Imperial Oyster Stout
Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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English Sweet / Milk Stout
Ranked #113
Ranked #4,173
4.16 | pDev: 8.17%
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
Notes: Oysters? In beer? Oh, yes, my bivalved friend. We understand the idea might raise some eyebrows above sea level, but there's nothing fishy about this brew. Dive deep into the rich chocolaty flavors and discover the slightest hint of salt in this deceptively smooth Imperial Stout brewed with freshly harvested East Coast oysters.
Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 87 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BergBeer
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint

Look: Jet black with a mocha head

Smell: Rich and roasty. Cold brewed coffee, black malt, burnt toast, noble hops.

Taste: Bitter cocoa nibs, noble hop bite, black malt, and coffee.

Feel: Rich and oily on the palate. Medium plus bitterness. Not sweet at all. Medium plus alcohol.

Overall: A solid imperial stout. Nothing mind blowing just solid. Good one Great Lakes.

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Photo of ovaltine
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark mahogany brown with a fluffy tan head, looks more like a big porter than an imperial stout. The nose is a plethora of rich chocolate notes and a bit of salt.

The chocolate is even more pronounced on the taste - this is a rich, decadent chocolate extravaganza. What really elevates this, though, is the saltiness from the oysters, which provide balance to what easily could’ve become a sweet bomb.

The mouthfeel is full, and there’s no hint of alcohol in this 11% ABV imperial stout. Great Lakes is world class, IMHO.

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Photo of FBarber
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy dark brown color, almost black. Thick two finger velvety tan head collapses steadily leaving, ultimately, no residual head is left.

Aroma has notes of roasted malts, cocoa, black licorice, a touch of brine-y salt.

Taste has notes of roasted malts, cocoa, dark chocolate, some bittering hops, and a salty finish. The profile here is definitely in line with an imperial stout - you get the hops coming through - gives off almost a piney flavor in the beer as it warms up. Robust roasted malts are prominent. The oyster part is mainly just in the salty finish - not much else. This is a bit hot.

Feel is medium bodied, smooth with some prickly carbonation.

Overall its a cool brew - the addition of the oysters to a RIS works quite well and compliments the flavors.

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Photo of jkblr
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottled 2018 poured into a Spiegelau stout glass at fridge temp 11% ABV 37 IBU per label. The beer pours very dark brown with khaki colored head. The head builds quickly and recedes slowly leaving a half inch cap of fine bubbles and complete Belgian lacing. The aroma is mild roasted malt and cocoa butter with a hint of sea salt that could be suggested. The taste is medium roasted malt with a touch of milk chocolate that rolls into a savory, not quite medium bitter, finish. The mouthfeel is medium plus bodied with just less than medium carbonation and a semi dry finish. Overall, very good. Everything in this beer comes together very well and it is highly enjoyable and unique. It's around 8 months in the bottle now and mine was just purchased at a place that keeps everything in a very cold cooler FWIW.

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Photo of JRed
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Not quite opaque body. Reddish hues when brought to the light. Khaki head rests on top. Aroma of coffee roast, caramelized sugar, earth, cocoa, toasted raisin bread. Tastes of bitter coffee, roast, earth, burnt bread crust, dark fruit hides in the background with booze in the finish. Heavy bodied, thick.

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Photo of LifesAnesthesia
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L - Dark, almost black brown with a decent amount of mahogany highlights around the edges with a medium light tan head that sticks around for a while and leaves behind a solid amount of lacing. A good looking beer
S - Dark chocolate and brine on the nose along with slight hints of caramel
T - Dark chocolate and roasted malts up front with hints of toffee and caramel followed and finished by a briney/mineraly finish from the oysters
F - Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation - maybe a little too thin and carbonated for my liking of imperial stouts, but overall, it's not an unpleasant mouthfeel and doesn't stray too far off of what I'd prefer for an imperial stout
O - A really good oyster stout that hits all the notes perfectly - dark chocolate, roasted malt, brine. Definitely worth a try for anyone that enjoys these types of stouts

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Photo of SABERG
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle dated 2018 into the test glass
A - Deep and dark, with a solid pour, a thin tawny cap can be created. Carbonation rises through the darkness to a confluence of islands on the surface.
S - Bakers chocolate shaved, dark roast coffee, chocolate malts, a bit minerals and hints of dusty basement.
T - Dark malts, cocoa, a bit of caramel, and toffee, with a nice salty touch.
M - A bit light on the palate, carbonation is solid and acts as the wave for semi sweet and salty to ride on. The tension between salinity and sweet is really quite good.
O - A wonderful stout with a decidedly fun take. The oyster and Cocoa add to the base stout quite nicely.

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Photo of Bum4ever
3.89/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sent by @wesmantooth in NBS BIF #8

L: Dark Brown/black with a one inch tan head.
S: Chocolate and charred malts with a slight salty tinge.
T: Cold this started out really nice with chocolate and charred malt with a slight hint of salt. However, as it warmed the salt became a little too much for me personally.
F: Pretty good thickness and smooth for the percent.
O: I was really liking this one super cold, but as it warmed it became tougher to drink because of the brine/saltiness flavor.

Thanks Corey!

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in a snifter from draft at The Vine on November 10, 2018. Brewed with freshly harvested East Coast oysters. Notes of rich chocolate and a hint of salt. Medium to full in body with a smooth finish.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, no dating on it that I noticed. Bottle says 11% ABV. Served in a Great Lakes snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head that stayed around for a long time. There's also a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and some saltiness. Taste is similar to the aroma, with burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, salt, earthy/mineral, coffee, and a bit of a vanilla flavor noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and a bit coating with a good amount of carbonation. Easy to drink, too. I thought this was a pretty good brew, definitely worth trying. Wish I would have bought another bottle, hopefully Great Lakes will bring this one back in the future! $9.99 a bomber.

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a long stemmed tulip from The Abbey, it featured a black body with a nice sized tan head. Smell was chocolate forward over the charred malts. Taste echoed the smell but with a hint of brine at the end. Mouthfeel was pleasantly refreshing. A well executed RIS.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip, the appearance was dark brown pour leaving a black color in the body with a coating of lace after a finger's worth of white foamy head softly dieing.
The aroma has a wonderful blend of sweet to bitter milk and dark chocolate malts. A coming forth of roastiness, sly sweet coffee, some dark fruits ending with some salted wafer/biscuitiness.
The flavor seems to mesh fairly well with the roasty malts, a bittersweet coffee, and some saltiness. Sly aftertaste of sticky malts, and a super light saltiness.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fine sipping quality about it. Good carbonation. ABV seemed a bit under than projected but I wasn't bothered by that. Nice smooth sticky and salty finish.
Overall, I haven't had many imperial oyster stouts, so, call me new to something of this. I would definitely welcome this beer again if I could.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Interesting that oyster is the headliner because it is actually pretty faint compared to some other oyster stouts I have had. It is felt more in the brininess and salt in the finish, that starts off very subtle, but as you work your way down the glass it becomes accumulated in the finish. Still oat and chocolate forward, like a sweet oatmeal chocolate cookie with some salt. Chewy and thick body while not being overly heavy. Nice work

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Photo of bret717
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewed 10/14/18

look- pours cola brown and appears almost black in the glass; tan head settles to about a half finger; rings of lacing

Aroma- bitter dark chocolate, black licorice, roasty coffee and a little smoke

Taste- follows the nose with bitter chocolate and roasty coffee and a little black licorice, but there's also a mellow briny saltiness that's there from star to finish and it works really well with the other flavors

Feel- medium bodied with a slightly sweet finish with lingering saltiness and bitterness

Overall- really nice imperial oyster stout with a noticeable saltiness that works well with the bitter and roasty notes.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip
A: Pitch black with a one-finger head
S: Roasted malt, cocoa, a hint of brine
T: Again the roasted malts/cocoa but bitter not briney
M: Medium to full-bodied, hides the 11% well
O: A style not seen often enough, well-done by Great Lakes

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Photo of oberon
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Came jet black with a creamy deep beige head atop,big chocolate aromas with roast coming thru but a little subdued compared to the chocolate,inviting and rich in the nose.A full creamy feel,really slides down easy.Chocolate and roast/smoke stand out up front on the palate than a slight saline salty brine-like oyster liquor comes in a lingering finish.Very well rounded and rich a real nice beer for a 30th Ann.

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Photo of Lembeh
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Stouts - check
Oysters - check

Stout + Oysters = Hell Yeah

Classic Oyster Stout style amped up because...Imperial. And Great Lakes. This one is a nice departure from the en vogue Coffee centered sweet stouts. This is on the other end of sweet. It's got a really nice sweet-briny quality that's hard to find in most Oyster stouts. Would be great with a plate of freshly schucked bivalves.

Thumbs up Great Lakes.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, served in a snifter glass. 11% ABV on the label.

Appearance: Black/dark brown letting no light through until it's down to the last bits in the glass with an initial 1/4" tan head that slowly died back to a thin foam across the top. Persistent islands and strands of lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate, a bit of roasted malt and a hint of chocolate liqueur.

Taste: Bittersweet dark chocolate complemented with a bit of salt, roasted malt with some underlying sweetness, and some chocolate liqueur flavor. Bitterness is mild.

Mouthfeel: Nicely thick and creamy. Good carbonation for the style - just right really. A bit warming from the alcohol.

Overall / Drinkability: A very smooth and easily drinkable stout, and dangerously drinkable at that. Went very well with a pot roast, and the chocolate emphasis of this beer would go well with a wide range of desserts and other roasted meats as well. Very well done and a great sipping and savoring beer.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22oz bottle into glass. Label identifies this as a 30th anniversary beer. Label has ABV% as 11%.
Dark brown colored body. Two finger light tan head sticks around as a creamy, bubbly cap. Good amount of surface coverage for lacing.
Aroma has dark roasted malts and dark chocolate. Also expresses some dark roast coffee.
Taste is dark roasted malts and dark chocolate fudge. Has a light level of sweetness which is similar to vanilla. There is a slight salinity toward the end of the taste profile. Not really much bitterness for being an imperial stout, but there is a slight alcohol burn on the tongue and throat.
Creamy and thicker mouth feel, but more toward the dry side of a finish.
Quite rich and tasty, with the oysters adding a little hint of salinity. I like the taste balance of the roasted malts and the cacao nibs. Easy to drink, and the higher ABV% is mostly hidden.

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Photo of Steve_Studnuts
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big, craggy, quickly dissipating head. Lots of chocolate on the nose. Tastes of bittersweet chocolate. No real oyster notes to speak of save for some saltiness on the very back-end. It lingers a bit. An interesting and ultimately enjoyable experiment.

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Photo of jenrhart
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I appreciate experimental beers however I don't think this one checked every box. The head had irregular texture, aroma wasn't as strong as most imperial stouts, and the flavor, I think could have been stronger. I'm not sure where the oyster taste comes in. The beer tastes better as it warms, and above average carbonation provides a nice light texture.

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Photo of VABA
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a very dark opaque color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has dark chocolate and hop hints
T-The taste follows the nose with dark chocolate, and slight hoppy and oyster flavors. The chocolate flavor stands out more as the beer warms to room temperature
M-A medium bodied moderately carbonated beer
O-A nice imperial oyster stout with a strong kick

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Photo of Bstr72
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really great taste in this one. Didn’t really get any hint of oysters but very rich full bodied taste. Large bubble head that dissipates fairly quickly. Wish it was more readily available.

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Photo of Riff
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nearly black with a small layer of light tan head that lingers about and clings nicely to the sides of the glass. Smell is roasted malts and dark chocolate. Taste is salt, chocolate, malt, smoke, and a present note of hops bitterness. Exceptionally creamy and smooth. Overall it's quite nice and a little different beer for a fun celebration. Not sure if I'll buy a second bottle, but this was certainly worth buying once.

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Photo of AdmiralOzone
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown near black with a thick mocha colored cap that takes it's time receding. Nice lacing. Aroma is dark roasted malts, slightly charred coffee and cocoa. Flavor follows the nose with a touch of salinity in the finish. If I didn't know this was an oyster stout, I'd be hard pressed to say I felt their presence. Medium to thick feel with some bitterness in the finish. Overall a pretty fine beer.

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Imperial Oyster Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 87 ratings