Big Swede | Valkyrie Brewing

very good
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Big SwedeBig Swede

Brewed by:
Valkyrie Brewing
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 05-13-2002

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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 113
Photo of Bierman9
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark brown color...nearly black. Even when held up to a light there was nothing coming through. Head was very short, almost to the point of not being there. Simply a bit of tan bubbles doing a rim job. Minimal lacing as well. Nose was roasty chocolate, with heavy notes of dark fruit, especially raisins. Big Swede had a soft feel on the tongue. Body was just about medium, though if it had been fuller and chewier I'd have rated it higher here. Flavor abounds with dark fruit...a lovely melange of raisins and currants melding in with some cappucino-like notes. A smidge of floral hops arises near the finish, which is somewhat dryish and has some bitter chocolate touches in the aftertaste. Pretty decent brew, though not as complex as some Imperials. Thnx to Tavernjef and BIF3 for sending this my way. Zum Wohl!!

overall: 3.9
appearance: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Just like the picture in the BA database, a thick golden foil completely wraps the crown cap and the entire neck of this 22ounce brown glass bottle. The top of the foil has a red round sticker with the words ‘Something Special from Wisconsin’. The main (and only) label has a nice shiny metallic gold background with black text. A Viking Longboat rides the froth atop a large Mug. Listed as ‘Big Swede’ and described as a ‘Swedish Style Imperial Stout’. No strength or freshness date listed. I noted that this is somewhat confusingly labeled as Cask-Conditioned, I assume this means prior to bottling?!? However, as the sediment (which it recommends you leave IN the bottle) this really leads me to believe that Viking mean the Big Swede is unfiltered and merely allowed to age in a wooden cask, prior to bottling. I assume that this is therefore ‘Cask Aged’ and bottled “sur lees”, hence really ‘Bottle-Conditioned’.

Appearance: Thick black pour, oooh just how I like it. Upon closure examination, and with a strong light, the body is a very dark brown color, like a deeply polished dark teak-mahogany sideboard. It oozes danger as the nicotine stained brown head easily forms from the partial pour into my half pint glass. The head is a solid ½” offering at first but it fades at a reasonable pace to leave a nice ring like caged lacing and a thin collar like neck that stays throughout, but which occasionally breaks to expose a tar like black surface. A quick swirl reinstates the head. Superb carbonation, which has a nitro look to it at times.

Nose: Broodingly Baltic. Dark malts with a slight vinous twist that warns of alcohol. Roasted malts, dark cooking chocolate, you know the really bitter stuff. Some plums, figs dates and a light caramel toffee odor as it warms. Delicate hints of Port soaked Plums that I sometimes got the chance to try at the homes of posh people at Xmas. Nice nose.

Taste: Thick roasted malts carpet the introduction and allow the dark chocolate sponge cake middle to smoothly enter. Some plums and figs with a date like sweetness in the back third linger with warming but soothing alcohols. This has a very nice Imperial Stout feel and taste profile, albeit with a vinous thread that runs through it start to finish but which never becomes over bearing.

Mouthfeel: Starts with an incredibly smooth creamy mouthfeel, which has some coffee and bitter chocolate traits. The feel is soon altered as the vinous alcohols take over in the back end leaving a somewhat warming feel in the mouth on the swallow. Lingering warmth in the gullet.

Drinkability: Rather easily imbibed, and even though I do not know the strength of this, I believe that its Drinkability belies it strength – maybe I should limit myself to the one Bomber of this tonight and leave the bottle of Berserk Barleywine for later in the week.

Overall: I am not that up on styles, but this certainly has a Baltic influence to it, the creamy bitterness, roasted malts and vinous traits are nicely placed and add power to an already Big beer. Very nice indeed!! Certainly worth seeking out.

A massive Bjorn Borg “Aye am Kumming vrom Sveedan, Thhhaaank-ahhew” to Minnesota’s finest ABBA lover, Sir Big of the Blond Hair and Blue Eyed Huge, for this Swedish-Wisconsin Imperial Stout. As the Swedes would say, “Tack Joe”.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hmmm, a Swedish-style Imperial Stout, eh? Never heard of that before!
Dark as a starless night, ebon as the blackest sin, with an excellent, thick, creamy brown head, bubbles popping and foam softly, slowly subsiding. Leaves a mild lacing behind.
Aroma is a puzzle, nutty and creamy, but not issuing forth any typical IS characteristics, but, ah, this is that Swedish sub-style we must consider! Good cocoa, a hint of molasses, overall, mild, but pleasant enough.
Taste: Mmmmm! Yes! there we go! Big, cocoa and coffee, right at the first meeting of lips and liquid, thick, sweet, and slightly bitter, bracing, substantial, with a full texture, and a long, serious, sticky finish. Body is full, but could be fuller, the flavor however never flags, that we can freely admit. This is very tasty,wtih further flavors of dark fruits, carob, dark rum, figs, a whiff of whiskey, all speaking up as the drink goes down.
I like one. Doesn't stack up to so many other favorite ISs of mine ( and I've got a long list), but it's a nice little rendition nonetheless. I highly enjoyed this bomber-size serving, thanks to tavernjef for bringing it over the border for me, and would enjoy it more in the future.

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Photo of aracauna
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is super-black with a nice thick head. It's oily and sweet, with a lot of chocolate, but there's not a lot of roast malt/coffee flavors. The body is a bit thin. This is a lot like my homebrewed imperial stout in that if it it'd up the roast malt in the grain bill, it'd probably be really good. Of course, as it is, it's quite enjoyable.

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Photo of ADR
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extremely dark brown, sub-black but opaque. Dark tnnish head, creamy with condensation on the top. Laces in multiples of numerous dots. The aroma is roasty, burnt wheat toast with a green grain sense and a slight astringency. Medium body and slick in viscosity, flavor is dominated by fruit, raisin that ranges a bit too far into an unripe grape wine-iness and overall acidity. Finishes with an oily coffee impression, perhaps re-inforced by generous hops. The set-up seems good, some alcohol power, just wanting a little more rich sweetness to balance the load.

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Photo of marc77
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Virtually black, with deep, clear burgundy flares when held to light. Head recedes into a tight beige rim that yields sparse lace. The aroma is dominated by a minty ethanol and sweet cocoa combination-- very much mint chocolate like. Becomes more buttery as it breathes, with burnt, buttery toffee hints offsetting the pronounced alcohol presence. Slight solvent fusel wafts detract from what would otherwise be an outstanding aroma. In flavor, cocoa butter notes are perceived initially, then widen into a melange of coffeeish roasted barley and black licorice. Chocolate character augments progressively and approaches fudge like, but is tapered by sturdy hop bitterness. Subdued, but well integrated woody hop flavor. Mild esterwise, with only understated ripe plum hints. Persistent, black pepper like ethanol as well as the hop presence transiently lend dryness, but residual chocolate driven sweetness takes charge. Lightly carbonated, with ample dextrins and apparent low attenuation. Viscous in mouthfeel, with a syrupy coat. Finishes with a espresso like snap, but otherwise with a lingering impression of rum soaked brownie. Big Swede is a unique imperial with assertive dark chocolate like sweetness two notches shy of cloying. This diminishes the drinkability a touch, but it makes a fine belly warmer and dessert beer nonetheless. Big thanks to Bighuge for Big Swede.

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Photo of Gusler
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is as dark as they can get, and that’s the way I like my beers, “cus you know dark beers are stronger”!

Head is modest in its stature, frothy in its texture and the color a pleasant light chocolate. The aftermath of the head disintegration is a fine veil of lace to seal off the glass. The aroma of toasted grains dominates the somewhat sweet and coffee like nose, quite a treat these Imperial stout aromas. Front is thickly malt and sweet with the top chocolate fudge rich and full in its feel to the palate. The chocolate and toasted or roasted grain sweetness carries to the very last with just moderate hop spiciness and the aftertaste bittersweet chocolate dry, a quite pleasant beer this one, you just got to love the Imperials robustness and hearty alcohol content, a real “Hoot”!

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Photo of bditty187
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with distant ruby highlights, opaque, bubbly brunette head, less than a fingers worth. Spotty, unorganized lace. Dry chalky, bittersweet chocolate, fruity esters, light roasted malt, good depth but it lacks in potency. Take a big sniff… it is worth it. Tasty palate, light roasted malts, a cornucopia of fruits… plums, raisins, dark berries… plus molasses and toffee. Soft coffee notes too. This is one sweet beer, pun intended. I’d prefer more roastedness for balance. Nevertheless, Big Swede has its charm… and I like it mighty fine! I would not call this an Imperial Stout however. Medium-full body, minimal carbonation… slickish mouthfeel. While the abv is not listed in is ‘noteworthy’! I’d quaff this sucker again… I enjoyed it. Recommended.

tavernjef, thank you!

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Photo of ZAP
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coal black...light reddish tint when held to the light..a nice little tan head...on the nose its java and sweet chocolate with the chocolate dominate...nice...sweet milk chocolate flavor dominates...very slight spciy alcoholic finish...big roasty maltiness...creamy, velvet like mouthfeel...Low carbonation works wonders in the mouth...thick but not heavily muscled like some...

i'm not a big fan of this brewery but this is a solid Imperial that is a notch below special...perhaps the best of the inconsistent Viking lot..

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Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Big Swede pours out like the color of dark syrup and settles in the glass solid blackish with a bit of a brown tone, but no light gets past this thick brute. Very nice brown head that grows slowly to about a 1/2 inch high with lots of bigger bubbles on the opposite side of this frothy heavy spongy top; crumbles and pops slowly back down and leaves lots of spotty lace.

Smell is lots of dark fruits and roasty malts of plum, raisin, and fig, good sense of molasses with a touch of chocolate or cocoa, very sweet and fruity, deep and rich nose, especially as the you get towards the the bottom of the bomber, the nose stands big on this Swedish Stout.

Tastes like it smells, "yah, vwhat a joy, eh!" Starts quite full with lots of malty action thats very big and rich with dark fruits, mostly raisins, lots of molasses take control and big tangyness and chewy roasty malts all over the place. It thins a little from just past the midway point, mellowing alot with a small hop bitterness returning into some more molasses and slight cocoa and one super cotteny coating mouth of dull, prickly pear and a unique drying thats super interesting with a nudge of warming alcohol in the finish.

Feel is full at the start, mellows out and stays lightly creamy throughout; quite thick, rich, and big boldness, finish is great.
One excellent Imperial Stout, enjoyable and drinkable.
Viking has a top notch brew with Big Swede indeed!

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Photo of jeffboo
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Imperial turned out to be a handful. The alcohol is nicely hidden from view until the bottle is empty and it's time to find the bed. It is very black with dark brown head. The aroma is not as complex as the flavors following behind it, it is roasted coffee,burnt sugar and molassas. The flavors run from rum and raisin to maple and chocolate. It has an oily, full body that's very drinkable with a roasted malt and hop dry finish. I'm not sure a Swedish Imperial stout would differ much from a Russian one, but this one is smooth with some noticable alcohol showing up in the flavor half way through, smooth but rather potent.

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Photo of budgood1
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a swedish style imperial stout, eh? sounds interesting....
out of the 22oz. bomber this "big swede" pours out thick and rich, deep and dark; with ruby tints...a thin but firm tan head appears and reduces down to a fine and sticky lace. very aromatic...i can smell it sitting in the glass from a distance. big time ripe fruits such as plum, prune and raisin come to mind. i was expecting a explosion of flavour upon tasting, but the strongest sensation is i get is the high ABV...which isn't bad. hints of yeasty sourness are followed by smooth chocolate covered cherries, rum soaked raisins, black malted barley, and a nice belly warming booziness. all these understated flavours meld quite nicely into a rewarding stout experience. the body is full; the mouthfeel somewhat syrupy, smooth and slick. although fairly easy drinking, i find myself content to sip on this one, as the high ABV is making my face flush. in fact, i wish there was more of a pronounced flavour profile and less of the increasingly evident alcohol smackdown. nonetheless, i find this to be a rather unique imperial stout. definitely worth a try.
thanks to the future wife for bringing this back from wisconsin a few months ago!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a dark, dark ruby. A nice creamy chocolate brown head tops it off and is well retained. Nice roasted malt, burnt tones, expresso and coffee tones on the nose. A full bodied syrupy mouthfeel. There is a heavy blend of sweet toffee and bittersweet chocolate on the tongue. Actually, it's pretty nice. Not enough burnt tones for my liking and a little too sweet also. There's some lactic sourness present. But all in all, this is pretty damn tasty.

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Photo of cokes
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Labeled as a "Swedish Style Imperial Stout". Using some geography, I deduced that in Viking's eyes Swedish Style Imperial Stout = Baltic Porter...which this beer most certainly is.

Beer pours black, hints of dark brown. Nearly uncarbonated, but a thin tan head forms and lasts.
Smells of dark fruit (plum) and alcohol.
More plum on the taste buds with some big grape notes. Wine-like. Some chocolate, carmel, fig and molasses. Oak flavors relatively prominent. An ephemeral vanilla flavor dances around as well. Roasted flavors are subdued (compared to most), but present. Alcohol kicks in towards the finish.
Not super thick, but decently heavy up front, thins towards the finish.
I am guessing the ABV is right up there.
The 22oz bombers are quite nice and a relative steal, price wise.

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Big Swede from Valkyrie Brewing
3.85 out of 5 based on 113 ratings.
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