Photon Sphere
Olde Hickory Brewery

Photon SpherePhoton Sphere
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Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #824
Ranked #3,437
4.26 | pDev: 6.57%
Apr 17, 2022
Jun 16, 2019
Imperial stout, bourbon barrel aged, with honey, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, and habanero pepper.
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Photo of kwakwhore
Reviewed by kwakwhore from North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Bottled 06/08/21
Dark almost headless pour.
Cocoa predominates on the nose.
Heat from the habanero peppers is the most prominent feature for me. This is far from mildly spicy. Perhaps with time it will settle down a bit, but it’s hard to appreciate the other flavors with the level of heat that is present here.
Apr 17, 2022
Photo of chinchill
Reviewed by chinchill from South Carolina

4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
12 oz bottle with a 20 May 2020 bottling date stamped on the label. Served at about 56 F in a Belgian snifter. $5.89 from the Wall of Beer in Clemson SC.

Appearance. This pours with thick, reddish-brown body that is topped by a good off-white head. It's opaque in the snifter but has dark ruby colored edges.

Aroma. A delightful mix of cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, wood, bourbon and peppers.

Flavor. Tasting shows less cinnamon, with all the elements in excellent balance. The Habernero peppers take the form of mild heat with only relatively subtle pepper flavor.

Mouthfeel. Smooth, oily, full body with high ABV apparent (probably enhanced by the chili pepper heat).

Overall. An outstanding imperial stout that will appeal to fans of Westbrook Mexican Cake and similar brews.
Apr 14, 2022
Photo of darktronica
Reviewed by darktronica from Indiana

3.96/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours with fairly light carbonation and no residual lacing. Presumably, this is Event Horizon with more than just honey in the mix. As chile stouts go, this is pretty nice. As a Mexican hot chocolate, the vanilla throws things off a bit. The honey and capsaicin go hard, to the detriment of other flavors; I would have enjoyed more of a raw cacao nib note. Instead, the vanilla drowns out the nose, then disappears on the palate once displaced by honey and habanero. Still subject to some of the green apple and sorghum notes of the base Event Horizon that I'm so-so about, but overall pretty enjoyable.
Jan 15, 2022
Rated: 4.27 by DVMin98 from North Carolina

Oct 03, 2021
Rated: 4.34 by MJSFS from Florida

Sep 25, 2021
Rated: 4.75 by JamesLeung from Florida

Sep 09, 2021
Photo of brentk56
Reviewed by brentk56 from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Appearance: Arrives ebony colored with a two finger beige head; decent retention and strands of lacing

Smell: Oak, chocolate and vanilla with Bourbon, cinnamon and habanero pepper tones

Taste: As with many "Mexican stouts" the intial impression starts on the sweeter side, with the chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon leading the parade; the Bourbon and the oak join and embellish but it takes a couple of sips for the heat from the habanero to rise to prominence and, once settled in, it pushes the other elements somewhat to the side

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: The adjuncts are well-balanced here and while there is quite a bit of heat, it doesn't overwhelm
Jun 26, 2021
Rated: 3.76 by imanidiot777 from Pennsylvania

Apr 30, 2021
Rated: 4.23 by Jonathan-Morgan from Florida

Jan 01, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by kjkinsey from Texas

Oct 09, 2020
Rated: 4.23 by BMBCLT from South Carolina

Aug 27, 2020
Photo of Treyliff
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
12oz bottle poured into a tulip
Bottled 5/19

A- pours black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that has good retention

S- cinnamon, bourbon barrel and chocolate on the forefront, followed by aromas of spicy pepper, vanilla, honey & caramel

T- just as in the aroma, cinnamon dominates up front. Mid-palate brings out cocoa nibs, vanilla and caramel. The finish brings out the bourbon barrel, adding some barrel juice, as well as just a hint of green pepper flavor and hint. Lingers of more cinnamon and a hint of honey sweetness

M- medium body with moderate-low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns into a creamy, warming finish

O- solid variant, only downside is the cinnamon over-shined the other adjuncts
Aug 11, 2020
Photo of REVZEB
Reviewed by REVZEB from Illinois

4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Matte black pour with a finger of brown foam. Smell features bourbon with a heavy wood presence melding with semi-sweet chocolate, honey, vanilla and cinnamon float above the bourbon, pepper is super faint. Taste starts with the semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla then honey, caramel, light roast coffee, and molasses, before the bourbon warmth and pepper heat make sure you are awake. Barrel is for yet rich. Body stays surprisingly light and smooth through the sip before the cinnamon, bourbon and peppers add in various textures. Thanks dad!
Aug 10, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by Pearlstreetbrewingco from Florida

Jul 24, 2020
Photo of dbrauneis
Reviewed by dbrauneis from North Carolina

4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
A: Pours an opaque thick viscous jet black in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation rising along the edges of the glass of faint dark cola brown + chestnut brown colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy tan head that reduces to a couple of small patches of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of vanilla + toasted oak + caramel + bourbon with moderate aromas of roasted + dark + chocolate malts with a moderate amount of honey sweetness. Light to moderate aromas of chocolate + cocoa, cinnamon, and slightly spicy habanero peppers.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of roasted + dark + chocolate malts with a moderate amount of honey sweetness. That is followed by slightly stronger than moderate flavors of chocolate + cocoa, cinnamon, and slightly spicy habanero peppers which provide a light amount of heat. Finally there are just shy of strong flavors of vanilla + toasted oak + caramel + bourbon. Light amounts of roasty bitterness which slowly fades away leaving a slightly heavier than light amount of habanero pepper spiciness.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly heavier than light amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Easy to drink though this is a pretty big beer with a little alcohol warming so it is more of a slow sipper for me. Enjoyable with a pleasant amount of complexity to the flavors and aromas from the bourbon barrel aging, cinnamon, honey, cocoa, and habanero peppers. I would have enjoyed a little more heat from the peppers but still an excellent beer.
Apr 11, 2020
Rated: 4.17 by JLK7299 from North Carolina

Feb 15, 2020
Photo of pkalix
Rated by pkalix from California

4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
i'm thinking this would have been much better fresh
Feb 14, 2020
Photo of VABA
Reviewed by VABA from Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
A-Pours a dark color with a nice tan head and lacing
A-Aroma has generous cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, habanero peppers and Bourbon hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a generous and well balanced cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, habanero peppers and Bourbon flavor
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer
O-A great very well balanced Imperial Stout
Nov 03, 2019
Rated: 4 by Nichols33 from Massachusetts

Oct 29, 2019
Rated: 4.75 by BadgerNCarolina from North Carolina

Oct 11, 2019
Photon Sphere from Olde Hickory Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 35 ratings