Owd Mac's Imperial Stout
Free State Brewing Co.

Owd Mac's Imperial StoutOwd Mac's Imperial Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #225
not listed
Ranked #4,921
4.18 | pDev: 8.85%
Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States
Owd Mac's Imperial StoutOwd Mac's Imperial Stout
Notes: 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).
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 58 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Gonzoillini:
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Gonzoillini from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Aug 13, 2014
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bditty187 from Nebraska

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Totally black in hue, glossy, the liquid was obviously dense, I could tell that as the snifter sat on the table but I decided to hold the glass to a light anyway. Opaque. The head was beige in color, it was served with just a thin cap of foam and this turned soapy, quickly. It looks very attractive in the little snifter. Subsequent lacing was spotty but very prevalent. The nose was roasty and very alcoholic. There are some secondary fruity aromas but the bouquet is really a complex array of alcohol and malt. It comes across velvety smooth with near equal parts of chocolate bars, espresso, a very rich mug of mocha coffee, and a blast of alcohol. While the alcohol is raw it is wholesome with bourbon, vanilla-oak chips. Warm. Fruit is secondary, cherries and raisins… whisky soaked fruitcake anyone? The bouquet is tantalizing; it is complex and intriguing. Somehow it is both raw and refined, loud yet mysterious. Inviting to say the least. I want to drink! The palate is fantastically rich; it is oh so creamy! I love the rich milk chocolate and the sugary, oat-like sweetness. It is just dripping with residual sugars. Deep, wide, roasty flavors from start to finish. But in the middle the combination of iced-espresso, mocha coffee, chocolate candy, roasted wood, oak, restrained smokiness, vanilla, and bourbon soaked raisins and cherries. Wow! Amazingly tasty. The finish has just a tickly of hops, but the end is really the playhouse of the sweetness, it is kind of dry, surprisingly, in a coco-powder way. Almonds too. Alcohol is in play from the get-go, it is restrained enough but plenty tasty. I couldn’t help but sit back, sip and savor. This Imperial Stout is as good as I’d want one to be. Full body. Creamy, very filling mouthfeel, I really love the bulk on the tongue. It is like drinking a heavy cloud. Low carbonation. This beer is just begging to be enjoyed as a nightcap but that is hard to do since they don’t allow growlers of it. What a shame. The mouthfeel is perfect, absolutely perfect for the style. Amazingly drinkable, sure it needs to be savored, but that is only proper! I bet this beer would go great with many, many foods but I think this needs to be enjoyed all by itself. It is that complex (and big). Too bad this beer is only available at the brewpub, which is in Lawrence, KS. This beer is a real treat; I hope all local BAs (Kansas City, I’m talking to you!) make the trip to quaff this one. There is a hotel only two blocks away. Highly recommended.

Nov 21, 2004
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Quaffer from Nevada

4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Mar 14, 2005
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weeare138 from Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +1%
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.

Dec 10, 2008
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Gueuzedude from Arizona

3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

Jun 25, 2007
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Crosling from Colorado

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Mar 19, 2006
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hopdog from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Nov 26, 2008
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Deuane from Pennsylvania

4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
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!

Aug 19, 2009
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rallison from California

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
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?

Apr 02, 2009
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

4/5  rDev -4.3%

Jan 30, 2012
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tpd975 from Florida

4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Mar 19, 2010
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JEdmund from Kansas

4/5  rDev -4.3%

Mar 21, 2013
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Kegatron from Pennsylvania

4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Aug 14, 2009
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MasterSki from Canada

4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Mar 21, 2010
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rudylaw from Illinois

3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Aug 09, 2009
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SafeAtFirst from Wisconsin

4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Feb 26, 2008
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Floydster from California

4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
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

Apr 02, 2009
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Mora2000 from Texas

4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Dec 15, 2010
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likestoswallow from California

4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Jan 01, 2009
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

Jan 07, 2013
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Goliath from Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Nov 10, 2008
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spycow from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Jan 13, 2013
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Jan 18, 2013
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kbutler1 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Jan 17, 2011
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tmoneyba from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Jul 12, 2011
Owd Mac's Imperial Stout from Free State Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 58 ratings