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 hannydawg
2.83/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011 Vintage
22 oz bomber into snifter

A- Dark brown with a one finger, tan head. Very minimal lacing.

S- Roast, chocolate, honey, slight coffee, and a touch of hoppiness. Also getting some dark fruits as it warms up.

T- Bitter, which I guess comes from the coffee, chocolate, and hops, but usually in an imperial stout, these flavors blend, where here, the whole is less than the sum of the parts. Alcohol really becomes apparent on the finish, and not in a pleasant way. The dark fruits I got in the nose are not present in the taste.

M- A bit thin for the style, and lacking in carbonation as well. I feel that if more carbonation was present, the alcohol would be a bit more balanced, instead of overpowering.

O- If I ever tried this again, it would have to be aged at least a year or so, so maybe the alcohol would mellow and hopefully the flavors would come together.

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Photo of EgadBananas
2.87/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours near black, with a light tan head. Roasted malt aroma, sweetness, with hints of chocolate. Taste has a bit of a char quality, and more than a "touch" of honey sweetness. Some roasted malts, but not much, if any, chocolate and no coffee. (I mention the lack there of only because of the labeling claim of deep chocolate and coffee.) Finish was slightly bitter though. Slick and creamy, but not wildly full bodied.

I have grown less and less fond of honey as an ingredient. While it's a fairly good stout, to me, the honey adds an unbalanced amount of sweetness.

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Photo of harrymel
3.13/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2011

A: Pours a thick, black ale with transient mocha head. No light thru this puppy. Spotty lacing. Surface can retain a bit of head with agitation.

S: The hops in this are actually fairly present - piney and resiny. Then theres some good fig tones as well as graham, toast, cocoa, honey, and hints of wood. Slightest pork scent at the finish (maybe hot dog smell).

T: Still pretty hot, this one. Plenty of cocoa, dry bitterness, turkish coffee, and hops. The beer isn't particularly complex, but it isn't bad either. Fairly one dimensional though. The alcohol is really poorly addressed here though. The finish is fusel plus above.

M: Thick, smooth and creamy. Nice, soft carbonation accentuates the beer well. Slippery finish.

O: Hard to get past the heat in this beer. Likely a really great brew at the one year to 18month marks. I would drink again, but only aged, but I would not seek for procurement.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.15/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Readbaron for the bomber
Poured into a tulip

A-- Poured a dark brown and settled black. Just hints of ruby at the tip of the beer. Dark, one finger, mocha brown head. Good lacing with the beer as it left wisps of lacing and spotting lacing while drinking this. Settled down to a solid collar/ film through drinking.

S-- Malt, lots of malt. Chocolate, honey, orange, port, molasses and as it warmed a lot of soy sauce. Got really sweet as it warmed up.

T-- Orange covered chocolate with the above mentioned flavors. As already mentioned it got really sweet and soy sauce like as it warmed up.

M-- Medium bodied and low carbonation. Honey and soy sauce stood out in the body. Got really sticky sweet in the mouth and became a slow drinker.

O-- interesting at first and then got really overbearing. Too much honey and soy sauce. Needed more roast to carry the profile I thought. Interesting for a barrel treatment and kind of cries out for one to save the overpowering sweetness of the beer.

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Photo of cradke
3.15/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark as Night. There is very little head and when looking down to smell, I can actually see my face quite well.

Smell: Dark Chocolates, earth, some yeast all in addition to a great malt profile. Very pleasant.

Taste: Quite complex and layered. Initially, very much caramel and molasses; sweet but very good. However, the aftertaste isn't the best and kind of ruins my impression of the beer unfortunatly. I think just a bit too much honey that at 10 % ABV turns to molasses. I think this would be much better with some age.

Mouthfeel: Pleasantly viscous, the carbonation is right on. Well done.

Overall: This beer has some great potential but there is just...something... that doesn't sit well. It's not the taste of honey, but the sugar is just a bit too much and makes for a bad sweetness at the end. The smell is great and the initial flavor is right on, but it's just the aftertaste that unfortuntly ruins the beer.

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Photo of biglite351
3.32/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - just a touch of red around the edges. Very tight tan head.

S - strong roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee and a touch of fruit, maybe that is the honey?

T - lots of bitterness, from coffee, baking chocolate and such.

M - solid coating with tingles all over the mouth. Alcohol burn in the chest.

O - bitterness put a major kobosh on this brew.

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Photo of ImperialKitten
3.4/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I expected to really enjoy this beer especially because it was the color and had the aroma I like. But I write to clue folks in that this beer had a very wintergreen mint undertone that turned me off - it was enough of a wintergreen to throw off my enjoyment. I like a lot of complexity but this was a bit outside my preference level.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.45/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Bruery tulip, purchased in Asheville back in May and cellared downstairs since. I've been looking forward to this one for awhile.

Pours pitch black top to bottom, with very little in the way of head or lacing. Nice legs.

Nose is really nice - intense notes of dark fruits and burnt sugar, with a bit of deeply roasted malt and just a bit of char. Wee bit of alcohol comes through as well. I can almost talk myself into getting a bit of honey out of there also, but that may be me persuading myself.

Taste is nice; big on burnt sugar and those same dark fruits. Alcohol pops through as well. Just a bit of an ash quality under there, roasted bitterness lingering on the finish. Pretty tasty, though not what I'd consider to be the most well-rounded of stouts. Still, very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is the major weak point of this one - thin, a bit undercarbonated and what's there is a bit too sharp, and even a bit sticky on top of that.

Drinkability is ok; alcohol is fairly well hidden, and there's a decent balance between the sweet and burnt aspects that is interesting, even if not my favorite take on the style.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.45/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle of this one from jbeatty. Fun trade man; cheers for all the brews!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2011
Imperial stout brewed with honey

APPEARANCE: Very dark brown pour, slightly transparent, yields a one finger, medium looking, fluffy, light tan head with good retention. Black body and medium carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good wisp cap and coats the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains and leaves dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Big, malty nose here. Roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses and some port wine. Espresso coffee and light notes of honey as well. Light touch of soy perhaps.

TASTE: Roasted malts, molasses and notes of honey up front. Pure honey, port wine, with some bitter dark chocolate and espresso flavors at the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste of sweet honey, bitter dark chocolate, port wine and a hint of soy as well. This is a malt bomb; lots of malty flavor with a touch of honey and bitterness trying to balance it out.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation. Not creamy enough really, goes down alright with a bit of a burn after the swallow and finishes pretty sticky. Some heat lingers as well. Very sticky sweet.

OVERALL: A solid beer all around, though a little too sweet perhaps, and the light soy notes were in the way slightly. Would appreciate a little more bitterness to balance out the sticky sweetness, but this is a solid effort worth checking out, especially if you like your imperial stouts on this side of the spectrum. I expect this would barrel age pretty well actually. Give this one a go if you come across it. Thanks again jbeatty.

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Photo of nkersten
3.46/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tasting glass at the Goose Island gathering. Reviewed from notes, finally. Pours an opaque black with a small tan head, fades to a ring. Smell is kind of boring and simple - heavy on the grain, it reminds me of boiling wort with some honey and alcohol. Light hop aroma. Taste is very sweet, dominated by a plain two row type malt flavor with a bit of toasty malt bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky with a light carbonation. Drinkability is not bad, but a bit too sweet to have a lot of.

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Photo of myspoonistoobig
3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz 2011 bottle split two ways.

Thanks to Doug for including this as an extra in my first ever trade, a little over a year ago.

Appearance: dark, nearly black; tan head recedes, but lingers.

Smell: roasty with a hint of sweetness, but doesn't leap out of the glass.

Taste: tastes like it smells: roasted malt character, dark roast coffee, just a hint of sweetness (tastes more like malty sweet than honey sweet).

Mouthfeel: good carbonation and solid finish.

Overall: very nice stout. I don't think they're looking to change the world with this, but I did enjoy drinking it, and that's what matters in the end.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 8/3/11

Thanks to PDXHops; split with MbpBugeye

Scorched brown, settles black. One finger head skims quickly, leaving some collar retention. Not much lace. Seth's glass had good retention and lace.

Smells - roasted chocolate (semi-sweet), undertones of coffee, faux Halloween caramel/taffy (meh). A bit sweeter as it warms. Smooth, earthy aroma. Very low hops, aromatically. Tastes hoppier, at least upfront. Roasted coffee/espresso and lots of burnt chocolate. Lighter sweet tones. Dry grittiness underneath. Full body with a fair amount of viscosity. Carbonation is ample and a bit fussy.

Very pleasant imperial stout. Nothing spectacular but very solid.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got to try this over Saint Patrick's Day, thanks to a fellow BA (Thanks Skuter). Review is from notes.

Poured from a 22oz bomber bottle into a Bruery tulip glass. Cool logo on the bottle

A: Pours nearly black, but it actually a deep, dark murky & cloudy chocolate brown, with an amber hue. Lightly carbonated, formed just a ring of bubbles, light lace.

S: Lightly toasted malt and grains, chocolate, pecans, vanilla and honey.

T: The honey comes through quite a bit on the intial draw, with notes of dark chocolate and espresso mixed in. Grain and malts come through in the middle, with slightly bitter finish.

M: Thin, light, with medium to low carbonation, a bit off for a RIS.

O: Not bad, not average, but not great either. The honey is nice, but it makes it a bit too sweet, therefore not allowing the chocolate and coffee notes to come through enough as a result.

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Photo of amphion1065
3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 bomber into a Duvel tulip. Thanks for this extra Handle.

OK, I get it Olde Hickory: you wanted to prevent this beer from getting oxidized while adding a slightly gauche ornamental touch. No shame in that game. What is unfortunate that the wax forms something of an impenetrable fortress around the cap. Good thing "Ease of Access" isn't a review-able category.

Pours is black. About 1.5 fingers of dark tan head with great retention. Very tight bubbles, and nice lacing.

A sweet-smelling stout. There is a pronounced aroma of toffee, along with some roasted malts. Some coffee, too.

That burnt, charred aspect comes through a little too strong in the taste, imparting a bitter aftertaste. At the same time, it's quite sweet - I imagine this is a by-product of the honey, though I can't really detect that specific flavor. A small alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel is too thin, borderline watery. A beer this big merits a more robust body.

A solid, straightforward offering from Olde Hickory.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.57/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz blinded bomber (thanks Stupac2) poured into a sixpoint snifter...

A: Pours a deep black with one full finger of dark khaki colored head. The foam fades quickly leaving a ring of bubbles along the edges of the glass. Great lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose I get is roasted malt, milk chocolate, caramel, maybe some subtle mint or licorice.

T: It starts off roasty and quite bitter. I get some seriously harsh char, but there is an unmistakable sweetness mixed in. It's like a bitter chocolate milk. The finish is more bitters as the sweetness fades.

M: Full bodied beer. It's smooth and coating to start, but not overly chewy. It coats the palate well and lingers for awhile. It's sticky, but biter in the finish.

O: Meh. Something about this beer just doesn't sit right with me. I think it's the over the top bitters. This is obviously a stout, and I don't want high hop bitters in here at all. I'm happy to have tried this, but I don't think I'd want more of it.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz into dfh snifter. vintage 2011

Very very little head on this, and almost no lacing. Don't think that this undercarbed, just no head.

The aroma is roast to the point of burnt; booze overflows.

For an average a best aroma, this is a solid tasting stout. There is a nice layering of roasted malts with a bit of sweetness (I'll assume the label touted honey) and a fairly dry finish. The booze notes are up front but fade quickly and don't dimish the rest of the flavor.

A touch less booze, a touch less 'burnt' aftertaste and this would be scored much better.

Drinkability (dies hard): 3/3.5. Not a particularly smooth drink and the booze upfront with the burnt notes at the end aren't winning points.


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Photo of Sabtos
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
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 TheKingofWichita
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep dark pitch black color with a thin brown head and a little lacing. Smells of rich malts, sweet chocolate, burnt coffee, and a little vanilla. Tastes of vanilla, sweet chocolate, coffee, and tons and tons of malts. Mouthfeel is okay with a mild carbonation. Drinkability is okay.

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Photo of stakem
3.59/5  rDev -13.1%
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 Reagan1984
3.62/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big Thanks to Bhalter8 for providing this beer in a recent trade. Gold wax stamped with “2011”

The head was a little less aggressive than most Imperial Stouts, but the typical bronze, tan color. This is one shiny beer. Lots of gloss on this very dark black/brown brew. Not much in the way of lace.

Aroma is very thick and sweet. Molasses, some soy and a hint of black licorice. There is a light herbal quality to this that I believe comes from the honey. This also makes itself known in the flavor.

Thick sweet flavor with the herbal notes I mention above. I’ve been told time and again that honey ferments all the way out and rarely contributes to sweetness. I assume that’s true here, but there is clearly a great deal of residual sweetness from the malt bill. On the other hand, I do believe the honey does contribute some flavor and the herbal notes. The label mentions chocolate, but I don’t get much at all. Sometimes reminds me of Cuban coffee.

The body is thick and somewhat sticky. The hefty sweetness drains you a bit here.

A good Russian Imperial Stout. But on the balance meter is leaning too much towards the sweet side. Thanks Ben for sending this along!

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage shared by Ryan011235.

The beer isn't totally deep black. It shows plenty of reds and browns. There was a decently lacy, gray-tan head.

Peanuts. Peanut butter. It reminds me of DORIS in that regard. There is a little bit of a hairspray smelling alcohol. Ash, cocoa and NestleQuick.

Peanuts and peanut shells. There is a rich Hershey's syrup taste that cuts the earthy peanut roastiness.

Full bodied and sticky. Low carbonation.

A decent stout, but ultimately forgettable.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this side-by-side with The Event Horizon.

A - Beer pours a big black with a mocha head that faded to a nice collar.

S - Dark chocolate, a little roast. The honey is big but not overpowering. It's a nice very real honey smell that still manages to meld nicely with the rest of the beer.

T - A pretty standard sweeter imperial stout with some roasted malts and a slight bit of booze. The honey added is quite distinctive and gives this one a bit of identity. I like it, even if it is on the sweet side.

M - Pretty thick, full bodied, moderate carbonation.

O - A pretty tasty stout. Event Horizon is better but this is a good drinkier, if not a little bit sweet.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.69/5  rDev -10.7%
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 GregSVT
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a tulip

A: Pours a very dark brown with a small brown head that fades to a ring and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose consists of lightly smoked malt, chocolate milk, cocoa, and a slight honey aroma. There seems to be a bitter aroma coming out as well but I can't tell if it's hops or the roasted malt.

T: The first thing that hits is an acrid bitter flavor from the dark roasted malt followed by a nice vanilla flavor. The honey is very subdued behind the bitter flavors.

M: The feel is a bit on the thinner side of medium bodied...a bit too thin for my tastes.

O: The nose leads off great but the flavor was a bit too bitter for me. You do get used to the bitterness after a while which allows the other flavors to come forward.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to cmrillo and Hodgin for this one! 22oz brown glass pry-top with gold wax stamped 2011.

Pours a moderately thick black/brown with 1/4 inch of tan creamy head. Nose is earthy, leathery and meaty. Initial sip reveals what tastes like toasted oak chips and some honey reduction (caramelized). Sticky sweet upfront, but oddly roasty-dry on the finish. Flavors are a little odd. Lighter tasting than most impy stouts. Roasty malts and toasted oak flavors.

Notes: An interesting and unique take on the style, but not really my favorite.

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