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Imperial Stout | Olde Hickory Brewery

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148 Reviews
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bitterbill on 12-06-2009

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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 485
Photo of MacMalt
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
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 -12.5%
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 -2.2%
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 +4.6%
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 +6.1%
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 +8.3%
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 stakem
3.59/5  rDev -12.2%
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 sense...it 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 +2.4%
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 +5.9%

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 +2.7%
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 -2.2%

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 -8.1%
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 +9.5%
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 Bugeye4x4
4.74/5  rDev +15.9%
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 +10%
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 +18.1%
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 AndyAvalanche
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a Duvel tulip style glass. Liquid portion is dark brown to black all the way to the edges with no visible highlights while the beer is stagnant. When you move it around and sip it, you can see deep amber red highlights where it gets thin. After you pour the beer there's only about a finger length dark brown head. It sticks around for a little bit but eventually just leaves a ring by the glass edges and a couple spots on the surface of the beer. Nice coating effect almost like a grainy cough syrup.

Smell is good; everything you'd expect from a nice strong imperial stout. Plenty of roasted and sweet characteristics. Nice chocolate (rich fudge), and dark naturally sweet breads. Seems like there's a generous portion of some honey malts in there too, but it could just be the local honey that's said to be added. There's definitely a nice hoppy presence, some pine and overall there's a nice outdoorsy cool sweetness aroma to it.

Taste is freaking awesome, truly unique and I've never had anything quite like it before. Lots of dark roasted malt flavors. Again with the nice dark fudgy chocolate maybe a 55%-45% more bitter than sweet, but certianly both. Maybe the slightest hints of dark roasted coffee. Again a nice hoppy presence, a very well hopped Imperial stout in my opinion. The best part is how well the honey meshes with everything. I've had several beers that say "ale brewed with honey" but this is by far the best and you can actually distinctly taste the honey. It really does have a nice flavor of fresh, local honey. Also I don't know what it is but the word "local" thrown in front of the word honey or syrup always makes it taste better to me. This is a truly outstanding tasting imperial stout and very unique.

Mouthfeel is also really good. A nice lingering flavor that lasts. Sort of a heavy feeling on the tounge. Nice carbonation level, with a mix between smooth and gritty. Great drinkability though, nice sipper and a great beer to drink on a cool fall or spring day. Awesome beer all around; I'm really becoming more and more impressed with Olde Hickory. Thanks EasyReader for sending it!

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Photo of srandycarter
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark brown head fades quickly to thin ring. VERY sparce, spotty lace. VERY black.

S - Sweet, malty, vanilla and cocoa seem to be the predominate smells.

T - Very sweet, got that vanilla, choc chip cookie thing going on. Very malty.

M - Lower carbonation, but ok. Balance to the sweet, but ok.

D - A nice offering.

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Photo of macher0
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a pitch black. Glossy. Frothy amber head that retreats to a rim and film. Smells of boozey malts. Simple but very upfront. Taste is similar but added hops and notes of vanilla, licorice, and hops. High carbonation for an imperial stout. Highly viscous. Overall very nice. I highly recommend this ale.

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Photo of csparace
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Old Hickory Imperial Stout (2013)

Appearance (4.25) – Pitch black, heavy pour. Huge, huge, head that is really dark mocha. No light penetrates this behemoth. Pour lacing for such a huge beer.

Smell (4.25) – Coffee is abundant up front. Very mild chocolates and vanilla notes. Crisp and potent though not very complex.

Taste (4.25) – Sweet chocolates immediately. Coffee comes in big time in the middle and finish. Bitterness is present mostly with the coffee flavor. Smokey flavors here and there with some hickory notes. Flavor really lasts for a while.

Mouthfeel (4.25) – Huge. This is a beer to chew on. Sweetness makes this quite smooth though. Predictably sticky on the lips afterwards.

Overall (4.25) – I think this is a pretty solid imperial stout. I really like the heavy character with sweet notes. Flavor is not incredibly complex but stands alone very well.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.69/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black. Small khaki head. Slight transparency.

Smell - Chocolate. Nutty malts. A little boozy.

Taste - Chocolate and caramel. Oaky nutty malts. Slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel - A little bitter. Medium carbonation.

Overall - A good beer, as always, from Olde Hickory.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Note: 2013 Bottling

A: Pours a thick opaque jet black in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and only the faintest of dark cola brown highlights at the edges when held up to the light. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy dark mocha head that very slowly reduces to a half finger thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of slightly sweet roasted malts with moderate amounts of dark chocolate and lighter aromas of freshly ground coffee. Very light notes of anise/licorice.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of roasted dark malts with a light touch of honey sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of anise/licorice and dark chocolate. Light notes of coffee. Moderate amounts of bitterness which linger in the finish.

M: Full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy. Light hints of alcohol warming in the finish as the beer warms up.

O: This is a really enjoyable stout and seemed like an appropriate beer for Stout Day and a colder autumn evening. Olde Hickory really makes some excellent stouts and the addition of the honey brings out just enough sweetness to have the other flavors really pop.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a deep rich brown with nearly a finger of super rich cholatey head, decent retention, a thin thin layer remains across the surface 10+ minutes later, strong lacing.

S - Tons of sweet sweet chocolate and honey, lactose, dark chocolate and espresso - moderate/mild alcohol burn. Can smell it from 3 feet away!

T - Big rich and dark chocolates combine with espresso notes initially and minimal hints of honey. Lots of espresso. Alcohol burn and bitterness come into play shortly after. Finish is still alcohol and bitterness. Aftertaste is the same. Big flavor, alcohol does not burn but its very much there.

M - Full bodied, very very robust, minimal carbonation, smooth like butter. Perfect winter sipper.

O - Honestly a fantastic big IS. I think with 2 or 3 years on it this would be absolutely fantastic, as the sweetness in the nose is mostly dominates by alcohol and bitter flavors. Still a superb big stout.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage poured in to snifter.

A - Poured a thick, sludgy ink black with half a finger of espresso coloured head that reduced to a thin layer.

S - A huge roast aroma dominates with sweet molasses, chocolate, smoke and a hint of anise.

T - Roast and a nice bitterness up front. Semi-sweet chocolate, anise and smoke notes are also present.

M - Full body; viscous. Light to moderate carbonation.

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Imperial Stout from Olde Hickory Brewery
4.09 out of 5 based on 485 ratings.
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