Big Swede
Valkyrie Brewing

Big SwedeBig Swede
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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #778
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
88
Ranked #18,622
Avg:
3.89 | pDev: 10.54%
Reviews:
91
Ratings:
115
From:
Valkyrie Brewing
 
Wisconsin, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  19
Gots
  4
SCORE
88
Very Good
Big SwedeBig Swede
Notes:
Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 115 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of scaliasux
scaliasux from Wisconsin

3.59/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L - Very dark brown. Quite thin, tan head.

S - Rich and malty. Coffee, toffee, dark fruit.

T - Rich roasted malt flavors. Sweet. Coffee, vanilla, chocolate, toffee.

F - Full.

O - A sweet malty slow-sipper.

Jun 30, 2020
Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a minimal, off white head. What little is there has great retention and there's some lacing on the glass.
The nose has some hints of chocolate, and a slight boozy aroma. Nothing too strong.
Taste - Starts out mellow, then the flavors kick in. Some vanilla, and chocolate. Nice boozy finish, but not harsh.
Decent body, maybe a bit thin for the style, but not bad at all.
A solid RIS and I'm glad I picked up a couple when I was there last.

Sep 14, 2018
Photo of Cfred371
Cfred371 from Minnesota

4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I let the beer sit and warm for 10-15 minutes.
Look: the beer pours black, with a very slight tan head. There is little to no carbonation it appears.

Smell: I get raisins, vanilla, brown sugar.

Taste: Chocolate, vanilla and brown sugar come through strong, and dark fruits rise mid palate.

Feel: the beer seems a little light in body for a stout, certainly syrupy, but not as thick as I prefer. There is a light hop bitterness on the finish as well, leaving the mouth watering for more.

Overall: This beer is a nice surprise, and I'm happy that a town near my hometown has such good offerings.

Dec 24, 2015
Photo of martyl1000
martyl1000 from Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Even a fairly aggressive pour into a tulip glass produces almost no head, w/ a solvent alcohol refracting on the glass. The aroma is subtly rich. I get burnt coffee, a woody alcohol, plus a bit of leather and paint from a can.

Flavor in the mouth is remarkably reminiscent of Bell's Expedition Stout, but without the complexity. What layers exist are limited to bitter coffee grounds and tannic red-wine tartness. The flavor screams Bell's Expedition Stout, while lacking that beer's hugeness. There's an umami flavor on the back end not unlike cold ham.

Medium-bodied, slick-viscous mouthfeel.

Not my favorite double stout, but at $6.50 a four-pack, will definitely be drinking this again.

Mar 30, 2014
Photo of Lemke10
Lemke10 from Wisconsin

4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This pours a dark brown/black color with very little head. The aroma is sweet with molasses, toffee, and caramel. The taste is heavy and sweet with coffee flavors. It starts thick and creamy and ends with a chalky, malt after taste. A uniquely made “Swedish Style Stout.”

Dec 18, 2013
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r from Minnesota

3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Big Swede pours a black color, with very little head. There is a strong aroma with notes of coffee and chocolate, and alcohol. The taste is much the same, lots of coffee and chocolate flavors, with a bit of a burning from the alcohol. A bit low in carbonation, but full flavor. Overall a nice big bold stout.

Mar 11, 2013
Photo of Casey10
Casey10 from Maine

3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a extra I recieved in a trade. I thought it wasw okay somewhat watery for a RIS. It has its upsides and downsides of course. I can not rightly recomed this or really want to try it again.

I may be biased so I am not giving this a high recomendation or directions as to find this.

Again not bad, but there is so much better out there.

Jun 05, 2010
Photo of tpd975
tpd975 from Florida

3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours nutty brown. Nice tall fizzy tan head good retention. Spotty lace.

S: Roasty for sure chocolate, coffee, dark fruits.

T: Roasty to the point of almost being astringent. Nice dark fruits and chocolate. Wonderful roast with a blast of yeat. Tasty for sure.

M: Medium in body, zippy carbonation, pretty drinkable.

D: Not too bad, a tasty suprise.

May 30, 2010
Photo of Popkas
Popkas from Colorado

3.17/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Whoa. This was a shock. I glanced at a few other reviews and saw things like "1.5 fingers" and even "no head". Not sure what is going on with mine, but it poured like root beer hitting vanilla ice cream! The liquid that I could actually see was a deep brown with red undertones.

S: Dark sweet malts.

T: Deep roasted malt, some dark fruit and a touch of a bitter coffee like after taste.

M: Thick and creamy with a bit of fiz.

D: Once the mountain of head died down a little, the drinkability is ok. Not a favorite by any stretch but worth a try.

Feb 07, 2010
Photo of Greggy
Greggy from Minnesota

3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pitch black body with a tan (band-aid color) head, pretty thick at 1.5 fingers height. As it recedes, it leaves a decent coating of lacing.

S- Big Chocolate, some cream, a bit of graham cracker, some dark fruits, and some sweeter Hershey's chocolate notes. Very sweet smelling.

T- Starts out with a very sweet chocolate that is a bit cloying. I would like to have seen a much larger bitterness right off to balance the show. There is quite a bit of sweetness in there that almost has fruity (think orange) brightness. The finish is much like the start: Sweet and not overly complex.

M- Feels a little thin for a russian impy. Carbonation is low which I like.

D- This isn't a bad beer at all, but it has room for improvement. A hoppier edge would be very nice and would really help the lack of complexity.

Feb 01, 2010
Photo of darklordlager
darklordlager from Wisconsin

4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: As with other Viking brews, this one pops open without a sound. Poured into a pint glass with very light coating of head appears after an aggressive pour. Dark black, with a slightly brown edge when held up to the light.

S: Roasted and chocolate malt, loads of caramel malt (barleywine-ish) and a light backing of hop bitterness. For all the darker malts, this one smells very sweet rather than bitter or acidic.

T: Sweet milk chocolate right from the get-go. Slowly turns from sweet into bittersweet, with the roasted malt showing up near the finish along with a bit of hop bitterness. Well done on the roasted malt not making it overpowering. Raisin/dried fruit taste with the finish. Very nice.

M: Low carbonation, with a slick mouthfeel that coats the tongue for a long finish. Velvetty smooth, and works well with the low carbonation (unlike other Viking brews).

D: Very sweet and enjoyable. A nice beer from Dallas, Wisconsin.

Jan 05, 2010
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311 from Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up while I was in Wisconsin. After the horrid beer from Viking that is called Hot Chocolate, I am hoping for something a little more palatable.

A: Pour dark brown/black, no light passes through, no head to speak of, decent amount of lacing

S: smell of deep roasted malts, molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, no noticeable hop presence

T: lots of sweet malts up front as the nose suggests, dark fruits, lots of licorice, this brew leads towards the sweet side and leaves a sweetness lingering on the tongue, a little too sweet for my liking as far as the style goes, the roasted malts don't come through on the palate like they do on the nose which is a slight dissapointment

MF: a tad thin for and RIS, sticky, syrupy

D: takes a hit in this category due to the heavy sweetness that lingers on the palate. This beer is much better than Hot Chocolate, but it isn't an RIS I would seek out again

Jan 02, 2010
Photo of Wisconsin
Wisconsin from Wisconsin

4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a pint glass

A - A rigorous pour delivers a deep, rich, black body that has small particles of sediment floating around in it. A frothy, half finger head that is tan rises quickly and and fades slowly to a ring around the edge of the glass after a couple of minutes.

S - Strong roasted malts and barley hit the nose initially. Bitter chocolate and coffee notes are present as well. Sweet yet rich fruit notes (cherries?) combine nicely with a creamy toffee like smell. Faint smells of bourbon are also present. Thus far this one of the best Viking brews I have had. Lets hope it continues once the beer hits the lips.

T - Rich and chewy up front. Plenty of dark chocolate and coffee notes notes that provide a sweet yet slightly bitter backbone along with the roasted malts. Sweet cherries play nicely with the oak and bourbon taste. Certainly could be a little fuller of a beer but overall pretty solid.

M - Full bodied beer with a low amount of carbonation that really doesn't factor too heavily in this beer. Roasted malts, rich creamy chocolate and toffee notes enter initially. A slight bitterness follows with a nice cherry and bourbon combination. A slightly dry finish leaves you with something to be desired but with so much in play and what I would assume to be a high abv it's nothing to complain about.

D - It's hard to imagine this came from the same folks that produced Queen Victoria's Secret IPA. Probably the best offering I have had from Viking. During the cold winter months I could see this one getting called upon quite frequently.

Dec 05, 2009
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x from Illinois

3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my tulip black with dark brown edges and just a wisp of light tan head that quickly fades to a ring around the top. Aromas of somewhat sweet dark malts along with nice chocolate and molasses undertones. Caramel and some dark fruity accents as well. Mellow overall but still nice.

First sip brings smooth semi-sweet dark malts upfront with chocolate, toffee, molasses and dark fruit flavors weaving in and out. Flows down with some bitter accents and a clean finish. No alcohol to be found even though I don't know what the abv is.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and rich without being too heavy. Goes down easy. Pretty nice imperial stout here...nothing groundbreaking but tasty. Would pick this one up again next time I'm in Wisco.

Jun 27, 2009
Photo of blackearth
blackearth from Minnesota

3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Ray's Liquors in Wauwatosa, WI. Pours completely black with no head. Aroma of chocolate, caramel, roasted coffee and alcohol. Medium bodied, low carbonation, biscuit flavors, vanilla, oak, butterscotch, raspberries and a bit of a warming alcohol finish. Great dessert beer.

Jun 19, 2009
Photo of roadhouse
roadhouse from Florida

3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip

Pours up opaque black with a one inch tan head that falls to a cap. It retains well but doesn't leave much lacing.

Aroma is extremely weak. I can barely pick up some mild coffee notes and that's about it.

Taste is at least existent. It's much more than that. Huge burst of chocolate and some sweet caramel. A dark fruit character of raisins and cherries is present in the middle before the finish brings out some light coffee notes and mild grassy hops.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, pretty creamy and easy to drink.

After a non existent smell the taste of this really blew me away as I was expecting a total shitter. Very nice local RIS, I wish I had more. Especially since it was only $1.69 for a single.

May 18, 2009
Photo of Fartknocker
Fartknocker from Wisconsin

2.28/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 ounce bottle from a Viking sampler pack

A- very dark brown color with little to no head

S- similar to a coffee stout

T- rather bitter with an even more bitter aftetaste.

M- average, nothing exceptional

D- one was more than enough for me. the bitter tatse and funky aftertaste of one was enough for me

Mar 02, 2009
Photo of Atricapilla
Atricapilla from Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into pint glasses. The first had hardly any head from a normal pour, so the second I did a vigorous pour without yielding much additional. Head was a very thin, dirty brown; very little carbonation. Color is dark, like crude oil or tar. Aroma yields coffee, malt, and vanilla. Taste is unique; highly ethanolic with strong malt, chickory, and cocoa. Very powerful flavor.

Feb 25, 2009
Photo of SPLITGRIN
SPLITGRIN from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A strong pour takes me by surprise as more than three fingers of carmel brown head jumps over the top of the glass and makes a bit of a mess. Scattered dots of lace and rocky foam are left behind. Body is 3000 mile used motor oil black. Nose is big and full of rich coco, a bit of anise and smokey vanilla. Super creamy chocolate goodness enters the mouth with first sip. Layers of chocolate oats, toasted malts, smokey coco and black coffee. You also get some black licorice and black vanilla. This impy stout really drinks dominantly on the sweet side. There is chocolate bready sweetness and considerable malty on the mouthfeel. The perfect after dinner desert type sipper.

Feb 22, 2009
Photo of marcobrau
marcobrau from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter this beer is a very dark brown. What little foam that is created with the pour diminishes quickly to nothing but a few bubbles. The liquid left in my snifter has just a hint of carbonation. The nose is rather interesting with burnt sugar, cocoa and anise. Very assertive flavors of burnt grains, anise, cocoa have me thinking of a stout infused with akvavit (as Scandinavian distilled beverage.) It gets rather complex with bits of dark fruits (I'm thinking figs, raisins), cocoa and molasses followed by the return burnt grain which contributes a harsh bitterness which is in turn downplayed by a smooth anise liqueur finish. Not sure of the alcohol content, but this seems quite potent. Perhaps a little too light-bodied though, as I think some others have said? I like some of the flavors in this beer, but the perceived alcohol content, harsh bitterness and astringency drops the drinkability score -- it's quite a bit of work to get through this beer due to its strength and extremely robust flavors -- different than any other RIS I've sampled.

Jan 24, 2009
Photo of BeerBelcher
BeerBelcher from Ohio

3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A big and reach beer with some mixed blessings; thin in body and very light on carbonation (even for an Imperial Stout), but with some nice flavor and drinkability. Pretty good.

Color is (of course) black. Body is a bit thin. Carbonation is virtually non-existent; it looked like a glass of wine when I poured it into a tulip. Aroma was surprisingly robust to me given the thinness of body; it smelled to me a lot like bourbon. Flavor was definitely not bourbon-y; roasty with a lot of fruit notes that reminded me of raisins. Pretty good.

I would recommend this. Very liquor/spirit like.

Oct 30, 2008
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage from Illinois

4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a jet black body with a transparent thin film of yellowish-beige head that moves to a thicker ring around the edges. There are tiny bubbles stuck to the side of the glass but that is the only sign of carbonation.

S- The smell of roasted black malt has a slight fruity raspberry hint and a soft vinous note to it.

T- The big black roasted malt flavor has an inky quality about it with a tad bit of tartness to it a vinous note as it warms. The finish is a soft chalky taste with a inky bitterness and a faint mint quality about it.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a slippery texture and no alcohol heat noticed. There is a slight astringency from black roasted grain that lingers a bit after the finish.

D- This is my first Swedish style Imperial Stout and it was nice. The big inky black beer was smooth but didn't have much depth of flavor.

Oct 29, 2008
Photo of morimech
morimech from Minnesota

3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very short lived small head forms on the dark black body. No lacing is left on the glass. Most unimpressive looking RIS I have seen.

I smell chocolate, licorice, and a lot of perfumey alcohol. The flavor is big on solvent alcohol character that wipes the malt flavors quickly away. The chocolate malt is delicious while it lasts. Finishes clean and warm. The body is a bit thin for the style but still relatively full bodied. Carbonation is low and lends a creamy texture. A good sipper but there are far better RIS out there. It should cellar nicely and would improve with some age.

Oct 25, 2008
Photo of Atron67
Atron67 from Wisconsin

4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle that looks nothing like the pic. also describes itself as a swedish style imperial stout, but who knows what that means.

A- tan brown head on top that quickly fell to a thin head and a dark black body. after a few minutes was really just a dark black body with no head.

S- big malty body, black and chocolaty flavor all over. actually smells really delicious.

T- smooth malty flavor, big roasted character, pretty damn delicious, slight cherry flavor, smooth malty. this will age like a charm. delicious

M- thick body, light carbonation, heavy handed all over

D- pretty damn delciious and a good sipper

Oct 18, 2008
Photo of SaCkErZ9
SaCkErZ9 from South Carolina

3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to unclejedi for this one.

Served from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pitch black with absolutely no highlights or light penetration of any kind. A very small and faint, beige colored head forms. It is wispy and rades rapidly. No lacing.

Aroma is very sweet. Chocolate malts, molasses, plums, figs, any other dark fruit out there, a touch of vanilla, licorice.

A little on the sweet side. Alcoholic as well. Sticky, fruity. This one is quite boozy. Mostly chocolate malts, minimal coffee, more dark fruit. Dried plums really seem to be he overwhleming flavor here. And did I mention the alcohol?

A bit thin. Finishes rather dry, almost bone dry. Fruity aftertaste and a burning heat from the alcohol.

I wouldnt go so far as to say this one is a solvent-like beer, but the abv really shows. I dont mind it too much. 12oz is certainly enough of this one. The heat and alcohol feel make this low on th drinkability scale. Certainly a sipper.

Oct 07, 2008
Big Swede from Valkyrie Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 115 ratings