Imperial Stout | Olde Hickory Brewery

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

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Reviews: 155 | Ratings: 501
Photo of bcp5296d
4.83/5  rDev +16.9%
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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Photo of Homebrew35
4.77/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 bomber

Pours a small bit of light chocolate head which fades to nill. Black body with hints of mahogany around the edges. Head is somewhat rousable, with a good bit of alcohol legs.

Smells change a good amount throughout the pour. Sweet carmel, big roast, coffee, bitter chocolate, smokey in a particular way-maybe some peat or someting reminicent of a scotch ale. A bit of alcohol is definitely present as it warms.

Tastes like a big russian and american imperial stout combined. Bitter dark chocolate, dark fruit, sweet carmel, espresso/coffee, licorice and some smokey component. A firm alcohol warmth and slight taste.

Medium full bodied, low carbonation. Fairly thick and silky, which leaves the mouth coated with a big maltyness and roasty acidity.

Overall this is one big tasty stout. Quite complex and fairly drinkable. This was a great bottle to share with my wife. Great flavors and interesting with the scotch ale component that was not expected.

Thank you Tommy for this trade.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ever since I first tried the Hickory Stick Stout way back before NC popped the cap, I've often wanted OHB to make an Imperial version of it. Now I'm not sure if this is based on the Hickory Stick Stout or not but there are some similarities.
Pitch black with a huge 2 finger chocolate colored head that last until the glass is empty. This is a beer that I just sat back and stared at it for awhile.
If dark chocolate were roasted I bet it would smell like this beer. Potent aroma of roasted grains and uber sweet chocolate. Also a hint of a tropical like fruitiness. Or is it a melon smell? Eitherway it adds a nice touch and distinguishes this beer from other fine beers of the same style.
Delicious!!! Super sweet dark chocolate with rich roasted flavors to keep the beer from being too sweet. There is also a mocha flavor in there with a nice hop bite at the end. Thick mouthfeel and full bodied.
While 10+% is not a session beer it's less than many other big stouts. I really like this b/c I think it adds to the drinkability. This one is a sipper but it's one you can sip and then have another. Great beer and my hat's off to OHB for a long awaited arrival that is everything I thought it would be.

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Photo of Bugeye4x4
4.74/5  rDev +14.8%
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 sulldaddy
4.72/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

SPlitting this beer wit fish113d.
Poured at room temp into a pint glass.
The beer pours a deep cola brown with minimal tan head foaming up and fading quickly to nothing.
Aroma is rich dark chocolate, espresso bean, roasted malt, some brown sugar/molasses, and a bit of plum or other dark fruit. Very appealing on the nose!
First sip, reveals an average body with a slightly chewy texture, enjoyable here, without much carbonation either.
Flavor is rich dark cocao chocolate bars mixed with raisins and dipped in a shot of espresso. Very roasty and all malt hits. A bit of booze on the finish that reminds me of the 10.2% but otherwise this is dangerously and deliciously drinkable beer!
I didnt know what to expect coming in but highly recommend this beer to anyone thinking about purchasing a bottle!

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Photo of movingtrain
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, thick gold wax seal, 2011 imprinted in the wax.

Pours a dark, dark brown, almost black. A bit of ruby red color around the edges of the glass. Nice head and decent carbonation.

Excellent aroma...powerful and pungent. There are notes of honey (bottle also states this stout as being brewed with honey), milk chocolate, anise, vanilla bean, coffee, molasses, wet wood, worn leather, and graham cracker.

The taste is very, very rich. Notes of dark chocolate, honeycomb, dark roasted coffee, bittersweet espresso, toffee, vanilla, raisin, and wet rolled oats.

This beer is a powerhouse. Not only does it sit high in ABV, but the beer is balanced, has a superb aroma, and tastes wonderful. The beer coats the palate, allowing some of the roasted, dense flavors to linger and be savored.

Overall, this is an excellent beer--one of the best I've come across in the style. It is big, bold, and balanced.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Bruisin' Ales.

22oz bottle, olive waxed, 10.6%abv as per label.

A good hiss when I popped the cap, it pours a pitch black with a 1 finger head of tan foam. There's oodles of lacing sticking to the side of the glass. I'm very fond of the appearance.

The smell is malty in a big way with plenty of chocolate and toffee notes, reminiscent of what a Milk Stout brings to the table. Deep whiffs in and the roasted malt jumps out at me bringing with it just a touch of bitterness. This Imperial Stout smells way malty and I'm digging that big time.

First sip in and there's milk chocolate and dark chocolate goodness galore. The roasted malt doesn't shy away either and adds to the dark chocolate bitterness in a very nice way. There's some alcohol warming...I expected that and got it but it isn't too intrusive. I reckon some cellaring would calm that down but as is, this is a superb tasting brew. Make no mistake about it.

It is definitely full bodied with lightish carbonation. That makes for a superb mouthfeel. Oh and the foam doesn't give up quickly at all and the lacing continues to shine after every sip.

Drinkability? This one, I know, is going to fool me as it's so damn drinkable but there's no doubt that the alcohol would catch me up quickly if I drank this too quickly. No worries. I'm just sipping and enjoying and sitting back relaxing. For this particular moment in time, all is right with the world. I give thanks to this superb example of the style. What a treat!

Bottom line: This is one of the very best of the style that I've ever tasted. My scores will reflect that.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz gold wax sealed bottle from City Beverage in Winston-Salem for 11.99. poured into a chimay chalice

A- doesn't pour extremely thick but no light is penetrating once the beer is in glass. produced a finger of creamy light brown head that reduces to a thin film and collar. nice lacing for the style. the head never leaves which is nice to see for a 10% stout.

S- big roasted and bitter chocolate aroma hits the nose first it's not extremely complex but robust and very enticing. reminds me of a slightly more tame Stone IRS. which is good company.

T- the taste is follows the nose to the T. bursting with sweet chocolate and finishes roasty and bitter. the main thing I didn't pick up in the nose is the honey in the finish. it mixes in a unique and very pleasant way with the roasty, bready, bitter finish. it's a bit more complex than the nose and really a very well rounded high quality stout.

M- velvety and smooth with a great moderate carbonation level. it could be a little thicker but does every RIS have to be motor oil thick? it's certainly full bodied and satisfying enough

D- I shared the bomber with a buddy but I could have easily taken down the whole thing. It's a bit pricey at $12 a bomber, but so are the times. I would go back and buy a few more bottles if it was in my stores despite the price though.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stopped in tonight specifically for this one as I just had to try it. They were serving a small glass in a snifter, and a large in a pint glass. I went for the large at 3.75 it was a steal. Consumed on 08/23/2008.

The pour was awesome, with a rich dark black, completely opaque with a nice tan head about an inch across the top. Excellent retention let this sit around for a good long while as the side glass lace thoroughly coated the inside of the glass.

Big notes here of roasted malts, smokey with a good bit of sweetness laying in the back. Some light chococlate notes, hints of maybe vanilla in there, very well defined aroma. The flavor blew me away, hats off to Jay on this one. Rich and thick, with excellent carbonation and a smooth creamy body. Started with a rush of roasted malts, rich, with hints of coffee and chocolate mixed in throughout. Very light sweetness in here now, defintly honey, but hints of vanilla interspersed with it. Soo friggin drinkable, wow, this was going down like candy to me. Rich caramel laced roasted malt finsih let it dry a touch but really just coated the mouth leaving the flavor to dangle in there for a good few minutes.

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Photo of tdm168
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours black as motor oil with very dense, thick, tall, dark brown head that has great retention

S - heavy chocolate, coffee, faint anise, black licorice

T - heavy chocolate, coffee, deep roasted malts, bitter finish, warm, faint anise

M - full bodied, warm, smooth, well carbonated

This is delicious. The flavor is on point. It's well balanced, bold, assertive, and incredibly drinkable for the ABV. I really enjoyed this beer experience. The perfect way to end another year of teaching!

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Photo of kif
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 22oz. bomber received as an extra in a trade.

A- Black body with a very small dark tan head.

S- Lots of roasted malt, some coffee, and a hint of chocolate

T- This follows the smell perfectly. Roastd malt throughout with some bitter coffee flavors

M- Very smooth. I think the honey helps with the smoothness. Nicely carbonated.

Overall: Very drinkable for such a high ABV. I get no alcohol taste at all. I was hoping for some more honey taste, but I think the roasted malt hides it. Overall a pretty solid beer.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.5/5  rDev +9%
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 JohnQVD
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black with a thin deep brown head that leaves a reddish trace on the glass before settling back. Smell is deep sweet caramel and coffee. Taste is semi-sweet chocolate with a tannic finish. Feel is heavy with a medium carbonation that adds a little bite. There's a definite alcohol presence, but it doesn't feel at all boozy.

This is well-balanced and interesting throughout the glass. If only I'd known when I bought this, I would have bought more than one.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
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 GJ40
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle (marked as 2011) at 50 degrees in a DFH snifter.

A - Deep black with a small tan head (could have used a bit more).

S - Rich notes of coffee, molasses, chocolate and brown sugar.

T - Chocolate and coffee with some heat and a hint of vanilla. A nice lingering bitterness from the hops and roasted malt. It got better and better as it warmed.

M - Very creamy and slightly silky with a nice moderate carbonation. It glided down.

O - Flavorful but synchronized and well balanced. A very nice beer from the home of Rick Barnes (former PC Basketball coach).

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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pour pitch black with a nice mocha colored head. Its beauitiful but looks like it could be slightly thicker.

S-Espresso, dark chocolate, hint of brown sugar and dark fruits, alcohol, and some molasses.

T-Rich and creamy dark chocolate, espresso, cream, alcohol, and roasted malt. There is also a trace of hops. I can't taste the honey specifically, but it has some alcohol sweetness and leaves a slight alcohol burn in my throat. Its taste is phenomenal and like all great Imperial Stouts it leaves you begging for another sip.

M-It just seems a little thin. I would like it to be thicker and more rich.

D-I love this beer. It tastes delicious, but its complexity and high alcohol content make it a sipper.

Overall, this is a classic example of the style. It has so much depth. I suggest lovers of the style buy some and savor every sip.

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Photo of bobhits
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tall creamy head, and yes black as black gets. I have to say this is a great looking stout.

Just going to say it, this smells like Bitches Brew. Roasted malt, dark chocolate, honey, caramel malt, a touch of vanilla and mellow milk chocolate to end the beer.

A powerful chocolate and molasses explosion on the tongue. Extremely rich and robust flavors, this is one of the most flavorful beers I’ve ever had. The sweetness is well balanced with a bitter roasted malt and well balanced with hops.

Alcohol burns down the throat, this one may need a bit more age, but I’d hate to see this bitter flavor end. Well carbonated and rather high density.

Olde Hickory is now a brewery I need to try a lot more of. They have been simply outstanding and this one really is up there. This beer stands up well next to the best of the style. Still alcohol is a touch high in the mouth.

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Photo of mabermud
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
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 ThreeWiseMen
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a recent trade with hopsleeroy. Thanks Lee!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Opaque, pitch black body with a creamy, brown halo that drags spotty lace. The body looks very thick - I love swirling it. Head retention is alright; could be better.

Smell: Chocolate milk, roasted barley, and dark chocolate come through from the start. With time, molasses and dark currants enter the fold, adding some more sweetness and a little tang. Not too exciting or complex, but pleasant.

Taste: Complex chocolate flavors throughout: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, fudge, cocoa. Sweet, but nowhere near cloyingly sweet. Cocoa, roasted barley, and nuts mix with earth and dry pine to form a very balanced finish and aftertaste. Roastiness picks up a bit as it warms, and peanut butter (esp. Nutter Butter) emerges as a beautiful undertone. Fantastic balance - very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Full, creamy, delicately carbonated, and impeccably smooth. Each sip finishes mildly bitter and warm, with just the right amount of residual sweetness. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Overall: Spot on style-wise and one of the smoothest imperial stouts I've ever had. This is a large beer, but find a friend and you two will have no problem polishing it off.

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Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottling

Appearance: A pitch black pour, with a small mocha head that quickly fades to a ringlet though it leaves streaks of lace behind

Smell: Rich fudge with licorice and a hint of hops

Taste: Chocolate fudge with some roast, to boot; by mid-palate, the licorice and hoppy elements add both sweetness and bitterness; in the finish some dark fruit and coffee flavors arrive to complete the package

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and somewhat creamy, with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: Having tasted this several times, I am surprised that I have not yet reviewed it; this beer just shows the skill that Olde Hickory has in brewing big stouts - Lindley Park, Event Horizon and this one are quite a trio, not to mention their contribution to Olde Rabbit's Foot

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Photo of CosmoHopHead
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours super black with a thin, light brown head.

S: I get hints of chocolate, espresso, almonds, molasses, dark fruits. Yum

T: mmm....tasted like delicious. Roasted malts, molasses, chocolate, espresso. The honey isn't really noticeable but it is nicely sweet so I'm guess that's the honey coming through.

M: feels a tad light for an imperial stout but still very good. good carbonation

D: considering it's 10.2% abv it's insanely drinkable. went down very easy and was great from start to finish. I really loved this beer.

One of the better Imp stouts I've had in awhile. I would highly recommend to all.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at Brawley’s in NC. Thanks much Mike.

A – Poured out a dead black with about a one finger chocolate brown head that receded fairly quickly to small cap. Sticky lacing.

S – Huge roasted malt nose with a chocolate, vanilla, black licorice and coffee.

T – Like the smell you are immediately hit with big roasted malts. Chocolate is there but more of a bittersweet flavor then an all out sweetness. Trace flavors of vanilla soften it out. Coffee comes in adding a bit more flavor. Raisins as well. It is a pretty big and bold flavored brew with a lot going on.

M – Medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. ABV warms it up a bit but not as much as you would think.

O – Very nice big, bold brew here. I loved the flavors. Let it breathe a bit before you dive in. It tasted much better as it warmed thoroughly.

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Photo of bdupree
4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful, obsidian color. Dense, creamy head hangs around for a while.

S: Great aroma with hints of charcoal, honey, chocolate.

T: Intense. Strong with licorice, with the honey hitting you near the end.

M: Great, smooth feel to this brew. For such a high ABV, the alcohol does not hit you like a ton of bricks.

D: Very, very drinkable. Almost TOO drinkable for an Imperial Stout. Definitely took one of these bottles home with us.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extra in a trade. Sounds like a winner so, let's see.

A: Bottle describes this as blacker than night. Eh, I do not agree. It's very dark with ruby highlights around the edges. Tiny mocha colored head that fades quickly and leaves little lacing on the glass. Nothing special.

S: Smell is phenomenal. Sweet wood oak blended awesome with nice tart raisin and a slight snake bite from the booze. Creamy dark chocolate in the middle with hints of espresso on the backend. Very good.

T: Bitter creamy milk chocolate upfront blended with sweet vanilla malt. Bitter hop in the middle with espresso and raisin blended on the backend. Good.

M: Leaves a nice sticky creamy flavor on your palate. Very good carbonation blend.

D: Goes down very easy. Very good here.

All in all, this brew turned out much better than expected. A good stout. Worth hunting down. Not in the world class department, but definitely one to try at least once.

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Photo of stoutfiend27
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bomber and a pita to get the wax off of this one....poured into snifter

a-black...small half finger khaki head that fell quickly leaving behind some nice lacing....bubbles are present...

s-lots of roast up front followed by a nice chocolaty note...some coffee and something sweet..maybe the honey but it doesnt smell like honey...has a little bite of citrus hops...finishes huge on the chocolate

t-chocolate completely takes over at first...some coffee and roast ...some bittering hops are there to support this massive roast...a tad astringent towards the middle...the chocolate and dry cocoa finish this one out....the honey is subdued a bit on this but you can tell it was there..

m-thick and viscous....hugely chewy...sticky and coats the mouth all over...little carbonation but it is perfect for this style...finally...

d-if it werent eleven dollars a bomber id stock up on this...only thing that hinders drinkability is the abv

another solid beer from olde starting to really like this brewery

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Imperial Stout from Olde Hickory Brewery
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 501 ratings