Imperial Stout | Olde Hickory Brewery

152 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: 152 | Ratings: 490
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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Photo of Jeffo
3.45/5  rDev -15.6%
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 mdaschaf
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage, thanks to mikesgroove for this bottle.

A: Pours a very dark color, if not black, almost. A light mocha head forms on top which reduces to a nice cap on top. Streaky and thin lacing.

S: Fantastic aroma, lots of chocolate and caramel. Can definitely pick up the honey. The chocolate is really nice in the aroma here, and dominates.

T: On the sweeter side for an Imperial Stout, could be from the honey added. Nice chocolate, both bitter and dark along with a little bit of roast on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Drinks very smooth, no sign of alcohol at all.

O: Very enjoyable and extremely drinkable. One of the better imperial stouts I have had.

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Photo of kif
4.5/5  rDev +10%
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 WoodBrew
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Olde Hickory Imperial Stout is a big beer. The beer poured a pitch black with tan head which did not lace....I'm assuming because of the sweetness. The smell was honey balanced with slight roast and coffee. The taste was very sweet from the honey with some big malt, roast balance. The mouthfeel was a full body beer with smooth carbonation. Overall it is a good beer but it is not for everyone. You better like sweet big beers.

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Photo of corby112
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears pitch black in the glass with a one finger beige head that quickly settles into a lasting ring.

Robust dark malt aroma with hints of dark chocolate, coffee bean, toast and oatmeal. The honey provides sweetness and there is a ton of sweet chocolate countering the roster notes. Subtle booze.

Chewy full body with a decent balance of deeply roasted dark malt and sweeter, boozy notes. Slight bitterness up front and slightly acrid with hints of roasted coffee bean, burnt toast, bitter dark chocolate and oatmeal. The honey provides fullness to the body and smooths things out mid-palate with some much needed sweetness. There's also some milk chocolate and a lactic presence balancing things out. Toward the end of the palate there is some sweet booze with a decent amount of heat. Still, it's pretty easy to drink at 10.6%.

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

I had this on tap in Charlotte, served in a small (8.5oz) goblet. The beer is dark brown, close to black but not quite there. Thin mocha-colored foam that leaves dried rivulets of lace.

It smells really roasty, no sweetness from the honey (at least in the aroma). The roasted malt character dominates the flavor as well, tasty but sort of lacking the sweetness I expected/hoped for. It's really rich though, lots of malt in the bill. Well-hidden alcohol, and although at first I was discouraged by the small draft size I eventually was grateful. A little goes a long way.

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Photo of myspoonistoobig
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
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 mntlover
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with some red showing through when held to the light. Tan head falls to ring with some lacing.

Aroma is lots of roasted malts with big coffee notes.

Taste is roasted malts with nice mocha notes, coffee mingled with chocolate that is smooth. finishes with coffee bitterness and grapefruit rinds. Some light sweetness and dark fruity notes also mingled in.

Mouthfeel is only a big medium but very smooth.

Overall its good and enjoyable enough brew, not really awe inspiring though.

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Photo of movingtrain
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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 cradke
3.15/5  rDev -23%
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 hannydawg
2.83/5  rDev -30.8%
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 GregSVT
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
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 mdvatab
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage
Poured from 22oz bottle into Bordeaux glass.

Aroma: Malted milk, fruity blueberry, vanilla, and a hint of smoke. A nice, straightforward imperial stout aroma profile.

Appearance: Dark espresso black body with a tinge of dark brown at the edge. The tan 1/2 finger head falls to a splotchy surface. Minimal lacing, but no biggie.

Flavor: Smoke hits me at the beginning, followed by chocolate syrup, some nice honey sweetness, more roastiness, and a Cracker Jack-like caramel note.

Mouthfeel: A medium-thick body with medium-low carbonation. Alcohol is slightly warming--not hot.

Overall: A very tasty, "all 4s" imperial stout. With honey added, and whatnot, this one is a tad bit on the sweet side. I personally like a more rich, "fudgy" imperial stout. Olde Hickory's take on the style is one to try.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
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 EgadBananas
2.87/5  rDev -29.8%
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 Rhettroactive
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 22oz bottle to Jackie O's tulip glass on 10/10/11
*From notes

A: Dark muddy brown. A good pour yields a big two finger head and some really top notch lacing.

S: Dense and sweet sun-dried dark fruit. Hints of combed honey.

T: Much sweeter then I was hoping for. Prunes, resin and again, more of that really concentrated dark fruit. The finish packs some earthy malt and residual sugar.

M: Not bad. It's a bit oily, but the overall viscosity is where it should be.

O: Olde Hickory's Imperial Stout would be well served in a bourbon barrel, as the honey here doesn't seem to have fully fermented. Said barrel would help to distract the drinker from the cloying nature of the residual sugar. Having said that, this is still a good quality Impy Stout, and I wouldn't be shy if offered another pour.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with 1" of dark tan head. Okay retention, and not much lacing.

Smell: Nice roast presence, sweet milk chocolate, some hop character. The roast character combined with the sweetness is very nice here.

Taste: Similar to the smell. Lots of roast up front, maybe a bit of char. Middle is dominated with milk chocolate sweetness. Hops are light but still somewhat apparent. Very nicely balanced for an imperial stout.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation that is about right. Overall a nice, no frills imperial stout. The roast and sweetness don't integrate quite as well as I'd like, but are still very good. I'm a fan of this.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
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 auroracrisis
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage.

Jet black with a head that dissipates slowly into a ring of soapy foam around the edges of the beverage. No real legging or lacing.

Rich molasses and baker's chocolate on the nose. Sweeter hints of fudge, a touch of caramel and honey beyond that. Some roast and booze as the beer warms.

Opens with a molasses and honey sweetness. Further moves into lighter fudge and chocolate ice cream like flavors. More honey and a touch of coffee with other roasty flavors as the beer rests on your tongue.

Sticky and full bodied with low carbonation, but some what more carbonated than it needs to be. A touch of drying and some what oily.

Interesting honey and molasses flavors intertwined with chocolate and coffee. An interesting stout, one that I'm glad I tried. Would love to see what age can do to this, I have a feeling the fudge flavors would develop a bit more and have more presence.

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Photo of GJ40
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
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 Mississipping
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours completely black with no highlights.  Very, very small light brown head that settles very quickly to a thin film and bubbly ring.  Minimal lacing.

S: Sweet chocolate and dark fruit up front with a nice subtle sweetness, presumably from the honey.  Just a bit of bourbon and coffee.

T: Chocolately, slightly roasty, a bit of coffee.  A nice sweetness to balance things out as well, with a good bit of honey.  Slightly hoppy at the finish as well. 

M: Fuller side of medium bodied with a pretty low level of carbonation.  Starts a little bitter, transitions to sweetness, and then ends hoppy. 

D: Not an overly big beer but tasty with a good amount of complexity and balance.  The honey was pretty evident and gave it a little somethin' extra to make it interesting and delicious. 

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Imperial Stout from Olde Hickory Brewery
4.09 out of 5 based on 490 ratings.
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