fruits, roasted nuts, and boozy alcohol.

T - This is one sweet stout! It's still easy to drink though due to the dark chocolate notes and roasted nuts/malts. It's not as bad as Black Tuesday, but it's def on the sweeter side.

M - Full bodied, rich & think, light carbonation.

D - I had a couple of small pours and then I was done with this one. It's good, but not stellar. Thanks again to Alex for hooking this up at our tasting, much appreciated.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to rlcnmeyer for getting this growler - not sure how you pulled it off, but it was much appreciated. 2005 vintage that was recently on-tap. Served in a Sierra Nevada pint-shaped taster glass.

A - A dime of tan foam dissipates to a thin ring and some light haze, leaving a few spots of lace. Black body with a lighter brown at the fringes.

S - Not sure of the ABV on this one, but it is boozy. American whiskey, dark fruits, smoke, chocolate, and a light touch of roasted malt. It's definitely sweeter than most - more akin to a barleywine in some ways. The booze is thankfully not the solvent kind.

T - The taste was shockingly mellow compared to the nose - perhaps the five years of age had something to do with that.. Lots of dark fruits, baker's chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, and some like smoke. The barrel-aging shows up most in the aftertaste, which is quite tannic. Reminds me of aged BCS, which is a good thing.

M - A touch watery for a big barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Well-hidden heat, smooth texture, low carbonation, and a very sticky finish.

D - Shockingly drinkable considering the style. At first, I was intimidated by the 64oz growler, but I had a good three or four pours of this one. Not as good as Old Backus, but still quite excellent in its own right.

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Photo of tpd975
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hand bottle thanks to the king of hand bottles...gunhaver.

2005 Vintage.

A: Pours a bit flat looking shade of brown, small bubbles around the ring though. A bit leggy with no real lace.

S: Tons of rich dark fruit, chocolate, barrel, light booze.

T: The fruit is there in a big way. Raisin, and figs. Boozy with chocolate notes. Oak, whiskey, more chocolate dipped raisin. Molasses, light vanilla. Damn good. Boy has this baby held up well.

M: Very low carbonation, medium in body, tasty goodness.

D: Very good, awesomey goodness.

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Photo of Deuane
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Several samples at Great Taste of the Midwest 2009. Vintage 2005.

A-Deep black with the faintest touches of burgandy along the edges. A thin dark tan head disappates to a whispy veil of foam.

S-Rich and robust aroma of dark roast, dark chocolate and coffee with undertones of dark fruit in the form of prunes, raisin and even a touch of tart cherries. Bourbon notes of vanilla, oak and a touch of turbinado in the background.

T-Rich and robust flavours erupt onto the palate with a roasted, creamy, tart and dry explosion of flavours. All of the expected flavours in the aroma profile come through with the additional pressence of earthy bitterness, oak astringency and a touch of alcohol heat in the finish.

M-Medium-heavy bodied with a luscious smoothness and a nice drying finsih. Good lingering flavours.

D-This one was locked on my radar to try as it is a rare beast to obtain. I believe they have made this brew but once so.... Nice for them to haul a keg along to GToM to give the masses an opportunity to try. As good as, if not better, than I hoped it would be. LOTS of complex flavours without going overboard with the barrel againg. I am sure that the 4+ years of mellowing has aided this brew greatly. Great job Free State, Brother Epp would be proud!

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Photo of Kegatron
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Several samples of this @ the 2009 Great Taste of the Midwest on 8/8/09. Vintage 2005.

Pours a dense black (although some ruby does make it's way out across the bottom) with a thinnish bubbly head of burnt mocha colored foam. This fizzles down pretty quickly, eventually leaving a solid plain of darkness that almost seems like it is taunting you to come investigate. The aroma is quite deep smelling with dark chocolate, burnt roast, and coffee. The ripe dark fruit character of cherries and plums pulls up the middle, before working itself into the tangy sweetness of brown sugar and molasses. Vanilla and oak are much more subtle in the nose, and any whiskey feel seems to be melding into the emerging warmth of this.

The taste is fantastic, being rich, smooth, and tangy, with vanilla, chocolate, toffee, molasses, dark fruit, and sweet brown sugar. Pervasive roast, hops, and coffee run throughout, but seems to be nicely smoothed out by a couple of years here, adding dark support to the profile but still allowing the thick sweetness of this to shine. Woody oak, roast and tang combine for quite the memorable and intense finish. The mouthfeel is thick and gooey, with a viscous chewiness to it that falls right in line with the heavy sweetness. There is some heat here, much of which appears to be whiskey character, but it seems to be more relegated to the back of the feel, where it dwells with the big flavors and finish, helping cover any sting up.

Pretty rock'n little BA-RIS here. Rich and gooey flavors, with some age really helping take the edge off any intense bitterness, and allowing both the flavors and barrel components to flow together beautifully. I had heard a lot about Free State and had been wanting to try some of their stuff. Let's just say that this left a very favorable first impression.

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Photo of rudylaw
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ GTOM

This was my most anticipated beer of the weekend. 2005 blend served to me twice at 4p.

A very dark brown with absolutely no head to speak of.

I get a ton of dark fruits and booze in the nose. Lots of vanilla and rum. I can't believe how hot this still is after 4 years. Way too hot for me. I can pick up plums, figs wood and raisin but nothing is competing with that bourbon. It's very slick and smooth but I have to say even though this is a well-crafted stout, I'm a little let down.

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Photo of rallison
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to wetherel for bringing this to the epic Sea Of Floydster tasting! 2005 vintage hand bottle - held up very well.

The 4 years of age did present a touch of oxidation in the nose. Aside from that, the 4 years age have treated it well.

Smooth milk chocolate, hints of berries and tootsie rolls. Thick, rich and decadent. Beautiful.

Great beer, and one I will surely seek out in the future. Anyone want to send me a growler?

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Photo of Floydster
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce handbottle of the 2005 vintage brought to the SeaO'Floydster tasting by wetherel, thanks for bringing this John, reviewed from notes, poured into my Rader snifter

A-Pretty much black with minimal light around the edges, 1/2 inch foamy tan head that went away quickly, some lace at first, nice legs
S-Bourbon, dark chocolate, figs, coffee, vanilla, oak, maple syrup, roasted malts, and booze
T-Starts off with a nice whiskey note, then roasted malts in the middle, finish has lots of vanilla and chocolate, good amount of oak too because the aftertaste is nice and dry, good amount of raisins and prunes mixed in with the sweet flavors, bigger dark fruit presence as it warms
M-Rich, roasty, hot, and sweet mouthfeel, full bodied and thick, light carbonation, taste lingered for a long time
D-Could have drank a few bottles of this stuff, does not seem like 9.5%, thick feel but not heavy, very smooth stuff

I have been wanting try this beer for a long time now and it did not disappoint, wish this was more widely available, would love to drink again, recommended

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Photo of likestoswallow
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Hand bottle shared by Wetherel at the BA Alesmith Old Numbskull line tasting last month.

A: Pours a viscous motor-oil black with no head.

S: A big rich nose, that screams drink me... now! There are elements of dates, figs, whiskey, vanilla, oak and leather.

T: Pretty much the same as the aroma, but the flavors mentioned above really come alive and kick you in the ass and mouth. Its an unbelievable explosion of flavors that you will not soon forget. There is well aged bourbon, brown sugar, leather, and ripe prunes, all set in a malty backdrop, with a gloriously long finish.

M: Smooth and full, almost chewy; but near zero carbonation.

D: I loved this, It compares favorably to the best impy stouts in the world. Highly recommended.

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Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for sharing this 2005 vintage...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with a thin collar that floats along the edges. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, black grapes, prunes, cut wood, rum soaked & flambeed bananas, vanilla beans, and light oxidation.
Taste is of the aromas with ripe, dark fruit pulling up the rear in a raisin, and pruning plum flavor.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, slick, and hot with noticable abv.

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Photo of hopdog
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mreusch for sending this one my way! 2005 Vintage.

Poured a dark black color, with brown edges, and almost no head. What little that poured was tan in color.

Upon the first whiff, I knew this was going to be one 'big' beer. Aromas of chocolate, molasses, earthy, woody, nutty, and bourbon. Some new hit me with every smell I took.

Tastes of bourbon/whisky, chocolate, raisins, plums, vanilla, and some wood. Light to medium alcohol in the finish. Softer body.

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Photo of Goliath
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black and opaque through the center with some light amber hued edges. A large cascading light brown head leaves a nice frothy 1 inch head with excellent retention, leaving sheets of lacing behind.

The aroma is awesome. Sweet fruit, kind of floral, big chocolate notes, just really nice.

The taste is great. Big roasty malts with a nice bitter dark chocolate leading the way. I get a good bit of whiskey on the palate as well. Some raisin, potentially other fruit, a floral thing, and some booze. Fairly complex.

The mouthfeel is full bodied and very creamy, like a milkshake. It's also lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is high. It's a great beer, good flavor, awesome feel, and the booze is noticeable but pleasant, not hindering the experience at all.

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Photo of SafeAtFirst
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage on tap at brewery on 2/23/2008.

Black opaque, no head. Big aroma full of Treacle, vanilla, oak, and hints of raisins and bourbon.

Initially sweet like molasses with vanilla and burnt oak. Finish is dry with lingering raisin and licorice flavors, alcohol is barley noted.

Thick mouth feel with no carbonation. Alcohol slowly warms the belly. Slow sipper. An acquired taste, but very good. I'd like to see more carbonation.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 Batch, Sampled June 2007
Very lightly carbonated, but produces a tightly beaded, two-finger thick, lightly browned, tan colored head when poured vigorously. The beer is simply black in color. Aromatic notes of whiskey, buttery oak, vanillin and oak are noticeable immediately, but are certainly not overwhelming. I did not even realize that this was barrel aged. Behind these barrel notes are aromas of dusty, toasted malt, hints of chocolate liquor and a wisp of lightly aged dark malt character (which perhaps leans towards sherry, but it intermingles with the barrel character so well it is hard to perceive at times). As my nose gets used to the beer the chocolate notes become more noticeable, though the barrel is persistent enough that it is always noticeable.

Thick and chewy up front, in the middle the whiskey starts to show up and even gets a little hot as it moves through to the finish. Up front this is a chewy, rich, chocolate & coffee laden brew. The finish is dominated by the whiskey barrel though; spicy oak notes, hot whiskey flavors (almost like the finish after taking a shot of whiskey, though not quite that powerful). With the chocolate / roast notes up front and the warm, alcoholic notes in the finish, it is at times reminiscent of a chocolate-coffee liquor. The thick, viscous body, along with the dark malt sweetness add to this as well. I really like the heft of this brew, it coats the mouth with it's creamy elixir; it is not the thickest brew I have had, but it certainly is easily thick enough to demand that you savor each sip. I could wish for a touch more carbonation, but in all honesty the body of this brew easily makes up for the light carbonation. Burnt fruit notes of figs and prunes become quite noticeable after a bit; I really like the flavor notes that the blackened fruit character brings. The barrel adds some astringent, tannic character, which works somewhat like a hop bitterness would. There is a hop bitterness here, but it is perceived as fairly light, which is not surprising given the malt presence.

The richness of this beer almost stands up to the barrel aging character. In the end though it doesn't quite make it, but that does not keep this from being quite the enjoyable sipping brew. Said another way, this beer is quite tasty, but it would even be better if the whiskey barrel was not so influential and instead allowed more of the base beer flavors to be noticeable. This beer is definitely growing on me; as my palate adjusts to the whiskey / barrel flavors more of the underlying beer is able to come through; though only at times, as the hot whiskey notes always seem to come back into play.

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Photo of Crosling
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black color, with a very thin foam of light tan. Rich medley of aromas, which are not in any way hot, alcoholic or "bourbony," but instead loaded with both malt and bourbon influenced wood, giving hints of chocolate, tiramusu, fudge, vanilla, cocunut, wood, bourbon and fruit. Well balanced and delicious. Rich caramel and toffee, with bitter chocolate and well extracted vinous fruit flavors. Woody and bourbon influenced, but not overly so. A really lovely brew. Lots of different dimensions and flavors.

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Photo of Quaffer
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at home from a growler.

Appearance: This was a dark beer that, once collected in the glass, became pure black. While I was pouring, it had a sediment laden, deep brown color to it. There was no head at all. Any coarse bubbles that were present were from my sloshing this beer into the snifter. The liquid left a brownish-red sheen on the side of the glass when swirled, testament to the high alcohol level.

Smell: This one smelled wonderful. Sweet raisins and dates supplied a fruity component that was most prevalent right after the pour. Then I began to notice tons of different aromas. Deep roasted malts, charred wood, light alcohol, warm and creamy vanilla, light whisky, pecans, and toffee. There was a combination of aromas that came across like candy with nuts. Pralines came to mind. Overall, a big, round, warm smell that was perfect for the style.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and very smooth on the tip of the tongue. Oddly enough, it seemed to thin out a bit as it moved back in the mouth, but not a lot. No carbonation present.

Taste: Sharp dark fruits gave way to deep roasted and chocolate malts. There was a ton of chocolate in the middle, combined with bitter coffee and a light smokiness. The finish was sour yeast, spicy alcohol, and possibly some hints of bourbon.

I think the aroma outshone the taste in complexity. I expected more flavors to emerge as the beer got really warm, but all that happened was that the alcohol took over. Definitely worth a try, though, and defintely a terrific beer. They now sell this in growlers, but be warned: it will set you back $25 plus the bottle on first-time fills.

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Owd Mac's Imperial Stout from Free State Brewing Co.
4.2 out of 5 based on 53 ratings.
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