Splinter Black | Tröegs Brewing Company

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Splinter BlackSplinter Black
Very Good
170 Ratings
Splinter BlackSplinter Black

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by fiver29 on 10-21-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 170 |  Reviews: 99
Photo of gford217
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle courtesy of a generous PA trader.

Pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle and settles in black in the glass with an enormous bubbly tan head that leaves tons of lacing on the way down to a thick cap.

Aroma is dark chocolate, black malts and tons of barrel characteristics with smoke, spicy oak, and vanilla. Decent but really heavy on the oak.

The taste is actually better than the taste for me. It's got a big, thick chocolate malt backbone with cocoa powder and some dark fruits. The finish is where the oak comes back in and leaves the palate tingling with oak and charred malts.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and seriously smooth and creamy with lots of carbonation. The finish is all about the barrel and the high carbonation offsets the barrel a bit.

This is a decent oak-aged stout. Certainly not terrible but it does have lots of oak and charred character in it so be prepared.

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Photo of nickd717
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

Pours jet black and rather thick with a large tan head that soon settles to a finger or two. Good lacing.

The aroma is amazing, even for this great style. Big rich sweet malt notes, chocolate and caramel, along with vanilla, oak, toasted coconut, and maybe even some smoke.

The flavor is big and bold. Rather sweet flavor, big toffee, roast, sweet dark chocolate, coconut, vanilla, spice, and oak.

Very smooth and slick mouthfeel with full body. Carbonation just a little too high.

Other than that though, a damn good beer. Really liked this, but maybe I'm just a homer.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked & caged bottle into a couple of tulip glasses.

The initial pour on this was very foamy. Not quite a gusher but it did take a bit to get all of it into both glasses. After things settle down, this is pitch black in the glass with about a finger or so of frothy chocolate milk colored head. This stays VERY rich and robust looking and just drenches the sides of the glass with thick foamy lacing. The aroma has a bold sweet stickiness in the nose of cocoa, vanilla, burnt sugars, milky cream, and some light leafy hops. Spicy fusels, roast, and some green woody character from the barrel round the edges of this out nicely.

The taste has a big base to it of chocolate roast, husky cocoa notes, and sweet vanilla that adds some creamy character to the profile. Probably one of the most interesting aspects of this beer is how the vanilla, the turbinado sugar that was used, and the tannic flavors from the oak, combine to give off an almost lightly astringent (borderline souring) milky character in this. Leftover sugars spills into the back-end, along with lingering roast, citrus flavors, and some extra dry woodiness that hangs on the edges of the profile and then pulls together into a spicy finish. The mouthfeel is fuller overall in the mouth, but this does feel surprisingly thin for the general thickness of the flavors here. What this does achieve though is a smooth creaminess that glides along easily in the mouth with barely any alcohol warmth giving itself away. Very impressive drinkibility to this for an 11%, despite the lightness of the body in spots.

If anything, I think that this maybe suffers a bit at times from the heavy oakiness here, as all of those tannins from the barrel contribute to that interesting lactic flavor (which while I could see this as being off-putting to some, I personally didn't mind at all) and the general overly sleek feel of the body. All in all though, I really enjoyed this, as it was still sweet and decadent tasting, had an extremely well hid ABV, and brought something different to the table that you normally don't find in a barrel-aged Imperial Stout. I'd like to maybe see some tweaking done to this for the next batch but I really think that they are on the right track with this so far.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle, my second one from the few I picked up from the brewery. Both bottles were the same, no variation as others have reported. Poured into multiple mini snifter glasses at a tasting.

A: Pitch black, slow forming tan head that dissipates into a small cap of foam and leaves some good lacing. A beautiful looking beer.

S: Sun dried wood chips, powdery ash, roasted malt base with touches of some bitter dark cocoa.

T: Bitter dark chocolate, some more oak wood. This is lot less sweet than I thought it was going to be. Roasted malt, vanilla beans and some toffee with a caramel spin round out the palate, finishing dry and not sticky.

M: Velvety smooth, almost a full body but the carbonation keeps it feeling quite medium bodied. Dryness sticks around long after the sip.

This is definitely a good, but I'm interested to see how this develops over time. I'd like to see the carbonation mellow out a bit... I'll be sure to revisit in a year or so.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.04/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to starrdogg for sharing this recently at a tasting at his place. Sorry that maybe I didnt appreciate this as much as many of the other fantastic beers we had that night!

Very nice look, dark black to brown with nice healthy tan head, i mean healthy. Nice lacing!!

Smell is overall just boozy with some charred malty notes and smoke, and thats about it? Taste follows this with some additions of ripe fruit and banana, maybe a little oak but not much: Wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't looking for it. Bitter to a little tart (?) back. Sort of uncomplex and disappointing to me, also a little bizarre on the palate.

Very carbonated and thin for feel, very unflattering.

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Photo of BZero007
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a BA Tasting this past weekend.

Pours a very black color void of light. The head forms easily and the lace hangs around. The lace was very exciting on this brew as it hung around longer than i usually expect on a RIS. The aroma was of medium power and was a smooth roasty/oaky smell. The taste was very interesting as it was a very well balanced RIS. Latley the popular thing is to make overly hoppy or roasty brews, leaving the well balanced in the background. The flavors were easily picked out as not one or the other was over powering. The balance was very appreciated and was a brew that could be enjoyed threw out the night. Would love to pick this up again and share with friends.

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Photo of KAP1356
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #100!! Tasted on 1/8/2011 at a tasting in Arlington, VA. Very anxious to try this after waiting and waiting! Corked and caged bottle. Reviewed from notes...

A - Poured a very oily black with a dark tan head that stuck around for quite a while. Some nice lacing as well.

S - Chocolate and cocoa up front followed by roasted, almost burnt malts. Some woody notes came out as well along with some leathery notes and slight coffee.

T - Not going to lie, I am a bit disappointed in this one. Maybe it was the excitement of it being my 1st Splinter beer, but it was less than what I expected. Dry oakiness with some chocolate, roasted malts and other ash-like characters. Slightly astringent finish. I must say I did not get much, if any, vanilla in the mix.

M - Medium to full bodied beer with waaay more carbonation than I would have expected. it is still creamy and smooth even with that feature. Astringent dry finish.

D - Interesting beer and one that I am glad I got to try, but still not what I hoped it would be given the description.

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

Corked and caged 750ml bottle on 1/23/11. Last of the four Splinter beers to be opened at our vertical tasting.

A - Poured an oily black liquid with a finger's width of dense, burnt tan head that retained well and deposited subtle lacing around the glass.

S - Ashy and oaky with charred, burnt malt, but also with a fairly prominent chocolate/cocoa character. Traces of licorice and tobacco also emerged as the liquid warmed up.

T - Rich cocoa amid an ashy, charred malt character and a warm alcohol twang. Splinter Black is extremely oaky... there's lots of wood in here! The flavor is indeed quite ashy, but the cocoa notes prevent it from becoming too abrasive. Finish is extremely woody and astringent with more charred malt character.

M - Medium to full-bodied with a very bristly effervescence, although the mouthfeel somehow still retains its soft, creamy texture. Finishes very dry with mild alcohol warmth and moderate bitterness on the palate.

D - I enjoyed this MUVH more than the first bottle I opened (a day or two after its release). While Splinter Black still has more carbonation than I like to see in an Imperial Stout, the chocolate was much more prominent in this bottle, which cut back on the ashy, charred qualities, making this much more enjoyable for me.

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Photo of Deuane
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With multiple tastes since it's release a month back this brew is quite the chameleon. From velvety smooth, to thin and over carbonated to mellow silkiness....this beer has evolved multiple times in a short amount of time.

A-Deep, dark, pitch black with just the slightest hint of dark brown highlights along the edges. A thick tan head billows up from the start and slowly reduces to a thin cap and leaves nice swaths of lace.

S-Powerful dry oak with a healthy addition of ashy dryness in support. Dry cocoa, dark roasted malts and a touch of coffee in the background.

T-Pronounced oak dryness up front with dark chocolate , roasted malt and an ashy character. Sweetness is quite minimal with subtle hints of brown sugar, vanilla and caramel in the background.

M-Medium bodied and quite smooth. Quite astringent with a very dry oak/ash finish. Long lingering flavours.

D-Solid for sure but there is something about it that doesn't hit home for me. I will be interested to see how this one develops over time.

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Photo of gregshead
1.43/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A: Pours a nice jet black with a good finger of dark tan head.

S: Some roasted grains smell but there is some weird sawdust/rotten funk on the nose that seems to take over.

T: Man, what a disappointment. This beer had that rotten/saw dust taste that takes over. Not quite a sour taste like most infections, which would have been better in my mind. Had to pour it down the drain despite multiple attempts to get past the initial taste aversion.

M: The feel seemed to be affected as well. Over carbonated for a Stout like this. So strange.

D: It got poured down the drain. Need I say more? It sucks but it just wasn't drinkable. At all.

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Photo of pastradul
1.38/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

ZX6chris popped this at a stout night at his place... only 2nd bottle of the evening.

poured into a tall fluted glass.

LOTS of head. nice light chocolate colored tight bubbles create a thick head that last a little bit of time.

the smell is dust, wood (like cork. old moldy even) some malt back bone but the dominating smell is dusty cork. not pleasent.

the mouth is more of the same. the high carb level kills and thins the beer. there is a nice malty hit at the front of the mouth. but after that the dusty cork flavor takes over.

out of the group of about 8 people we all thought it was terrible. a drain pour for almost everyone there.

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Photo of koopa
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another gem shared by callmemickey at our epic tasting last night. Thanks for the opportunity Ryan!

Appearance: Pours dark and opaque with a 1 finger khaki crown that displays moderate retention and decent lace.

Smell: Slight roast malt but mainly a belgian stout like yeastiness taking center stage.

Taste: Same as nose but with more chocolate presence. Again this one is all about the brett.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with good carbonation. Makes for a really nice crisp stout...again coming off more Belgian than American to me.

Drinkability: Sessionable.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.63/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really don't get all the negative reviews for this beer. Where I'm really one trying not to be a "homer" and boost reviews on local beers...this beer is more than fantastic! I just think there was some unreasonable expectations. This is NOT aged in bourbon barrels, or anything like that, in fact I believe it was aged in Pennsylvania virgin oak barrels. Had on two separate occasions/tastings before reviewing. Loved it both times...especially for what it is.

Poured from a 750ml cork and caged bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass. Appearance is perfect. Huge frothy tan head...with excellent retention. Pours a pitch black. Leaves fantastic lacing all over the glass...very sticky and creamy.

Aroma is true to form. Roasted malts, lots of chocolate, vanilla, and overall sweetness. Oak. Booze isn't detectable at all, surprisingly.

Flavor is wonderful. Super smooth, velvety, creamy, and mildly sweet. Notes of cocoa nibs...in fact semi sweet chocolates. Vanilla and oak notes in the finish. Not getting a bitter aftertaste, which some were complaining about, at all. Roasted malts, a little thick-medium body. Carbonation is right where it should be. Was worried, since the scratch series tend to be a tad over-carbonated. A very good and SOLID beer from Troegs. This beer is definitely high quality and well constructed. Should hold up well for a few more years.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I arrived a little bit after 6 and was #173 in line for Splinter Black. I was looking forward to the right time to break it out so Stout Tasting Part deux was planned. Poured from the corked and caged bottle into a taster and enjoyed twice.

The appearance is very deep brown mahogany with a med light beige cap. The lace is sticking hard here with very tight bead like pin heads and micreofoam appearance is formed in the head. The smell has mild cococa and strong caramel with subtle dark brown sugar and light earthy green oak aroma which is almost floral or spicy with its natural woody aroma and mildly sweet against the deep malt nose. This is thick viscous and creamy with sweet texture and resinous with the oils of new wood and light tannic aspect with subtle spiciness from the hops under the layers of malt body w/ light alcohol on the palate.

The flavors of sweetened cocoa w/ slight oak notes up front lead into a hint of smooth caramel and light brown sugar with a gentle toffee like smootness. The middle is strong with fresh oak that seems to stand out from the malt and adds contrasting flavor which I enjoy a lot. I like the light acid and tannin which plays of the sweetness of the crystal malt. There is a mild hop flavor in the mix with subtle cocoa nib in the finish. The stout is a really, really worthy oaked stout. I think it breaks the mold and achieves everything it promises and more. I consider this totally unique and has plenty of big oak taste -a really drinkable beer. I can't wait to see what effect some age on this will have.

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Photo of John_M
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Matt's place the other day during in imperial stout gathering. Graciouisly provided by our host, I appreciated the opportunity to try this one.

The beer pours a dark cola color with pretty good head retention and lacing. Interestingly, the beer didn't look all that impressive at first, but seemed to improve as it warmed up a bit. The nose in this beer is pretty wild, showcasing licorise, considerable vanilla, hazelnuts and some hoppy perfume (dry citrus mostly, but also some flowers). The flavor profile replicates the nose in this fairly sweet, delicious beer. The vanilla tends to dominate, but it is not overdone and the slight bitterness on the finish helps to keep the sweetness in check. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, flavor infused finish. Drinkability in this beer was pretty good I thought, especially considering the abv. While I certainly got a sense that I was drinking a beer with a considerable amount of alcohol, the beer was not the least bit hot, heavy or tiring on the palate.

Another very impressive effort from Troegs.

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Photo of corby112
2.31/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Thanks a lot to shadowane for busting this out at our stout tasting.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest hint of lighter edges and a two finger frothy light mocha colored head. Decent retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Roasted malt aroma with hints of earthy oak, chocolate, oatmeal, roasted coffee bean and dry Brett. I'm not picking up a tn of chocolate and hardly any vanilla at all. The prominent characteristic in the nose is Brett and oak. It doesn't smell terribly complex. Hopefully the flavor and mouthfeel are a bit of an improvement.

Slightly oxidized with with lots of tight carbonation of front that takes away from the mouthfeel. Lots of dry tart brett dominating the flavor. Very dry with slight hints of cocoa and a lot of earthy oak. I'm not picking up much of the barrel and no vanilla at all. One dimensional and possibly on the way to infection.

I had high expectations for this beer. This was my first of the Splinter Series but it was highly disappointing. Not viscous at all, hardly any chooclate, minimal bourbon, slightly oxidized and no vanilla.

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Photo of udchemist
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not the best barrel aged beer, but not the worst by far. Smells oaky and boozy. Appearance is a dark brown, almost black, with very nice head retention and good level of carbonation. Drinkability is average - I'm glad we split a bottle of it amongst 6 of us, wouldn't drink it all night. Mouthfeel is a medium bodied feel. Definite oak tastes, cocoa and just a hint of vanilla. The aftertaste is what throws me off and decreases the score. Very unpleasant. Not down the drain so, but not good enough for me to seek this out.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- pours pitch black with lots of brown head. Beautiful pour

Smell- chocolate and oak on the nose. A hint of vanilla on the nose

Taste- smooth dark roasted malts. Lots of cocoa and roast. The vanilla is pretty minimal but i can detect a bit.

Mouthfeel- A very solid thick mouthfeel. Nicely carbonated. Sits very nicely on the tongue.

Drinkability- very drinkable for the alcohol percentage.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Javi, Nick, and Bobby for all opening bottles of this. Mine now sit at home.

A: The pour lives up to the name and is pretty much black in color with a sizable mocha colored head.

S: The oak blows your doors off right out of the gate. It's incredibly fresh and almost green. Very, very roasty with a bit of bitter dark chocolate and coffee. Some more oak for good measure.

T: Roasted malts start things off and the bitter dark chocolate follows quickly behind. There is maybe just a touch of vanilla, but otherwise it's back to the oak. The flavor is reminiscent of putting oak chips/cubes/staves/spirals in your mouth. Also a bit of booze is in there.

M: The body is decent enough, we'll say medium, with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: Not at all what I was expecting. This beer just is totally overwhelmed by the oak character (and not in a good way). I had this multiple times and came away with the same impression every time.

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

Poured a very dark brown in color with brownish highlights when held up to the light that had a thin head and left very little lacing sticking to the glass. Ther was some mild chocolate but lots of oak upfront on the nose alongside roasatiness from the malt, caramel, and like lacto milky notes. The taste was also pretty basic consisting of the chocolatey oaky flavors but had caramel accents roasty character and the malts seemed to add a little more sweetness. The brew was medium to full in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet chocolatey, oaky, roasty, and thin finish for a imperial stout. Honestly this beer is over hyped and definitely not living up to it. Because it was thin it did drink pretty easy.

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Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by nickd717. Thanks.

Appropriately black. The beer is fizzy and effervescent, the tan head impressively persistent.

The nose is heavy on the green, earthy oak. Behind that there's a touch of vanilla and chocolate, though the spiciness of the oak is dominant.

Oak is also dominant on the tongue, spicy and tannic, earthy, drying. Vanilla and cocoa are prevalent, along with a backbone of ashy, acidic roasted malt. The body is too thin, carbonation too high; the beer doesn't have enough sweetness or body to withstand the fresh oak barrel. Finishes with intense tannins and roast, lingering vanilla. This beer gave me cottonmouth.

It's tough to use fresh oak barrels with beer, and this one certainly missed the mark.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks to nickd717 (I think at least...) for this tick while at Beechwood BBQ after the Bruery Reserve Society Party. Served from bottle into a goblet. Poured pitch black with a minimal light tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor was of chocolate, sweet malt, and alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. It had a pretty nicely balanced flavor going on that was quite enjoyable. The aroma was also very nice and invited you in to drink more. This is a definite must try given the chance.

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Photo of vacax
1.72/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a pure black with a nicely thick head of light brown foam, good lacing and retention. Aroma of vanilla, umami, cacao bean oaky, ashy, chalky, acidic. Sharp oak flavor, very green, astringent tannins, acidic, unripe currants. Finish is ashy, green, astringent. Moderate thickness of body and matching carbonation, but little enjoyment due to the astringent quality of the beer. Even a tiny sample is difficult to drink. One of the worst barrel aged stouts I have had that wasn't obviously infected.

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Photo of HopHead84
2.59/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5


Bottles opened by javib458 and nickd717 at Beachwood, thanks!

A: Black with a big beige head. Scattered lacing.

S: Chocolate with some roasted malt, a dash of coffee, and a lot of oak. Aroma displays very faint notes of vanilla. There's also a detracting sour note that is not a good sign. I also detect plum.

T: Flavor is slightly better than the aroma, though the sourness is still apparent. Chocolate is evident, as is a touch of coffee and some roast. Lots of oak, astringency, and tannins.

M: Full body with upper moderate carbonation. Sticky and creamy mouthfeel with some warming and a good deal of astringency.

Overall: On its own, this was disappointing. Compared to other barrel aged stouts, this was disappointing. When I heard about Troegs making a barrel aged stout I had high expectations, but this is all around underwhelming. The worst barrel aged RIS I've had in a long time.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/02/11 notes. Brought to a local DC tasting by tarheels86. Thanks a lot GT! Very excited for this one.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, oak, and light dark fruit. Good, but was kind of expecting more.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, oak, coconut, fruit, vanilla, and chocolate. Again, pretty good.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Pretty thick.

d - I was really excited to try this one and I have to say I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, this is a good stout, but I think my expectations were unfairly high after loving Splinter Blue. Lots of roasted malts and chocolate in this one, but the oak and vanilla seems light. Would like to have again, but wouldn't trade some of the crazy things people are trading for it.

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Splinter Black from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 170 ratings
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