Imperial Stout
Olde Hickory Brewery

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #981
Ranked #2,539
4.15 | pDev: 9.16%
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
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Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 505 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of VABA
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a dark color with a slight tan head and lacing
A-Aroma has cocoa and honey hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a cocoa and honey flavor
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer
O-A good Imperial Stout

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Photo of Arjen
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sampled from draught at Borefts 2019. Pours a black colour and a dense brown head with some lacing. Aroma's of red fruit, dark chocolate, roasted malts. Flavour is moderate sweet, roasted bitterish. Medium bodied.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber from 9/13/17 poured into a tulip glass. Pours pitch black, with a one finger dark tan head that moves quickly to a bubbly lace that retains well. Smell is roasted chocolate , cocoa, vanilla and honey. The taste follows suit, more weighted towards chocolate, with a mild amount of bitterness on the finish. The heat is well masked. The mouthfeel is medium heavy, creamy, medium light carbonation. A recommended imperial stout, especially if you like it slightly sweet and chocolately.

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Photo of avalon07
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and an opaque consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Not much lacing here.

S: A decent enough aroma of roasted malt, honey, and chocolate as well.

T: Tasted of a tinge of the advertised honey (less than expected), a good shot of roasted malt, some chocolate notes, a grassy quality, and a hint of coffee. The flavor's a bit uneven, with some of the ingredients not nearly aggressive enough. Still, it has its good qualities.

F: A low amount of carbonation with a very smooth finish. Full-bodied.

O: While this beer is a little uneven, it's worth trying. Drinkable.

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Photo of zac16125
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Olde Hickory Imperial Stout
22oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: 5/4/16 (I believe bottle number 951)

A: Pours an opaque black, browning on the edges when held to light, small light mocha head dissipates fairly quickly, leaves only the subtlest of lacing. 4

S: Aroma is roasty, tons of green apple, subtle honey sweetness, some leather/tobacco. 3.75

T: Taste is roasty, semi-sweet Cocoa, lots of honey sweetness. Better than the aroma significantly. Great balance of sweetness from the honey and roasty notes. 4.25

M/D: Mouthfeel is full bodied and very smooth. Not sure if the ABV but it's not noticeable. Drinkability is very good. 4.25

O: A very solid and enjoyable IS. 4

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Stretching the limits of roasted flavor in stout means that a balance has to come from somewhere. When malt has reached its limits it's time to call in the honey adjunct for charm, softness and to offset the acrid char of roast. This is what the keen brewers at Olde Hickory knows and is well exhibited in their Imperial Stout with Honey.

Ominously black and gleaning with an onyx-like sheen, the beer's frothy mocha stained cap carries the scent of turkish coffee, smoldering embers, smoky chocolate and the floral finesses of winter's honey. Sweet and roasty on the early palate, the extreme taste of cocoa, coffee, walnut, burnt toast and honey allow for a taste of sweetened espresso to open the session.

Roasted barley overtakes the middle palate with ease. Charred woods, burnt toast, scorched coffee, baker's chocolate, roasting walnut and herbal chicory carry the earthy, smoky and sharp flavors across a malty sweet base of black-strap molasses, toffee and sweet & savory honey. Its rich earthiness rounds off the rough edges of char and soothes the smoked flavors before trailing with coffee-like bitterness with hints of cherry and fennel looming.

Lavish, full and succulent, the beer coats the mouth with booze and sweetness, along with those deeply woven roasted overtones. A long and savory linger of sweet char seems mesquite-like with the simmering warmth of alcohol seeming irish coffee in nature. The stout begs for those sweet and tangy Carolina barbecue ribs in complemnt.

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Photo of hman43
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: It pours inky black with a dark brown head. It's fairly opaque. It has visible legs when the class is swirled.

Smell: It has the aroma of espresso, roasted malts, and a slight burnt note. It has some raisin aromas as well.

Taste: There are hints of honey and some alcohol notes as well It has intense malt flavors featuring roast, chocolate, raisins, a bit of bread, and some coffee.

Feel: It has a full body that has a very rich texture to it. There is a smooth alcohol warmth without the hot characteristic that many beers at this strength exhibit.

The overall carbonation is fairly low. Overall, an intensely rich, malt driven beer with slight dark fruit notes in the background as well as honey. In spite of the ADV, it has a pleasant alcohol warming without being even slightly hot.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter. It pours an opaque black color with one finger of mocha-colored head and lacing. It smells of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, pecans, dark fruit, and molasses. The tastes include chocolate, dark fruit, molasses, and vanilla. The tastes blend perfectly. This stout is thick, creamy, lightly carbonated, and packs a punch with an ABV of 10.2% Overall, this is a well-crafted and absolutely delicious Imperial Stout. It is outstanding in all respects.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Black with brown edges and almost no head--pretty unusual for a non-barrel aged stout.

Smell is sweet, roasted malt, yet a jarring umami aroma comes in, as well as roasted almonds.

Thick and viscous, taste is roasty and nutty, with a touch of coffee, yet tangy.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really nice example of an imperial stout. Good mouthfeel. Decent nose with some chocolate adjuncts, but nothing special. Pretty solid, but not something I would seek out again.

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Photo of darktronica
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle. Minimal head, but leaves some lacing. Smells quite pleasant, with darkly roasted malts, honeyed sweetness, some underlying bitterness like a pecan pith, and a bit of alcoholic booziness. Tastes of milk chocolate, malt, and only lightly of honey. The flavors are more straightforward, with less complexity than the aroma; while simple, though, they are delicious, as the bitterness and boozy heat do not carry forward onto the tongue. Would love to try older releases of this to see how it ages.

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 poured at cellar temp into a snifter--dark brown, almost black with nice brown head. Smell is honey, roasted malt, lactose, cocoa. Taste is similar--a nice balance between the malt and sweetness. heavy mouth: viscous and chewy.

This is a fantastic imperial stout that has aged well. i've been seeing a few 2013s still on the shelf around here, so I'm going to go scoop up another. A winner.

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Photo of richj1970
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter. No visible bottle date.

A: Pitch black with one finger dark tan head. Decent retention and leaving some nice lacing.

S: Milk chocolate and roasted malts. Some light coffee.

T: Follows the nose fairly closely. Nice chocolate notes mixed with a little honey sweetness.

M: Full bodied but not thick. Slightly sweet finish and coats tongue nicely.

O: Very nice stout. Something I would buy regularly if it was in my distro.

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Photo of mabermud
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Black body with a dark mocha head.
Smell: Robust sweet malts. Vanilla, milk chocolate, lactose, and honey.
Taste: Rich. Sweet malts, vanilla, milk chocolate, lactose, and honey.
Feel: Substantial. Hefty and thick.

Overall - A very good imperial stout that is complimented with a good dose of honey. Before this we just had a Black Bear Stout. The Black Bear was awesome. The Olde Hickory is the Black Bear plus honey. Very much enjoyed.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 - Pours out pitch black with a finger of mocha colored head. Dark and thick! Great roasted malt. Nice sweetness. This is a great non barrel aged stout.

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Photo of stakem
3.59/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2011 vintage, cellared for 3 years as of the time of this review.

The brew pours black in color with a thin khaki head. Some stringy lace sits on the glass as the cap fades. The aroma is full of black licorice, some candied sweetness and minor solvent alcohol. The flavor includes that previously mentioned solvent alcohol with some raison-like sweetness and earthy roast/char. It is medium bodied and quite boozy feeling for 10%. Overall, I just feel like something was missing in this. If this is the base beer for event horizon and lindley park, that sure would make a lot of needs something to give it a push in the direction of being memorable. Glad to have tried it but would not attempt to secure more.

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Photo of farrago
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aggressive pour yields about half a finger of extremely dark brown foam, simmers down to the surface at a quick pace, no lacing to speak of. The liquid is as black as coal, completely impenetrable with no trace of any orange nor yellow tint, if there’s any bubbles you ain’t seeing them. Thick roast to the nose, bitter dark chocolate, molasses more than honey, candied orange peels, lighter black licorice, rum raisin ice cream, plum fruit, overall not quite as explosive as expected, tends to peter out more swiftly than would be preferred. Full-bodied but here too it shies off at the end, curious given the boldness of the flavors. Coffee, dark chocolate roast combines with scone breadiness, star anise, coconut flakes and crème brûlée flavors, the bitterness gets more extreme during the finish, not an excessively sweet beer. The honey has a clearer presence here. The plum to cherry fruit takes a step back out of the limelight. Perhaps even takes on a tarry, ashy aspect over time. Hard to say there’s much carbonation but it is not entirely flat per se. There’s little doubt it is going for the “steamroller” effect but does not have the density nor sweetness to really achieve it. Maybe a better brew for “failing” in this regard.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%

Gold wax bottle from Joe. Thanks bud. Pours pitch black with a toe finger brown head, looking super creamy, and with wicked retention. Sweet aroma of honey and roast, molasses and dark fruits, chocolate and smoke. Very dessert-like in the nose. Flavor is massive roast with serious bitterness, char, lots of sweet chocolate and dark fruit and molasses to balance. Big rich body with low to medium carbonation. I bet this would stand up nicely to bourbon barrels. Very nice, somewhat under the radar stout.

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Photo of argock
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz brown bomber into a clear glass snifter. 2011 vintage. Purchased at Peabody's (Boone, NC) and cellared at 60-65F.

A: Very dark brown to black with mahogany edges, 1 finger of beige quickly dissipating head but leaves a nice collection of lace scraps.

S: Aroma is fairly sweet for the style, a combination of molasses and brown sugar with some coffee and milk chocolate too.

T: The flavor is also pretty sweet, but it works as they provide a substantial bitterness charge to complement the sweetness. The caramel malts are prominent with a lot of toffee flavors which move to cappucino and roast malt and leave a bit of acrid bitterness, but nothing ashy or unpleasant. The chocolate flavors are darker than in the aroma. THe bitterness is hefty to keep the sweetness in check.

M: The mouthfeel is a little over-carbonated and a bit drier than I think it should be. Body is medium-full but a lot less than many other American imperial stouts.

O: I really enjoyed this beer, although it does fall pretty clearly on the sweet side of the style. OH does a good job of hitting the palate with a solid shot of bitterness to balance things reasonably well. Another winner from Olde Hickory.

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Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev -3.6%

22oz Bomber
Brawley's - Charlotte

2014 Bottling

The wax surprisingly easy to cut through so no worries there. Glugging from the bottle is a viscous liquid as black as night. The head is so dark, so chocolatey brown, that it nearly has a purple tinge. The foam forms easy on the pour and, even though it falls, always remains at least a solid cap on the surface. Patchy foam clicks here and there.

This guy has a very unique nose. Upfront is a wildflower quality that I'm assuming is from the added honey. Blackstrap molasses and a touch of anise play second fiddle to a deep, rich, roasted graininess. Hints of dark berries show themselves as the beer warms and compliment the roast. A bit of a tea leaf quality floats through as well.

Robust roast washes over the palate and remains the centerpiece of this hefty drink. Tea like herbalness pops up mid palate along with the dark berries and deep molasses qualities. The finish bursts with roasty bitterness and herbal hoppiness while the swallow leaves behind a lingering honey sweetness. The flavor profile is unique and I dig it.

The body is luxurious and full but by no means sticky or sweet. Carbonation is soft which in turn makes the body feel velvety in its slow movement. The finish is dry and bitter from both the hopping and roast. This one is going down pretty quickly.

Olde Hickory's Imperial Stout is big and robust. A heavy roast adds bitterness while a moderate hopping adds a touch as well. Unique qualities like florals and molasses set this beer apart from others. More of these will be in my future, no doubt.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at a tasting. Vintages 2011 and 2014 compared one after the other. Much thanks to Josh and Sheldon.

Classic walnut brown body, with a simple tan collar. Pretty much identical in appearance between vintages, but with a nice appearance, quite dark a nice thick pour out of the bottle for both.

Real interesting aroma. Light airy clove and dark brown spices. Very aromatic. Some hints of cherry like fruit, and soft toffee. Honey rounds out, but is strangely larger in the older vintage.

Palate comes with a giant honey sweetness. Luckily a decent mellow and thick roast char comes in but the sweetness is just dominating. The clove action is balanced in with it really nicely though, with a good creamy palate to match. Spicy finish, in a hot spice not alcohol way. Even some creamy frangelico like nut quality to match.

It's a real interesting brew and take to add honey, but it's still just far too sweet for my tastes and not well integrated with the rest of the malt. Roast and char is just aching to be heard here, along with some solid flavors trying to escape.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Russell! 22oz bottle, 2013.

A: Pours a deep black with a couple fingers of dense, very dark-chocolate-brown colored head that looks like melted chocolate ice cream. Spotty soapy lace was left down the glass.
S: Deep and rich notes of chocolate malts, mocha, dark chocolate, and roasted, toasted grains.
T: Flavors of coffee beans, Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, slight honey, and dark chocolate. There a low bitterness and acidity and a good roasted quality. The finish is full of sweet, bitter and powdery chocolate. Not fudge-like or overly sweet, but more like bitter 70%+ dark chocolate with a touch of Mexican chocolate.
M: Rich and decadent, frothy carbonation, thick, rich and fluffy, chewy as hell, no boozy, no acidity. Drinks very well.
O: Seriously like eating a bar of dark chocolate. Definitely an underrated stout. One of the best non BA imperial stouts I've had in a while. Thanks again Russ.

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Photo of Bugeye4x4
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer out of a cask. It was condetioned with peanut butter and fudge

A- Pretty much was black i couldnt see much light through the glass

S- the aroma was sweet hints of chocolate, malty, coacoa and some vanilla

T- i didnt get much peanut butter but when it warmed up you got a good amount of coacoa vanilla and chocolate.

M- Even though this beer is around 11 percent it didnt come across to hot. low in carbonation do to be cask served

O- Overall i really enjoyed this beer was a great one to have on cask. i would recomend this beer to lots of people.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage. Poured from a bomber with a gold wax top into a snifter, the beer is an oily, thick, smooth, jet black coloring with a halo of dark brown head. Looks beautiful. Aromas of rich milk chocolate, bittersweet baker's chocolate, rich honey sweetness, highlights of molasses and coffee, and some cream sweet notes. Amazingly rich and inviting. Flavors are tangy sweet forward, with a bolt of booze and honey on the forward tongue, followed by a velvety flow of milk chocolate, subtle mocha, and some earthy notes in the backbone. Very smooth throughout, with a subtle bitter and roasted edge that keeps things balanced perfectly. The aftertaste is rich and slick, with a heavily roasted kick on the chocolate and molasses linger. The finish is smooth and lingering, with a fading sweetness and subtly building warmth from the booze. Delicious brew!

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Photo of bcp5296d
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I rate this beer close to 5 and here's why:

Though not the most complex stout I've had, the 2014 batch I think is an absolute perfect example of an imperial stout. Unique characteristics but stays true to form. Lots of chocolate, a little vanilla, and tasting this batch fresh gives a good little bit of punch/bitter hop, which leads to honey and more chocolate and malt. All aspects of a good imperial stout are present and the blend is perfect imho. Not too sweet, well balanced, and just the right amount of strength. Thankful I'm able to enjoy this one on a regular basis.

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Imperial Stout from Olde Hickory Brewery
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 505 ratings