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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 taylor714914
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very nicely done imperial stout. A 6 oz pour produces little head, but the aroma of coffee, chocolate and roasted barley make up for this.

Taste is smooth and delicious. Some residual sweetness, but a nice balance of roasted dry notes, coffee, chocolate, and a hint of astringency.

Mouthfeel was thick and rich, but not chewy.

Overall an exceptionally well done Imperial stout.

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Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
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 wedge
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

@ Ridgewood

Black with a beautifully creamy tan head. Aromas of big roast, molasses, raisin, bittersweet chocolate, sweet breads, and caramel. Thick, malty flavor, heavy on the dark chocolate roast, with purple fruits, espresso, and charred wood. Not too sweet, which is nice. A more bitter, ashy sort of RIS. Not really any honey, which I assume is used mostly for an ABV boost. Smooth, chewy mouthfeel, on the dry side. Tasty...

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Photo of MDDMD
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a decent light brown head and little lacing

S-chocolate, coffee, dark malt, char

T-dark roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, hint of vanilla, burnt caramel, mild bitterness

F-medium body with light carbonation, smooth and creamy feel

O-a solid IS, good flavor and feel, very enjoyable

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: Dark black with a tan ring instead of a head. No lacing.

S: Licorice, malts, chocolate, caramel, smoke.

T: Robust, strong. Malts, anise. Dark chocolate. Smokey. Definately a stout with legs.

M: Medium to heavy with medium carbonation.

O: A great stout, but one that needs to be sipped. A bit much for me. Quite a bear.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.57/5  rDev -12.7%
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 JohnQVD
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
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 Rifugium
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to baybum for the share, though I may or may not have had a sample of this during the Voodoo Barrel Room release.

Dark brown-black pour, with a tan head that settled to a ringlet. Typical but good stouty aroma, dark malts, coffee, cocoa, roasty, toasted grain. Good balance of roasty bitterness and honey sweetness in the taste, with neither really gaining the upper edge, dark malts, coffee and semisweet chocolate, mild earthy hops. Body was on the heavier side of medium, alcohol was tame, carbonation was moderate. A solid and good-balanced imperial stout overall.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a thick jet black with and incredibly dark head, we are talking dark dark brown with decent retention. Smell is of burly roasted malts, notes of licorice, molasses, earthy waves of coffee, and loads of depth. The aroma reminds me of CCB Marshal Zhukov's. The taste matches the aroma with a moderate level of malty sweetness that expresses notes of honey, molasses, and licorice with notes of bitter chocolate and coffee. Somewhat bitter on the finish with a lasting anise quality. Again, very robust and flavorful. Mouthfeel is very thick with moderate to low carbonation. This is a beast of an imperial stout that has been sitting in my cellar and has gone un-drank at multiple tastings. Now I am regretting putting off drinking this for so long, because this is a tasty brew. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of kbuzz
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into my Oxbow snifter. 2012 vintage.

A: Poured an opaque black w/ thin mocha head that faded quickly. Can actually see a good bit of bubbles rush up the sides and then fizzle away as they hit the top.

S: Nice aroma...bitter dark chocolate, roast, molasses, vanilla, touch of an earthy hop presence. Maybe just a slight coffee note in there as well.

T/M: Interesting. Typical roast, bitter dark chocolate as the dominant notes...some toffee, graham cracker, rum-soaked raisin. Finishes with a bit of a floral taste. Slightly bitter. Mouthfeel could have been a little more viscous. Was certainly solid though - say medium to medium-full. Carbonation might have been a little too fizzy also but I'm sure I'm just nitpicking.

O: Really enjoyed this. I think the honey might have dried out the beer and made it a tad thin...but at the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if that's what contributed to the floral note in the back of the palate, which I dug. Would certainly drink this many times over...

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

draft at beer study.

pours a pitch black with a creamy beige head. smell is big on roasted malts. taste is very malty, chocolately and smoky on the finish. bitterness lingers, ABV very apparent. definitely a big stout. full bodied with mild carbonation.

overall solid non BA stout. event horizon is much better though!

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Photo of Kadonny
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a waxed top bottle into a snifter glass. I think this was the 2011 version.

A: A jet black color that doesn't allow any light in. A small light brown head sits atop with no glass lacing.

S: Roasted malts aplenty with some smoke, wood, vanilla, burnt coffee and some dark chocolate.

T: Same as the nose pretty much, but the roasted character really hits hard and lingers. Roasted flavors with burnt coffee, dark chocolate and some smokey wood flavors. A little bit of vanilla mixes in with the sweetness and the finish turns roasty and smokey. Alcohol creeps in.

M: Full, coating, alcoholic, and low carbonation.

O: A very good impy stout, but not a standout. I would have liked to try this fresh, but it was still a solid beer even with a year plus on it. Solid.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lovely Imperial Stout that happens to be brewed with honey- and there is a bit of sweetness that shows through. Pours black with a somewhat thin head. Smells sweet and somewhat ashy, with big notes of licorice and some roasty notes, with a distinct honey tang at the end. Delicious, balanced taste of roasted grain, licorice, and honey. Very smooth and easy to drink, the abv seems 1/2 of what it is. A delightful beer.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dense, viscous pour produces a tight, half-inch, dark walnut brown foam over a pitch-black stout that clings to the glass in sheets. The lace, while minimal, is quite nice. The foam lasts well over five minutes.

Bittersweet chocolate fills the nose while dark roasted malt and some alcohol fumes mix with coffee liqueur. One can also find molasses and the suggestion of honey and vanilla extract.

The flavor profile resembles the nose quite closely. While initially sweet, malt bitterness quickly follows and is reminiscent of Baker’s chocolate. Roasted, almost burnt malt and coffee grinds, can also be found. This one warms quite well with a very long finish resembling dark roasted black coffee.

A dense body with a warming bite of alcohol that is above expectation makes an interesting contrast to the syrupy texture and soft, prickly carbonation.

This is a nice sipping beer from a Harp nonic. It is not for the uninitiated, yet is full of sensory delights that progress throughout the session, producing rich aromas that make the mouth water.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big Thanks & Maximum Respect to ASUBeer for this beauty.

Pours a shiny mahogany with espresso like lacing that holds on for a few minutes. The smell gives me a coffee roast that hints of dark baker's chocolate, but also gives ocassional hints of a Baltic Porter. A bit of roasty wood barrel comes through also.

Now this is a 2012, and I may have popped her cherry a bit prematurely, but I got impatient. The flavor is pretty consistent with the nose. Roasty upfront--coffee meets wood, meets chocolate. But chocolate less so. A little "warm" on the alcohol, but I think it's just enough to add a nice bonus of complexity to this stout

Mouthfeel is nice and full, even chewy. I also love the slick, slightly oily presence that slowly finishes each sip.

This is a fine stout, but I need to get this one again. I will sit on it, and give it some more time.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout '11 vintage
Tired Hands chalice

A: Pours pitch black. Not a ton of head. About a quarter of light tan head that fades into a ring quickly. Good bottle carboantion. Leaves some solid sticky lacing sheeting.

S: Lots of roasted dark malt, but I do pull that honey sweetness. It's almost like the chocolate and coffee are muted but the swetness.

T: Very interesting. Up front you get the dark chocolate bitterness. Also some roasted notes. Then it seems like the honey sweetness smooths this beer out and cuts that bitter chocolate and roast. It also helps to smooth the finish. That espresso or dark coffee is still there. It's fairly dry from the roast, but not overly bitter.

M: Full bodied but not cloying. Seems like bottle carbonation is nice.

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Photo of birchstick
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to surlytwinsfan - thanks Marc!

A - pours a viscous black abyss color with a nice chocolaty head on top.

S - nose is coffee intertwined with a wallop of dark chocolates and a hint of honey

T - taste opens up with rich, dark chocolate flavors. These move to more of a roasted coffee character as it slides down the tongue. More very rich, dry bakers and dark chocolates come back and dominate the rest of the palate. A subtle amount of honey is there is you really look for it on the finish, but it's pretty subdued. Very rich and bold overall.

M - thick, chewy, and full as it should be

D - this is a truly an imperial stout. Big, bold, and full of flavor with a nice body taboot. Not as complex as others out there, but the deep richness of its flavor makes it one of the better non-barrel aged Imperial Stouts I have tried.

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Photo of jlindros
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tom for sharing.

Super thick and syrupy looking, thicker than molasses that seems to stain the glass. Pours a light fizzy darker head that fades fairly quickly.

Nose super dark rich roasted malt, tons of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, caramel, and nutty dark malts, a slight acrid roasted malt, a hint of chewy oats, and a bit of booze.

Taste light roast, less than I expected, and just a bit of acrid over roasted malt and soy sauce. Lots of super dark chocolate, light coffee, quite bitter, lots of earthy spicy hops, thick and viscous, some booze warmth and bit of tingle. As it warms a bit of cocoa, mocha, caramel, vanilla, and touch of honey come through, finally on the honey! Finish is a long, quite bitter, mouth coating viscousy, rich, dark, chocolate and mocha, roast and coffee, hint of acrid roast, and earthy spicy hops all linger for, what seems like forever.

Mouth is rich and thick, syrupy, some warming booze, decent carb.

Overall nice, not quite up there with Abyss or similar, but I would put it above fresh Darklord or Darkness (not aged but I need to try this aged as well to compare). Nice malts, lots of roast and dark chocolate, just a bit of acrid over roasted soy sauce but fairly light in comparison, and a bit of warming booze. Well done.

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Photo of Homebrew35
4.77/5  rDev +16.6%
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 UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and some sweet honey aromas. Taste is much the same with a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some nice aromas and flavors that makes it easy to drink.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
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 tdm168
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
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 Dope
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage

A: Almost pitch-black pour with a really nice dense light brown head. Fades slowly, leaving thick fluffy lines of lacing.

S: Loads of roasted malt. Particularly bitter coffee and char, backed up by a little chocolate. Smell of alcohol there too. Creamy. Hint of honey.

T: A little honey up front followed by loads of bitter roasted malt and coffee. Ends on a bitter dark chocolate note with a bit of earthiness. Honey lingers in the residual aftertaste.

M: Fairly heavy but not overly so. Smooth and a little creamy.

O: Not overly complex but the honey is a nice touch. Adds a little flavor and sweetness to an otherwise quite bitter stout (in a roasted malt sense). I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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Photo of bamadog
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up just over a year ago on a business trip to Boone, NC. Review is from notes taken on 3/31/2012 and poured from the bottle (2011 vintage) into a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a little viscous, so there's some promise there as I feel most American Doubles are a little thinner than the Russian Impies. It's dark cola brown, near coffee black and starts with a short, 1/2 finger dark tan head that fades immediately to just a thin skim; as expected, it's opaque; a thin strand and a few scant spots of lacing are left behind.

Smell: I have to say I'm impressed by the smell -- upon cracking it the smell really wafted out and has a great "stout" smell; it smells sweet (perhaps from the honey? Although I believe it's hard to impart the flavors of honey because the sugars from it ferment so quickly) and there is some bittersweet cocoa and syrupy chocolate; slightly earthy roastiness is behind all the sweetness.

Taste: Very nice, I can see why The Bros. rated it so high. Just like the smell, it's a very sweet stout and has the baker's chocolate as well as some syrupy aspects from a Hershey bottle; there is a strong backbone of bitterness balancing out the sweetness and makes each sip enjoyable as it avoids being overly bitter or cloyingly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Body is better than most that I've had in the style and weighs in between medium and medium-heavy; carbonation is soft and not especially present; a thick, sticky and moist coating holds to the roof of the mouth and a certain grittiness on the teeth; belly is left a little warm from the ABV.

Overall: This is a super solid stout and I would definitely grab a few bombers of it if I saw it again; great scents and flavors and a mouthfeel that doesn't disappoint. The higher ABV will slow me down, and a whole bottle would be tough to kill by one's self, but to split it will make it that much easier.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.15/5  rDev -23%
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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Imperial Stout from Olde Hickory Brewery
4.09 out of 5 based on 485 ratings.
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