Fish Tale Poseidon's Imperial Stout | Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

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157 Ratings

Brewed by:
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
Washington, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-17-2002

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 157 |  Reviews: 138
Reviews by ablaze:
Photo of ablaze
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a 650 mL bomber that states 8% alc/vol. No date.

Creamy mocha brown head that quickly sinks into the red-hued, nearly black brew. Average lacing.

Rich chocolate covered cherries with a dab of molasses. Smells fantastic.

Dark cherries, rich chocolate cake, a hint of sweet soy sauce and brown sugar. Roasted coffee beans and raisins. A fruit cake soaked in melted chocolate. Texture is slick and slightly oily. Not as chewy as I hoped, but it's there, along with something powdery (cocoa extract?).

I had this with a mocha coffee cake. This is a decent enough stout with some nectar qualities. Fun to drink on it's own or with a dessert. Not quite bold enough to satiate my desires, but gets the job done.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Doppelmax
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I picked up a 22oz bottle of this a while back and it was tempting me for a few weeks so I opened it over the weekend and shared it with a friend.
Opaque nearly black with a modest head leaving little lace. The sweet almost molasses aroma was not overpowering but just about right. I found this to be a fine example of a Russian Imperial Stout, rich, well balanced and delicious. The mouthfeel was exceptional, heavy bodied with a warming alcohol presence. I just wish I had a few more bottles to cellar.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch # 5....bottled November '04.
Black in color with a full two finger of tan head...carbonated and produces very little lacing.
Pleasant aromas filled with cocoa, slight espresso, vanilla.
Taste is decent...still quite hot with alcohol up front, but fades as it warms to room temperature. A burnt flavor takes over and distracts you from a lot of nice characteristics coming out of this one...roasted malty sweetness, and a huge chocolate profile.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and the carbonation is a touch too high.
This one was sent to my by skyhand (thanks) and I have one more in the cellar with no clear bottling date from bennetj17...I hope it is a bit fresher as I'd like to see if this burnt flavor is predominant in a fresher one.
Fairly easy to consume this one, but not begging for more.

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Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice beer. Pours dark brown, opaque, and a big, bubbly thick tan head. Rich chocolate cake aroma, lots of malt, roasted coffee, and leather. Big roasty flavor, chocolate malt, and bitter hops in the taste. Some soy, caramel, and vanilla around the edges. Loved it.

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Photo of pwoods
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mikesgroove for this brew.

12oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter. No dating. Bottle clearly reads 8% ABV, no 10%.

A: Pours pitch black with a good viscosity. A good sized tight head forms and holds nicely. Some lacing.

S: Very rich in coffee. Strong, bitter black coffee and spent coffee grounds. A solid molasses and alcohol line plays a good second fiddle. A bit of dry, irish style malt and chocolate linger in the back.

T/M: Again, strong coffee, with the spent grounds a bit more in the foreground. Great bitterness to the drink. There's still a good molasses and alcohol mixture but not quite a potent as the aroma, which is a bit unfortunate. More of the dryness and chocolate side but a bit creamy at the same time. Body is medium full.

D: Pretty damn drinkable and tasty to boot. Only 8%(for a RIS) is definite plus.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep impenetrable black with ever so slight ruby highlights. Good fizzy tan head stays around for a couple minutes but fades quick to a ring and skim leaving good lace.

Nose is ok, but nothing really stands out. Some roasted malt and dark fruits.

Flavor is much nicer than the smell would indicate. A great roasted malt profile with some edgy bitterness. I like this. Starts off creamy and smooth, quickly jumps into big roasted dark malt flavor. There is next to no dark fruit in here like the nose indicated (a good thing here). Some good bitterness on the finish, and the roast lingers on into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin, but not too bad. Carbonation is right where it should be, maybe a tiny touch over.

Drinkability is pretty solid, the abv is down to 8% now, but it doesnt show up at all. Very drinkable.

Overall I am kind of impressed with this. I wish the finish was a bit more in your face, and kind of held on a bit stronger and longer, but overall a good stout. If you like the roastier ones, with a good dark malt bitterness, this one should be in your fridge. A good brew from fish and one I will revisit. Not sure about the aging potential on this one, as it drinks quite well now, but we'll find out! haha. Good beer.

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Photo of cokes
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5, 2004.

Flat black topped with a modest sheet of buttery tan.
Intially charred and smoky on the nose with a backing green, minty hop notion, but vanilla, hazelnuts, toasted oak, bourbon, and fudge crawl out once it sits for a couple moments.
Taste is a reflection of the aroma. Big, black, and burnt up front. Full of espresso and charcoal. Sweetness gradually takes residence, with molasses, liquorice, caramel, and smoked prunes. Woody as it goes along, with a lightly tart oak nuance, waving havelnuts, and a more persuasive vanilla essence. Some tannic elements as this gains vinousness, and brings to mind Pinot Noir. Ends with molten fudge drizzled, bourbon-spiked red wine cut with electric, leafy, wintergreen hops.
Medium-full in the mouth, sedate, but steady carbonation.
This is deep, complicated, heady stuff, but vastly drinkable as well. A real gem.

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Photo of Sammy
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Opaque black with disapearing white head. Coconut in the coffee and chocolate malt that just didn't work. much more drinkable when warmed up to full room temperature. Carbonation pushed the fomer taste into the mouth. Whole thing didn't work that well. Bit of a disapointment, but thanks Joe McPhee.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #3, November 2001. Aged roughly 3 years. Absolutely stunning!!! The opaque black body reveals only minor glints of ruby at the sides and base of the glass, and its frothy dark-tan head seems to hold on forever. The lacing, however, is limited; but that's to be expected in a high alcohol brew. The nose suggests bourbon, cocoa-ish malt, vanilla, and a touch of alcohol-soaked summer fruit. The body is full and rich with a smooth and creamy feel, and it very subtly tingles the tongue before it slides dextrinously away. Rich notes of bourbon dominate the flavor amidst a solid layer of leafy and somewhat pine-like hops and slick, dark chocolate, molasses, and alcohol. And despite the richness of its malt, the alcohol become apparent at mid-swallow and lingers into the aftertaste. Notes of fig and prune appear as well. Well done, and this is certainly a beer to cellar for at least a year. Still, worth trying even fresh!

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Photo of dirtylou
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, Woodmans, retail was probably 3.49 but i doubt i was charged more than 1.50, purchased about a month ago

Batch #5

appearance: pours an opaque glassy black color, chocolate brown head is controlled and lacing is thin

smell: dark and roasty, molasses, alcohol, raisin, dark chocolate, smoke, ground coffee..lots of interesting things going on

taste: oooh this is nice, quite bold and robust....smoke is heavy on the tongue right away, the most licorice presence i have ever tasted in an imp stout, bourbon covered pruins and raisins as well as other dark fruit are potent, some sweet chocolate buried beneath complimented by a slight hoppiness, cocoa/coffee ground maltiness

mouthfeel: very creamy, thick bodied, slightly bitter aftertaste

drinkability: quite drinkable

This was a nice departure from the norm of the russian imperial stout variety...some great flavors that aren't typically this out in the open

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Photo of prototypic
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to csmiley for this one. Love getting beer I never knew existed. Thanks, man.

Poseidon's very ominous. It's very dark brown in color, nearly black. No light's getting through even at the edges. A firm mocha colored cap sits on top and easily reaches two fingers in depth. It was slow to recede and left sticky strands of lace clinging to the glass. Impressive stuff.

The nose is equally impressive. It's loaded with sweet chocolate and roasted malt aromas. I can't tell which is stronger. Suffice it say that this one is malted by the gods. At least it smells that way. Coffee and strong espresso notes add quality depth. Alcohol is easily noticeable and could be a little much. I'll reserve judgment on that point for the moment. Overall, it's very impressive. I didn't know what to expect and I'm very pleasantly surprised.

The flavor doesn't have quite the same impact, but it is very good. The first sip confirms it's heavily malted stature. Roasted malts are very flavorful and taste great against the sweet fudge backdrop of chocolate malts. A strong coffee presence certainly rounds the flavor out well. It's not as pronounced as the malt components, but it's very strong and effective. A surprising amount of hop bitterness surges toward the finish. It's a very welcome addition to the mix. The only drawback to the flavor here is the overly noticeable alcohol. It has a definite warming effect and is surprising for an 8% abv beer (as my bottle notes). Otherwise, it has a nice, powerfully malted flavor that's bolstered by strong coffee and hop flavors. Very, very good.

The body feels a little thin (even after it warms a little). It's smooth and carbonation is light, but it'd be better with a little more body. Drinkability is good, but is a little limited by the alcohol presence. It comes across as bigger than it really is and runs a tad too warm.

Fish Brewing's Poseidon is a surprisingly good Imperial Stout. It's a little too boozy and warm, but is otherwise a big time malty brew with a lot of flavor and character. The booziness problem is amplified by the fact that it's only an 8% beer. It's really not strong enough to warrant that, but nonetheless it's here. Iron out that small kink and you've got one stellar stout here. Highly recommended as it is.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep dark black with a 1/2 finger of creamy, burnt mocha colored head. Frothy bunching around the edges throws a monstrous cascade of lace and brown oils up on the sides of the glass. The aroma is big and grainy smelling, with some roasted chocolate and coffee mix in for good measure. Maybe a touch of dark fruits thrown in as well. I'm really trying to pull more out of here but it's just not happening.

The taste fortunately gives up a bit more, with lots of big roasted oat character, along with some thicker and sticky notes of chocolate, molasses, and dark fruits. Coffee and roasted bitterness strongly pull up the backend of the profile, lingering in the mouth for a good long bit. This is actually quite good as it gets more up to room temp, maintaining a nice balance between the sweet and bitter characteristics. The mouthfeel is starts out a bit thin but them creams up more as it warms. The final result is still a touch light in the feel but the ABV is very nicely hid.

This one actually grew on me quite a bit as I worked through the glass. I wish that the nose and body had provided some more substance but for the most part, this was a solidly enjoyable Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Orrshow
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Black as night. Lots of dark tan head which leaves tons of lacing. This is how I love a beer to look.

Smell – Coffee, chocolate, alcohol, brown sugar, and roasted malt all arise. Not overly strong but has promise.

Taste – Right off the bat you are bombarded by roasted malts and alcohol. The effect is very nice though. Coffee comes about to shortly there after and is followed by an almost sour feeling in the mouth. There is some bitter chocolate taste too and the finish is all of roasted malt and alcohol…just like it started.

Mouthfeel – Very thick and creamy. Great in that respect. The carbonation felt a little tickly though.

Drinkability – This one is a sipper for sure… but that what I’m sure it was intended for.

I quite liked this and it makes me curious into what other Fish Tale beers will taste like. A good impression by this brewery.

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Photo of morimech
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unknown vintage of this 12oz bottle. Date not notched on label. Label states 8% ABV.

Very dark in color with some noticeable sediment coming out of the bottle. One inch of head forms and hangs around for a little while. Some spotty lacing is left on the glass. This RIS smells very good. Hints of chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, and bourbon. This is not barrel-aged but it sort of smells like it has spent sometime in a barrel. I really enjoyed the flavor as well. Not overly sweet or over hopped like some of the Best of Beer Advocate RIS's seem to be (looking right at you Darklord and Darkness). Nicely balanced. The malt comes through nicely with hints of chocolate and coffee, slightly roasted and smokey. Booziness is there but well intergrated into the flavor. Bitterness is moderate to slightly less than moderate. The body is not as full as other RISs but has nice carbonation and texture. Turned out to be one of my favorite RIS beers. I liked the flavor of this one.

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Photo of elricorico
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

This one looks black in the glass, and an aggressive pour generated a finger of thick creamy beige head. The head dwindles down to a thin cap, but lacing sticks.

The smell is full of molasses, dark fruitiness, roasted malt or barley and a hint of black licorice. A relatively full smell, and not a disappointing one.

First mouthfull was like a slap in the face to the tastebuds, and for a moment I thought that it was too much. Up front it is darkly sweet, but the real flavour in this one is in the back half of the mouth. Very potent roasted flavours mixed in with a warm alcohol bite. Bitter and burnt, the flavour gets up into your nose as you breath after swallowing. An assault on the palate, perhaps the most active taste I've had in the style.

The mouthfeel is simply fantastic. Chewy and thick, with carbonation that feels perfectly natural. Soft edges with a mouth filling weight.

Clearly Fish Tale has gone all out for a big version of a big style. I like it, but I don't see myself drinking it often. I find myself wishing it would settle down some.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage of this one unknown. Found recently on a shelf at one of the local outlet. Pours a dark brown/black with a thick and nice tan head that quickly reduces to a nice single layer of small bubbles.

Nose of sweet dark chocolate, sweet espresso and black licorice.

Mouth follows nose nicely with a nice creamy mouthfeel, good body and really nice balance. Dark unsweetened chocolate gives way to pleasant bitter coffee and licorice flavors. Complex and layered.

Finish is dark chocolate and espresso with a somewhat unique sweet dark chocolate that follows a hit of espresso/chocolate and some bitter grapefruit hops.

All very pleasant and complex. Surprised there is not more hype and/or discussion about this one. Good.

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Photo of Bung
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Deep brown/black pour, adequate dark cream head, with descent lacing. Roasty aromas, malt and coffee with some mocha, molasses. Taste compliments nicely, with some licorice and slight hop bittering. Almost creamy mouthfeel, especially as it warms. Drinkability is good, especially as it warms. Alcohol very limited presence. Very nice example of the style, not earth shattering, but worth revisiting if available. Solid brew.

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Photo of akorsak
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 650 mL bomber from Liquid Solutions.

A: The stout has a dark brown color resembling more of a brown ale than a stout. The beer is not oily thick, looking like a standard dark ale. The head is a small white band.

S: The nose is an acrid, burnt malt. Chocolate and caramel notes come out as well.

T: The stout is strong on the burnt malt profile. Dark coffee beans and roasted grains shine throughout the beer. Some chocolate and caramel notes come through midway through the sip. The coffee and grains are somewhat thin the more I sip on the ale though, losing the malty flavor and leaving burnt element.

M: The mouthfeel seems to fall a little short on the flavor side, there are no wine-like elements, nor is there a truly memorable aspect of the flavor.

D: The beer is good but not great. I am quite surprised to see that this ale is sitting on the top 100 domestic beers list.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of CBA: Poured a deep black (not pitch black) color stout with a good foamy head with some good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of black chocolate with some bitter notes. Taste is also dominated by some nice rich chocolate notes with some bitter notes at the end. Body could be slightly fuller but the creamy texture and the chocolate notes are well balanced.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

November 2001 vintage
Pours motor oil, visous black with a moderate ecru head. no light refraction. Thick seen of lace on the glass.
Aroma chocolate, light coffe bens and distinctive vinous, red wine notes.
Flavor of chocolate covered red grapes is best description. Hints of roasted coffee on the finish. The aging of these in the barrels really adds a great subtle flavor to this chocolatey stout. Some dark fruity notes appear as it warms. Excellent representation of style and beautiful beer.
Mouthfeel is sweet and vinous and full-bodied with a big malt and liquor backbone. Alcohol fuel note on the back end.
Drinkability is good. Smooth and thick with varying degrees and sweet, roast bitter and alcohol tannins. Well done

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4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A foam brick of two fingers worth of slowly fading dark tan almost brown head is what you notice first. Leaves a wall of lace as it fades. Body is pure syrupy total blackness. Nose has tones of roasty malt, coco, anise and soft alchol. Enters the mouth and imediatly paints the entire mouth with thick burnt malts, bitter chocolate and black licorice, while all the time being nicely creamy. Deeply dark and thick all the way through the palate. As you let it warm you get a soapy hop bitterness on the back of the tongue. Mouthfeel is thick, pillowy soft and creamy. A solid drinkable stout.

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Photo of waldowin
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle labeled "Vintage 2006"

Pours an opaque near-black, with a brown head forming slowly, and sticking around for a while. The head is dense enough to resemble cake, and leaves great lacing.

Smell is of coffee, plums, golden raisins, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste is wild and almost harsh. A very small hint of plums and cherries up front is run over by alcohol, a blast of hops, and then a very strong finish of coffee grounds. Way, way too bold right now, but I'll bet with a year or two on it, this could be truly excellent.

Mouthfeel is slightly drying, and harsh.
Make sure you have something heavy to eat this with, that will stand up to it, this is one wild brew.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I was finally able to track this one down and get to try it last night. I have been sitting on a few of them and it was nice to finally get to enjoy one of them. It was a 2007 release in a 12oz bottle which I poured into an Imperial pint glass after letting it warm up to cellar temperature.

Appearance - The look of this was just brilliant from the very beginning. Poured a jet black, completely opaque, and black as night, thick looking liquid into my glass, exactly the way it should have. A nice two inch high head of chocolate colored foam rose up out of the depths to come over the top of it. Excellent retention allowed it to hang around for a good five minutes or so before it retreated down to just a thin layer of tan across the top of the glass. Very nice side glass lace left silky smooth and cascading films over the side of the glass. It really was holding up to its reputation on looks alone.

Smell - The aroma was full of burnt malt smells. Hints of some light smokiness came over me first and were not at all unwelcome. I let it sit to let the flavor come out and some nice dark fruits then began to emerge. Lots of sweet aromas in here too, with hints of molasses and sugar all over it, some caramel and toffee like aromas coming through as well. Towards the end I started to get some coffee mixed in with it as well, pretty good here I have to say.

Taste - The flavor followed along the aroma very well, really starting to show off what it could do. The first flavor to hit was toffee and molasses which let you know right away that this was going to be a sweet stout. It rolled around for a little while with hints of plums and figs coming in and out of the picture. Rich molasses soaked burnt coffee coming into the picture, offering just the slightest touch of bitterness to it as it starts to finish up. Nice sweet creamy finish to it now with a good touches of smokiness to it as well. Really nicely done here with a good bitter and smoke filled taste lingering for a good while after.

Mouthfeel - The only slight knock I have against this one is that it felt a little bit light to me. Not really bad, just with the amount of flavor and depth this one had, I thought it could have been a little thicker. Lots of carbonation in this one, which was probably why it felt that way, but nonetheless very nice indeed with a good smooth creamy feel.

Drinkability - For an 8% ABV RIS this had outstanding drinkability. I found myself taking increasingly larger sips as it went through and really pushing it down towards the end. Everything was remarkably well done and it really came across quite nicely. I could have easily had another one of these.

Overall this is a very good stout. I would have no issues with buying more of these. It had an interesting mix of smoke flavors and a nice sweet stout taste which came across very well. I would have to recommend giving this one a try as it is an excellent representation of the style.

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Photo of blackie
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour produces a low, mocha colored head that recedes to just a ring and a few bubbles on the surface. The beer is nearly black in color, with just a little brown excaping from the sides.

smell: Upfront is an equal blend of dark/bittersweet chocolates and deep roasted barley. Just behind is a considerable PacNW hop aroma, somewhat piney in character, with some ethanol vapours way in the back. Some hints of fresh cut oak are found.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a very light medium, and the body towards the lighter side of the heavy range.

taste: The flavor is somewhat similar to the aroma. Dominant flavors of dark and bittersweet chocolates are followed up first by big notes of dark roasted barley, a little hardwood smoke, and dark, sweet fruits. The bitterness level here is really well done, not overdone like many RIS...just perfect. Nice PacNW type hop flavors are found as well. A light-moderate amount of ethanol is found.

drinkability: Easy drinking for the style, and a damn good beer.

The bottle indicates that this is from Batch # 5, bottled November 2004. Purchased this bottle at Woodman's in Madison back in January and smuggled back. Cellared since.

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Fish Tale Poseidon's Imperial Stout from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 157 ratings