Space Ghost Imperial Stout | Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Space Ghost Imperial StoutSpace Ghost Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gus34 on 11-20-2013

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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 478
Photo of KellyScottMad
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is malty brown. The pepper flavor is throughout the flavor palate. From when it first hits your mouth and all the way down the back of the throat. It is a good beer, and not what I was expecting. I have had better pepper beers, but this was a nice surprise.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours pitch black with a thumb of dark mocha head. Nose is loaded with burnt grains, chocolate, leather and toffee with hints of vegetal greens and earthy hops. One of the best chili beers I've ever had with the imperial stout coming off the top with dark chocolate, burnt toast, leafy green hops, molasses and black licorice. The heat comes through on the finish blasting you with loads of heat, but not overwhelming. A mind blowing brew for the style, and an incredible base beer that would easily stand amongst the best on its own. If you like chili beers, this is guaranteed not to disappoint.

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Photo of drpimento
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bad azz imperial stout. Appearance with an aggressive pour was a smallish, rust brown, thick, soon to settle head, a little lace, and an opaque brown black color. Aroma is black patent malt, roast, coffee, cocoa, fruit. Flavor's like nose, very slight sweetness, good bitterness, enough tart, peppers both up front and lingering, but in a very balanced controlled, pleasing measure. Excellent round, full, rich body with a happy warmth that is indiscernible whether from alcohol or peppers. Almost an easy drinking beer for being such a heavy hitter. Great stuff!

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Photo of cjohns73
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber. Deep color with a thin foamy head. Smell is chocolate malt, mirrored on the taste. The pepper comes out slightly on the finish with a lingering heat light on the back of the throat. This is what I want out of a pepper beer: a little heat and some added spice, but not an overpowering flavor. Very well done.

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Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A truly amazing stout, rich, viscous, fragrant and the blend of sweet chocolate and coffee malts and the burn of the ghost peppers make for a complex, multifaceted brew. The flavor of the chilies is not as overpowering as Stone's Crime & Punishment duo, but makes for a nuanced taste experience.

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Photo of jegross2
4.59/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing Space Ghost from Central Waters Brewing Company out of Amherst, Wisconsin.

Score: 95

November 2013 vintage bottle. Served in a Hopslam snifter and enjoyed on 02/03/13.

Appearance: Black body. Pours a finger and a half of khaki head that settles down to a nice ring around the glass. Awesome lacing and retention. Really gorgeous stout. 5/5

Smell: Huge milk chocolate notes here. I could smell lots of chocolate from the moment I removed the bottle cap. Mild roast, a little bit of what can only be described as a vanilla cake like aroma, and spicy pepper notes too. Some dark fruit comes out as it warms up. Dark chocolate and burnt brown sugar too. Everything melds so wonderfully here. 4.75/5

Taste: Loads of milk chocolate and notes of dark chocolate, followed by the ghost pepper. This beer has a nice and bold spicy kick that dances on the tongue and lingers, either gradually fading or layering in intensity depending on how you space your sips. More dark fruit is present in the taste than it was in the nose, but the dark fruit character is still pretty muted overall. A touch of roast too. As the beer warms up, it gains a little more complexity - notes of caramel, coffee, and more dark chocolate come through towards the finish. No vanilla or vanilla cake flavor, which is a little bit of a let down after being teased a promise of such by the nose. All the complexities mix nicely. I particularly like how the dark chocolate comes through and plays with the spiciness in the finish as it warms; it reminds me of the high percentage cacao chocolates with chili peppers that I enjoy eating. There is also a touch of alcohol heat that is well-masked by the chili heat. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Sadly, like many Central Waters stouts other than 1414 (which is bizarre, considering that 1414 is barrel aged Satin Solstice), the body on this one lacks the heft it demands and deserves. Medium-light bodied, good carbonation. A little creamy, a little slick. Lightly dry towards the finish. Excellent spiciness. 3.5/5

Overall: But for the fact that this beer lacks a mouthfeel that is as substantial as its aroma and taste, it would be better than Hunahpu's. While I thought the tap version was marginally better than the bottle due to a seemingly better mouthfeel, I did not think that the bottle fell substantially short of the tap version of this beer unlike others claimed. Maybe there is some bottle variation at play? Either way, at $7 for a 22 oz bottle, you can't go wrong. If you like chocolate with peppers or are seeking a chili stout with more spiciness than Hunahpu's or Mexican Cake, then this is your beer. I really hope Central Waters brews this one again (and again and again and again)!

Cost: $7 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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Photo of msf55
4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this beer because I loved the 70s cartoon. Wow this definitely caught me off guard. Solid imperial stout and then the heat kicks in, yummmmm. Very impressed with the smoothness and a big 12% extremely well hidden. If you're into imperial stouts and like a bit of spice, give this a try.

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Photo of Crackblind
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an extremely reasonably priced growler into a tulip glass.

Color is dark brown with some reddish around the edges. No head nor any lacing. Nice roasted malt with some coffee on the nose. I did know about the chili when I bought it so I was surprised by the spiciness. Flavor is strong in roast, with a mix of chocolate and coffee but not enough to consider it mocha. The chili flavor sneaks in the aftertaste - somewhat reminiscent of Mexican chocolate though without the sweetness. And except for the fact that I was knocked for a loop after two glasses, the alcohol is not that noticeable (which can be kind of dangerous, though the chili does make it a sipper so there's that).

Highly recommended stout, even if you're not a chili person. Without the added flavor, it is an immensely drinkable, creamy Imperial. The chili adds an very nice, and somewhat unexpected, complexity without overwhelming the beer.

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a sample size pint/tulip hybrid

A. A very nice dark brown with a dark tan 2 finger head. Looks very nice.

S. Roasted malts. Dark chocolate. Coffee. But not much chili that I can really distinguish.

T. This is nice. You get everything in the nose. Very well balanced. And just a nice amount of heat to compliment it. Slight grassy aftertatse. This is very nice to me. It's somewhere between Stone's Chipotle Smoked Porter and Habenero Sculpin on heat. I love the Stone beer. Not very fond of the Sculpin. But for me this beers hits it just right.

M. Not too much to complain about but just a little light bodied. But it's still very acceptable. There is also a medium amount of carbonation which I don't usually like in stout's. But it plays well with this heat.

O. A very solid beer from CW. I am really liking the way they put this together. Nice sweet and spicy with the feel just playing along so well. Smells awesome. Can't wait to use this in my chili. Well done.

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Photo of Gus34
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This just came in and I was lucky enough to grab a bottle. Apparently my local bottle store only got 3 cases (36 bombers). You can only buy one per-person, so this is going to be a hard one to find, especially if you don't live in Portage County. This beer is labeled as an Imperial Stout brewed with chili peppers, which I heard includes ghost peppers. A guy at the brewery told me this is 12% ABV, but I'm not completely sure on that. Anyways, let's get to the beer.

A: It pours a beautiful black color with a hint of dark red in it. It forms a nice head with a reddish lacing. It's a great looking beer.

S: I was not picking up much from the smell. I just got your standard roasted malts, chocolate and coffee smell that comes pretty much standard with any imperial stout. Really couldn't make out anything that smelled like chili peppers.

T: Wow! This thing has a lot going on. You get a very nice stout taste which includes dark chocolates and coffee at the beginning with a significant bitter hop platform towards the middle. Then it ends with a pretty significant tingly spicy sensation. The spice definitely lingers in your mouth after you take a drink, but it's not too overpowering. It's just about perfect. Some people may find it a little too hot for their personal taste though.

M: It's a pretty full bodied beer. As it warms up you get the spice even more.

O: This was a really awesome experiment by one of my favorite breweries. This is definitely a very unique beer that any stout, or chile beer fan should take the time and try if they can get a hold of one. It has a lot to offer and is very affordable to boot!

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Photo of martyl1000
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

UPDATE 4/19/15:
I'm upgrading my rating from earlier this year (4.34). I just love this. It's not for everyone, certainly. But for me, this is my favorite double stout of the year. What might be a bit overly sweet gets dried out perfectly by the pepper spice.

PS: Don't be discouraged by the first sip or two. This brew gets better and better as the night wears on. That's probably the slow buildup of the pepper burn. It's genius that the chili spice pulls together and perfects the traditional beer flavors.
Oh, my f-ing word, this is good. I'm heading right back to the store to get more.

(Days later...)
I'm always astonished when a beer presents as discrete levels of disparate flavor in rapid (or not so rapid) succession. Here, the stepwise stages of intensity start in the spacey (yuk-yuk) realm of brandy-laced chocolate. Cold black coffee insists on recognition next, but can't shake the "ghost" of the indeterminate pepper burn that rides in on its back. A red wine fruitiness cools things down. That seems to be it. Until it isn't. And the turnaround experience, the strongly identifiable next flavor, comes as quiet yet surprisingly forthright Wonder Bread grain, all the more interesting that it's carried by mere saliva at that point.

So, I mean, whoa? How did that just all happen? It's like my palate had just been taken over by this unruly parade of flavors (or was it a party in my mouth?) Whatever. I just love it.

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Photo of jimmah120
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle with no date poured into tulip

Very dark, almost completely black, with a big mocha head that fades to a ring. smell is sweet milk chocolate, toffee, and roasty malts, melding with the vegetal chili, turning into something beyond classification. taste has much less heat than anticipated, it's more of a subtle peppery tingle than a burn. the chili is there throughout, (blending with the silky cocoa, rich toffee, and bitter coffee) but shines in the finish. only a hint of an alcohol burn, otherwise the 12% is imperceptible.

CW needs to make this a winter seasonal. until then, im stocking up.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Space Ghost pours a black color with a big lacing creamy head. There is a big strong roasted aroma. Taste is big and roasted, hints of smoke and a big spicy pepper flavor. Good feel, and great feel from the heat of the peppers. Overall its a great spicy beer, the pepper and heat are there and strong, but doesn't overpower the overall beer.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours an oily pitch black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of tan head that fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A roasty and fairly sweet aroma with good hints of chocolate, coffee, and some pepper. Dark roasted barley malts with hints of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee roast, toasted bread, biscuit, caramel, toffee, grains, nuts, yeast, and slight smoke. Sweet hints of molasses and burnt brown sugar. Slight anise hints. The scent of chili peppers is kind of subtle but noticeable. Light hints of dark fruit. Light backing hints of hops. A pretty solid stout aroma.

Taste: Like the roasty aroma, but with a much stronger presence of chili peppers. Dark roasted barley malts with upfront notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee beans, burnt toast, biscuit, grains, caramel, toffee, yeast, nuts, and a little smoke. Big taste of chili peppers with a nicely biting but not overwhelming spice. Sweet taste of molasses and some brown sugar. Some anise licorice notes as well. Subtle undertones of dark fruit with notes of dark cherry, raisin, fig, and prune. Light presence of earthy hops in the background. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, somewhat slick, and very spicy. Alcohol heat is masked by the pepper heat.

Overall: A very good twist on an Imperial Stout. Great roasty chocolate and coffee flavor with a good dose of spice from the peppers.

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Photo of JerUrbans
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Beer pours jet black tar color, with dark caramel 1" head with tiny bubbles that holds on very well. Smells like roast coffee with hints of smokey oak and dark chocolate. Taste is like roasted chocolate on a chili pepper binge. Wow, do I love this. I'm big fan of chili pepper beers and this is excellent. Mouthfeel is great well carbonated and smooth, but with a huge bite and burn from the chili peppers. I have 12 bottles and will be aging some just to see what happens with this beer in a couple years.

Overall, I was so excited when I heard Central Waters was brewing this beer. It has lived up to my expectation and way beyond. I really hope this is not a one and done, because I hope to be drinking this till I'm pushing up daises.

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Photo of d5001986
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into tulip glass.

Pours deep dark brown with very small tan head.

Smell is mostly chocolate with toasted malt. Slight pepper detected.

Taste is slightly bitter. Heavy chocolate, sweet toasted malt, and yes the chili peppers. There is a slight tingling heat that builds after a little while.

A heavy bodied beer accompanied by a tingly sensation from the incorporated pepper.

Overall I quite enjoyed this one. This is my first experience with a peppered stout and I think it's great.

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Photo of dar482
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a black color.

The aroma hits of bright skin of peppers, licorice, a touch of chocolate.

The flavor follows with that really fresh pepper flavor, with a full pepper heat. Some mole type pepper comes in with an underlying milk chocolate. There's almsot a fruity quality from the peppers and it does dominate the beer.

However, I prefer heat and it verges on overpowering the beer and slightly does so. The base could use more robust quality and body.

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Photo of superspak
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toffee, toasted dark bread, chili pepper, light smoke/char, light licorice/raisin, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malts and light-moderate chili pepper notes; with great strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toffee, toasted dark bread, chili pepper, light smoke/char, light licorice/raisin, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/roasted bitterness and pepper spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toffee, toasted dark bread, chili pepper, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate chili pepper flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet and pepper spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present; with light-moderate pepper warmth after the finish. Overall this is an incredible pepper spiced imperial stout. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate chili pepper flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV and well balanced pepper heat/spice. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of zeledonia
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

CW makes great stouts, and the name reminded me of the classic cartoon, so I couldn't resist. Tasted 12 March 2014.

Pours black and thick. Half-finger of deep brown head, okay retention and lacing. Good, not amazing.

Smell is really good. Rich, sweet chocolatey stout, balanced by that nose-tingling zing of the peppers. The base stout is really good, full and rich with just enough char. And the pepper is spot-on, just enough to provide zest, without overpowering the rest of the beer.

Taste is fantastic. I love the way the pepper works here, and it's playing right on that edge, where it's just shy of being too much. It's spicy, for sure, and probably the spiciest beer I've actually enjoyed drinking. But the stout subdues that chilis, making them palatable and a near-perfect complement to the stout flavors. The balance between the base and the peppers is astoundingly good. The spiciness comes back in the finish for one last punch.

Feel is also really good. Thick and full-bodied, with the spicy and carbonation combining to provide a healthy buzz. The spice also brings heat, warming my mouth and opening things up pleasantly.

I can't think of a beer I've had that's used chili peppers as well as this one. Great balance, great spice, and just really tasty.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.36/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle from Powderhornphil (thanks!). No bottling information but released 11/13. Served in my Phish snifter.

Pours night black with a finger and a half deep tan head. The foam fades slowly, leaving only specks of lace.

Aromas of chocolate syrup, soy sauce, vanilla and brown sugar with some pepper nasal burn on the back end. Intriguing.

Taste follows the nose in the best ways. Dark chocolate and espresso are fairly dominate with layers of brown sugar, chili pepper, vanilla, roasty malts, faint smoke, molasses and a sort of dark fruit jam. A nice, hot chili pepper burn remains present throughout without distracting or being over bearing. There are so many positive flavors at work that the substantial alcohol bill is nearly invisible, making this dangerously easy to drink. Excellent.

Syrupy, medium heavy body with subtle carbonation. A lingering heat remains during the sweet mochaccino and brown sugar finish.

I admit a certain apprehension when approaching a beer brewed with ghost peppers but this is great. Fantastic use of chili pepper heat to complement a delicious base beer. A big brew that goes down incredibly easily while providing tons of flavor. Really glad to have tried this.

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Photo of Austin32
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled in January, I opened the bottle in March, still very strong chili pepper taste. After snifter number two a decent heat had built up on the tongue....and I loved it.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Thick black, medium coffee lacing that spreads 1" legs with little movement. This beer does not give a gum to the glass when swirled around. Rather light, but makes up in other areas.

S- Big chili spice upfront (equal to Mexi Cake or Copper Kettle Mexican Chocolate Stout). Then the chocolate is present pretty large; not bitter or sweet, but in the middle. Some charred figs in the background.

T- I like heat, so I am biased here. The chili spice burns 1/2 second in and for 20 seconds after. I love it. Some chocolate, somewhat on bitter side is present, followed by the charred figs.

M- It is on the thinner side, but it does not bother you with the heat from the chilies. I am not a fanboy of CW, but I really enjoy this beer.

O- A very well executed hot a peppery spiced stout. This was a pleasant surprise!!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%

Bottle shared by Curran, thanks man!

Pours out an inky, opaque black, with a small filmy head, and no lacing.

Smells like roasted malt, slight alcohol, pepper heat, and chocolate.

Time may have mellowed the likely intense ghost pepper flavors, but this one still has a bite to it. The pepper bite varies in intensity sip to sip. Some sips I barely get anything, other sips I get the full singe factor. The heat lingers a little bit on the lips. Other than the titular ghost pepper flavors, there's some good cocoa powder and Hershey's syrup flavors. It's not quite as roasty as I'd like, and not very bitter. There's some vanilla cream flavors as well.

As with many Central Waters stouts, it's a little thin, but not to the point where it's a detriment. It certainly would be helped by a beefier body, though. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and keeps the beer very drinkable.

A most excellent pepper stout from Central Waters- it's not quite at the level of Huna/Abraxas/Bomb, but I think it's better than Mexican Cake personally.

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Photo of Billolick
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bomber bottle

very dark brew, near black, slight mocha cap, leaves some fine lacing behind on the glass.

dark chocolate malts and a hint of roasted chili on the nose

More dark chocolate and black coffee notes on the palate...chili still moderate (at least by my standards...but chili pepper levels are very individual) but warmng the back of the mouth and throat nicely.

If you like a moderatly chili peppered rich and flavorful stout, this one will not let you down....nice job here by Central Waters.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - A really nice looking stout. Creamy, milk chocolate head pours a half finger high with low lace and ok retention. Dark motor oil black.

S - Pumpernickel bread, raisin, touch of vanilla, and cocoa.

T - Really nice. Thick medium roast coffee, burnt toffee, milk chocolate, molasses, and a bright warm chili heat through the finish.

M - Smooth, medium body.

O - A fantastic, bold rolling heat build around an outstanding stout base. The level of spice is dead on perfect. One of the best chili beers on the market.

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Space Ghost Imperial Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 478 ratings.
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